Habakkuk 1; Habakkuk 2; Habakkuk 3; Zephaniah 1; Zephaniah 2; Zephaniah 3

1 This is the message that the Lord revealed to the prophet Habakkuk. 2 O Lord, how long must I call for help before you listen, before you save us from violence? 3 Why do you make me see such trouble? How can you stand to look on such wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are all around me, and there is fighting and quarreling everywhere. 4 The law is weak and useless, and justice is never done. Evil people get the better of the righteous, and so justice is perverted. 5 Then the Lord said to his people, "Keep watching the nations around you, and you will be astonished at what you see. I am going to do something that you will not believe when you hear about it. 6 I am bringing the Babylonians to power, those fierce, restless people. They are marching out across the world to conquer other lands. 7 They spread fear and terror, and in their pride they are a law to themselves. 8 "Their horses are faster than leopards, fiercer than hungry wolves. Their cavalry troops come riding from distant lands; their horses paw the ground. They come swooping down like eagles attacking their prey. 9 "Their armies advance in violent conquest, and everyone is terrified as they approach. Their captives are as numerous as grains of sand. 10 They treat kings with contempt and laugh at high officials. No fortress can stop them - they pile up earth against it and capture it. 11 Then they sweep on like the wind and are gone, these men whose power is their god." 12 Lord, from the very beginning you are God. You are my God, holy and eternal. Lord, my God and protector, you have chosen the Babylonians and made them strong so that they can punish us. 13 But how can you stand these treacherous, evil men? Your eyes are too holy to look at evil, and you cannot stand the sight of people doing wrong. So why are you silent while they destroy people who are more righteous than they are? 14 How can you treat people like fish or like a swarm of insects that have no ruler to direct them? 15 The Babylonians catch people with hooks, as though they were fish. They drag them off in nets and shout for joy over their catch! 16 They even worship their nets and offer sacrifices to them, because their nets provide them with the best of everything. 17 Are they going to use their swords forever and keep on destroying nations without mercy?
1 I will climb my watchtower and wait to see what the Lord will tell me to say and what answer he will give to my complaint. 2 The Lord gave me this answer: "Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance. 3 Put it in writing, because it is not yet time for it to come true. But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed. 4 And this is the message: "Those who are evil will not survive, but those who are righteous will live because they are faithful to God.' " 5 Wealth is deceitful. Greedy people are proud and restless - like death itself they are never satisfied. That is why they conquer nation after nation for themselves. 6 The conquered people will taunt their conquerors and show their scorn for them. They will say, "You take what isn't yours, but you are doomed! How long will you go on getting rich by forcing your debtors to pay up?" 7 But before you know it, you that have conquered others will be in debt yourselves and be forced to pay interest. Enemies will come and make you tremble. They will plunder you! 8 You have plundered the people of many nations, but now those who have survived will plunder you because of the murders you have committed and because of your violence against the people of the world and its cities. 9 You are doomed! You have made your family rich with what you took by violence, and have tried to make your own home safe from harm and danger! 10 But your schemes have brought shame on your family; by destroying many nations you have only brought ruin on yourself. 11 Even the stones of the walls cry out against you, and the rafters echo the cry. 12 You are doomed! You founded a city on crime and built it up by murder. 13 The nations you conquered wore themselves out in useless labor, and all they have built goes up in flames. The Lord Almighty has done this. 14 But the earth will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord's glory as the seas are full of water. 15 You are doomed! In your fury you humiliated and disgraced your neighbors; you made them stagger as though they were drunk. 16 You in turn will be covered with shame instead of honor. You yourself will drink and stagger. The Lord will make you drink your own cup of punishment, and your honor will be turned to disgrace. 17 You have cut down the forests of Lebanon; now you will be cut down. You killed its animals; now animals will terrify you. This will happen because of the murders you have committed and because of your violence against the people of the world and its cities. 18 What's the use of an idol? It is only something that a human being has made, and it tells you nothing but lies. What good does it do for its maker to trust it - a god that can't even talk! 19 You are doomed! You say to a piece of wood, "Wake up!" or to a block of stone, "Get up!" Can an idol reveal anything to you? It may be covered with silver and gold, but there is no life in it. 20 The Lord is in his holy Temple; let everyone on earth be silent in his presence.
