Chapter 1

1The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet prophesied:   א הַמַּשָּׂא֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָזָ֔ה חֲבַקּ֖וּק הַנָּבִֽיא:
The prophecy: Heb. הַמַשָּׂא. The burden of prophecy - what he bore and received by the Holy Spirit. [after Jonathan]  
2O Lord! How long will I cry and You will not hear! I cry out to You of violence, and You will not save!   בעַד־אָ֧נָה יְהֹוָ֛ה שִׁוַּ֖עְתִּי וְלֹ֣א תִשְׁמָ֑ע אֶזְעַ֥ק אֵלֶ֛יךָ חָמָ֖ס וְלֹ֥א תוֹשִֽׁיעַ:
O Lord! How long: He foresaw with the Holy Spirit that Nebuchadnezzar was destined to be the ruler of the world and to cause trouble for Israel, as the matter is stated in his prophecy (1:6): “For behold, I raise up the Chaldeans, etc.” He was complaining for this.  
I cry out to You of violence: I mention before You the violence committed against me, and You do not save me.  
3Why do You show me iniquity and look upon mischief; and plunder and violence are before me; and the one who bears quarrel and strife endures.   גלָ֣מָּה תַרְאֵ֚נִי אָ֙וֶן֙ וְעָמָ֣ל תַּבִּ֔יט וְשֹׁ֥ד וְחָמָ֖ס לְנֶגְדִּ֑י וַיְהִ֧י רִ֛יב וּמָד֖וֹן יִשָּֽׂא:
iniquity: plunder and violence.  
and look upon mischief: You look upon this mischief, but You do not help.  
and the one who bears quarrel and strife endures: And this wicked man who bears quarrel and strife, will live, remain in existence, and prosper.  
endures: He who bears quarrel and strife will endure. So did Jonathan render.  
4Therefore Torah is slackened, and justice does not go out forever, for a wicked man surrounds the righteous; therefore, justice emerges perverted.   דעַל־כֵּן֙ תָּפ֣וּג תּוֹרָ֔ה וְלֹֽא־יֵצֵ֥א לָנֶ֖צַח מִשְׁפָּ֑ט כִּ֚י רָשָׁע֙ מַכְתִּ֣יר אֶת־הַצַּדִּ֔יק עַל־כֵּ֛ן יֵצֵ֥א מִשְׁפָּ֖ט מְעֻקָּֽל:
Therefore Torah is slackened: Because of this, that Israel sees his [the wicked man’s] success, the Torah will slacken and leave them; and they [Israel] will obey him [the wicked man] and prostrate themselves before the idol in the valley of Dura.  
and justice does not go out forever: I.e., the true decision of the Law.  
surrounds: surrounds, as in (Ps. 22:13): “Strong bulls of Bashan have surrounded me (כִּתְּרוּנִי).”  
5See among the nations, and look, and wonder with amazement, for He is performing a deed in your days. You shall not believe when it is told   הרְא֚וּ בַגּוֹיִם֙ וְֽהַבִּ֔יטוּ וְהִתַּמְּה֖וּ תְּמָ֑הוּ כִּי־פֹ֙עַל֙ פֹּעֵ֣ל בִּֽימֵיכֶ֔ם לֹ֥א תַֽאֲמִ֖ינוּ כִּֽי־יְסֻפָּֽר:
You shall not believe when it is told: When this is told to you, that I am setting up the Chaldeans, the people that did not deserve to be created, as it is written (Isa. 23:13): “This people has never been.” They are one of three things whose creation God regrets, and now [they] will rise, and [they] will be bitter, and [they will be] impetuous to run and to march to the breadth of the lands of all the nations.  
6that behold, I am setting up the Chaldeans, the bitter and impetuous nation who shall march through the breadth of the land, to inherit dwellings that are not theirs.   וכִּֽי־הִנְנִ֚י מֵקִים֙ אֶת־הַכַּשְׂדִּ֔ים הַגּ֖וֹי הַמַּ֣ר וְהַנִּמְהָ֑ר הַֽהוֹלֵךְ֙ לְמֶרְחֲבֵי־אֶ֔רֶץ לָרֶ֖שֶׁת מִשְׁכָּנ֥וֹת לֹא־לֽוֹ:
7They are terrible and dreadful; from themselves their judgment and their burden shall emanate.   זאָיֹ֥ם וְנוֹרָ֖א ה֑וּא מִמֶּ֕נּוּ מִשְׁפָּט֥וֹ וּשְׂאֵת֖וֹ יֵצֵֽא:
from themselves their judgment and their burden shall emanate: From them are judges; from them are kings, who cast a burden and a fear upon all.  
