Habakkuk 2:12-17

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 Indictment concerning Babylon, 2-5
     C. Five Woes Continued, 6-20


הוֹי Interjection, Woe! The third Woe!

בֹּנֶ֥ה QAPtc MNS, Relative Ptc, Predicate N in Noun Clause, [happens to] him who builds.

עִ֖יר Noun MAS Absolute, A Direct Object, a city.

בְּדָמִ֑ים Preposition, Means + Noun MGP Absolute, by bloodshed. Disjunctive accent.

וְכוֹנֵ֥ן Paratactic Conjunction, Relative + PolPf 3MS, Persistent Pf, and he establishes. The grammatical parallelism with בֹּנֶ֥ה is broken.

קִרְיָ֖ה Noun FAS Absolute, A Direct Object, a town.

בְּעַוְלָֽה׃ Preposition, Means + Noun FGS Absolute, by injustice. Disjunctive accent.

13 Probably a explanatory asyndeton.

הֲל֣וֹא Interrogative, Rhetorical + Negative Adverb in a Noun Clause, [is] . . . not. The subject of the ellided copula is an implied “this” and is proleptic, pointing forward. Ellipsis often makes the sentence more powerful. The interrogative expects a “yes” answer.

הִנֵּ֔ה Interjection, Emotional, Behold! “The NIV leaves out a strong word of the Hebrew text, ‘behold’ (hinnê). This word calls attention to the text and directs the reader to give special attention. Waltke and O’Conner point out the use of the word as an exclamation of vivid immediacy. (Barker, Habakkuk, 338) Also, see KB, Lexicon, 252. Disjunctive accent.

מֵאֵ֖ת Preposition, Source + Particle of Proximity (See BDB, 86), from. See KB, Lexicon, 541.

יְהוָ֣ה Noun MGS Construct, See the Preposition, Yahweh.

צְבָא֑וֹת Noun MGP Absolute, G of Description, of hosts. Disjunctive accent.

וְיִֽיגְע֤וּ Paratactic Conjunction, Epexegetical (establishing the subject for the preceding Noun Clause) + QI 3MP, Progressive I, that . . . labor. “The ו before יִיגְעוּ introduces the declaration of what it is that comes from Jehovah. הֲלֹוא הִנֵּה (is it not? behold!) are connected together, as in 2 Chron. 25:26, to point to what follows as something great that was floating before the mind of the prophet.” (K&D, loc. cit.) See NASB and ESV.

עַמִּים֙ Noun MNP Absolute, Subject N, peoples.

בְּדֵי־אֵ֔שׁ Preposition, Specification + Noun MGS Construct + Noun MGS Absolute, G of Reference, for enough fire.

וּלְאֻמִּ֖ים Paratactic Conjunction, Epexegetical (See above note) + Noun MNP Absolute, Subject N, that nations. Compare the poetic parallelism at the end.

בְּדֵי־רִ֥יק Preposition, Specification + Noun MGS Construct + Noun MGS Absolute, G of Reference for nothing.

יִעָֽפוּ׃ QI 3MP, Progressive I, grow weary.

14 The thought in v. 14 is formed after Isa. 11:9, with trifling alterations, partly substantial, partly only formal. The choice of the niphal תִּמָּלֵא instead of the מָלְאָה of Isaiah refers to the actual fact, and is induced in both passages by the different turn given to the thought. In Isaiah, for example, this thought closes the description of the glory and blessedness of the Messianic kingdom in its perfected state. The earth is then full of the knowledge of the Lord, and the peace throughout all nature which has already been promised is one fruit of that knowledge. In Habakkuk, on the other hand, this knowledge is only secured through the overthrow of the kingdom of the world, and consequently only thereby will the earth be filled with it, and that not with the knowledge of Jehovah (as in Isaiah), but with the knowledge of His glory (כְּבֹוד יי׳), which is manifested in the judgment and overthrow of all ungodly powers (Isa. 2:12–21; 6:3, compared with the primary passage, Num. 14:21). כְּבֹוד יי׳ is ‘the δόξα of Jehovah, which includes His right of majesty over the whole earth.’” (K&D, loc. cit.)

כִּ֚י Hypotactic Conjunction, Causal, because. It may connect with line 1 of verse 13.

תִּמָּלֵ֣א NI 3FS, Future I, will be filled.

הָאָ֔רֶץ Article, Particularizing + Noun FAS Absolute, Subject N, the earth. Disjunctive accent.

לָדַ֖עַת Preposition, Specification + QInf Construct, with respect to the knowledge of.

