Habakkuk’s First Prayer
2 How long, Lord, must I call for help
and You do not listen
or cry out to You about violence
and You do not save?
3 Why do You force me to look at injustice?
Why do You tolerate[a] wrongdoing?
Oppression and violence are right in front of me.
Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates.
4 This is why the law is ineffective
and justice never emerges.
For the wicked restrict the righteous;
therefore, justice comes out perverted.
God’s First Answer
5 Look at the nations[b] and observe—
be utterly astounded!
For something is taking place in your days
that you will not believe
when you hear about it.
6 Look! I am raising up the Chaldeans,[c]
that bitter, impetuous nation
that marches across the earth’s open spaces
to seize territories not its own.
7 They are fierce and terrifying;
their views of justice and sovereignty
stem from themselves.
8 Their horses are swifter than leopards
and more fierce[d] than wolves of the night.
Their horsemen charge ahead;
their horsemen come from distant lands.
They fly like an eagle, swooping to devour.
9 All of them come to do violence;
their faces are set in determination.[e]
They gather prisoners like sand.
10 They mock kings,
and rulers are a joke to them.
They laugh at every fortress
and build siege ramps to capture it.
11 Then they sweep by like the wind
and pass through.
They are guilty;[f] their strength is their god.
Habakkuk’s Second Prayer
12 Are You not from eternity, Yahweh my God?
My Holy One, You[g] will not die.
Lord, You appointed them to execute judgment;
my Rock, You destined them to punish us.
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil,
and You cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
So why do You tolerate those who are treacherous?
Why are You silent
while one[h] who is wicked swallows up
one[i] who is more righteous than himself?
14 You have made mankind
like the fish of the sea,
like marine creatures that have no ruler.
15 The Chaldeans pull them all up with a hook,
catch them in their dragnet,
and gather them in their fishing net;
that is why they are glad and rejoice.
16 That is why they sacrifice to their dragnet
and burn incense to their fishing net,
for by these things their portion is rich
and their food plentiful.
17 Will they therefore empty their net[j]
and continually slaughter nations without mercy?
- Habakkuk 1:3 Lit observe
- Habakkuk 1:5 DSS, LXX, Syr read Look, you treacherous people
- Habakkuk 1:6 = the Babylonians
- Habakkuk 1:8 Or and quicker
- Habakkuk 1:9 Hb obscure
- Habakkuk 1:11 Or wind, and transgress and incur guilt
- Habakkuk 1:12 Ancient Jewish tradition reads we
- Habakkuk 1:13 = Babylon
- Habakkuk 1:13 = Judah
- Habakkuk 1:17 DSS read sword