Habakkuk 1:4

4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

Habakkuk 1:4 in Other Translations

KJV
4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
ESV
4 So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.
NLT
4 The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted.
MSG
4 Law and order fall to pieces. Justice is a joke. The wicked have the righteous hamstrung and stand justice on its head. God Says, "Look!"
CSB
4 This is why the law is ineffective and justice never emerges. For the wicked restrict the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted.

Habakkuk 1:4 Meaning and Commentary

Habakkuk 1:4

Therefore the law is slacked
Is not put into execution against offenders: the civil magistrates, whose office it is to do justice according to law, are dilatory, and do not proceed with vigour and spirit against the transgressors of it, and in favour of honest and good men oppressed: or "it intermits" F18, or is "intermitted"; it is like a man whose pulse beats low, and is scarce perceived, which is a sign that he is not in good health as the body politic is not, when the law, which is the soul of it, is not suffered to take place, and do its office. So the Targum,

``the law languishes;''
loses its force and vigour, and is ready to expire; which is a sad symptom of the bad estate of a commonwealth. And judgment doth never go forth;
at least not right, to the justifying of the righteous, acquitting the innocent, and giving the cause on the right side; condemning the wicked, and punishing offenders as their crime deserves: it never appears as it should do; it is either not done at all, or done badly and perversely: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous;
to hurt him or ensnare him, and by frauds and wicked artifices, and false witnesses, to carry a cause against him: therefore wrong judgment proceedeth;
the cause is given on the wrong side, against a good man, and for a wicked man; all these things the prophet saw with grief, and complained of to the Lord, from whom he has an answer in the following words:
FOOTNOTES:

F18 (gwpt) "intermittitur", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Burkius; (gwp) "est, animi deliquium pati", Tarnovius.

Habakkuk 1:4 In-Context

2 How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.
4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.
5 “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.
6 I am raising up the Babylonians,that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own.

Cross References 3

  • 1. Psalms 119:126
  • 2. S Isaiah 29:21
  • 3. S Job 19:7; S Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 5:20; S Ezekiel 9:9