אֶת־כְּב֣וֹד Particle of Definite Accusative + Noun MAS Construct, the glory of.

יְהוָ֑ה Noun MGS Absolute, Possessive G, Yahweh.

כַּמַּ֖יִם Preposition, Comparative + Article, Generic + Noun MGP Absolute, as the waters.

יְכַסּ֥וּ PiI 3MP, Stative I, cover.

עַל־יָֽם׃ ס Preposition, Locative + Noun MGS Absolute, over [the] sea.


ה֚וֹי Interjection, Exclamatory, Woe! The fourth Woe! The 3 lines in this verse demonstrate progressive actions. See Watson, Wilfred, G.E. Classical Hebrew Poetry, Sheffield, England, Sheffield Academic Press, Ltd., pp. 173-74, 184. [Hereafter as Watson, Classical Hebrew Poetry]

מַשְׁקֵ֣ה HiPtc MNS Construct, Relative Ptc, Subject N of a Noun Clause, he who causes    . . . to drink.

רֵעֵ֔הוּ Noun MAS Construct, A Direct Object + Personal Pronoun MGS, G of Relationship, Antecedent = מַשְׁקֵ֣ה, his neighbor. Disjunctive accent.

מְסַפֵּ֥חַ PiPtc MNS Construct, Relative Ptc, Appositional N, Subject N of a Noun Clause, he who mixes. “The singular is used with indefinite generality, or in a collective, or speaking more correctly, a distributive sense. (K&D, loc. cit.) The pronoun on מְעוֹרֵיהֶֽם below justifies this conclusion.

חֲמָתְךָ֖ Noun FAS Construct, A Direct Object + Personal Pronoun MGS, G of Possession, Antecedent = מַשְׁקֵ֣ה, your poison. “Through the suffix חֲמָתְךָ the woe is addressed directly to the Chaldaean himself,—a change from the third person to the second, which would be opposed to the genius of our language.” (K&D, loc. cit.)

וְאַ֣ף Paratactic Conjunction, Copulative + Adjunctive Adverb, and also.

שַׁכֵּ֑ר PiInf Absolute, Relative and a Ptc Substitute, Appositional N, Subject N of a Noun Clause, [he] who makes drunk. Disjunctive accent.

לְמַ֥עַן Preposition, Purpose, in order.

הַבִּ֖יט HiInf Construct, Verbal of Purpose, to look.

עַל־מְעוֹרֵיהֶֽם׃ Preposition, Locative + Noun MGP Construct + Personal Pronoun MGP, G of Possession, Antecedent = רֵעֵ֔הוּ, upon their nakedness. “More so than in other nations, in Israel nakedness symbolized shame.” (Barker, Habakkuk, loc. cit.) Disjunctive accent.

16 Resultative asyndeton.

שָׂבַ֤עְתָּ QPf 2MS, Future Pf, [ so that] you will be filled.

קָלוֹן֙ Noun MAS Absolute, Adverbial A of Manner, with shame.

מִכָּב֔וֹד Preposition, Privative (KB, Lexicon, 598) + Noun MGS Absolute, without glory. Disjunctive accent.

שְׁתֵ֥ה QImv 2MS, Imv of Command, drink.

גַם־אַ֖תָּה Adverb, Adjunctive + Personal Pronoun MNS, Subject N, Antecedent = ךָ- above (verse 15), also you.

וְהֵֽעָרֵ֑ל Paratactic Conjunction, Copulative + NiImv 2MS, Ni Reflexive, Imv of Command, and show your foreskin. Disjunctive accent.

תִּסּ֣וֹב QI 3FS, Future I, will return.

עָלֶ֗יךָ Preposition, Terminative + Personal Pronoun MGS, Antecedent = ךָ-, upon you.

כּ֚וֹס Noun FNS Construct, Subject N, [the] cup of.

יְמִ֣ין Noun FGS Construct, G of description, the right hand of. “The Lord’s right hand represents his military power. He will force the Babylonians to experience the same humiliating defeat they inflicted on others.” (NET, loc. cit.)

יְהוָ֔ה Noun MGS Absolute, Possessive G, Yahweh. Disjunctive accent.

וְקִיקָל֖וֹן Paratactic Conjunction, Relative of Result + Noun MNS Absolute, Subject N of a Noun Clause, Forward emphasis, and, as a result, disgrace. “This form of the word, however, is chosen for the sake of the play upon קִיא קָלֹון, vomiting of shame, vomitus ignominiae (Vulg.; cf. קִיא צֹאָה in Isa. 28:8), and in order that, when the word was heard, it should call up the subordinate meaning, which suggests itself the more naturally, because excessive drinking is followed by vomiting (cf. Jer. 25:26, 27).” (K&D, loc. cit.)

