Habakkuk 1:9
They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Their faces shall sup up as the east wind.—Literally, if we could accept this interpretation, the eagerness of their faces is eastward. The passage, however, is beset with philological difficulties. If the word kâdîmâh could be translated “east wind,” the invading Chaldæan host would be compared to a blast from the east, passing over the land, and leaving it scorched and blighted. The captives (“captivity,” Authorised Version) whom the invader carries off would then be likened to the cloud of dust, sand, &c., which accompanies this withering blast. This gives a good sense. Unfortunately, however, according to all analogy, kâdîmâh must mean either “eastwards” or “forwards.” The meaning of mgammath (used here only) is probably either “crowd” or “eager desire.” Two plausible renderings are thus presented for our choice—“There is a crowd of their faces pressing forwards;” “Their faces turn eagerly forwards.” For other interpretations, we must refer the Hebrew student to the critical commentaries.

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 shall come all for violence - "Violence" had been the sin of Judah Habakkuk 1:3-4, and now violence shall be her punishment. It had been ever before the prophet; all were full of it. Now should violence be the very end, one by one, of all the savage horde poured out upon them; they all, each one of them come for violence.

Their faces shall sup up as the east wind - קדומה occurs else only in Ezekiel 11:1, and Ezekiel 11:16 times in Ezekiel 40-48 of the ideal city and temple as "Eastwards." But except in the far-fetched explanation of Abarb (mentioned also by Tanchum) that they ravaged, not to settle but to return home with their booty, "Eastwards" would have no meaning. Yet "forwards" is just as insulated a rendering as that adopted by John and D. Kimchi, A. E. Rashi, Oh. Sip., Sal. B. Mel. Arab Tr. (following Jonathan) "the East-wind; קדומה standing as a metaphor instead of a simile the הbeing regarded as paragogic, as in לילה. So also Symmachus ἄνεμος καύσων anemos kausōn. Jerome: "ventus urens.") "As at the breath of the burning wind all green things dry up, so at sight of these all shall be wasted." They shall sweep over everything impetuously, like the east wind, scorching, blackening, blasting, swallowing up all, as they pass over, as the East wind, especially in the Holy Land, sucks up all moisture and freshness.

And they shall gather the captivity - i. e., the captives

As the sand - countless, as the particles which the East wind raises, sweeping over the sand-wastes, where it buries whole caravans in one death.

9. all for violence—The sole object of all is not to establish just rights, but to get all they can by violence.

their faces shall sup up as the east wind—that is, they shall, as it were, swallow up all before them; so the horse in Job 39:24 is said to "swallow the ground with fierceness and rage." Maurer takes it from an Arabic root, "the desire of their faces," that is, the eager desire expressed by their faces. Henderson, with Symmachus and Syriac, translates, "the aspect."

as the east wind—the simoon, which spreads devastation wherever it passes (Isa 27:8). Gesenius translates, "(is) forwards." The rendering proposed, eastward, as if it referred to the Chaldeans' return home eastward from Judea, laden with spoils, is improbable. Their "gathering the sand" accords with the simoon being meant, as it carries with it whirlwinds of sand collected in the desert.

They, Chaldeans, and in particular these fierce and swift horsemen, shall come all, with one purpose, on the same design, to enrich themselves by making a prey of all.

Their faces shall sup up as the east wind: either thus, their very countenances shall be as blasting, pestiferous, and dangerous as is the east wind in those countries; or thus, all they can sup up, or lay hold on, they will carry eastward; or thus, when you are devoured, they shall set their faces eastward to devour others in those coasts.

They shall gather the captivity; prisoners or captives, called here the captivity, to express the extremity thereof.

As the sand, both for easiness of gathering, and the multitudes of captives gathered.

They, Chaldeans, and in particular these fierce and swift horsemen, shall come all, with one purpose, on the same design, to enrich themselves by making a prey of all.

Their faces shall sup up as the east wind: either thus, their very countenances shall be as blasting, pestiferous, and dangerous as is the east wind in those countries; or thus, all they can sup up, or lay hold on, they will carry eastward; or thus, when you are devoured, they shall set their faces eastward to devour others in those coasts.

They shall gather the captivity; prisoners or captives, called here the captivity, to express the extremity thereof.

As the sand, both for easiness of gathering, and the multitudes of captives gathered. They shall come all for violence,.... Or, "the whole of it" (s); the whole army of the Chaldeans, everyone of them; this would be their sole view, not to do themselves justice, as might be pretended, or avenge any injuries or affronts done to them by the Jews; but purely for the sake of spoil and plunder:

their faces shall sup up as the east wind: their countenances will appear so stern and fierce, that their very looks will so frighten, as to cause men to sink and die through terror; just as herbs and plants shrivel up and wither away, when blasted by a nipping east wind. So the Targum,

"the reception or look of their faces is like to a vehement east wind.''

