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Habakkuk 2:15-17

Context

2:15 “You who force your neighbor to drink wine 1  are as good as dead 2 

you who make others intoxicated by forcing them to drink from the bowl of your furious anger, 3 

so you can look at their genitals. 4 

2:16 But you will become drunk 5  with shame, not majesty. 6 

Now it is your turn to drink and expose your uncircumcised foreskin! 7 

The cup of wine in the Lord’s right hand 8  is coming to you,

and disgrace will replace your majestic glory!

2:17 For you will pay in full for your violent acts against Lebanon; 9 

terrifying judgment will come upon you because of the way you destroyed the wild animals living there. 10 

You have shed human blood

and committed violent acts against lands, cities, and those who live in them.

1 tn No direct object is present after “drink” in the Hebrew text. “Wine” is implied, however, and has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

2 tn On the term הוֹי (hoy) see the note on the word “dead” in v. 6.

3 tc Heb “pouring out your anger and also making drunk”; or “pouring out your anger and [by] rage making drunk.” The present translation assumes that the final khet (ח) on מְסַפֵּחַ (misapeakh, “pouring”) is dittographic and that the form should actually be read מִסַּף (missaf, “from a bowl”).

sn Forcing them to drink from the bowl of your furious anger. The Babylonian’s harsh treatment of others is compared to intoxicating wine which the Babylonians force the nations to drink so they can humiliate them. Cf. the imagery in Rev 14:10.

4 tn Heb “their nakedness,” a euphemism.

sn Metaphor and reality are probably blended here. This may refer to the practice of publicly humiliating prisoners of war by stripping them naked. See J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 124.

5 tn Heb “are filled.” The translation assumes the verbal form is a perfect of certitude, emphasizing the certainty of Babylon’s coming judgment, which will reduce the majestic empire to shame and humiliation.

6 tn Or “glory.”

7 tc Heb “drink, even you, and show the foreskin.” Instead of הֵעָרֵל (hearel, “show the foreskin”) one of the Dead Sea scrolls has הֵרָעֵל (herael, “stumble”). This reading also has support from several ancient versions and is followed by the NEB (“you too shall drink until you stagger”) and NRSV (“Drink, you yourself, and stagger”). For a defense of the Hebrew text, see P. D. Miller, Jr., Sin and Judgment in the Prophets, 63-64.

8 sn The Lord’s right hand represents his military power. He will force the Babylonians to experience the same humiliating defeat they inflicted on others.

9 tn Heb “for the violence against Lebanon will cover you.”

10 tc The Hebrew appears to read literally, “and the violence against the animals [which] he terrified.” The verb form יְחִיתַן (yÿkhitan) appears to be a Hiphil imperfect third masculine singular with third feminine plural suffix (the antecedent being the animals) from חָתַת (khatat, “be terrified”). The translation above follows the LXX and assumes a reading יְחִתֶּךָ (yÿkhittekha, “[the violence against the animals] will terrify you”; cf. NRSV “the destruction of the animals will terrify you”; NIV “and your destruction of animals will terrify you”). In this case the verb is a Hiphil imperfect third masculine singular with second masculine singular suffix (the antecedent being Babylon). This provides better symmetry with the preceding line, where Babylon’s violence is the subject of the verb “cover.”

sn The language may anticipate Nebuchadnezzar’s utilization of trees from the Lebanon forest in building projects. Lebanon and its animals probably represent the western Palestinian states conquered by the Babylonians.



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