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Habakkuk 1-3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 1

The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet received in a vision.

Habakkuk’s First Complaint

How long, O Lord, must I cry for help[a]
    and you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
    and you do not intervene?
Why do you let me see iniquity?
    why do you simply gaze at evil?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    there is strife and discord.
This is why the law is numb[b]
    and justice never comes,
For the wicked surround the just;
    this is why justice comes forth perverted.

God’s Response

[c]Look over the nations and see!
    Be utterly amazed!
For a work is being done in your days
    that you would not believe, were it told.
For now I am raising up the Chaldeans,
    that bitter and impulsive people,
Who march the breadth of the land
    to take dwellings not their own.
They are terrifying and dreadful;
    their right and their exalted position are of their own making.
Swifter than leopards are their horses,
    and faster than desert wolves.
Their horses spring forward;
    they come from far away;
    they fly like an eagle hastening to devour.
All of them come for violence,
    their combined onslaught, a stormwind
    to gather up captives like sand.
10 They scoff at kings,
    ridicule princes;
They laugh at any fortress,
    heap up an earthen ramp, and conquer it.
11 Then they sweep through like the wind and vanish—
    they make their own strength their god![d]

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

12 Are you not from of old, O Lord,
    my holy God, immortal?
Lord, you have appointed them for judgment,[e]
    O Rock,[f] you have set them in place to punish!
13 Your eyes are too pure to look upon wickedness,
    and the sight of evil you cannot endure.
Why, then, do you gaze on the faithless in silence
    while the wicked devour those more just than themselves?
14 You have made mortals like the fish in the sea,
    like creeping things without a leader.
15 He[g] brings them all up with a hook,
    and hauls them away with his net;
He gathers them in his fishing net,
    and then rejoices and exults.
16 Therefore he makes sacrifices to his net,[h]
    and burns incense to his fishing net;
For thanks to them his portion is rich,
    and his meal lavish.
17 Shall they, then, keep on drawing his sword
    to slaughter nations without mercy?

Chapter 2

I will stand at my guard post,
    and station myself upon the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
    and what answer he will give to my complaint.

God’s Response

Then the Lord answered me and said:
    Write down the vision;[i]
Make it plain upon tablets,
    so that the one who reads it may run.
For the vision is a witness for the appointed time,
    a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint.
If it delays, wait for it,
    it will surely come, it will not be late.
See, the rash have no integrity;
    but the just one who is righteous because of faith shall live.[j]

Sayings Against Tyrants

[k]Indeed wealth is treacherous;
    a proud man does not succeed.
He who opens wide his throat like Sheol,
    and is insatiable as death,
Who gathers to himself all the nations,
    and collects for himself all the peoples—
Shall not all these take up a taunt against him,
    and make a riddle about him, saying:

Ah! you who store up what is not yours
    —how long can it last!—
    you who load yourself down with collateral.
Will your debtors[l] not rise suddenly?
    Will they not awake, those who make you tremble?
    You will become their spoil!
Because you plundered many nations,
    the remaining peoples shall plunder you;
Because of the shedding of human blood,
    and violence done to the land,
    to the city and to all who live in it.

Ah! you who pursue evil gain for your household,
    setting your nest on high
    to escape the reach of misfortune!
10 You have devised shame for your household,
    cutting off many peoples, forfeiting your own life;
11 For the stone in the wall shall cry out,[m]
    and the beam in the frame shall answer it!

12 Ah! you who build a city by bloodshed,
    and who establish a town with injustice!
13 Is this not from the Lord of hosts:
    peoples toil[n] for what the flames consume,
    and nations grow weary for nothing!
14 But the earth shall be filled
    with the knowledge of the Lord’s glory,
    just as the water covers the sea.

15 Ah! you who give your neighbors
    the cup of your wrath to drink, and make them drunk,
    until their nakedness is seen!
16 You are filled with shame instead of glory;
    drink, you too, and stagger!
The cup from the Lord’s right hand shall come around to you,
    and utter shame shall cover your glory.
17 For the violence done to Lebanon[o] shall cover you,
    and the destruction of the animals shall terrify you;
Because of the shedding of human blood,
    and violence done to the land,
    to the city and to all who live in it.

