This book was penned by the prophet Habakkuk at a time when the Babylonians were in authority. The first few verses of Habakkuk Chapter 1 introduces his misery on the vision he saw filled with grave injustices.
Habakkuk Addresses God
In Habakkuk Chapter 1, the prophet finds it hard to understand why God tolerates the evil that the people were doing. Though they pretended to belong to God, they practiced all types of wrong actions, yet they went unpunished.
Habakkuk prayed so hard that he began contemplating that the Lord God was not hearing his prayers. His greatest shock was that God knew all about these iniquities and did nothing about them.
God’s Answer to Habakkuk
Beginning with verse 5 of Habakkuk Chapter 1, God gave His answer to the prophet’s pleas. God assured him that He would work to address the situation in a very short time period and His actions would astonish Habakkuk himself. He also said He would use the same people who did not acknowledge Him to bring justice in the society.
God Describes the Babylonian Army
In Habakkuk Chapter 1, God describes the Babylonian army as well-crafted for war with swift horses that had the stealthiness of leopards and ferociousness of evening wolves. He said nobody would be able to stop this army, not even the kings, princes, or even the walls of the fortresses would stop them from sweeping the land from the devastating transgression that was all over them.
The Success of the Babylonians
Although the Babylonian army succeeded to sweep through land successfully, they did not recognize that it was God’s manifestation that allowed it. Instead, the Babylonians praised their false gods for helping them conquer. Habakkuk feared for his life and the lives of God’s people and prayed to Him to ask Him to spare the righteous ones who had been loyal to the one true God.
Habakkuk further reminded God that the Chaldeans were extremely evil and should not be used to slaughter less sinful people. In verse 14, Habakkuk tried to demonstrate to God their arrogant way of killing like fishermen drawing fish. Habakkuk Chapter 1 concludes with the prophet offering more questions to God.
Habakkuk 1 (King James Version)
1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.
4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.
7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
8 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.
9 They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.
10 And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.
11 Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.
12 Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.
13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?
14 And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
15 They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.
16 Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.
17 Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?