From the Greek Septuagint text as used by First Century Christians
A prophecy concerning Jerusalem’s destruction by Babylon, written sometime around the middle 7th Century BCE.
Is it poetry or isn’t it poetry?
Something that only a Bible translator would notice is that whenever God or His spokesperson are quoted, the words were in the form of Hebrew poetry,
since there is a definite cadence that can be noted in the original language. Therefore, because this is the chosen style of God, we have rendered it as it should be, in poetic verse.
Why did God and His spokesperson communicate through poetry?
Because poetic words provide memory aids that can be easily recalled to mind, so that the messages could be spread throughout the population via the most common medium of communication at the time, song.

Chapter 1

1 These are the things that the Prophet HabakKuk saw:

2 How long, O Lord, must I cry out
As You don’t listen [to me]?
How long should I yell to You over wrong
As You don’t bring us salvation?

3 Why have You shown toil and trouble to me,
As you look upon misery and irreverence?
Right opposite me, there’s judging going on…
But it is the judge that carries away!

4 Because of this, the Law has been shaken,
And in the end, there’s no justice;
For the godless are tyrannizing the righteous,
And the justice they receive is perverted!

5 [Then the Lord replied]:
‘Look, O you who is speaking such words…
Gaze and wonder at wonders,
And thereafter, just pass away!
For I’ll do a work in your day,
Which you won’t believe and none can describe.

6 ‘{Look!} I’ll awaken the Chaldean people,
And they’ll travel across the breadth of the earth
To inherit tents not their own.

7 ‘[Their king] is known to be fearsome,
And he [creates] his own kind of justice,
For his only concern is himself.

8 ‘His horses leap higher than leopards,
And [their teeth] are like those of Arabian wolves.

‘His horsemen will make great advances…
They’ll spread [their wings] out like eagles
That are eager for something to eat.

9 ‘Then, upon those that don’t show him respect,
He will bring a consumption…
It will come upon all who oppose him,
And he’ll gather captives like sand.

10 ‘Then among all their kings, he will revel…
Their sovereignty will be things he plays with,
And he will mock every fortress…
He’ll build siege mounds around them and win!

11 ‘But thereafter, his spirit will change;
For, he will repent and then say,
This power has come from my God!

12 O Jehovah, my God and most Holy One;
You are from the beginning!
But, though there’s no reason for us to die,
You have ordered up justice…
For discipline and correction, You’ve shaped us.

13 If Your eyes are too pure to look at the bad,
And You will not view any evil;
Why do You endure those that hate You?

And why do you You remain silent and watch
As the impious are consuming the righteous?
14 Will You let us be like the fish in the sea
Or like things that crawl [on the ground]
Where no one that is taking the lead?

15 You’ve let [Babylon’s king] catch destruction…
Yes, he pulled it up with a hook
And lifted it up with his net…
Then he brought it all in with his dragnet,
And this is why he’s so joyful.

16 So to his dragnet, he’ll offer sacrifices,
And to it, he will also burn incense.
For by it, he has fattened his portion,
And provided himself the choicest of food.
17 So he’ll keep on casting his net
To destroy many nations, not spare them!

Chapter 2

1 [Now I’ve told You] that during my watch,
I’ll be the one that stands guard…
I’ll climb on the rocks and observe,
Then listen to all that You’ll tell me,
So I’ll know what I must say in reply
When I am receiving correction.

2 Then the Lord told me this… He clearly said:
‘Now, you must write down this vision
To elevate those who will read it.
3 It’s a vision of a time in the future…
It’s what will happen in the time of the end.

‘Be patient if it seems to be late;
For it will surely arrive…
No way will its coming be tardy.

4 ‘For in My soul, I do not find favor
In those that hold back [My words]…
For it’s by their faith that the righteous will live!

5 ‘But, those that are arrogant and filled with hate,
And any man who’s a braggart
Will receive no [blessings] at all.

‘Now he’s widening his soul like the grave,
And like death, he never gets filled.
6 So, if he should assemble all nations
And gather their peoples [under his rule];
Wouldn’t they say this against him…
Wouldn’t they speak this riddle and say:

Woe to the one that takes what’s not his…
How long [can he stand] all the pressure?
7 For suddenly, there’ll come those who’ll bite him…
Yes, those plotting against him will awaken
And then they will saw him halves.

8 ‘For, many nations, he’s ravaged.
But those that remain, will soon ravage him
Because of all the blood that he’s shed,
And the things that he did to their cities and lands…
What he did to all those that lived there.

9 ‘O you who’ve desired all their wealth;
These same things will come upon you and your house…
Yes, on you who’ve arranged your nest in the heights,
And whose hands have brought evil [to others].

