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Habakkuk 2New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

God’s Reply to the Prophet’s Complaint

I will stand at my watchpost,
    and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
    and what he[a] will answer concerning my complaint.
Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
    make it plain on tablets,
    so that a runner may read it.
For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
    it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
    it will surely come, it will not delay.
Look at the proud!
    Their spirit is not right in them,
    but the righteous live by their faith.[b]
Moreover, wealth[c] is treacherous;
    the arrogant do not endure.
They open their throats wide as Sheol;
    like Death they never have enough.
They gather all nations for themselves,
    and collect all peoples as their own.

The Woes of the Wicked

Shall not everyone taunt such people and, with mocking riddles, say about them,

“Alas for you who heap up what is not your own!”
    How long will you load yourselves with goods taken in pledge?
Will not your own creditors suddenly rise,
    and those who make you tremble wake up?
    Then you will be booty for them.
Because you have plundered many nations,
    all that survive of the peoples shall plunder you—
because of human bloodshed, and violence to the earth,
    to cities and all who live in them.

“Alas for you who get evil gain for your house,
    setting your nest on high
    to be safe from the reach of harm!”
10 You have devised shame for your house
    by cutting off many peoples;
    you have forfeited your life.
11 The very stones will cry out from the wall,
    and the plaster[d] will respond from the woodwork.

12 “Alas for you who build a town by bloodshed,
    and found a city on iniquity!”
13 Is it not from the Lord of hosts
    that peoples labor only to feed the flames,
    and nations weary themselves for nothing?
14 But the earth will be filled
    with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
    as the waters cover the sea.

15 “Alas for you who make your neighbors drink,
    pouring out your wrath[e] until they are drunk,
    in order to gaze on their nakedness!”
16 You will be sated with contempt instead of glory.
    Drink, you yourself, and stagger![f]
The cup in the Lord’s right hand
    will come around to you,
    and shame will come upon your glory!
17 For the violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you;
    the destruction of the animals will terrify you—[g]
because of human bloodshed and violence to the earth,
    to cities and all who live in them.

18 What use is an idol
    once its maker has shaped it—
    a cast image, a teacher of lies?
For its maker trusts in what has been made,
    though the product is only an idol that cannot speak!
19 Alas for you who say to the wood, “Wake up!”
    to silent stone, “Rouse yourself!”
    Can it teach?
See, it is gold and silver plated,
    and there is no breath in it at all.

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

Footnotes:

  1. Habakkuk 2:1 Syr: Heb I
  2. Habakkuk 2:4 Or faithfulness
  3. Habakkuk 2:5 Other Heb Mss read wine
  4. Habakkuk 2:11 Or beam
  5. Habakkuk 2:15 Or poison
  6. Habakkuk 2:16 Q Ms Gk: MT be uncircumcised
  7. Habakkuk 2:17 Gk Syr: Meaning of Heb uncertain
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Habakkuk 2New International Version (NIV)

I will stand at my watch
    and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
    and what answer I am to give to this complaint.[a]

The Lord’s Answer

Then the Lord replied:

“Write down the revelation
    and make it plain on tablets
    so that a herald[b] may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
    it speaks of the end
    and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
    it[c] will certainly come
    and will not delay.

“See, the enemy is puffed up;
    his desires are not upright—
    but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness[d]
indeed, wine betrays him;
    he is arrogant and never at rest.
Because he is as greedy as the grave
    and like death is never satisfied,
he gathers to himself all the nations
    and takes captive all the peoples.

“Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying,

“‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods
    and makes himself wealthy by extortion!
    How long must this go on?’
Will not your creditors suddenly arise?
    Will they not wake up and make you tremble?
    Then you will become their prey.
Because you have plundered many nations,
    the peoples who are left will plunder you.
For you have shed human blood;
    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

“Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain,
    setting his nest on high
    to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,
    shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
11 The stones of the wall will cry out,
    and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.