18 Of what use is the carved image,[p]
    that its maker should carve it?
Or the molten image, the lying oracle,
    that its very maker should trust in it,
    and make mute idols?
19 Ah! you who say to wood, “Awake!”
    to silent stone, “Arise!”
    Can any such thing give oracles?
It is only overlaid with gold and silver,
    there is no breath in it at all.
20 But the Lord is in his holy temple;
    silence before him, all the earth!

Chapter 3

Hymn About God’s Reign

Prayer of Habakkuk, the prophet. According to Shigyonot.[q]

O Lord, I have heard your renown,
    and am in awe, O Lord, of your work.
In the course of years revive it,[r]
    in the course of years make yourself known;
    in your wrath remember compassion!

[s]God came from Teman,[t]
    the Holy One from Mount Paran.

His glory covered the heavens,
    and his praise filled the earth;
    his splendor spread like the light.
He raised his horns high,
    he rejoiced on the day of his strength.
Before him went pestilence,
    and plague[u] followed in his steps.
He stood and shook the earth;
    he looked and made the nations tremble.
Ancient mountains were shattered,
    the age-old hills bowed low,
    age-old orbits[v] collapsed.

The tents of Cushan trembled,
    the pavilions of the land of Midian.[w]
Was your anger against the rivers, O Lord?
    your wrath against the rivers,
    your rage against the sea,[x]
That you mounted your steeds,
    your victorious chariot?
You readied your bow,
    you filled your bowstring with arrows.

You split the earth with rivers;
10     at the sight of you the mountains writhed.
The clouds poured down water;
    the deep roared loudly.
The sun[y] forgot to rise,
11     the moon left its lofty station,
At the light of your flying arrows,
    at the gleam of your flashing spear.

12 In wrath you marched on the earth,
    in fury you trampled the nations.
13 You came forth to save your people,
    to save your anointed one.[z]
You crushed the back of the wicked,
    you laid him bare, bottom to neck.

14 [aa]You pierced his head with your shafts;
    his princes you scattered with your stormwind,
    as food for the poor in unknown places.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses
    amid the churning of the deep waters.

16 I hear, and my body trembles;
    at the sound, my lips quiver.
Decay invades my bones,
    my legs tremble beneath me.
I await the day of distress
    that will come upon the people who attack us.

17 For though the fig tree does not blossom,
    and no fruit appears on the vine,
Though the yield of the olive fails
    and the terraces produce no nourishment,
Though the flocks disappear from the fold
    and there is no herd in the stalls,
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord
    and exult in my saving God.
19 God, my Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet swift as those of deer
    and enables me to tread upon the heights.[ab]

For the leader; with stringed instruments.


