Habakkuk asked the same question we all ask when we see evil win: why does God let it continue? Why is there no justice?
1:2-4O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you ‘Violence!’
and you will not save?
Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgement comes forth perverted.
God’s answer, that the Babylonians would bring the longed-for justice, wasn’t much comfort: Habakkuk thought it was bringing in a worse evil to deal with Judah’s (lesser) evil. God’s reply suggests that He doesn’t see much left to protect in Judah:
2:4-5 Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faithfulness.
Moreover, wealth [or wine] is treacherous;
the arrogant do not endure.
They open their throats wide as Sheol;
like Death they never have enough.
They gather all nations for themselves,
and collect all peoples as their own.
We don’t know exactly when Habakkuk lived and recorded his conversation with God, but it was when the Babylonians (also called the Chaldeans) were starting to gain power and become a threat to Judah. This places it around the time of Josiah or Jehoiakim.