Habakkuk's chief message was a sad prophecy of the triumph of the Chaldeans (Babylonians) over Israel. He warns his people of the Divine retribution which would come swiftly and overwhelmingly; "How long, O L-rd, shall I cry, and Thou wilt not hear? I cry out unto Thee of violence, and Thou wilt not save..." G‑d's answer follows: "Behold, I will raise the Chaldeans, that bitter and impetuous nation, that march to the wide spaces of the earth to conquer dwelling-places that are not theirs. Terrible and dreadful are they; from them alone go forth their laws and dignity. Swifter than leopards are their horses, and fiercer than wolves at night. And their horses come riding on, arriving from afar. They ny like eagles, hastening to eat. They all come for violence; their faces are like the east wind, and they gather captives as the sand. And they will make sport with kings, and princes will be a play to them. At every stronghold will they laugh… they make their power their god..."

Seeing how the wicked and arrogant Chaldeans will trample upon Israel, Habakkuk cries out to G‑d with pain: "Thou art of eyes too pure to behold evil, and canst not look upon mischief, wherefore lookest Thou, when they deal treacherously, and boldest Thy peace, when the wicked swalloweth up the man that is more righteous than he?"

But the prophet receives the answer that justice and righteousness shall triumph and that Israel shall survive. "And the L-rd answered me and said: Write the vision, and make it plain upon the tables, that a man may read swiftly... Though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not delay... The righteous shall live by his faith.'"