1This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received in a vision.
2How 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.
3Must 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.
4The 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
5The lord replied,
“Look around at the nations;
look and be amazed!# Greek version reads Look, you mockers; / look and be amazed and die. Compare Acts 13:41.
For I am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn’t believe
even if someone told you about it.
6I am raising up the Babylonians,# Or Chaldeans.
a cruel and violent people.
They will march across the world
and conquer other lands.
7They are notorious for their cruelty
and do whatever they like.
8Their horses are swifter than cheetahs# Or leopards.
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.
10They scoff at kings and princes
and scorn all their fortresses.
They simply pile ramps of earth
against their walls and capture them!
11They sweep past like the wind
and are gone.
But they are deeply guilty,
for their own strength is their god.”
Habakkuk’s Second Complaint
12O 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.
13But 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?
14Are we only fish to be caught and killed?
Are we only sea creatures that have no leader?
15Must we be strung up on their hooks
and caught in their nets while they rejoice and celebrate?
16Then 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.
17Will you let them get away with this forever?
Will they succeed forever in their heartless conquests?