Some render it,

"the look or design of their faces is to the east (t);''

when the Chaldeans were on their march to Judea, their faces were to the west or south west; but then their desire and views were, that when they had got the spoil they came for, as in the preceding clause, to carry it to Babylon, which lay eastward or north east of Judea, and thither their faces looked:

and they shall gather the captivity as the sand; or gather up persons, both in Judea, and in other countries conquered by them, as innumerable as the sand of the sea, and carry them captive into their own land. Captivity is put for captives.

(s) "illa teta", Junius & Tremellius; "sub. gens", Pagninus, Piscator; "totus exercitus", Vatablus; "populus", Calvin. (t) "ad orientem", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius; "orientem versus", Junius & Tremellius, De Dieu, Burkius; so Abarbinel.

They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the {f} east wind, and they shall gather the captives {g} as the sand.

(f) For the Jews most feared this wind, because it destroyed their fruits.

(g) They will be so many in number.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. they shall come] they come all of them for violence. To rob and harry is their object.

Their faces shall sup up] R.V. paraphrastically: their faces are set eagerly as the east wind. The clause is obscure in sense, and in all likelihood the text is faulty. Two tentative senses have been suggested: (1) the word rendered in A.V. “sup up” has been connected with the term used of the war-horse, Job 39:24, he swalloweth the ground, i.e. appears to do so in his eagerness and swiftness; cf. Genesis 14:17, “Let me drink” (the same word). From this sense of swallowing or gulping up might come the more general one of straining or striving after (as in Neo-Heb.), giving some such sense as the striving of their faces is &c. Such a meaning is rather indefinite and flat, and the form of word is not easy to connect with that used in Job 39:24. (2) Others, as Gesen., would connect with the Arab. word signifying a crowd, assemblage, and render: the mass, crowd, of their faces.

as the east wind] The term properly means eastward, but as the spectator when reckoning the quarters of the heavens faced the east, it is supposed that eastwards became equivalent to forwards or onwards. The whole clause would mean: the striving (or, the crowd) of their faces is forwards; the impetuosity and rapidity of their movement being indicated. Such a sense is rather lame, even if it could be legitimately reached.

shall gather the captivity] and they gather captives like the sand. The sand is innumerable, Genesis 22:17; Genesis 41:49; 2 Samuel 17:11.Verse 9. - They shall come all for violence. All, every one of the invaders, come for violence - to repay that violence of which Habakkuk complained (ver. 2). Septuagint, Συντέλεια εἰς ἀσεβεῖς ἥξει, "An end shall come upon the impious;" Vulgate, Omnes ad praedam venient. Their faces shall sup up as the east wind. The word translated "shall sup up" occasions perplexity, being an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον. The Anglican rendering is virtually supported by other versions, e.g. Symmachus, Chaldee, and Syriac. The Vulgate, too, gives, facies eorum ventus urens, which Jerome explains, "As at the blast of a burning wind all green things dry up, so at the sight of these men all shall be wasted." This is the meaning of the Anglican Version, which, however, might be improved thus: The aspect of their faces is as the east wind. The Revisers have, Their faces are set eagerly as the east wind, which does not seem very intelligible. Other renderings are, "the endeavour," or "desire of their faces is directed to the east," or "forwards." (This rendering has the support of Orelli and others.) "The crowd of their faces," as equivalent to "the multitude of the army" which is not a Hebrew phrase found elsewhere. Septuagint, ἀνθεστηκότας (agreeing with ἀσεβεῖς in the first clause) προσώποις αὐτῶν ἐξεναντίας, "resisting with their adverse front." The effects of the east wind are often noted in Scripture; e.g. Genesis 41:6, 23; Job 27:21; Hosea 13:15. They shall gather the captivity as the sand. "He collects the captives as sand" - a hyperbolical expression to denote the numbers of captives and the quantity of booty taken. The mention of the east wind brings the thought of the terrible simoom, with its columns of sand. The penetration of the judgment into Judah is now clearly depicted by an individualizing enumeration of a number of cities which will be smitten by it. Micah 1:10. "Go not to Gath to declare it; weeping, weep not. At Beth-Leafra (dust-home) I have strewed dust upon myself. Micah 1:11. Pass thou away, O inhabitress of Shafir (beautiful city), stripped in shame. The inhabitress of Zaanan (departure) has not departed; the lamentation of Beth-Hazel (near-house) takes from you the standing near it. Micah 1:12. For the inhabitress of Maroth (bitterness) writhes for good; for evil has come down from Jehovah to the gate of Jerusalem." The description commences with words borrowed from David's elegy on the death of Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:20), "Publish it not in Gath," in which there is a play upon the words in begath and taggı̄dū. The Philistines are not to hear of the distress of Judah, lest they should rejoice over it. There is also a play upon words in בּכו אל־תּבכּוּ. The sentence belongs to what precedes, and supplies the fuller definition, that they are not to proclaim the calamity in Gath with weeping, i.e., not to weep over it there.

