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Habakkuk Explained

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Book of Habakkuk Explained

Title: This prophetic book takes its name from its author and possibly means "one who embraces" (1:1; 3:1). By the end of the prophecy, this name becomes appropriate as the prophet clings to God regardless of his confusion about God's plans for His people.

Author - Date: As with many of the Minor Prophets, nothing is known about the prophet except that which can be inferred from the book. In the case of Habakkuk, internal information is virtually nonexistent, making conclusions about his identity and life conjectural. His simple introduction as "Habakkuk the prophet", may imply that he needed no introduction since he was a well known prophet of his day. It is certain that he was a contemporary of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zephaniah.

Because the prophet is known to us only by name once again indicates the relative unimportance of the prophet, the major importance of the prophecy, and, more importantly, the God who sends the prophecy. The prophet's name means "Embracer" or "A Wrestler," and this provides the key to the prophecy. The prophecy is a record of the prophet's wrestling with God in behalf of his people. Further, he embraced God by faith (chapter 3), and embraces his people giving them the message that after the judgment to come, Chaldea (Babylonia), will itself be judged. Because of the description (in 3:1; and the inscription in 3:19), some have inferred that Habakkuk was a Levite who assisted in the music of the temple.

The purpose of Habakkuk's prophecy is twofold:

(1) To warn Judah of its coming judgment at the hands of Chaldea, and

(2) To comfort Judah concerning Chaldea's ultimate destruction.

The theme of the prophecy is judgment on Judah and Chaldea (Babylon).

The mention of the Chaldeans (1:6), suggests a late seventh century B.C. date, shortly before Nebuchadnezzar commenced his military march through Nineveh (612 B.C.), Haran (609 B.C.), and Carchemish (605 B.C.), on his way to Jerusalem (605 B.C.). Habakkuk's bitter lament (1:2-4), may reflect a time period shortly after the death of Josiah (609 B.C.), days in which the godly king's reforms (2 Kings Chapter 23), were quickly overturned by his successor, Jehoiakim (Jer. 22:13-19).

Historical Setting: Most commentators however, date Habakkuk's prophecy during the reign of King Jehoiakim. The fall of Nineveh occurred about (612 B.C.), in fulfillment of Nahum's prophecy. It may have been after this fulfillment that Habakkuk received his vision setting forth the overthrow of the Babylonian kingdom. If so, when Habakkuk prophesied, the southern kingdom was wallowing in its sin and tottering politically in view of the impending threat from Babylon, the current world power. Nebuchadnezzar may have already carried Daniel and many of Jerusalem's nobles into captivity (in 605 B.C.), with the second deportation to soon follow (597 B.C.). The final destruction of the city was yet to occur (in 586 B.C.). Habakkuk's description of the Chaldeans and their feats many even allude to all three of these events. Putting the above considerations together, the date of Habakkuk's prophecy is somewhere between (655 B.C. and 598 B.C.). Advocates of the former view would select (655 B.C.), as the date of writing, which advocates of the latter view commonly select (606 B.C.).

The date of Habakkuk is difficult to ascertain, since he does not mention the king or kings during whose reigns he prophesied. The best key that Habakkuk offers for dating his prophecy is his description of the Chaldeans (in 1:5-11). Some commentators, noting that God says He is in the process of raising up the Chaldeans (1:6), would date the prophecy as early as the reign of Manasseh. Habakkuk's message therefore, would be that just as God raised up the Assyrians to judge Israel, so He is rising up the Chaldeans (Babylonians), to judge Judah. This interpretation would date the prophecy before the destruction of Nineveh, which resulted in the exaltation of the Chaldeans to world prominence.

Background - Setting: The prophecy of Habakkuk is unique among all prophetic literature. Overall, it contains a high caliber of Hebrew poetry. The first two chapters constitute a dialogue between the prophet and the Lord concerning the invasion of the Chaldeans (1:1-11), and their destruction (1:12 - 2:20). Chapter 3 is a psalm with instructions given to the musicians for its rendering (3:1, 19). In the first two chapters the prophet contends with the Lord and in the third chapter he submits to the Lord.

The opening verses reveal a historical situation similar to the days of Amos and Micah. Justice had essentially disappeared from the Land; violence and wickedness were pervasive, existing unchecked. In the midst of the dark days, the prophet cried out for divine intervention (1:2-4). God's response, that He was sending the Chaldeans to judge Judah (1:5-11), creates an even greater theological dilemma for Habakkuk: Why didn't God purge His people and restore their righteousness? How could God use the Chaldeans to judge a people more righteous that they (1:2-2:1)?

Habakkuk prophesied during the final days of the Assyrian Empire and the beginning of Babylonia's world rulership under Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar. When Nabopolassar ascended to power (in 626 B.C.), he immediately began to expand his influence to the north and west. Under the leadership of his son, the Babylonian army overthrew Nineveh (in 612 B.C.), forcing the Assyrian nobility to take refuge first in Haran and then Carchemish. Nebuchadnezzar pursued them, overrunning Haran (in 609 B.C.), and Carchemish (in 605 B.C.).

God's answer that He would judge the Chaldeans also (2:2 - 20), did not fully satisfy the prophet's theological quandary; in fact, it only intensified it. In Habakkuk's mind, the issue crying for resolution is no longer God's righteous response toward evil (or lack thereof), but the vindication of God's character and covenant with His people (1:13). Like Job, the prophet argued with God, and through that experience he achieved a deeper understanding of God's sovereign character and a firmer faith in Him. (Job 42:5-6; Isa. 55:8-9). Ultimately, Habakkuk realized that God was not to be worshiped merely because of the temporal blessings He bestowed, but for His own sake (3:17-19).

The Egyptian king Necho, traveling through Judah (in 609 B.C.), to assist the fleeing Assyrian king, was opposed by King Josiah at Megiddo (2 Chron. 35:20-24). Josiah was killed in the ensuing battle, leaving his throne to a succession of 3 sons and a grandson. Earlier, as a result of discovering the Book of the Law in the temple (622 B.C.), Josiah had instituted significant spiritual reforms in Judah (2 Kings Chapters 22 and 23), and grandfather Manasseh (2 Kings 21:11-13). Upon his death, however, the nation quickly reverted to her evil ways (Jer. 22:13-19), causing Habakkuk to question God's silence and apparent lack of punitive action (1:2-4), to purge His covenant people.


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Habakkuk 1
Habakkuk 2
Habakkuk 3

Habakkuk 1

Habakkuk Chapter 1

The prophet Habakkuk penned this book (in approximately 605 B.C.). This was about the time the Babylonians came into power. Very little is known about him, except his work in this book. The theme of the book is the mystery of providence. Habakkuk was troubled over the sinful world going unpunished.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls, Habakkuk was well preserved. Paul referred to Habakkuk (chapter 2 verse 4).

Romans 1:17 "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."

It was these two Scriptures which influenced Martin Luther greatly, and he started the protestant reformation.

Verses 1-4: "Burden" (Hebrew masa', "heavy load" or "oracle"), also describes the prophecies of Nahum (Nah. 1:1), and Malachi (Mal. 1:1), as that which the Lord has entrusted to His prophet. It was a sentence of divine judgment.

Habakkuk 1:1 "The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see."

"Burden" A weighty oracle of judgment (1:5-11; 2:2-20), is often depicted by this term when employed by the prophets to announce God's wrath against sin (e.g., Isa 13:1; 15:1; 17:1; 19:1 Nahum 1:1; Zech. 9:1; 12:1; Mal. 1:1).

"Did see": God's message to Habakkuk took the form of a vision.

The word "burden", lets us know that Habakkuk was troubled by what he saw around him. The statement "did see", possibly means that Habakkuk had a vision from God.

Verses 2-4: In Habakkuk's first complaint, he perceived that God appeared indifferent to Judah's sin. Jealous for His righteousness and knowing that a breach of the covenant required judgment (Deut. 28), Habakkuk questioned God's wisdom, expressing bewilderment at His seeming inactivity in the face of blatant violation of His law.

The Jews had sinned by violence and injustice and should have been punished by the same.

Verses 2-3: Violence ... iniquity ... grievance ... spoiling": Judah's society is defined with 4 terms denoting malicious wickedness by which one morally and ethically oppresses his neighbor, resulting in contention and strife.

Habakkuk 1:2 "O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! [even] cry out unto thee [of] violence, and thou wilt not save!"

"How long ... shall I cry": The phrase, reflecting the prophet's impatience, is frequently used by the psalmist to express similar thoughts of perplexity (Psalms 13:1-2; 62:3; Jeremiah 14:9; Matthew 27:46).

"And thou wilt not save": The prophet wanted a cleansing, purging, chastening, and revival among the people that would return them to righteousness.

This is a plea to God to hear his prayers. He sees the injustice around him, and does not understand why God is not punishing those involved. We have all, at some time or other, cried out "how long"?

It appears from this that Habakkuk had prayed many times to God to do something about the moral decay of Judah. It appears, that those who pretended to belong to God (Judah), had strayed very far away. And Habakkuk had prayed so much about the seriousness of the problem, he had begun to doubt that God was hearing his prayers.

