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Habakkuk 2:6-12

Context
The Proud Babylonians are as Good as Dead

2:6 “But all these nations will someday taunt him 1 

and ridicule him with proverbial sayings: 2 

‘The one who accumulates what does not belong to him is as good as dead 3 

(How long will this go on?) 4 

he who gets rich by extortion!’ 5 

2:7 Your creditors will suddenly attack; 6 

those who terrify you will spring into action, 7 

and they will rob you. 8 

2:8 Because you robbed many countries, 9 

all who are left among the nations 10  will rob you.

You have shed human blood

and committed violent acts against lands, cities, 11  and those who live in them.

2:9 The one who builds his house by unjust gain is as good as dead. 12 

He does this so he can build his nest way up high

and escape the clutches of disaster. 13 

2:10 Your schemes will bring shame to your house.

Because you destroyed many nations, you will self-destruct. 14 

2:11 For the stones in the walls will cry out,

and the wooden rafters will answer back. 15 

2:12 The one who builds a city by bloodshed is as good as dead 16 

he who starts 17  a town by unjust deeds.

Habakkuk 2:17

Context

2:17 For you will pay in full for your violent acts against Lebanon; 18 

terrifying judgment will come upon you because of the way you destroyed the wild animals living there. 19 

You have shed human blood

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

1 tn Heb “Will not these, all of them, take up a taunt against him…?” The rhetorical question assumes the response, “Yes, they will.” The present translation brings out the rhetorical force of the question by rendering it as an affirmation.

2 tn Heb “and a mocking song, riddles, against him? And one will say.”

3 tn Heb “Woe [to] the one who increases [what is] not his.” The Hebrew term הוֹי (hoy, “woe,” “ah”) was used in funeral laments and carries the connotation of death.

4 tn This question is interjected parenthetically, perhaps to express rhetorically the pain and despair felt by the Babylonians’ victims.

5 tn Heb “and the one who makes himself heavy [i.e., wealthy] [by] debts.” Though only appearing in the first line, the term הוֹי (hoy) is to be understood as elliptical in the second line.

6 tn Heb “Will not your creditors suddenly rise up?” The rhetorical question assumes the response, “Yes, they will.” The present translation brings out the rhetorical force of the question by rendering it as an affirmation.

sn Your creditors will suddenly attack. The Babylonians are addressed directly here. They have robbed and terrorized others, but now the situation will be reversed as their creditors suddenly attack them.

7 tn Heb “[Will not] the ones who make you tremble awake?”

8 tn Heb “and you will become their plunder.”

9 tn Or “nations.”

10 tn Or “peoples.”

11 tn Heb “because of the shed blood of humankind and violence against land, city.” The singular forms אֶרֶץ (’erets, “land”) and קִרְיָה (qiryah, “city”) are collective, referring to all the lands and cities terrorized by the Babylonians.

12 tn Heb “Woe [to] the one who profits unjustly by evil unjust gain for his house.” On the term הוֹי (hoy) see the note on the word “dead” in v. 6.

13 tn Heb “to place his nest in the heights in order to escape from the hand of disaster.”

sn Here the Babylonians are compared to a bird, perhaps an eagle, that builds its nest in an inaccessible high place where predators cannot reach it.

14 tn Heb “you planned shame for your house, cutting off many nations, and sinning [against] your life.”

15 sn The house mentioned in vv. 9-10 represents the Babylonian empire, which became great through imperialism. Here the materials of this “house” (the stones in the walls, the wooden rafters) are personified as witnesses who testify that the occupants have built the house through wealth stolen from others.

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

17 tn Or “establishes”; or “founds.”

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

19 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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