(Note: On the ground of the Septuagint rendering, καὶ οἱ Ἐνακεὶμ μὴ ἀνοικοδομεῖτε, most of the modern expositors follow Reland (Palaest. ill. p. 534ff.) in the opinion that בּכו is the name of a city, a contraction of בּעכּו, "and weep not at Acco." There is no force in the objection brought against this by Caspari (Mich. p. 110), namely, that in that case the inhabitants of both kingdoms must have stood out before the prophet's mind in hemistich a, which, though not rendered actually impossible by Micah 1:9, and the expression על־זאת in Micah 1:8, is hardly reconcilable with the fact that from Micah 1:11 onwards Judah only stands out before his mind, and that in Micah 1:8-10 the distress of his people, in the stricter sense (i.e., of Judah), is obviously the pre-eminent object of his mourning. For Acco would not be taken into consideration as a city of the kingdom of Israel, but as a city inhabited by heathen, since, according to Judges 1:31, the Canaanites were not driven out of Acco, and it cannot be shown from any passage of the Old Testament that this city ever came into the actual possession of the Israelites. It is evidently a more important objection to the supposed contraction, that not a single analogous case can be pointed out. The forms נשׁקה for נשׁקעה (Amos 8:8) and בּלה for בּעלה (Joshua 19:3 and Joshua 15:29) are of a different kind; and the blending of the preposition ב with the noun עכּו, by dropping the ע, so as to form one word, is altogether unparalleled. The Septuagint translation furnishes no sufficient authority for such an assumption. All that we can infer from the fact that Eusebius has adopted the reading Ἐναχείμ in his Onom. (ed. Lars. p. 188), observing at the same time that this name occurs in Micah, whilst Aq. and Symm. have ἐν κλαυθμῶ (in fletu) instead, is that these Greek fathers regarded the Ἐναχείμ of the lxx as the name of a place; but this does not in the smallest degree prove the correctness of the lxx rendering. Nor does the position of בּכו before אל furnish any tenable ground for maintaining that this word cannot be the inf. abs. of בּכה, but must contain the name of a place. The assertion of Hitzig, that "if the word were regarded as an inf. abs., neither the inf. itself nor אל for לא would be admissible in a negative sentence (Jeremiah 22:10)," has no grammatical foundation. It is by no means a necessary consequence, that because אל cannot be connected with the inf. abs. (Ewald, 350, a), therefore the inf. abs. could not be written before a finite verb with אל for the sake of emphasis.)

After this reminiscence of the mourning of David for Saul, which expresses the greatness of the grief, and is all the more significant, because in the approaching catastrophe Judah is also to lose its king (cf. Micah 4:9), so that David is to experience the fate of Saul (Hengstenberg), Micah mentions places in which Judah will mourn, or, at any rate, experience something very painful. From Micah 1:10 to Micah 1:15 he mentions ten places, whose names, with a very slight alteration, were adapted for jeux de mots, with which to depict what would happen to them or take place within them. The number ten (the stamp of completeness, pointing to the fact that the judgment would be a complete one, spreading over the whole kingdom) is divided into twice five by the statement, which is repeated in Micah 1:12, that the calamity would come to the fate of Jerusalem; five places being mentioned before Jerusalem (Micah 1:10-12), and five after (Micah 1:13-15). This division makes Hengstenberg's conjecture a very natural one, viz., that the five places mentioned before Jerusalem are to be sought for to the north of Jerusalem, and the others to the south or south-west, and that in this way Micah indicates that the judgment will proceed from the north to the south. On the other hand, Caspari's opinion, that the prophet simply enumerates certain places in the neighbourhood of Moresheth, his own home, rests upon no firm foundation.

