Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 14th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Habakkuk 2

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

Verse 1

Hab 2:1. The preceding chapter closes with the plea of the prophet to put a stop to the wicked business of the enemy. This verse represents him as waiting at his post of duty and listening to hear what the Lord will say to him in response. Watch is a short term for watchtower, because prophets were regarded as watchmen on the walls of Zion and looking out for the welfare of the people (Eze 3:17). The prophet is watching and sees the enemy approaching (with his prophetic eye) and has reported it to his great Commander-in-chief and wants to know what is to be done about it.

Verse 2

Hab 2:2. This verse begins the Lord's answer to the prophet's inquiry. He is instructed to make it plain which is tram BAAR, defined in the lexicon, "A primitive root; to dig; by analogy to engrave." Tables is from LUACH which Strong defines, "To glisten; a tablet (as polished), of stone, wood or metal." The means of advertisement were not very plentiful in ancient times, and public notices were supposed to be so arranged that all could know about It. The verse means that Habakkuk was to select a writing tablet or plate and engrave the announcement upon it. He was to engrave the words on this plate and display it in a conspicuous place. Then a man running by could read it as he was passing very much as a traveler today can read the road signs as he is driving along.

Verse 3

Hab 2:3. The gist of this verse is that some time will pass by before the prediction is fulfilled, but it is sure to come and the people should be expecting it.

Verse 4

Hab 2:4. Lifted up is said in the sense of pride, something that the Lord abhors as not being the proper spirit of an upright man. Such a principle will not direct anyone In the way pleasing to Him. Instead, the man who will live or be in the favor of God is one who shall live by faith and who is not prompted tn conduct by pride.

Verse 5

Hab 2:5. This and a number of verses following describe some characteristics of the Chaldeans who were destined finally to come against Judah. Neither keepeth at home indicates the practice of that heathen nation in seeking further territory to subdue. In the pursuit of such a desire it gathers unto him all nations. This explains the motive that Babylon had in subduing Judah although it was the decree of God that his people be taken into that captivity. But since the motive was wrong, the Lord was determined to punish that heathen nation, which accounts for these verses against it.

Verse 6

Verse 6. After the Babylonians have been overthrown the nations that were mistreated by them will rejoice In their downfall. They will return to the covetous practices of which they had been victims and consider them as reasons why the dreaded nation was itself conquered. Thick clay in the original is ABTIYT which Strong defines, "Something pledged. i.e. (collectively) pawned goods." Moffatt renders it "what he must repay." The passage means that when the Babylonian king seized the property of all these nations he was taking on a load that he would not always be able to carry. It is likened to a man who obligated himselt by pawning something that he would not be able to redeem. That was because God was going to bring the King of Babylon to account and he would not be able to meet it.

Verse 7

Hab 2:7. This verse is in Question form, but it is a prediction that the nations that Babylon had depressed would rebound and take vengeance on it.

Verse 8

Hab 2:8. Spoiled many nations refers to the plunder that the Babylonians took from the helpless countries.

Verse 9

Hab 2:9. The prophet now turns his writing into a general discussion at certain principles pertaining to the conduct of man and of God's attitude toward the same. Coveteth an evil covetousness means to desire that which would be wrong to have. That which would make it wrong Is his evil motive namely, that he might set his nest on high which means the act of self·exaltation or pride.

Verse 10

Hab 2:10. Concerning such a person described in the preceding verse, the prophet charges him to have consulted shame which means that his conduct will bring on his house the shame of defeat. He has really sinned against his own soul or life because in the end he wlll be the loser.

Verse 11

Hab 2:11. Stone and beam are inanimate objects and are used figuratively to represent the miraculous judgment that will come upon the man guilty or these wrongs.

Verse 12

Hab 2:12. It is right to build towns for habitations of needy people, but it is wrong to do so by violence against other helpless men.

Verse 13

Hab 2:13. The Lord has decreed that all who pursue such wicked courses for gain shall find themselves laboring in vain. Their own practices wlll turn out to be as a fire about them that will destroy all their evil labors.

Verse 14

Hab 2:14. The general knowledge of God's glory was to come to the nations when He brought the mighty Chaldean power into subjection. But we can see a greater fulfillment of the prediction in the universal distribution of the Gospel (Mat 28:19; Mar 16:15 ; Rom 10:18 ; Col 1:23).

Verse 15

Hab 2:15. The Bible teaches that a drunkard will not inherit the kingdom of God (1Co 6:10). so that such a character will be con- demned for his own act. And our present verse condemns those who encourage or induce others to drink. It is especially to be condemned when the motive is as low as indicated In this verse. The statement gives us an additional thought, namely, that when a man is drunk, his mentality is depressed and he Is rendered unreliable in his actions and judgment.

Verse 16

Hab 2:16. As a degradIng suggestion befitting the character of such a tempter, he is told to drink with his intended victim and thus be induced to expose his own nakedness. Shame for glory is rendered "more with shame than with glory" in the margIn which is evidently correct. The tempter intended to get glory from the shame of his victim, but instead he was destined to bring shame upon himself. The cup Is figurative and means the cup of God's wrath against such an evil character. He was to be forced to drink of it and be thereby induced to vomit out his own filth instead of glorying over the debauched condition of his victim.

Verse 17

Hab 2:17. Violence of Lebanon. The violence of Lebanon or the city of Jerusalem means that which was intended against the holy territory. But such violence was to rebound and cover the wicked nation or king who designed such drastic actions.

Verse 18

Hab 2:18-19. The weakness and foolishness of idolatry is the subject of this paragraph. Teacher of lies. Every expectation that an idol seems to offer its maker is a He. Man made the idol and therefore it could not possess any wisdom or power that man does not already have and so It could contribute nothing to him.

Verse 20

Hab 2:20. Silence is defined as "hush" in the lexicon. The servants of God are everywhere encouraged to sing and speak their praises of Him which would not seem like silence. The thought is to show a contrast with the foolishness of idolatry and the wisdom at an intelligent Deity. An idol is only a teacher of lies and should not be listened to. The Lord is in his rightful place, the temple, and on the throne of the universe. Therefore when He speaks it is the truth and all the earth should be hushed and with reverent ears receive the divine words.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Habakkuk 2". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/habakkuk-2.html. 1952.
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