  1. 1:2–4 The prophet complains about God’s apparent disregard for Judah’s internal evils in language that echoes the preaching of prophets like Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.
  2. 1:4 The law is numb: because the Lord has been silent, the Law, whether in the form of the scroll found in the Temple in the time of Josiah (2 Kgs 22) or in the form of divine instruction given by priests and prophets, has proved ineffective and so appeared to be cold, unreceptive, and powerless. For the Law to be credible, the Lord must see to it that the wicked are punished and the just rewarded.
  3. 1:5–7 Habakkuk interprets the Babylonian defeat of Egypt at Carchemish (605 B.C.) as the answer to his complaint: the Lord will send the Chaldean empire against Judah as punishment for their sins.
  4. 1:11 The primary aim of military campaigns by ancient Near Eastern rulers was usually the gathering of spoils and the collection of tribute rather than the annexation of territory. However, in the eighth century B.C., the Assyrians began to administer many conquered territories as provinces.
  5. 1:12–2:1 Appointed them for judgment: this complaint is directed against the violent Babylonians, the very nation God chose to punish Judah.
  6. 1:12 Rock: an ancient title celebrating the Lord’s power and fidelity; cf. Dt 32:4; Is 26:4; 30:29; Ps 18:3, 32, 47; 95:1.
  7. 1:15 He: the Babylonian king (cf. vv. 6, 13), who easily conquers other nations and treats them as objects for his entertainment and enrichment.
  8. 1:16 He makes sacrifices to his net: the leader attributes victory to the military weapons he wields; he and his weapons have won victory, not any god.
  9. 2:2 Write down the vision: the vision is written down for two reasons: so that a herald may carry and proclaim its contents to the people, and so that the reception of the vision and its truth can be verified by its fulfillment (v. 3).
  10. 2:4 The just one who is righteous because of faith shall live: the faithful survive the impending doom because they trust in God’s justice and wait patiently for God to carry it out. Several New Testament passages cite these words (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; cf. Hb 10:38) to confirm the teaching that people receive justification and supernatural life through faith in Christ.
  11. 2:5 This verse describes any tyrant who, like the Babylonians, possesses insatiable greed.
  12. 2:7 Debtors: the Hebrew term can mean either debtors or creditors, and this double meaning is likely intended: the debtor nations rise up against their creditor nation and become its creditors in the reversal of affairs described here.
  13. 2:11–12 The palaces, built at the expense of gross injustice (vv. 6–10), call down vengeance on their builders. This is typical prophetic language for the condemnation of social crimes within Israel and Judah.
  14. 2:13 Peoples toil: those oppressed by the Babylonians do not benefit from their work. Verses 13–14 break the pattern of reversal in the oracles that precede and may have been added by an editor.
  15. 2:17 The violence done to Lebanon: the destruction of the cedar forests of Lebanon, used in lavish building projects by the great conquerors; cf. Is 14:8; 37:24. The destruction of the animals: the killing off of the wild animals through excessive hunting by the same conquerors; cf. Bar 3:16.
  16. 2:18–20 Idolatrous worship is here shown to be folly by contrasting idols with the majesty of the one true God. Verse 18 may originally have followed v. 19, since the term “Ah!” begins each new saying in this section.
  17. 3:1 Shigyonot: a Hebrew technical term no longer understood, but probably a musical notation regarding the following hymn. This term, the references to the leader and stringed instruments at the end of the hymn (v. 19), and the use of the term selah in vv. 3, 9, and 13 are found elsewhere in the Bible only in the Psalter, and they indicate that, like the psalms, this poem was once used in worship.
  18. 3:2 In the course of years revive it: a plea for God to renew the works of the past.
  19. 3:3–15 Cf. the theophanies in Dt 33:2–3; Jgs 5:4–5; Ps 18:8–16; 68:8–9; 77:17–21; 97:1–5; Na 1:3–6, etc. Conventional language is employed to describe the appearance of the Lord, as in Ex 19:16–19.
  20. 3:3 Teman: a region in Edom. Mount Paran: in the territory of Edom, or the northern part of the Sinai peninsula.
  21. 3:5 Pestilence…plague: these may be figures who are part of the heavenly armies God leads into battle.
  22. 3:6 Age-old orbits: the regular paths through the skies of heavenly bodies are disrupted at the appearance of the divine warrior, as are the ancient mountains on earth. Such cosmic disruption is typical of divine appearances (Ps 18:8; Na 1:5).
  23. 3:7 Cushan…Midian: the inhabitants of the area southeast of Judah where the divine march originates (Teman, Mount Paran), who are shaken, together with the cosmos, at God’s appearance.
  24. 3:8 Rivers…sea: the forces of chaos personified as yam (Sea) and nahar (River) try to destroy the order God imposed at creation by sweeping past their boundaries and covering the earth. Their mention here and in v. 15 emphasizes that God is both creator and deliverer, subduing historical enemies and cosmic forces.
  25. 3:10–11 Sun…moon: heavenly figures who, like pestilence and plague (v. 5), serve in God’s army, or are startled at God’s appearance, as are the ancient constellations (v. 6).
  26. 3:13 Your anointed one: the theocratic king, the head of God’s people. The back of the wicked: this may refer both to God’s cosmic enemy, River/Sea, and to the leader of Israel’s historical enemy.
  27. 3:14 The last two lines of this verse are obscure in Hebrew and difficult to translate.
  28. 3:19 The heights: this term can also mean “backs” and may be an image of conquest over the poet’s foes.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ben Sira 48:1-11 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 48