Habakkuk 1:3 "Why dost thou show me iniquity, and cause [me] to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence [are] before me: and there are [that] raise up strife and contention."

That is, wicked men, and such as give a great deal of trouble, vexation, and grief to others, by seizure of property and oppression. Suggesting that he could not turn his eyes anywhere, but such persons presented themselves to his view. And that their wicked actions were performed by them openly and publicly, in the sight of all, without any shame or fear.

"For spoiling and violence are before me": In my sight and presence, though a prophet, and notwithstanding all my protests, exhortations, and reproofs. Such were the hardness, obstinacy, and impudence of this people. To such a height and pitch of iniquity were they arrived, as to regard not the prophets of the Lord.

"And there are that raise up strife and contention": In the kingdom, in cities, in families; in one man, brother, friend, and neighbor, against another. Which occasion lawsuits, and in them justice is not done, as follows. It may be rendered, and "there shall be and is a man of strife".

From this it appears that Habakkuk was in the ministry. He was like a watchman. He saw all the evil and warned the people, yet God had not punished them. He is asking God, why He allows him to see all of the wrong, if God is not going to change it.

Habakkuk is a righteous man, living in a society that has gone mad. He is questioning how God can know of these sins and abominations, and not do anything about them. I personally look at society today, and wonder why God has not thundered in judgment against our society.

This strife and contention is speaking of those rebellious who are not keeping God's law. Perhaps, those that question God's law is some who should know better, because they are the leaders of the people.

Habakkuk 1:4 "Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth."

"Law is slacked": Literally the "law is chilled, numbed" (Gen. 45:26; Psalm 77:2). It had no respect, was given no authority. As hands rendered useless by cold, the impact and effectiveness of the law was paralyzed by the corruption of Judah's leaders (Eccl. 8:11).

Not only are the wicked people not keeping God's law, but they are attacking the righteous. They are actually opposed to those who have taken a stand for God. The law which had governed even their civil law is unequal. Habakkuk is disappointed that justice is no longer part of their society.

Verses 5-11: In response to Habakkuk's perplexity and pleading, God broke His silence, informing him that He was not indifferent to Judah's sin; but rather than revival, He was sending the "dreaded and feared" judgment (verse 7).

Habakkuk 1:5 "Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for [I] will work a work in your days, [which] ye will not believe, though it be told [you]."

"Behold ... regard ... wonder": The series of commands is plural, indicating that the wider community of Judah and Jerusalem was to take note of this imminent invasion. Paul quotes this text (in Acts. 13:41).

Up until this Scripture, Habakkuk had been complaining to God. In this Scripture, we see an answer to Habakkuk from God. Habakkuk is living for God in the middle of those who do not. During Habakkuk's lifetime, God will take care of this situation.

God will work so quickly and marvelously, that it will be difficult for Habakkuk to believe. God will use a heathen nation to bring the chastisement upon His people. Those of God's children, who are living in sin, will not expect their punishment to come through a heathen nation. God can use whoever He wants to, however.

Verses 6-11: The prophet describes the mighty "Chaldeans" who ruled Babylon (from 625 to 539 B.C.). They were Semitic nomads who were descendants of Chesed, the son of Abraham's brother Nahor (Gen. 22:20-22).

They gradually populated southern Babylon and were under Assyrian authority until Nabopolassar destroyed Nineveh (in 612 B.C.), and founded the Neo-Babylonian Empire, which reached its greatest height under Nebuchadnezzar (see the note on Dan. 1:1).

The success of the Chaldeans is attributed to their swiftness and "violence." To "heap dust" refers to building ramparts of earth to scale the walls of the enemy cities.

"His god" is Marduk, god of war and the patron god of Babylon.

Verses 6-8: The Chaldeans (Babylonians), would come at the behest of the divine Commander. He is the Sovereign who brings this people of ruthless character and conduct to invade Judah. The Chaldeans are described as self-assured, self-sufficient, self-deified, and deadly (Jer. 51:20).

Habakkuk 1:6 "For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, [that] bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places [that are] not theirs."

A people that were mean and low, famous only for their soothsaying, divination, and judicial astrology. But now had become a powerful and warlike people, rising up under the permission of Providence to universal monarchy, and who would quickly add Judea to their dominions.

"That bitter and hasty nation": A cruel and merciless people in their temper and disposition. "Bitter" against the people of God and true religion, and causing bitterness, calamities, and distress, wherever they came. "Hasty" and precipitate in their determinations; swift and nimble in their motions; active and vigorous in the prosecution of their designs.

"Which shall march through the breadth of the land": Or "breadths of the land". Through the whole world, as they were attempting to do, having subdued Syria, all Asia, and great part of Africa. Through which they boldly marched, bearing down all opposition that was in their way.

Or "through the breadth of the land" of Judea, taking all the fenced cities as they went along, and Jerusalem the metropolis of it (see Isa. 8:7).

"To possess the dwelling places that are not theirs": The cities of Judea, and houses in them. As well as the palaces and dwelling places in Jerusalem, which they had no right unto, but what they got by the sword. Which were the legal possessions and inheritances of others from father to son from ages past.

These the Chaldeans would take from them. And not only take them, and spoil and plunder them for the present, but retain them in their possession, as an inheritance to be transmitted to their posterity. This may have some respect to the length of the captivity of the Jews, and their land being in the hands of their enemies for the space of seventy years.

The Chaldeans are even more evil than Judah. God always begins His judgment with the house of God. It is the chastisement God has judged, that will come upon them. It is just Babylon, (Chaldeans), that it comes by. They were a very cruel army. We must remember that God sent them.

Habakkuk 1:7 "They [are] terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves."

For the fierceness of their countenances; the number and valor of their troops; the splendor of their armor; the victories they had obtained, and the cruelty they had exercised. The fame of all, which spread terror wherever they came.

"Their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves": They will not be directed and governed by any laws of God and man, but by their own. They will do according to their will and pleasure, and none will be able to gainsay and resist them. They will hear no reason or argument.

Their decrees and determinations they make of themselves shall be put into execution, and there will be no opposing their tyrannical measures. They will usurp a power, and take upon them an authority over others of themselves, which all must submit unto. No mercy and pity: no goodness and humanity are to be expected from such lawless and imperious enemies.

At the time they attack Judah, they have become very powerful. There seemed to be no one who could stop them. They will not be aware that God sends them to attack Judah.

Habakkuk 1:8 "Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle [that] hasteth to eat."

"Evening wolves": These were wolves who had suffered hunger all day long and were forced to prowl into the night for food. Like wolves, Babylon's army displayed extraordinary stamina and an undaunted eagerness to attack for the purpose of devouring the spoils of victory.

They are a mighty world army, and they have many horses. They will sweep across this little land quickly, bringing destruction along the way. The comparison to "evening wolves" speaks of their ferocious nature.

Jeremiah 5:6 "Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, [and] a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, [and] their backslidings are increased."

Habakkuk 1:9 "They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up [as] the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand."

"They shall come all for violence": Or, "the whole of it"; the whole army of the Chaldeans, every one of them. This would be their sole view, not to do themselves justice, as might be pretended, or avenge any injuries or affronts done to them by the Jews; but purely for the sake of spoil and plunder.

"Their faces shall sup up as the east wind": Their countenances will appear so stern and fierce, that their very looks will so frighten, as to cause men to sink and die through terror. Just as herbs and plants shrivel up and wither away, when blasted by a nipping east wind.

So the Targum, "the reception or look of their faces is like to a vehement east wind". Some render it, "the look or design of their faces is to the east.

When the Chaldeans were on their march to Judea, their faces were to the west or south west. But then their desire and views were, that when they had got the spoil they came for, as in the preceding clause, to carry it to Babylon, which lay eastward or north east of Judea, and there their faces looked.

"And they shall gather the captivity as the sand": Or gather up persons, both in Judea, and in other countries conquered by them, as innumerable as the sand of the sea, and carry them captive into their own land. Captivity is used for captives.

The mention of the "east wind" is speaking of an ill wind. The "supping up" is just speaking of total destruction. The "gathering as of sand" speaks of the large number of people taken.

Romans 9:27 "Isaiah also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:"

Habakkuk "1:10 And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it."

Whether it be royal authority or physical obstacles, the Babylonian army marched forward with nothing but scorn for those in their path.

"Heap dust": Rubble and dirt piled up against the fortress or city wall as a ramp to gain entry.

The Chaldeans who came had no respect for kings, or princes. They were treated the same as all the other people. The walls, or the fortress, were no problem to them. They went through the land with such destruction they left piles of dust.

They took the valuable things and burned all the rest. They left nothing of any help to the people. They were such a powerful army, that they were almost impossible to stop. God had moved away from His people, and left them to defend themselves. They were no match (in the physical), for these Chaldeans.

Habakkuk 1:11 "Then shall [his] mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, [imputing] this his power unto his god."

"His power unto his god": Though the Chaldeans were God's instruments of judgment, their self-sufficiency and self-adulation planted the seeds for their own destruction (described in 2:2-20), as they stood guilty of idolatry and blasphemy before the sovereign Lord.

It was God's judgment on His people that allowed this heathen army to succeed. They were so arrogant; they gave no credit to God, but instead said their false gods had helped them conquer. The sad thing about this army that came sweeping through was they went beyond the limits God had set for them.

