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I will climb my watchtower now and wait to see what answer God will give to my complaint.

And the Lord said to me, “Write my answer on a billboard,[a] large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others. But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow,[b] do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!

“Note this: Wicked men trust themselves alone as these Chaldeans do,[c] and fail; but the righteous man trusts in me and lives!* What’s more, these arrogant Chaldeans are betrayed by all their wine, for it is treacherous. In their greed they have collected many nations, but like death and hell, they are never satisfied. The time is coming when all their captives will taunt them, saying: ‘You robbers! At last justice has caught up with you! Now you will get your just deserts for your oppression and extortion!’

“Suddenly your debtors will rise up in anger and turn on you and take all you have, while you stand trembling and helpless. You have ruined many nations; now they will ruin you. You murderers! You have filled the countryside with lawlessness and all the cities too.

“Woe to you for getting rich by evil means, attempting to live beyond the reach of danger. 10 By the murders you commit, you have shamed your name and forfeited your lives. 11 The very stones in the walls of your homes cry out against you, and the beams in the ceilings echo what they say.

12 “Woe to you who build cities with money gained from murdering and robbery! 13 Has not the Lord decreed that godless nations’ gains will turn to ashes in their hands? They work so hard, but all in vain!

14 (“The time will come when all the earth is filled, as the waters fill the sea, with an awareness of the glory of the Lord.)

15 “Woe to you for making your neighboring lands reel and stagger like drunkards beneath your blows, and then gloating over their nakedness and shame. 16 Soon your own glory will be replaced by shame. Drink down God’s judgment on yourselves. Stagger and fall! 17 You cut down the forests of Lebanon—now you will be cut down! You terrified the wild animals you caught in your traps—now terror will strike you because of all your murdering and violence in cities everywhere.

18 “What profit was there in worshiping all your man-made idols? What a foolish lie that they could help! What fools you were to trust what you yourselves had made. 19 Woe to those who command their lifeless wooden idols to arise and save them, who call out to the speechless stone to tell them what to do. Can images speak for God? They are overlaid with gold and silver, but there is no breath at all inside!

20 “But the Lord is in his holy Temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”

Footnotes

  1. Habakkuk 2:2 on a billboard, literally, “on the tablets.”
  2. Habakkuk 2:3 If it seems slow, or “If he seems slow.”
  3. Habakkuk 2:4 as these Chaldeans do, implied. the righteous man trusts in me and lives, or “the righteous shall live by his faith.”

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

The Lord’s Answer

Then the Lord replied:

“Write(E) 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;(F)
    it speaks of the end(G)
    and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait(H) for it;
    it[c] will certainly come
    and will not delay.(I)

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

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

“‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods
    and makes himself wealthy by extortion!(Q)
    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.(R)
Because you have plundered many nations,
    the peoples who are left will plunder you.(S)
For you have shed human blood;(T)
    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.(U)

“Woe to him who builds(V) his house by unjust gain,(W)
    setting his nest(X) on high
    to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin(Y) of many peoples,
    shaming(Z) your own house and forfeiting your life.
11 The stones(AA) 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(AB)
    and establishes a town by injustice!
13 Has not the Lord Almighty determined
    that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire,(AC)
    that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?(AD)
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory(AE) of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.(AF)

15 “Woe to him who gives drink(AG) 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(AH) instead of glory.(AI)
    Now it is your turn! Drink(AJ) and let your nakedness be exposed[e]!(AK)
The cup(AL) from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you,
    and disgrace will cover your glory.
17 The violence(AM) you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,
    and your destruction of animals will terrify you.(AN)
For you have shed human blood;(AO)
    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

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

20 The Lord is in his holy temple;(AW)
    let all the earth be silent(AX) 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

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