Habakkuk 2

1 I will take my post; I will position myself on the fortress. I will keep watch to see what the Lord says to me and how he[a] will respond to my complaint.

The LORD responds

2 Then the LORD answered me and said, Write a vision, and make it plain upon a tablet so that a runner can read it.[b]
3 There is still a vision for the appointed time; it testifies to the end; it does not deceive.[c] If it delays, wait for it; for it is surely coming; it will not be late.
4 Some people's desires are truly audacious;[d] they don't do the right thing. But the righteous person will live honestly.
5 Moreover, wine betrays an arrogant man. He doesn't rest. He opens his jaws[e] like the grave;[f] like death, he is never satisfied. He gathers all nations to himself and collects all peoples for himself.
6 Won't everyone tell parables about him or mocking poems concerning him? They will say: Doom to the one who multiplies what doesn't belong to him and who increases his own burden. How long?
7 Won't they suddenly rise up to bite you? Those who frighten you will awaken; you will become plunder for them.
8 Since you yourself have plundered many nations, all the rest of the peoples will plunder you because of the human bloodshed and the violence done to the earth, to every village, and to all its inhabitants.
9 Doom to the one making evil gain for his own house, for putting his own nest up high, for delivering himself from the grasp of calamity.
10 You plan shame for your own house, cutting off many peoples and sinning against your own life.
11 A stone will cry out from a village wall, and a tree branch will respond.
12 Pity the one building a city with bloodshed and founding a village with injustice.
13 Look, isn't this from the LORD of heavenly forces? Peoples grow weary from making just enough fire; nations become tired for nothing.
14 But the land will be full of the knowledge of the LORD's glory, just as water covers the sea.
15 Doom to the one who makes his companions drunk, pouring out your wrath in order to see them naked.
16 You have drunk your fill of dishonor rather than glory. So drink and stagger. The cup of the LORD's strong hand will come around to you; disgrace will engulf you.
17 Because of the violence done to Lebanon, he will overwhelm you; the destruction of animals will terrify you, as will human bloodshed and violence throughout the land, the villages, and all their inhabitants.
18 Of what value is an idol, when its potter carves it, or a cast image that has been shaped? It is a teacher of lies, for the potter trusts the pottery, though it is incapable of speaking.
19 Doom to the one saying to the tree, "Wake up!" or "Get up" to the silent stone. Does it teach? Look, it is overlaid with gold and silver, but there is no breath within it.
20 But the LORD is in his holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.

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Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

Habakkuk must wait in faith. (1-4) Judgments upon the Chaldeans. (5-14) Also upon drunkenness and idolatry. (15-20)

Verses 1-4 When tossed and perplexed with doubts about the methods of Providence, we must watch against temptations to be impatient. When we have poured out complaints and requests before God, we must observe the answers God gives by his word, his Spirit, and providences; what the Lord will say to our case. God will not disappoint the believing expectations of those who wait to hear what he will say unto them. All are concerned in the truths of God's word. Though the promised favour be deferred long, it will come at last, and abundantly recompense us for waiting. The humble, broken-hearted, repenting sinner, alone seeks to obtain an interest in this salvation. He will rest his soul on the promise, and on Christ, in and through whom it is given. Thus he walks and works, as well as lives by faith, perseveres to the end, and is exalted to glory; while those who distrust or despise God's all-sufficiency will not walk uprightly with him. The just shall live by faith in these precious promises, while the performance of them is deferred. Only those made just by faith, shall live, shall be happy here and for ever.

Verses 5-14 The prophet reads the doom of all proud and oppressive powers that bear hard upon God's people. The lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, are the entangling snares of men; and we find him that led Israel captive, himself led captive by each of these. No more of what we have is to be reckoned ours, than what we come honestly by. Riches are but clay, thick clay; what are gold and silver but white and yellow earth? Those who travel through thick clay, are hindered and dirtied in their journey; so are those who go through the world in the midst of abundance of wealth. And what fools are those that burden themselves with continual care about it; with a great deal of guilt in getting, saving, and spending it, and with a heavy account which they must give another day! They overload themselves with this thick clay, and so sink themselves down into destruction and perdition. See what will be the end hereof; what is gotten by violence from others, others shall take away by violence. Covetousness brings disquiet and uneasiness into a family; he that is greedy of gain troubles his own house; what is worse, it brings the curse of God upon all the affairs of it. There is a lawful gain, which, by the blessing of God, may be a comfort to a house; but what is got by fraud and injustice, will bring poverty and ruin upon a family. Yet that is not the worst; Thou hast sinned against thine own soul, hast endangered it. Those who wrong their neighbours, do much greater wrong to their own souls. If the sinner thinks he has managed his frauds and violence with art and contrivance, the riches and possessions he heaped together will witness against him. There are not greater drudges in the world than those who are slaves to mere wordly pursuits. And what comes of it? They find themselves disappointed of it, and disappointed in it; they will own it is worse than vanity, it is vexation of spirit. By staining and sinking earthly glory, God manifests and magnifies his own glory, and fills the earth with the knowledge of it, as plentifully as waters cover the sea, which are deep, and spread far and wide.

Verses 15-20 A severe woe is pronounced against drunkenness; it is very fearful against all who are guilty of drunkenness at any time, and in any place, from the stately palace to the paltry ale-house. To give one drink who is in want, who is thirsty and poor, or a weary traveller, or ready to perish, is charity; but to give a neighbour drink, that he may expose himself, may disclose secret concerns, or be drawn into a bad bargain, or for any such purpose, this is wickedness. To be guilty of this sin, to take pleasure in it, is to do what we can towards the murder both of soul and body. There is woe to him, and punishment answering to the sin. The folly of worshipping idols is exposed. The Lord is in his holy temple in heaven, where we have access to him in the way he has appointed. May we welcome his salvation, and worship him in his earthly temples, through Christ Jesus, and by the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Footnotes 10

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO HABAKKUK 2

This chapter contains an answer from the Lord to the expostulations, pleadings, and reasonings of the prophet, in the name of the people. The preparation of the prophet to receive this answer is described, Hab 2:1 then follows the answer itself, in which he is bid to write and make plain the vision he had, that it might be easily read, Hab 2:2 and a promise is made, that vision should still be continued to the appointed time, at which time the Messiah would come; and this the righteous man, in opposition to the vain and proud man, is encouraged to live in the faith of, Hab 2:3,4 and then the destruction of the enemies of the people of God is threatened for their pride, ambition, covetousness, oppression, and murder, Hab 2:5-12 which would be unavoidable, Hab 2:13 and issue in the spread of the knowledge of the glory of God in the world, Hab 2:14 and also the ruin of other enemies is threatened, for drawing men into apostasy, and for their violence and idolatry, Hab 2:15-19 upon which would follow an universal silence in the earth, Hab 2:20.

Habakkuk 2 Commentaries