Habakkuk 2

1 I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.[a]

The LORD’s Answer

2 Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald[b] may run with it.
3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it[c] will certainly come and will not delay.
4 “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness[d]
5 indeed, wine betrays him; he is arrogant and never at rest. Because he is as greedy as the grave and like death is never satisfied, he gathers to himself all the nations and takes captive all the peoples.
6 “Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying, “ ‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion! How long must this go on?’
7 Will not your creditors suddenly arise? Will they not wake up and make you tremble? Then you will become their prey.
8 Because you have plundered many nations, the peoples who are left will plunder you. For you have shed human blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.
9 “Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain, setting his nest on high to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples, shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
11 The stones of the wall will cry out, and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.
12 “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by injustice!
13 Has not the LORD Almighty determined that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORDas the waters cover the sea.
15 “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies!
16 You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed[e] ! The cup from the LORD’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.
17 The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed human blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.
18 “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches lies? For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.
19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.”
20 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.

Cross References 50

  • 1. S Isaiah 21:8
  • 2. S Psalms 48:13
  • 3. Psalms 85:8
  • 4. S Psalms 5:3; S Ezekiel 3:17
  • 5. S Isaiah 30:8; S Jeremiah 36:2; S Ezekiel 24:2; S Romans 4:24; Revelation 1:19
  • 6. Daniel 11:27
  • 7. Daniel 8:17; Daniel 10:14
  • 8. S Psalms 27:14
  • 9. S Ezekiel 12:25; Hebrews 10:37-38
  • 10. S Ezekiel 18:9
  • 11. Romans 1:17*; Galatians 3:11*; Hebrews 10:37-38*
  • 12. S Proverbs 20:1
  • 13. S Isaiah 2:11
  • 14. S Proverbs 27:20; S Proverbs 30:15-16
  • 15. Habakkuk 1:9
  • 16. S Isaiah 14:4
  • 17. Amos 2:8
  • 18. S Proverbs 29:1
  • 19. Isaiah 33:1; Jeremiah 50:17-18; S Obadiah 1:15; Zechariah 2:8-9
  • 20. ver 17
  • 21. S Ezekiel 39:10
  • 22. S Jeremiah 22:13
  • 23. S Jeremiah 51:13
  • 24. S Job 39:27; S Isaiah 10:14
  • 25. Jeremiah 26:19
  • 26. ver 16; S Nahum 3:6
  • 27. S Joshua 24:27; Zechariah 5:4; Luke 19:40
  • 28. S Ezekiel 22:2; S Micah 3:10
  • 29. Isaiah 50:11
  • 30. S Isaiah 47:13
  • 31. S Exodus 16:7; S Numbers 14:21
  • 32. S Isaiah 11:9
  • 33. S Proverbs 23:20
  • 34. S ver 10
  • 35. S Ezekiel 23:32-34; Hosea 4:7
  • 36. S Leviticus 10:9
  • 37. S Lamentations 4:21
  • 38. S Psalms 16:5; S Isaiah 51:22
  • 39. S Jeremiah 51:35
  • 40. S Jeremiah 50:15
  • 41. ver 8
  • 42. S 1 Samuel 12:21
  • 43. S Judges 10:14; S Isaiah 40:19; S Jeremiah 5:21; S Jeremiah 14:22
  • 44. S Leviticus 26:1
  • 45. Psalms 115:4-5; Jeremiah 10:14; 1 Corinthians 12:2
  • 46. 1 Kings 18:27
  • 47. S Jeremiah 10:4
  • 48. S Daniel 5:4,23; S Hosea 4:12
  • 49. S Psalms 11:4
  • 50. S Isaiah 41:1

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Or "and what to answer when I am rebuked"
  • [b]. Or "so that whoever reads it"
  • [c]. Or "Though he linger, wait for him;" / "he"
  • [d]. Or "faith"
  • [e]. Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls, Aquila, Vulgate and Syriac (see also Septuagint) "and stagger"

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

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