Habakkuk 2:11
For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.
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(11) The stone shall cry out.—Every stone in those giant walls reared by the enforced labour of captives cries aloud to accuse the Babylonian. Every spar out of the woodwork attests the charge.

2:5-14 The prophet reads the doom of all proud and oppressive powers that bear hard upon God's people. The lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, are the entangling snares of men; and we find him that led Israel captive, himself led captive by each of these. No more of what we have is to be reckoned ours, than what we come honestly by. Riches are but clay, thick clay; what are gold and silver but white and yellow earth? Those who travel through thick clay, are hindered and dirtied in their journey; so are those who go through the world in the midst of abundance of wealth. And what fools are those that burden themselves with continual care about it; with a great deal of guilt in getting, saving, and spending it, and with a heavy account which they must give another day! They overload themselves with this thick clay, and so sink themselves down into destruction and perdition. See what will be the end hereof; what is gotten by violence from others, others shall take away by violence. Covetousness brings disquiet and uneasiness into a family; he that is greedy of gain troubles his own house; what is worse, it brings the curse of God upon all the affairs of it. There is a lawful gain, which, by the blessing of God, may be a comfort to a house; but what is got by fraud and injustice, will bring poverty and ruin upon a family. Yet that is not the worst; Thou hast sinned against thine own soul, hast endangered it. Those who wrong their neighbours, do much greater wrong to their own souls. If the sinner thinks he has managed his frauds and violence with art and contrivance, the riches and possessions he heaped together will witness against him. There are not greater drudges in the world than those who are slaves to mere wordly pursuits. And what comes of it? They find themselves disappointed of it, and disappointed in it; they will own it is worse than vanity, it is vexation of spirit. By staining and sinking earthly glory, God manifests and magnifies his own glory, and fills the earth with the knowledge of it, as plentifully as waters cover the sea, which are deep, and spread far and wide.For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it - All things have a voice, in that they are . God's works speak that, for which He made them Psalm 19:1 : "The heavens declare the glory of God." Psalm 65:13 : "the valleys are clad with corn, they laugh, yea, they sing;" their very look speaks gladness. Cyril: "For the creation itself proclaims the glory of the Maker, in that it is admired as well made. Wherefore there are voices in things, although there are not words." Man's works speak of that in him, out of which and for which he made them. Works of mercy go up for a memorial before God, and plead there; great works, performed amid wrong and cruelty and for man's ambition and pride, have a voice too, and cry out to God, calling down His vengeance on the oppressor. Here the stones of the wall, whereby the building is raised, and the beam, the tye-beam, out of the timber-work wherewith it is finished, and which, as it were, crowns the work, join, as in a chorus, answering one another, and in a deep solemn wailing, before God and the whole world, together chant "Woe, Woe." Did not the blood and groans of men cry out to God, speechless things have a voice to appeal to Him (See Luke 19:40). Against Belshazzar the wall had, to the letter, words to speak.

Each three verses forming one stanza, as it were, of the dirge, the following words are probably not directly connected with the former, as if the woe, which follows, were, so to speak, the chant of these inanimate witnesses against the Chaldaeans; yet they stand connected with it. The dirge began with woe on the wrongful accumulation of wealth from the conquered and oppressed people: it continues with the selfish use of the wealth so won.

11. stone … cry out—personification. The very stones of thy palace built by rapine shall testify against thee (Lu 19:40).

the beam out of the timber—the crossbeam or main rafter connecting the timbers in the walls.

shall answer it—namely, the stone. The stone shall begin and the crossbeam continue the cry against thy rapine.

For the stone, the strength of thy house, accuseth thee.

Shall cry out; as if it had a voice, it crieth to God for vengeance.

The beam, on which thy chambers are laid,

shall answer it; confirms the charge against thee; and that fabric cannot be long a safe or a beautiful habitation, whose stones and beams are shaken with the strong cries of innocent blood, and families ruined by the oppression of the builder.

