Christian Churches of God

No.  F035





Commentary on Habakkuk


(Edition 5.0 201401107-20181110-20210206-20230725-20231112)




Chapters 1-3




Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA






(Copyright © 2014, 2018, 2021, 2023 Wade Cox)



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Commentary on Habakkuk


The prophet Habakkuk lived in evil times and complains to the Lord concerning that and he is told that Judah will be sent into captivity to the Babylonians who will be successors to the Assyrians (cf. also Psalm 73).


Habakkuk was probably of the Temple Choir and therefore a Levite (cf. 1:1 and 3:1,19).   The nearest word to his name in Hebrew is the word chabak meaning to embrace and rabbinical tradition holds him to be the son of the Shunammite woman that Elisha restored to life (2Kgs. 4:16). His name has also been associated with an Assyrian word hambakuku which is a flower but chabak is preferred by rabbinical tradition. His name may well be embraced because he was used as a prophet to deal with the union of Israel and Judah commencing in the Last Days as we will see below.


It is generally believed that he fled to Egypt in the debacle that followed 586 BCE returning after the withdrawal of the Chaldeans. His tomb is said to be in Keilah, 18 miles SW of Jerusalem.


It seems that he prophesied shortly after the Temple scroll was discovered in the reign of Josiah in 621 BCE. Josiah’s restoration was short lived and under Jehoiakim the people began to practice idolatry again and lawlessness became rampant. The king disguised his weakness with tyranny and finally became subservient to Nebuchadnezzar (cf. 2Kgs. 14:1).


The Seder Olam teaches that Joel, Nahum and Habakkuk all prophesied in the days of Manasseh (cf. Soncino intro., p. 211). That king was so wicked they allegedly omitted his name from their books. The most probable sequence begins after 621 and begins with the rise of the Chaldeans. Some think that it was perhaps between the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BCE and the fall of the Temple in 586 BCE; say ca. 600 BCE during the reign of Jehoiakim.


However, there is much more to this prophecy than is deduced by the rabbinical authorities. Their limitation to post Carchemish may be a limitation on the prophecy as we see from the conquests of Nabopolassar, 1st king of Chaldean dynasty, and the Medes.


The structure of the Book is:

1.     The Prophet’s Cry

2.     Yahovah’s Answer

3.     The Prophet’s Cry

4.     Yahovah’s Answer.


There are 56 verses divided into three chapters which in turn fall into six divisions, rather than the four simple structures above.


The divisions are:

1:2-4 which is the prophet challenging God for allowing the innocent to suffer and the wicked to prosper.


1:5-11 is God’s reply, in that the agents of His wrath are already being marshalled.


1:12-17 sees the prophet question the judgment because surely God cannot allow the nation to be swallowed up by a nation that is even guiltier. 


2:1-5 The prophet withdraws into himself in his anxiety to receive the answer to his second challenge. The answer and the essential message of the book is that the righteous shall live by his faith (v. 4). Even if the evil triumph temporarily the righteous should not be discouraged as an empire founded on cruelty is doomed to collapse under the Law of God.


2:6-20 The victims will taunt their former oppressors with a series of woes. Their insatiable lust for conquest and the unpardonable barbarity with which it was accomplished will provide a moral lesson for the whole world to see (comp. Soncino ibid p. 212).


3:2-19 The prophet again begs God, on his people’s behalf, to intervene. He is granted a vision of the March of the forces of God to overthrow the enemies. The last four verses relate to the impact the vision had on the prophet, and the restoration of His people.


The text covers the Restoration of the last days from 24 Chislev 1917 (F037) on to the restoration of 1967 and on to the Return of the Messiah.


Habakkuk Chs. 1-3 (RSV)


Chapter 1

1The oracle of God which Habak'kuk the prophet saw. 2O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and thou wilt not hear? Or cry to thee "Violence!" and thou wilt not save? 3Why dost thou make me see wrongs and look upon trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. 4So the law is slacked and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous, so justice goes forth perverted. 5Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. 6For lo, I am rousing the Chalde'ans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize habitations not their own. 7Dread and terrible are they; their justice and dignity proceed from themselves. 8Their horses are swifter than leopards, more fierce than the evening wolves; their horsemen press proudly on. Yea, their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swift to devour. 9They all come for violence; terror of them goes before them. They gather captives like sand. 10At kings they scoff, and of rulers they make sport. They laugh at every fortress, for they heap up earth and take it. 11Then they sweep by like the wind and go on, guilty men, whose own might is their god! 12Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them as a judgment; and thou, O Rock, hast established them for chastisement. 13Thou who art of purer eyes than to behold evil and canst not look on wrong, why dost thou look on faithless men, and art silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? 14For thou makest men like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler. 15He brings all of them up with a hook, he drags them out with his net, he gathers them in his seine; so he rejoices and exults. 16Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his seine; for by them he lives in luxury, and his food is rich. 17Is he then to keep on emptying his net, and mercilessly slaying nations for ever? (RSV)


Intent of Chapter 1

1:1  Title  Oracle

1:2-2.5 Dialogue in two oracles.  (1:2-11; 1:12-2:5) Between the prophet and God regarding God's Just Government of the world.