1 This is a prayer of the prophet Habakkuk: 2 O Lord, I have heard of what you have done, and I am filled with awe. Now do again in our times the great deeds you used to do. Be merciful, even when you are angry. 3 God is coming again from Edom; the holy God is coming from the hills of Paran. His splendor covers the heavens, and the earth is full of his praise. 4 He comes with the brightness of lightning; light flashes from his hand, there where his power is hidden. 5 He sends disease before him and commands death to follow him. 6 When he stops, the earth shakes; at his glance the nations tremble. The eternal mountains are shattered; the everlasting hills sink down, the hills where he walked in ancient times. 7 I saw the people of Cushan afraid and the people of Midian tremble. 8 Was it the rivers that made you angry, Lord? Was it the sea that made you furious? You rode upon the clouds; the storm cloud was your chariot, as you brought victory to your people. 9 You got ready to use your bow, ready to shoot your arrows. Your lightning split open the earth. 10 When the mountains saw you, they trembled; water poured down from the skies. The waters under the earth roared, and their waves rose high. 11 At the flash of your speeding arrows and the gleam of your shining spear, the sun and the moon stood still. 12 You marched across the earth in anger; in fury you trampled the nations. 13 You went out to save your people, to save your chosen king. You struck down the leader of the wicked and completely destroyed his followers. 14 Your arrows pierced the commander of his army when it came like a storm to scatter us, gloating like those who secretly oppress the poor. 15 You trampled the sea with your horses, and the mighty waters foamed. 16 I hear all this, and I tremble; my lips quiver with fear. My body goes limp, and my feet stumble beneath me. I will quietly wait for the time to come when God will punish those who attack us. 17 Even though the fig trees have no fruit and no grapes grow on the vines, even though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no grain, even though the sheep all die and the cattle stalls are empty, 18 I will still be joyful and glad, because the Lord God is my savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord gives me strength. He makes me sure-footed as a deer and keeps me safe on the mountains.
1 This is the message that the Lord gave to Zephaniah during the time that Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. (Zephaniah was descended from King Hezekiah through Amariah, Gedaliah, and Cushi.) 2 The Lord said, "I am going to destroy everything on earth, 3 all human beings and animals, birds and fish. I will bring about the downfall of the wicked. I will destroy everyone, and no survivors will be left. I, the Lord, have spoken. 4 "I will punish the people of Jerusalem and of all Judah. I will destroy the last trace of the worship of Baal there, and no one will even remember the pagan priests who serve him. 5 I will destroy anyone who goes up on the roof and worships the sun, the moon, and the stars. I will also destroy those who worship me and swear loyalty to me, but then take oaths in the name of the god Molech. 6 I will destroy those who have turned back and no longer follow me, those who do not come to me or ask me to guide them." 7 The day is near when the Lord will sit in judgment; so be silent in his presence. The Lord is preparing to sacrifice his people and has invited enemies to plunder Judah. 8 "On that day of slaughter," says the Lord, "I will punish the officials, the king's sons, and all who practice foreign customs. 9 I will punish all who worship like pagans and who steal and kill in order to fill their master's house with loot. 10 "On that day," says the Lord, "you will hear the sound of crying at the Fish Gate in Jerusalem. You will hear wailing in the newer part of the city and a great crashing sound in the hills. 11 Wail and cry when you hear this, you that live in the lower part of the city, because all the merchants will be dead! 12 "At that time I will take a lamp and search Jerusalem. I will punish the people who are self-satisfied and confident, who say to themselves, "The Lord never does anything, one way or the other.' 13 Their wealth will be looted and their houses destroyed. They will never live in the houses they are building or drink wine from the vineyards they are planting." 14 The great day of the Lord is near - very near and coming fast! That day will be bitter, for even the bravest soldiers will cry out in despair! 15 It will be a day of fury, a day of trouble and distress, a day of ruin and destruction, a day of darkness and gloom, a black and cloudy day, 16 a day filled with the sound of war trumpets and the battle cry of soldiers attacking fortified cities and high towers. 17 The Lord says, "I will bring such disasters on the human race that everyone will grope about like someone blind. They have sinned against me, and now their blood will be poured out like water, and their dead bodies will lie rotting on the ground." 18 On the day when the Lord shows his fury, not even all their silver and gold will save them. The whole earth will be destroyed by the fire of his anger. He will put an end - a sudden end - to everyone who lives on earth.
