The Tetragrammaton = hwhy = YaHuWaH
Introduction: Habaqquq means “an embrace”. Alternately, it may be related to the Assyrian name for a plant, hambakuku. Most date the book to shortly after the battle of Karkhemish (605 B.C.E.) when the Khasdim (Chaldeans) routed the Egyptians (under Pharaoh Nekho) at the fords of the Ferath (Euphrates) and then marched westward to subjugate King Yahuyaqim of Yahuwdah. A Commentary on Habaqquq 1:4-2:20 was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, but it relates it to the history of the Qumran sect, not to the original context of the prophet’s message. He is puzzled as to how YHWH can use an extremely brutal, heartless empire to punish a kingdom that has been far less wicked in contrast.
1:1 The message which Chabaqquwq the prophet saw (while in an ecstatic state).
1:2 YaHuWaH, how long will I cry, and You will not hear? I cry out to You “Violence!” and will You not save?
1:3 Why do You keep letting me see trouble and making me look at misery? For destruction and violence are before me. There is strife, and contention rises up.
Trouble: the root term means to exert oneself in vain. Misery: or, toil. Havoc: or, oppression. Ya'aqob (James) tells us that quarrels originate from our fleshly passions. This brings an inappropriate bias to our interpretations of the Torah, which will tilt the balance toward our personal advantage.
1:4 Therefore the Torah ceases, and justice never goes forth; for the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice goes forth perverted/distorted.
Weakened: enfeebled or made slack. Of course this is done very effectively when men teach that the Torah is no longer in force today! Surround: hem in, entrap. Aramaic, devour. Today it is considered righteous to be tolerant, and judges or juries are punished for having a firm belief in anything. Standing up for the simple truth is considered subversive. If we do not support anything that anyone wants to do, we are oppressive! The wealthy are held up as the standard, and celebrities, no matter how hedonistic, are the role models. Twisted: i.e., they come out perverted (NASB) or distorted; Aramaic, sound judgment does not go forth. This all sounds like what is going on in Yahuwdah today, but applies anywhere that those who are in the wrong are given any voice once proven guilty. They should have no right to sue in return, but those who make the most noise are treated as right. If someone is able to run right over others, he considers it his duty! What follows is Yahuwah’s response:
[The following texts 1:5-11 many believe apply to modern Babylon - USA]
1:5 “Look among the nations, watch, and wonder marvelously; for I am working a work in your days, which you will not believe though it is told you.
An undercurrent here is the fact that “among the nations”, Yahuwah is bringing Ysra'al back to life, and Yahuwdah is not alone as she had feared.
1:6 For, behold, I raise up the Kasdim, that bitter and hasty nation, that march through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs.
1:7 They are feared and dreaded. Their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves.
I.e., it makes decisions for itself, not respecting any other accepted standard or authority. Its philosophy is ,“Might makes right.”
1:8 Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves. Their horsemen press proudly on. Yes, their horsemen come from afar. They fly as an eagle that hurries to devour.
Swifter: literally, lighter (i.e., of foot). Cheetahs: or, leopards, from a word meaning “spotted or speckled”, but the cheetah is far more fleet-footed than the leopard. Keener: more alert, sharper. Eagle: The term can mean any bird of prey.
1:9 All of them come for violence (Hamas). The direction of their faces is like the east wind, (Kadima). He gathers prisoners like sand.
Eagerness: or, gathering, crowding, horde, their looking. Forward: or, in the east, in the ancient place; Aramaic, in the appearance/front of their faces they are like the east wind. Sand: often an idiom for the descendants of Abraham; this is precisely Habaqquq’s fear. The Babylonian system still holds us captive; Yahuwah cannot bring judgment upon it as long as we remain part of it, and thus we cannot go home.
1:10 Yes, he scoffs at kings, and princes are a derision to him. He laughs at every stronghold, for he builds up an earthen ramp, and takes it.
This sounds very much like democracy, which laughs at the idea of true authorities, and today any military move can be justified in its name, even while actually in reality diminishing people’s democratic “rights”!
1:11 Then he sweeps by like the wind, and goes on. He is indeed guilty, imputing his strength unto his elohiym.”
