Nahum 3-Habakkuk 1 back to reading plan

Woe to Nineveh

3:1 Woe to the bloody city,
all full of lies and plunder—
no end to the prey!
The crack of the whip, and rumble of the wheel,
galloping horse and bounding chariot!
Horsemen charging,
flashing sword and glittering spear,
hosts of slain,
heaps of corpses,
dead bodies without end—
they stumble over the bodies!
And all for the countless whorings of the prostitute,
graceful and of deadly charms,
who betrays nations with her whorings,
and peoples with her charms.

Behold, I am against you,
declares the Lord of hosts,
and will lift up your skirts over your face;
and I will make nations look at your nakedness
and kingdoms at your shame.
I will throw filth at you
and treat you with contempt
and make you a spectacle.
And all who look at you will shrink from you and say,
Wasted is Nineveh; who will grieve for her?
Where shall I seek comforters for you?

Are you better than Thebes
that sat by the Nile,
with water around her,
her rampart a sea,
and water her wall?
Cush was her strength;
Egypt too, and that without limit;
Put and the Libyans were her helpers.

Yet she became an exile;
she went into captivity;
her infants were dashed in pieces
at the head of every street;
for her honored men lots were cast,
and all her great men were bound in chains.
You also will be drunken;
you will go into hiding;
you will seek a refuge from the enemy.
All your fortresses are like fig trees
with first-ripe figs—
if shaken they fall
into the mouth of the eater.
Behold, your troops
are women in your midst.
The gates of your land
are wide open to your enemies;
fire has devoured your bars.

Draw water for the siege;
strengthen your forts;
go into the clay;
tread the mortar;
take hold of the brick mold!
There will the fire devour you;
the sword will cut you off.
It will devour you like the locust.
Multiply yourselves like the locust;
multiply like the grasshopper!
You increased your merchants
more than the stars of the heavens.
The locust spreads its wings and flies away.

Your princes are like grasshoppers,
your scribes like clouds of locusts
settling on the fences
in a day of cold—
when the sun rises, they fly away;
no one knows where they are.

Your shepherds are asleep,
O king of Assyria;
your nobles slumber.
Your people are scattered on the mountains
with none to gather them.
There is no easing your hurt;
your wound is grievous.
All who hear the news about you
clap their hands over you.
For upon whom has not come
your unceasing evil?

1:1 The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.

Habakkuk's Complaint

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not hear?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
So the law is paralyzed,
and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
so justice goes forth perverted.

The Lord's Answer

“Look among the nations, and see;
wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
that you would not believe if told.
For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans,
that bitter and hasty nation,
who march through the breadth of the earth,
to seize dwellings not their own.
They are dreaded and fearsome;
their justice and dignity go forth from themselves.
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
more fierce than the evening wolves;
their horsemen press proudly on.
Their horsemen come from afar;
they fly like an eagle swift to devour.
They all come for violence,
all their faces forward.
They gather captives like sand.
At kings they scoff,
and at rulers they laugh.
They laugh at every fortress,
for they pile up earth and take it.
Then they sweep by like the wind and go on,
guilty men, whose own might is their god!”

Habakkuk's Second Complaint

Are you not from everlasting,
O Lord my God, my Holy One?
We shall not die.
O Lord, you have ordained them as a judgment,
and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.
You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
the man more righteous than he?
You make mankind like the fish of the sea,
like crawling things that have no ruler.
He brings all of them up with a hook;
he drags them out with his net;
he gathers them in his dragnet;
so he rejoices and is glad.
Therefore he sacrifices to his net
and makes offerings to his dragnet;
for by them he lives in luxury,
and his food is rich.
Is he then to keep on emptying his net
and mercilessly killing nations forever?