1:2-11 The First Cycle

1:2-4  Habakkuk protests that God neither hears nor acts (comp. Ps. 22:1-2) and thereby negates Law and Justice. The text is directed at both the Israelite community and then to the Gentiles of the nations, beginning with the Chaldeans (vv. 6-11) and that Empire was to extend to the levels beginning from Carchemish and continues on in Daniel Ch. 2 (F027ii; xiii).


vv. 5-11 God answers Habakkuk. He says He is raising the Chaldeans, which He did with Nabopolassar and he was aided by the Medes in their moves against the Assyrians from the East and North.


1:12-2:5 The Second Cycle

vv. 12-17 Habakkuk acknowledges that God has ordained them as judgment against Judah. He however rebukes God for remaining silent when confronted by evil men.


He questions regarding the Chaldean capture and robbery of men more just than they and then asks if they will continue mercilessly slaying nations forever. Now Daniel was to reveal that the Chaldeans were to start a system of world empire that was to last for seven times over the empires of the Babylonians, the Medes and Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Holy Roman Empire and the empire of the Ten Toes of Iron and Miry Clay that was to end in the Last Days with the coming of the Messiah, who was to strike it on the toes and bring it to an end. This sequence is placed as prophecy with the rise of the Chaldeans before Carchemish in 605 BCE and the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.


v. 12 Rock  Metaphor often applied to God (Deut. 32: 4, 18, 30, 31; 2Sam. 23:3; Pss. 18:2, 31; 92:15; 95:1; Isa. 30:29 etc.). The rock in Deut. 32 is identified as Eloah, the One True God who sent Jesus Christ (32:8-9).


v. 13 The crux of the problem in the eyes of the prophet.


Note the vision is to be written for it is yet for a time appointed even though the Chaldeans were developing before Carchemish.


Chapter 2

1I will take my stand to watch, and station myself on the tower, and look forth to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. 2And the LORD answered me: "Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it. 3For still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end -- it will not lie. If it seem slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. 4Behold, he whose soul is not upright in him shall fail, but the righteous shall live by his faith. 5Moreover, wine is treacherous; the arrogant man shall not abide. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations, and collects as his own all peoples." 6Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, in scoffing derision of him, and say,  "Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own -- for how long? -- and loads himself with pledges!" 7Will not your debtors suddenly arise, and those awake who will make you tremble? Then you will be booty for them. 8Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you, for the blood of men and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell therein. 9Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm! 10You have devised shame to your house by cutting off many peoples; you have forfeited your life. 11For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the woodwork respond. 12Woe to him who builds a town with blood, and founds a city on iniquity! 13Behold, is it not from the LORD of hosts that peoples labor only for fire, and nations weary themselves for nought? 14For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. 15Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink of the cup of his wrath, and makes them drunk, to gaze on their shame! 16You will be sated with contempt instead of glory. Drink, yourself, and stagger! The cup in the LORD's right hand will come around to you, and shame will come upon your glory! 17The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you; the destruction of the beasts will terrify you, for the blood of men and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell therein. 18What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For the workman trusts in his own creation when he makes dumb idols! 19Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a dumb stone, Arise! Can this give revelation? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it. 20But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.


Intent of Chapter 2

These empires will be formed of all peoples and last for some time. In Daniel we see it is Seven Times or 2520 years (see F027xiii for the charts).


vv. 1-5 show the prophet withdraws into solitude to accelerate the answer to his challenge.

2:1  Tower  The Watchtower: The text indicates the desire for confidence in the Lord's reply (Pss. 5:3; 130:5-6; Isa. 21:8; Hos. 9:8).

2:2-5  God responds that although the prophet will not see the final result the outcome is sure and until then the righteous must live by faith.

2:2 The Lord's answer is to be as plain as a highway sign (Isa. 8:1; Rev. 1:19).

v. 3 (Num. 23:19; Dan. 8:19; 2Pet. 3:8-10; Heb 10:37).


In verse 4 God delivers the key message of the text which is that the righteous shall live by faith. Thus God may choose to place the elect in the midst of a heathen people in order to develop their faith and eradicate evil from them. Tyranny will never endure and triumph over the elect. We see that the text has wider application from the Chaldeans from its application in Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38-39.


2:6-20 The Five Woes We see the victims taunt their oppressors with a series of woes. The lust of conquests and their barbarity provides a lesson for the whole world to witness. It is a great lesson against the Babylonian system through until its collapse in the Last Days and is not just a lesson against Nebuchadnezzar’s Head of Gold in Daniel Chapter 2 but against the whole edifice into the Last Days and the coming of the Messiah.


The entire Assyro-Babylonian religious system was to cover the earth and the Mystery and Sun cults and their worship of the idols of the Mother Goddess system; but the earth is commanded to keep silence before God and His Holy Temple. They felled the cedars of Lebanon and for this God holds them in punishment and they will be dealt with in the days of these systems right to the end. Under the Law those who spill blood must pay with their own blood (Gen. 9:6; Num. 35:33).

v. 14 (Isa. 11:9).

v. 20 (Ps. 11:4; Zeph. 1:7; Zech. 2:13).


