Habakkuk 1:14

14 You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler.

Habakkuk 1:14 in Other Translations

14 And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
14 You make mankind like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler.
14 Are we only fish to be caught and killed? Are we only sea creatures that have no leader?
14 You're treating men and women as so many fish in the ocean, Swimming without direction, swimming but not getting anywhere.
14 You have made mankind like the fish of the sea, like marine creatures that have no ruler.

Habakkuk 1:14 Meaning and Commentary

Habakkuk 1:14

And makest men as the fishes of the sea
That is, sufferest them to be used as the fishes of the sea, which are easily taken in the net, and are common to everyone; whosoever will may take them up, and kill them, and use them for their food; and which also among themselves are often hardly used, the lesser being devoured by the greater; and in like manner the prophet suggests, that the people of the Jews, who were men made after the image of God, and made for society and usefulness, and moreover were God's covenant people; and it might have been expected, that a more special providence would have attended them, more than other men, and especially than what attended the fishes of the sea; yet it looked as if there were no more care taken of them than of these:

as the creeping things [that have] no ruler over them;
not the creeping things of the earth, but of the water, the lesser sort of fishes that move in the water; or those that more properly creep, as crabs, prawns, and shrimps; see ( Psalms 104:25 ) who have none to protect and defend them, and restrain others from taking and hurting them: this may seem contrary to what Aristotle F4 and Pliny F5 say of some fishes, that they go in company, and have a leader or governor; but, as Bochart F6 observes, it is one thing to be a leader of the way, a guide and director, which way to steer their course in swimming; and another thing to be as the general of an army, to protect and defend, or under whose directions they might defend themselves; such an one the prophet denies they had: and so, the prophet complains, this was the case of the Jews; they were exposed to the cruelty of their enemies, as if there was no God that governed in the world, and no providence to direct and order things for the preservation of men, and to keep good men from being hurt by evil men; or those that were weak and feeble from being oppressed by the powerful and mighty; this he reasons with the Lord about, and was desirous of an answer to it.


F4 Hist. Animal. l. 8. c. 13.
F5 Nat. Hist. l. 9. c. 15.
F6 Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 1. c. 6. col. 39.

Habakkuk 1:14 In-Context

12 LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, LORD, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
14 You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler.
15 The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food.
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