10 ‘For, you have shamed your own house!
Since, throughout your life, you have sinned,
And you’ve ended [the lives] of [many great] men.

11 ‘Therefore, from your stone walls, I will yell,
And the beetles in the woods will repeat it:
12 Woe to those that build their cities on blood,
And [grow] their countries by doing what’s wrong!

13 ‘Yet, it’s by Jehovah the Almighty
That so many have been tested by fire,
And the nations have proven faint-hearted!

14 ‘So, like the waters that cover the seas,
The earth will soon become filled
With the knowledge about all His glory.

15 ‘But, you have forced your neighbors to drink
Something intoxicating and cloudy
In order to gaze on their private parts.

16 ‘So drink deeply to the glory of your dishonor
And get extremely excited!
For thereafter, you’ll be completely surrounded
Within the cup in Jehovah’s right hand,
Where your glory will meet with dishonor.

17 ‘By Lebanon’s irreverence, you’ll also be covered,
And the misery of wild beasts will terrify you,
Because of the blood of men that you’ve shed,
And the badness within [your] cities and lands,
Along with the [evil] of your people.

18 ‘So, what good are the idols that they have carved,
Or the molded castings they’ve shaped…
The false things that they can see with their eyes?
For your people rely on things that they’ve shaped…
On idols that they’ve made, which can’t speak!

19 ‘So, woe to those who say to the wood,
[It’s time for you to] awaken and rise,
And who say to things made of stone, Become great!
For, they are just things you can look at…
Things that you’ve hammered from silver and gold,
Which are still unable to breathe.

20 ‘But, in His Temple, Jehovah’s [alive]!
So in every land, they should bow before Him!’

Chapter 3

1 The prayer of HabakKuk (the Prophet) in a song:

2 O Lord;
I heard Your report and I was afraid.
O Jehovah;
I thought of your works and I trembled.

You stand between the two cherubs,
And in coming years, all will know You…
Yes, when that time arrives, You’ll be seen.

And when disturbance comes into my life,
You’ll think of [me] and show mercy.
3 For, God will come out of Teman…
Yes, from the shadow of Mount Paran,
The Most Holy one will arrive.

PAUSE

His virtues cover the skies
And His praises fill the [whole] earth
4 Like all kinds of light is His brightness.

In His hands, He carries a trumpet;
And by His might, He sends us His love.

5 So, from His face, a word will go forth,
Which will travel from there to the plains;
6 And where His feet stand, the [whole] earth will shake.

When He looks upon them, the nations dissolve…
By [His] might, the mountains will break
And the hills of the ages will melt.

7 On the tents of Ethiopian peoples,
I saw distress about to arrive,
And the tents of Media were also disturbed.

8 Were You provoked by their rivers, O Lord…
Did their rivers make so You angry
That against their sea, You took action?

O you who’re arriving on horses;
As you ride, are you bringing salvation?
9 No, Jehovah has told you to stretch out…
Against their tents, you must stretch tight your bows!

PAUSE

You’ll divide up their lands by their rivers,
10 And when they see you, they’ll start having birth pangs;
For they’ll know that the rivers will be their new borders.

Then the abyss will shout to the heights
When it sees that you are arriving.
11 For the sun will not rise in the sky,
And the moon will fail and stand still.
But, by the flash of your arrows
And sparks from your weapons, they’ll move.

12 When [God] threatens, He’ll leave just few in their lands;
For in His rage, He wipes nations away.
13 But to His people, He’s bringing salvation,
And He will save His anointed.

But to the heads of the lawless, He will send death…
First, He’ll put chains on their necks,
Which will shake and astonish the mighty,
And then He will chop off their heads.

PAUSE

14 Yes, He’ll split the heads of the mighty,
After He makes them all shiver.
So then they will put down their reins
And look for places to hide…
Where they will be fed like the poor.

15 For He’ll lead their horses into the sea,
And there they will muddy its waters…
Which will bring fear to all, when they see it.

16 On my lips, there was the sound of a prayer…
Trembling entered my backside and bones…
Yes, all of my ways were disturbed.
But I will find rest in that day of distress…
When I leave the people to whom I was sent.

17 For their fig trees won’t bear fruit anymore,
And there’ll be no grapes on their vines.
Their olives will also be gone,
And there’ll be no crops in their fields.

At that time, there will be no more sheep,
And there’ll be no oxen left in their barns.

18 But I’ll shout in joy to Jehovah…
I’ll rejoice over my Savior, God!
19 For Jehovah God is my strength,
And He’s provided straight paths for my feet…
Upon a high place, He has set me,
And by His song, I will win!

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