1This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received in a vision.
2 How long, O Lord, must I call for help?
But you do not listen!
“Violence is everywhere!” I cry,
but you do not come to save.
3 Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
who love to argue and fight.
4 The law has become paralyzed,
and there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous,
so that justice has become perverted.
The Lord’s Reply
5 The Lord replied,
“Look around at the nations;
look and be amazed![a]
For I am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn’t believe
even if someone told you about it.
6 I am raising up the Babylonians,[b]
a cruel and violent people.
They will march across the world
and conquer other lands.
7 They are notorious for their cruelty
and do whatever they like.
8 Their horses are swifter than cheetahs[c]
and fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their charioteers charge from far away.
Like eagles, they swoop down to devour their prey.
9 “On they come, all bent on violence.
Their hordes advance like a desert wind,
sweeping captives ahead of them like sand.
10 They scoff at kings and princes
and scorn all their fortresses.
They simply pile ramps of earth
against their walls and capture them!
11 They sweep past like the wind
and are gone.
But they are deeply guilty,
for their own strength is their god.”
Habakkuk’s Second Complaint
12 O Lord my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal—
surely you do not plan to wipe us out?
O Lord, our Rock, you have sent these Babylonians to correct us,
to punish us for our many sins.
13 But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil.
Will you wink at their treachery?
Should you be silent while the wicked
swallow up people more righteous than they?
14 Are we only fish to be caught and killed?
Are we only sea creatures that have no leader?
15 Must we be strung up on their hooks
and caught in their nets while they rejoice and celebrate?
16 Then they will worship their nets
and burn incense in front of them.
“These nets are the gods who have made us rich!”
they will claim.
17 Will you let them get away with this forever?
Will they succeed forever in their heartless conquests?
1This is a prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received from the Lord. Here is what Habakkuk said.
Habakkuk Complains to the Lord
2 Lord, 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?
3 Why 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.
4 The 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
5 The 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.
6 I 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.
7 They terrify others.
They do not recognize any laws but their own.
That is how proud they are.
8 Their 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.
9 All 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.
10 They 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.
11 They 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
12 Lord, 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.
13 Your 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?
14 You have made people to be like the fish in the sea.
They are like the sea creatures that don’t have a ruler.
15 The 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.
16 They offer sacrifices to their nets.
They burn incense to them.
Their nets allow them to live in great comfort.
They enjoy the finest food.
17 Are you going to let them
keep on emptying their nets?
Will they go on destroying nations
without showing them any mercy?