Verses 12 - 2:1: Habakkuk, in his reaction to the perplexing revelation (verses 5-11), declared his confidence in the Lord (verse 12), then unveiled his second complaint. Namely, how could the Lord use a wicked nation (the Chaldeans), to judge a nation (Judah), more righteous than they (verses 13-17)? The prophet ended by expressing his determination to wait for an answer (2:1).

Verses 12-17: The prophet appeals to God not to "look" on Babylonia's "iniquity" approvingly, and calls on Him to judge the mighty nation that has caught the other "nations" in its fish "net."

Habakkuk 1:12 "[Art] thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction."

"O Lord my God, mine Holy One": Although the prophet could not fully comprehend the sovereign workings of his righteous God, he expressed his complete faith and trust. As he rehearsed the unchangeable character of God as eternal, sovereign, and holy, he became assured that Judah would not be completely destroyed (Jer. 31:35-40; 33:23-26).

Under the faithful hand of God, he realized that the Chaldeans were coming to correct, not annihilate.

"O mighty God": A title for God which expresses His immovable and unshakeable character (Psalms 18:2, 31, 46; 31:2-3; 62:2, 6-7; 78:16, 20, 35).

This is a request from Habakkuk to God for the covenant people. He knows in his heart, that God will stop this onslaught, before they destroy God's people. Habakkuk is recognizing God in His might in this. He knows that God can stop this chastisement, if He will. Habakkuk is speaking for himself, and for all of the others who had not bowed their knee to Baal.

Sometimes, when the chastisement of God comes upon a people, some innocents get hurt in the process. This was the case here. Habakkuk knows they need to be chastised for their unfaithfulness to God, but he believes God will stop, before they are destroyed.

Hebrews 12:5-6 "And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:" "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."

Habakkuk 1:13 "[Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, [and] holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth [the man that is] more righteous than he?"

"Thou art of purer eyes": In spite of the prophet's expressions of faith and trust, he found himself in even further perplexity. The essence of Habakkuk's next quandary is expressed in this verse. If God is too pure to behold evil, then how can He use the wicked to devour a person more righteous than they?

Would not God's use of the Chaldeans result in even greater damage to His righteous character?

Habakkuk is reminding God, that the Chaldeans (Babylonians), are eviller than God's unfaithful family. He is questioning God about using such an evil people to chastise His people. Habakkuk is reminding God, that He is holy and cannot look upon sin without destroying it.

Habakkuk is questioning the wisdom of God overlooking the Babylonian's sins, and punishing His own people who are comparatively less sinful.

Verses 14-17: Lest God had forgotten just how wicked the Chaldeans were, Habakkuk drew attention to their evil character and behavior. Life was cheap to the Chaldeans. In the face of their ruthless tactics of war, other societies were "like the fish of the sea, like creeping things without a ruler."

In light of their reputation (verses 6-10), how could God have unleashed this ruthless force upon another helpless people?

Habakkuk 1:14 "And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, [that have] no ruler over them?"

That is, suffers them to be used as the fishes of the sea, which are easily taken in the net, and are common to everyone. Whosoever will may take them up, and kill them, and use them for their food. And which also among themselves are often hardly used, the lesser being devoured by the greater.

And in like manner the prophet suggests, that the people of the Jews, who were men made after the image of God, and made for society and usefulness, and moreover were God's covenant people.

And it might have been expected, that a more special providence would have attended them, more than other men, and especially than what attended the fishes of the sea. Yet it looked as if there were no more care taken of them than of these.

"As the creeping things that have no ruler over them": Not the creeping things of the earth, but of the water. The lesser sort of fishes that move in the water; or those that more properly creep, as crabs, prawns, and shrimps (see Psalm 104:25). Who have none to protect and defend them, and restrain others from taking and hurting them.

This may seem contrary to what Aristotle and Pliny say of some fishes, that they go in company, and have a leader or governor. But, as Bochart observes, it is one thing to be a leader of the way, a guide and director, which way to steer their course in swimming. And another thing to be as the general of an army, to protect and defend, or under whose directions they might defend themselves.

Such a one the prophet denies they had. And so, the prophet complains, this was the case of the Jews. They were exposed to the cruelty of their enemies, as if there was no God that governed in the world. And no providence to direct and order things for the preservation of men, and to keep good men from being hurt by evil men.

Or those that were weak and feeble from being oppressed by the powerful and mighty; this he reasons with the Lord about, and was desirous of an answer to it.

Habakkuk is appealing to God to see the merciless way they are coming and sweeping away God's people, as fishermen catches fish in his net without discrimination. The creeping things and fish have no one to take their part. Habakkuk thinks God's people do no longer have Him to take their part.

Habakkuk 1:15 "They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad."

The prophet continues the metaphor of fishing, and observes the different ways of taking fish; which is to be applied to the case he is speaking of. As fishermen take all they can with their angles, so "they" or "he", for it is in the singular number.

Nebuchadnezzar and his army take up all out of the sea of the world; are ambitious of getting all kingdoms and nations of the world under their power and dominion. And particularly all of Judea with all the inhabitants, good or bad, without any distinction.

For all were fish which came to their net. This may design the artful and alluring methods they first made use of to get the people into their hands, by making covenants with them, and drawing them into making of presents, and paying of tribute.

"They catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag": With the angle the fisherman catches fish one by one, but with the net great numbers. And what he misses by throwing the net, he gets by using the drag. All which may be expressive of the ways and methods used by the king of Babylon and his army, both in the times of Jeconiah, and of Zedekiah.

Under the former he used the net, and carried off large numbers. And with them the royal family and great substance, but left many behind. Under the latter he came and swept away all, drained the land of its riches and its inhabitants.

"Therefore they rejoice and are glad": As fishermen do when they have good sport; so these people rejoiced in their own success, and in the calamities of their neighbors.

This is just saying that this army of the Chaldeans has taken whole nations before them, without sparing anyone. The net of a fisherman catches everything in front of the net. The army rejoices over the capture of all these people, as a fisherman does when he has a large catch of fish.

Habakkuk 1:16 "Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion [is] fat, and their meat plenteous."

"Sacrifice ... burn incense unto their drag": If that is not enough, the prophet added that they attributed their gain to their own military might rather than to the true God.

"Because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous": That is, by their angle, net, and drag. Or by those things signified by them, the arts and methods they used to subdue nations, conquer kingdoms, and bring them into subjection to them.

They enlarged their dominions, increased their riches and revenues, and had plenty of everything that was desirable for food and raiment, for pleasure and profit. Or to gratify the most unbounded ambition, having everything that heart could wish for and desire. The allusion is to making sumptuous feasts, and rich banquets, on occasion of victories obtained.

These Chaldeans (Babylonians), do not even recognize the fact that God has helped them make this catch. They thank their false gods for their victory, by burning incense to them.

Habakkuk 1:17 "Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?"

"Empty their net": How long will the aggressor (the Chaldeans), be permitted to pursue injustice and engage in such wickedness? Can God tolerate it indefinitely?

As soon as they have caught one group, they go out with their net again, and catch another. This is the way of this evil army. They go from one nation to another taking the people captive, and killing those who are not useful to them. They are never satisfied. They have in mind conquering the whole world. As if God is not aware of this, Habakkuk reminds Him.

Habakkuk Chapter 1 Questions

1. Approximately when was the book of Habakkuk penned?

2. What is the theme of this book?

3. What greatly troubled Habakkuk?

4. What Scripture Paul wrote, is the same as Habakkuk 2:4?

5. What influenced Martin Luther so much, that he started the protestant reformation?

6. What does verse 1 reveal about Habakkuk's message?

7. What is verse 2 pleading with God about?

8. Habakkuk had prayed many times for God to do what?

9. In verse 2 it appears that Habakkuk had begun to doubt what?

10. Habakkuk was probably, in the ____________.

11. Habakkuk was a ____________ man, who lived in a society gone mad with sin.

12. What does the author wonder about our society today?

13. These evil people are actually __________ to those who have taken a stand for God.

14. When does God say He will take care of this situation?

15. What will be unexpected about the chastisement God sends upon His people?

16. Who does God rise up to chastise His people?

17. What kind of army was the Chaldeans (Babylonians)?

18. Their horses are swifter than __________.

19. They shall gather the captivity as the __________.

20. How will they treat the kings and princes?

21. Who does this army give credit for their victory to?

22. What is Habakkuk requesting in verse 12?

23. God can stop this _________________ if He will.

24. What is Habakkuk reminding God of in verse 13?

25. What are the men compared to in verse 14?

26. What is Habakkuk complaining about the army God sent, that is compared to a fish net?

27. What do these Babylonians (Chaldeans), have in their mind to do?

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Habakkuk 2

Habakkuk Chapter 2

Habakkuk 2:1 "I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved."

"Stand upon my watch": Comparing himself to a watchman (Ezek. Chapters 3 and 33), standing as a sentinel upon the city walls, Habakkuk prepared to wait for God's answer and to ponder his reply.

Habakkuk is speaking in this verse. He is waiting to see what God will say to him. He is not shirking his duties in the meantime. He will still act as the watchman.

