Habakkuk's Rhapsody of the Chaldeans

The Mystery


O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear? I cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save. Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to look upon perverseness? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there is strife, and contention riseth up. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgement doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore judgement goeth forth perverted.


Behold ye among the nations, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I work a work in your days, which ye will not believe though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation; which march through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful: their judgement and their dignity proceed from themselves. Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves; and their horsemen bear themselves proudly: yea, their horsemen come from far; they fly as an eagle that hasteth to devour. They come all of them for violence; their faces are set eagerly as the east wind; and they gather captives as the sand. Yea, he scoffeth at kings, and princes are a derision unto him: he derideth every strong hold; for he heapeth up dust, and taketh it. Then shall he sweep by as a wind, and shall pass over, and be guilty: even he whose might is his god.


Art not thou from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? thou diest not. O LORD, thou hast ordained him for judgement; and thou, O Rock, hast established him for correction. Thou that art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and that canst not look on perverseness, wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy peace when the wicked swalloweth up the man that is more righteous than he; and makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them? He taketh up all of them with the angle, he catcheth them in his net, and gathereth them in his drag: therefore he rejoiceth and is glad. Therefore he sacrificeth unto his net, and burneth incense unto his drag; because by them his portion is fat, and his meat plenteous. Shall he therefore empty his net, and not spare to slay the nations continually?


The Solution


I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will look forth to see what he will speak by me, and what I shall answer concerning my complaint.


Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it hasteth toward the end, and shall not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not delay. Behold, his soul is puffed up, it is not upright in him: but the just shall live in his faithfulness. Yea, moreover, wine is a treacherous dealer, a haughty man, and that keepeth not at home; who enlargeth his desire as hell, and he is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all peoples. Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say:

Doom of the Chaldeans


Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his,
-- How long? --
And that ladeth himself with pledges!

Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall exact usury of thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them? Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall spoil thee; because of men's blood, and for the violence done to the land, to the city, and to all that dwell therein.


Woe to him that getteth an evil gain for his house, That he may set his nest on high,
That he may be delivered from the hand of evil!

Thou hast consulted shame to thy house by cutting off many peoples, and hast sinned against thy soul. For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.


Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood,
And stablisheth a city by iniquity!

Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts that the peoples labour for the fire, and the nations weary themselves for vanity? For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.


Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink,
That addest thy venom thereto,
And makest him drunken also,
That thou mayest look on their nakedness!

Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and be as one uncircumcised. The cup of the LORD'S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and foul shame shall be upon thy glory. For the violence done to Lebanon shall cover thee, and the destruction of the beasts which made them afraid; because of men's blood, and for the violence done to the land, to the city, and to all that dwell therein.


What profiteth the graven image, that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and the teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? --

Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake;
To the dumb stone, Arise!

Shall this teach? Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him!


Jehovah come to Judgment


O LORD, I have heard the report of thee, and am afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years,
In the midst of the years make it known:
In wrath remember mercy!


God cometh from Teman,
And the Holy One from Mount Paran.
His glory covereth the heavens,
And the earth is full of his praise.
And his brightness is as the light;
He hath rays coming forth from his hand;
And there is the hiding of his power.
Before him goeth the pestilence,
And fiery bolts go forth at his feet.
He standeth and shaketh the earth;
He beholdeth, and driveth asunder the nations:
And the eternal mountains are scattered,
The everlasting hills do bow;
His ways are everlasting.
I see the tents of Cushan in affliction;
The curtains of the land of Midian do tremble.


Is the LORD displeased against the rivers?
Is thine anger against the rivers, or thy wrath against the sea, That thou dost ride upon thine horses,
Upon thy chariots of salvation?
Thy bow is made quite bare,
Sworn are the chastisements of thy word.
Thou dost cleave the earth with rivers;
The mountains see thee and are afraid;
The tempest of waters passeth by;
The deep uttereth his voice,
And lifteth up his hands on high;
The sun and moon stand still in their habitation
At the light of thine arrows as they go,
At the shining of thy glittering spear.
Thou dost march through the land in indignation,
Thou dost thresh the nations in anger.


Thou art come for the salvation of thy people,
For the salvation of thine anointed:
Thou dost smite off the head from the house of the wicked, Laying bare the foundation even unto the neck.
Thou dost pierce with his own staves the head of his warriors: (They came as a whirlwind to scatter me,
Their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly:) Thou dost tread the sea with thine horses, the surge of mighty waters.


I heard, and my belly trembled,
My lips quivered at the voice;
Rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in my place: That I should rest waiting for the day of trouble,
When he that shall invade them in troops cometh up against the people. For though the fig tree shall not blossom,
Neither shall fruit be in the vines;
The labour of the olive shall fail,
And the fields shall yield no meat;
The flock shall be cut off from the fold,
And there shall be no herd in the stalls:
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Jehovah, the Lord, is my strength,
And he maketh my feet like hinds' feet,
And will make me to walk upon mine high places.

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