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Commentary On Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai by Jean Calvin

Habakkuk 1:17

17. Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?

17. An propterea extendet sagenam suam, et assiduus erit ad occidendas gentes, ut non parcat (alii vertuat, annon negative; atqui debuisset esse [vk-l 'lh])?

This is an affirmative question, |Shall they therefore;| which, however, requires a negative answer. Then all interpreters are mistaken; for they think that the Prophet here complains, that he presently extends his net after having made a capture, but he rather means, |Is he ever to extend his net?| that is, |How long, O Lord, wilt thou permit the Assyrians to proceed to new plunders, so as to be like the hunter, who after having taken a boar or a stag, is more eager, and immediately renews his hunting; or like the fisherman, who having filled his little ship, with more avidity pursues his vocation? Wilt thou, Lord, he says, suffer the Assyrians to become more assiduous in their work of destruction?| And he shows how unworthy they were of God's forbearance, for they slew the nations. |I speak not here,| he says, |either of fish or of any other animal, nor do I speak of this or that man, but I speak of many nations. As these slaughters are thus carried on through the whole world, how long, Lord, shall they be unpunished? for they will never cease.| We now see the purport of the Prophet's complaint; but we shall find in the next lecture how he recovers himself.

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