Habakkuk 2:6-11

Faith In God And His Character Is The Key To Living In Times
Of Violence And Perverted Justice!

I. Why is Yahweh Unresponsive to My Prayers? 1:1-11                           II. Yahweh’s Response Concerning Babylon, 2:1-20                                        A. Habakkuk’s Role and Expectation, 2:1                                                B. The Vision and General Indictment concerning Babylon, 2-5            C. Five Woes, 6-20

6 “The destruction of Babylon intimated in God’s comments to Habakkuk was announced in fuller detail in a song of woe in five stanzas of three verses each (‘woe’ occurs in vv. 6, 9, 12, 15, 19).” (BKC, loc. cit.)

הֲלוֹא־אֵ֣לֶּה Interrogative, Rhetorical + Negative Adverb + Demonstrative Pronoun MNP Absolute, Antecedent = הָעַמִּֽים, will not these. Expects a “yes!” answer. Forward emphasis.

כֻלָּ֗ם Noun MNS Construct, Appositional N + Personal Pronoun MGP, Antecedent = הָעַמִּֽים, all of them. ”Nevertheless the nations as such, or in pleno, are not meant, but simply the believers among them, who expect Jehovah to inflict judgment upon the Chaldaeans, and look forward to that judgment for the revelation of the glory of God.” (K&D, loc. cit.)

עָלָיו֙ Preposition, Disadvantage + Personal Pronoun MGS, Antecedent = אֵלָ֖יו, against him. Forward emphasis.

מָשָׁ֣ל Noun MAS Absolute, A Direct Object, a taunt. Forward emphasis.

יִשָּׂ֔אוּ QI 3CP, Deliberative I, lift up? Disjunctive accent.

וּמְלִיצָ֖ה Paratactic Conjunction, Epexegetical + Noun FAS Absolute, A Direct Object in Noun Clause with [יִשָּׂ֔אוּ] implied, that is, a proverb. Disjunctive accent making a separation from the following noun.

חִיד֣וֹת Noun FAP Absolute, A Direct Object (see above), riddles. Copulative asyndeton.

ל֑וֹ Preposition, Disadvantage + Personal Pronoun MGS, Antecedent = עָלָיו֙, against him.

וְיֹאמַ֗ר Paratactic Conjunction, Relation + QI 3MS, Explanatory I, Indefinite S, and say.

ה֚וֹי Exclamation, woe!  “וְיֹאמַר serves, like לֵאמֹר  elsewhere, as a direct introduction to the speech.”(K&D, loc. cit.)

הַמַּרְבֶּ֣ה Article, Particularizing + HiPtc MNS Absolute, Relative Ptc, Indirect Object in Noun Clause, to the one who makes plentiful.

לֹּא־ל֔וֹ Negative Adverb + Preposition, Possessive + Personal Pronoun MGS, Antecedent = הַמַּרְבֶּ֣ה, [things] not belonging to him. Negates the following preposition/pronoun. Disjunctive accent.

עַד־מָתַ֕י Preposition, Temporal + Interrogative, Rhetorical, how long? Disjunctive accent. This question stands alone parenthetically and is a dramatic insertion. See the translations.

וּמַכְבִּ֥יד Paratactic Conjunction, Copulative (See note under עַבְטִֽיט  below) + HiPtc MNS Absolute, Relative Ptc, Indirect Object in Noun Clause, and to the one who amasses wealth. “Heb ‘and the one who makes himself heavy [i.e., wealthy] [by] debts.’ Though only appearing in the first line, the term הוֹי  (hoy) is to be understood as elliptical in the second line.” (NET, loc. cit.)

עָלָ֖יו Preposition, Advantage + Personal Pronoun MGS, Reflexive G, Antecedent = מַכְבִּ֥יד, for his own benefit.

עַבְטִֽיט׃ Noun MAS Absolute, Adverbial A of Manner, Collective S, with [other people’s] debts.

“This noun is also dependent upon hōi, since the defined participle which stands at the head of the cry of woe is generally followed by participles undefined, as though the former regulated the whole (cf. Isa. 5:20 and 10:1). At the same time, it might be taken as a simple declaration in itself, though still standing under the influence of the hōi; in which caseהוּא  would have to be supplied in thought, likeוְחֹוטֵא  in v. 10. And even in this instance the sentence is not subordinate to the preceding one, as Luther follows Rashi in assuming (‘and still only heaps much slime upon himself’); but is co-ordinate, as the parallelism of the clauses and the meaning of עַבְטִיט require. The ἁπ. λεγ. עַבְטִיט  is probably chosen on account of the resemblance in sound to מַכְבִּיד, whilst it also covers an enigma or double entendre. Being formed from עָבַט  (to give a pledge) by the repetition of the last radical,עַבְטִיט  signifies the mass of pledges (pignorum captorum copia: Ges., Maurer, Delitzsch), not the load of guilt, either in a literal or a tropico-moral sense. The quantity of foreign property which the Chaldaean has accumulated is represented as a heavy mass of pledges, which he has taken from the nations like an unmerciful usurer (Deut. 24:10), to point to the fact that he will be compelled to disgorge them in due time.” (K&D, loc. cit.)


