Habakkuk 1:15
They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.
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1:12-17 However matters may be, yet God is the Lord our God, our Holy One. We are an offending people, he is an offended God, yet we will not entertain hard thoughts of him, or of his service. It is great comfort that, whatever mischief men design, the Lord designs good, and we are sure that his counsel shall stand. Though wickedness may prosper a while, yet God is holy, and does not approve the wickedness. As he cannot do iniquity himself, so he is of purer eyes than to behold it with any approval. By this principle we must abide, though the dispensations of his providence may for a time, in some cases, seem to us not to agree with it. The prophet complains that God's patience was abused; and because sentence against these evil works and workers was not executed speedily, their hearts were the more fully set in them to do evil. Some they take up as with the angle, one by one; others they catch in shoals, as in their net, and gather them in their drag, their enclosing net. They admire their own cleverness and contrivance: there is great proneness in us to take the glory of outward prosperity to ourselves. This is idolizing ourselves, sacrificing to the drag-net because it is our own. God will soon end successful and splendid robberies. Death and judgment shall make men cease to prey on others, and they shall be preyed on themselves. Let us remember, whatever advantages we possess, we must give all the glory to God.They take up all of them - (literally "he taketh up all of it") the whole race as though it were one,

With an angle; they catch them - literally, he sweepeth it away

In their (his) net - One fisherman is singled out who partly by wiles (as by the bait of "an angle"), partly by violence (the net or drag) sweeps away and gathers as his own the whole kind. Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldaeans are herein a faint image of Satan, who casts out his baits and his nets in the stormy sea of this life, taking some by individual craft, sweeping others in whole masses, to do evil; and whoso hath no ruler, and will not have Christ to reign over him Luke 19:4, he allures, hurries, drags away as his prey. Jerome: "Adam clave to his hook, and he drew him forth out of Paradise with his net; and covered him with his drags, his varied and manifold deceits and guiles. And "by one many became sinners," and in Adam we 'all died,' and all saints afterward were with him alike cast out of Paradise. And because he deceived the first man, he ceaseth not daily to slay the whole human race."

15. they take up all of them—all kinds of fishes, that is, men, as captives, and all other prey that comes in their way.

with the angle—that is, the hook. Some they take up as with the hook, one by one; others in shoals, as in a "net" and "drag" or enclosing net.

therefore—because of their successes.

they rejoice—They glory in their crimes because attended with success (compare Hab 1:11).

They; either more generally oppressors every where, or else particularly the Chaldeans.

Take up; draw them out slily and craftily, when they are taken by his bait.

All of them without distinction, all alike, good or bad.

With the angle: it may refer to the delight these oppressors took in these courses, or to the more private way of destroying.

They catch them in their net; another method of the Chaldean rapine, like catching of fish, not singly and one by one, but destroying many together.

And gather them; as if they could never have enough, these Chaldeans do, fisher-like, drive men into their nets and snares. In their drag: this is a third way of destroying fish. The Chaldeans would use all ways to devour the Jews.

Therefore they, the greedy and cruel Chaldeans, rejoice, both in their own gain and in the Jews’ ruin.

And are glad: it is doubled to show the certainty of the thing, and probably to intimate the double joy they took in their prosperous oppression.

They take up all of them with the angle,.... The prophet continues the metaphor of fishing, and observes the different ways of taking fish; which is to be applied to the case he is speaking of: as fishermen take all they can with their angles, so "they" or "he", for it is in the singular number, Nebuchadnezzar and his army, take up all out of the sea of the world; are ambitious of getting all kingdoms and nations of the world under their power and dominion; particularly all Judea, and all the inhabitants of it, good and bad, without any distinction; for all were fish which came to their net: this may design the artful and alluring methods they first made use of to get the people into their hands, by making covenants with them, and drawing them into making of presents, and paying of tribute:

they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag; with the angle the fisherman catches fish one by one, but with the net great numbers; and what he misses by throwing the net, he gets by using the drag; all which may be expressive of the ways and methods used by the king of Babylon and his army, both in the times of Jeconiah, and of Zedekiah; under the former he used the net, and carried off large numbers, and with them the royal family and great substance, but left many behind; under the latter he came and swept away all, drained the land of its riches and its inhabitants:

therefore they rejoice and are glad; as fishermen do when they have good sport; so these people rejoiced in their own success, and in the calamities of their neighbours.

They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.
15. They take up … angle] He taketh up … with the hook; he sweepeth them into (or, with) his net.

they rejoice] he rejoiceth and exulteth. The Chaldean is compared to the fisher, who rejoices over the successful haul of his net. He drags men and nations indiscriminately into his power, and is dead to all their higher sensibilities and all that is human in them.

