Habakkuk 1:7
They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Their judgment . . .—Their “judgment” means their claim to adjudge the affairs of mankind. It proceeds from “themselves,” as irresponsible, recognising no Supreme Being as the source of justice.

Their dignity, in like manner, proceeds from “themselves,” because self-sustained, unsanctioned by the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Habakkuk 1:7-9. Their judgment, &c., shall proceed of themselves — They will judge themselves of what they shall do, without paying regard to any thing but their own will, and shall have power to put in execution whatever they resolve upon. Their horses also are swifter than the leopards — “Leopards tamed and taught to hunt are, it is said, made use of [in Palestine] for hunting, and seize the prey with surprising agility. When the leopard leaps, he throws himself seventeen or eighteen feet at a time.” — Harmer, 2:438. And are more fierce than the evening wolves — Which, having fasted in the day, were wont to come forth in the evening fierce and ravenous. And their horsemen shall spread themselves — Namely, all over the land; that is, they shall be very numerous. They shall come all for violence — To enrich themselves by making a prey of all. Their faces shall sup up as the east wind — They shall destroy every thing where they march, as the east wind blasts the fruits of the earth. And they shall gather the captivity [or, captives] as the sand — Not only in Judea, but in all the neighbouring countries which they conquer. Houbigant renders the clause, A burning wind goes before them, and gathers captives as the sand. They shall carry desolation, destruction, and fire, everywhere before them. The winds which blew from Arabia the Desert were extremely hot, and very dangerous, not only on account of their own heat, but on account of the dust and sand which they brought with them.1:1-11 The servants of the Lord are deeply afflicted by seeing ungodliness and violence prevail; especially among those who profess the truth. No man scrupled doing wrong to his neighbour. We should long to remove to the world where holiness and love reign for ever, and no violence shall be before us. God has good reasons for his long-suffering towards bad men, and the rebukes of good men. The day will come when the cry of sin will be heard against those that do wrong, and the cry of prayer for those that suffer wrong. They were to notice what was going forward among the heathen by the Chaldeans, and to consider themselves a nation to be scourged by them. But most men presume on continued prosperity, or that calamities will not come in their days. They are a bitter and hasty nation, fierce, cruel, and bearing down all before them. They shall overcome all that oppose them. But it is a great offence, and the common offence of proud people, to take glory to themselves. The closing words give a glimpse of comfort.They are terrible - איום 'âyôm occurs here only and Sol 6:4, Sol 6:10, compared with the "bannered host," but the root is common in אימה 'ēymâh.

And dreadful - He describes them, first in themselves, then in act. They are terrible, and strike fear through their very being, their known character, before they put it forth in act.

Their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. - Judgment had gone forth in God's people wrested Habakkuk 1:4; now shall it go forth against them at the mere will of their master, who shall own no other rule or Lord or source of his power. His own will shall be his only law for himself and others. His elevation is too is, in his own thought, from himself. He is self-sufficing; he holds from no other, neither from God nor man. His "dignity" is self-sustained; His "judgment" is irresponsible, as if there were none Ecclesiastes 5:8 higher than he. He has, like all great world-powers, a real dignity and majesty. He infuses awe. The dignity is real but faulty, as being held independently of God. This is a character of antichrist Daniel 11:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:4, a lawless insolence, a lifting up of himself.

7. their judgment and … dignity … proceed of themselves—that is, they recognize no judge save themselves, and they get for themselves and keep their own "dignity" without needing others' help. It will be vain for the Jews to complain of their tyrannical judgments; for whatever the Chaldeans decree they will do according to their own will, they will not brook anyone attempting to interfere. They are terrible and dreadful: to affect the incredulous Jews with greater fear, it is doubled, they are of all nations most terrible; in the fierceness wherewith they assault, and cruelty with which they use their captives. Their judgment, the law they observe, is their own will, and what they please you must submit unto, nor complain of wrong done, forasmuch as they do it.

Their dignity; their authority and superiority, for which you must reverence them; the lordliness of their deportment toward you, or the right they assume to send you captives; all is from themselves, without respect to any other law or rule whatever. How miserable are you like to be, when enslaved to such a barbarous cruelty, and unbounded pride!

They are terrible and dreadful: to affect the incredulous Jews with greater fear, it is doubled, they are of all nations most terrible; in the fierceness wherewith they assault, and cruelty with which they use their captives. Their judgment, the law they observe, is their own will, and what they please you must submit unto, nor complain of wrong done, forasmuch as they do it.

Their dignity; their authority and superiority, for which you must reverence them; the lordliness of their deportment toward you, or the right they assume to send you captives; all is from themselves, without respect to any other law or rule whatever. How miserable are you like to be, when enslaved to such a barbarous cruelty, and unbounded pride!

They are terrible and dreadful: to affect the incredulous Jews with greater fear, it is doubled, they are of all nations most terrible; in the fierceness wherewith they assault, and cruelty with which they use their captives. Their judgment, the law they observe, is their own will, and what they please you must submit unto, nor complain of wrong done, forasmuch as they do it.

Their dignity; their authority and superiority, for which you must reverence them; the lordliness of their deportment toward you, or the right they assume to send you captives; all is from themselves, without respect to any other law or rule whatever. How miserable are you like to be, when enslaved to such a barbarous cruelty, and unbounded pride! They are terrible and dreadful,.... For the fierceness of their countenances; the number and valour of their troops; the splendour of their armour; the victories they had obtained, and the cruelty they had exercised; the fame of all which spread terror wherever they came:

their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves; they will not be directed and governed by any laws of God and man, but by their own; they will do according to their will and pleasure, and none will be able to gainsay and resist them; they will hear no reason or argument; their decrees and determinations they make of themselves shall be put into execution, and there will be no opposing their tyrannical measures; they will usurp a power, and take upon them an authority over others of themselves, which all must submit unto; no mercy and pity: no goodness and humanity, are to be expected from such lawless and imperious enemies.