We see that Habakkuk separates himself from this sinful people. He goes aside, perhaps, to a place in the mountains, until he hears from God. He is expecting God to reprimand him for the questions he asked Him (in chapter 1).

Verses 2-20: In response to Habakkuk's second complain (1:12 - 2:1), the Lord announced that He would judge the Chaldeans as well for their wickedness. His reply included:

(1) The instructions to write it down, as a reminder that it would surely occur (verses 2-3);

(2) A description of the character of the wicked in comparison to the righteous (verses 4-5); and

(3) The pronouncement of 5 woes describing the Chaldeans' demise (verses 6-20).

Verses 2-3: "Write the vision": Habakkuk was to record the vision to preserve it for posterity, so that all who read it would know of the certainty of its fulfillment (similar language in Daniel 12:4, 9). The prophecy had lasting relevance and thus had to be preserved.

Although a period of time would occur before its fulfillment, all were to know that it would occur at God's "appointed time" (Isa. 13; Jer. chapters 50 and 51). Babylon would fall to the Medo-Persian kingdom of Cyrus (ca. 539 B.C.; Daniel chapter 5).

Habakkuk 2:2 "And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make [it] plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it."

"Write the vision ... upon tablets": refers to the common practice of writing public notices with such large characters on the clay tablets that someone running by could easily read them. If the notice was a warning it would also cause the reader to run quickly to prepare for what was coming.

"That he may run that readeth it": Perhaps referring;

(1) To clarity of form, so even the one who runs by it may easily absorb its meaning; or

(2) To clarity of content, so that the courier could easily transmit the message to others.

There really is no reprove in this. God does answer Habakkuk though. This is telling Habakkuk to write the very book we are reading here. The reason God wanted Habakkuk to write it down, was so future generations could draw from it.

Habakkuk is a book that many scholars have drawn from. In the earlier lesson, we mentioned the fact that Paul quoted from Habakkuk. We also mentioned that Martin Luther started the Protestant reformation after studying Habakkuk. Many have been so moved by this little book, that it encouraged them to be workers for God.

Habakkuk 2:3 "For the vision [is] yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry."

"An appointed time" indicates a specific future fulfillment of Habakkuk's prophecy of the fall of Babylon (see Daniel 5:30-31).

Every person who has a vision of a work God would have him do, could be inspired by these Words. God does things in His time, and not when we think it is time. Notice, in all of this, God does not scold him about the vision, or even the questions he has asked God.

He explains that sometimes, they do not come to pass at the time of the vision. They may happen weeks, months, or even years later. The vision is for a time God appointed. God reminds Habakkuk that he is to patiently wait on the answers to come. When the appointed time comes, they will not tarry.

Habakkuk 2:4 "Behold, his soul [which] is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith."

"His soul which is lifted up": While the context makes this an obvious reference to the Chaldeans, the passage introduces the marks which distinguish all wicked from all righteous, regardless of ethnic origin. Two opposing characteristics are here contrasted: The proud trusts in himself; and the just lives by his faith.

(1) The proud, haughty Chaldeans, who will be the victors in the forthcoming conflict; and

(2) The righteous ones of Judah who will appear to be defeated in the forthcoming conflict, but in reality, will be the victors because of their faith in the Lord.

"The just shall live by his faith" is often quoted in the New Testament in support of the doctrine of justification by faith (see Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38). Thus, this Old Testament prophecy anticipates the New Testament gospel which shall ultimately conquer the nations and bring them to Christ.

In contrast to the proud, the righteous will be truly preserved through his faithfulness to God.

This is the core of God's message to and/or through Habakkuk. Both the aspect of justification by faith, as noted by Paul's usage (in Romans 1:17 and Galatian 3:11), as well as the aspect of sanctification by faith, as employed by the writer of Hebrews (10:38), reflect the essence of Habakkuk; no conflict exists.

The emphasis in both Habakkuk and the New Testament references goes beyond the act of faith to include the continuity of faith. Faith is not a one-time act, but a way of life. The true believer, declared righteous by God, will persevere in faith as the pattern of his life (Col. 1:22-23; Heb. 3:12-14).

This statement is not just for Habakkuk, but for all of God's people. Our faith in God should not be determined by things we see with our eyes.

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Our faith in God is what separates us from the world. The world has no hope. We have hope of the resurrection. Those who have confidence in themselves are not depending on their faith in God to see them through.

Habakkuk 2:5 "Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, [he is] a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and [is] as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:"

The bitter verbal attack against the Chaldeans served as the basis for the condemnation described (in verses 6-20). They were proud and greedy. Like Sheol and death (Prov. 1:12; 27:20; 30:15-16), they were never satisfied but always wanted more.

"Hell" (Hebrew Sheol, "the unseen world of the dead"), can be understood both as a reference to the grave and as the residence of the departed dead.

This is speaking of a man who is lacking in moral character. He drinks heavily. He runs around. He is living for the desires of the flesh, and his flesh will die. The sad thing is, this type of person winds up in hell for all of eternity. In this particular instance, this is speaking of the Babylonians (Chaldeans). They, as a nation, are headed for total destruction in hell.

Verses 6-20: Five woes, in the form of a taunt song, were pronounced upon the Chaldeans in anticipation of their eventual judgment. Presented in 5 stanzas of 3 verses each, the 5 woes were directed at 5 different classes of evildoers.

Verses 6-8: The first woe charged extortion, i.e., plundering nations under threat of great bodily harm for the purpose of making themselves rich. As a result, they were to become plunder for those nations who remained.

Habakkuk 2:6 "Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth [that which is] not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay!"

"All these": A reference to all the nations who suffered at the hands of the Babylonians.

"Woe": An interjection often used in prophetic literature to introduce a judicial indictment or a sentence of judgment (Isa. 5:8, 11, 18, 20-22; Jer. 22:13; 23:1; Amos 5:18; 6:1).

"Thick clay": The Babylonians exacted heavy taxation of conquered nations. Such action often accompanied loans with excessive interest made to the poor (Deut. 24:10-13; 2 Kings 4:1-7; Neh. 5:1-13).

All of the nations who have been captured, and their people killed by these ruthless Babylonians, have taken up a parable against them. They know that God will bring condemnation upon these evil people, they just do not know when.

They have taken countries and people that do not belong to them. They are really asking God how long will He wait to punish these evil men?

The "clay" in the Scripture above speaks of things that are earthly. The things they have piled up and called wealth will pass away. They are things of this earth. We Christians should lay up our treasures in heaven, where nothing can destroy them.

Habakkuk 2:7 "Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them?"

"Shall they": The survivor nations, from whom taxation was extorted (verse 8).

Even their people that the Babylonians take captive, are no more to them than the inanimate things they count as their booty. The people are thought of as the possession of the captors.

Their cruelty toward their captives will come right back to them, when they are under the judgment of God. The army, which destroys them, will be just as cruel to them, as they had been to their captives.

Verses 8:11: The proud and seemingly impregnable city of Babylon fell to Cyrus the Great (in 539 B.C.), due as much to its own inner corruption as to the presence of the great conqueror. According to the reports of the ancient world, Cyrus was hailed as a liberator (Isa. 45:1-3).

Habakkuk 2:8 "Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; because of men's blood, and [for] the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein."

Those that survived the persecutions of the Roman emperors; those that were left of the great numbers put to death by them. Those under Constantine rose up, and by just retaliation spoiled them of all their power and wealth.

"Because of men's blood": The blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus, of those under the altar, whose blood cried for vengeance (Rev. 6:9), which was shed under the ten bloody persecutions.

Or, "because of the blood of a man": of Adam, as it may be rendered. The blood of Christ the second Adam, which, though shed at the instance of the Jews, yet by the order of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor.

"And for the violence of the land, and of the city, and of all that dwell therein": That is, for the violence and injuries done to the land of Israel and city of Jerusalem, and the inhabitants thereof. As the Targum, and so Jarchi; and which were done by the Romans to those places and people, under Titus Vespasian, when he invaded the country of Judea, and made it desolate.

He besieged and took Jerusalem, and burnt it with fire (70 A.D.); destroyed great numbers of its inhabitants, and carried them captive, and sent great multitudes of them to the mines. As well as for what were done to the Christians in every country and city where they dwelt.

And to the city of the living God, the church, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the citizens of it, who were used by them in a very cruel and inhuman manner. And for which vengeance would be, and was, taken upon them.

Babylon had been a conqueror that seemed impossible to stop. God will bring judgment on Babylon by the Medes and Persians. The cruelty and the bloodshed the Babylonians had brought on others would bring the very same type of treatment upon them.

They had gone much further than God intended them to, when they attacked Judah and Jerusalem. God's judgment of the Chaldeans would be severe for this reason.

Verses 9-11: The second charge, of premeditated exploitation borne out of covetousness, was a continuation of (verses 6-8). The walls of their houses, built with stones and timbers taken from others, testified against them (verse 1).

Habakkuk 2:9 "Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!"

"Set his nest on high": Wanting to protect themselves from any recriminations their enemies might seek to shower upon them, the Chaldeans had sought to make their cities impregnable and inaccessible to the enemy (Isa. 14:13-14).

