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Bible Commentaries
Habakkuk 1

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

Verse 1

Hab 1:1. See Nah 1:1 For comments on the word burden. Habakkuk was given something to say and it was to be written in this book.

Verse 2

Hab 1:2. The prophet laments the corruption and violence that were being practiced by the people of Judah. Habakkuk was not responsible for the wickedness of his people but he felt a personal interest in their fate. Thou wilt not save means that Judah had gone too far in her abominable course to be spared the judgment of God.

Verse 3

Hab 1:3. Why dost thou show me iniquity is a continuation of the prophet's lament at the low ebb of spirituality among his people. He specifies some of the evils that the nation was committing; violence and strife and contentlon.

Verse 4

Hab 1:4. The law is slacked means that the people had become careless or even positively disobedient regarding His requirements. The wicked doth compass about the righteous was true In more than one sense. The wicked leaders hindered those who would have been righteously carrying out the Law. AIso, the leaders' wicked conduct in general was so bad that it covered up or counteracted what things they did that would have otherwise been acceptable. (See the long note in connection with Isa 1:10, volume 3 of this Commentary.)

Verse 5

Hab 1:5. Some prophecIes in the Bible had a twofold bearing, or were destined to be fulfilled twice, and the present verse is one of them. It first refers to the marvelous work of the Lord in which the heathen were to behold the judgment of God against his nation. Not believe, though told. They would rush heedlessly on in their evil course although they had been plainly and authoritatively told about it. The same kind of experience was threatening in Paul's day as he cites it in Act 13:41.

Verse 6

Hab 1:6. The Chaldeans were a special race of people who got in the lead in the land or Babylon, hence the terms Chaldeans and Babylonians are used in the same sense. From Hab 1:6-11 is a prediction of the great captivity that God was going to bring upon Judah. Hasty is from a word that is defined "prompt" in the lexicon. The Chaldeans were prompt in their movemenls, especially when they were induced thereto by bitterness as they were against Judah. They were to come through the land of God's people and take possession of the whole country.

Verse 7

Hab 1:7. Dreadful is from the same original word as "reverend" in Psa 111:9 where it is applied to the name of God. It shows us therefore that many words in the Bible are to be interpreted according to the connection In which they are used. Shall proceed of themselves means the Chaldeans were independent in disposition and followed their own inclination regardless of all others.

Verse 8

Hab 1:8. The horse was a prominent means ot warfare in ancient times, both for the drawing ot chariots and carrying of cavalrymen. The Chaldeans possessed some of the finest specimens of that noble creature. Evening wolves Is a figure denoting the viciousness with which they would lunge into battle. A wolf that had been fasting through the day would be hungry and ravenous by evening. The fact is used to illustrate the activities of the Chaldeans when their cavalry operated in the battle. Fly as the eagle is another figure of speech that means the same as the above comments.

Verse 9

Hab 1:9. The pronouns "they" and "their" stand for the Chaldeans (or Babylonians) who will be using the horses in the action. Shall Come for violence means that when these forces come against Judah it will be with the intention of getting what they want even if they have to use violence in getting it. Sup up is from one word and it is explained in the lexicon to mean "to accumulate by impulse." Gather as the sand indicates that the Chaldean army will sweep all before it as the east wind would drive the sand ahead of it and pile it up in great heaps.

Verse 10

Hab 1:10. The gist of this verse is that the Chaldean army will have no fear of kings or other men in official position. They will be treated as if they were only a heap of sand that had been drifted by the east wind.

Verse 11

Hab 1:11. Change means to be active and move promptly toward the objective. Offend is from ASHAM and defined by Strong, "To be guilty," The thought is that, though the Chaldean army was to be the instrument in God's hand in this great event, yet they will make a serious mistake in giving the credit for their achievement to their god.

Verse 12

Hab 1:12. Dropping the predictions of the captivity and the characteristics of the Babylonians, the prophet addresses the Lord on behalf ot the people of Israel. He draws a contrast between Him and the Babylonian army. The latter was a mighty force but was destined to be overthrown. But the Lord is from everlasting and will be able to care for His people even though they are suffered to go into captivity. We shall not die means that Judah will not cease to be although she must be severely punished. It was ordained that they have the experience of judgment for the purpose of correction.

Verse 13

Hab 1:13. Behold evil is said in the sense of approving it, and looking on iniquity is used in the same sense. God actually sees everything that is going on but He does not favor the evil. The latter part of the verse represents the anxiety of the prophet over the situation. He is more impatient than the Lord, and seems to think that He should deal more harshly with the wicked and treacherous enemy.

Verse 14

Hab 1:14. This verse is a further description ot the kind of enemy that the Lord's people had to endure. Makest men as the fishes of the sea means that the Babylonians had no more regard for men than they did for the dumb creatures.

Verse 15

Hab 1:15. Continuing his figure of the fishes, the prophet represents the Babylonians as dealing with the people of God in the same way they would the fishes which they caught in a net to be consumed upon their own appetites.

Verse 16

Hab 1:16. The net is now used to represent the idolatrous god of the heathen. Since the net had contributed gain to its owners, they concluded that it was a god and worthy to have worship paid to it.

Verse 17

Hab 1:17. The prophet asks in a deploring attitude, if the Lord will suffer these heartless fishermen to continue their cruel business. A fisherman empties his net so that he may use it to take more fish. The complaint of the prophet really is a prediction that the enemy (Babylon) will not be permitted to continue the wicked dealing with God's people.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/habakkuk-1.html. 1952.
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