The Book of Habakuk has only three chapters.

Habakuk cried out to God to witness the perversions of justice. “How long, O God, shall I cry out, and You will not hear? Shall I shout to you, “Violence!” and You do not save? Why do You show me iniquity …?” (1:2-3).

God responded by telling Habakuk of the impending conquest by the Chaldeans (Babylon), “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and impetuous nation, that march through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling-places that are not theirs” (1:6).

When Habakuk questioned whether the punishment is too great, too harsh, destroying all, even those not wicked enough to deserve punishment, God answered, “The righteous man is rewarded with life for his fidelity” (2:4), but destruction would come upon the Babylonians. God’s vengeance would be eternal, “Because you have plundered many nations, all surviving peoples shall plunder you; because of men’s blood, and for the violence done to the land, to the city and to all that dwell therein” (2:8).

The Book of Habakuk concludes with a “prayer” of Habakuk describing both the awe and faith with which the prophet viewed God.

Copyright © 2012 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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