עַל־כְּבוֹדֶֽךָ׃ Preposition, Addition + Noun MGS Construct + Personal Pronoun MGS, Possessive G, Antecedent = ךָ-, will override your glory. “… will be over thine honour, i.e., will cover over thine honour or glory.” (K&D, loc. cit.) Disjunctive accent.


כִּ֣י Hypotactic Conjunction, Causal, because.

חֲמַ֤ס Noun MNS Construct, Subject N of a Noun Clause, [the] violence [done].

לְבָנוֹן֙ Noun MGS Absolute, G of Disadvantage, against Lebanon.

יְכַסֶּ֔ךָּ PiI 3MS, Future I + Personal Pronoun MAS, A Direct Object, Antecedent = ךָ-, will cover [overwhelm] you. Disjunctive accent.

וְשֹׁ֥ד Paratactic Conjunction, Copulative + Noun MNS Construct, Subject N, and destruction.

בְּהֵמ֖וֹת Noun FGP Absolute, Objective G, on the animals.

יְחִיתַ֑ן HiI 3MS, Stative I + Personal Pronoun FAP, A Direct Object, Antecedent = בְּהֵמ֖וֹת, that terrified them. Disjunctive accent. “יְחִיתַן is a relative clause, and the subject, shōd, the devastation which terrified the animals.” (K&D, loc. cit.) The relative אשׁר is implied.

מִדְּמֵ֤י Preposition, Causal + Noun MGP Construct, because of [the] bloodshed on. The Preposition does double duty.

אָדָם֙ Noun MGS Absolute, Objective G, mankind.

וַחֲמַס־אֶ֔רֶץ Paratactic Conjunction, Copulative + Noun MGS Construct, + Noun MGS Absolute, G of Disadvantage, and [because of the] violence against [the] land. Disjunctive accent.

קִרְיָ֖ה Noun FGS Absolute, Asyndetic, G of Disadvantage and Apposition, against [the] cities. The S is Collective.

וְכָל־יֹ֥שְׁבֵי Paratactic Conjunction, Copulative + Noun MGS Construct, G of Disadvantage and Apposition + QAPtc MGP Construct, Relative Ptc, Adjectival Attributive, and against all who dwell.

בָֽהּ׃ ס Preposition, Locative + Personal Pronoun FGS, Antecedent = קִרְיָ֖ה, Collective S, in them. “It is also possible for prepositional phrases and even entire clauses to stand after a construct; these constituents are thus treated as a single noun (cf. 4.4.1).” (Waltke & O’Connor, Syntax, 155)


Woe 3, Realism

Verse 12

Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed
And founds a town with violence!

  • Grammatical Parallelism.
  • Line 2 interprets line 1.
  • “Violence” is better translated “injustice’ and not the same word as previously translated “violence.”

Verse 13 

Is it not indeed from the Lord of hosts
That peoples toilfor fire,And nations grow wearyfor nothing?

  • The rhetorical question expects “yes!”
  • Line 3 parallels and expands line 2.
  • Verse 12 is the cause; verse 13 the effect.

Verse 14 

For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea. A simile.

  • Parallels Isaiah 11:9 that focuses on the millennium.
  • “Glory” is a reference to God’s revealing of Himself.
  • Line 3 illustrates line 1.

Woe #4—Retribution

Verse 15

Woe to you who make your neighbors drink,
Who mix in your venom even to make them drunk
So as to look on their nakedness!

  • Verses 15 & 16 are a cause/effect unit.
  • A progressive set of 3 lines. See the notes.

Verse 16

(A)You will be filled with disgrace rather than honor.
(B)Now you yourself drink and expose your own nakedness.
(B)The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you,
(A)And utter disgrace will come upon your glory.

  • Chiastic with line 4 expanding line 1; line 3 expanding line 2.
  • “Honor” & “Glory” = Same word. See ESV.
  • “Cup” (line 3) relates to “drink” (line 2) and the lines parallel verse 15.

Verse 17

(A) For the violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,
(B) And the devastation of its beasts by which you terrified them,
(A) Because of human bloodshed and violence done to the land,
(B) To the town and all its inhabitants.

  • ABAB Poetic Pattern where lines 1 and 2 as well as 3 and 4 interrelate.
  • The verb “overwhelm” and noun “cup” (v. 16) have similar sounds (Assonance) and tie verse 17 to verse 16.

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