Habakkuk chapter 2

Habakkuk is watchful. The LORD God tells Habakkuk to write. Woe to the Babylonian Empire.





VERSE 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.

I will stand at my watch. This is referring to a watchman.

A watchman was a sentry who stood at a guardpost and scanned the horizon for the enemy.

But there is also the idea of a spiritual watchman. This means to climb the watchtower of prayer. It means to scan the horizon for the spiritual enemy. This is likely what Habakkuk is referring to.

The idea of being a spiritual watchman is like going to the Upper Room. The disciples tarried there, until they were clothed with power from on high.

Prior to being filled with the Holy Spirit, they were dominated by fear.

After they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, they were marked by boldness. They were easily able to go out and do the projects that God had called them to do.

After the anointing of the Holy Spirit, they worked miracles, healed the sick, raised the dead, converted multitudes, and trained whole generations in the ways of discipleship.




VERSE 2. The LORD answered me, “Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he who runs may read it.

NAB translation. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily.

Write the vision. Have you ever written down whatever it is that the LORD God is inspiring you toward?

Perhaps the vision is developing within you to change careers. Or donate more (less?) of your time. Or get a different car. Or move to a different abode. Or grow in character.

Whatever it is, however many things there are, why not write them out? Write out the visions God seems to be giving you.

make it plain. Write it clearly. That is, be unambiguous.

It might take time to figure out what it really is, as compared with what it really isn’t.

that he who runs may read it. Place it so that you can read it readily.

That might mean to frame it and hang it on the wall. It might mean putting it in your planner. But it probably means to read it often.

What vision is God giving you?


VERSE 3. For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it hurries toward the end, and won’t prove false. Though it takes time, wait for it, because it will surely come. It won’t delay.

Though it takes time, wait for it. God does mean to bring about his plans for us. But they are fulfilled according to his timeframe, not ours.

God’s timeframe can seem very different than our own timeframe. We might want to be healthy by tomorrow. But God’s timeframe might be altogether different, and it is the best timeframe.

Even if we can’t see anything happening, in the larger picture, God has already set things in motion.

A football team devises a plan. They get in place. At the snap of the ball, all the players launch into motion.

So many things happen all at once, and yet the ball seems to stay behind the line, usually in the quarterback’s hand.

Only at the last agonizing moment does the ball get thrown, and then it hangs in the air forever. Finally, it comes down, right into the outstretched hands of a leaping sprinter, who is exactly where he needed to be.

It’s a vast, complex thing. So much needs to happen, and in such a precise way, and with perfect timing, one thing after another after another.

Only with the benefit of slow motion replay can most people discern what’s happening. And when you see it in retrospect, you can see the beauty and grandeur of it all.

The beauty of the LORD God fulfilling prayer is a billion times greater!

God will fulfill the things he reveals to us. He will fulfill his promises to us. Our faith in him and in his promises is not in vain. His answers are arriving immanently. The timing is “soon.”

In the fullness of time, the Supreme God of all graciousness will fully restore us. Read more »


VERSE 4. Behold, his soul is puffed up. It is not upright in him, but the righteous will live by his faith.

the righteous will live by his faith. This is the heart of the message of Habakkuk. The one who is confident in faith will live a rich life.

Habakkuk 2:4. Behold, his soul is puffed up. It is not upright in him, but the righteous will live by his faith.

Romans 1:17. For in it is revealed God’s righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.”

2 Corinthians 5:7. for we walk by faith, not by sight.


VERSE 5. Yes, moreover, wine is treacherous: an arrogant man who doesn’t stay at home, who enlarges his desire as Sheol; he is like death and can’t be satisfied, but gathers to himself all nations and heaps to himself all peoples.

Sheol. It was considered the place of the dead.




VERSE 6. Won’t all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases that which is not his, and who enriches himself by extortion! How long?’

Woe. That word is an interjection of distress. It is said in the face of disaster, or in view of coming judgment.

This first woe compares the Babylonian Empire to an unscrupulous pawnbroker who lends money on extortionate terms.


VERSE 7. Won’t your debtors rise up suddenly, and wake up those who make you tremble, and you will be their victim?

Won’t your debtors rise up suddenly. The victimized nations will suddenly rise up in revolt.


VERSE 8. Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples will plunder you because of men’s blood, and for the violence done to the land, to the city and to all who dwell in it.


VERSE 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!

Woe. That word is an interjection of distress. It is said in the face of disaster, or in view of coming judgment.

This second woe is for the self-aggrandizement of the Babylonian Empire.


VERSE 10. You have devised shame to your house by cutting off many peoples, and have sinned against your soul.


VERSE 11. For the stone will cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the woodwork will answer it.


VERSE 12. Woe to him who builds a town with blood, and establishes a city by iniquity!

Woe. That word is an interjection of distress. It is said in the face of disaster, or in view of coming judgment.

This third woe is for the terrible violence of the Babylonian Empire.

builds a town with blood. The Babylonian Empire builds a city with bloodshed.

establishes a city by iniquity. The Babylonian Empire establishes a town by crime.


VERSE 13. Behold, isn’t it from the LORD of Hosts that the peoples labor for the fire, and the nations weary themselves for vanity?


VERSE 14. For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD’s glory, as the waters cover the sea.

NAB translation. The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s glory as water covers the sea.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Habakkuk and from the entire Bible.

The LORD God reveals his evangelical vision for the whole cosmos. People of all places will be able to know the LORD. Isn’t that beautiful?

The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »


VERSE 15. “Woe to him who gives his neighbor drink, pouring your inflaming wine until they are drunk, so that you may gaze at their naked bodies!

Woe. That word is an interjection of distress. It is said in the face of disaster, or in view of coming judgment.

This fourth woe is for the inhumanity and indignity of the Babylonian Empire for their subjects.


VERSE 16. You are filled with shame, and not glory. You will also drink and be exposed! The cup of the LORD’s right hand will come around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.


VERSE 17. For the violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and the destruction of the animals will terrify you, because of men’s blood and for the violence done to the land, to every city and to those who dwell in them.


VERSE 18. “What value does the engraved image have, that its maker has engraved it; the molten image, even the teacher of lies, that he who fashions its form trusts in it, to make mute idols?


VERSE 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 within it.

Woe. That word is an interjection of distress. It is said in the face of disaster, or in view of coming judgment.

This fifth woe is for the idolatry of the Babylonian Empire.


VERSE 20. But the LORD is in his holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before him!”

NAB translation. The Lord is in his holy temple; silence before him, all the earth!

silence before him. This suggests the practice of Contemplative Prayer.

This verse reminds us of Psalm 96.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.