Verse 15. - They take up all men with the angle; he bringeth up all together with the hook (Amos 4:2) The net. Any kind of net. Septuagint, ἄμφίβληστνον," cast net." The drag (σαγήνη). The large drag net. At their own pleasure, unhindered, the Chaldeans make whole nations their prey, their fishing implements being their armies, with which they gather unto themselves countries, peoples, and booty. Habakkuk 1:15The believing confidence expressed in this verse does not appear to be borne out by what is actually done by God. The prophet proceeds to lay this enigma before God in Habakkuk 1:13-17, and to pray for his people to be spared during the period of the Chaldaean affliction. Habakkuk 1:13. "Art Thou too pure of eye to behold evil, and canst Thou not look upon distress? Wherefore lookest Thou upon the treacherous? and art silent when the wicked devours one more righteous than he? Habakkuk 1:14. And Thou hast made men like fishes of the sea, like reptiles that have no ruler. Habakkuk 1:15. All of them hath he lifted up with the hook; he draws them into his net, and gathers them in his fishing net; he rejoices thereat, and is glad. Habakkuk 1:16. Therefore he sacrifices to his net, and burns incense to his landing net; for through them is his portion rich, and his food fat. Habakkuk 1:17. Shall he therefore empty his net, and always strangle nations without sparing?" In Habakkuk 1:13, טהור עינים, with the two clauses dependent upon it, stands as a vocative, and טהור followed by מן as a comparative: purer of eyes than to be able to see. This epithet is applied to God as the pure One, whose eyes cannot bear what is morally unclean, i.e., cannot look upon evil. The purity of God is not measured here by His seeing evil, but is described as exalted above it, and not coming at all into comparison with it. On the relation in which these words stand to Numbers 23:21, see the remarks on Habakkuk 1:3. In the second clause the infinitive construction passes over into the finite verb, as is frequently the case; so that אשׁר must be supplied in thought: who canst not look upon, i.e., canst not tolerate, the distress which the wicked man prepares for others. Wherefore then lookest Thou upon treacherous ones, namely, the Chaldaeans? They are called בּוגדים, from their faithlessly deceptive and unscrupulously rapacious conduct, as in Isaiah 21:2; Isaiah 24:16. That the seeing is a quiet observance, without interposing to punish, is evident from the parallel תּחרישׁ: Thou art silent at the swallowing of the צדיק ממּנּוּ. The more righteous than he (the ungodly one) is not the nation of Israel as such, which, if not perfectly righteous, was relatively more righteous than the Chaldaeans. This rabbinical view is proved to be erroneous, by the fact that in Habakkuk 1:2 and Habakkuk 1:3 the prophet describes the moral depravity of Israel in the same words as those which he here applies to the conduct of the Chaldaeans. The persons intended are rather the godly portion of Israel, who have to share in the expiation of the sins of the ungodly, and suffer when they are punished (Delitzsch). This fact, that the righteous is swallowed along with the unrighteous, appears irreconcilable with the holiness of God, and suggests the inquiry, how God can possibly let this be done.

This strange fact is depicted still further in Habakkuk 1:14-16 in figures taken from the life of a fisherman. The men are like fishes, whom the Chaldaean collects together in his net, and then pays divine honour to his net, by which he has been so enriched. ותּעשׂה is not dependent upon למּה, but continues the address in a simple picture, in which the imperfect with Vav convers. represents the act as the natural consequence of the silence of God: "and so Thou makest the men like fishes," etc. The point of comparison lies in the relative clause לא־משׁל בּו, "which has no ruler," which is indeed formally attached to כּרמשׂ alone, but in actual fact belongs to דּגי היּם also. "No ruler," to take the defenceless under his protection, and shelter and defend them against enemies. Then will Judah be taken prisoner and swallowed up by the Chaldaeans. God has given it helplessly up to the power of its foes, and has obviously ceased to be its king. Compare the similar lamentation in Isaiah 63:19 : "are even like those over whom Thou hast never ruled." רמשׂ, the creeping thing, the smaller animals which exist in great multitudes, and move with great swiftness, refers here to the smaller water animals, to which the word remes is also applied in Psalm 104:25, and the verb râmas in Genesis 1:21 and Leviticus 11:46. כּלּה, pointing back to the collective 'âdâm, is the object, and is written first for the sake of emphasis. The form העלה, instead of העלה, is analogous to the hophal העלה in Nahum 2:8 and Judges 6:28, and also to העברתּ in Joshua 7:7 : to take up out of the water (see Ges. 63, Anm. 4). יגרהוּ from גרר, to pull, to draw together. Chakkâh is the hook, cherem the net generally, mikhmereth the large fishing-net (σαγήνη), the lower part of which, when sunk, touches the bottom, whilst the upper part floats on the top of the water. These figures are not to be interpreted with such specialty as that the net and fishing net answer to the sword and bow; but the hook, the net, and the fishing net, as the things used for catching fish, refer to all the means which the Chaldaeans employ in order to subdue and destroy the nations. Luther interprets it correctly. "These hooks, nets, and fishing nets," he says, "are nothing more than his great and powerful armies, by which he gained dominion over all lands and people, and brought home to Babylon the goods, jewels, silver, and gold, interest and rent of all the world." He rejoices over the success of his enterprises, over this capture of men, and sacrifices and burns incense to his net, i.e., he attributes to the means which he has employed the honour due to God. There is no allusion in these words to the custom of the Scythians and Sauromatians, who are said by Herodotus (iv. 59, 60) to have offered sacrifices every year to a sabre, which was set up as a symbol of Mars. What the Chaldaean made into his god, is expressed in Habakkuk 1:11, namely, his own power. "He who boasts of a thing, and is glad and joyous on account of it, but does not thank the true God, makes himself into an idol, gives himself the glory, and does not rejoice in God, but in his own strength and work" (Luther). The Chaldaean sacrifices to his net, for thereby (בּהמּה, by net and yarn) his portion (chelqō) is fat, i.e., the portion of this booty which falls to him, and fat is his food ( בּראה is a neuter substantive). The meaning is, that he thereby attains to wealth and prosperity. In Habakkuk 1:17 there is appended to this the question embracing the thought: Shall he therefore, because he rejoices over his rich booty, or offers sacrifice to his net, empty his net, sc. to throw it in afresh, and proceed continually to destroy nations in so unsparing a manner? In the last clause the figure passes over into a literal address. The place of the imperfect is now taken by a periphrastic construction with the infinitive: Shall he constantly be about to slay? On this construction, see Ges. 132, 3, Anm. 1, and Ewald, 237, c. לא יחמול is a subordinate clause appended in an adverbial sense: unsparingly, without sparing.

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