Habakkuk 1:9

9 They all come for violence, with faces pressing [a] forward; they gather captives like sand.

Habakkuk 1:9 Meaning and Commentary

Habakkuk 1:9

They shall come all for violence
Or, "the whole of it" F19; the whole army of the Chaldeans, everyone of them; this would be their sole view, not to do themselves justice, as might be pretended, or avenge any injuries or affronts done to them by the Jews; but purely for the sake of spoil and plunder:

their faces shall sup up [as] the east wind:
their countenances will appear so stern and fierce, that their very looks will so frighten, as to cause men to sink and die through terror; just as herbs and plants shrivel up and wither away, when blasted by a nipping east wind. So the Targum,

``the reception or look of their faces is like to a vehement east wind.''

Some render it,

``the look or design of their faces is to the east F20;''

when the Chaldeans were on their march to Judea, their faces were to the west or south west; but then their desire and views were, that when they had got the spoil they came for, as in the preceding clause, to carry it to Babylon, which lay eastward or north east of Judea, and thither their faces looked:

and they shall gather the captivity as the sand;
or gather up persons, both in Judea, and in other countries conquered by them, as innumerable as the sand of the sea, and carry them captive into their own land. Captivity is put for captives.


F19 (hlk) "illa teta", Junius & Tremellius; "sub. gens", Pagninus, Piscator; "totus exercitus", Vatablus; "populus", Calvin.
F20 (hmydq) "ad orientem", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius; "orientem versus", Junius & Tremellius, De Dieu, Burkius; so Abarbinel.

Habakkuk 1:9 In-Context

7 Dread and fearsome are they; their justice and dignity proceed from themselves.
8 Their horses are swifter than leopards, more menacing than wolves at dusk; their horses charge. Their horsemen come from far away; they fly like an eagle swift to devour.
9 They all come for violence, with faces pressing forward; they gather captives like sand.
10 At kings they scoff, and of rulers they make sport. They laugh at every fortress, and heap up earth to take it.
11 Then they sweep by like the wind; they transgress and become guilty; their own might is their god!

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Meaning of Heb uncertain