Until like fire a prophet appeared,
    his words a flaming furnace.
The staff of life, their bread, he shattered,
    and in his zeal he made them few in number.
By God’s word he shut up the heavens
    and three times brought down fire.
How awesome are you, Elijah!
    Whose glory is equal to yours?
You brought a dead body back to life
    from Sheol, by the will of the Lord.
You sent kings down to destruction,
    and nobles, from their beds of sickness.
You heard threats at Sinai,
    at Horeb avenging judgments.
You anointed the agent of these punishments,
    the prophet to succeed in your place.
You were taken aloft in a whirlwind,
    in a chariot with fiery horses.
10 You are destined, it is written, in time to come
    to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord,
To turn back the hearts of parents toward their children,
    and to re-establish the tribes of Israel.
11 Blessed is the one who shall have seen you before he dies![a]


  1. 48:11 Verse 11b is not extant in the Hebrew; it is represented in the Greek tradition by “for we too shall certainly live.” But this can hardly be the original reading.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Luke 1:57-80 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

57 When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 [a]When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” 61 But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” 62 So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. 63 He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. 65 Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.

The Canticle of Zechariah. 67 Then Zechariah his father, filled with the holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

68 [b]“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
    for he has visited and brought redemption to his people.
69 [c]He has raised up a horn for our salvation
    within the house of David his servant,
70 even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old:
71     salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
72 to show mercy to our fathers
    and to be mindful of his holy covenant
73 and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father,
and to grant us that, 74     rescued from the hand of enemies,
without fear we might worship him 75 in holiness and righteousness
    before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
    for you will go before the Lord[d] to prepare his ways,
77 to give his people knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God
    by which the daybreak from on high[e] will visit us
79 to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow,
    to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

80 The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.


  1. 1:59 The practice of Palestinian Judaism at this time was to name the child at birth; moreover, though naming a male child after the father is not completely unknown, the usual practice was to name the child after the grandfather (see Lk 1:61). The naming of the child John and Zechariah’s recovery from his loss of speech should be understood as fulfilling the angel’s announcement to Zechariah in Lk 1:13, 20.
  2. 1:68–79 Like the canticle of Mary (Lk 1:46–55) the canticle of Zechariah is only loosely connected with its context. Apart from Lk 1:76–77, the hymn in speaking of a horn for our salvation (Lk 1:69) and the daybreak from on high (Lk 1:78) applies more closely to Jesus and his work than to John. Again like Mary’s canticle, it is largely composed of phrases taken from the Greek Old Testament and may have been a Jewish Christian hymn of praise that Luke adapted to fit the present context by inserting Lk 1:76–77 to give Zechariah’s reply to the question asked in Lk 1:66.
  3. 1:69 A horn for our salvation: the horn is a common Old Testament figure for strength (Ps 18:3; 75:5–6; 89:18; 112:9; 148:14). This description is applied to God in Ps 18:3 and is here transferred to Jesus. The connection of the phrase with the house of David gives the title messianic overtones and may indicate an allusion to a phrase in Hannah’s song of praise (1 Sm 2:10), “the horn of his anointed.”
  4. 1:76 You will go before the Lord: here the Lord is most likely a reference to Jesus (contrast Lk 1:15–17 where Yahweh is meant) and John is presented as the precursor of Jesus.
  5. 1:78 The daybreak from on high: three times in the LXX (Jer 23:5; Zec 3:8; 6:12), the Greek word used here for daybreak translates the Hebrew word for “scion, branch,” an Old Testament messianic title.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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