Hab 2:6-8 Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say, “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own—for how long?—and loads himself with pledges!” Will not your debtors suddenly arise, and those awake who will make you tremble? Then you will be spoil for them. Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.
The Lord sees a time when nations conquered and oppressed by Babylon will rise up against it. In answer to Habakkuk’s question, we can be confident that ultimately all evil must face the full wrath of God’s justice in the due course of time. To put all of this in perspective it is worth taking a moment to review who conquered who and when. In 722 BC Assyria conquered Samaria and Israel was exiled. In 701 BC Assyria almost conquered Jerusalem, but was stopped at the city gate by divine interference. In 612 BC Babylon, with the help of the Medes, conquered Nineveh and effectively annexed Assyria into the Babylonian (Chaldean) empire. In 609 BC, Babylon took its first exiles from Judah. In 605 BC, Babylon defeated Pharaoh’s army at Carchemish (near Nineveh) for helping Assyria and they were forced back to Egypt. Persian King Cyrus defeated the Medes in 549 BC creating what was called Media-Persia. In 539, shortly after Nebuchadnezzar’s death, Persia defeated Babylon and Darius, a Mede, was made governor of Babylon. Darius allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple which was completed in 515 BC. Although those sent to take Judah into captivity would do great evil to its people, the conqueror face its own punishment. The suffering exiles would be remembered and a loyal remnant would be rewarded for its faith. This pattern would be a brilliant foreshadow of our Lord’s greater plan for one evil to punish another, but would always protect a faithful remnant from wrath so that they would be established in their own kingdom.