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Habakkuk 1:2-4

Context

1:2 How long, Lord, must I cry for help?

But you do not listen!

I call out to you, “Violence!”

But you do not intervene! 1 

1:3 Why do you force me to witness injustice? 2 

Why do you put up with wrongdoing? 3 

Destruction and violence confront 4  me;

conflict is present and one must endure strife. 5 

1:4 For this reason the law lacks power, 6 

and justice is never carried out. 7 

Indeed, 8  the wicked intimidate 9  the innocent. 10 

For this reason justice is perverted. 11 

Habakkuk 1:12

Context
Habakkuk Voices Some Concerns

1:12 Lord, you have been active from ancient times; 12 

my sovereign God, 13  you are immortal. 14 

Lord, you have made them 15  your instrument of judgment. 16 

Protector, 17  you have appointed them as your instrument of punishment. 18 

1 tn Or “deliver.”

2 tn Heb “Why do you make me see injustice?”

3 tn Heb “Why do you look at wrongdoing?”

sn Habakkuk complains that God tolerates social injustice and fails to intervene on behalf of the oppressed (put up with wrongdoing).

4 tn Heb “are before.”

5 tn Heb “and there is conflict and strife he lifts up.” The present translation takes the verb יִשָּׂא (yisa’) in the sense of “carry, bear,” and understands the subject to be indefinite (“one”).

6 tn Heb “the law is numb,” i.e., like a hand that has “fallen asleep” (see Ps 77:2). Cf. NAB “is benumbed”; NIV “is paralyzed.”

7 tn Heb “never goes out.”

8 tn Or “for.”

9 tn Heb “surround” (so NASB, NRSV).

10 tn Or “righteous” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

11 tn Heb “comes out crooked.”

12 tn Heb “Are you not from antiquity, O Lord?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Yes, of course.” The present translation reflects the force of the rhetorical question, rendering it as an affirmation. When used in a temporal sense the phrase מִקֶדֶם (miqedem) means “from antiquity, ancient times,” often referring to earlier periods in Israel’s history. See its use in Neh 12:46; Pss 74:12; 77:11; Isa 45:21; 46:10; Mic 5:2.

13 tn Heb “My God, my holy one.” God’s “holiness” in this context is his sovereign transcendence as the righteous judge of the world (see vv. 12b-13a), thus the translation “My sovereign God.”

14 tc The MT reads, “we will not die,” but an ancient scribal tradition has “you [i.e., God] will not die.” This is preferred as a more difficult reading that can explain the rise of the other variant. Later scribes who copied the manuscripts did not want to associate the idea of death with God in any way, so they softened the statement to refer to humanity.

15 tn Heb “him,” a collective singular referring to the Babylonians. The plural pronoun “them” has been used in the translation in keeping with contemporary English style.

16 tn Heb “for judgment.”

17 tn Heb “Rock” or “Cliff.” This divine epithet views God as a place where one can go to be safe from danger. The translation “Protector” conveys the force of the metaphor (cf. KJV, NEB “O mighty God”).

18 tn Heb “to correct, reprove.”



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