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 paralysed,
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 honour.
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 drag-net;
and so he rejoices and is glad.
16Therefore he sacrifices to his net
and burns incense to his drag-net,
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?
1The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. 2O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! 3Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. 4Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.1.4 wrong: or, wrested
5¶ Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. 6For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.1.6 breadth: Heb. breadths 7They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.1.7 their judgment…: or, from them shall proceed the judgment of these, and the captivity of these 8Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.1.8 fierce: Heb. sharp 9They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.1.9 their…: or, the supping up of their faces, etc: or, their faces shall look (Heb. the opposition of their faces) toward the east 10And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it. 11Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.
12¶ Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.1.12 mighty…: Heb. rock1.12 established: Heb. founded 13Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?1.13 iniquity: or, grievance 14And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?1.14 creeping: or, moving 15They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.1.15 drag: or, flue net 16Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.1.16 plenteous: or, dainty: Heb. fat 17Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?