those who keep drinking long after dark
until they are intoxicated with wine. 2
the beer tastes bitter to those who drink it.
You are totally blind! 5
They are drunk, 6 but not because of wine;
they stagger, 7 but not because of beer.
‘Come on, I’ll get some wine!
Let’s guzzle some beer!
Tomorrow will be just like today!
We’ll have everything we want!’ 9
1 tn Heb “Woe [to] those who arise early in the morning, [who] chase beer.”
2 tn Heb “[who] delay until dark, [until] wine enflames them.”
sn This verse does not condemn drinking per se, but refers to the carousing lifestyle of the rich bureaucrats, made possible by wealth taken from the poor. Their carousing is not the fundamental problem, but a disgusting symptom of the real disease – their social injustice.
3 tn Heb “with a song they do not drink wine.”
4 tn The form הִתְמַהְמְהוּ (hitmahmÿhu) is a Hitpalpel imperative from מָהַהּ (mahah, “hesitate”). If it is retained, one might translate “halt and be amazed.” The translation assumes an emendation to הִתַּמְּהוּ (hittammÿhu), a Hitpael imperative from תָּמַה (tamah, “be amazed”). In this case, the text, like Hab 1:5, combines the Hitpael and Qal imperatival forms of תָּמַה (tamah). A literal translation might be “Shock yourselves and be shocked!” The repetition of sound draws attention to the statement. The imperatives here have the force of an emphatic assertion. On this use of the imperative in Hebrew, see GKC 324 §110.c and IBHS 572 §34.4c.
5 tn Heb “Blind yourselves and be blind!” The Hitpalpel and Qal imperatival forms of שָׁעַע (sha’a’, “be blind”) are combined to draw attention to the statement. The imperatives have the force of an emphatic assertion.
6 tc Some prefer to emend the perfect form of the verb to an imperative (e.g., NAB, NCV, NRSV), since the people are addressed in the immediately preceding and following contexts.
7 tc Some prefer to emend the perfect form of the verb to an imperative (e.g., NAB, NCV, NRSV), since the people are addressed in the immediately preceding and following contexts.
8 tn The words “each one says” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
9 tn Heb “great, [in] abundance, very much,” i.e., “very great indeed.” See HALOT 452 s.v. יֶתֶר.