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Habakkuk Chapter 1

1 The revelation which Habakkuk the prophet saw.

2 LORD, how long will I cry, and you will not hear? I cry out to you "Violence!" and will you not save?

3 Why do you show me iniquity, and look at perversity? For destruction and violence are before me. There is strife, and contention rises up.

4 Therefore the law is paralysed, and justice never prevails; for the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted.

5 "Look amongst the nations, watch, and wonder marvellously; for I am working a work in your days, which you will not believe though it is told you.

6 For, behold, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, that march through the width of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs.

7 They are feared and dreaded. Their judgement and their dignity proceed from themselves.

8 Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves. Their horsemen press proudly on. Yes, their horsemen come from afar. They fly as an eagle that hurries to devour.

9 All of them come for violence. Their hordes face the desert. He gathers prisoners like sand.

10 Yes, he scoffs at kings, and princes are a derision to him. He laughs at every stronghold, for he builds up an earthen ramp, and takes it.

11 Then he sweeps by like the wind, and goes on. He is indeed guilty, whose strength is his god."

12 Aren't you from everlasting, LORD my God, my Holy One? We will not die. LORD, you have appointed him for judgement. You, Rock, have established him to punish.

13 You who have purer eyes than to see evil, and who cannot look on perversity, why do you tolerate those who deal treacherously, and keep silent when the wicked swallows up the man who is more righteous than he,

14 and make men like the fish of the sea, like the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?

15 He takes up all of them with the hook. He catches them in his net, and gathers them in his dragnet. Therefore he rejoices and is glad.

16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net, and burns incense to his dragnet, because by them his life is luxurious, and his food is good.

17 Will he therefore continually empty his net, and kill the nations without mercy?

Footnotes

Verse 2 (LORD)
When rendered in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, "LORD" or "GOD" is the translation of God's Proper Name.
Verse 6 (Behold)
"Behold" means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.
Verse 12 (God)
The Hebrew word rendered "God" is Elohim.

Version: World English Bible


Habakkuk Chapter 1:1 - 2:4 Guide

In this first division of the Book we have the prophet's statement of the problems which vexed his soul. The first was the apparent indifference of Jehovah both to his prayer and to the condition of prevailing evil. To this Jehovah replied that He was at work, but that the prophet would not believe if he were told. He then proceeded to declare explicitly that His method was that of raising the Chaldeans as a scourge against His people.

This answer of Jehovah, while strengthening the faith of the prophet, immediately created a new problem -that Jehovah should use such an instrument, for, notwithstanding all Israel's sin, she was more righteous than the Chaldeans.

The answer came immediately. The prophet was first commanded to write, and to make his writing plain for easy reading. The vision granted to him was stated in the words, "Behold, his soul is puffed up, it is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith." That is the central revelation of the prophecy. It is a contrast between the "puffed up" and the "just." The former is not upright, and therefore is condemned; the latter acts on faith, and therefore lives. The first is self-centred, and therefore doomed; the second is God-centred, and therefore permanent. This was the declaration of a great principle, which the prophet was left to work out in application to all the problems by which he was surrounded.

From this point the prophecy becomes a proclamation of the contrast, and therefore an affirmation of faith in spite of appearances.

From "An Exposition of the Whole Bible" by G. Campbell Morgan.