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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Habakkuk 1

 

 

Verses 1-17


The Prophet's burden. The Answer of Jehovah

1. Burden] RM 'oracle': see on Isaiah 13:1.

2, 3. How long?.. Why?] Even a prophet (Habakkuk 1:1) can ask such questions. He never denies the existence of God, but he cannot understand His seeming failure to interpose in human affairs. In the end, however, the despondency merges into a faith which can believe where it cannot see (Habakkuk 2:3; Habakkuk 3:17.).

5. Behold ye among the heathen] For this we ought to read, 'Behold, ye treacherous' (as in the quotation in Acts 13:41, 'ye despisers'). The despisers are those in Habakkuk 1:1-4 who trample upon moral and social law, thinking Jehovah will never intervene. In your days] The profounder solution in Habakkuk 2:3 contemplates the possibility of a long postponement of the issue.

6. The Chaldeans] possibly written after the battle of Carchemish, in 605 b.c., with reference to Nebuchadrezzar and his army, so graphically described in Habakkuk 2:6-10.

7. The last clause means that the Chaldean recognises no master or judge: he is a law to himself.

9. RM 'Their faces are set eagerly forwards, and they gather captives as the sand.'

10. They shall heap dust] i.e. they shall throw up an enlargement of earth, to take the fortress.

11. The correct translation should probably be: Then he sweeps by as a wind, and passes on and makes his might his God—an admirable climax to the description of the Chaldeans.

12-17. A new riddle.

12. Habakkuk's faith is staggered by the conduct of the Chaldeans. He had welcomed them as ministers of the divine judgment, and 10!they had shown themselves to be cruel and haughty, working out not God's will, but their own. How was this consistent with the holiness of God?

13. The cry of a perplexed heart: Thou art too pure to look upon evil, why then dost Thou look upon it? God looks on in silence: He does nothing, says nothing! The wicked (i.e. the Chaldean) swallows up one who is more righteous than himself (i.e. Judah).

14. And makest] probably this should be 'and makes.' It is, as Habakkuk 1:15-16 show, the Chaldean who makes men like fish, sweeping them into his net.

16. He sacrifices to his net] i.e. to his weapons of destruction, as to a god: for was not might his god? cp. Habakkuk 1:11.

17. This v. should probably read, 'Will he draw the sword for ever, slaying nations mercilessly evermore?'.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/habakkuk-1.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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