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Habakkuk–Zephaniah

Habakkuk

Introduction

Habakkuk was probably written about 640–615 b.c., just before the fall of Assyria and the rise of Babylon (Chaldea). God used Assyria to punish Israel (722); now he would use Babylon to punish Assyria and Judah. This prophecy would be fulfilled several decades after Habakkuk, in 586. The “theme question” of Habakkuk is, how can God use a wicked nation such as Babylon for his divine purpose? God judges all nations, said Habakkuk, and even Babylon would eventually be judged (Babylon fell to Persia in 539). Though God’s ways are sometimes mysterious, “the righteous shall live by his faith” (2:4) while awaiting salvation. These words are quoted three times in the New Testament (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38).

aThe oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.

Habakkuk’s Complaint

O Lord, bhow long shall I cry for help,

and you will not hear?

Or cry to you c“Violence!”

and you will not save?

dWhy do you make me see iniquity,

and why do you idly look at wrong?

Destruction cand violence are before me;

strife and contention arise.

eSo the law is paralyzed,

and justice never goes forth.

fFor the wicked surround the righteous;

so justice goes forth perverted.

The Lord’s Answer

g“Look among the nations, and see;

wonder and be astounded.

hFor I am doing a work in your days

that you would not believe if told.

For behold, iI am raising up the Chaldeans,

that bitter and hasty nation,

jwho march through the breadth of the earth,

kto seize dwellings not their own.

They are dreaded and fearsome;

ltheir justice and dignity go forth from themselves.

mTheir horses are swifter than leopards,

more fierce than nthe evening wolves;

their horsemen press proudly on.

Their horsemen come from afar;

othey fly like an eagle swift to devour.

They all come pfor violence,

all their faces forward.

They gather captives rlike sand.

10  At kings they scoff,

and at rulers they laugh.

sThey laugh at every fortress,

for tthey pile up earth and take it.

11  Then they sweep by like the wind and go on,

uguilty men, vwhose own might is their god!”

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

12  Are you not wfrom everlasting,

O Lord my God, my Holy One?

xWe shall not die.

O Lord, yyou have ordained them as a judgment,

and you, O zRock, have established them for reproof.

13  You who are aof purer eyes than to see evil

and cannot look at wrong,

bwhy do you idly look at traitors

and cremain silent when the wicked swallows up

the man more righteous than he?

14  You make mankind like the fish of the sea,

like crawling things that have no ruler.

15  dHe1 brings all of them up ewith a hook;

he drags them out with his net;

he gathers them in his dragnet;

so he rejoices and is glad.

16  fTherefore he sacrifices to his net

and makes offerings to his dragnet;

for by them he lives in luxury,2

and his food is rich.

17  Is he then to keep on emptying his net

gand mercilessly killing nations forever?

I will htake my stand at my watchpost

and station myself on the tower,

and ilook out to see jwhat he will say to me,

and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

The Righteous Shall Live by His Faith

And the Lord answered me:

k“Write the vision;

make it plain on tablets,

so he may run who reads it.

For still lthe vision awaits its appointed time;

it hastens to the end—it will not lie.

If it seems slow, mwait for it;

nit will surely come; it will not delay.

“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,

but othe righteous shall live by his faith.1

“Moreover, wine2 is pa traitor,

an arrogant man who is never at rest.3

His greed is as wide as Sheol;

like death qhe has never enough.

rHe gathers for himself all nations

and collects as his own all peoples.”

Woe to the Chaldeans

Shall not all these stake up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say,

t“Woe to him uwho heaps up what is not his own—

for vhow long?—

and wloads himself with pledges!”

xWill not your debtors suddenly arise,

and those awake who will make you tremble?

Then you will be spoil for them.

yBecause you have plundered many nations,

all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you,

zfor the blood of man and yviolence to the earth,

to cities and all who dwell in them.

t“Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house,

ato bset his nest on high,

to be safe from the reach of harm!

10  You have devised shame for your house

cby cutting off many peoples;

you have forfeited your life.

11  For dthe stone will cry out from the wall,

and the beam from the woodwork respond.

12  t“Woe to him ewho builds a town with blood

and founds a city on iniquity!

13  Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts

that fpeoples labor merely for fire,

and nations weary themselves for nothing?

14  gFor the earth will be filled

with the knowledge of hthe glory of the Lord

as the waters cover the sea.

15  t“Woe to him iwho makes his neighbors drink—

you pour out your wrath and make them drunk,

in order to gaze jat their nakedness!

16  You will have your fill kof shame instead of glory.

lDrink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision!

lThe cup in the Lord’s right hand

will come around to you,

and mutter shame will come upon your glory!