The Babylonians (Chaldeans), had taken great wealth from the people they had defeated. They had taken far more than their needs and left the people without anything. They had thought so highly of themselves, they had tried to lift themselves up as high as the skies by all the wealth they had obtained at other's expense.

Habakkuk 2:10 "Thou hast consulted shame to thy house by cutting off many people, and hast sinned [against] thy soul."

"Thou hast consulted shame": The Chaldean leaders, by counseling to kill, shamed themselves and harmed their souls.

This, of course, is speaking to the Babylonians. They had made a terrible name for themselves by their cruelty in battle. People both feared and hated them. They have gone so far with their cruelty; they have sinned in their souls.

Habakkuk 2:11 "For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it."

Of their own house; some from among themselves, that truly feared God, seeing the evil practices done among them, and abhorring them. Such as their covetousness, ambition, murders, excommunications, and anathemas (a formal curse by a pope or a council of the Church, excommunicating a person or denouncing a doctrine), should cry out against them in their sermons and writings.

"And the beam out of the timber shall answer it": Such as were of eminent note in things civil, as beams and rafters in the house. Emperors and governors of provinces, who observed the complaints of godly ministers and people, answered to them. And checked the evil bishops and clergy, hindering them in the pursuit of their schemes, and brought them to shame and confusion.

Aben Ezra observes, that the word signifies the hard place in the wood; or the harder part of it, the knotty part, or the knot in it; and which is confirmed by the use of the word in the Arabic language, as Hottinger observes.

And so may have respect to such persons as were raised up at the beginning of the Reformation, who were of rough dispositions, and hardy spirits, fit to go through the work they were called to. Such as Luther, and others, who answered and were correspondent to the doctrines of those before mentioned, who preceded them.

For not a beetle, as the Septuagint version, which breeds, and lives not in wood, and so represents heretics. As Jerom; much better, as some other Greek versions, a "worm"; though rather the word may signify a brick, as it is used by the Talmudists for one of a span and a half. Which answers well enough to a stone in the former clause.

Nor is it unusual with heathen writers to represent stones and timbers speaking, when any criminal silence is kept.

Luke 19:40 "And he answered and said to them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."

We do know the handwriting on the wall condemned these evil people. Perhaps, that is what is intended here. In their time of joy and revelry, a hand from God wrote a message of condemnation and destruction upon them.

Verses 12-14: The third woe accuses them of being ruthless despots, building luxurious palaces by means of bloodshed and forced labor. Like a fire that burns everything given to it, their labors would all be futile, having no lasting value (verse 13; Mic. 3:10).

Habakkuk 2:12 "Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity!"

Nebuchadnezzar "encircled the inner city with three walls and the outer city also with three, all of burnt brick. And having fortified the city with wondrous works, and adorned the gates like temples, he built another palace near the palace of his fathers, surpassing it in height and its great magnificence.

He seemed to strengthen the city, and to establish it by outward defenses. But it was built through cruelty to conquered nations, and especially God's people, and by oppression, against His holy Will. So, there was an inward rottenness and decay in what seemed strong and majestic, and which imposed on the outward eye; it would not stand, but fell.

Babylon, which had stood since the flood, being enlarged contrary to the eternal laws of God, fell in the reign of his son. Such is all empire and greatness, raised on the neglect of God's laws, by unlawful conquests, and by the toil and sweat and hard service of the poor.

Its aggrandizement and seeming strength is its fall. Daniel's exhortation to Nebuchadnezzar:

Daniel 4:27, "Redeem thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy on the poor,"

This implies that oppressiveness had been one of his chief sins.

They shed much blood to get the wealth they had. They are condemned for building great buildings over the shed blood of those they conquered.

Habakkuk 2:13 "Behold, [is it] not of the LORD of hosts that the people shall labor in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity?"

Literally, to suffice the fire: By God's appointment, the end of all their labor is for the fire, what may suffice it to consume. This is the whole result of their labor; and so, it is as if they had toiled for this; they built ceiled palaces and gorgeous buildings, only for the fire to consume them.

"And the peoples shall weary themselves for very vanity": They wearied themselves, and what was their reward? What had they to suffice and fill them? "Emptiness." This is "from the Lord of hosts," whom all the armies of heaven obey and all creatures stand at His command against the ungodly. And in whose Hand are all the hosts of earth, and so the oppressor's also, to turn as He wills.

Near upon the first stage of the fulfillment, Jeremiah reinforces the words with the name of Babylon.

Jer. 51:58 "Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labor in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary."

Babylon, which was built to such magnificence with the slave labor, was but vanity. The people building this magnificent place labored as if in fire. It was not a labor of love, but forced labor. All of their labor is in vain, because Babylon and all its finery are destroyed, never to be built again.

Habakkuk 2:14 "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."

"Filled": In contrast to the self-exaltation of the Chaldeans, whose efforts come to naught, God promised that the whole earth would recognize His glory at the establishment of His millennial kingdom (Num. 14:21; Psalm 72:19; Isa. 6:3; 11:9).

God's glory far surpasses all the glory of these big cities, like Babylon. The following Scripture is almost identical to the one above.

Isaiah 11:9 "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."

The following Scripture tells what the above Scripture means better than I could explain it.

Hebrews 8:11 "And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest."

The knowledge of the glory of God will cover all the people of the earth in that day.

Verses 15-17: The fourth charge is debauchery, wherein Babylon forced others to become intoxicated and poisoned, making them behave shamefully and become easy prey. As a result, they too would be forced to drink the cup of God's wrath and exposed to public shame. (Jer. 49:12).

Habakkuk 2:15 "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to [him], and makest [him] drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!"

A severe woe is pronounced against drunkenness. It is very fearful against all who are guilty of drunkenness at any time, and in any place, from the stately palace to the paltry ale-house. To give one drink who is in want, one who is thirsty and poor, or a weary traveler, or ready to perish, is charity.

But to give a neighbor drink, that he may expose himself, may disclose secret concerns, or be drawn into a bad bargain, or for any such purpose, this is wickedness. To be guilty of this sin, to take pleasure in it, is to do what we can towards the murder both of soul and body.

There is woe to him, and punishment answering to the sin. The folly of worshipping idols is exposed. The Lord is in his holy temple in heaven, where we have access to him in the way he has appointed. May we welcome his salvation, and worship him in his earthly temples, through Christ Jesus, and by the influence of the Holy Spirit.

This drink is alcoholic in nature. The drink was given to the neighbor, so his judgment would be impaired. The person who gave the drink to his neighbor had an ulterior motive. This is speaking of the impaired judgment the nations had dealing with Babylon. These Babylonians are like the evil Babylon in Revelation which leads the people to sin. The Babylonians have shamed them.

Habakkuk 2:16 "Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD'S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing [shall be] on thy glory."

"Foreskin": This word refers to "nakedness", expressing in Hebrew thought the greatest contempt, the sign of being an alien from God (see note on Jer. 4:4).

"Cup of the Lord's right hand": A metaphor referring to divine retribution, served up by His powerful right hand (Psalm 21:8). What the Chaldeans did to others would also be done to them (verses 7-8).

"Shameful spewing shall be on thy glory": Carrying out the metaphor of drunkenness, here is a reference to the humiliation of "shameful spewing." The very thing in which they gloried would become the object of their shame. While the Lord's glory would be "as the waters cover the sea" (verse 14); Babylon's glory would be covered with shame.

Babylon is thought of by all the other nations in a shameful way. God exposes them, and they are destroyed. They are shown to be uncircumcised. They do not belong to God. They will drink of the cup of God's indignation.

Revelation 18:6 "Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double."

This is speaking of Babylon.

Habakkuk 2:17 "For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee, and the spoil of beasts, [which] made them afraid, because of men's blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein."

"Violence": The reference may be to the ruthless exploitation of trees and animals, providing building materials, firewood, and food, which often accompanied military campaigns.

Lebanon's beautiful cedars were plundered for selfish purposes (Isa. 14:7-8; 37:24). It also includes the slaughter of men. (Verse 17b), suggests that it may symbolize Israel and her inhabitants, whom Nebuchadnezzar conquered (2 Kings 14:9; Jer. 22:6, 23; Ezek. 17:3).

The Babylonians (Chaldeans), had destroyed the forest of Lebanon. They had destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and Judah, as well. They were a threat to man and beast. They destroyed the beasts along with the people who got in their way. They killed with the sword, burned, and took captive. They were a very violent people.

Verses 18-20: The fifth accusation is idolatry, exposing the folly of following other gods (Isa. 41:24; 44:9). The destruction of the Chaldeans would demonstrate the superiority of the Lord over all gods.

Habakkuk 2:18 "What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?"

The graven images the church of Rome enjoins the worship of; the images of the Trinity, of Christ, of the Virgin Mary, of angels and saints departed, and which are still continued since the Reformation. But of what profit and advantage are they?

They may be profitable to the engraver, who is paid for making them. The metal or matters of which they are made, if sold, and converted to another use. But as deities, and worshipped as such, they are of no profit to them that worship them.

They cannot hear their prayers, nor answer them. Cannot bestow any favors on them, and deliver them out of distress. And particularly cannot save them from the judgments before denounced.