Chapter 3

1A prayer of Habak'kuk the prophet, according to Shigion'oth. 2O LORD, I have heard the report of thee, and thy work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years renew it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy. 3God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. Selah 4His brightness was like the light, rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power. 5Before him went pestilence, and plague followed close behind. 6He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered, the everlasting hills sank low. His ways were as of old. 7I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; the curtains of the land of Mid'ian did tremble. 8Was thy wrath against the rivers, O LORD? Was thy anger against the rivers, or thy indignation against the sea, when thou didst ride upon thy horses, upon thy chariot of victory? 9Thou didst strip the sheath from thy bow, and put the arrows to the string. Selah Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. 10The mountains saw thee, and writhed; the raging waters swept on; the deep gave forth its voice, it lifted its hands on high. 11The sun and moon stood still in their habitation at the light of thine arrows as they sped, at the flash of thy glittering spear. 12Thou didst bestride the earth in fury, thou didst trample the nations in anger.13Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, for the salvation of thy anointed. Thou didst crush the head of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah 14Thou didst pierce with thy shafts the head of his warriors, who came like a whirlwind to scatter me, rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret. 15Thou didst trample the sea with thy horses, the surging of mighty waters. 16I hear, and my body trembles, my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones, my steps totter beneath me. I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. 17Though the fig tree do not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like hinds' feet, he makes me tread upon my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. (RSV)


Intent of Chapter 3

v. 1 Shigionoth (cf. Ps. 8). It is compared to a ‘dithrambic poem in wild ecstatic wandering rythms’ (cf. Soncino). Shigionoth, Selah are technical terms in the Psalter (see also Pss. 7; 4).


vv. 2-19 A poem extolling the marching forth of the Armies of the Lord for the Salvation of His people in final Battle for the establishment of the rule of the Messiah in Rev. Chs. 17-22 (F066iv, v). The prophet prays and again begs God to intervene on behalf of his people. Habakkuk contrasts the style of his prayer to that of Jeremiah and Ezekiel who condemn the sins of their people and develop the ongoing prophecies of the entire period to the Last Days. Ezekiel brings us to the end of the Times of the Gentiles and the fall of Egypt in the Last Days.   Jeremiah brings us to the Last Days and the Warning of the Last Prophet (in Jer. 4:15). This text deals with the sins of the Babylonian system and the coming of the Loyal Host of God to destroy the sinful systems of the world.

8b  Deut. 33:26.

v. 13 Anointed - God acts for the salvation of the Anointed both as Messiah and the anointed of the people.

Verses 16-19 show the prophet’s total confidence that out of this carnage, Israel, and not just Judah, will be saved and re-established.

v. 18 The psalm reaches its height by rejoicing in the Lord as the saving God (Pss. 25:5; 27:1; 68:19-20 (F019_1, F019_2).  It exhibits a clear connection to Chs. 1-2 (see also 3:12-14, 16). The vibrancy of the ode in this last chapter is marveled at by many of the experts in Hebrew and those such as Driver regard it as some of the finest poetry Hebrew has produced. The Soncino also comments and quotes Driver.


Fulfilment of the prophecy in the Last Days.

v. 3 God marches from Sinai towards Edom (Comp. Deut. 33:2; Jgs. 5:4) Teman is NW of Edom and Paran is west of Edom between the Sinai Peninsula and Kadesh Barnea. It is north of the port of Aqaba following the coast. This was the route that the Commonwealth forces took in their liberation of Israel and Jerusalem in 1917 to retake Jerusalem on 24 Chislev 1917 according to the Temple Calendar based on the conjunctions with the Australian attack, after taking Beersheba (see also The Oracles of God (No. 184)). This began the restoration of Israel in the Last Days from the sacred year 1916/17 to 2027. From this sequence the Witnesses and Messiah come to Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives from the period of 2024 to the period up to 2027 to complete the task.


This was seven times from the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BCE ending in the year 1916/17; 2520 years after that battle and the beginning of the end period of twice forty years of Ezekiel’s prophecy of The Fall of Egypt: Pharaoh’s Broken Arms (No. 036) began.  These were the Wars of the Last Days as we see in the Fall of Egypt Part II:  The Wars of the End (No. 036_2).


The Anglo-Arab alliance was formed in the sacred year 1916/17.


On January 24, after a single day of battle, an Anglo-Arab force seized the port city of Wejh, which became the Arabs' logistical and operational base. As the Arabs gathered victories and adherents, British General Sir Archibald Murray realized that the Arabs could provide support for his efforts in the Sinai to secure the Suez Canal and push the Ottomans out of Gaza. The Arabs' task was to keep Fakhri's troops bottled in Medina and sabotage the Hejaz Railway. This began the prophecies in Habakkuk that began the liberation of the Levant and the end of the Ottoman rule. It commenced from the south as God said it would, from Paran, which is from Sinai to Kadesh Barnea and along the coast of Aqaba West of Edom and through Teman which was to the NW of Edom towards the Jordan and was well watered. It is the junction of important trade routes both then and now.