17  nThe violence odone to Lebanon will overwhelm you,

as will the destruction of the beasts that terrified them,

nfor the blood of man and violence to the earth,

to cities and all who dwell in them.

18  p“What profit is an idol

when its maker has shaped it,

a metal image, qa teacher of lies?

For its maker trusts in his own creation

when he makes rspeechless idols!

19  sWoe to him twho says to a wooden thing, Awake;

to a silent stone, Arise!

Can this teach?

Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,

and uthere is no breath at all in it.

20  But vthe Lord is in his holy temple;

wlet all the earth keep silence before him.”

Habakkuk’s Prayer

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.

O Lord, xI have heard the report of you,

and yyour work, O Lord, do I fear.

In the midst of the years zrevive it;

in the midst of the years make it known;

ain wrath remember mercy.

God came from bTeman,

cand the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah

His splendor covered the heavens,

and the earth was full of his praise.

dHis brightness was like the light;

rays flashed from his hand;

and there he veiled his power.

eBefore him went pestilence,

and plague followed fat his heels.1

He stood gand measured the earth;

he looked and shook the nations;

then the heternal mountains iwere scattered;

the everlasting hills sank low.

His were jthe everlasting ways.

I saw the tents of kCushan in affliction;

lthe curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.

mWas your wrath against the rivers, O Lord?

Was your anger against the rivers,

mor your indignation against the sea,

nwhen you rode on your horses,

non your chariot of salvation?

You stripped the sheath from your bow,

calling for many arrows.2 Selah

pYou split the earth with rivers.

10  qThe mountains saw you and writhed;

the raging waters swept on;

rthe deep gave forth its voice;

sit lifted its hands on high.

11  tThe sun and moon stood still in their place

uat the light of your arrows as they sped,

at the flash of your glittering spear.

12  vYou marched through the earth in fury;

wyou threshed the nations in anger.

13  vYou went out for the salvation of your people,

for the salvation of xyour anointed.

yYou crushed the head of the house of the wicked,

laying him bare from thigh to neck.3 Selah

14  You pierced with his own arrows the heads of his warriors,

who came like a whirlwind to scatter me,

rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret.

15  zYou trampled the sea with your horses,

the surging of mighty waters.

16  aI hear, and bmy body trembles;

my lips quiver at the sound;

crottenness enters into my bones;

my legs tremble beneath me.

Yet dI will quietly wait for the day of trouble

to come upon people who invade us.

Habakkuk Rejoices in the Lord

17  Though the fig tree should not blossom,

nor fruit be on the vines,

the produce of the olive fail

and the fields yield no food,

the flock be cut off from the fold

and there be no herd in the stalls,

18  eyet I will rejoice in the Lord;

fI will take joy in the God of my salvation.

19  God, the Lord, is my strength;

ghe makes my feet like the deer’s;

he makes me htread on my ihigh places.

jTo the choirmaster: with kstringed4 instruments.

Zephaniah

Introduction

Zephaniah prophesied during the reforms of King Josiah (640–609 b.c.), who brought spiritual revival to Judah after the long and disastrous reign of Manasseh. Zephaniah pronounced God’s judgment on corruption and wickedness but also his plan to restore Judah. He spoke of the coming “day of the Lord,” when sin would be punished, justice would prevail, and a “remnant” of the faithful would be saved. The term “day of the Lord” occurs throughout the Bible referring both to impending historical judgments from God and to his final judgment at the end of time. Though Zephaniah does not give details about this day, he speaks of its fearsome consequences (1:18) and calls people to seek the Lord (2:3).

The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, ain the days of bJosiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.

The Coming Judgment on Judah

c“I will utterly sweep away everything

from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.

“I will sweep away dman and beast;

I will sweep away the birds of the heavens

and dthe fish of the sea,

and ethe rubble1 with the wicked.

I will fcut off mankind

from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.

“I will stretch out my hand against Judah

and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem;

gand I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal

and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests,

hthose who bow down on the roofs

to the host of the heavens,

ithose who bow down and swear to the Lord

and yet swear by jMilcom,2

kthose who have turned back from following the Lord,

lwho do not seek the Lord or inquire of him.”

The Day of the Lord Is…

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That is, the wicked foe

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Hebrew his portion is fat

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Or faithfulness

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Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll wealth

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The meaning of the Hebrew of these two lines is uncertain

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Hebrew feet

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The meaning of the Hebrew line is uncertain

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Hebrew my stringed

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Or stumbling blocks (that is, idols)

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Or their king

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