Habakkuk – Chapter 2

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 2


I will stand at my guard post, and station myself upon the rampart, And keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what answer he will give to my complaint.


Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision Clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily.


For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.


1 The rash man has no integrity; but the just man, because of his faith, shall live. Wealth, too, is treacherous: the proud, unstable man – 


He who opens wide his throat like the nether world, and is insatiable as death, Who gathers to himself all the nations, and rallies to himself all the peoples – 


Shall not all these take up a taunt against him, satire and epigrams about him, to say: Woe to him who stores up what is not his: how long can it last! he loads himself down with debts.


Shall not your creditors rise suddenly? Shall not they who make you tremble awake? You shall become their spoil!


Because you despoiled many peoples all the rest of the nations shall despoil you; Because of men’s blood shed, and violence done to the land, to the city and to all who dwell in it.


Woe to him who pursues evil gain for his household, setting his nest on high to escape the reach of misfortune!


You have devised shame for your household, cutting off many peoples, forfeiting your own life:


2 For the stone in the wall shall cry out, and the beam in the woodwork shall answer it!


Woe to him who builds a city by bloodshed, and establishes a town by wickedness!


3 Is not this from the LORD of hosts: peoples toil for the flames, and nations grow weary for nought!


But the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the LORD’S glory as water covers the sea.


Woe to you who give your neighbors a flood of your wrath to drink, and make them drunk, till their nakedness is seen!


You are filled with shame instead of glory; drink, you too, and stagger! On you shall revert the cup from the LORD’S right hand, and utter shame on your glory.


4 For the violence done to Lebanon shall cover you, and the destruction of the beasts shall terrify you; Because of men’s blood shed, and violence done to the land, to the city and to all who dwell in it.


5 Of what avail is the carved image, that its maker should carve it? Or the molten image and lying oracle, that its very maker should trust in it, and make dumb idols?


Woe to him who says to wood, «Awake!» to dumb stone, «Arise!» Can such a thing give oracles? See, it is overlaid with gold and silver, but there is no life breath in it.


But the LORD is in his holy temple; silence before him, all the earth!


1 [4] The just man, because of his faith, shall live: the faith which here enables the virtuous man to survive the impending doom is both a confident belief in God’s justice, and patience in awaiting its execution. St. Paul quotes these words (⇒ Romans 1:17; ⇒ Gal 3:11; ⇒ Hebrews 10:38) to confirm his teaching that man receives justification and supernatural life through faith in Christ.
2 [11-12] The palaces, built at the expense of gross injustice (⇒ Habakkuk 2:6-10), call down vengeance on their builders. This is typical prophetic language for the condemnation of social crimes within Israel and Judah.
3 [13] Peoples toil for the flames: they build only to have fire consume their work, when they build contrary to God’s will.
4 [17] The violence done to Lebanon: the spoliation of the cedar forests of Lebanon, used in lavish building projects by the great conquerors; cf ⇒ Isaiah 14:8; ⇒ 37:24. The destruction of the beasts: the killing-off of the wild animals through excessive hunting by the same conquerors; cf ⇒ Baruch 3:16.
5 [18-20] Idolatrous worship is here shown to be folly by contrasting man-made idols with the majesty of the one true God.