King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Habakkuk 1

The wickedness of the land. The fearful vengeance to be executed. (1-11) These judgments to be inflicted by a nation more wicked than themselves. (12-17)

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The wickedness of the land. The fearful vengeance to be executed

1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.

2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!

3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.

4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.

5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not their’s.

7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.

8 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.

9 They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.

10 And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.

11 Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.

These judgments to be inflicted by a nation more wicked than themselves

12 Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.

13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?

14 And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?

15 They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.

16 Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.

17 Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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.

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.

Ver. 3. Opposition. Sept. “the judge receives” bribes. H. — Such was the state of Juda after Josias. Jer. xxi. 12.

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.

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.

Ver. 7. Proceed. They admit no authority but their own. C. — This pride will prove their ruin. H.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ver. 12. Die? We hope that this scourge will not entirely ruin us. — Correction, like Pharao. Ex. ix. 16.

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

Ver. 14. Ruler. People are subdued by Nabuchodouosor. H. — They make little resistance. C.

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.

Ver. 17. Nations, of every country. W. — Few have been so much addicted to war as Nabuchodonosor. C.