1 This is the ·message [oracle; burden] Habakkuk the prophet received.
2 Lord, how long must I ·ask [cry; call] for help and you ·ignore [do not hear] me? I cry out to you ·about violence [or “Violence!”], but you do not ·save [rescue] us! 3 Why do you make me see ·wrong things [evil; iniquity; injustice] and make me look at ·trouble [wrongdoing]? ·People are destroying things and hurting others [L Destruction and violence are] in front of me; ·they are arguing and fighting [L strife and conflict arise]. 4 So the ·teachings [law; instruction; L Torah] are ·weak [paralyzed], and justice never comes. Evil people ·gain while good people lose [L surround/hem in the righteous]; ·the judges no longer make fair decisions [L so justice is perverted].
The Lord Answers
5 “Look at the nations! Watch them and be ·amazed and shocked [utterly astounded]. I will do something in your ·lifetime [L days] that you won’t believe even when you are told about it. 6 I will ·use [raise up] the ·Babylonians [L Chaldeans], those ·cruel [ruthless; bitter] and ·wild [impetuous; hasty] people who march across the earth and ·take lands [L seize dwellings] that don’t belong to them. 7 They scare and ·frighten [terrify] people. ·They do what they want to do and are good only to themselves [L Their justice/judgment and dignity proceed from themselves]. 8 Their horses are faster than leopards and ·quicker [fiercer] than wolves ·at sunset [L of the evening]. Their ·horse soldiers [cavalry] attack quickly; they come from places far away. They attack quickly, like an ·eagle [or vulture] ·swooping down for food [swift to devour]. 9 They all come ·to fight [L for violence]. ·Nothing can stop them [or …a horde moving like an east wind; or …their faces set forward]. Their prisoners are ·as many as the grains of [L like] sand. 10 They ·laugh at [mock] kings and make fun of rulers. They laugh at all the ·strong, walled [fortified] cities and build ·dirt piles to the top of the walls [earthen siege ramps] to capture them. 11 Then they ·leave [sweep by] like the wind and move on. They are guilty of ·worshiping their own strength [making their strength their god; or ascribing their strength to their gods].”
Habakkuk Complains Again
12 Lord, ·you live forever [L are you not from everlasting…?], my God, my holy God. We will not die. Lord, you ·have chosen the Babylonians to punish people [appointed them for judgment]; our Rock [Ps. 61:2], you picked them to punish. 13 Your eyes are too ·good [pure] to look at evil; you cannot ·stand to see [tolerate; look on] those who do wrong. So how can you put up with those ·evil [treacherous] people? How can you be quiet when the wicked swallow up people who are ·better [more righteous] than they are? 14 You ·treat [or made] people like fish in the sea, like sea animals without a ·leader [ruler]. 15 ·The enemy [L He] brings them in with hooks. He catches them in his net and ·drags [gathers] them in his ·fishnet [dragnet]. So he rejoices and ·sings for joy [is glad]. 16 The enemy offers sacrifices to his net and burns incense to ·worship it [L his dragnet], because it lets him live ·like the rich [in luxury] and enjoy ·the best [or plentiful] food. 17 Will he keep on ·taking riches with [L emptying] his net? Will he go on destroying ·people [nations] without showing mercy?
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