"The molten image, and a teacher of lies": Nor is a molten image any ways profitable, which is made of liquid matter, gold or silver melted and poured into a mold, from whence it receives its form. It may be profitable to the founder, and the metal to the owner, if put to another use; but as a god, is of no service.

And both the graven and molten image, the one and the other, each of them is "a teacher of lies", and so unprofitable. If they are laymen's books, as they are said to be, they do not teach them truth. They do not teach them what God is in his nature and perfections. What Christ is in his person and offices. What angels are, who have no material existence; nor the saints.

"That the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?" Or, "whilst making dumb idols"; which is great stupidity indeed! That while a man is graving an image, or casting an idol, which are lifeless senseless things, that can neither move nor speak, yea, are his workmanship. Yet puts his trust and confidence in them, that they can do him service he needs.

An image cannot help them. It has no power to save them. Their false gods will be of no help at all, when the judgment of God comes upon them. They had put their faith and trust in false gods, not in God.

Habakkuk 2:19 "Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it [is] laid over with gold and silver, and [there is] no breath at all in the midst of it."

"Awake ... arise": Compare the sarcasm with that of Elijah's words to the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:27; Jer. 2:27).

This is speaking of the things the false gods were made with. Their false gods are not alive, and cannot speak, or help them.

Habakkuk 2:20 "But the LORD [is] in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him."

"Holy temple": A reference to heaven, from where the Lord rules (Psalm 11:4), and answers the prayers of those who seek Him (1 Kings 8:28-30; Psalm 73:17).

"Keep silence": In contrast to the silence of the idols (verse 19), the living, sovereign Ruler of the universe calls all the earth to be silent before Him. None can assert his independence from Him; all the earth must worship in humble submission (Psalm 46:10; Isa. 52:15).

This is in direct contrast to their false gods. The LORD is alive. He can, and does, speak to His people. He can help, or punish, His people whenever He chooses, because He Is God. His holy temple, here, is speaking of His throne in heaven.

God is not like those idols which had to be in one place at one time. He is "omnipresent", everywhere all the time. He is not limited to one location. His presence hovered over the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies in the temple in Jerusalem.

The unfaithfulness of His people caused Him to leave. All of the earth should keep silence before the LORD, because all of it belongs to Him. He created it all for Himself. I will give you a few Scriptures to ponder on about this very thing.

Acts 17:29 "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."

John 1:3 "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

Colossians 1:20 "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven."

Colossians 1:16 "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:"

Revelation 4:11 "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

Habakkuk Chapter 2 Questions

1. Who is speaking in verse 1?

2. He will act as a ____________.

3. What is Habakkuk expecting from God?

4. And the Lord answered me, and said, ________ the vision down.

5. What is God telling him to write?

6. Why is it to be written?

7. What New Testament penman quoted Habakkuk?

8. _________ _________ started the Protestant reformation after studying Habakkuk.

9. What relationship does the author have with verses 2 and 3 of this lesson?

10. The vision is for an ____________ ______.

11. Though it tarry, ________ for it.

12. Who, in particular, can be inspired by these verses?

13. What does God explain to Habakkuk in verse 3?

14. The just shall live by ________.

15. What hope do we have, that the world does not have?

16. What things, in verse 5, show us the man is without moral character?

17. Who is verse 5 speaking of?

18. Who take up a parable against him?

19. What is the "clay" speaking of in verse 6

20. Who will God use to bring judgment on the Babylonians?

21. The Babylonians had sinned against their _________.

22. What is verse 11 speaking of?

23. What kind of drink is verse 15 speaking of?

24. What does the drink do to them?

25. How do the other nations think of Babylon?

26. What had they done to Lebanon?

27. What had they put their trust in?

28. The LORD is in His ________ ________.

29. Let all the earth keep _________ before Him.

30. What does "omnipresent" mean?

31. Which is your favorite of the Scriptures the author gave to ponder on?

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Habakkuk 3

Habakkuk Chapter 3

Habakkuk 3:1 "A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth."

"A prayer": (Hebrew. Tepilah, "prayer" or "song of praise"): It was written to be used as a part of the public worship services of Israel. It was set to "Shigionoth," which refers to the kind of music with which the psalm was to be accompanied. The following song, a victory ode, was to be sung triumphantly and with great excitement.

"Shigionoth" means rambling poem. It possibly means the prayer was sung. Notice also, that Habakkuk is recognized, again, as a prophet.

Habakkuk 3:2 "O LORD, I have heard thy speech, [and] was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy."

"Thy speech": A reference (back to 1:5-11 and 2:2-20), where the Lord informed Habakkuk of His plans for judging Judah and the Chaldeans.

"Revive thy work: Knowledge of the severity of God's judgment struck Habakkuk with fear. As though God's power had not been used in a long time, the prophet asked the Lord to "revive" (literally "to quicken"), to repeat His mighty saving works on behalf of His people, Israel.

In the midst of the years": In the midst of His punishment of Judah at the hand of the Chaldeans, the prophet begged that God would remember mercy.

In chapter 2, God had answered the prayer of Habakkuk. Now, he recognizes the fact that God has answered his questions. The explanation of the punishment God will bring on the Jews, and then the total destruction of Babylon, has frightened Habakkuk. Habakkuk wants to go back to the time when God's blessings were upon the Jews.

Habakkuk wants God to be merciful, and not complete the wrath He had spoken of.

Verses 3-15: These verses contain two poems (verses 3-7 and 8-15), recounting God's deliverance of His people in the days of the Exodus. The poems emphasize His preservation in the wilderness and His triumphal leading into the Promised Land.

"Selah": This expression is thought to be equivalent to a musical rest, in which the reader or singer was instructed to stop and think about what he just read or sang.

Employing figures from God's past intervention on Israel's behalf, taken from the deliverance of His people from Egypt and the conquest of Canaan, Habakkuk painted a picture of their future redemption. The Exodus from Egypt is often used as an analogy of the future redemption of Israel at the beginning of the Millennium (Isa. 11:16).

Verses 3-4: The Shekinah glory, which protected and led Israel from Egypt through the wilderness (Exodus 40:34-38), was the physical manifestation of His presence. Like the sun, He spread His radiance throughout the heavens and the earth.

Habakkuk 3:3 "God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise."

"Teman ... Mount Paran": Teman, named after a grandson of Esau, was an Edomite city (Amos 1:12; Obadiah 9). Mount Paran was located in the Sinai Peninsula. Both allude to the theater in which God displayed great power when He brought Israel into the land of Canaan (Deut. 33:2; Judges 5:4).

The statement "God came from Teman" is speaking of God coming to Mount Sinai to make covenant with the people. "Selah" (meaning pause and think about what you just heard), is an expression used many times in the Psalms. God, in the verse above, is Eloah, which means Deity.

This shows that God is Lord and Ruler of all the earth. Holy One is another way of speaking of God, who is all-powerful. The glory of God fills the heavens and the earth.

Deuteronomy 5:24 "And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath showed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth."

Deuteronomy 33:2 "And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand [went] a fiery law for them."

There is no other glory compared to the glory of God in the heavens.

Psalms 48:10 "According to thy name, O God, so [is] thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness."

Habakkuk 3:4 "And [his] brightness was as the light; he had horns [coming] out of his hand: and there [was] the hiding of his power."

"And his brightness was as the light": Of fire, of devouring fire on the top of the mount, to which the sight of his glory was like (Exod. 24:16), which Kimchi refers it. Aben Ezra thinks the pillar of fire is intended, in which the Lord went before his people in the wilderness (Exod. 13:21).

Or rather as the light of the sun shining in its full strength, Christ being the light of the world, and the sun of righteousness. And so may describe him as the brightness of his Father's glory. Or his glory, as the only begotten of the Father, seen by his own disciples in the days of his flesh, shining through his works and miracles.

Or as exhibited in the light of his glorious Gospel, which is the great light that shined on men. And in and by which they that sat in darkness saw light, and who were darkness itself were made light in the Lord. What a glory, luster, brightness, and light, did the Gospel spread in the world at the first publication of it!

And be understood of Christ, who has beams and rays of glory on all sides of him, all around him; he is all glory. He is crowned with glory and honor, and highly exalted at his Father's right hand, above all principalities and powers. And "horns" being an emblem of power and might, authority and dominion.

"And there was the hiding of his power": That is, in his hand; there his power, which before was hidden, was made manifest. And yet so little displayed, in comparison of what it is in itself, that it may be rather said to be hid than revealed.

Or there, in his hand, lies his power, with which he hides and covers his people in the day of battle. Especially his ministering servants, whom he holds in his right hand, and preserves amidst a thousand dangers and difficulties. And keeps them for further usefulness (see Acts 18:10).

God is the Light. He not only is as the Light, He is the Light. The "horns coming out of His hands" show the power of His work. "Horns" symbolize power and "hands" symbolize work. This could, also, mean that light was streaming from His hands.

The Light of God is like a garment God is clothed in to keep mortal man from seeing Him. Most who have an experience with God, see a bright Light, or a fire. The power of God is hidden in that Light.

1 John 1:5 "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

Revelation 21:23 "And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [is] the light thereof."

Habakkuk 3:5 "Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet."

