1This is a prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received from the Lord. Here is what Habakkuk said.
Habakkuk Complains to the Lord
2Lord, how long do I have to call out for help?
Why don’t you listen to me?
How long must I keep telling you
that things are terrible?
Why don’t you save us?
3Why do you make me watch while
people treat others so unfairly?
Why do you put up with the wrong things
they are doing?
I have to look at death.
People are harming others.
They are arguing and fighting all the time.
4The law can’t do what it’s supposed to do.
Fairness never comes out on top.
Sinful people surround those
who do what is right.
So people are never treated fairly.
The Lord Replies to Habakkuk
5The Lord replies,
“Look at the nations. Watch them.
Be totally amazed at what you see.
I am going to do something in your days
that you would never believe.
You would not believe it
even if someone told you about it.
6I am going to send the armies of Babylon to attack you.
They are very mean. They move quickly.
They sweep across the whole earth.
They take over homes
that do not belong to them.
7They terrify others.
They do not recognize any laws but their own.
That is how proud they are.
8Their horses are faster than leopards.
They are meaner than wolves at sunset.
Their horsemen charge straight into battle.
They ride in from far away.
They come down like an eagle
diving for its food.
9All of them are ready and willing to destroy others.
Their huge armies advance like a wind out of the desert.
They gather prisoners like sand.
10They mock kings
and make fun of rulers.
They laugh at all the cities
that have high walls around them.
They build dirt ramps against the walls
and capture the cities.
11They sweep past like the wind.
Then they go on their way.
They are guilty.
They worship their own strength.”
Habakkuk Complains to the Lord Again
12Lord, haven’t you existed forever?
You are my holy God.
You will never die.
Lord, you have appointed the Babylonians
to punish your people.
My Rock, you have chosen them to judge us.
13Your eyes are too pure to look at what is evil.
You can’t put up with the wrong things people do.
So why do you put up
with those who can’t be trusted?
The evil Babylonians swallow up
those who are more godly than themselves.
So why are you silent?
14You have made people to be like the fish in the sea.
They are like the sea creatures that don’t have a ruler.
15The evil Babylonians pull all of them up with hooks.
They catch them in their nets.
They gather them up.
So they celebrate.
They are glad.
16They offer sacrifices to their nets.
They burn incense to them.
Their nets allow them to live in great comfort.
They enjoy the finest food.
17Are you going to let them
keep on emptying their nets?
Will they go on destroying nations
without showing them any mercy?
1The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.
2How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
3Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
4Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.
The Lord’s Answer
5“Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
6I am raising up the Babylonians,1:6 Or Chaldeans
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwellings not their own.
7They are a feared and dreaded people;
they are a law to themselves
and promote their own honor.
8Their horses are swifter than leopards,
fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong;
their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;
9they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes1:9 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain. advance like a desert wind
and gather prisoners like sand.
10They mock kings
and scoff at rulers.
They laugh at all fortified cities;
by building earthen ramps they capture them.
11Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—
guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”
Habakkuk’s Second Complaint
12Lord, are you not from everlasting?
My God, my Holy One, you1:12 An ancient Hebrew scribal tradition; Masoretic Text we will never die.
You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment;
you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.
13Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
14You have made people like the fish in the sea,
like the sea creatures that have no ruler.
15The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks,
he catches them in his net,
he gathers them up in his dragnet;
and so he rejoices and is glad.
16Therefore he sacrifices to his net
and burns incense to his dragnet,
for by his net he lives in luxury
and enjoys the choicest food.
17Is he to keep on emptying his net,
destroying nations without mercy?