Chabakuk 2

1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the matzor (rampart), and will watch to see what Hashem will speak in me, and what He shall answer to my tokhakhah (complaint).
2 And Hashem answered me, and said, Write the chazon, and make it plain upon tablets, so that a herald may run with it.
3 For the chazon is yet for a mo’ed (an appointed time); it speaks of HaKetz (the End), and does not lie; though it tarry, wait for him [Moshiach— see Sanhedrin 97b]; because he will surely come, and will not tarry.
4 Hinei, his nashamah which is puffed up is not upright in him; but the tzaddik shall live by his emunah. [Bereshis 15:6]
5 Yea also, yayin is a boged (betrayer, treacherous); he is a proud man, never at rest, who enlargeth his appetite as Sheol; like Mavet, it cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto it kol HaGoyim, and collecteth unto it kol HaAmim;
6 Shall not all these take up a mashal against such, with mocking poem riddles against him, and say, Hoy (Woe) to him that increaseth that which is not his! For how long? And to him that loadeth himself by the weight of pledges (i.e., heaps up by borrowing)!
7 Shall not thy biters (charging neshekh) arise suddenly and awake that shall oppress thee, and thou shalt be for plunder unto them?
8 Because thou hast plundered many Goyim, all the remnant of the Amim shall plunder thee; because of [shefach] dahm, and for the chamas eretz, the city, and of all that dwell therein.
9 Hoy (Woe) to him that coveteth an evil gain for his bais, that he may set his ken (nest) on high, that he may be delivered from the power of ruin!
10 Thy counsel hast brought shame to thy bais by cutting off amim rabbim and hast sinned against thy nashamah.
11 For the even (stone) shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.
12 Hoy (Woe) to him that buildeth a town with [shefach] dahm, and foundeth a city by iniquity!
13 Hinei, is it not from Hashem Tzva’os that the people shall labor only to feed the eish, and the people shall weary themselves in vain?
14 For the earth shall be filled with the da’as of the kavod Hashem, as the waters cover the yam.
15 Hoy (Woe) unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, pressing thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
16 Thou art filled with shame instead of kavod; drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered; the kos of Hashem’s right hand shall be turned against thee, and utter shame shall be on thy kavod.
17 For the chamas of the Levanon shall cover thee, and the decimation of animals, by which you terrorized them, because of [shefach] dahm, and for the chamas eretz, and to the city, and all that dwell therein.
18 What profiteth the pesel (graven image) that the maker thereof hath shaped it; the molten image, and moreh sheker, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb elilim (idols)?
19 Hoy (woe) unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb even (stone), Arise, it shall teach! Hinei, it is laid over with zahav and kesef, and there is no ruach at all in it.
20 But Hashem is in His Heikhal Kodesh; let kol ha’aretz keep silence before Him.

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Chabakuk 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.

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.

Chabakuk 2 Commentaries