They are terrible and dreadful: {e} their judgment and their dignity shall proceed from themselves.

(e) They themselves will be your judges in this cause, and none will have authority over them to control them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. terrible and dreadful] The first word occurs again only Song of Solomon 6:4; Song of Solomon 6:10 “terrible as an army with banners.” The noun is frequently used of the terror inspired by the sight of an object, Job 39:20; Job 41:14; of the terror caused by the manifestation of the Almighty, Job 9:34; Job 13:21, and of the terrors of death, Psalm 55:4. The second word is that usually rendered “terrible” in A.V., meaning, to be feared.

Their judgment and their dignity] from himself proceedeth his Judgment and his dignity. The words carry on the idea of “terrible and dreadful,” and describe the Chaldean’s manner of bearing himself among the nations, though it may be uncertain whether “his judgment” be that which regulates his own conduct or that which he imposes on the nations. The former sense is the more vigorous. The Chaldean’s own sense of himself corresponds to the dread he inspires. He is imperious and autocratic, allows no considerations from without to modify his action, his own haughty mind alone determines his procedure. Similarly his “dignity” or majesty is the supremacy and sovereignty which he assumes and exercises.Verse 7. - They. The Hebrew is singular throughout. The disposition of the people, as of one man, is depicted. Terrible; exciting terror, as Song of Solomon 6:4, 10. Their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves; his judgment and his eminence are from himself. The LXX. translates the two nouns κρίμα and λῆμμα: Vulgate, judicium and onus. The meaning is that the Chaldeans own no master, have no rule of right but their own will, attribute their glory and superiority to their own power and skill (comp. Daniel 4:130). They are like Achilles in Horace, 'Ep. ad Pison.,' 121, etc. -

"Impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis, acer,
Jura neget sibi nata, nihil non arroget armis."
Hitzig quotes AEschyl. 'Prom.,' 186, Παρ ἑαυτῷ τό δίκαιον ἔχων, "Holding as justice what he deemeth so." The judgment will not stop at Samaria, however, but spread over Judah. The prophet depicts this by saying that he will go about mourning as a prisoner, to set forth the misery that will come upon Judah (Micah 1:8, Micah 1:9); and then, to confirm this, he announces to a series of cities the fate awaiting them, or rather awaiting the kingdom, by a continued play upon words founded upon their names (Micah 1:10-15); and finally he summons Zion to deep mourning (Micah 1:16). Micah 1:8. "Therefore will I lament and howl, I will go spoiled and naked: I will keep lamentation like the jackals, and mourning like the ostriches. Micah 1:9. For her stripes are malignant; for it comes to Judah, reaches to the gate of my people, to Jerusalem." על־זאת points back to what precedes, and is then explained in Micah 1:9. The prophet will lament over the destruction of Samaria, because the judgment which has befallen this city will come upon Judah also. Micah does not speak in his own name here as a patriot (Hitzig), but in the name of his nation, with which he identifies himself as being a member thereof. This is indisputably evident from the expression אילכה שׁילל וערום, which describes the costume of a prisoner, not that of a mourner. The form אילכה with י appears to have been simply suggested by אילילה. שׁילל is formed like הידד in Isaiah 16:9-10, and other similar words (see Olshausen, Gramm. p. 342). The Masoretes have substituted שׁלל, after Job 12:17, but without the slightest reason. It does not mean "barefooted," ἀνυπόδετος (lxx), for which there was already יחף in the language (2 Samuel 15:30; Isaiah 20:2-3; Jeremiah 2:25), but plundered, spoiled. ערום, naked, i.e., without upper garment (see my comm. on 1 Samuel 19:24), not merely vestitu solido et decente privatus. Mourners do indeed go barefooted (yâchēph, see 2 Samuel 15:30), and in deep mourning in a hairy garment (saq, 2 Samuel 3:31; Genesis 37:34, etc.), but not plundered and naked. The assertion, however, that a man was called ̀ârōm when he had put on a mourning garment (saq, sackcloth) in the place of his upper garment, derives no support from Isaiah 20:2, but rather a refutation. For there the prophet does not go about ‛ârōm veyâchēph, i.e., in the dress of a prisoner, to symbolize the captivity of Egypt, till after he has loosened the hairy garment (saq) from his loins, i.e., taken it off. And here also the plundering of the prophet and his walking naked are to be understood in the same way. Micah's intention is not only to exhibit publicly his mourning fore the approaching calamity of Judah, but also to set forth in a symbolical form the fate that awaits the Judaeans. And he can only do this by including himself in the nation, and exhibiting the fate of the nation in his own person. Wailing like jackals and ostriches is a loud, strong, mournful cry, those animals being distinguished by a mournful wail; see the comm. on Job 30:29, which passage may possibly have floated before the prophet's mind. Thus shall Judah wail, because the stroke which falls upon Samaria is a malignant, i.e., incurable (the suffix attached to מכּותיה refers to Shōmerōn, Samaria, in Micah 1:6 and Micah 1:7. For the singular of the predicate before a subject in the plural, see Ewald, 295, a, and 317, a). It reaches to Judah, yea, to Jerusalem. Jerusalem, as the capital, is called the "gate of my people," because in it par excellence the people went out and in. That עד is not exclusive here, but inclusive, embracing the terminus ad quem, is evident from the parallel "even to Judah;" for if it only reached to the border of Judah, it would not have been able to come to Jerusalem; and still more clearly so from the description in Micah 1:10. The fact that Jerusalem is not mentioned till after Judah is to be interpreted rhetorically, and not geographically. Even the capital, where the temple of Jehovah stood, would not be spared.
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