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Bible Commentaries
Habakkuk 2

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verse 1


Verse 1:

Verse 1 concludes Habakkuk’s lament and complaint against God’s permitting the Gentile Chaldeans, more wicked then Israel, His chosen people, to persecute them so cruelly, and for so long a time. He resolves to watch or observe, to sit by and wait in patience, as from an high tower, for a further revelation from God, or chiding from God, for his extended complaint; Because he could not understand the holiness and justice of God, in the extended persecution of His people, Isaiah 21:8; Isaiah 21:11; Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 3:17; Psalms 85:8.

Verses 2-20

Jehovah’s Response To Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

Verses 2-20:

Habakkuk’s Vision And Jehovah’s Instruction

Verse 2 asserts that the Lord responded to Habakkuk’s lament and complaint, saying, "Write or record the vision, and make it plain, simple and clear, upon tables, that it may be read," as an important revelation from God; It was to be for the profit of all who read it, as surely as the law was, Deuteronomy 27:8. it was to be so clearly and legibly written that the good news of the Chaldean’s coming soon, and Judah’s deliverance, might be read by running couriers or message bearers, with joy. See also Daniel 12:4; Revelation 22:17; Habakkuk 1:5; Zechariah 2:4-5.

Verse 3 explains that the vision is for an appointed or fixed time of fulfillment, in God’s purpose; And what the vision reveals will not be a lie, but it will speak or breathe out the truth, as the end of the Gentile age hastens on. It will neither be behind nor run before God’s appointed time, as expressed Lamentations 3:26; Genesis 49:18. The future chastening and eventual glory of Judah and Israel are as certain, as the personal return of Jesus Christ for His church and the redeemed of all ages; One must not weary or despair in waiting for that hour, Hebrews 10:36-37.

Verse 4 declares that the soul which is lifted up (with pride), that is haughty in disposition, toward God, is not "upright" or righteous, or right, toward God. Such was the attitude of the Chaldeans at that time. In contrast with their attitude, God reveals in this vision to Habakkuk, that the just, "righteous", of "believer," shall live by or through faith; Faith in God, His Word, and His promised Redeemer-Messiah, Hebrews 10:38; Galatians 3:11; Romans 1:17. Believers are both saved and sustained in their afflictions through faith, Ephesians 2:8-10; Matthew 8:10; Hebrews 10:39; Romans 4:4-5. This contrasts the haughty, proud, unbeliever with the soul that trusts in the Lord, Proverbs 3:3-5.

Verse 5 charges that the king or leader of Chaldea and his wicked, conquering, and oppressive armed men were given or habituated to the treachery of wine. They were so inebriated, or

drunken with wine and greed for greater military loot and gain, that they would not stay at home, when a conquest was over. Proud, greedy, gluttonous, they sought glory through cruelty against other cities and nations, Proverbs 30:1; Proverbs 21:24. Their consuming passion was for plunder and power, without regard for men or God, Psalms 27:12; Psalms 41:2-3; Isaiah 5:14. Like hell, that cannot be full, and death that swallows up all, these barbarous Chaldeans were never satisfied, Proverbs 27:10; Proverbs 30:10.

Verse 6 raises the question, shall not those nations and people who have been cruelly abused in captivity take up a parabolic complaint against him of Chaldea, who has led in raping their families, plundering and absconding their properties, and making them slaves, away from their homeland? Micah 2:4; Isaiah 14:4; Jeremiah 51:34. This verse begins a derisive song of five stanzas as follows: The first three stanzas consist of three verses each, beginning with "woe," 1) v. 6-8; 2) v. 9-11; 3) v. 12-14. The fourth stanza also begins with "woe" and has (4) verses, 15-18. The fifth stanza also begins with the fifth "woe", that covers two verses, 19, 20. Each of the five stanzas has its own subject. The first "woe" regards those who take by power what is not their own; The question is posed, How long can this go on?

Verse 7 asks, shall not the oppressed one day rise up, like a venomous serpent that has been trampled upon, and strike at their oppressor, like an enraged, savage viper? Jeremiah 8:17. They will, will they not? is the rhetoric idea here expressed. They were assured that those they had vexed, and seized their property, would one day turn upon them, and make "booty" or plunder of them; See Proverbs 29:1; Isaiah 13:1-5; Isaiah 21:2-9; Isaiah 41:25; Isaiah 45:1-2.

Verse 8 explains very clearly that because the king of the Chaldeans had spoiled, destroyed many nations, all the remnant of the people should arise, and spoil him and his empire, which they did, Isaiah 33:1. This was to occur on account of Chaldea’s violent oppression of the lands and cities of the earth, v. 5, 6, 12, and Judea and Jerusalem in particular, referred to as the "land" and "city", v. 17.

Verse 9 begins a second "woe" because of Chaldea’s covetous and ill-gotten gain, to put his own houses on high, to add wealth to his own dynasty; Nebuchadnezzar sought to build his nest high, like an eagle, safe from other predators, since she is a predator herself. He sought, by robbery and plunder, to strengthen his rule so that it would remain with his family forever. His carnal, cruel, covetousness brought his mighty fall, and with it the eventual fall of his empire, under Belshazzar, Daniel 5:24-30; Job 39:27.

Verse 10 charges Chaldea’s king that he has consulted shame to his house, or determined shame to fall upon his regal family, by cutting off, slaying, cruelly taking many captives out of their own homes, breaking up their homes and families for his own selfish greed, to his own ruin; See Proverbs 8:36; Proverbs 20:2; Proverbs 22:16. They who abuse their neighbors, wound and callous their own soul, to their own shame.

