2 O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. 3 Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. 4 Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
The Lord’s Reply
5 “Look among the nations and watch— Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. 6 For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs. 7 They are terrible and dreadful; Their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves. 8 Their horses also are swifter than leopards, And more fierce than evening wolves. Their chargers charge ahead; Their cavalry comes from afar; They fly as the eagle that hastens to eat.
9 “They all come for violence; Their faces are set like the east wind. They gather captives like sand. 10 They scoff at kings, And princes are scorned by them. They deride every stronghold, For they heap up earthen mounds and seize it. 11 Then his mind[b] changes, and he transgresses; He commits offense, Ascribing this power to his god.”
The Prophet’s Second Question
12 Are You not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. 13 You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours A person more righteous than he? 14 Why do You make men like fish of the sea, Like creeping things that have no ruler over them?
15 They take up all of them with a hook, They catch them in their net, And gather them in their dragnet. Therefore they rejoice and are glad. 16 Therefore they sacrifice to their net, And burn incense to their dragnet; Because by them their share is sumptuous And their food plentiful. 17 Shall they therefore empty their net, And continue to slay nations without pity?
2 I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected.
The Just Live by Faith
2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
“Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.
4 “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.
Woe to the Wicked
5 “Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as hell,[c] And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, He gathers to himself all nations And heaps up for himself all peoples.
6 “Will not all these take up a proverb against him, And a taunting riddle against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases What is not his—how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges’?[d] 7 Will not your creditors[e] rise up suddenly? Will they not awaken who oppress you? And you will become their booty. 8 Because you have plundered many nations, All the remnant of the people shall plunder you, Because of men’s blood And the violence of the land and the city, And of all who dwell in it.
9 “Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house, That he may set his nest on high, That he may be delivered from the power of disaster! 10 You give shameful counsel to your house, Cutting off many peoples, And sin against your soul. 11 For the stone will cry out from the wall, And the beam from the timbers will answer it.
12 “Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, Who establishes a city by iniquity! 13 Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts That the peoples labor to feed the fire,[f] And nations weary themselves in vain? 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 neighbor, Pressing[g]him to your bottle, Even to make him drunk, That you may look on his nakedness! 16 You are filled with shame instead of glory. You also—drink! And be exposed as uncircumcised![h] The cup of the Lord’s right hand will be turned against you, And utter shame will be on your glory. 17 For the violence done to Lebanon will cover you, And the plunder of beasts which made them afraid, Because of men’s blood And the violence of the land and the city, And of all who dwell in it.
18 “What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it, The molded image, a teacher of lies, That the maker of its mold should trust in it, To make mute idols? 19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’ To silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, Yet in it there is no breath at all.
20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
The Prophet’s Prayer
3 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on Shigionoth.[i]
2 O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.
3 God came from Teman, The Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah
His glory covered the heavens, And the earth was full of His praise. 4 His brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand, And there His power was hidden. 5 Before Him went pestilence, And fever followed at His feet.
6 He stood and measured the earth; He looked and startled the nations. And the everlasting mountains were scattered, The perpetual hills bowed. His ways are everlasting. 7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; The curtains of the land of Midian trembled.
8 O Lord, were You displeased with the rivers, Was Your anger against the rivers, Was Your wrath against the sea, That You rode on Your horses, Your chariots of salvation? 9 Your bow was made quite ready; Oaths were sworn over Your arrows.[j]Selah
You divided the earth with rivers. 10 The mountains saw You and trembled; The overflowing of the water passed by. The deep uttered its voice, And lifted its hands on high. 11 The sun and moon stood still in their habitation; At the light of Your arrows they went, At the shining of Your glittering spear. 12 You marched through the land in indignation; You trampled the nations in anger. 13 You went forth for the salvation of Your people, For salvation with Your Anointed. You struck the head from the house of the wicked, By laying bare from foundation to neck. Selah
14 You thrust through with his own arrows The head of his villages. They came out like a whirlwind to scatter me; Their rejoicing was like feasting on the poor in secret. 15 You walked through the sea with Your horses, Through the heap of great waters.
16 When I heard, my body trembled; My lips quivered at the voice; Rottenness entered my bones; And I trembled in myself, That I might rest in the day of trouble. When he comes up to the people, He will invade them with his troops.
A Hymn of Faith
17 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God[k] is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.
1 The word of the Lord which came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.
The Great Day of the Lord
2 “I will utterly consume everything From the face of the land,” Says the Lord; 3 “I will consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, The fish of the sea, And the stumbling blocks[l] along with the wicked. I will cut off man from the face of the land,” Says the Lord.
4 “I will stretch out My hand against Judah, And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will cut off every trace of Baal from this place, The names of the idolatrous priests[m] with the pagan priests— 5 Those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops; Those who worship and swear oaths by the Lord, But who also swear by Milcom;[n] 6 Those who have turned back from following the Lord, And have not sought the Lord, nor inquired of Him.”
7 Be silent in the presence of the Lord God; For the day of the Lordis at hand, For the Lord has prepared a sacrifice; He has invited[o] His guests.