The Arabs then engaged in railway “line smashing” over 1917.


The revolt's leaders remained focused on the larger strategic goal: push north and link up with tribes and leaders in Syria and Mesopotamia. This, however, would require a new operational port. While feverish from dysentery, T.E. Lawrence conceived a scheme to take the Red Sea port of Aqaba, which is today part of Jordan. He declined to attack from the water, where Aqaba was defended by heavy guns. Rather, his bold plan called for a force to emerge from the Nefudh Desert, which the Ottomans would never expect. The initial party of Lawrence and 17 Agayl warriors set out from Wejh on May 10, 1917 (from the period of the Second Passover). The men had £20,000 to recruit new tribesmen and, along the way, their numbers swelled to about 700 fighters. The head of a number of these other Arab tribesmen was Auda Abu Tayi chief of the Howeitat who agreed to join Lawrence in the attack. 


This 600-mile, weeks-long trek was through terrain so inhospitable even the Bedouin called it al-Houl (the Terror). Lawrence’s biographer Michael Asher called it "one of the most daring raids ever attempted in the annals of war." The Arabs launched their assault from the northeast, sweeping up the outlying Ottoman forces with the loss of only two tribesmen by July 5. The next day the Arabs, now some 2,500 men, entered Aqaba without a shot, the garrison having scurried away. Gaunt, filthy, and wearing his Bedouin robes, Lawrence crossed the Sinai to Cairo to inform the new British commander in chief, Gen. Edmund Allenby, of this stunning victory. As a reward, the Arabs received an additional payment of £16,000, and Lawrence was promoted to major.


During that time from Lawrence’s move to Allenby at Cairo and return, Aqaba had been fortified by the forces that consisted of a battalion of Imperial Camel Corp, heavy weapons and armoured cars as well as gold. This Camel Corp and the Arabs assisted him in these activities from the taking of Aqaba to the advance up the Jordan Valley to Damascus protecting Allenby’s right flank.


Allenby ordered the Commonwealth forces on to Sinai and the Australian Light Horse captured Beersheba and then the Australians moved on and captured Jerusalem on 7 December 1917. Thus the prophecy of Habakkuk of the restoration of the Levant from Teman and Paran was completed over the period of Seven Times or 2520 years from the Battle of Carchemish and the occupation of the Chaldeans plus one year commencing in 1916 and taking Jerusalem by December 1917. Lawrence entered Jerusalem with Allenby and then the Commonwealth Forces moved on and engaged the Ottoman and German defensive lines near Galilee.


The sequence was as follows.


Battle of Beersheba

31 October to 1 November

Tel el Khuweilfe

8 November

The breakthrough occurred (Sinai and Palestine 4-8 November)

6-11 November

The Great Drive was made

8-15 November

The Maritime Plain was cleared

11-17 November

The Jerusalem advance

16-24 November

Nahr Auja and El Buij

24 November to 1 December

Final assault for the capture of Jerusalem

7 December


The final assault was launched by Commonwealth troops on 7 December 1917. According to the true New Moon this was the actual date of the 24 Chislev (the Hillel calendar commenced the month two days later). The Turks and Germans began an immediate evacuation and by 8 December 1917 Jerusalem had been captured. The infantry had dug in and established and by 10 December the Light Horse pushed along the Nablus road about eight miles. They drew heavy Turkish artillery fire. They were holding out towards the southern end of the Jordan Valley and were attempting to limit Allied access across the river to the Hejaz railway and thus limit Allenby’s operations on the right flank.


Allenby officially entered Jerusalem on 11 December 1917, the 28th of Chislev.


The Commonwealth Forces moved on into Lebanon and Syria and Feisal entered Damascus. The Sikes/Picot agreement between Britain and France had divided the Levant with Suez, Palestine and Mesopotamia being given to Britain and Lebanon and Syria given to France. This, however, set the scenes under the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the UN Mandate of 1922 for the creation of the State of Israel over the next thirty years from the end of WWI to 1948.


The prophecy in Haggai 2:1-23 is related to this prophecy of Habakkuk.


The prophecy in Haggai confirms the Temple Calendar based on the New Moons according to the conjunction and not as seen in Hillel.


Habakkuk and the groups left for Egypt in 586 BCE and returned after the withdrawal of the Chaldeans. That is one time cycle of 19 years from Carchemish and adds one time cycle to the beginning of the last period. Thus the Seven Times or 2520 years from the beginning of the eighty year period and the end with Cambyses’ invasion in 525 BCE ends in 1996/7 at the end of the Times of the Gentiles. The 2520 years from the destruction of Jerusalem and withdrawal of the Chaldeans, i.e. from 587/6 BCE, is plus 19 years. 2520 from 586 is 1937.  On January 30, 1933, Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. The years 1933-36 marked the beginning of the crisis in Judah with the rise of the Nazis and the support of the Anti-Semites in South Africa from that time onwards. The extermination and genocide of the Jews was undertaken particularly over 1941-1945. The wars against Judah in the Middle East were supported from the rise of the Nazis and war was commenced in 1948 and resulted in the declaration of the state of Israel.


