Habakkuk 2

1 I will stand at my watch, and set myself on the ramparts, and will look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. 2 The LORD answered me, “Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he who runs may read it. 3 For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it hurries towards the end, and won’t prove false. Though it takes time, wait for it; because it will surely come. It won’t delay. 4 Behold, his soul is puffed up. It is not upright in him, but the righteous will live by his faith. 5 Yes, moreover, wine is treacherous. A haughty man who doesn’t stay at home, who enlarges his desire as Sheol, and he is like death, and can’t be satisfied, but gathers to himself all nations, and heaps to himself all peoples. 6 Won’t all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases that which is not his, and who enriches himself by extortion! How long?’ 7 Won’t your debtors rise up suddenly, and wake up those who make you tremble, and you will be their victim? 8 Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples will plunder you, because of men’s blood, and for the violence done to the land, to the city and to all who dwell in it. 9 Woe to him who gets an evil gain for his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the hand of evil! 10 You have devised shame to your house, by cutting off many peoples, and have sinned against your soul. 11 For the stone will cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the woodwork will answer it. 12 Woe to him who builds a town with blood, and establishes a city by iniquity! 13 Behold, isn’t it of the LORD of Armies that the peoples labor for the fire, and the nations weary themselves for vanity? 14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. 15 “Woe to him who gives his neighbor drink, pouring your inflaming wine until they are drunk, so that you may gaze at their naked bodies! 16 You are filled with shame, and not glory. You will also drink, and be exposed! The cup of the LORD’s right hand will come around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory. 17 For the violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and the destruction of the animals, which made them afraid; because of men’s blood, and for the violence done to the land, to every city and to those who dwell in them. 18 “What value does the engraved image have, that its maker has engraved it; the molten image, even the teacher of lies, that he who fashions its form trusts in it, to make mute idols? 19 Woe to him who says to the wood, ‘Awake!’ or to the mute stone, ‘Arise!’ Shall this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all within it. 20 But the LORD is in his holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before him!”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–4

When tossed and perplexed with doubts about the methods of Providence, we must watch against temptations to be impatient. When we have poured out complaints and requests before God, we must observe the answers God gives by his word, his Spirit, and providences; what the Lord will say to our case. God will not disappoint the believing expectations of those who wait to hear what he will say unto them. All are concerned in the truths of God’s word. Though the promised favour be deferred long, it will come at last, and abundantly recompense us for waiting. The humble, broken-hearted, repenting sinner, alone seeks to obtain an interest in this salvation. He will rest his soul on the promise, and on Christ, in and through whom it is given. Thus he walks and works, as well as lives by faith, perseveres to the end, and is exalted to glory; while those who distrust or despise God’s all-sufficiency will not walk uprightly with him. The just shall live by faith in these precious promises, while the performance of them is deferred. Only those made just by faith, shall live, shall be happy here and for ever.

Verses 5–14

The prophet reads the doom of all proud and oppressive powers that bear hard upon God’s people. The lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, are the entangling snares of men; and we find him that led Israel captive, himself led captive by each of these. No more of what we have is to be reckoned ours, than what we come honestly by. Riches are but clay, thick clay; what are gold and silver but white and yellow earth? Those who travel through thick clay, are hindered and dirtied in their journey; so are those who go through the world in the midst of abundance of wealth. And what fools are those that burden themselves with continual care about it; with a great deal of guilt in getting, saving, and spending it, and with a heavy account which they must give another day! They overload themselves with this thick clay, and so sink themselves down into destruction and perdition. See what will be the end hereof; what is gotten by violence from others, others shall take away by violence. Covetousness brings disquiet and uneasiness into a family; he that is greedy of gain troubles his own house; what is worse, it brings the curse of God upon all the affairs of it. There is a lawful gain, which, by the blessing of God, may be a comfort to a house; but what is got by fraud and injustice, will bring poverty and ruin upon a family. Yet that is not the worst; Thou hast sinned against thine own soul, hast endangered it. Those who wrong their neighbours, do much greater wrong to their own souls. If the sinner thinks he has managed his frauds and violence with art and contrivance, the riches and possessions he heaped together will witness against him. There are not greater drudges in the world than those who are slaves to mere wordly pursuits. And what comes of it? They find themselves disappointed of it, and disappointed in it; they will own it is worse than vanity, it is vexation of spirit. By staining and sinking earthly glory, God manifests and magnifies his own glory, and fills the earth with the knowledge of it, as plentifully as waters cover the sea, which are deep, and spread far and wide.

Verses 15–20

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, who is thirsty and poor, or a weary traveller, or ready to perish, is charity; but to give a neighbour 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.

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