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Habakkuk 2:1-3

Context

2:1 I will stand at my watch post;

I will remain stationed on the city wall. 1 

I will keep watching, so I can see what he says to me

and can know 2  how I should answer

when he counters my argument. 3 

The Lord Assures Habakkuk

2:2 The Lord responded: 4 

“Write down this message! 5  Record it legibly on tablets,

so the one who announces 6  it may read it easily. 7 

2:3 For the message is a witness to what is decreed; 8 

it gives reliable testimony about how matters will turn out. 9 

Even if the message 10  is not fulfilled right away, wait patiently; 11 

for it will certainly come to pass – it will not arrive late.

1 sn Habakkuk compares himself to a watchman stationed on the city wall who keeps his eyes open for approaching messengers or danger.

2 tn The word “know” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

3 tn Heb “concerning my correction [or, “reproof”].”

4 tn Heb “the Lord answered and said.” The redundant expression “answered and said” has been simplified in the translation as “responded.”

5 tn Heb “[the] vision.”

6 tn Or “reads from.”

7 tn Heb “might run,” which here probably means “run [through it quickly with one’s eyes],” that is, read it easily.

8 tn Heb “For the vision is still for the appointed time.” The Hebrew word עוֹד (’od, “still”) is better emended to עֵד (’ed, “witness”) in light of the parallelism (see the note on the word “turn out” in the following line). The “appointed time” refers to the time when the divine judgment anticipated in vv. 6-20 will be realized.

9 tn Heb “and a witness to the end and it does not lie.” The Hebrew term יָפֵחַ (yafeakh) has been traditionally understood as a verb form from the root פּוּחַ (puakh, “puff, blow”; cf. NEB “it will come in breathless haste”; NASB “it hastens toward the goal”) but recent scholarship has demonstrated that it is actually a noun meaning “witness” (cf. NIV “it speaks of the end / and will not prove false”; NRSV “it speaks of the end, and does not lie”). See J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 106. “The end” corresponds to “the appointed time” of the preceding line and refers to the time when the prophecy to follow will be fulfilled.

10 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the message) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

11 tn Heb “If it should delay, wait for it.” The Hebrew word חָזוֹן (khazon, “vision, message”) is the subject of the third person verbs in v. 3 and the antecedent of the pronominal suffix in the phrase “for it.”



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