Habakkuk 2

Listen to Habakkuk 2
1 I will 1take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and 2look out to see 3what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

The Righteous Shall Live by His Faith

2 And the LORD answered me:4"Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
3 For still 5the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end--it will not lie. If it seems slow, 6wait for it; 7it will surely come; it will not delay.
4 "Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but 8the righteous shall live by his faith.[a]
5 "Moreover, wine[b] is 9a traitor, an arrogant man who is never at rest.[c] His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death 10he has never enough. 11He gathers for himself all nations and collects as his own all peoples."

Woe to the Chaldeans

6 Shall not all these 12take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say, 13"Woe to him 14who heaps up what is not his own-- for 15how long?-- and 16loads himself with pledges!"
7 17Will not your debtors suddenly arise, and those awake who will make you tremble? Then you will be spoil for them.
8 18Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you, 19for the blood of man and 20violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.
9 21"Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, 22to 23set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm!
10 You have devised shame for your house 24by cutting off many peoples; you have forfeited your life.
11 For 25the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the woodwork respond.
12 26"Woe to him 27who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity!
13 Behold, is it not from the LORD of hosts that 28peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing?
14 29For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of 30the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
15 31"Woe to him 32who makes his neighbors drink-- you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze 33at their nakedness!
16 You will have your fill 34of shame instead of glory. 35Drink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision! 36The cup in the LORD's right hand will come around to you, and 37utter shame will come upon your glory!
17 38The violence 39done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, as will the destruction of the beasts that terrified them, 40for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.
18 41"What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, 42a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes 43speechless idols!
19 44Woe to him 45who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and 46there is no breath at all in it.
20 But 47the LORD is in his holy temple; 48let all the earth keep silence before him."

Images for Habakkuk 2

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.

Cross References 48

  • 1. Isaiah 21:8
  • 2. Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 33:2
  • 3. Psalms 85:8
  • 4. Isaiah 8:1; Isaiah 30:8; [Revelation 1:19]
  • 5. [Daniel 10:14]; See Ezekiel 7:5-7
  • 6. Zephaniah 3:8; See Isaiah 8:17
  • 7. Cited Hebrews 10:37; [2 Peter 3:9]
  • 8. Cited Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38; [John 3:36]
  • 9. Habakkuk 1:13; Isaiah 21:2
  • 10. [Proverbs 27:20]
  • 11. Jeremiah 27:7; [Habakkuk 1:6; Daniel 2:37, 38]
  • 12. Micah 2:4; See Numbers 23:7
  • 13. ver. 19; Isaiah 5:8
  • 14. [Habakkuk 1:6]
  • 15. See Zechariah 1:12
  • 16. [Ezekiel 18:7]
  • 17. See Isaiah 21:5-9
  • 18. [Isaiah 33:1]
  • 19. ver. 17
  • 20. [Isaiah 33:1]
  • 21. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 22. [Isaiah 14:13]
  • 23. Jeremiah 49:16; [Numbers 24:21]
  • 24. [Habakkuk 1:17]
  • 25. [Luke 19:40]
  • 26. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 27. See Micah 3:10
  • 28. Jeremiah 51:58
  • 29. Isaiah 11:9
  • 30. Psalms 72:19
  • 31. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 32. [ver. 5; Jeremiah 51:7]
  • 33. Lamentations 4:21; [Genesis 9:22]
  • 34. Nahum 3:5
  • 35. Jeremiah 25:15, 26
  • 36. Jeremiah 25:15, 26
  • 37. [Nahum 3:6]
  • 38. ver. 8
  • 39. [Isaiah 14:8; Jeremiah 22:23]
  • 40. ver. 8
  • 41. Isaiah 44:10
  • 42. Jeremiah 10:8, 14; Zechariah 10:2
  • 43. Psalms 115:5; 1 Corinthians 12:2
  • 44. ver. 6, 9, 12, 15
  • 45. See 1 Kings 18:26, 27
  • 46. Psalms 135:17; Jeremiah 10:14
  • 47. Psalms 11:4; Micah 1:2
  • 48. [Zephaniah 1:7; Zechariah 2:13]

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or faithfulness
  • [b]. Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll wealth
  • [c]. The meaning of the Hebrew of these two lines is uncertain

Chapter Summary


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

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