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I am Habakkuk the prophet. And this is the message[a] that the Lord gave me.

Habakkuk Complains to the Lord

Our Lord, how long must I beg
for your help
    before you listen?
How long before you save us
    from all this violence?
Why do you make me watch
    such terrible injustice?
Why do you allow violence,
lawlessness,
crime, and cruelty
    to spread everywhere?
Laws cannot be enforced;
    justice is always the loser;
criminals crowd out honest people
    and twist the laws around.

The Lord Answers Habakkuk

Look and be amazed
at what’s happening
    among the nations!
Even if you were told,
you would never believe
    what’s taking place now.
I am sending the Babylonians.
They are fierce and cruel—
    marching across the land,
    conquering cities and towns.

How fearsome and frightening.
Their only laws and rules
    are the ones they make up.
Their cavalry troops are faster
    than leopards,
more ferocious than wolves
    hunting at sunset,
and swifter than hungry eagles
    suddenly swooping down.

They are eager to destroy,[b]
and they gather captives
    like handfuls of sand.
10 They make fun of rulers
    and laugh at fortresses,
while building dirt mounds
    so they can capture cities.[c]
11 Then suddenly they disappear
    like a gust of wind—
those sinful people who worship
    their own strength.

Habakkuk Complains Again

12 Holy Lord God, mighty rock,[d]
you are eternal,
    and we[e] are safe from death.
You are using those Babylonians
    to judge and punish others.[f]
13 But you can’t stand sin or wrong.
So don’t sit by in silence
    while they gobble down people
who are better than they are.

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Footnotes

  1. 1.1 message: Or “vision.”
  2. 1.9 eager to destroy: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 1.10 dirt mounds. . . cities: Attacking armies often build dirt mounds against city walls to make it easier for them to climb the wall and capture the city.
  4. 1.12 mighty rock: The Hebrew text has “rock,” which is sometimes used in poetry to compare the Lord to a mountain where his people can run for protection from their enemies.
  5. 1.12 we: Hebrew; one ancient Jewish tradition “you.”
  6. 1.12 You. . . others: Or “You will judge and punish those Babylonians.”

The Lord Answers Habakkuk Again

While standing guard
    on the watchtower,
I waited for the Lord’s answer,
before explaining the reason
    for my complaint.[a]
Then the Lord told me:
“I will give you my message
    in the form of a vision.
Write it clearly enough
    to be read at a glance.
At the time I have decided,
    my words will come true.
You can trust what I say
    about the future.
It may take a long time,
but keep on waiting—
    it will happen!

“I, the Lord, refuse to accept
    anyone who is proud.
Only those who live by faith
    are acceptable to me.”[b]

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Footnotes

  1. 2.1 I. . . complaint: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 2.4 Only. . . me: Or “But those who are acceptable to me will live because of their faithfulness.”

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