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Burden for Justice in Judah

The oracle[a] that Habakkuk the prophet saw.

How long, Adonai, have I cried for help,
    yet You do not hear?
I cry out to You—‘Violence!’
    yet You do not deliver.
Why do You show me wickedness,
and why must I behold mischief?
Yes, devastation and violence are before me.
There is strife, and contention arises.
Therefore, Torah has no effect,
and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked encircle the righteous
Therefore justice comes out perverted.

Adonai’s Answer: Chaldeans

“Look among the nations! Observe!
Astonish yourself! Be astounded!
For a work is being done in your days.
You will not believe it if it were told.[b]
For I am about to raise up the Chaldeans,
that bitter, impetuous nation,
marching all over the land,
to seize dwellings not its own.
Dreadful and terrifying,
Its justice and dignity derive from itself.
Its horses are swifter than leopards,
fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Its horsemen come galloping.
Its horsemen are coming from afar.
They fly like a vulture,[c] swooping down to eat.
All of them come for violence—
an assembling of faces to the east.
He gathers captives like sand.
10 He scoffs at kings,
and rulers are a joke to him.
He laughs at every stronghold—
he heaps up dirt and takes it.
11 Then a wind sweeps through and passes on.
He is guilty—This, his strength, is his god.”

Appeal for Justice on Chaldea

12 Are not You from antiquity—
Adonai my God, my Holy One?
We will not die.
Adonai, You have ordained him for judgment—
    as You, O Rock, have established him to chasten.
13 With eyes too pure to see evil
You cannot look at such trouble!
Why do You look at the treacherous?
Why do You remain silent when a wicked one
    swallows up those more righteous than him?
14 You made man like the fish of the sea,
like a creeping thing—with no one ruling over him.
15 He brings up all with hook in jaw,
drags away in his dragnet,
or gathers with his fishing-net.
Therefore he rejoices with glee.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his dragnet,
and offers incense to his fishing-net.
For through them his portion is rich
    and his food abundant.
17 Will he empty his net for this reason
—continually slaying nations—with no compassion?


  1. Habakkuk 1:1 Or burden.
  2. Habakkuk 1:5 cf. Acts 13:41.
  3. Habakkuk 1:8 Or eagle.