their judgment: joustice in O.F:  
8And their steeds are swifter than leopards, and they are more fierce than the wolves of the evening; and their riders shall increase and their riders shall come from afar; they shall fly like an eagle that hastens to devour.   חוְקַלּ֨וּ מִנְּמֵרִ֜ים סוּסָ֗יו וְחַדּוּ֙ מִזְּאֵ֣בֵי עֶ֔רֶב וּפָ֖שׁוּ פָּֽרָשָׁ֑יו וּפָֽרָשָׁיו֙ מֵֽרָח֣וֹק יָבֹ֔אוּ יָעֻ֕פוּ כְּנֶ֖שֶׁר חָ֥שׁ לֶֽאֱכֽוֹל:
and their riders shall increase: Heb. וּפָשוּ.  
9They shall all come to commit violence-the eagerness of their faces is like the east wind, and they have gathered captives like the sand.   טכֻּלֹּה֙ לְחָמָ֣ס יָב֔וֹא מְגַמַּ֥ת פְּנֵיהֶ֖ם קָדִ֑ימָה וַיֶּֽאֱסֹ֥ף כַּח֖וֹל שֶֽׁבִי:
come to commit violence: to plunder and to spoil.  
the eagerness of their faces: an expression like (Gen. 24: 17) “Give me to swallow, (הַגְמִיאִינִי) I pray you” and (Job 39:24) “He swallows (י ְגַמֶּה) the earth.” He runs swiftly - in a short time a distance of a day’s plowing - as though he had swallowed and drunk the earth that is before him. Here, too, the swallowing of their faces; the swallowing, the longing of their faces resembles the east wind, the fiercest of the winds. So did Jonathan render this.  
10And they shall mock the kings, and princes are a laughingstock for them. He shall scoff at every fortress; he piles up earth and captures it.   יוְהוּא֙ בַּמְּלָכִ֣ים יִתְקַלָּ֔ס וְרֹֽזְנִ֖ים מִשְׂחָ֣ק ל֑וֹ הוּא לְכָל־מִבְצָ֣ר יִשְׂחָ֔ק וַיִּצְבֹּ֥ר עָפָ֖ר וַיִּלְכְּדָֽהּ:
And they shall mock the kings: shall mock them. Every expression of ק ַלָּסָה is an expression for the speech of those speaking about another; some [of these speeches] are for good, and some for bad - parledic in O.F.  
a laughingstock: like שְּׂחוֹק, laughter, like מִשְׁמָר, a watch, and מִסְתָּר, a hiding place.  
He shall scoff at every fortress: If his enemy is in a strong fortress, he scoffs at him.  
he piles up earth: upon it with his many armies, each one carrying a load of earth. It [the pile] is before the wall as a high mound, and they [the Chaldeans] battle from upon it. This is called שְׁפִיכַתסוֹלְלָה, pouring a siege mound (cf. Isa. 37:33), for all of them are translated into Aramaic: וְיִצְבּוֹר עֲלָה מְלֵיתָא, and he piled upon it a filling. This is an expression of Milo, for in the city of David there was a high mound, and they would battle upon it. Atop the mound was built a tower whose slant was inclined to the sides, and around its base was a low wall to prevent the earth from falling.  
11Then a spirit goes further and passes, and they become guilty; this strength they attribute to their god.   יאאָ֣ז חָלַ֥ף ר֛וּחַ וַיַּֽעֲבֹ֖ר וְאָשֵׁ֑ם ז֥וּ כֹח֖וֹ לֵֽאלֹהֽוֹ:
Then a spirit goes further: Then, when they see their way prospering, a spirit of guilt goes further and passes over them. Now what is the spirit?  
this strength they attribute to their god: This strength they attribute to their god, and they say, “My god acquired all this wealth for me.” Says the prophet, “Now, You, why should You remain silent to all this?”  
