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Habakkuk 1:15-16


1:15 The Babylonian tyrant 1  pulls them all up with a fishhook;

he hauls them in with his throw net. 2 

When he catches 3  them in his dragnet,

he is very happy. 4 

1:16 Because of his success 5  he offers sacrifices to his throw net

and burns incense to his dragnet; 6 

for because of them he has plenty of food, 7 

and more than enough to eat. 8 

1 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Babylonian tyrant) has been specified in the translation for clarity (cf. NASB “The Chaldeans”; NIV “The wicked foe”; NRSV “The enemy”). Babylonian imperialism is here compared to a professional fisherman who repeatedly brings in his catch and has plenty to eat.

2 tn Apparently two different types of fishing nets are referred to here. The חֵרֶם (kherem, “throw net”) was used by fishermen standing on the shore (see Ezek 47:10), while the מִכְמֶרֶת (mikhmeret, “dragnet”) was used by men in a boat. See R. D. Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (WEC), 165.

3 tn Heb “and he gathers.”

4 tn Heb “Therefore he is happy and rejoices.” Here two synonyms are joined for emphasis.

5 tn Heb “therefore.”

6 sn The fishing implements (throw net and dragnet) represent Babylonian military might. The prophet depicts the Babylonians as arrogantly worshiping their own power (sacrifices…burns incense, see also v. 11b).

7 tn Heb “for by them his portion is full [or, “fat”].”

8 tn Heb “and his food is plentiful [or, “fat”].”

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