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This is the vision with which the prophet Habakkuk was burdened.

How long must I cry, O Eternal One,
    and get no answer from You?
Even when I yell to You, “Violence is all around!”
    You do nothing to save those in distress.
Why do You force me to see these atrocities?
    Why do You make me watch such wickedness?
Disaster and violence, conflict and controversy are raging all around me.
Your law is powerless to stop this; injustice prevails.
    The depraved surround the innocent, and justice is perverted.

Eternal One: Take a look at the nations and watch what happens!
        You will be shocked and amazed.
    For in your days, I am doing a work,
        a work you will never believe even if someone tells you plainly![a]
    Look! I am provoking and raising up the bitter and thieving Babylonian warriors from Chaldea;
        they are moving out across the earth
    And seizing others’ homes and property in their path.

Chaldea is an area along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in southernmost Babylon.

That nation is terrifying people, is feared by everyone.
    It makes the rules and serves only its own interests.
Babylonia’s horses run faster than leopards,
    are fiercer than wolves when the sun goes down.
Its horsemen rush ahead with deadly force, galloping great distances;
    the troops swoop down like eagles ready to devour,
And Babylonia keeps on coming, hungry for violence.
    Hordes of determined faces are on the move like a hot east wind,
Scooping up captives like sand.
10 Their leader mocks kings and ridicules those in authority.
    He laughs at every fortress
And builds ramps of dirt against their walls to capture it.
11 He blows through like the wind and then presses on to the next attack.
    For their king, his god is his strength, but he will be held responsible.

12 Have You not existed from ancient times, O Eternal One, my holy God?
    Surely You do not plan for us to die.
You, O Eternal One, have made Babylonia Your tool for judgment.
    You, O Rock, have established that king as Your instrument of correction.
13 Your eyes are too pure to even look at evil.
    You cannot turn Your face toward injustice.
So why do You stand by and watch those who act treacherously?
    Why do You say and do nothing
When the wicked swallows up one who is more in the right than he is?
14 You made humans like fish in the sea,
    like creatures under no rule or authority.

The Chaldeans were known for their fishing, in addition to their brutality.

15 But the Babylonian yanks up his enemies with a hook,
    dragging them away with his net.
Gathering them up like fish in a net,
    the king shrieks and shouts for joy at his catch.
16 So he offers a sacrifice to his net that has made him rich;
    the smoke of his sacrifices rises for his fishing net that has brought him success;
Because of it, his table is full and his belly is fat.
17 Will he empty and fill his net without end?
    Will he continue to murder the people of the world without pity?

I will take my place at the watchtower.
    I will stand at my post and watch.
I will watch and see what He says to me.
    I need to think about how I should respond to Him
When He gets back to me with His answer.

Eternal One (to Habakkuk): Write down this vision.
        Write it clearly on tablets, so that anyone who reads it may run.
    For the vision points ahead to a time I have appointed;
        it testifies regarding the end, and it will not lie.
    Even if there is a delay, wait for it.
        It is coming and will come without delay.[b]

So I wrote, “Look how pompous he is!
    Something is not right in his soul; he is not honest and just.
But the righteous one will live by his faithfulness.”[c]

Indeed, wine betrays the proud man who is always restless.
    He has a big appetite; it is like the deep, dark pit of the dead.
Like death, he is never satisfied.
    He gathers all the nations to himself and collects all the people for his own purposes.

Will not all these nations raise up their litany of insults?
    Will they not provoke him with their taunts and mockery, saying,
“Woe to him who hoards what is not his!
    How long can he profit from extortion and debt?”
Will not your creditors suddenly rise up against you?
    One day they will wake up and will have had enough.
Indeed, you will be their spoil!
Why? Because you have plundered many nations,
    now all who remain will come and plunder you—
Because you have made bloody and violent raids over the earth
    and ransacked many peoples and their villages.

Woe to him who builds his house on such evil profits,
    who puts his nest up high, safe for the future, safe from disaster!
10 You don’t realize it, but by cutting down so many peoples,
    you have brought shame on your house;
You have sinned against your own soul.
11 For the stone in the wall will cry out against you;
    the wooden rafter[d] will answer from the ceiling.

12 Woe to him who builds a city on bloodshed
    and who establishes a town by injustice!
13 Look! Is it not because of the Eternal, the Commander of heavenly armies,
    that all the people work for is consumed in fire
And that all the nations produce comes to nothing?
14 For as the waters cover the sea,
    the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge
That the Eternal is glorious and powerful.

15 Woe to you who gives his neighbors a drink,
    who keeps filling their cup with your anger and malice
To intoxicate them so you can uncover their shame
    and look at their nakedness!
16 Instead of honor, you are going to have your fill of shame.
    Now drink up and expose your own uncircumcised nakedness, your lack of God’s mark.
The cup in the Eternal’s right hand will come around to you,
    and disgrace will eclipse your current glory.
17 For the violence done against Lebanon will now overtake you;
    the terror you showed the animals in turn will terrorize you.
Because you shed blood and wrought violence in the earth,
    you have destroyed cities and all their inhabitants.

18 What use is an idol shaped by its maker?
    It is nothing but an image cast in metal; it teaches deception.
For a foolish idol-maker puts faith in his own creation,
    a god that cannot speak.
19 Woe to him who says to a block of wood, “Wake up!”
    or to a silent stone, “Arise!”
Are inanimate objects your teachers?
    Look, it may be covered in gold and silver,
But there is no breath of life inside.

20 But the Eternal One is in His holy temple.
    Let all the earth keep silent in His presence.


  1. 1:5 Acts 13:41
  2. 2:3 Hebrews 10:37
  3. 2:4 Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11
  4. 2:11 Meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.

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