Aramaic, Then because their spirit was exalted upon them, they passed from their kingdom and sinned in that they multiplied honor to their idols. NASB: “Then they will sweep in like the wind and pass on, but they will be held guilty, they whose strength is their god. [sic]” If we give credit to Yahuwah, we have to live within the parameters He sets, and make sure that what we are doing lines up with His instruction. Those who say, “In G-d we trust” do not usually seem to have that sense of accountability.
1:12 Aren’t You from everlasting, YaHuWaH my Al, my Qadosh-One? We will not die, O YaHuWaH, You have appointed them to judgment. You, Rock, have laid a foundation to convict them of wrongdoing.
Mighty Judge: Heb., Aluahiym, but Habaqquq is emphasizing Yahuwah's righteousness and ability to put an end to such travesties. Convict: or prove, reprove, correct. He cannot imagine how Yahuwah could let the wicked get away with all of this:
1:13 You Who have purer eyes than to see evil, and Who cannot look on perversity, why do You tolerate those who deal treacherously, and keep silent when the wicked swallows up the man who is more righteous than he?
1:14 Are You dealing with humanity like the fish of the sea, like the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
Humanity: Heb., Adam. Deal… like: i.e., just letting them be caught en masse as in a net or trap. People have been “burned” and swindled by so many that few want anyone in authority over them anymore, but the restored Adam, embodied in Ysra'al, cannot be like this; we must have order and chain of command before we can return home. Christianity is symbolized by the fish, and the Beast sits on many waters; though there is a figurehead, there is no true authority there; everyone defines his own relationship with “G-d”. (Judges 21:25) They still keep “fishing for men” when it is time for the hunters to come instead. (Yirmeyahuw 16:16) Thus these “Chaldeans” in our day represent Christian nations that want everyone else—even Ysra'al, who has higher standards--to live by their rules.
1:15 He takes up all of them with the hook. He catches them in his net, and gathers them in his dragnet. Therefore he rejoices and is glad.
This is the kind of person this Chaldean general is! Such brutality gives him his joy. And Yahuwah can use them, when all Yahuwdah is doing is arguing with one another? Yet Yahuwdah is punished sooner because they have been taught a higher standard.
1:16 Therefore he slaughters to his perforated trap, and burns incense to his dragnet, because by them his life is luxurious, and his food is good.
Perforated trap: Aramaic, weapons.
1:17 Will he therefore continually empty his trap? Will he spare none of the nations he keeps destroying?
2:1 I will stand at my watch, and set myself on the ramparts, and will look out to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.
After asking all the questions in chapter 1, Habaqquq is expecting to be corrected, because he is arguing with Yahuwah and knows Yahuwah cannot be wrong, but he cannot figure out by his own logic how Yahuwah can be just and yet do what He is planning to do. So he determines that he will do the work he has been given, and wait for Yahuwah’s rebuke. He braces himself for reproof, but cannot live without these questions resolved.
2:2 YaHuWaH answered me, “Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, so that the one who reads it may do so quickly. 2:3 For the vision is yet for the appointed time, (a future mo'ed - a particular feast day
Dan. 8: 19 And he said: 'Behold, I will make you know what shall be in the latter time of the indignation (end time of the rage) [Great Day of YaHuWaH]; for it belongs to the appointed time of the end. (for at Mo'ed - the end! / for at the Appointed Time - the end! = one of the feast days. ...Yom Kippur?))
and it speaks of the the end, and does not lie. Though it takes time, wait for it; because it will surely come. It won’t delay.
Blow/speaks to the end: or, pant for the end, whisper. Disappoint: or, tell a lie. Wait: with longing. Be late: hesitate, hold back, remain behind. A well-loved Jewish song about confidence that Messiah is still coming despite what it seems (taken from the 13 principles of Jewish faith) is based on to this verse. It may look like the master will never return, but be assured that he will. (Luqa 12:45) Yahuwah tells Habaqquq that he is essentially right, but he just does not understand Yahuwah’s seasons. His questions are valid, but he needs to see a larger context. He is only wrong on timing. This is one prophecy that was NOT also applicable in the prophet’s own day, unlike most, which usually have a two-pronged fulfillment. Compare Daniel 10:14.
2:4 Look! His swollen appetite is not level within him, but the righteous one will live by his steadfastness [emunah]…. or [but the righteous one by his certainty of Me will live.] Look at the proud, they trust in themselves and their lives are crooked. But the righteous ones shall live by belief. … from Wachira
Swollen appetite: or, presumptuous self-life. The one who is about himself is both leavened and unstable. The righteous, on the other hand, is firmly grounded. Faithfulness: or, firm confidence. This verse is quoted in Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38, but as seen here this “faith” must be seen as confidence in something Yahuwah has actually promised, if it applies to us. He is speaking directly to Habaqquq’s doubts here.
