Habakkuk 2:15

15 1"Woe to him 2who makes his neighbors drink-- you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze 3at their nakedness!

Habakkuk 2:15 Meaning and Commentary

Habakkuk 2:15

Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink
Before the full accomplishment of the above prophecy concerning the abundance of the knowledge of the Lord in the earth, and before the utter destruction of antichrist; between that and the Reformation, when it had its fulfilment in part; the following practices inveighed against would be used, as we find they are, and for which the man of sin and his followers will be punished: one of which is expressed by a man's "giving his neighbour drink"; which is a commendable action, when drink is given to a person in want to quench his thirst, or in sorrowful and distressed circumstances to refresh and cheer him; but when this is done to intoxicate him, and draw him into uncleanness, it is an evil one; and which is the sense of the phrase here, as appears by the "woe" denounced, and by what follows; and is to be understood, not in a literal sense, but in a figurative one; and is expressive of the various artful methods and alluring ways used by the Papists, especially the Jesuits, after the Reformation, with the Protestants, to forsake their religion, and to draw them into the superstition and idolatry of the church of Rome; and which are in the New Testament signified by "the wine of her fornication", with which the kings, nations, and inhabitants of the earth, are made drunk, ( Revelation 17:2 ) crying up the devotion and religion of their church, its antiquity, purity, holiness, and unity; pretending great love to the souls of men, that they seek nothing but their spiritual good; promising them great advantages, temporal and spiritual, worldly riches and honour, and sure and certain salvation within the pale of their church, without which they say there is none; and by such means they have intoxicated many princes, kingdoms, and multitudes of people, since the Reformation; and have drawn them off from the profession of the Protestant religion, and brought them back to Popery again, as in Poland, Bohemia, Hungary, Germany, France, and other places; and these methods they are now taking in all Protestant countries, and in ours, and that with great success, as is notorious, and time will more abundantly show; but there is a "woe" lies against them for it: that puttest thy bottle to [him];
giving him not only a glass or cup at a time, but a whole bottle to drink off at once, in order to inebriate him. The word is by some translated "thy gall", or "thy poison" F11; which fitly enough expresses the poisonous doctrines of the church of Rome, which men insensibly imbibe, infused in her wine of fornication, or drink in through the alluring and ensnaring methods taken. It properly signifies "heat" or "wrath". The Targum is,

``that pours it with heat, that he may drink, and be inebriated.''
The Syriac version is,
``woe to him that gives his neighbour to drink the dregs of fury.''
The words may be truly rendered, "adding thy wrath" F12; that is, to the alluring and enticing methods before mentioned, adding menaces, wrathful words, and furious persecutions: and this the Papists do where they can; when good words and fair speeches will not prevail, and they can not gain over proselytes with flattery, deceit, and lying, they threaten them with racks and tortures, with prisons and galleys, and death itself in various shapes, to force men into their communion; and which they have put in execution in many places, in Bohemia, Hungary, and in France even to this day; and this is what in the New Testament is called "the wine of the wrath of her fornication", ( Revelation 14:8 ) ( 18:3 ) : and makest [him] drunken also, that thou mayest look on their
as Ham did on his father's nakedness when in such circumstances: all the above methods are taken in order to intoxicate them, deprive them of the use of their reason, as is the case of a drunken man; and so bring them to believe, with an implicit faith, as the church believes; to believe things contrary to reason; to give into the spiritual whoredom and idolatry of that church, as men when drunk are easily drawn into uncleanness; to cast off their profession of the true religion, as a garment is cast off, as men when drunk are apt to do; and particularly to reject the doctrine of justification by the righteousness of Christ, which is the only robe to cover the nakedness of men, and receive the doctrine of merit and justification by works; in short, to apostatize wholly from the religion they have professed, and join in communion with the whore of Rome, that so they may look upon their apostasy, which is their nakedness, with the utmost pleasure and delight.

F11 (Ktmx) "venenum tuum", Montanus; so some in Drusius, and R. Jonah in Ben Melech.
F12 (Ktmx xpom) "adjugenti, [sive] adhibenti furorem tuum", Tigurine version.

Habakkuk 2:15 In-Context

13 Behold, is it not from the LORD of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing?
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
15 "Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink-- you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze at their nakedness!
16 You will have your fill of shame instead of glory. Drink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision! The cup in the LORD's right hand will come around to you, and utter shame will come upon your glory!
17 The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, as will the destruction of the beasts that terrified them, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.

Cross References 3

  • 1. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 2. [ver. 5; Jeremiah 51:7]
  • 3. Lamentations 4:21; [Genesis 9:22]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.