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." Habakkuk 1:7Announcement of this work. - Habakkuk 1:6. "For, behold, I cause the Chaldaeans to rise up, the fierce and vehement nation, which marches along the breadths of the earth, to take possession of dwelling-places that are not its own. Habakkuk 1:7. It is alarming and fearful: its right and its eminence go forth from it. Habakkuk 1:8. And its horses are swifter than leopards, and more sudden than evening wolves: and its horsemen spring along; and its horsemen, they come from afar; they fly hither, hastening like an eagle to devour. Habakkuk 1:9. It comes all at once for wickedness; the endeavour of their faces is directed forwards, and it gathers prisoners together like sand. Habakkuk 1:10. And it, kings it scoffs at, and princes are laughter to it; it laughs at every stronghold, and heaps up sand, and takes it. Habakkuk 1:11. Then it passes along, a wind, and comes hither and offends: this its strength is its god." הנני מקים, ecce suscitaturus sum. הנּה before the participle always refers to the future. הקים, to cause to stand up or appear, does not apply to the elevation of the Chaldaeans into a nation or a conquering people, - for the picture which follows and is defined by the article הגּויו וגו presupposes that it already exists as a conquering people, - but to its being raised up against Judah, so that it is equivalent to מקים עליכם in Amos 6:14 (cf. Micah 5:4; 2 Samuel 12:11, etc.). Hakkasdı̄m, the Chaldaeans, sprang, according to Genesis 22:22, from Kesed the son of Nahor, the brother of Abraham; so that they were a Semitic race. They dwelt from time immemorial in Babylonia or Mesopotamia, and are called a primeval people, gōI mē‛ōlâm, in Jeremiah 5:15. Abram migrated to Canaan from Ur of the Chaldees, from the other side of the river (Euphrates: Genesis 11:28, Genesis 11:31, compared with Joshua 24:2); and the Kasdı̄m in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel are inhabitants of Babel or Babylonia (Isaiah 43:14; Isaiah 47:1; Isaiah 48:14, Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 32:4, Jeremiah 32:24, etc.; Ezekiel 23:23). Babylonia is called 'erets Kasdı̄m (Jeremiah 24:5; Jeremiah 25:12; Ezekiel 12:13), or simply Kasdı̄m (Jeremiah 50:10; Jeremiah 51:24, Jeremiah 51:35; Ezekiel 26:29; Ezekiel 23:16). The modern hypothesis, that the Chaldaeans were first of all transplanted by the Assyrians from the northern border mountains of Armenia, Media, and Assyria to Babylonia, and that having settled there, they afterwards grew into a cultivated people, and as a conquering nation exerted great influence in the history of the world, simply rests upon a most precarious interpretation of an obscure passage in Isaiah (Isaiah 23:18), and has no higher value than the opinion of the latest Assyriologists that the Chaldaeans are a people of Tatar origin, who mingled with the Shemites of the countries bordering upon the Euphrates and Tigris (see Delitzsch on Isaiah 23:13). Habakkuk describes this people as mar, bitter, or rough, and, when used to denote a disposition, fierce (mar nephesh, Judges 18:25; 2 Samuel 17:8); and nimhâr, heedless or rash (Isaiah 32:4), here violent, and as moving along the breadths of the earth (ἑπὶ τὰ πλάτη τῆς γῆς, lxx: cf. Revelation 20:9), i.e., marching through the whole extent of the earth (Isaiah 8:8): terram quam late patet (Ros.). ל is not used here to denote the direction or the goal, but the space, as in Genesis 13:17 (Hitzig, Delitzsch). To take possession of dwelling-laces that are not his own (לא־לו equals אשׁר לא־לו), i.e., to take possession of foreign lands that do not belong to him. In Habakkuk 1:7 the fierce disposition of this people is still further depicted, and in Habakkuk 1:8 the violence with which it advances. אים, formidabilis, exciting terror; נורא, metuendus, creating alarm. ממּנּוּ וגו, from it, not from God (cf. Psalm 17:2), does its right proceed, i.e., it determines right, and the rule of its conduct, according to its own standard; and שׂאתו, its eminence (Genesis 49:3; Hosea 13:1), "its δόξα (1 Corinthians 11:7) above all other nations" (Hitzig), making itself lord through the might of its arms. Its horses are lighter, i.e., swifter of foot, than panthers, which spring with the greatest rapidity upon their prey (for proofs of the swiftness of the panther, see Bochart, Hieroz. ii. p. 104, ed. Ros.), and חדּוּ, lit., sharper, i.e., shooting sharply upon it. As qâlal represents swiftness as a light rapid movement, which hardly touches the ground, so châda, ὀξὺν εἶναι, describes it as a hasty precipitate dash upon a certain object (Delitzsch). The first clause of this verse has been repeated by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 4:13), with the alteration of one letter (viz., מנּשׁרים for מנּמרים). Wolves of the evening (cf. Zephaniah 3:3) are wolves which go out in the evening in search of prey, after having fasted through the day, not "wolves of Arabia (ערב equals ערב, lxx) or of the desert" (ערבה Kimchi).

