Habakkuk 2:18-20

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, 1                                                  B. The Vision and General Inditement concerning Babylon, 2-5
      C. Five Woes Continued, 6-20

“Unlike the former passages, the final woe begins the taunt before the word ‘woe’ is used. While many translators and interpreters rearrange the text to place ‘Woe to him’ at the beginning of the passage, the text probably preserves the more effective arrangement. The prophet jumped right into idol worship without the pronouncement of judgment, giving the reader a sense of urgency and conveying the prophet’s indignation at the abomination of worshiping ‘lies.’” (Barker, Habakkuk, 346) 

Interrogative Pronoun, Rhetorical Direct Object + HiPf 3MS, Stative Pf, profits what? “מה can fulfill any of the major case functions, but it is most common as the direct object of the verb.” (Waltke & O’Connor, Syntax, 322)

Noun MNS Absolute, Subject N, an idol. Disjunctive accent.כִּ֤י
Hypotactic Conjunction, Temporal, when.
QPf 3MS, Constative Pf + Personal Pronoun MAS, A Direct Object, Antecedent = פֶּ֗סֶל, carved it.
QAPtc MNS Construct, Relative Ptc, Subject N + Personal Pronoun MAS, A Direct Object, Antecedent = פְסָלוֹ֙, he who shaped it. Disjunctive accent. 

Noun FAS Absolute, A in Apposition, an image.
Paratactic Conjunction, Copulative + HiPtc FAS Construct, Substantival Ptc, A in Apposition, and a teacher of.
Noun MGS Absolute, Objective G, falsehood. Disjunctive accent. 

Hypotactic Conjunction, Temporal, when.
QPf 3MS, Perfective Pf, puts his trust.
QAPtc MNS Absolute, Relative Ptc, Subject N, he who shaped.
Noun MAS Construct, A Direct Object + Personal Pronoun MGS, Possessive G, Antecedent = מַסֵּכָ֖ה, The M is agreement in sense, its shape.
Preposition, Termination + Personal Pronoun MGS, Antecedent = יִצְר, upon it. Modifies בָטַ֞ח. Disjunctive accent. 

Preposition, Result + QInf Construct, resulting in making.
Noun MGP Absolute, Objective G, idols.
אִלְּמִֽים׃ ס
Adjective MGP, Attributive, speechless.
Fifth Woe—Ridiculousness. Explanatory asyndeton.
Interjection, Exclamatory, woe! “The final woe indicates the total futility of idol worship. The entire woe is in the third person and indicates the sorrow of one crying out to a god which can neither stand nor hear.” (Barker, Habakkuk, 348) 

QAPtc MNS, Relative Ptc, Subject N in Noun Clause, he who says.
Preposition, Indirect Object + Noun MGS Absolute, to a piece of wood.
HiPtc 2FS, Imv of Command, Wake up! Paragogic ה. Disjunctive accent. 

QImv 2FS, Imv of Command, Arise! Disjunctive Asyndeton.
Preposition, Indirect Object + Noun FGS Construct, a stone.
Adjective FGS, Attributive, speechless. Has an adverbial option (KB, Lexicon, 217). Disjunctive accent.

Personal Pronoun MNS, Emphasis, Antecedent = Subject of following verb, it. The M gender according to sense is possible since it refers to both “wood” (M) and “stone” (F). However, since both represent idols it perhaps best refers toפֶּ֗סֶל  in verse 18. The S is collective encompassing both “wood” and “stone” and could be translated with “they.”

 HiI 3MS, Capability I, it is able to teach?  “Though the Hebrew text has no formal interrogative marker here, the context indicates that the statement should be taken as a rhetorical question anticipating the answer, ‘Of course not!’” (so also NIV, NRSV).” (NET, loc. cit.) It also represents sarcasm (See Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 807). Disjunctive accent. 

Interjection, Exclamatory + Personal Pronoun MNS, Functioning as a Copula in a Noun Clause, Subject N, behold! It is.
QPPtc MNS Absolute, Predicate N, overlaid.
Noun MAS Absolute, A of Material, with gold.
Paratactic Conjunction, Copulative + Noun MAS Absolute, and with silver. Disjunctive accent.

Paratactic Conjunction, Relative Emphatic + Noun MNS Construct, Subject N + Noun FGS Absolute, G of Reference (See KB, Lexicon, 474), indeed, . . . any breath. “‘There is no breath in it at all’ would more adequately reflect the sense.” (Barker, Habakkuk, 349)

Negative Adverb, is not. quasi-copula function. “The fact that אֵין (like אַ֫יִן) always includes the idea of a verb (is not, was not, &c.) led finally to such a predominance of the verbal element.” (GKC, Grammar, 481)

Preposition, Locative + Noun MGS Construct + Personal Pronoun MGS, Antecedent = פֶּ֗סֶל, in its inward parts. Disjunctive accent.20
“The last verse of this stanza is unique. In the other four ‘woe’ stanzas each concluding verse starts in the Hebrew with ‘for’ (kî, vv. 8, 11, 14, 17). However, verse 20 opens with but.’” (BKC, loc. cit.) 

Paratactic Conjunction, Adversative + Noun MNS Absolute, Subject N in Noun Clause, but Yahweh [is].
Preposition, Locative + Noun MGS Construct, in the temple.
Noun MGS Construct + Personal Pronoun MGS, Descriptive G, Antecedent = יהוָ֖ה, marked by His holiness. Disjunctive accent.הַ֥ס
Interjection, Exclamation, keep silent!

Preposition, Locative + Personal Pronoun MGS, Antecedent = יהוָ֖ה, before Him.
כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ פ
Noun MNS Construct, Vocative N + Article, Particularizing + Noun FGS Absolute, G of Reference, all the earth. “כֹּל preceding a determinate noun expressing a unit.” (KB, Lexicon, 474)

Verse 18

(A) What profit is the idol when its maker has carved it,
(B)Or an image, a teacher of falsehood?
(A) For its maker trusts in his own handiwork
(B) When he fashions speechless idols.

  • ABAB parallel pattern.
  • “Or” was added in line 2 but detracts from the poetic power of the line.
  • Line 2 interprets “idol” in line 1.
  • Line 1–“Idol” and “carved” = Assonance, same consonants(פּסל/פסל).
  • Line 3–“Maker” and “handiwork” = Assonance same consonants (יצר/יצר) but different vowels.
  • Line 4 parallels line 3 with semantic parallels between “maker” and “fashions” and “speechless idols” and “handiwork.”

Verse 19

Woe to him who says to a piece of wood, ‘Awake!’ To a mute stone, ‘Arise!’
And that is your teacher?

Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
And there is no breathat all inside it.

  • Line 1 has an internal chiasmus (in the Hebrew text): A (wood), B (awake), B (arise), A (stone).
  • Line 2 involves sarcasm: two words “they teach?” See the notes.
  • Line 3 emphasizes the external whereas line 4 the internal.
  • Line 4: “No breath” explains the sarcasm of line 2.

Verse 20

But the Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth be silent before Him.

  • These lines are cause and effect.


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