2:5 Yes, moreover, wine (pride/wrath) is treacherous. A haughty man who doesn’t stay at home, who enlarges his desire as Sheol, and he is like death, and can’t be satisfied, but gathers to himself all nations, and heaps to himself all peoples.
This is not alcoholic wine, but the power that makes one giddy enough to attack those whom he assumes could never be his equals and could never beat him. (Compare Rev. 18:3.) Babylon honored those who would become part of their system when conquered, and ended any enmity; Democracy does the same today, paying those it conquers to believe the same way rather than standing firmly for what they have believed.
2:6 Won’t all these - all of them - take up a proverbial saying against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases that which is not his! How long can he weigh himself down with promissory notes?
Babylon made promises to many nations that they plundered which they would turn out to be unable to keep. It is getting deeper and deeper in debt for its robberies and most of all its bloodshed. The Church is heir to Babylon’s power through Rome, and it cannot deliver on its promise of Heaven!
2:7 Won’t your debtors rise up suddenly, and wake up those who make you tremble, and you will be their victim?
2:8 Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples will plunder you, because of human blood, and for the violence done to the land, to the city and to all who dwell in it.
Human blood: literally, bloods of Adam. Yahuwah required the blood of Hebel from the hand of Qayin. As more accurate interpretations of the Word of Yahuwah are revealed to us, the “creditors” will call in the debts, and Church will have to more and more often close its mouth in shame for the blood it has shed in calling people heretics when they were more in tune with Scripture than it. Truth is available through the internet even in countries very restricted politically, and as we hold their feet to the fire with the challenge: “Let us see you live out the truth, not human doctrines”, they will have to release Ysra'al's sheep, which they now hold captive.
2:9 Woe to him who gets an evil gain for his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the hand of evil!
2:10 You have given shameful advice to your household, by cutting off many peoples, and are missing the point of you life. Life: your emotions, passions, soul-life, self.
2:11 For the stone will cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the woodwork will answer it.
2:12 Woe to him who builds a town with blood, and establishes a city through injustice!
Compare Yirm. 22:13. No matter how impressive it is, this city cannot endure. The blood used as mortar to build the city will cry out like Hebel’s, and overturn the stones it has been used to hold together. Therefore, all their accomplishments are futile:
2:13 Behold, isn’t it of YaHuWaH Master of Armies that the peoples labor for the fire, and the nations weary themselves for vanity?
This sounds very much like Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes). Habaqquq is a very learned man; a prophet can only bring forth what raw materials of Yahuwah’s word he has hidden in his heart. Aramaic: “Behold, great and virulent plagues are coming from the Master of hosts, and fire will consume the labor of the nations, and the kingdoms shall weary themselves in vain.”
2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the esteem of YaHuWaH, as the waters shall overwhelm the sea.
YashaYahuw 11:9 also includes the latter phrase here. Habaqquq may have been alluding to that prophecy, which is in the larger context of the return of Ysra'al from all nations in the latter days. Satisfied: or filled up. Overwhelm: or, form a covering [that hides]. This may be a reference to the return of the vapor canopy that was once above the expanse of the atmosphere. Sea: or, the west.
2:15 “Woe to him who gives his neighbor drink, pouring your inflaming wine (wrath) until they are drunk, so that you may gaze at their naked bodies!
One spills his secrets when drunk, and reveals his weaknesses, whether physical or psychological.
2:16 You are filled with shame, and not esteem. You will also drink, and let your foreskin be exposed! The cup of YaHuWaH’s Right Hand will come around to you [YirmeYahuw 25; Tehillim 75:8 ], and disgrace will cover your esteem.
Yahuwah will force the Chaldeans to become drunk as well, so their own bluff will be called. Christians are the ones spreading democracy to the greatest extent today, and they consider themselves to have the high moral ground against terrorists who live what they believe, whether right or wrong. The system will finally prove to involve much idolatry. Those who thought they were in covenant with Yahuwah, but did not see themselves as part of either the House of Yahuwdah or the House of Efrayim (with which alone the Renewed Covenant of YirmeYahuw 31 is made) will find that they are not circumcised after all!
