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The New International Version

Habakkuk 1:1–3:19

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The prophecya that Habakkuk the prophet received.

Habakkuk’s Complaint

How long,b Lord, must I call for help,

but you do not listen?c

Or cry out to you, “Violence!”

but you do not save?d

Why do you make me look at injustice?

Why do you toleratee wrongdoing?f

Destruction and violenceg are before me;

there is strife,h and conflict abounds.

Therefore the lawi is paralyzed,

and justice never prevails.

The wicked hem in the righteous,

so that justicej is perverted.k

The Lord’s Answer

“Look at the nations and watch—

and be utterly amazed.l

For I am going to do something in your days

that you would not believe,

even if you were told.m

I am raising up the Babylonians,a n

that ruthless and impetuous people,

who sweep across the whole eartho

to seize dwellings not their own.p

They are a feared and dreaded people;q

they are a law to themselves

and promote their own honor.

Their horses are swifterr than leopards,

fiercer than wolvess at dusk.

Their cavalry gallops headlong;

their horsemen come from afar.

They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;

9 they all come intent on violence.

Their hordesb advance like a desert wind

and gather prisonerst like sand.

10 They mock kings

and scoff at rulers.u

They laugh at all fortified cities;

by building earthen rampsv they capture them.

11 Then they sweep past like the windw and go on—

guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”x

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

12 Lord, are you not from everlasting?y

My God, my Holy One,z youc will never die.a

You, Lord, have appointedb them to execute judgment;

you, my Rock,c have ordained them to punish.

13 Your eyes are too pured to look on evil;

you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.e

Why then do you toleratef the treacherous?g

Why are you silent while the wicked

swallow up those more righteous than themselves?h

14 You have made people like the fish in the sea,

like the sea creatures that have no ruler.

15 The wickedi foe pulls all of them up with hooks,j

he catches them in his net,k

he gathers them up in his dragnet;

and so he rejoices and is glad.

16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net

and burns incensel 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?m

2 I will stand at my watchn

and station myself on the ramparts;o

I will look to see what he will sayp to me,

and what answer I am to give to this complaint.a q

The Lord’s Answer

Then the Lord replied:

“Writer down the revelation

and make it plain on tablets

so that a heraldb may run with it.

For the revelation awaits an appointed time;s

it speaks of the endt

and will not prove false.

Though it linger, waitu for it;

itc will certainly come

and will not delay.v

“See, the enemy is puffed up;

his desires are not upright—

but the righteous personw will live by his faithfulnessd x

indeed, winey betrays him;

he is arrogantz and never at rest.

Because he is as greedy as the grave

and like death is never satisfied,a

he gathers to himself all the nations

and takes captiveb all the peoples.

“Will not all of them tauntc him with ridicule and scorn, saying,

“ ‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods

and makes himself wealthy by extortion!d

How long must this go on?’

Will not your creditors suddenly arise?

Will they not wake up and make you tremble?

Then you will become their prey.e

Because you have plundered many nations,

the peoples who are left will plunder you.f

For you have shed human blood;g

you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.h

“Woe to him who buildsi his house by unjust gain,j

setting his nestk on high

to escape the clutches of ruin!

10 You have plotted the ruinl of many peoples,

shamingm your own house and forfeiting your life.

11 The stonesn of the wall will cry out,

and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.

12 “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshedo

and establishes a town by injustice!

13 Has not the Lord Almighty determined

that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire,p

that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?q

14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the gloryr of the Lord

as the waters cover the sea.s

15 “Woe to him who gives drinkt to his neighbors,

pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk,

so that he can gaze on their naked bodies!

16 You will be filled with shameu instead of glory.v

Now it is your turn! Drinkw and let your nakedness be exposede!x

The cupy from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you,

and disgrace will cover your glory.

17 The violencez you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,

and your destruction of animals will terrify you.a

For you have shed human blood;b

you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

18 “Of what valuec is an idold carved by a craftsman?

Or an imagee that teaches lies?

For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation;

he makes idols that cannot speak.f

19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’

Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’g

Can it give guidance?

It is covered with gold and silver;h

there is no breath in it.”i

20 The Lord is in his holy temple;j

let all the earth be silentk before him.

Habakkuk’s Prayer

3 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.a l

Lord, I have heardm of your fame;

I stand in awen of your deeds, Lord.o

Repeatp them in our day,

in our time make them known;

in wrath remember mercy.q

God came from Teman,r

the Holy Ones from Mount Paran.b t

His glory covered the heavensu

and his praise filled the earth.v

His splendor was like the sunrise;w

rays flashed from his hand,

where his powerx was hidden.

Plaguey went before him;

pestilence followed his steps.

He stood, and shook the earth;

he looked, and made the nations tremble.

The ancient mountains crumbledz

and the age-old hillsa collapsedb

but he marches on forever.c

I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,

the dwellings of Midiand in anguish.e

Were you angry with the rivers,f Lord?

Was your wrath against the streams?

Did you rage against the seag

when you rode your horses

and your chariots to victory?h

You uncovered your bow,

you called for many arrows.i

You split the earth with rivers;

10 the mountains saw you and writhed.j

Torrents of water swept by;

the deep roaredk

and lifted its wavesl on high.

11 Sun and moon stood stillm in the heavens

at the glint of your flying arrows,n

at the lightningo of your flashing spear.

12 In wrath you strode through the earth

and in anger you threshedp the nations.

13 You came outq to deliverr your people,

to save your anointeds one.

You crushedt the leader of the land of wickedness,

you stripped him from head to foot.

14 With his own spear you pierced his head

when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,u

gloating as though about to devour

the wretchedv who were in hiding.

15 You trampled the seaw with your horses,

churning the great waters.x

16 I heard and my heart pounded,

my lips quivered at the sound;

decay crept into my bones,

and my legs trembled.y

Yet I will wait patientlyz for the day of calamity

to come on the nation invading us.

17 Though the fig tree does not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,a

though there are no sheep in the pen

and no cattle in the stalls,b

18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,c

I will be joyful in God my Savior.d

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;e

he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,

he enables me to tread on the heights.f

For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

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Or Chaldeans

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The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

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An ancient Hebrew scribal tradition; Masoretic Text we

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Or and what to answer when I am rebuked

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Or so that whoever reads it

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Or Though he linger, wait for him; / he

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Or faith

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Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls, Aquila, Vulgate and Syriac (see also Septuagint) and stagger

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Probably a literary or musical term

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The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the middle of verse 9 and at the end of verse 13.

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