In 1967 the time sequence of the end began with the Six Day war and the reclamation of all of Jerusalem by Judah in Israel.


Forty years after the rise of the Nazis and the attempts to wipe out the Jews, in October 1973, the Yom Kippur war began and, although peace with Egypt was ensured, war with Syria continued and a cease fire was only agreed in May 1974.  Forty years later in 2014, after the Arab Spring had erupted, the entire Middle East was in crisis with a so-called Islamic State New Caliphate declared at the expiration of the probationary period of forty years.  A brutal war of extermination was begun after the end of the Second Passover all over Syria and Mesopotamia. These nations are now being brought to their knees in a war of attrition and brutality not seen in the Middle East for centuries. This war is escalating also in the North and East and it appears that the wars of the Fifth and Sixth Trumpet have been developed (see No. 141C).


If there is another two periods of forty years from this period for probation and repentance we thus can expect Divine action from the restoration and consolidation of the Middle East in Israel and the judgment of the Chaldeans and Arab people. However, the nations are shaken generally from verse 6. So a more general event is to be expected.


The Wars went on as we see described in Revelation. 


vv. 4-19 This is the end of the Last Days and the great wars of the end. Even though there is destruction the prophet knows it is for the restoration of the people of God and the subjugation of the nations of the world under the Vials of the Wrath of God at the Return of the Messiah.


Note that the rivers will be used to afflict the nations as will the seas.  This refers to the great wars that emerge from the Tigris-Euphrates basin with the wars of the Fifth and the Sixth Trumpets of Revelation.


The massive wrath and affliction here is against the Middle East and the Arab peoples of Cushan and Midian right through to the Greeks.


Cushan is used in association with Midian and probably refers to the Cushites in Babylonia rather than to those associated with the Sudan to Ethiopia.  The Rift systems from Lebanon to the Red Sea will be torn apart by massive earthquakes in the Last Days at the coming of the Messiah and the split of the Mount of Olives. This activity forms a valley 66 km from North to South and moves Sinai southward and blocks the tongue of the Red Sea. It is possible that the Red Sea Rift is also opened up. There is little doubt that the Arab sons of Midian and Cush are meant at the very least (Midian was a major Arab tribe to the South East of Edom and which also went north into Iraq); as are the sons of Keturah generally. Ishmael is an Arabicised Arab tribe and not the original true Arabs who were sons of Keturah.


The prophecies of Habakkuk are still unfolding and will continue until Messiah.


Bullinger’s Notes on Chs. 1-3 (KJV)


Chapter 1

Verse 1

burden. See note on Nahum 1:1. did see. The Hebrew accent places the chief pause on this verb, to emphasize the fact that the giving of the vision was of more importance than what was revealed by it. A second and lesser pause is placed on "burden", leaving "Habakkuk" as being less important. The verse therefore should read, "The burden which he saw, Habakkuk the prophet".


Verse 2

LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

cry = cry for help in distress; as in Psalms 18:6Psalms 18:41Psalms 22:24. Compare Job 19:7Jeremiah 20:8. Showing that the cry is not personal, but made in the name of all who suffered from the evil times.

cry out = cry with a loud voice, implying the complaint.


Verse 3

iniquity. Hebrew. "avert. (App-44.) = trouble, having special reference to the nature and consequences of evil-doing.

grievance = oppression, or injustice. Hebrew. "amal. App-44.

there are that raise up. A reading is found in some codices (named in the Massorah), "I had to endure".

strife and contention. There should not be a comma after "strife", as in the Revised Version. The Hebrew accents indicate the one act, "and contention rising up", like "spoiling and violence are before me" in the preceding clause.


Verse 4

slacked = benumbed.

judgment = justice.

the wicked = a lawless one: looking forward from the Chaldeans to the future Antichrist. Hebrew. rasha". App-44.

the righteous = the just one (Art. with Hebrew. "eth)

wrong = perverted.

proceedeth = goeth forth.


Verse 5

Behold = Look ye. For emphasis, introducing the change to Jehovah"s answer. Quoted in Acts 13:41. Compare Isaiah 29:14.

Behold . . . regard . . . wonder. Note the Figure of speech Anabasis (App-6).

which ye -will not believe. Some codices read "yet ye will not believe".


Verse 6

I raise up, &c. Reference to Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 28:49Deuteronomy 28:5). App-92.

theirs. Hebrew his; and so throughout this chapter.


Verse 7

They = It.

judgment = decision.

dignity = elevation. themselves = itself. Compare Isaiah 10:8-11Isaiah 10:13Isaiah 10:14.


Verse 8

more fierce = keener.

shall fly as the eagle. Reference to Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 28:49Deuteronomy 28:50). App-92.


Verse 9

all for violence: i.e. not for conquest, but for destruction.

faces = aspect, intent, or eagerness,

sup up, &c. = swallow up (as in Job 39:24), as the Palestine burning east wind withers up and destroys all green things.

as the sand. Figure of speech Paroemia. App-6.