1 Shameless nation, come to your senses 2 before you are driven away like chaff blown by the wind, before the burning anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the day when he shows his fury. 3 Turn to the Lord, all you humble people of the land, who obey his commands. Do what is right, and humble yourselves before the Lord. Perhaps you will escape punishment on the day when the Lord shows his anger. 4 No one will be left in the city of Gaza. Ashkelon will be deserted. The people of Ashdod will be driven out in half a day, and the people of Ekron will be driven from their city. 5 You Philistines are doomed, you people who live along the coast. The Lord has passed sentence on you. He will destroy you, and not one of you will be left. 6 Your land by the sea will become open fields with shepherd's huts and sheep pens. 7 The people of Judah who survive will occupy your land. They will pasture their flocks there and sleep in the houses of Ashkelon. The Lord their God will be with them and make them prosper again. 8 The Lord Almighty says, "I have heard the people of Moab and Ammon insulting and taunting my people, and boasting that they would seize their land. 9 As surely as I am the living Lord, the God of Israel, I swear that Moab and Ammon are going to be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. They will become a place of salt pits and everlasting ruin, overgrown with weeds. Those of my people who survive will plunder them and take their land." 10 That is how the people of Moab and Ammon will be punished for their pride and arrogance and for insulting the people of the Lord Almighty. 11 The Lord will terrify them. He will reduce the gods of the earth to nothing, and then every nation will worship him, each in its own land. 12 The Lord will also put the people of Ethiopia to death. 13 The Lord will use his power to destroy Assyria. He will make the city of Nineveh a deserted ruin, a waterless desert. 14 It will be a place where flocks, herds, and animals of every kind will lie down. Owls will live among its ruins and hoot from the windows. Crows will caw on the doorsteps. The cedar wood of her buildings will be stripped away. 15 That is what will happen to the city that is so proud of its own power and thinks it is safe. Its people think that their city is the greatest in the world. What a desolate place it will become, a place where wild animals will rest! Everyone who passes by will shrink back in horror.
1 Jerusalem is doomed, that corrupt, rebellious city that oppresses its own people. 2 It has not listened to the Lord or accepted his discipline. It has not put its trust in the Lord or asked for his help. 3 Its officials are like roaring lions; its judges are like hungry wolves, too greedy to leave a bone until morning. 4 The prophets are irresponsible and treacherous; the priests defile what is sacred, and twist the law of God to their own advantage. 5 But the Lord is still in the city; he does what is right and never what is wrong. Every morning without fail, he brings justice to his people. And yet the unrighteous people there keep on doing wrong and are not ashamed. 6 The Lord says, "I have wiped out whole nations; I have destroyed their cities and left their walls and towers in ruins. The cities are deserted; the streets are empty - no one is left. 7 I thought that then my people would have reverence for me and accept my discipline, that they would never forget the lesson I taught them. But soon they were behaving as badly as ever. 8 "Just wait," the Lord says. "Wait for the day when I rise to accuse the nations. I have made up my mind to gather nations and kingdoms in order to let them feel the force of my anger. The whole earth will be destroyed by the fire of my fury. 9 "Then I will change the people of the nations, and they will pray to me alone and not to other gods. They will all obey me. 10 Even from distant Ethiopia my scattered people will bring offerings to me. 11 At that time you, my people, will no longer need to be ashamed that you rebelled against me. I will remove everyone who is proud and arrogant, and you will never again rebel against me on my sacred hill. 12 I will leave there a humble and lowly people, who will come to me for help. 13 The people of Israel who survive will do no wrong to anyone, tell no lies, nor try to deceive. They will be prosperous and secure, afraid of no one." 14 Sing and shout for joy, people of Israel! Rejoice with all your heart, Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has stopped your punishment; he has removed all your enemies. The Lord, the king of Israel, is with you; there is no reason now to be afraid. 16 The time is coming when they will say to Jerusalem, "Do not be afraid, city of Zion! Do not let your hands hang limp! 17 The Lord your God is with you; his power gives you victory. The Lord will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you, 18 as joyful as people at a festival." The Lord says, "I have ended the threat of doom and taken away your disgrace. 19 The time is coming! I will punish your oppressors; I will rescue all the lame and bring the exiles home. I will turn their shame to honor, and all the world will praise them. 20 The time is coming! I will bring your scattered people home; I will make you famous throughout the world and make you prosperous once again." The Lord has spoken.
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