Habakkuk 1:11

11 Then they sweep by like the wind and go on, 1guilty men, 2whose own might is their god!"

Habakkuk 1:11 Meaning and Commentary

Habakkuk 1:11

Then shall [his] mind change
The mind of the king of Babylon; not that, when he had taken Jerusalem, he altered his purpose, and laid aside his designs of attacking other nations, and returned to his own country; where he became guilty of gross idolatry, in setting up the golden image in the plain of Dura, which he required all his subjects to worship, and to which he ascribed all his victories; for, five years after this, Josephus F23 says, he led his army into Coelesyria, and conquered the Moabites and Ammonites, and entered Egypt, and slew the reigning king of it: but rather the disposition of his mind changed for the worse upon his success in subduing kings and princes, and their kingdoms; for though his mind was never good, but always proud, haughty, and ambitious, insolent, cruel, and tyrannical; yet, being flushed with his conquests, he grew more and more so: and he shall pass over
F24, or "transgress", all bounds of modesty and sobriety, of humanity and goodness: and offend, [imputing] this his power unto his god
F25; this particularly will be the sin he will be guilty of, he will ascribe all his achievements to his idol Bel; or rather to himself, to his own prowess and valour, his wisdom and skill in military affairs; for so it will bear to be rendered, making "this his own power to be his god"; and perhaps the golden image Nebuchadnezzar set up to be worshipped was for himself; see ( Daniel 4:30 ) . The Targum is,

``therefore, because of the lifting up of his spirit, his kingdom was removed from him; and he committed an offence, in that he multiplied glory to his idol;''
and some interpret the whole of this of the miserable condition Nebuchadnezzar was brought into, being a prophecy of it: "then shall his mind change"; his heart from man's to a beast's, ( Daniel 4:16 ) : "and he shall pass over"; from all society and conversation with men, and have his dwelling with beasts, ( Daniel 4:31 Daniel 4:32 ) : "and offend", or rather "be punished", and become desolate and miserable, for his pride, and idolatry, and other sins: "this his power" is "his god" F26; spoken ironically; see what his power is now, being changed into a beast, which he reckoned his god, or gloried in as what he had from his god: but I rather think the whole is a continuation of his success, particularly in the land of Judea; and to be rendered, "then shall he pass through, as the wind, and shall pass over; and he shall bear the punishment of his sin, whose power is his god"; that is, the king of Babylon and his army, the Chaldeans, should pass through all nations and kingdoms that were between them and Judea, like a strong wind or whirlwind, to which they are compared, ( Jeremiah 4:13 ) and carry all before them, none being able to resist and oppose them; and should pass over rivers that lay in their way, and the boundaries of Judea, and spread themselves over the whole country; and then that country, and the inhabitants of it, should be punished for their sins, particularly for their confidence in themselves; in their wealth and riches; in their fortresses and strong towers; in their own works of righteousness; all which they made idols of, and trusted not in their God, as they ought to have done.

F23 Antiqu. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 7.
F24 (rbey) "transgredietur", Pagninus, Vatablus, Calvin, Drusius, Tarnovius.
F25 (whwlal wxwk wz) "iste est, ejus robur fuit pro deo ejus", Gussetius.
F26 "Tune immutatus est spiritu, et transiit et desolatus est, hoc robur ejus est dei ejus", De Dieu.

Habakkuk 1:11 In-Context

9 They all come for violence, all their faces forward. They gather captives like sand.
10 At kings they scoff, and at rulers they laugh. They laugh at every fortress, for they pile up earth and take it.
11 Then they sweep by like the wind and go on, guilty men, whose own might is their god!"
12 Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.
13 You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?

Cross References 2

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.