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Habakkuk’s Oracle

The pronouncement[a] that the prophet Habakkuk[b] perceived.

The Prophet’s First Complaint

“How long, Lord, must I cry out for help,
but you won’t listen?
I’m crying out to you, ‘Violence!’
    but you aren’t providing deliverance.
Why are you forcing me to look at iniquity
    and to stare at wickedness?
Social havoc and oppression are all around me;
    there are legal conflicts, and disputes abound.
Therefore, the Law has become paralyzed,
    and justice never comes about.
Because criminals outnumber[c] the righteous,
    whenever judgments are issued, they come out crooked.”

God’s Response: The Coming Chaldean Invasion

“Look out at the nations and pay attention!
    Be astounded! Be really astounded!
Because something is happening in your lifetime
    that you won’t believe, even if it were described down to the smallest detail.[d]
Watch out! For I am bringing in the Chaldeans,[e]
    that cruel and impetuous[f] people,
who sweep across the earth
    dispossessing people[g] from homes not their own.
They are terrible and fearsome;
    their brand of justice and sense of honor derive only from themselves!
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
    and more cunning than wolves that attack at night.
Their horsemen are galloping
    as they approach from far away.
They swoop in like ravenous vultures.[h]

“They all come to oppress—
    hordes of them, their faces pressing onward—
they take prisoners as numerous as[i] the desert sand!
10 They make fun of kings,
    deriding those who rule.
They laugh at all of the fortified places,
    constructing ramps to seize them.
11 Then like[j] the wind sweeping by
    they will pass through—
they’re guilty because they say[k] their power is their god.”

The Prophet’s Second Complaint

12 “Haven’t you existed forever,
    Lord my God, my Holy One?
        We won’t die!
Lord, you’ve prepared them[l] for judgment;
    Rock, you’ve sentenced them[m] to correction.
13 Your eyes are too pure to gaze upon evil;
    and you cannot tolerate wickedness.
So why do you tolerate the treacherous?
    And why do you stay silent
        while the wicked devour those who are more righteous than they are?

14 “You have fashioned mankind like fish in the ocean,
    like creeping things that have no ruler.
15 The adversary[n] captures them with a hook,
    gathering them up in a fishing net.
He collects them with a dragnet,
    rejoicing and gloating over his catch.[o]
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his fishing net,
    and burns incense in the presence of his dragnet,
because by them his assets increase
    and he gets plenty of food.
17 Is he to continue to empty his fishing net?
    Will he ever stop killing entire[p] nations without mercy?”


  1. Habakkuk 1:1 Or revelation
  2. Habakkuk 1:1 The Heb. name Habakkuk means embrace
  3. Habakkuk 1:4 Lit. are surrounding
  4. Habakkuk 1:5 The Heb. lacks down to the smallest detail
  5. Habakkuk 1:6 I.e. Babylonian invaders
  6. Habakkuk 1:6 Or rash
  7. Habakkuk 1:6 The Heb. lacks people
  8. Habakkuk 1:8 Or eagles
  9. Habakkuk 1:9 The Heb. lacks as numerous as
  10. Habakkuk 1:11 The Heb. lacks like
  11. Habakkuk 1:11 The Heb. lacks they say
  12. Habakkuk 1:12 I.e. the Babylonian invaders
  13. Habakkuk 1:12 I.e. the Babylonian invaders
  14. Habakkuk 1:15 I.e. the Babylonian invaders
  15. Habakkuk 1:15 The Heb. lacks over his catch
  16. Habakkuk 1:17 The Heb. lacks entire