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THE burden that Habacuc the prophet saw.

THE PROPHECY OF HABACUC.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

Habacuc was a native of Bezocher, and prophesied in Juda some time before the invasion of the Chaldeans, which he foretold.  He lived to see this prophecy fulfilled, and for many years after, according to the general opinion, which supposes him to be the same that was brought by the angel to Daniel, in Babylon.  Dan. xvi.  Ch. 

 

--- He might very well live to see the captives return, as only sixty-six years elapsed from the first of Joakim, when he began to prophesy, till that event.  He retired at the approach of the Chaldees, and afterwards employed himself in agricultural pursuits.  C.

 

--- The sins of Juda, the coming of the Chaldees, and the relaxation of the captivity are specified; and in the canticle, the appearance of Christ, the last judgment and eternity, (W.) are mentioned in the most sublime style.  H.


Ver. 1.  Burden.  Such prophecies more especially are called burdens, as threaten grievous evils and punishments.  Ch.

 

--- He says not against whom, because the menace is directed to persecutors in general.  W.


2 How long, O Lord, shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear? shall I cry out to thee suffering violence, and thou wilt not save?

Ver.  2.  Save.  Some think that he expresses the sentiments of the weak, like David, (Ps. lxxii. 2.) or what he had formerly entertained.  The language of the prophets is very bold.  Ex. xxxii. 32.  Job iii. 3.  Jer. xx. 14.  Jon. iv. 8.  C.


3 Why hast thou shewn me iniquity and grievance, to see rapine and injustice before me? and there is a judgment, but opposition is more powerful.

Ver.  3.  Opposition.  Sept. "the judge receives" bribes.  H.

 

--- Such was the state of Juda after Josias.  Jer. xxi. 12.


4 Therefore the law is torn in pieces, and judgment cometh not to the end: because the wicked prevaileth against the just, therefore wrong judgment goeth forth. 5 Behold ye among the nations, and see: wonder, and be astonished: for a work is done in your days, which no man will believe when it shall be told.

Ver.  5.  Among.  Sept. ye despisers.  S. Paul nearly agrees with this version.  Acts xiii. 41.  The copies vary, as the Heb. has done.  C.

 

--- The apostle gives the mystical sense; the literal is very obscure.  W.

 

--- God answers the prophet's complaints, and shews that the Chaldees shall punish the guilty, and afterwards be themselves chastised.



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6 For behold, I will raise up the Chaldeans, a bitter and swift nation, marching upon the breadth of the earth, to possess the dwelling places that are not their own.

Ver. 6.  Chaldeans.  Nabuchodonosor was the first of this nation who attacked Joakim, and having conquered all as far as the Nile, returned to succeed Nabopolassar.  He afterwards came upon Jechonias and Sedecias, &c.  The prophet might have all this in view, particularly the first invasion.  C.

 

--- Bitter; warlike, as all the Gr. historians remark.  S. Jer.

 

--- The Chaldees were not yet arrived at such greatness, and of course this is not the Habacuc specified Dan. xiv.  W.

 

--- Yet the same prophet might foresee it.  H.


7 They are dreadful, and terrible: from themselves shall their judgment, and their burden proceed.

Ver. 7.  Proceed.  They admit no authority but their own.  C.

 

--- This pride will prove their ruin. H.


8 Their horses are lighter than leopards, and swifter than evening wolves; and their horsemen shall be spread abroad: for their horsemen shall come from afar, they shall fly as an eagle that maketh haste to eat.

Ver. 8.  Leopards: the swiftest quadrupeds.  C.

 

--- The horses near the Euphrates were swift and warlike.  Oppian.

 

--- Swifter.  Heb. "sharper" (H.) in seeing, even when there is no moon.  Elian x. 26.

 

--- Evening.  Sept. "Arabian."  H.

 

--- It may denote the hyena of that country, which is most terrible.  Guevar.


9 They shall all come to the prey, their face is like a burning wind: and they shall gather together captives as the sand.

Ver. 9.  Burning.  Heb. also, "eastern," which is hot, and raises the sand of Arabia so as to be very detrimental.  C.

 

--- Out of 2,000 travellers from Mecca to Aleppo, only twenty-nine escaped such a storm, or kamsin, in that vast desert, Aug. 23, 1813.  Rock. 312.  H.

 

--- Sand, from various countries.  Is. xx. 4.  Beros. cited c. Ap. i.


10 And their prince shall triumph over kings, and princes shall be his laughingstock: and he shall laugh at every strong hold, and shall cast up a mount, and shall take it.

Ver. 10.  Prince, or "it," the nation.  v. 10.  Heb. "They," &c.

 

--- Laughingstock, (ridicule.)  Nabuchodonosor raised or deposed princes as in jest.  H.

 

--- Sennacherib's  officers were or had been kings.  Is. x. 8.

 

--- Mount.  Thus cities were chiefly taken.  Ezec. iv. 1.  C.


11 Then shall his spirit be changed, and he shall pass, and fall: this is his strength of his god.

Ver. 11.  Spirit; viz. the spirit of the king of Babylon.  It alludes to the judgment of God upon Nabuchodonosor, recorded Dan. iv. and to the speedy fall of the Chaldean empire.  Ch.

 

--- It shall yield to the Medes, &c. after conquering the Assyrians.  W.

 

--- Fall.  Heb. "sin."  Sept. "obtain pardon."

 

--- God: "idol."  Chal.  "This is the strength of my God."  Sept.  God forced the proud king to confess that his great exploits were not to be attributed to himself or to idols.  H.


12 Wast thou not from the beginning, O Lord my God, my holy one, and we shall not die? Lord, thou hast appointed him for judgment: and made him strong for correction.

Ver. 12.  Die?  We hope that this scourge will not entirely ruin us.

 

--- Correction, like Pharao.  Ex. ix. 16.


13 Thy eyes are too pure to behold evil, and thou canst not look on iniquity. Why lookest thou upon them that do unjust things, and holdest thy peace when the wicked devoureth the man that is more just than himself?

Ver. 13.  Look, with approbation (C.) or connivance.



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14 And thou wilt make men as the fishes of the sea, and as the creeping things that have no ruler.

Ver. 14.  Ruler.  People are subdued by Nabuchodouosor.  H.

 

--- They make little resistance.  C.


15 He lifted up all them with his hook, he drew them in his drag, and gathered them into his net: for this he will be glad and rejoice. 16 Therefore will he offer victims to his drag, and he will sacrifice to his net: because through them his portion is made fat, and his meat dainty.

Ver. 16.  Drag, adoring his own arms and prowess, (Sanct.) like Mezentius and Capaneus:

Dextra mihi Deus, (Æn. x.)

Te voco, te solum, superum contemptor, adoro.  Stat. x.

 

--- Guevare thinks fishes were adored, as they were among the Syrians.  Nabuchodonosor attributed all to his own genius, or to Bel, whose statue he set up.  Dan. iii.  C.

 

--- Victorious nations thus honour themselves and not God.


17 For this cause therefore he spreadeth his net, and will not spare continually to slay the nations.

Ver. 17.  Nations, of every country.  W.

 

--- Few have been so much addicted to war as Nabuchodonosor.  C. 


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