12Are You not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, You have ordained them for judgment, and, O Mighty God, You have established them for correction.   יבהֲל֧וֹא אַתָּ֣ה מִקֶּ֗דֶם יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהַ֛י קְדֹשִׁ֖י לֹ֣א נָמ֑וּת יְהֹוָה֙ לְמִשְׁפָּ֣ט שַׂמְתּ֔וֹ וְצ֖וּר לְהוֹכִ֥יח יְסַדְתּֽוֹ:
Are You not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, my Holy One?: Who shall not die. Now, the reason it is written לֹא נָמוּת we shall not die, is that it is one of the emendations of the scribes in Scripture, by which Scripture euphemizes. Likewise, (Mal. 1:13) “And you sadden it.” And so are many of them [these euphemisms] explained in Sifre (Num. 10:35). According to the emendation of the scribes, this is its explanation: Are you not my God from everlasting, my Holy One? Do not deliver us into their hands to die.  
O Lord, You have ordained them for judgment: I know that You have set this one [Nebuchadnezzar] up only to judge those who rebel against You. In any case, why should all this come about? Is it not so that…  
13[You are] of eyes too pure to behold evil, and You cannot gaze upon iniquity. Why should You gaze upon traitors, be silent when a wicked man swallows up one more righteous than he?   יגטְה֚וֹר עֵינַ֙יִם֙ מֵֽרְא֣וֹת רָ֔ע וְהַבִּ֥יט אֶל־עָמָ֖ל לֹ֣א תוּכָ֑ל לָ֚מָּה תַבִּיט֙ בּֽוֹגְדִ֔ים תַּֽחֲרִ֕ישׁ בְּבַלַּ֥ע רָשָׁ֖ע צַדִּ֥יק מִמֶּֽנּוּ:
[You are] of eyes too pure: to behold evil?  
gaze: like וּלְהַבִּיט, and to gaze upon iniquity.  
one more righteous than he: that he will blind the eyes of Zedekiah (II Kings 25:7).  
14And You have made man like the fish of the sea, like the creeping things of the earth over which there is no ruler.   ידוַתַּֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה אָדָ֖ם כִּדְגֵ֣י הַיָּ֑ם כְּרֶ֖מֶשׂ לֹֽא־מֹשֵׁ֥ל בּֽוֹ:
And You have made man: before this wicked man - free as the fish of the sea, which anyone who wishes may catch.  
15He takes all of them up with the fishhook, he catches them in his net and gathers them in his trawl. Therefore he rejoices and is glad.   טוכֻּלֹּה֙ בְּחַכָּ֣ה הֵֽעֲלָ֔ה יְגֹרֵ֣הוּ בְחֶרְמ֔וֹ וְיַֽאַסְפֵ֖הוּ בְּמִכְמַרְתּ֑וֹ עַל־כֵּ֖ן יִשְׂמַ֥ח וְיָגִֽיל:
He takes all of them up with the fishhook: This wicked man takes up all people with his fishhook.  
catches them: an expression of (Prov. 6:8) “Gathers (אָגְרָה) her food in the harvest,” and (Joel 1:17) “Granaries (מַמְּגֻרוֹת) are demolished.”  
16Therefore he sacrifices to his net, and he burns incense to his trawl, for through them his portion is fat and his food is a fatling.   טזעַל־כֵּן֙ יְזַבֵּ֣חַ לְחֶרְמ֔וֹ וִֽיקַטֵּ֖ר לְמִכְמַרְתּ֑וֹ כִּ֚י בָהֵ֙מָּה֙ שָׁמֵ֣ן חֶלְק֔וֹ וּמַֽאֲכָל֖וֹ בְּרִאָֽה:
he sacrifices to his net: To his god, for he says that it conquers everyone before him.  
through them: This is similar to בהם, because of them.  
a fatling: fat.  
17Is it because of this that he empties his net and continually [does] not spare to slay nations?   יזהַ֥עַל כֵּ֖ן יָרִ֣יק חֶרְמ֑וֹ וְתָמִ֛יד לַֽהֲרֹ֥ג גּוֹיִ֖ם לֹ֥א יַחְמֽוֹל:
Because of this does he arm himself with his net: There are many interrogative forms that are affirmative, e.g., (I Sam. 2:27) “Did I appear?” concerning Eli, and (II Sam. 15:27) “Do you see?” Here, too: Does it appear in Your eyes that because of this he prospers every time, in that he arms himself with his net over everyone and to hunt game?  
arms himself: As in (Gen. 14:14) “And he armed רֶק) (וַיָּ his trained men” and (Ps. 35:3): 'Arm yourself (הָרֵק) with a spear." He arms himself with his net.