הֲל֣וֹא Interrogative, Rhetorical + Negative Adverb, will not. Does double duty. Asyndetic.

פֶ֗תַע Adverb of Time, suddenly. Disjunctive accent.

יָק֙וּמוּ֙ QI 3CP, Deliberative I, will rise up?

נֹשְׁכֶ֔יךָ QAPtc MNP, Relative Ptc, Subject N + Personal Pronoun MAP, A Direct Object, Antecedent = עָלָיו֙ above, those who bite you. The change to the 2nd person is pointed and dramatic. Disjunctive accent. Play upon words two words with same consonants and sounds, “creditors”/“biters.”

וְיִקְצ֖וּ Paratactic Conjunction, Relative + QI 3CP, Deliberative I, and . . . will wake up? Expects “yes” answer.

מְזַעְזְעֶ֑יךָ PilPtc MNP, Subject N + Personal Pronoun MAS, Antecedent = נֹשְׁכֶ֔יךָ), those who cause you to tremble? Disjunctive accent.

וְהָיִ֥יתָ Paratactic Conjunction, Relative, Resultative + QPf 2MS, and, as a result, you will be.

לִמְשִׁסּ֖וֹת Preposition, Advantage + Noun FGP Absolute, for plunder.

לָֽמוֹ׃ Preposition, Advantage + Personal Pronoun MGP, Reflexive, Antecedent = מְזַעְזְעֶ֑יךָ, for themselves. Disjunctive accent.

“Will not your debtors suddenly arise? The victimized nations would suddenly arise in revolt. The debtors (lit., ‘biters’) would unexpectedly strike back. They would not only get their bite of the stolen goods but also give their aggressors a good shakedown. Will they not wake up and make you tremble? . . . . Babylon would become their victim, the victim of the very nations she had victimized. Babylon who had attacked (cf. 1:6, 8–10) and extorted (1:6, 16) would now herself be attacked and extorted.” (BKC, loc. cit.)


כִּֽי Hypotactic Conjunction, Conditional Protasis (difficult to differentiate “condition” and “cause”), since. 

אַתָּ֤ה Personal Pronoun, Emphasis, Antecedent = Subject of וְהָיִ֥יתָ, you.

שַׁלּ֙וֹתָ֙ PiPf 2MS, Constative Pf, you plundered.

גּוֹיִ֣ם Noun MAP Absolute, A Direct Object, nations.

רַבִּ֔ים Adjective MAP Absolute, Attributive, many. Disjunctive accent.

יְשָׁלּ֖וּךָ PiI 3MP, Future I + Personal Pronoun MAS, A Direct Object, Antecedent = אַתָּ֤ה, will plunder you. Conditional Apodosis (see above).

כָּל־יֶ֣תֶר Noun MNS Construct, Subject N, functions adverbially (GKC, Grammar, 415, para. 128.e; KB, Lexicon, 474) + Noun MGS Construct, all the remainder of.

עַמִּ֑ים Noun MGP Absolute, peoples. Disjunctive accent.

מִדְּמֵ֤י Preposition, Causal (does double duty) + Noun MGP Construct, because of the shed blood of.

אָדָם֙ Noun MGS Absolute, Collective S, mankind.

וַחֲמַס־אֶ֔רֶץ Paratactic Conjunction, Copulative + Noun MGS Construct (dependent on previous preposition) + Noun MGS Absolute, G of Disadvantage, Collective S, and [because of] the violence to the lands. Disjunctive accent.

קִרְיָ֖ה Noun FGS Absolute, Appositional G and Disadvantage, Collective S, against the cities. Explanatory asyndeton.

וְכָל־יֹ֥שְׁבֵי Paratactic Conjunction, Copulative + Noun MGS Construct, Appositional G + QAPtc MGP Construct, G of Disadvantage, and against all the dwellers.

בָֽהּ׃ פ     Preposition, Locative + Personal Pronoun FGS, Collective S, Antecedent = קִרְיָ֖ה, in them.

9 Disjunctive asyndeton to continue with the second “Woe!”

ה֗וֹי Exclamation, woe! Disjunctive accent.

בֹּצֵ֛עַ QAPtc MNS Absolute, Subject N in Noun Clause, Relative Ptc, the one who profits.

בֶּ֥צַע Noun MAS Absolute, A of Manner, by . . . profit.

רָ֖ע Adjective MAS Absolute, Attributive, unjust.

לְבֵית֑וֹ Preposition, Advantage + Noun MGS Construct + Personal Pronoun MGS, Antecedent = בֹּצֵ֛עַ, for the benefit of his household.

לָשׂ֤וּם Preposition, Purpose + QInf Construct, to set.

בַּמָּרוֹם֙ Preposition, Locative + Article, Particularizing + Noun MGS Absolute, on high.

