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Habakkuk’s Vision

The divine revelation that the prophet Habakkuk saw.

Habakkuk’s Question

How long, O Yahweh, am I to cry for help,
    but you will not listen?
    I cry out to you, “There’s violence!”
    yet you will not come to the rescue.
Why do you make me see wrongdoing?
    And why do you watch wickedness?
    Destruction and violence are in front of me.
    Quarrels and disputes arise.
That is why your teaching is numbed,
    and justice is never carried out.
        Wicked people surround righteous people
            so that when justice is carried out, it’s perverted.

The Lord’s Answer

Look among the nations and watch.
    Be amazed and astonished.
    I am going to do something in your days
    that you would not believe even if it were reported to you.
I am going to send the Babylonians,
    that fierce and reckless nation.
    They will march throughout the earth
    to take possession of lands that don’t belong to them.
They will be terrifying and fearsome.
    They will carry out their own kind of justice and honor.
Their horses will be faster than leopards
    and quicker than wolves in the evening.
    Their riders will gallop along proudly.
    Their riders will come from far away.
    They will fly like an eagle that swoops down for its prey.
They will all come for violence.
    Every face will be directed forward.
    They will gather prisoners like sand.
10 They will make fun of kings and treat rulers as a joke.
    They will laugh at every fortified city
    and build a dirt ramp to capture it.
11 They will move quickly and pass through like the wind.
    So they will be guilty,
        because their own strength is their god.

Habakkuk’s Question

12 Didn’t you exist before time began, O Yahweh, my Elohim, my Holy One?
    We will not die!
    O Yahweh, you have appointed the Babylonians to bring judgment.
    O Rock, you have destined them to correct us.
13 Your eyes are too pure to look at evil.
    You can’t watch wickedness.
    Why do you keep watching treacherous people?
    Why are you silent when wicked people swallow those
        who are more righteous than they are?
14 You make all people like the fish in the sea,
    like schools of sea life that have no ruler.
15 The Babylonians pull them all up with fishhooks,
    drag them away in nets,
        and gather them in dragnets.
            So they rejoice and are happy.
16 That is why they sacrifice to their nets and burn incense to their dragnets.
    They are rich and well fed because of them.
17 Will they keep on emptying their nets
    and always kill nations without mercy?

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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