Habakkuk Chapter 1
1 The revelation which Habakkuk the prophet saw.
2 LORD, how long will I cry, and you will not hear? I cry out to you "Violence!" and will you not save?
3 Why do you show me iniquity, and look at perversity? For destruction and violence are before me. There is strife, and contention rises up.
4 Therefore the law is paralysed, and justice never prevails; for the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted.
5 "Look amongst the nations, watch, and wonder marvellously; for I am working a work in your days, which you will not believe though it is told you.
6 For, behold, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, that march through the width of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs.
7 They are feared and dreaded. Their judgement and their dignity proceed from themselves.
8 Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves. Their horsemen press proudly on. Yes, their horsemen come from afar. They fly as an eagle that hurries to devour.
9 All of them come for violence. Their hordes face the desert. He gathers prisoners like sand.
10 Yes, he scoffs at kings, and princes are a derision to him. He laughs at every stronghold, for he builds up an earthen ramp, and takes it.
11 Then he sweeps by like the wind, and goes on. He is indeed guilty, whose strength is his god."
12 Aren't you from everlasting, LORD my God, my Holy One? We will not die. LORD, you have appointed him for judgement. You, Rock, have established him to punish.
13 You who have purer eyes than to see evil, and who cannot look on perversity, why do you tolerate those who deal treacherously, and keep silent when the wicked swallows up the man who is more righteous than he,
14 and make men like the fish of the sea, like the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
15 He takes up all of them with the hook. He catches them in his net, and gathers them in his dragnet. Therefore he rejoices and is glad.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net, and burns incense to his dragnet, because by them his life is luxurious, and his food is good.
17 Will he therefore continually empty his net, and kill the nations without mercy?
- Verse 2 (LORD)
- When rendered in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, "LORD" or "GOD" is the translation of God's Proper Name.
- Verse 6 (Behold)
- "Behold" means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.
- Verse 12 (God)
- The Hebrew word rendered "God" is Elohim.
Version: World English Bible
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Habakkuk Chapter 1:1 - 2:4 Guide
In this first division of the Book we have the prophet's statement of the problems which vexed his soul. The first was the apparent indifference of Jehovah both to his prayer and to the condition of prevailing evil. To this Jehovah replied that He was at work, but that the prophet would not believe if he were told. He then proceeded to declare explicitly that His method was that of raising the Chaldeans as a scourge against His people.
This answer of Jehovah, while strengthening the faith of the prophet, immediately created a new problem -that Jehovah should use such an instrument, for, notwithstanding all Israel's sin, she was more righteous than the Chaldeans.
The answer came immediately. The prophet was first commanded to write, and to make his writing plain for easy reading. The vision granted to him was stated in the words, "Behold, his soul is puffed up, it is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith." That is the central revelation of the prophecy. It is a contrast between the "puffed up" and the "just." The former is not upright, and therefore is condemned; the latter acts on faith, and therefore lives. The first is self-centred, and therefore doomed; the second is God-centred, and therefore permanent. This was the declaration of a great principle, which the prophet was left to work out in application to all the problems by which he was surrounded.
From this point the prophecy becomes a proclamation of the contrast, and therefore an affirmation of faith in spite of appearances.
From "An Exposition of the Whole Bible" by G. Campbell Morgan.
Habakkuk Chapter 1 Commentary
- The wickedness of the land. The fearful vengeance to be executed. -- (1-11)
- These judgments to be inflicted by a nation more wicked than themselves. -- (12-17)
The servants of the Lord are deeply afflicted by seeing ungodliness and violence prevail; especially among those who profess the truth. No man scrupled doing wrong to his neighbour. We should long to remove to the world where holiness and love reign for ever, and no violence shall be before us. God has good reasons for his long-suffering towards bad men, and the rebukes of good men. The day will come when the cry of sin will be heard against those that do wrong, and the cry of prayer for those that suffer wrong. They were to notice what was going forward among the heathen by the Chaldeans, and to consider themselves a nation to be scourged by them. But most men presume on continued prosperity, or that calamities will not come in their days. They are a bitter and hasty nation, fierce, cruel, and bearing down all before them. They shall overcome all that oppose them. But it is a great offence, and the common offence of proud people, to take glory to themselves. The closing words give a glimpse of comfort.
However matters may be, yet God is the Lord our God, our Holy One. We are an offending people, he is an offended God, yet we will not entertain hard thoughts of him, or of his service. It is great comfort that, whatever mischief men design, the Lord designs good, and we are sure that his counsel shall stand. Though wickedness may prosper a while, yet God is holy, and does not approve the wickedness. As he cannot do iniquity himself, so he is of purer eyes than to behold it with any approval. By this principle we must abide, though the dispensations of his providence may for a time, in some cases, seem to us not to agree with it. The prophet complains that God's patience was abused; and because sentence against these evil works and workers was not executed speedily, their hearts were the more fully set in them to do evil. Some they take up as with the angle, one by one; others they catch in shoals, as in their net, and gather them in their drag, their enclosing net. They admire their own cleverness and contrivance: there is great proneness in us to take the glory of outward prosperity to ourselves. This is idolizing ourselves, sacrificing to the drag-net because it is our own. God will soon end successful and splendid robberies. Death and judgment shall make men cease to prey on others, and they shall be preyed on themselves. Let us remember, whatever advantages we possess, we must give all the glory to God.
From the "Concise Commentary on the Bible" by Matthew Henry.