12 “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed
    and establishes a town by injustice!
13 Has not the Lord Almighty determined
    that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire,
    that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
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 gives drink to his neighbors,
    pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk,
    so that he can gaze on their naked bodies!
16 You will be filled with shame instead of glory.
    Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed[e]!
The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you,
    and disgrace will cover your glory.
17 The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,
    and your destruction of animals will terrify you.
For you have shed human blood;
    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

18 “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman?
    Or an image that teaches lies?
For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation;
    he makes idols that cannot speak.
19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’
    Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’
Can it give guidance?
    It is covered with gold and silver;
    there is no breath in it.”

20 The Lord is in his holy temple;
    let all the earth be silent before him.

Footnotes:

  1. Habakkuk 2:1 Or and what to answer when I am rebuked
  2. Habakkuk 2:2 Or so that whoever reads it
  3. Habakkuk 2:3 Or Though he linger, wait for him; / he
  4. Habakkuk 2:4 Or faith
  5. Habakkuk 2:16 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls, Aquila, Vulgate and Syriac (see also Septuagint) and stagger
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Habakkuk 2The Message (MSG)

What’s God going to say to my questions? I’m braced for the worst.
    I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon.
I’ll wait to see what God says,
    how he’ll answer my complaint.

Full of Self, but Soul-Empty

2-3 And then God answered: “Write this.
    Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
    so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness
    pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
    And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
    It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

“Look at that man, bloated by self-importance—
    full of himself but soul-empty.
But the person in right standing before God
    through loyal and steady believing
    is fully alive, really alive.

5-6 “Note well: Money deceives.
    The arrogant rich don’t last.
They are more hungry for wealth
    than the grave is for cadavers.
Like death, they always want more,
    but the ‘more’ they get is dead bodies.
They are cemeteries filled with dead nations,
    graveyards filled with corpses.
Don’t give people like this a second thought.
    Soon the whole world will be taunting them:

6-8 “‘Who do you think you are—
    getting rich by stealing and extortion?
How long do you think
    you can get away with this?’
Indeed, how long before your victims wake up,
    stand up and make you the victim?
You’ve plundered nation after nation.
    Now you’ll get a taste of your own medicine.
All the survivors are out to plunder you,
    a payback for all your murders and massacres.

9-11 “Who do you think you are—
    recklessly grabbing and looting,
Living it up, acting like king of the mountain,
    acting above it all, above trials and troubles?
You’ve engineered the ruin of your own house.
    In ruining others you’ve ruined yourself.
You’ve undermined your foundations,
    rotted out your own soul.
The bricks of your house will speak up and accuse you.
    The woodwork will step forward with evidence.

12-14 “Who do you think you are—
    building a town by murder, a city with crime?
Don’t you know that God-of-the-Angel-Armies
    makes sure nothing comes of that but ashes,
Makes sure the harder you work
    at that kind of thing, the less you are?
Meanwhile the earth fills up
    with awareness of God’s glory
    as the waters cover the sea.

15-17 “Who do you think you are—
    inviting your neighbors to your drunken parties,
Giving them too much to drink,
    roping them into your sexual orgies?
You thought you were having the time of your life.
    Wrong! It’s a time of disgrace.
All the time you were drinking,
    you were drinking from the cup of God’s wrath.
You’ll wake up holding your throbbing head, hung over—
    hung over from Lebanon violence,
Hung over from animal massacres,
    hung over from murder and mayhem,
From multiple violations
    of place and people.

18-19 “What’s the use of a carved god
    so skillfully carved by its sculptor?
What good is a fancy cast god
    when all it tells is lies?
What sense does it make to be a pious god-maker
    who makes gods that can’t even talk?
Who do you think you are—
    saying to a stick of wood, ‘Wake up,’
Or to a dumb stone, ‘Get up’?
    Can they teach you anything about anything?
There’s nothing to them but surface.
    There’s nothing on the inside.

20 “But oh! God is in his holy Temple!
    Quiet everyone—a holy silence. Listen!”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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