2:17 For the violence done to Lebanown will overwhelm you, and the destruction of the animals, which made them afraid; because of men’s blood, and for the violence done to the land, to every city and to those who dwell in them.
(Amplified Bible) 2:15-17
[15 Woe to him who gives his neighbors drink, who pours out your bottle to them and adds to it your poisonous and blighting wrath and also makes them drunk, that you may look on their stripped condition and pour out foul shame [on their esteem]! 16 You [yourself] will be filled with shame and contempt instead of esteem. Drink also and be like an uncircumcised [heathen]! The cup [of wrath] in YaHuWaH's Right Hand will come around to you [O destroyer], and foul shame shall be upon your own esteem! 17For the violence done to Lebanown will cover and overwhelm you; the destruction of the animals [which the violence frightened away] will terrify you on account of men's blood and the violence done to the land, to every city and all its inhabitants.]
2:18 “What value does the engraved image have, that its maker has engraved it; the molten image, even the teacher of The Lie, that he who fashions its form trusts in it, to make mute idols?
YirmeYahuw 47 tells us more about those who worship the work of their own hands. The idols are suffocated with the molten metal that covers them:
2:19 Woe to him who says to the wood, ‘Awake!’ or to the mute stone, ‘Arise!’ Shall this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in its midst.
2:20 But YaHuWaH is in His Set-apart Hekal. Let all the earth be silent before Him!”
It will take this whole long process—thousands of years, it turns out—to justly prove Yahuwah is in the right, but He is in control. It only looks as if His enemies know what they are doing. But no matter how many secrets they have elicited from those they torture, Yahuwah is firmly established in the right place. So as He told Moshah, He tells Habaqquq, “Don’t ask Me that question again!”
3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk, the prophet, concerning those who go astray:
Concerning those who go astray: Heb., Al Shigyonoth, possibly to the tune of a commonly-known song by this title. (Also used in Psalm 7.) It may mean “unconventional”, like “fusion” music today. The epilogue to verse 19 adds credence to this. Aramaic, “…when it was revealed to him concerning the extension of time which He gives to the wicked, that if they return to the Torah with a perfect heart they shall be pardoned and all their sins which they have committed before Him shall be as sins of ignorance.”
3:2 YaHuWaH, I have heard of Your fame.
I stand in awe of Your deeds, YaHuWaH.
Renew Your work in the midst of the years.
[Dan. 9: 27 And he shall make a firm covenant with many one week; and in the middle of the week he shall cause the slaughter and the offering to cease;]
In the midst of the years make it known.
In wrath, You remember mercy.
In the midst of the years: He was told the vision was for the end times. (2:3) Habaqquq may also have been asking Yahuwah to do something about the Chaldeans in his own days as well! Remember to be compassionate: related to the curse “Lo-Ruhamah” in Hushuwa 1, which applied to the Northern Kingdom. This may be a veiled reference to Yahuwah’s not forgetting about us either. Aramaic, “remember the righteous who do Your will.” He now returns to his prophesying:
3:3 Al came from Teyman, the Qadosh-One from Mount Paran.
Selah. (Think about it.)
His splendor covered the heavens, and His renown fills the earth.
Theyman: now equated with Yemen, but at that time possibly only as far south as Edom; the name is related to the word for “right hand”, since when properly “oriented” to the east, the south is on the right hand. Pa’aran: An allusion to Deut. 33:2. The name means “especially beautiful”, and denotes an area south of the Land of Ysra'al proper, west of the Arabah, and north of what is now known (incorrectly) as Sinai.
3:4 His splendor is like the sunrise.
Rays shine from His Hand, where His Power is hidden.
Rays of light: literally, horns; Aramaic, sparks issued from His glorious chariot; there He revealed His sh’kinah, which was hidden from the sons of man in the high fastness.
3:5 A destructive word goes before Him, and flaming sparks went forth to His feet.
Destructive word: or, pestilence. The Aramaic targum identifies this as the angel of death.
3:6 He stood, and shook the earth.
He looked, and made the nations tremble.
The ancient mountains were crumbled.
The age-old hills collapsed.
His ways are eternal.
3:7 I saw the tents of Kushan in affliction.
The dwellings of the land of Midian trembled.
