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Habakkuk 1:4

Context

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

and justice is never carried out. 2 

Indeed, 3  the wicked intimidate 4  the innocent. 5 

For this reason justice is perverted. 6 

Habakkuk 1:12

Context
Habakkuk Voices Some Concerns

1:12 Lord, you have been active from ancient times; 7 

my sovereign God, 8  you are immortal. 9 

Lord, you have made them 10  your instrument of judgment. 11 

Protector, 12  you have appointed them as your instrument of punishment. 13 

1 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.”

2 tn Heb “never goes out.”

3 tn Or “for.”

4 tn Heb “surround” (so NASB, NRSV).

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

6 tn Heb “comes out crooked.”

7 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.

8 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.”

9 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.

10 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.

11 tn Heb “for judgment.”

12 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”).

13 tn Heb “to correct, reprove.”



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