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Habakkuk 1:6-8 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Look, I am about to empower[a] the Babylonians,
that ruthless[b] and greedy[c] nation.
They sweep across the surface[d] of the earth,
seizing dwelling places that do not belong to them.
They are frightening and terrifying;
they decide for themselves what is right.[e]
Their horses are faster than leopards
and more alert[f] than wolves in the desert.[g]
Their horses[h] gallop,[i]
their horses come a great distance;
like vultures[j] they swoop down quickly to devour their prey.[k]


  1. Habakkuk 1:6 tn Heb “raise up” (so KJV, ASV).
  2. Habakkuk 1:6 tn Heb “bitter.” Other translation options for this word in this context include “fierce” (NASB, NRSV); “savage” (NEB); or “grim.”
  3. Habakkuk 1:6 tn Heb “hasty, quick.” Some translate here “impetuous” (so NEB, NASB, NIV, NRSV) or “rash,” but in this context greed may very well be the idea. The Babylonians move quickly and recklessly ahead in their greedy quest to expand their empire.
  4. Habakkuk 1:6 tn Heb “the open spaces.”
  5. Habakkuk 1:7 tn Heb “from him his justice, even his lifting up, goes out.” In this context שְׂאֵת (seʾet) probably has the nuance “authority.” See R. D. Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (WEC), 150.
  6. Habakkuk 1:8 tn Heb “sharper,” in the sense of “keener” or “more alert.” Some translate “quicker” on the basis of the parallelism with the first line (see HALOT 291 s.v. חדד).
  7. Habakkuk 1:8 tn Heb “wolves of the evening,” that is, wolves that prowl at night. The present translation assumes an emendation to עֲרָבָה (ʿaravah, “desert”). On this phrase see also Zeph 3:3.
  8. Habakkuk 1:8 tn Or “horsemen,” “cavalry.”
  9. Habakkuk 1:8 tn The precise nuance of the rare verb פּוּשׁ (push) is unclear here. Elsewhere it is used of animals jumping or leaping (see Jer 50:11; Mal 4:2).
  10. Habakkuk 1:8 tn Or “eagle” (so NASB, NRSV). The term can refer to either eagles or vultures, but in this context of gruesome destruction and death “vulture” is preferred.
  11. Habakkuk 1:8 tn Heb “they fly like a vulture/an eagle quickly to devour.” The direct object “their prey” is not included in the Hebrew text but is implied, and has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
New English Translation (NET)

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