Kushan: the name means “their blackness”. The tents of Qedar were known for being black, and the Bedouins of today still use black tents. Kushan “the doubly wicked” was a Mesopotamian king who oppressed Ysra'al for eight years until Othniel, Kaleb’s younger brother, delivered them. (Judges 3:7-11) The Aramaic targum makes a connection between the two passages, and links Midyan here with the story of Gid’on, who delivered Ysra'al from that nation. Curtains: from another term meaning “to quiver”, so there is a play on words here.
3:8 Was YaHuWaH displeased with the rivers?
Was Your anger against the rivers, or Your wrath against the sea,
that You rode on Your horses, on Your chariots of deliverance?
3:9 You uncovered Your bow - laid bare - oaths of branches of speaking.
Selah. (Think about it.)
You split the earth with rivers.
Oaths: spelled and pronounced like the festival Shabuoth. Branches: or tribes. The Aramaic sees the oaths as His covenant with the tribes, for whom He cleft rocks and flooded the ground with the water that issued forth.
3:10 The mountains saw You, and were afraid.
The storm of waters passed by.
The deep roared and lifted up its hands on high.
3:11 The sun and moon stood still in the sky, at the light of Your arrows as they went, at the shining of Your glittering spear.
Stood still: the Aramaic targum sees this as a reference to the long day of Yahuwshua at the plain of Gib’on.
3:12 You marched through the land in wrath.
You threshed the nations in anger.
3:13 You went forth for the deliverance of Your people,
for the deliverance of Your Mashiyach.
You crushed the head of the land of Wickedness.
You stripped them head to foot.
3:14 You pierced the heads of his warriors with their own spears.
They came as a whirlwind to scatter me, gloating as if to devour the wretched in secret.
3:15 You trampled the sea with Your horses, churning mighty waters.
The Aramaic targum interprets verses 14-15 as a reference to Yahuwah’s triumph over Pharaoh at the Reed Sea.
3:16 I heard, and my stomach became upset.
My lips quivered at the Voice.
Rottenness enters into my bones, and I tremble in my place, because I must wait quietly for the Day of Trouble, for the coming up of the people who invade us.
Upset: agitated, perturbed, disturbed, disquieted. The greatest superpower on earth will be brought to its knees—and beyond—for never again after this would the Chaldeans be a people. What will come upon Yahuwah’s enemies reminds us in a frightening way to stay on His side, because anyone who is not—no matter how insignificant compared to the Chaldeans--is subject to being treated in the same way. Fear of Yahuwah is more than anything being afraid of His presence being taken away from us. The targum sees this verse as Babylon’s response. Rottenness was entering my bones: Aramaic, fear took hold of my wise men. I will move…: or, so that I might rest in the day of trouble. To come up to the people: Aramaic, at the time of bringing up the exiles of His people. Troops: Though the text speaks of catastrophes of planetary proportions, for Yahuwah can bring an impregnable city to nothing by the larger forces at His disposal. But this last phrase suggests that these references to natural forces are analogies of the army that will destroy Babel. Just as Yahuwah is in control of otherwise-unstoppable rivers, He is also in control of armies.
3:17 For though the fig tree doesn’t flourish, (3rd & 4th Seals]
nor fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive fails, the fields yield no food; the flocks are cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls:
The targum sees the fig tree as Babylon, the vines as Media (Persia), the olive tree as Greece, and the animals as Romans, none of whom will maintain their hold over Ysra'al. But all of these terms are elsewhere used to describe Ysra'al in particular. There are “lost sheep of the House of Ysra'al” (Mat. 15:24), cut off from our Land. With Yahuwdah as well about to be taken into exile, there is no hope for her except Yahuwah’s promises in the Torah that one day both Houses would repent and return to Torah and thereafter to the Land.
3:18 yet I will rejoice in YaHuWaH. I will be joyful in the Al of my deliverance!
No matter how dire everything looks, with no security in sight whatsoever, the prophet reminds himself—and us—that Yahuwah is in control, and he can be confident that what He is doing will ultimately benefit those who love Him. (Rom. 8:28)
3:19 YaHuWaH, the Master, is my strength.
He makes my feet like deer’s feet, and enables me to go in high places.
Aramaic, “…when it was revealed to him concerning the extension of time which He gives to the wicked, that if they return to the Torah with a perfect heart they shall be pardoned and all their sins which they have committed before Him shall be as sins of ignorance.”
For the music director, on my stringed instruments.