For the stone shall cry out of the wall,.... Of their own house; some from among themselves, that truly feared God, seeing the evil practices done among them, and abhorring them, such as their covetousness, ambition, murders, excommunications, and anathemas, should cry out against them in their sermons and writings; such as were lively stones, eminent for religion and godliness, as Bernard, Wickliff, Huss, and others:

and the beam out of the timber shall answer it; such as were of eminent note in things civil, as beams and rafters in the house; emperors and governors of provinces, who observed the complaints of godly ministers and people, answered to them, and checked the evil bishops and clergy, and hindered them in the pursuit of their schemes, and so brought them to shame and confusion. Aben Ezra observes, that the word signifies the hard place in the wood; or the harder part of it, the knotty part, or the knot in it; and which is confirmed by the use of the word in the Arabic language, as Hottinger (g) observes; and so may have respect to such persons as were raised up at the beginning of the Reformation, who were of rough dispositions, and hardy spirits, fit to go through the work they were called to; such as Luther, and others, who answered and were correspondent to the doctrines of those before mentioned, who preceded them: for not a beetle, as the Septuagint version, which breeds, and lives not in wood, and so represents heretics, as Jerom; much better, as some other Greek versions, a "worm"; though rather the word may signify a brick, as it is used by the Talmudists (h) for one of a span and a half, which answers well enough to a stone in the former clause; nor is it unusual with heathen writers (i) to represent stones and timbers speaking, when any criminal silence is kept; see Luke 19:40.

(g) Smegma Orientale, l. 1. c. 7. p. 163. (h) T. Bava Metzia, fol. 117. 2. & Bathra, fol. 3. 1. (i) "----Secretum divitis ullum Esse putas? servi ut taceant, jumenta loquentur, Et canis, et postes, et marmora.----" Juvenal. Satyr. 9.

For the {i} stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.

(i) The stones of the house will cry, and say that they are built from blood, and the wood will answer and say the same of itself.

11. stone shall cry out of the wall] For the stone out of the wall shall cry out. The Chaldean gains evil gains to build his nest on high; the materials he uses, the stones and wood, shall cry out against the wrong and oppression perpetrated in procuring them. This sense is preferable to that assumed by Hitzig, that in his constructions the Chaldean kept back the hire of the labourers (Jeremiah 22:13).

beam … answer it] i.e. reecho its cry of injustice.

