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Habakkuk 2:18-19


2:18 What good 1  is an idol? Why would a craftsman make it? 2 

What good is a metal image that gives misleading oracles? 3 

Why would its creator place his trust in it 4 

and make 5  such mute, worthless things?

2:19 The one who says to wood, ‘Wake up!’ is as good as dead 6 

he who says 7  to speechless stone, ‘Awake!’

Can it give reliable guidance? 8 

It is overlaid with gold and silver;

it has no life’s breath inside it.

1 tn Or “of what value.”

2 tn Heb “so that the one who forms it fashions it?” Here כִּי (ki) is taken as resultative after the rhetorical question. For other examples of this use, see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 73, §450.

3 tn Heb “or a metal image, a teacher of lies.” The words “What good is” in the translation are supplied from the previous parallel line. “Teacher of lies” refers to the false oracles that the so-called god would deliver through a priest. See J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 126.

4 tn Heb “so that the one who forms his image trusts in it?” As earlier in the verse, כִּי (ki) is resultative.

5 tn Heb “to make.”

6 tn Heb “Woe [to] the one who says.” On the term הוֹי (hoy) see the note on the word “dead” in v. 6.

7 tn The words “he who says” in the translation are supplied from the previous parallel line.

8 tn Though the Hebrew text has no formal interrogative marker here, the context indicates that the statement should be taken as a rhetorical question anticipating the answer, “Of course not!” (so also NIV, NRSV).

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