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¶ WHY are the wicked not hidden from the presence of God, and why do those who know him never enjoy their days?
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The wicked remove the landmarks;
they violently take away a flock.
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They seize the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow’s ox for a pledge.
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The wicked hide themselves beside the road, and the meek of the earth hide together.
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Behold, like wild asses in the desert, they go forth early seeking food for their young ones.
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They cut hay in a field which is not theirs;
and they gather grapes from the vineyard of the wicked.
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They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, and they have no covering in the cold.
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They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of shelter.
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They take by force plunder of the fatherless, and they devour the poor.
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They cause them to go naked without clothing, and they take away bread from the hungry,
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Who are bent down under burdens during the reapers’ banquets, and are hungry when they carry the large basket and the measure.
At times they are hungry at the reapers’ banquets;
they tread the wine press, but they suffer thirst.
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From the midst of the city the oppressed groan, and the souls of the wounded cry out;
yet God does not accept their prayer.
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They were in God’s world;
but they knew not his ways;
nor did they walk in his paths.
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The murderer arises at daylight, and kills the poor and needy, and in the night he is a thief.
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The eyes also of the adulterer wait for the darkness, saying, No eye shall see me;
and he disguises his face in the dark.
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In darkness he breaks into houses which he has marked in the daytime.
The wicked know not the light.
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Therefore they sought for themselves the shadow of death, and have found it: yea, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.
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They are swiftly carried away upon the face of the waters;
their portion is cursed in the earth;
they behold not the familiar way of the vineyards.
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Drought and heat consume the snow waters;
for they have sinned in Sheol.
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They have gone astray from the womb;
the worm shall suck them;
after death they shall be remembered no more;
and the wicked shall be broken like a piece of wood.
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An evil barren woman shall never bear;
they do not good to the widow.
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The wealth of a man of power is sustained by his own strength;
he does not depend on divine guidance.
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Though he be granted safety, wherein he has confidence, yet his eyes are upon his own evil ways.
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Such men are exalted for a little while, but soon are no more;
yea, all the provokers shall be brought low and destroyed;
they wither and are shaken out like the heads of grain.
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And if it is not because of his anger, then who will make me a liar, and make my speech worth nothing before God?