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God’s Reply to the Prophet’s Complaint

I will take my stand to watch,
and station myself on the tower,
and look forth to see what he will say to me,
    and what I will answer concerning my complaint.
And the Lord answered me:
“Write the vision;
    make it plain upon tablets,
    so he may run who reads it.
For still the vision awaits its time;
    it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seem slow, wait for it;
    it will surely come, it will not delay.
Behold, he whose soul is not upright in him shall fail,[a]
    but the righteous shall live by his faith.[b]
Moreover, wine is treacherous;
    the arrogant man shall not abide.[c]
His greed is as wide as Sheol;
    like death he has never enough.
He gathers for himself all nations,
    and collects as his own all peoples.”

The Woes of the Wicked

Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, in scoffing derision of him, and say,

“Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own—
    for how long?—
    and loads himself with pledges!”
Will not your debtors suddenly arise,
    and those awake who will make you tremble?
    Then you will be booty for them.
Because you have plundered many nations,
    all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you,
for the blood of men and violence to the earth,
    to cities and all who dwell therein.

Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house,
    to set his nest on high,
    to be safe from the reach of harm!
10 You have devised shame to your house
    by cutting off many peoples;
    you have forfeited your life.
11 For the stone will cry out from the wall,
    and the beam from the woodwork respond.

12 Woe to him who builds a town with blood,
    and founds a city on iniquity!
13 Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts
    that peoples labor only for fire,
    and nations weary themselves for nought?
14 For the earth will be filled
    with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
    as the waters cover the sea.

15 Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink
    of the cup of his wrath,[d] and makes them drunk,
    to gaze on their shame!
16 You will be sated with contempt instead of glory.
    Drink, yourself, and stagger![e]
The cup in the Lord’s right hand
    will come around to you,
    and shame will come upon your glory!
17 The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you;
    the destruction of the beasts will terrify you,[f]
for the blood of men and violence to the earth,
    to cities and all who dwell therein.

18 What profit is an idol
    when its maker has shaped it,
    a metal image, a teacher of lies?
For the workman trusts in his own creation
    when he makes dumb idols!
19 Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake;
    to a dumb stone, Arise!
    Can this give revelation?
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
    and there is no breath at all in it.

20 But the Lord is in his holy temple;
    let all the earth keep silence before him.


  1. Habakkuk 2:4 Cn: Heb is puffed up
  2. Habakkuk 2:4 Or faithfulness
  3. Habakkuk 2:5 The Hebrew of these two lines is obscure
  4. Habakkuk 2:15 Cn: Heb joining to your wrath
  5. Habakkuk 2:16 Cn Compare Gk Syr: Heb be uncircumcised
  6. Habakkuk 2:17 Gk Syr: Heb them

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