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Habakkuk 1:3-5 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Why do you force me to witness injustice?[a]
Why do you put up with wrongdoing?[b]
Destruction and violence confront[c] me;
conflict is present and one must endure strife.[d]
For this reason the law lacks power,[e]
and justice is never carried out.[f]
Indeed,[g] the wicked intimidate[h] the innocent.[i]
For this reason justice is perverted.[j]

The Lord’s Surprising Answer

“Look at the nations and pay attention![k]
You will be shocked and amazed![l]
For I will do something in your lifetime[m]
that you will not believe even though you are forewarned.[n]


  1. Habakkuk 1:3 tn Heb “Why do you make me see injustice?”
  2. Habakkuk 1:3 tn Heb “Why do you look at wrongdoing?” sn Habakkuk complains that God tolerates social injustice and fails to intervene on behalf of the oppressed (put up with wrongdoing).
  3. Habakkuk 1:3 tn Heb “are before.”
  4. Habakkuk 1:3 tn Heb “and there is conflict and strife he lifts up.” The present translation takes the verb יִשָּׂא (yisaʾ) in the sense of “carry, bear,” and understands the subject to be indefinite (“one”).
  5. Habakkuk 1:4 tn Heb “the law is numb,” i.e., like a hand that has “fallen asleep” (see Ps 77:2). Cf. NAB “is benumbed”; NIV “is paralyzed.”
  6. Habakkuk 1:4 tn Heb “never goes out.”
  7. Habakkuk 1:4 tn Or “for.”
  8. Habakkuk 1:4 tn Heb “surround” (so NASB, NRSV).
  9. Habakkuk 1:4 tn Or “righteous” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
  10. Habakkuk 1:4 tn Heb “comes out crooked.”
  11. Habakkuk 1:5 tn Or “look among the nations and observe.” The imperatival forms in v. 5 are plural, indicating that the Lord’s message is for the whole nation, not just the prophet.
  12. Habakkuk 1:5 tn The Hebrew text combines the Hitpael and Qal imperatival forms of the verb תָּמַה (tamah, “be amazed”). A literal translation might read, “Shock yourselves and be shocked!” The repetition of sounds draws attention to the statement. The imperatives here have the force of an emphatic assertion. On this use of the imperative in Hebrew, see GKC 324 §110.c and IBHS 572-73 §34.4c.
  13. Habakkuk 1:5 tc Heb “for a work working in your days.” Following the LXX reading, some supply a first person singular pronoun with the participle פֹּעֵל (poʿel). Ellipsis of a first singular pronoun before participles is relatively rare (see GKC 360 §116.s); perhaps an original אֲנֹכִי (ʾanoki; or אֲנִי, ʾani) followed the initial כִּי (ki) and was omitted by homoioteleuton.
  14. Habakkuk 1:5 tn Heb “you will not believe when it is told.” In this context the force of כִּי (ki) may be “when,” “if,” or “even though.”
New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.


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