Verse 10

them = it, as above (Habakkuk 1:6). heap

dust = heap up mounds.

take it = capture it: i.e. every stronghold.


Verse 11

mind = spirit. Hebrew. ruach. App-9.

over = through.

god. Hebrew. "eloah (App-4. V): i.e. his object of worship.


Verse 12

Art Thou not . . . ? Note the change of subject, as shown in the Structure above.

God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4.

we shall not die. This is one of the eighteen emendations of the Sopherim (see App-33), which they say they made because it was considered offensive to say this of Jehovah; hence, the one word of the primitive text "who diest not" was changed to "who die not" (rendered in Authorized Version, Revised Version, and American Revised Version, "we shall not die"). This is the only one of the eighteen emendations which the Revised Version and American Revised Version notice, and speak of it in the margin as "an ancient Jewish tradition", whereas a list of such emendations is given in the Massorah. The change from the second person to the first did more than avoid the supposed irreverent expression; it transferred to mortal men the truth which, apart from resurrection, pertains to God alone, "Who only hath immortality" (1 Timothy 6:16). Compare 1 Corinthians 15:531 Corinthians 15:54.

O mighty God = O Rock. Compare Deuteronomy 32:4Deuteronomy 32:15Deuteronomy 32:18Deuteronomy 32:301 Samuel 2:22 Samuel 23:3Psalms 18:2Psalms 18:31Psalms 18:46Psalms 19:14, &c.


Verse 13

Thou art, &c. Note the Fig, Synchoresis (App-6).

evil. Hebrew. ra"a". App-44.

iniquity = perverseness, or wrong. Hebrew. "amal. App-44. Not the same word as in Habakkuk 1:3, or Habakkuk 2:12.

the wicked = a lawless one. Hebrew. rasha". App-44. Looking forward to the Antichrist.


Verse 15

angle = hook.

drag = a fish-net. Occurs only here (verses: Habakkuk 1:15Habakkuk 1:16) and in Isaiah 19:8. Greek. sagene. See App-122. Italian seine sagena, whence (with a different vowel) the Greek verb sageneuo = to sweep [a country] clear.


Verse 16

fat = fertile, or rich.

plenteous = fat.


Chapter 2

Verse 1

watch = watch-tower; referring to the place.

set me = take my station.

tower = fortress.

watch = look out; referring to the act = keep outlook.

unto: or, in.

answer when I am reproved: or, get back because of my complaint.


Verse 2

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

Write, &c. Reference to Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 27:8). App-47and App-92.

the vision. Supply the logical Ellipsis"[which I am about to reveal to thee]". Compare Habakkuk 1:1.

upon tables: i.e. boxwood tables smeared with wax. Compare Luke 1:63.

that he may run that readeth it = that he that readeth it may flee. Hebrew. ruz = to run as a messenger (Job 9:25Jeremiah 23:21Jeremiah 51:31Zechariah 2:4); or, to flee for refuge (Psalms 18:10), as in Haggai 1:9.


Verse 3

yet = deferred.

appointed: i.e. fixed by Jehovah for its fulfillment.

and not lie. Figure of speech Pleonasm (App-6), for emphasis.

it will not tarry. Some codices, with five early printed editions (one Rabbinic, margin), Aramaean, Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "and will not tarry".


Verse 4

Behold. Figure of speech Asterismos (App-6), emphasizing the twofold answer to the prophet"s prayer: the fate of the wicked in the coming judgment, and the preservation and eternal lot of the righteous. Supply the Ellipsis: "Behold [the proud one]".

his: i.e. the Chaldean"s of Hab 1; or the lawless one described in Hab 1and in the verses which follow.

soul. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.

the just = a righteous one. Quoted in Romans 1:17 and Galatians 1:3Galatians 1:11. Compare Hebrews 10:38.

live: i.e. live for ever in resurrection life. See notes on Leviticus 18:5. The wicked go on living, without faith, if it refers to this life; therefore "live" must refer to a future life. The Hebrew accents place the emphasis on "shall live"; not "the just by his faith", but "a just one, by his faith, will live", and make the contrast not between faith and unbelief, but between the fate of each perishing and living for ever. In Romans 1:17 the context places the emphasis on "the righteous"; in Galatians 1:3Galatians 1:11 it is placed on "faith".


Verse 5

transgresseth = = is transgressing, or is acting deceitfully.

wine. Hebrew. yayin. App-27.

man = strong man.

desire = soul. Hebrew. nephesh.

hell = Sheol. See App-35. Compare Isaiah 5:14.

is = he [is].

people = peoples


Verse 6

parable. Hebrew. mashal.

proverb = enigma. Hebrew. hidah, as in Psalms 78:2.

Woe. Note the five woes in verses: Habakkuk 2:6Habakkuk 2:9Habakkuk 2:12Habakkuk 6:15Habakkuk 6:19.

how long? i.e. for his time is short.

thick clay = pledges. Reference to Pentateuch App-92. Occurs in this form only here. Compare other forms in Deu 15 and 24, where it occurs nine times with a cognate meaning, and in Joel 2:7.


