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The Prophet Questions God’s Judgments

The [a]burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw.

The Prophet’s Question

O Lord, how long shall I cry,
(A)And You will not hear?
Even cry out to You, (B)“Violence!”
And You will (C)not save.
Why do You show me iniquity,
And cause me to see [b]trouble?
For plundering and violence are before me;
There is strife, and contention arises.
Therefore the law is powerless,
And justice never goes forth.
For the (D)wicked surround the righteous;
Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.

The Lord’s Reply

“Look(E) among the nations and watch—
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you.
For indeed I am (F)raising up the Chaldeans,
A bitter and hasty (G)nation
Which marches through the breadth of the earth,
To possess dwelling places that are not theirs.
They are terrible and dreadful;
Their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves.
Their horses also are (H)swifter than leopards,
And more fierce than evening wolves.
Their [c]chargers [d]charge ahead;
Their cavalry comes from afar;
They fly as the (I)eagle that hastens to eat.

“They all come for violence;
Their faces are set like the east wind.
They gather captives like sand.
10 They scoff at kings,
And princes are scorned by them.
They deride every stronghold,
For they heap up earthen mounds and seize it.
11 Then his [e]mind changes, and he transgresses;
He commits offense,
(J)Ascribing this power to his god.”

The Prophet’s Second Question

12 Are You not (K)from everlasting,
O Lord my God, my Holy One?
We shall not die.
O Lord, (L)You have appointed them for judgment;
O Rock, You have marked them for (M)correction.
13 You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,
And cannot look on wickedness.
Why do You look on those who deal treacherously,
And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours
A person more righteous than he?
14 Why do You make men like fish of the sea,
Like creeping things that have no ruler over them?

15 They take up all of them with a hook,
They catch them in their net,
And gather them in their dragnet.
Therefore they rejoice and are glad.
16 Therefore (N)they sacrifice to their net,
And burn incense to their dragnet;
Because by them their share is [f]sumptuous
And their food plentiful.
17 Shall they therefore empty their net,
And continue to slay nations without pity?

Footnotes

  1. Habakkuk 1:1 oracle, prophecy
  2. Habakkuk 1:3 Or toil
  3. Habakkuk 1:8 Lit. horsemen
  4. Habakkuk 1:8 Lit. spring about
  5. Habakkuk 1:11 Lit. spirit or wind
  6. Habakkuk 1:16 Lit. fat

The prophecy(A) that Habakkuk the prophet received.

Habakkuk’s Complaint

How long,(B) Lord, must I call for help,
    but you do not listen?(C)
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
    but you do not save?(D)
Why do you make me look at injustice?
    Why do you tolerate(E) wrongdoing?(F)
Destruction and violence(G) are before me;
    there is strife,(H) and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law(I) is paralyzed,
    and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
    so that justice(J) is perverted.(K)

The Lord’s Answer

“Look at the nations and watch—
    and be utterly amazed.(L)
For I am going to do something in your days
    that you would not believe,
    even if you were told.(M)
I am raising up the Babylonians,[a](N)
    that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth(O)
    to seize dwellings not their own.(P)
They are a feared and dreaded people;(Q)
    they are a law to themselves
    and promote their own honor.
Their horses are swifter(R) than leopards,
    fiercer than wolves(S) at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong;
    their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;
    they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes[b] advance like a desert wind
    and gather prisoners(T) like sand.
10 They mock kings
    and scoff at rulers.(U)
They laugh at all fortified cities;
    by building earthen ramps(V) they capture them.
11 Then they sweep past like the wind(W) and go on—
    guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”(X)

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

12 Lord, are you not from everlasting?(Y)
    My God, my Holy One,(Z) you[c] will never die.(AA)
You, Lord, have appointed(AB) them to execute judgment;
    you, my Rock,(AC) have ordained them to punish.
13 Your eyes are too pure(AD) to look on evil;
    you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.(AE)
Why then do you tolerate(AF) the treacherous?(AG)
    Why are you silent while the wicked
    swallow up those more righteous than themselves?(AH)
14 You have made people like the fish in the sea,
    like the sea creatures that have no ruler.
15 The wicked(AI) foe pulls all of them up with hooks,(AJ)
    he catches them in his net,(AK)
he gathers them up in his dragnet;
    and so he rejoices and is glad.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net
    and burns incense(AL) to his dragnet,
for by his net he lives in luxury
    and enjoys the choicest food.
17 Is he to keep on emptying his net,
    destroying nations without mercy?(AM)

Footnotes

  1. Habakkuk 1:6 Or Chaldeans
  2. Habakkuk 1:9 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  3. Habakkuk 1:12 An ancient Hebrew scribal tradition; Masoretic Text we

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