Pâshū from pūsh, after the Arabic fâš, med. Ye, to strut proudly; when used of a horse and its rider, to spring along, to gallop; or of a calf, to hop or jump (Jeremiah 50:11; Malachi 4:2). The connection between this and pūsh (Nahum 3:18), niphal to disperse or scatter one's self, is questionable. Delitzsch (on Job 35:15) derives pūsh in this verse and the passage cited from Arab. fâš, med. Vav, in the sense of swimming upon the top, and apparently traces pūsh in Nahum 3, as well as pash in Job 35:15, to Arab. fšš (when used of water: to overflow its dam); whilst Freytag (in the Lexicon) gives, as the meaning of Arab. fšš II, dissolvit, dissipavit. Pârâshı̄m are horsemen, not riding-horses. The repetition of פּרשׁיו does not warrant our erasing the words וּפשׁוּ פּרשׁיו as a gloss, as Hitzig proposes. It can be explained very simply from the fact, that in the second hemistich Habakkuk passes from the general description of the Chaldaeans to a picture of their invasion of Judah. מרחוק , from afar, i.e., from Babylonia (cf. Isaiah 39:3). Their coming from afar, and the comparison of the rushing along of the Chaldaean horsemen to the flight of an eagle, points to the threat in Deuteronomy 28:49, "Jehovah shall bring against thee a nation from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth," which is now about to be fulfilled. Jeremiah frequently uses the same comparison when speaking of the Chaldaeans, viz., in Jeremiah 4:13; Jeremiah 48:40; Jeremiah 49:22, and Lamentations 4:19 (cf. 2 Samuel 1:23). The ἁπ. λεγ. מגמּה may mean a horde or crowd, after the Hebrew גם werbeH , and the Arabic jammah, or snorting, endeavouring, striving, after Arab. jmm and jâm, appetivit, in which case גמם would be connected with גמא, to swallow. But the first meaning does not suit פּניהם קדימה, whereas the second does. קדימה, not eastwards, but according to the primary meaning of קדם, to the front, forwards. Ewald renders it incorrectly: "the striving of their face is to storm, i.e., to mischief;" for qâdı̄m, the east wind, when used in the sense of storm, is a figurative expression for that which is vain and worthless (Hosea 12:2; cf. Job 15:2), but not for mischief. For ויּאסף, compare Genesis 41:49 and Zechariah 9:3; and for כּחול, like sand of the sea, Hosea 2:1. In Habakkuk 1:10 והוּא and הוּא are introduced, that the words בּמּלכים and לכל־מבצר, upon which the emphasis lies, may be placed first. It, the Chaldaean nation, scoffs at kings and princes, and every stronghold, i.e., it ridicules all the resistance that kings and princes offer to its advance, by putting forth their strength, as a perfectly fruitless attempt. Mischâq, the object of laughter. The words, it heaps up dust and takes it (the fortress), express the facility with which every fortress is conquered by it. To heap up dust: denoting the casting up an embankment for attack (2 Samuel 20:15, etc.). The feminine suffix attached to ילכּדהּ refers ad sensum to the idea of a city (עיר), implied in מבצר, the latter being equivalent to עיר מבצר in 1 Samuel 6:18; 2 Kings 3:19, etc. Thus will the Chaldaean continue incessantly to overthrow kings and conquer kingdoms with tempestuous rapidity, till he offends, by deifying his own power. With this gentle hint at the termination of his tyranny, the announcement of the judgment closes in Habakkuk 1:11. אז, there, i.e., in this appearance of his, as depicted in Habakkuk 1:6-10 : not "then," in which case Habakkuk 1:11 would affirm to what further enterprises the Chaldaeans would proceed after their rapidly and easily effected conquests. The perfects חלף and ויּעבור are used prophetically, representing the future as occurring already. חלף and עבר are used synonymously: to pass along and go further, used of the wind or tempest, as in Isaiah 21:1; here, as in Isaiah 8:8, of the hostile army overflowing the land; with this difference, however, that in Isaiah it is thought of as a stream of water, whereas here it is thought of as a tempest sweeping over the land. The subject to châlaph is not rūăch, but the Chaldaean (הוּא, Habakkuk 1:10); and rūăch is used appositionally, to denote the manner in which it passes along, viz., "like a tempestuous wind" (rūăch as in Job 30:15; Isaiah 7:2). ואשׁם is not a participle, but a perfect with Vav rel., expressing the consequence, "and so he offends." In what way is stated in the last clause, in which זוּ does not answer to the relative אשׁר, in the sense of "he whose power," but is placed demonstratively before the noun כּחו, like זה in Exodus 32:1; Joshua 9:12-13, and Isaiah 23:13 (cf. Ewald, 293, b), pointing back to the strength of the Chaldaean, which has been previously depicted in its intensive and extensive greatness (Delitzsch). This its power is god to it, i.e., it makes it into its god (for the thought, compare Job 12:6, and the words of the Assyrian in Isaiah 10:13). The ordinary explanation of the first hemistich is, on the other hand, untenable (then its courage becomes young again, or grows), since רוּח cannot stand for רוּחו, and עבר without an object given in the context cannot mean to overstep, i.e., to go beyond the proper measure.

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