Verse 11. - Even inanimate things shall raise their voice to denounce the Chaldeans' wickedness. The stone shall cry out of the wall. A proverbial expression to denote the horror with which their cruelty and oppression were regarded; it is particularly appropriate here, as these crimes had been perpetrated in connection with the buildings in which they prided them. selves, and which were raised by the enforced labour of miserable captives and adorned with the fruits of fraud and pillage. Compare another application of the expression in Luke 19:40. Jerome quotes Cicero, 'Orat. pro Marcello,' 10, "Parietes, medius fidius, ut mihi videntur, hujus curiae tibi gratias agere gestiunt, quod brevi tempore futura sit ilia auctoritas in his majorum suorum et suis sedibus" (comp. Eurip., 'Hippol.,' 418, Τέρεμνά τ οἴκων μή ποτε φθογγὴν ἀφῇ: Ovid, 'Metam.,' 2:696, "Tutus eas: lapis iste prius tua furta loquetur"). Wordsworth sees a literal fulfilment of these words in the appalling circumstance at Belshazzar's feast, when a hand wrote on the palace wall the doom of Babylon (Daniel 5.). And the beam out of the timber shall answer it. "The tie beam out of the timber work shall" take up the refrain, and "answer" the stone from the wall. The Hebrew word (Kaphis) rendered "beam" is an ἄπαξ λεγόμενον. It is explained as above by St. Jerome, being referred to a verb meaning "to bind." Thus Symmachus and Theodotion translate it by σύνδεσμος. Henderson and others think it means "a half brick," and Aquila renders it by μᾶζα, "something baked." But we have no evidence that the Babylonians in their sumptuous edifices interlaced timber and half bricks (see Pusey, p. 419, note 23). The LXX. gives, κάνθαρος ἐκ ξύλου, a beetle, a worm, from the wood. Hence, referring to Christ on the cross, St. Ambrose ('Orat. de Obit. Theod.,' 46) writes, "Adoravit ilium qui pependit in ligno, illum inquam qui sicut scarabaeus clamavit, ut persecutoribus suis peccata condonaret." St. Cyril argues that tie beams were called κάνθαροι from their clinging to and supporting wall or roof. Some reason for this supposition is gained by the fact that the word canterius, or cantherius, is used in Latin in the sense of "rafter." Habakkuk 2:11The second woe is pronounced upon the wickedness of the Chaldaean, in establishing for himself a permanent settlement through godless gain. Habakkuk 2:9. "Woe to him who getteth a godless gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to save himself from the hand of calamity. Habakkuk 2:10. Thou hast consulted shame to thy house, destruction of many nations, and involvest thy soul in guilt. Habakkuk 2:11. For the stone out of the wall will cry, and the spar out of the wood will answer it." To the Chaldaean's thirst for robbery and plunder there is attached quite simply the base avarice through which he seeks to procure strength and durability for his house. בּצע בּצע, to get gain, has in itself the subordinate idea of unrighteous gain or sinful covetousness, since בּצע denotes cutting or breaking something off from another's property, though here it is still further strengthened by the predicate רע, evil (gain). בּיתו (his house) is not the palace, but the royal house of the Chaldaean, his dynasty, as Habakkuk 2:10 clearly shows, where בּית evidently denotes the king's family, including the king himself. How far he makes בּצע for his family, is more precisely defined by לשׂוּם וגו. קנּו, his (the Chaldaean's) nest, is neither his capital nor his palace or royal castle; but the setting up of his nest on high is a figure denoting the founding of his government, and securing it against attacks. As the eagle builds its nest on high, to protect it from harm (cf. Job 39:27), so does the Chaldaean seek to elevate and strengthen his rule by robbery and plunder, that it may never be wrested from his family again. We might here think of the buildings erected by Nebuchadnezzar for the fortification of Babylon, and also of the building of the royal palace (see Berosus in Hos. c. Ap. i. 19). We must not limit the figurative expression to this, however, but must rather refer it to all that the Chaldaean did to establish his rule. This is called the setting on high of his nest, to characterize it as an emanation from his pride, and the lofty thoughts of his heart. For the figure of the nest, see Numbers 24:21; Obadiah 1:4; Jeremiah 49:16. His intention in doing this is to save himself from the hand of adversity. רע is not masculine, the evil man; but neuter, adversity, or "the hostile fate, which, so far as its ultimate cause is God (Isaiah 45:7), is inevitable and irreversible" (Delitzsch). In Habakkuk 2:10 the result of his heaping up of evil gain is announced: he has consulted shame to his house. יעץ, to form a resolution. His determination to establish his house, and make it firm and lofty by evil gain, will bring shame to his house, and instead of honour and lasting glory, only shame and ruin. קצות, which has been variously rendered, cannot be the plural of the noun קצה, "the ends of many nations," since it is impossible to attach any intelligent meaning to this. It is rather the infinitive of the verb קצה, the occurrence of which Hitzig can only dispute by an arbitrary alteration of the text in four different passages, and is equivalent to קצץ, to cut off, hew off, which occurs in the piel in 2 Kings 10:32 and Proverbs 26:6, but in the kal only here. The infinitive construct does not stand for the inf. abs., or for לקצות, exscindendo, but is used substantively, and is governed by יעצתּ, which still retains its force from the previous clause. Thou hast consulted (resolved upon) the cutting off, or destruction, of many nations. וחוטא, and sinnest against thy soul thereby, i.e., bringest retribution upon thyself, throwest away thine own life. On the use of the participle in the sense of the second person without אתּה, see at Habakkuk 1:5. חטא, with the accusative of the person, as in Proverbs 20:2 and Proverbs 8:36, instead of חטא בנפשׁו. The participle is used, because the reference is to a present, which will only be completed in the future (Hitzig and Delitzsch). The reason for this verdict, and also for the hōi which stands at the head of this strophe, follows in Habakkuk 2:11. The stone out of the wall and the spar out of the woodwork will cry, sc. because of the wickedness which thou hast practised in connected with thy buildings (Habakkuk 1:2), or for vengeance (Genesis 4:10), because they have been stolen, or obtained from stolen property. The apparently proverbial expression of the crying of stones is applied in a different way in Luke 19:40. קיר does not mean the wall of a room here, but, as distinguished from עץ, the outside wall, and עץ, the woodwork or beams of the buildings. The ἁπ. λεγ. כּפיס, lit., that which binds, from כפס in the Syriac and Targum, to bind, is, according to Jerome, "the beam which is placed in the middle of any building to hold the walls together, and is generally called ἱμάντωσις by the Greeks." The explanations given by Suidas is, δέσις ξύλων ἐμβαλλομένων ἐν τοῖς οἰκοδομήσασι, hence rafters or beams. יעננּה, will answer, sc. the stone, i.e., join in its crying (cf. Isaiah 34:14).
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