קִנּ֔וֹ Noun MAS Construct, A Direct Object + Personal Pronoun MGS, Possessive G, Antecedent = בֹּצֵ֛עַ, his nest. Disjunctive accent.

לְהִנָּצֵ֖ל Preposition, Purpose + NiInf Construct, Ni Reflexive, to save himself.

מִכַּף־רָֽע׃ Preposition, Separation + Article, Particularizing + Noun MGS Construct + Adjective MGS Absolute, Substantival Attributive, G of Description, from the hand marked by adversity. Disjunctive accent. “רָע is not masculine, the evil man; but neuter, adversity, or ‘the hostile fate.’” (K&D, loc. cit.)

10 Explanatory asyndeton.

יָעַ֥צְתָּ QPf 2MS, Perfective Pf, you have decided.

בֹּ֖שֶׁת Noun FAS Absolute, A Direct Object, a shameful thing.

לְבֵיתֶ֑ךָ Preposition, Disadvantage + Noun MGS Construct + Personal Pronoun MGS, Possessive, Antecedent = Subject of יָעַ֥צְתָּ, against your household. Disjunctive accent.

קְצוֹת־עַמִּ֥ים Noun FAP Absolute, A of Apposition to בֹּ֖שֶׁת  + Noun MGP Absolute, Objective G, cutting off of . . . peoples.

רַבִּ֖ים Adjective MGP Absolute, Attributive, many.

וְחוֹטֵ֥א Paratactic Conjunction, Resultative + QAPtc MNP Absolute, Predicate N in Noun Clause, and, as a result, [you are] sinning.

נַפְשֶֽׁךָ׃ Noun MGS Construct, G of Disadvantage + Personal Pronoun MGS, Possessive G, Antecedent = Subject of יָעַ֥צְתָּ, against yourself. Disjunctive accent.


כִּי־אֶ֖בֶן Hypotactic Conjunction, Emphatic + Noun FNS Absolute, Subject N, indeed, a stone.

מִקִּ֣יר Preposition, Source + Noun MGS Absolute, from the wall. Forward emphasis.

תִּזְעָ֑ק QI 2FS, Future I, will cry out.

וְכָפִ֖יס Paratactic Conjunction, Copulative + Noun MNS Absolute, Subject N, and a rafter.

מֵעֵ֥ץ Preposition, Source + Noun MGS Absolute, from the wooden framework. Forward emphasis.

פ   יַעֲנֶֽנָּה׃ QI 3MS, Future I + Personal Pronoun FAS, A Indirect Object, Antecedent = אֶ֖בֶן, will answer it. Disjunctive accent.


Woe 1, Verses 6-8

Verse 6 — Ridicule 

(A) “Will not all of these take up a taunt-song against him,
(B) Even mockery and insinuations against him 
(A) And say, ’Woe to him who increases what is not his (B) —For how long—And makes himself rich with loans?’

  • ABAB parallelism pattern.
  • “Will not” = Rhetorical question expecting “yes” answer.
  • Line 2 expands line 1 and line 4 expands line 3.
  • —For how long— = a dramatic interjection.

Verse 7 — Rebellion 

“Will not your creditors rise up suddenly,
And those who collect from you awaken?
Indeed, you will become plunder for them.

  • “Creditors” is a play on words—see the notes.
  • Cause and effect pattern between verse 6, lines 3, 4 and verse 7.
  • “Collect from you” changed to “make you tremble” in the notes.
  • Creditors, Collectors, Plunderers = main interplay in the verse.
  • Lines 1 and 2 = cause; Line 3 = effect.

Verse 8 — Retaliation

(A) “Because you have looted many nations
(B) All the remainder of the peoples will loot you—
(A) Because of human bloodshed and violence done to the land,
(B) To the town and all its inhabitants.” 

  • ABAB Parallel pattern.
  • “Because” in line 3 is more specific: “growing out of ” or “stemming from.”
  • Habakkuk’s key word “Violence” occurs in 1:2, 3, 9; 2:8, 17 twice.

Woe 2, Verses 9-11

Verse 9 — Injustice & Intent

“Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house
To put his nest on high,
To be delivered from the hand of calamity!

  • “Him who gets” and “evil gain” = assonance (בֹּצֵ֛עַ בֶּ֥צַע).
  • “Evil” and “Calamity” also are assonant and related (רָ֖ע . . . רָ֖ע).
  • “His nest” illustrates by imagery “his house.”

Verse 10— Plan & Problem

“You have devised a shameful thing for your house
By cutting off many peoples;
So you are sinning against yourself.

  • “Your house” repeats from verse 9.
  • “Shameful thing,” “cutting off,” and “sinning” are semantically related concepts as are “your house” and “yourself /your life” and sequentially more powerful when read without the words added by the translators (in double underlines).
  • Lines 1 and 2 = cause; line 3 = effect.

Verse 11 — Accusation & Agreement

“Surely the stone will cry out from the wall,” And the rafter will answer it from the framework.”

  • Grammatically and semantically parallel clauses.
  • Cause (line 1) and effect (line 2) pattern.

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