Verse 11 attributes the power of speech to the stones in the walls, and the beams of the timber of the residences, from which the Chaldeans had taken the best, to put in their own houses, Luke 19:40. The stones cry their protest, and the cross beams of their wealthy houses taken from the Israelites of Judea, join in testifying against the abuse and rape of their conquered captives, Galatians 6:7-8; Numbers 32:23.

Verse 12 pronounces a third woe upon him who builds a town with blood, or with blood-bought riches, loot, and spoils; And who enlarges and establishes or builds up a city with the fruits of iniquity, as the city of Babylon was built and rebuilt, or enlarged with the spoils and plunder of war, repeatedly, Daniel 4:30; See also Jeremiah 22:13; Ezekiel 24:9; Micah 3:10; Nahum 3:1.

Verse 13 emphasizes that it is not of the Lord, of His directive, but providential, and permissive will, that the captive people of the Chaldeans endure the fiery persecutions and oppressions, to bring them to fatigue in labor, as abject slaves, and to- reduce their population. These builders in Babylon, upon the spoils of their own cruel raids and plunder of other nations, only prepare themselves to be burned or sacked by other heathen nations soon. This is the determination of God upon them, Jeremiah 51:28; Micah 4:2-4.

Verse 14 affirms that God has assured the eventual complete defeat of all Gentile foes against His people Israel; And that Israel shall be restored to His glory. At that time there shall be a universal knowledge, recognition, or acknowledgment of the power of God, as broadly as the waters that cover the sea-bed or sea bottom, Isaiah 11:9. It will come to full realization when Jesus returns, to reign as King of kings and Lord of fords, for the restitution of all things, to the glory of His Father, Acts 3:19-21; Acts 15:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:23-28; Revelation 11:15. See also 2 Samuel 7:9; Zechariah 12:8; Luke 1:31-33.

Verse 15 pronounces a fourth "woe" upon those who put the bottle to his neighbor, to make him drunk, to bring him to poverty and nakedness, by calculated design and intent. Kings wined and dined leaders of their smaller subject nations on special occasions, with the ulterior motive of enlisting their pledge to pay tribute, by extracting it from their people by violence, and bringing it to the lion-king of all kings, in Babylon. At such a gathering, the handwriting of Divine judgment appeared on the pilaster of the king’s palace, one fateful night in Babylon, when God’s anger was full, Daniel ch. 5. Drunkenness brought shame to Noah when Ham uncovered his nakedness, Genesis 9:22, shame to Belshazzar that fateful night in Babylon, before his princes, his wives, and his concubines, Daniel 5:1-6; Daniel 5:30. Nakedness expresses the shame and humiliation the Chaldeans had brought to Judah, and other conquered nations, and to the eventual judgment of nakedness, humiliation and shame that would come upon her for her deeds, Nahum 3:5; Nahum 3:11; Isaiah 47:3.

Verse 16 charges the king of Chaldea with being filled with shame for, (instead of) her former glory, as expressed Hosea 4:7. Habakkuk prophesies to the king of the Chaldeans, in terms of utter contempt, to drink himself of the bitter dregs of sorrow and cruelty that he has inflicted on others, and let his foreskin (of an uncircumcised) heathen be uncovered, just to show what kind of an heathen and alien from God that he really was, Jeremiah 25:15-17; Lamentations 4:21; 1 Samuel 17:36. The cup of the Lord’s right hand judgment, poured out against the wicked, is bitter, will make them vomit up and behold their own shame and glory, Jeremiah 25; Jeremiah 17; Psalms 75:8.

Verse 17 explains why this judgment shall cover or fall so heavily upon Babylon. She had gone to Lebanon, plundered and burned the best homes of the wealthy, spoiled their finest cedars of the forests, to adorn their edifices in Babylon, and carried away their silver, gold, and best furniture, from Lebanon to the city of Jerusalem, through all the land of Israel and Judah. A similar violence is herein decreed to fall on her, for those deeds of inhumanity, Isaiah 14:8; Isaiah 37:24; Jeremiah 22:23; Ezekiel 17:3; Ezekiel 17:12.

Verse 18 inquires just what profit, what dividend, the producers, distributors, and worshippers of graven and molten heathen images would bring to their people. Each who produced, distributed, and worshipped them, or offered prayer and sacrifice to them, is charged with being a "teacher of lies," be he prophet, priest, or layman, Jeremiah 8:14; Zechariah 10:2. All involved with these heathen idols were perpetrators, spreaders, of lies about gods with eyes that were blind, ears that were deaf, tongues that were dumb, and feet and hands that were paralyzed. To try to sell a horse that was in that shape, would cause one to wind up in jail; Yet fallen men would do such, in their rebellion against God, Psalms 2:12; Psalms 115:4-9.

Verse 19 pronounces a fifth "woe" upon those priests, prophets, and people who falsely represented idol gods as able to see, hear, speak or help speak or lend a helping hand, to deluded victims who bowed like idiots or mentally deranged and the emotionally disturbed, before them. David asserted "they that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them," Psalms 115:8; See also Jeremiah 10:14-15. These silent gods are their own best witnesses. Ask them a question and you’ll die without an answer from them, See? Isaiah 44:9-12. The splendor of gold, silver, or precious stones in a statue or image gives it no life.

Verse 20 turns the thought to firm assurance that the Lord of glory is in His Holy Temple on high, a living, caring, and sustaining God,. worthy of worship and adoration, who sees, hears, understands, and responds to the cries of His true worshippers. All the earth is called to keep silence before His majesty, with reverence and obedience, Zephaniah 1:7; Zechariah 2:13; He is not encased in gold or silver, Psalms 11:4.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Habakkuk 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/habakkuk-2.html. 1985.
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