8 “And it shall be, In the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, That I will punish the princes and the king’s children, And all such as are clothed with foreign apparel. 9 In the same day I will punish All those who leap over the threshold,[p] Who fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.
10 “And there shall be on that day,” says the Lord, “The sound of a mournful cry from the Fish Gate, A wailing from the Second Quarter, And a loud crashing from the hills. 11 Wail, you inhabitants of Maktesh![q] For all the merchant people are cut down; All those who handle money are cut off.
12 “And it shall come to pass at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And punish the men Who are settled in complacency,[r] Who say in their heart, ‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil.’ 13 Therefore their goods shall become booty, And their houses a desolation; They shall build houses, but not inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards, but not drink their wine.”
14 The great day of the Lordis near; It is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter; There the mighty men shall cry out. 15 That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, 16 A day of trumpet and alarm Against the fortified cities And against the high towers.
17 “I will bring distress upon men, And they shall walk like blind men, Because they have sinned against the Lord; Their blood shall be poured out like dust, And their flesh like refuse.”
18 Neither their silver nor their gold Shall be able to deliver them In the day of the Lord’s wrath; But the whole land shall be devoured By the fire of His jealousy, For He will make speedy riddance Of all those who dwell in the land.
A Call to Repentance
2 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable[s] nation, 2 Before the decree is issued, Or the day passes like chaff, Before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, Before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you! 3 Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the Lord’s anger.
Judgment on Nations
4 For Gaza shall be forsaken, And Ashkelon desolate; They shall drive out Ashdod at noonday, And Ekron shall be uprooted. 5 Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, The nation of the Cherethites! The word of the Lordis against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines: “I will destroy you; So there shall be no inhabitant.”
6 The seacoast shall be pastures, With shelters[t] for shepherds and folds for flocks. 7 The coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; They shall feed their flocks there; In the houses of Ashkelon they shall lie down at evening. For the Lord their God will intervene for them, And return their captives.
8 “I have heard the reproach of Moab, And the insults of the people of Ammon, With which they have reproached My people, And made arrogant threats against their borders. 9 Therefore, as I live,” Says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Surely Moab shall be like Sodom, And the people of Ammon like Gomorrah— Overrun with weeds and saltpits, And a perpetual desolation. The residue of My people shall plunder them, And the remnant of My people shall possess them.”
10 This they shall have for their pride, Because they have reproached and made arrogant threats Against the people of the Lord of hosts. 11 The Lordwill be awesome to them, For He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; People shall worship Him, Each one from his place, Indeed all the shores of the nations.
12 “You Ethiopians also, You shall be slain by My sword.”
13 And He will stretch out His hand against the north, Destroy Assyria, And make Nineveh a desolation, As dry as the wilderness. 14 The herds shall lie down in her midst, Every beast of the nation. Both the pelican and the bittern Shall lodge on the capitals of her pillars; Their voice shall sing in the windows; Desolation shall be at the threshold; For He will lay bare the cedar work. 15 This is the rejoicing city That dwelt securely, That said in her heart, “I am it, and there is none besides me.” How has she become a desolation, A place for beasts to lie down! Everyone who passes by her Shall hiss and shake his fist.
The Wickedness of Jerusalem
3 Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, To the oppressing city! 2 She has not obeyed His voice, She has not received correction; She has not trusted in the Lord, She has not drawn near to her God.
3 Her princes in her midst are roaring lions; Her judges are evening wolves That leave not a bone till morning. 4 Her prophets are insolent, treacherous people; Her priests have polluted the sanctuary, They have done violence to the law. 5 The Lordis righteous in her midst, He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails, But the unjust knows no shame.
6 “I have cut off nations, Their fortresses are devastated; I have made their streets desolate, With none passing by. Their cities are destroyed; There is no one, no inhabitant. 7 I said, ‘Surely you will fear Me, You will receive instruction’— So that her dwelling would not be cut off, Despite everything for which I punished her. But they rose early and corrupted all their deeds.
A Faithful Remnant
8 “Therefore wait for Me,” says the Lord, “Until the day I rise up for plunder;[u] My determination is to gather the nations To My assembly of kingdoms, To pour on them My indignation, All My fierce anger; All the earth shall be devoured With the fire of My jealousy. 9 “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of the Lord, To serve Him with one accord. 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, The daughter of My dispersed ones, Shall bring My offering. 11 In that day you shall not be shamed for any of your deeds In which you transgress against Me; For then I will take away from your midst Those who rejoice in your pride, And you shall no longer be haughty In My holy mountain. 12 I will leave in your midst A meek and humble people, And they shall trust in the name of the Lord. 13 The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness And speak no lies, Nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; For they shall feed their flocks and lie down, And no one shall make them afraid.”
Joy in God’s Faithfulness
14 Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; You shall see[v] disaster no more.
16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. 17 The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
18 “I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly, Who are among you, To whom its reproach is a burden. 19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you; I will save the lame, And gather those who were driven out; I will appoint them for praise and fame In every land where they were put to shame. 20 At that time I will bring you back, Even at the time I gather you; For I will give you fame and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I return your captives before your eyes,” Says the Lord.
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