Verse 7

bite: or, exact usury.

vex = shake.


Verse 9

coveteth . . . covetousness = extorteth a gain.

set his nest on high. Reference to Pentateuch (Numbers 24:21).

power = hand. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), App-6, for the power exercised by it.

evil. Hebrew. ra"a". App-44.


Verse 10

consulted = counselled, or devised.

shame = a shameful thing.

sinned against thy soul. Reference to Pentateuch (Numbers 16:38).

sinned. Hebrew. chata. App-44.

Verse 12

iniquity. Hebrew. "aval. App-44. Not the same word as in Habakkuk 1:3Habakkuk 1:13.


Verse 13

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah.(with "eth) = Jehovah of Hosts Himself. App-4. See note on 1 Samuel 1:3.


Verse 14

the earth shall be filled, &c. Reference to Pentateuch (Numbers 14:21). App-92. This is the fifth and last occurance of this wondrous prophecy: Numbers 14:21Psalms 72:19Isaiah 6:3 (= shall be); Habakkuk 11:9, and Habakkuk 2:14.

glory. Compare Isaiah 66:18Isaiah 66:19Ezekiel 28:22Ezekiel 39:13Ezekiel 39:21.


Verse 15

that puttest thy bottle to him = that addest (or pourest) thy fury or venom (Hebrew construct form of hemah = heat,

wrath; not of hemeth = bottle) thereto. See Oxford Gesenius, p. 705, under saphak.

makest him drunken, &c. Reference to Pentateuch (Genesis 9:22).


Verse 16

let thy foreskin be uncovered: i.e. be as one uncircumcised: i.e. uncovenanted.


Verse 17

violence of Lebanon: i.e. violence [done to] Lebanon by felling its trees.

which made them afraid: or, shall make thee afraid.


Verse 18

trusteth = confideth. Hebrew. batah. App-69.

dumb idols. Note the Figure of speech Paronomasia (App-6). Hebrew. "elilim illemim = nothings [that] say nothing. Compare Jeremiah 14:14.


Verse 19

Woe unto him, &c. "The sequence of thought" would not be improved, as suggested, by making Habakkuk 2:19 precede Habakkuk 2:18. See the Structure above.

breath = spirit. Hebrew. ruach. See App-9. Compare Psalms 115:4-7Psalms 135:17Jeremiah 10:14.


Verse 20

keep silence = Hush! Be still! So Zephaniah 1:7Zechariah 2:13.


Chapter 3

Verse 1

Shigionoth. The pl, of Shiggaion (compare Psa 7), a crying aloud. See App-65.


Verse 2

LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

heard Thy speech = heard Thy hearing. Figure of speech Polyptoton. App-6.

speech = hearing. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject), App-6, for what was heard. Here = Thy fame, as in Numbers 14:151 Kings 10:1Isaiah 66:19.

afraid. = In awe; as in Exodus 14:31.

revive = renew, in the sense of repeating, doing over again.

work. Some codices, with Aramaean, Septuagint, and Syriac, read "works": i.e. doings.

years. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), for the afflictions suffered in them, or "wrath" manifested in them.

in the midst, &c. Out of 273 occurrences, this is the only place where it refers to time. Had Habakkuk learnt, like Daniel? Note the Figure of speech Anadiplosis (App-6), for emphasis.

make known = make [Thyself] known. The Hebrew accent places the logical pause on this verb: i.e. by repeating nowwhat Thou hast done in the past.

wrath. As manifested in present affliction; showing what is meant by "years", above.

mercy = compassion. Supply here the logical Ellipsis "[I will meditate on Thy doings of old: ]".


Verse 3

GOD. Hebrew Eloah. App-4. Occurs in the prophets only here, and Isaiah, and Daniel.

came from Teman. Reference to Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 33:2). App-92.

Teman . . . Paran. Embraces the whole district south of Judah, including Sinai. Compare Genesis 21:21Numbers 12:16Numbers 1:13Numbers 1:26Deuteronomy 33:2. App-92.

Selah. Connecting His coming forth with the glorious effects of it. See App-66. Note the three "Selahs" in verses: Habakkuk 3:9Habakkuk 3:13.

His glory. Compare Isaiah 6:3.


Verse 4

horns = power. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Effect), App-6, for the power put forth by them. Hebrew dual = two rays.

coming out of = from: i.e. power from [His] hands [is] His.

the hiding, &c. = hiding (or concealing) of His [full] power.


Verse 5

Before Him went, &c. Supply the logical Ellipsis"[As He went forth to conquer for His People] before Him went", &c. See Exodus 28:27Psalms 68:1Psalms 68:2.

burning coals: or, lightning Compare Psalms 18:8Psalms 76:3Psalms 78:48.


Verse 6

measured the earth: or, caused the earth to tremble. So the Targum and the requirement of the "correspondence" with the next line.

beheld = looked.

drove asunder the nations = caused the nations to shake, or start.

scattered = shattered.

perpetual = ancient, or primeval.


