New International Version

Habakkuk 1

1The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.

Habakkuk’s Complaint

How long, Lord, must I call for help,
    but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
    but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
    so that justice is perverted.

The Lord’s Answer

“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.
I am raising up the Babylonians,[a]
    that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
    to seize dwellings not their own.
They are a feared and dreaded people;
    they are a law to themselves
    and promote their own honor.
Their 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;
    they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes[b] advance like a desert wind
    and gather prisoners like sand.
10 They mock kings
    and scoff at rulers.
They laugh at all fortified cities;
    by building earthen ramps they capture them.
11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—
    guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

12 Lord, are you not from everlasting?
    My God, my Holy One, you[c] will never die.
You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment;
    you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.
13 Your 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?
14 You have made people like the fish in the sea,
    like the sea creatures that have no ruler.
15 The 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.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net
    and burns incense to his dragnet,
for by his net he lives in luxury
    and enjoys the choicest food.
17 Is he to keep on emptying his net,
    destroying nations without mercy?

Footnotes

  1. Habakkuk 1:6 Or Chaldeans
  2. Habakkuk 1:9 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  3. Habakkuk 1:12 An ancient Hebrew scribal tradition; Masoretic Text we

New International Reader's Version

Habakkuk 1

1This is a prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received from the Lord. Here is what Habakkuk said.

Habakkuk Complains to the Lord

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?
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.
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

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.
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.
They terrify others.
    They do not recognize any laws but their own.
    That is how proud they are.
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.
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?