"Pestilence ... burning coals": Recalling the judgment attending Israel's disobedience to the covenant given at Sinai (Exodus 5:3; Num. 14:12; Deut. 28:21-22; 32:24), Habakkuk accentuated the sovereign agency of God's judgments. Both were a part of the divine entourage.

The "burning coals at His feet" are compared to burnished brass. "Brass" symbolizes judgment. At His command, the pestilence moves. He sends the pestilence. He is also, the One who removes the pestilence.

Verses 6-7: The entire universe responds in fear at the approach of Almighty God (Exodus 15:14). As at the Creation (Isa. 40:12), the earth and its inhabitants are at His disposal.

Habakkuk 3:6 "He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways [are] everlasting."

"He stood and measured the earth": This alludes to the Ark of the Lord, the symbol of his presence, standing and abiding at Gilgal for the space of fourteen years, while the land of Canaan was subdued by Joshua. And then measured out by him, and divided by lot, as an inheritance to the children of Israel, according to the direction and appointment of the Lord (Joshua 13:1).

"He beheld, and drove asunder the nations": With a look of his he made them give way. He drove the Canaanites out of the land, and separated them from one another, and scattered them about, to make room for his people Israel (Psalm 78:55).

"And the everlasting mountains were scattered": Or, "were broken".

"The perpetual hills did bow": The mountains and hills that were from the beginning of the creation, that were settled upon their bases, and never moved, now trembled, shook, and bowed. As Sinai and others did, at the presence of the God of Israel (see Judges 5:5).

Or rather, figuratively, these may design the kingdoms and states, kings and princes, greater and lesser, belonging to the land of Canaan, which were shaken, moved, and taken by the Israelites, and brought into subjection to them. And in like manner kings and kingdoms, comparable to mountains and hills, through the preaching of the Gospel.

And the power of Christ attending it, were brought to yield unto him, at the downfall of Paganism in the Roman empire. This is signified by every mountain and island being moved out of their places. And kings and great men calling to the rocks and mountains to fall on them, and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb (Rev. 6:14).

"His ways are everlasting": And what he has done in ages past he can do again. His power, his wisdom, and his grace, are unchangeably the same. And all he does in time, every step he takes, is according to his counsels, purposes, and decrees in eternity, which infallibly come to pass.

Nor can he be hindered and frustrated in the execution of them; as he has begun, he will go on. as he has set up his kingdom in the world, he will support and maintain it. And though there are many obstructions in the way of it, he will go on, and remove them, until he has thoroughly established it, and brought it to its highest glory, which he has designed.

All mountains and hills are nothing before him; he can soon make them a plain (see Rev. 11:15). Or, "the ways of the world are his"; the world is under his government, and all things in it subject to his providence. He can rule and overrule all things for his own glory, and the good of his interest, and he will do it.

Everything is subject to his control, and under his direction; not a step can be taken without his will. This the prophet observes along with the above things, to encourage the faith and expectation of the saints, that the work of the Lord will be revived, and his kingdom and interest promoted and established in the world. Though there may, and will, be many difficulties and distresses previous to it.

This measurement has to do with judgment. The mountains and the hills quake at His presence. They are His creation and are subject to Him as the people are.

Joel 2:10 "The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:"

He is Everlasting God.

Habakkuk 3:7 "I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: [and] the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble."

"Cushan ... Midian": Probably referring to one people living in the Sinai Peninsula region (Exodus 2:16-22; 18:1-5; Num. 12:1), where Moses' wife was identified as being both Midianite and Cushite.

Cushan is speaking probably, of Ethiopia. Midian is another country who was opposed to God's people. They will all tremble, when God takes vengeance for His people.

Verses 8-15: With rhetorical vividness, Habakkuk addressed the Lord directly, rehearsing His judicial actions against anything that opposes His will.

Habakkuk 3:8 "Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? [was] thine anger against the rivers? [was] thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses [and] thy chariots of salvation?"

"Thine horses ... thy chariots": Symbolic descriptions of God defeating the enemy (3:11, 15).

This asks the question of whether God was angry with the rivers, or the sea, when He showed His power over them? The answer is no. He was angry with the sinful people, not with the sea, or the river. God was glorified to the people, when He caused the Red Sea to part. He was glorified to the people, when He caused the rivers to turn to blood.

God was not angry with these things of nature, but He was angry at the people who had made them gods. The Lord will come as King of kings on a white horse. Whether this is what is spoken of here or not, I cannot say. The Lord is our salvation.

Habakkuk 3:9 "Thy bow was made quite naked, [according] to the oaths of the tribes, [even thy] word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers."

"According to the oaths of the tribes": The Lord's arrows were commissioned under divine oaths (Jer. 47:6-7).

This is describing the Lord as a warrior King. The "bow being naked"; means it is drawn ready to use. God had made covenant with these people, and promised to deliver them. God does exactly what He says. "Cleave", is when the land is broken open. This could be by an earthquake.

Habakkuk 3:10 "The mountains saw thee, [and] they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, [and] lifted up his hands on high."

At the power and presence of God, as Sinai of old (see Hab. 3:6), by which are signified mighty people and nations, kings and great men, struck with terror at the amazing providence of God in the world. On the behalf of his own people, and against their enemies (see Rev. 6:14).

"The overflowing of the water passed by": Which is usually referred to the overflowing of the river Jordan at the time of the passage of the Israelites through it. When the waters above stood and rose up as a heap, and those below failed, and were cut off, and passed away into the Salt Sea (Joshua 3:15).

"The deep uttered his voice, and lifted up hands on high": Language very poetical, exceeding striking, very beautiful and elegant. It is generally understood of the deep waters of the Red Sea, or of Jordan, or both, when divided for the Israelites to pass through. At which time, when they rose up, they made a great noise, and stood on a heap.

And so the phrases are expressive of the roaring and raging of them as they rose up, which was as if they had spoken. And of the position in which they were, standing up on high, as if they had hands and these lifted up.

We know that Mount Sinai quaked at the presence of God. This is what is spoken of here, as well. What it is really saying, is at the command of God, the water will overflow. God's voice is like thunder. This sound came from the deep, so is, possibly, speaking of the roaring that accompanies the sea.

Habakkuk 3:11 "The sun [and] moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, [and] at the shining of thy glittering spear."

"Sun and moon stood still in their habitation": As prominent symbols of God's created order, the sun and moon are subservient to His beckoning. The imagery is reminiscent of Israel's victory over the Amorites at Gibeon (Joshua 10:12-14).

All of this is explaining that God controls all of these things. It is He that commanded the light to shine. It is by His command that it will stop shining. The shining of the spear, in this instance, could be speaking of lightning. God's presence is enough to cause all of the things we have read about, but His commands cause all the elements of nature to obey.

Habakkuk 3:12 "Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger."

"March": Literally "threshed," the term is often used to depict military invasions and the execution of judgment (Judges 8:7; 2 Kings 13:7; Isa. 21:10; 25:10; Dan. 7:23; Amos 1:3).

When the True God walks through the earth in indignation, the whole earth trembles. The threshing is like the farmer threshing the wheat. God fights for His own. He separates His family from the lost, as the wheat is separated from the chaff.

Habakkuk 3:13 "Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, [even] for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah."

"Salvation with thine anointed": Both the parallelism with verse 13a ("Your people"), and the numerous contextual allusions to the Exodus make this a likely reference to Moses and the chosen people of Israel. Who, as God's anointed, achieved victory over Pharaoh and the armies of Egypt (Psalm 105:15).

"Thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked": Not the princes of the families of the land of Canaan, as some; nor the first born of Pharaoh's family in Egypt, or him and his host at the Red sea, as others. Nor Goliath of Gath, smitten by David, as Burkius; nor Satan and his principalities and powers by Christ on the cross.

But Antichrist the man of sin, that wicked and lawless one, who is at the bead of a wicked house or family, the antichristian party. Who received a wound at the Reformation; and ere long the kings of the earth will hate the whore, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. And Christ, will utterly consume and destroy this wicked one with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming (Rev. 13:3; see Psalm 110:6).

Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret this of the head of the army of wicked Gog, the king of Magog, taking it to belong to future time. And so some render all those phrases, "thou wilt go forth, thou wilt wound".

"By discovering the foundation unto the neck": Or "razing the foundation" (as in Psalm 137:7). There seems to be a double metaphor in the words, expressing the utter ruin and destruction of antichrist and his party. Who, being compared to a building, will be demolished, and razed to the very foundation. That will be dug up, and laid bare, no trace of an edifice to be seen any more.

And, being compared to a human body, will be plunged into such distresses and calamities, as to be as it were up to the neck in them, from whence there is no escape and deliverance. Some understand this of the princes of this head, or of his friends, and those of his family that are nearest to him. As the neck is to the head; or of the whole body of the people under him, of which he will be deprived. And so be as a head without a body, and who cannot long survive them.

Ultimately, it foreshadows a subsequent, future deliverance in anticipation of the Messiah (Psalm 132:10-12), promised in the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:11-16).

God is the Savior of His people. He will save Judah from the Chaldeans. He will send His Son and save all the world who will believe and accept Him. The "Anointed One" is Christ. He comes as Savior. The head of the house of the wicked could be anything, from the Babylonian head to the head over Jerusalem, when Jesus comes.

