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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Habakkuk 2:17

Commentary On Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai by Jean Calvin

Habakkuk 2:17

17. For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee, and the spoil of beasts, which made them afraid, because of men's blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.

17. Quia violentia Libani operiet te et praedatio animalium, quae terruit ea (vel, quae contrivit,) propter sanguines hominis et violentiam terrae, urbis et omnium habitantium in ea.

We may hence easily learn, that the Prophet has not been speaking of drunkenness, but that his discourse, as we have explained, was metaphorical; for here follows a reason, why he had denounced such a punishment on the king of Babylon, and that was, because he had exercised violence, not only against all nations indiscriminately, but also against the chosen people of God. He had before only set forth in general the cruelty with which the king of Babylon had destroyed many nations; but he now speaks distinctly of the Jews, in order to show that God would in a peculiar manner be the avenger of that cruelty which the Chaldeans had employed towards the Jews, because the Lord had taken that people under his own protection. Since then the king of Babylon had assailed the children of God, who had been adopted by him, and whose defender he was, he denounces upon him here a special punishment. We thus see that this discourse is properly addressed to the Jews; for he intended to bring them some consolation in their extreme evils, so that they might strengthen their patience; for they were thereby made to see that the wrongs done to them were come to a reckoning before God.

By Libanus then we are to understand either Judea or the temple; for Libanus, as it is well known, was not far from the temple; and it is elsewhere found in the same sense. But if any extends this to the land of Judea, the meaning will be the same; there will be but little or no difference as to the subject that is handled. Because the violence then of Libanus shall overwhelm thee

Then come the words, the pillaging of beasts. Interpreters think that the Chaldeans and Assyrians are here called vhmvt, bemutt, beasts, as they had been savage and cruel, like wild beasts, in laying waste Judea; but I rather understand by the beasts of Libanus those which inhabited that forest. The Prophet exaggerates the cruelty of the king of Babylon by this consideration, that he had been an enemy to brute beasts; and I consider the pronoun relative 'sr, asher, which, to be understood before the verb ychytn, ichiten, which may be taken to mean, to tear, or to frighten, Some give this rendering, |The plundering of beasts shall tear them;| as though he had said, |The Babylonians are indeed like savage beasts, but they shall be torn by their own plundering:| but another sense will be more suitable that the plundering of beasts, which terrified them, shall overwhelm thee; for the same verb, yvs, icas, shall cover or overwhelm the king of Babylon, is to be repeated here. He adds at last the clause, which was explained yesterday. We now perceive the meaning of the Prophet to be -- that the king of Babylon would be justly plundered, because he had destroyed the holy land and iniquitously attacked God's chosen people, and had also carried on his depredations through almost the whole of the Eastern world. It now follows --

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