בּית לעפרה is probably the Ophrah of Benjamin (עפרה, Joshua 18:23), which was situated, according to Eusebius, not far from Bethel (see comm. on Josh. l.c.). It is pointed with pathach here for the sake of the paronomasia with עפר. The chethib התפּלּשׁתּי is the correct reading, the keri התפּלּשׁי being merely an emendation springing out of a misunderstanding of the true meaning. התפּלּשׁ does not mean to revolve, but to bestrew one's self. Bestrewing with dust or ashes was a sign of deep mourning (Jeremiah 6:26; 2 Samuel 13:19). The prophet speaks in the name of the people of what the people will do. The inhabitants of Shafir are to go stripped into captivity. עבר, to pass by, here in the sense of moving forwards. The plural לכם is to be accounted for from the fact that yōshebheth is the population. Shâphı̄r, i.e., beautiful city, is not the same as the Shâmı̄r in Joshua 15:48, for this was situated in the south-west of the mountains of Judah; nor the same as the Shâmı̄r in the mountains of Ephraim (Judges 10:1), which did not belong to the kingdom of Judah; but is a place to the north of Jerusalem, of which nothing further is known. The statement in the Onomast. s.v. Σαφείρ ἐν γῆ ὀρεινῆ between Eleutheropolis and Askalon - is probably intended to apply to the Shâmı̄r of Joshua; but this is evidently erroneous, as the country between Eleutheropolis and Askalon did not belong to the mountains of Judah, but to the Shephelah. עריה־בשׁת, a combination like ענוה־צדק in Psalm 45:5, equivalent to stripping which is shame, shame-nakedness equals ignominious stripping. עריה is an accusative defining the manner in which they would go out. The next two clauses are difficult to explain. צאנן, a play upon words with יצאה, is traceable to this verb, so far as its meaning is concerned. The primary meaning of the name is uncertain; the more modern commentators combine it with צאן, in the sense of rich in flocks. The situation of Zaanan is quite unknown. The supposed identity with Zenân see at Joshua 15:37) must be given up, as Zenân was in the plain, and Zaanan was most probably to the north of Jerusalem. The meaning of the clause can hardly be any other than this, that the population of Zaanan had not gone out of their city to this war from fear of the enemy, but, on the contrary, had fallen back behind their walls (Ros., Casp., Hitzig). בּית האצל is most likely the same as אצל in Zechariah 14:5, a place in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, to the east of the Mount of Olives, as Beth is frequently omitted in the names of places (see Ges. Thes. p. 193). Etsel signifies side, and as an adverb or preposition, "by the side of." This meaning comes into consideration there. The thought of the words mispad bēth, etc., might be: "The lamentation of Beth-Haezel will take away its standing (the standing by the side of it, 'etslō) from you (Judaeans), i.e., will not allow you to tarry there as fugitives (cf. Jeremiah 48:45). The distress into which the enemy staying there has plunged Beth-Haezel, will make it impossible for you to stop there" (Hitzig, Caspari). But the next clause, which is connected by כּי, does not suit this explanation (Micah 1:12). The only way in which this clause can be made to follow suitably as an explanation is by taking the words thus: "The lamentation of Beth-Haezel will take its standing (the stopping of the calamity or judgment) from you, i.e., stop near it, as we should expect from its name; for (Micah 1:12) Maroth, which stands further off, will feel pain," etc. With this view, which Caspari also suggests, Hengstenberg (on Zechariah 14:5) agrees in the main, except that he refers the suffix in עמדּתו to מספּד, and renders the words thus: "The lamentation of Beth-Haezel will take its stopping away from you, i.e., the calamity will not stop at Beth-Haezel (at the near house), i.e., stop near it, as we should expect from its name; for (Micah 1:12) Maroth, which stands further off, will feel pain," etc. With this view, which Caspari also suggests, Hengstenberg (on Zechariah 14:5) agrees in the main, except that he refers the suffix in עמדתו to מספּד, and renders the words thus: "The lamentation of Beth-Haezel will take its stopping away from you, i.e., will not allow you the stopping of the lamentation." Grammatically considered, this connection is the more natural one; but there is this objection, that it cannot be shown that עמד is used in the sense of the stopping or ceasing of a lamentation, whereas the supposition that the suffix refers to the calamity simply by constructio ad sensum has all the less difficulty, inasmuch as the calamity has already been hinted at in the verb נגע in Micah 1:9, and in Micah 1:10 also it forms the object to be supplied in thought. Maroth (lit., something bitter, bitternesses) is quite unknown; it is simply evident, from the explanatory clause כּי ירד וגו, that it was situated in the immediate neighbourhood of Jerusalem. The inhabitants of Maroth writhe (châlâh, from chūl, to writhe with pain, like a woman in child-birth), because they are also smitten with the calamity, when it comes down to the gate of Jerusalem. לטוב, "on account of the good," which they have lost, or are about to lose.

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