We know the Babylonians were destroyed. We also know there will come a time when Jesus will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. This perhaps, means all of those times. God knows whether the foundation is built on the Rock, or on sinking sand.

Habakkuk 3:14 "Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing [was] as to devour the poor secretly."

"They came out as a whirlwind to scatter": A possible reference to the pursuit of fleeing Israel at the Red Sea by Pharaoh's army (Exodus 14:5-9). Like the poor, Israel appeared to be easy prey for the pursing Egyptians.

The Chaldeans had been so cruel in their conquest; they had especially preyed on the poor. They destroyed the rulers first, and then destroyed all who followed. This is just one instance of that kind of cruelty. It is all too clear that this type of thing will continue on, until the coming of Christ.

Proverbs 30:14 "[There is] a generation, whose teeth [are as] swords, and their jaw teeth [as] knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from [among] men."

Jesus, the Judge of all the earth, will change that. He will destroy the oppressor and bring peace to the earth. He takes special care of the poor, who cannot help themselves.

Habakkuk 3:15 "Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, [through] the heap of great waters."

"Thou didst walk through the sea": Another reference to God's miraculous, protective intervention on behalf of Israel at the Red Sea. The historical event demonstrates His sovereign rulership of the universe and provides assurance to the troubled prophet that the Lord could be counted on to save His people once more.

This speaking of the Red Sea that parted into a heap, so the children of Israel could pass through on dry land. This also shows us, that God is with us in our greatest time of need. He is there to go through the waters of life. He will not remove the water; He just makes a passage-way for us to cross.

Verses 16-19: The instructions in the postscript indicate that this psalm was used as a part of the temple liturgy. It is a great psalm expressing obedience and praise to God, and trust in Him.

Habakkuk ended the prophecy with renewed commitment and affirmation of faith, expressing unwavering confidence in God.

Habakkuk 3:16 "When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops."

"I might rest": The Lord had answered his prayer (verse 1); the Lord would vindicate His righteousness and ultimately restore a truly repentant people (2:4).

While the answer satisfied Habakkuk, the thought of a Chaldean invasion of his people has also left him physically exhausted and overwhelmed (Jer. 4:19). Nevertheless, the prophet could "wait quietly for the day of distress" because he knew the Lord would judge righteously.

This was possibly, intended for Judah then, but is also for all generations who face their own shortcomings. Judah was to feel the chastisement of God for their unfaithfulness to God.

Deuteronomy 28:58 "If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;"

Hebrews 10:31 "[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

We see that Habakkuk has great fear (reverence), of God. He is so weak at the presence of God that his bones seem to be rotten. His bones were like water. He had no strength within him. Habakkuk knows the invasion of Judah is certain. Habakkuk believes that he will have perfect rest in the midst of all this trouble.

Habakkuk 3:17 "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither [shall] fruit [be] in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and [there shall be] no herd in the stalls:"

"Although the fig tree shall not blossom": Or rather, as the Septuagint version, "shall not bring forth fruit"; since the fig tree does not bear blossoms and flowers, but puts forth green figs at once.

This was a tree common in the land of Canaan, and its fruit much in use, and for food. Hence, we read of cakes of figs among the provisions Abigail brought to David (1 Sam. 25:18), so that when there was a scarcity of these, it was a bad time.

"Neither shall fruit be in the vines": No grapes, or clusters of them, out of which wine was pressed. A liquor very refreshing and reviving to nature; and is said to cheer God and man, being used in sacrifices and libations to God, and the common drink of men (Judges 9:13). So that, when it failed, it was a public calamity.

"The labor of the olive shall fail": Or "lie"; disappoint the expectation of those who planted and cultivated it with much toil and labor, it not producing fruit as looked for. This tree yielded berries of an agreeable taste, and out of which oil was extracted, the Jews used instead of butter, and for various purposes. So that, when it failed of fruit, it was a great loss on many accounts.

"And the fields shall yield no meat": The grass fields had no herbage for beasts; the grain fields had no grain for man; the consequence of which must be a famine to both. And this must be very dismal and distressing.

"The flock shall be cut off from the fold": Flocks of sheep; either by the hand of God, some disease being sent among them; or by the hand of man, drove off by the enemy, or killed for their use. So that the folds were empty of them, and there were none to gather into them.

"And there shall be no herd in the stalls": Or oxen in the stables, where they are kept, and have their food; or stalls in which they are fattened for use. All these are signified the necessaries of life, which, when they fail, make a famine, which is a very distressing case. Yet, in the midst of all this, the prophet, representing the church, expresses his faith and joy in the Lord.

However, there will be very few lively, spiritual, and fruitful Christians, such as abound in the exercise of grace, and are diligent in the discharge of duty. For, when the Son of Man cometh, he will not find faith on the earth; and he will find the virgins sleeping (Luke 18:8). The "fields not" yielding "meat" may signify that the provisions of the house of God will be cut off.

There will be no administration of ordinances; the word of the Lord will be scarce, rare, and precious. There will be a famine, not of bread and of water, but of hearing the word of the Lord. One of the days of the Son of Man will be desired, but not enjoyed.

So, no spiritual food in the use of means to be had; a very uncomfortable time this will be (Amos 8:11; Luke 17:22). The "flock" being "cut off from the fold" may denote that the sheep of Christ will be given up to the slaughter of the enemy, or be scattered abroad in this dark and cloudy day of persecution.

So that there will be no fold, no flock, no sheep gathered together. And perhaps such will be the case, that there will not be one visible congregated church in due order throughout the whole world. All will be broke up, and dispersed here and there.

And yet the prophet, or the church represented by him, expresses an uncommon frame of spirit in the following verse (Hab. 3:18).

The blessings of God upon this people are completely gone. Their crops fail, their cattle are no more. The fig tree symbolically speaks of Israel. The blooming of Israel is over. God has judged them, and they will be chastised.

Habakkuk 3:18 "Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation."

"I will rejoice in the Lord": If everything that was normal and predictable collapsed, the prophet would still rejoice. Obedience to the covenant was a requisite element to the enjoyment of agricultural and pastoral prosperity (Deut. 18:1-14).

Though disobedience would initiate the covenant curses (Deut. 28:31-34; 49-51). The prophet affirmed his commitment to the Lord; his longing and joyful desire was for God Himself.

Even though his world seems to be collapsing about him, Habakkuk will rejoice in the LORD.

Psalms 91:7 "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee."

The circumstances around Habakkuk do not cause him to be discouraged. He places his faith in the LORD. He is looking beyond this present conflict to the salvation he knows is for him. Joy is an inward knowing that all is well. It is not an outward show of laughing.

Romans 5:2 "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

Habakkuk 3:19 "The LORD God [is] my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' [feet], and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments."

"The Lord God is my strength": God's response to Habakkuk's perplexities not only promised divine wrath but also provided assurance of divine favor and hope. Security and hope were not based on temporal blessings but on the Lord Himself. This is the essence (of 2:4): "the righteous will live by his faith."

"Like hind's feet": As the sure-footed hind, or deer, scaled the precipitous mountain heights without slipping, so Habakkuk's faith in the Lord enabled him to endure the hardships of the imminent invasion, and all of his perplexing questions.

"To the chief singer": Habakkuk (chapter 3), possibly served as a psalm for temple worship (3:1).

This is just saying that believing in the eternal salvation of God will cause him to rise above the immediate problems.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

It is not my own strength that I can depend upon. It is the strength that God brings me, when Christ dwells within me.

Ephesians 3:16 "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;"

The best thing a person can determine in his work for God is that he cannot do anything on his own. It is God who brings success to our endeavors. There is no obstacle too large for God to overcome.

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Habakkuk Chapter 3 Questions

1. A ________ of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.

2. What does "Shigionoth" mean?

3. What fact has Habakkuk recognized in this prayer?

4. What has frightened Habakkuk?

5. In verse 2, Habakkuk wants God to be ____________.

6. What is the statement "God came from Teman" speaking of?

7. Where else in the Bible is "Selah" prominently used?

8. God, in verse 3, is __________ which means Deity.

9. In Deuteronomy 33:2, who came with the LORD?

10. The Right Hand is full of _______________.

11. The brightness was as the ___________.

12. What do the "horns coming out of His hands" symbolize?

13. Most of us who have an experience with God see a _________ ______.

14. In Revelation, why was there no need for sun and moon to shine?

15. What are the "burning coals at His feet" similar to?

16. The measurement of the earth had to do with ____________.

17. Who is Cushan speaking of?

18. When God showed His power over the sea, was it because He was angry with the sea?

19. When the Red Sea was parted, God was _____________.

20. Who was God angry with?

21. Verse 9 is describing the Lord as what?

22. What was meant by the "naked bow"?

23. What causes the light to shine?

24. God separates His family from the lost, as the _________ is separated from the _______.

25. Who is the "Anointed One"?

26. What is verse 15 speaking of?

27. Why would Judah feel the chastisement of God?

28. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the ________ _____.

29. Verse 17 speaks of the blessings of God upon this people being ______________ ________.

30. The ______ _____ is my strength.

31. What causes Habakkuk to rise above the immediate problems?

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