Habakkuk chapter 1

Believers are  corrupt. Babylon will attack. Habakkuk is dumbfounded.





VERSE 1. The revelation which Habakkuk the prophet saw.

The revelation. Some translations use the word “oracle.” The Hebrew word is “massa.” It means “burden”

This verse could be more literally translated like this: “The burden which Habakkuk the prophet saw.”

Habakkuk. We know very little about him. His name is Habakkuk, and he is a prophet.

The word “Habakkuk” is from the Hebrew verb “khavaq,” which means “to fold one’s hands or to embrace.”

Because we know so little about Habakkuk, people have tried to find meaning in his name. However, their insights are merely conjecture.

Based on the prophet’s name, Jerome conjectured that Habakkuk embraced the problem of divine justice in a wicked world.

Based on the prophet’s name, Martin Luther conjectured that Habakkuk embraced his people to comfort and uphold them.

Based on the prophet’s name, others see Habakkuk as one embraced by the LORD God as his child and messenger.

saw. The Hebrew word is “khazah.” It often means to see in a vision.


VERSE 2. LORD, how long will I cry, and you will not hear? I cry out to you “Violence!” and will you not save?

how long will I cry, and you will not hear? Habakkuk cried to the LORD God for help. But God did not seem to listen.

Many godly people find it easy to relate to Habakkuk. They pray, and it seems that God doesn’t answer.

In truth, the LORD God is answering. But the best answer might not take place immediately.

LORD. When rendered in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, “LORD” or “GOD” is the translation of God’s Proper Name.


VERSE 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.

NLT translation. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.

There is strife, and contention rises up. Habakkuk was surrounded by people who loved to argue and fight. In those days, there was no shortage of argumentative people.

This is true in our day as well. Many churches spend unimaginable amounts of time dealing with members who argue and start fights.

But we should have nothing to do with foolish and stupid arguments …

Habakkuk 1:3. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. (NLT translation)

2 Timothy 2:23. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. (NIV translation)

2 Timothy 2:24. The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient,


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

the law is paralyzed. The greatest tragedy is when believers neglect the Bible. When they do, the Law of God is paralyzed. Literally, it becomes becomes cool. It is numbed.

justice never prevails. Because believers had neglected the Bible, justice was perverted. It was bent. It was twisted out of shape.

In our day, many Christians are neglecting the Bible. Instead, they are waging a cultural war. Some are willing to do anything so as to win.

Many Christians base their moral decisions on outcomes. If the   consequences are good, they say is OK to do anything that is necessary. However, we believers CANNOT do evil that good may result. Read more »




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

Look … watch. In the verses above, the LORD God was speaking to Habakkuk. But now he is speaking to the people.

The change is apparent from the verbs “look” and “watch.” In Hebrew they include the plural “you.” So God is addressing both the prophet and the people.

among the nations. They are profoundly myopic. They need to expand their worldview to include “the nations.”

wonder marvelously. As they expand their worldview to include the nations, they will be utterly amazed.

The Hebrew word is “tama.” It means to be astounded, bewildered, or dumbfounded.


VERSE 6. For, behold, I am raising up the Kasdim, that bitter and hasty nation who march through the width of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs.

behold. The Hebrew word is הִנֵּה. It means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.

the Kasdim. That is, Babylon. It was a nation known for violent actions. They readily committed atrocities without remorse. They were a fierce and pitilessly cruel people.

The Babylonians were also known as the Chaldeans.

Abram migrated from Ur of the Chaldees to Canaan.


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

feared and dreaded. Babylon was without rival.

proceed from themselves. The Babylonians were a law unto themselves.


VERSE 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.

hurries to devour. The Babylonians grew their authority by ruthless conquests.


VERSE 9. All of them come for violence. Their hordes face forward. They gather prisoners like sand.


VERSE 10. Yes, they scoff at kings, and princes are a derision to them. They laugh at every stronghold, for they build up an earthen ramp and take it.


VERSE 11. Then they sweep by like the wind and go on. They are indeed guilty, whose strength is their god.”




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

God. The Hebrew word is אֱלֹהִ֑ים (“Elohim”).

you have appointed them for judgment. Habakkuk is dumbfounded that the LORD God will use the Babylonians to discipline his own people.


VERSE 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,


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


VERSE 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.


VERSE 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.


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


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.