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Habakkuk’s Complaint

The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.
O Yahweh, how long shall I cry for help
    and you will not listen?
How long will I cry out to you, “Violence!”
    and you will not save?
Why do you cause me to see evil
    while you look at trouble?
Destruction and violence happen before me;
    contention and strife arise.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
    and justice does not go forth perpetually.[a]
For the wicked surround the righteous;
    therefore justice goes forth perverted.

God’s Answer to Habakkuk

“Look among the nations and see;
    be astonished and astounded.
For a work is about to be done in your days
    that you will not believe if it is told.
For look! I am raising up the Chaldeans,
    the bitter and impetuous nation,
the one who walks through the spacious places of earth
    to take possession of dwellings not belonging to it.[b]
They[c] are dreadful and awesome;
    their[d] justice and their[e] dignity proceed from themselves.[f]
Their[g] horses are more swift than leopards;
    they are more menacing than wolves at dusk.
Their[h] horsemen gallop; their[i] horsemen come from afar;
    they fly like an eagle that is swift to devour.
All of them[j] come for violence,
    their faces pressing forward.
    They gather captives like the sand.
10 And they themselves scoff at kings
    and rulers are a joke to them.
They laugh at every fortification,
    and they heap up earth and take it.
11 Then they sweep like the wind and pass on;
    they become guilty, whose might is their[k] god!”

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

12 Are you not from of old,
    O Yahweh my God, my Holy One?
    You[l] shall not die.
O Yahweh, you have marked them[m] for judgment;
    O Rock, you have established them[n] for reproof.
13 Your eyes are too pure to see evil,
    and you are not able to look at wrongdoing.[o]
Why do you look at the treacherous?
Why are you silent when the wicked swallows up
    someone more righteous than him?
14 You make humankind like fish of the sea,
    like crawling creatures that have no ruler among them.
15 He brings up all of them with a fishhook;
    he drags them up with a fishnet;
he gathers them in his dragnet.
    Therefore, he rejoices and exults.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his fishnet
    and makes offerings to his dragnet,
for by them he makes a good living[p]
    and his food is rich.
17 Will he therefore empty his fishnet
    and continually kill nations without showing mercy?


  1. Habakkuk 1:4 Or “forever”
  2. Habakkuk 1:6 Or “him”
  3. Habakkuk 1:7 Hebrew “He”
  4. Habakkuk 1:7 Hebrew “his”
  5. Habakkuk 1:7 Hebrew “his”
  6. Habakkuk 1:7 Hebrew “him”
  7. Habakkuk 1:8 Hebrew “His”
  8. Habakkuk 1:8 Hebrew “His”
  9. Habakkuk 1:8 Hebrew “his”
  10. Habakkuk 1:9 Hebrew “him”
  11. Habakkuk 1:11 Hebrew “his”
  12. Habakkuk 1:12 Hebrew “we shall not die,” considered a deliberate scribal change of the text to avoid offensive language toward Yahweh
  13. Habakkuk 1:12 Hebrew “him”
  14. Habakkuk 1:12 Hebrew “him”
  15. Habakkuk 1:13 Or “trouble”
  16. Habakkuk 1:16 Literally “his portion is fat”