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 1

The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.

 

The Prophet’s Complaint

2

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,

and you will not listen?

Or cry to you “Violence!”

and you will not save?

3

Why do you make me see wrongdoing

and look at trouble?

Destruction and violence are before me;

strife and contention arise.

4

So the law becomes slack

and justice never prevails.

The wicked surround the righteous—

therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

 

5

Look at the nations, and see!

Be astonished! Be astounded!

For a work is being done in your days

that you would not believe if you were told.

6

For I am rousing the Chaldeans,

that fierce and impetuous nation,

who march through the breadth of the earth

to seize dwellings not their own.

7

Dread and fearsome are they;

their justice and dignity proceed from themselves.

8

Their horses are swifter than leopards,

more menacing than wolves at dusk;

their horses charge.

Their horsemen come from far away;

they fly like an eagle swift to devour.

9

They all come for violence,

with faces pressing forward;

they gather captives like sand.

10

At kings they scoff,

and of rulers they make sport.

They laugh at every fortress,

and heap up earth to take it.

11

Then they sweep by like the wind;

they transgress and become guilty;

their own might is their god!

 

12

Are you not from of old,

O Lord my God, my Holy One?

You shall not die.

O Lord, you have marked them for judgment;

and you, O Rock, have established them for punishment.

13

Your eyes are too pure to behold evil,

and you cannot look on wrongdoing;

why do you look on the treacherous,

and are silent when the wicked swallow

those more righteous than they?

14

You have made people like the fish of the sea,

like crawling things that have no ruler.

 

15

The enemy brings all of them up with a hook;

he drags them out with his net,

he gathers them in his seine;

so he rejoices and exults.

16

Therefore he sacrifices to his net

and makes offerings to his seine;

for by them his portion is lavish,

and his food is rich.

17

Is he then to keep on emptying his net,

and destroying nations without mercy?

 


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Verses 1–11

The servants of the Lord are deeply afflicted by seeing ungodliness and violence prevail; especially among those who profess the truth. No man scrupled doing wrong to his neighbour. We should long to remove to the world where holiness and love reign for ever, and no violence shall be before us. God has good reasons for his long-suffering towards bad men, and the rebukes of good men. The day will come when the cry of sin will be heard against those that do wrong, and the cry of prayer for those that suffer wrong. They were to notice what was going forward among the heathen by the Chaldeans, and to consider themselves a nation to be scourged by them. But most men presume on continued prosperity, or that calamities will not come in their days. They are a bitter and hasty nation, fierce, cruel, and bearing down all before them. They shall overcome all that oppose them. But it is a great offence, and the common offence of proud people, to take glory to themselves. The closing words give a glimpse of comfort.

Verses 12–17

However matters may be, yet God is the Lord our God, our Holy One. We are an offending people, he is an offended God, yet we will not entertain hard thoughts of him, or of his service. It is great comfort that, whatever mischief men design, the Lord designs good, and we are sure that his counsel shall stand. Though wickedness may prosper a while, yet God is holy, and does not approve the wickedness. As he cannot do iniquity himself, so he is of purer eyes than to behold it with any approval. By this principle we must abide, though the dispensations of his providence may for a time, in some cases, seem to us not to agree with it. The prophet complains that God's patience was abused; and because sentence against these evil works and workers was not executed speedily, their hearts were the more fully set in them to do evil. Some they take up as with the angle, one by one; others they catch in shoals, as in their net, and gather them in their drag, their enclosing net. They admire their own cleverness and contrivance: there is great proneness in us to take the glory of outward prosperity to ourselves. This is idolizing ourselves, sacrificing to the drag-net because it is our own. God will soon end successful and splendid robberies. Death and judgment shall make men cease to prey on others, and they shall be preyed on themselves. Let us remember, whatever advantages we possess, we must give all the glory to God.

Verses 12–17

However matters may be, yet God is the Lord our God, our Holy One. We are an offending people, he is an offended God, yet we will not entertain hard thoughts of him, or of his service. It is great comfort that, whatever mischief men design, the Lord designs good, and we are sure that his counsel shall stand. Though wickedness may prosper a while, yet God is holy, and does not approve the wickedness. As he cannot do iniquity himself, so he is of purer eyes than to behold it with any approval. By this principle we must abide, though the dispensations of his providence may for a time, in some cases, seem to us not to agree with it. The prophet complains that God's patience was abused; and because sentence against these evil works and workers was not executed speedily, their hearts were the more fully set in them to do evil. Some they take up as with the angle, one by one; others they catch in shoals, as in their net, and gather them in their drag, their enclosing net. They admire their own cleverness and contrivance: there is great proneness in us to take the glory of outward prosperity to ourselves. This is idolizing ourselves, sacrificing to the drag-net because it is our own. God will soon end successful and splendid robberies. Death and judgment shall make men cease to prey on others, and they shall be preyed on themselves. Let us remember, whatever advantages we possess, we must give all the glory to God.




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