1 The burden that Habakkuk the prophet perceived,
2 "Yahweh, how long will I cry for help, and you will not hear? I cry out to you, 'Violence!' but you will not save.
3 Why do you make me see iniquity and cause me to look upon wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention rises up. 4 Therefore the law is weakened, and justice does not last for any time. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore twisted justice goes out."
\m\s2 Yahweh replies to Habakkuk 5 "Look at the nations and observe them; be amazed and astonished! For I am surely about to do something in your days that you will not believe when it is reported to you. 6 For look! I am about to raise up the Chaldeans—that fierce and impetuous nation— they are marching throughout the breadth of the land to seize homes that were not their own. 7 They are terrifying and fearsome; their judgment and splendor proceed from themselves.
8 Their horses also are swifter than leopards, quicker than the evening wolves. So their horses stamp, and their horsemen come from a great distance—they fly like an eagle hurrying to eat. 9 They all come for violence; their multitudes go like the desert wind, and they gather captives like sand. [[ The copies of the ancient Hebrew text are translated here, " their multitudes go like the desert wind " ; this is a difficult passage to translate, and it is translated in different ways in modern translations. ]]
10 So they mock kings, and rulers are only a mockery for them. They laugh at every stronghold, for they heap up earth and seize it. 11 Then the wind will rush on; it will move past—guilty men, those whose might is their god."
\m\s2 Habakkuk asks Yahweh another question 12 "Are you not from ancient times, Yahweh my God, my Holy One? We will not die. Yahweh has ordained them for judgment, and you, Rock, have established them for correction.
13 Your eyes are too pure to gaze upon evil, and you are not able to look on wrongdoing with favor; why then have you looked favorably on those who betray? Why are you silent while the wicked devour those more righteous than they are? 14 You make men like fish in the sea, like creeping things without a ruler over them.
15 He brings all of them up with a fishhook; he drags men away in his fishnet; he gathers them together in his dragnet; so he rejoices and he is glad. 16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury, and his food is the richest kind. 17 Will he therefore keep emptying his net, and will he continually slaughter the nations without mercy?"