Verse 7

in affliction = [brought low] by affliction.

curtains = hangings. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), App-6, for the tents formed by them.


Verse 8

Was . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. Rightly supplied in following clauses.

Thou didst ride. Reference to Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 33:26Deuteronomy 33:27).

horses = horses [of power].

and. Some codices, with three early printed editions (one Rabbinic), Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read this "and" in the text.


Verse 9

Thy bow = [Nay] Thy how, &c.

according to the oaths of the tribes . . . Selah. This second "Selah" (see App-66) is to connect the remarkable parenthetic statement with the continuation of the details of Israel"s deliverances, which it interrupts, and might otherwise have disturbed. The text of this clause is not "corrupt", as alleged by some modern critics. The oaths are the promises sworn to the fathers or the tribes [of Israel] when still in the loins of the patriarchs.

with rivers = [and the waters gushed out] with rivers. See Psalms 74:15Psalms 78:15Psalms 78:16Psalms 105:41.


Verse 10

The mountains saw Thee. Reference to Pentateuch (Exodus 19:18). App-92. Compare Psalms 114:4.

the overflowing, &c. Referring to the Jordan. Compare Joshua 3:15Joshua 3:16.

the deep, &c. Reference to Pentateuch (Exodus 14:22). App-92.

uttered his voice, i.e. [at Thy presence].

lifted up, &c. = lifted up his hands [in amazement and sub-mission]. Not a "corruption", but the Figure of speech Prosopopoeia (App-6). "The walls" of Exodus 14:22 compared to its hands.

his hands = its [walls like] hands.


Verse 11

The sun and moon, &c. Reference to Joshua 10:12Joshua 10:13.

at the light, &c. = like light Thine arrows flew.

and at the shining, &c. = like lightning was Thy glittering spear.


Verse 12

thresh = tread down. Compare Judges 5:4Psalms 68:7.

heathen = nations: i.e. the nations of Canaan


Verse 13

anointed: i.e. for the salvation of Jehovah"s anointed People (sing). See Psalms 105:15.

woundedst = dashest in pieces.

out of = from.

the wicked = [the] lawless one. Hebrew. rasha". App-44. Looking forward to the final destruction of Israel"s enemy in the person of the Antichrist. The Targum (or Paraphrase) of Jonathan is remarkable: "the kingdom of Babylon will not remain, nor exercise dominion over Israel. The Romans will be destroyed, and not take tribute from Jerusalem; and therefore, on account of the marvelous deliverance which Thou wilt accomplish for Thine Anointed, and for the remnant of Thy People, they will praise the LORD".

by discovering, &c.: i.e. overturning the house from the top (the neck) so completely as to lay bare the foundations. Such will he the final overthrow of Israel"s great enemy.

Selah. This third Selah connects this final overthrow and its magnitude, when contrasted with the enemy"s previous proud boasting and exaltation in Habakkuk 3:14. It connects Jehovah"s doings also (Habakkuk 3:14) with Jehovah"s goings (Habakkuk 3:15). See App-66.


Verse 14

his staves = his own weapons. Compare Judges 7:22.

villages = leaders. Hebrew text = "leader"(singular); but margin "leaders" (plural), with some codices and five early printed editions.

they came out, &c. = = [when] they came forth. me: i.e. me [who am Thy People].

rejoicing. Compare Psalms 10:8Psalms 10:9.

as = in very deed. Kaph (K) veritatis.

poor. Hebrew. "anah. See note on "poverty"Proverbs 6:11.


Verse 15

heap = foaming.


Verse 16

When I heard. See the Structure (p. 1269).

belly = body.

voice = voice [saying].

rottenness = decay. Some codices, with Aramaean, Septuagint, and Syriac, read "restlessness".

myself. Place a full stop here, and commence a new sentence.

that I might = O that I might find (or be at) rest, &c.

he: i.e. the invader.

unto = against.

he will invade = he will overcome. Heb gud. Occurs only here, and Genesis 49:19.


Verse 17

Although. Hebrew. ki, as in 2 Samuel 23:5; but must be understood not as being hypothetical, but as bringing out the antithesis with Habakkuk 3:18 (compare Job 8:7).

fig tree . . . vines . . . olive. See note on Judges 9:8-12.

blossom. The edible fig, which is the blossom: i.e. the receptacle containing a large number of minute unisexual flowers growing to a succulent. The Hebrew text therefore and the Authorized Version rendering are both scientifically correct.


Verse 18

God of my salvation. Compare Psalms 18:46Psalms 24:5Psalms 25:5Psalms 27:9.


Verse 19

God. Hebrew Adonai. App-4.

strength = might, or force. Compare Psalms 18:32.

will make, &c. Compare 2 Samuel 1:232 Samuel 23:241 Chronicles 12:8Psalms 18:33.

He will make me, &c. Reference to Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 32:13Deuteronomy 33:29). App-92. Compare Amos 4:13Micah 1:3.

To the chief singer. See App-64. The same word here.

my stringed instruments. Hebrew. neginoth. Referring to the smitings of Jehovah.