Habakkuk 2:14
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
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(14) With the knowledge.—Better, as concerns the knowledge. See the same promise in Isaiah 11:9. It is here introduced in contrast to the short-lived glory of Babylon. The enslaved nations raised the Babylonian palaces only for the fire to destroy them. But Jehovah’s glory shall be made known all the world over, and shall not be effaced.

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 earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord - Habakkuk modifies in a degree the words of Isaiah which he embodies, marking that the destruction of Babylon was a stage only toward the coming of those good things which God taught His people to long for, not their very coming. All the world should be then full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, not, as yet, wholly of Himself Jerome: "When Babylon shall be overthrown, then shall the power of the might of the Lord be known unto all. So shall the whole earth be filled with the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the bottom of the sea. This as to the letter. But it is plain, that the Devil also and antichrist, and the perverse teaching of heretics, built a city in blood; i. e, their own Church, with the destruction of those whom they deceive ... But when they fail in the fire (either this fire which is felt, or consumed in the fire of the devil their prince, or burned up with the fire whereof the Lord says, 'I came to send a fire upon the earth,' and so brought back from their former course, and doing penitence), the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, when, at the preaching of the apostles, their 'sound shall go out into all the world,' as waters covering the sea, i. e., all the saltness and bitterness of the world which Satan had rained down and the earth had drunk, the waters of the Lord shall cover, and cause the place of their ancient bitterness not to appear."

Rup.: "'For the Spirit of the Lord filled the earth,' and when He filled it, 'the earth was filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,' so that unlearned and ignorant men became wise and eloquent, and earthly became heavenly, yea, they who were earth became heaven, knowing the glory of the Lord, declaring the glory of God, not any how, but as waters cover the sea. Great as must be waters, which would cover the sea, or compared to which the sea were nothing, far greater is the miracle, when the abundance of heavenly wisdom, given to the simple, surpassed the sea, i. e., the wisdom of all mankind." This verse being already a received image of the spread of the gospel Isaiah 11:9, it would of itself be understood to include this also; but more generally, it declares how upon all the judgments of God, a larger knowledge of Him would follow Cyril: "All things are full of Christ, who is the Glory of the Father; wherefore also He said John 17:4, I have glorified Thee on earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do."

14. Adapted from Isa 11:9. Here the sense is, "The Jews shall be restored and the temple rebuilt, so that God's glory in saving His people, and punishing their Chaldean foe, shall be manifested throughout the world," of which the Babylonian empire formed the greatest part; a type of the ultimate full manifestation of His glory in the final salvation of Israel and His Church, and the destruction of all their foes.

waters cover the sea—namely, the bottom of the sea; the sea-bed.

The earth; the land of Chaldea, of the Medes and Persians, and their confederates, the lands oppressed by the Chaldeans, but Judea more particularly.

Shall be filled; every eye shall see, or ear hear, or tongue speak what they know.

With the knowledge, sight and sense,

of the glory, just and glorious proceedings of God against Babylon; for when God shall appear to execute his just judgments upon his own and his church’s enemies, he will appear glorious indeed.

The Lord; the God of Israel, their Holy One, as Habakkuk 1:12.

As the waters cover the sea: it is a proverbial speech, expressing the general notice and deep sense all should have of God’s justice, truth, power, and zeal against mighty oppressors, such as Babylon was full of.

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,.... Of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ; of the glory of his person, as the Son of God, and truly God; which is essential to him, and underived; the same with his Father's, and what transcends the glory of all created beings; and of the glory of his office as Mediator, which itself is glorious and honourable: and this his glory lies in his fitness for it; in his faithful performance of it, and the honour given him by his Father upon it; as well as in the fulness of grace in him, which makes him appear glorious to his people; and who are continually giving glory to him as the Lord their righteousness, by exercising faith on his righteousness, and glorying in it; and as their only Saviour and Redeemer, by looking to him, and believing in him as such; and as the only Head of the church, by owning and holding to him; and as the only Mediator between God and man, by making use of him for that purpose, and not angels and saints; and as their Prophet, by hearkening to his voice, yielding a subjection to his Gospel, and submission to his ordinances; and as their Priest, by dealing with his blood and sacrifice for the atonement and pardon of their sins; and as their King, by obedience to his commands; and who will now take to himself his great power, and reign gloriously before his saints; the glory of his kingly office will be now seen and known, when this prophecy shall have its full accomplishment, and which seems greatly intended. The "knowledge" of all this glory will not be a mere notional and speculative one, but special and spiritual; an experimental knowledge, accompanied with affection, approbation, confidence, and appropriation: and "the earth will be filled with" this; that is, the inhabitants of it: this had an accomplishment in part in the times of the apostles, when they were sent into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature, and diffused the savour of the knowledge of Christ everywhere; and had a further accomplishment in the times of Constantine, when the whole Roman empire, or all the world, became Christians; and again at the time of the Reformation, when many nations, especially in Europe, were freed from Popish darkness by the pure light of the Gospel; but will have its final accomplishment in the latter day; and which will bring on the destruction of antichrist, and seems here intended; since this is given as a reason why it will be all labour in vain to attempt the prevention of it. It will be by means of the Gospel spreading the knowledge of Christ everywhere that antichrist will fall; this is the brightness of Christ's coming, with which he will be destroyed; hence the angel, with the everlasting Gospel to preach to all nations, and with whose glory the whole earth will be lightened, is represented as preceding the fall of Babylon, and as the means of it; see 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and the great spread and large abundance of this knowledge communicated by the preaching of the Gospel is thus illustrated and exemplified,

as the waters cover the sea; expressing the nature of Gospel doctrines, revealing the glory of Christ and his grace, which, like waters, refresh and make fruitful; and the force and power of them, bearing down all before them, like an inundation of water when it breaks its banks; and likewise the depths of them, these being the deep things of God; and more especially the general spread and large abundance of them, and of the knowledge conveyed by them; which will fill the earth, as the waters of the sea fill up and cover the vast chasm prepared for them; see Isaiah 11:9.

For the earth shall {l} be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

(l) In the destruction of the Babylonians his glory will appear through all the world.

14. As the waters cover] Or, like the waters which cover the (bed of the) sea. The knowledge shall be not only universal but deep. Isaiah 11:9. The verse explains the preceding. The Lord of Hosts, God Omnipotent, whose purposes overrule all, shall bring in His kingdom, and in the judgments that precede its coming the great fabrics reared by heathenism for its idolatries and its oppressions shall become fuel for the fire (Isaiah 9:5). This is the line of thought most natural. Another might be that when the reign of peace in Jehovah’s kingdom shall come in men themselves shall burn to the ground their strongholds of war and their edifices of pride, just as they shall beat their swords to ploughshares (Isaiah 2:4).

Verse 14. - The prophet now gives the reason of the vanity of these human undertakings. For the earth shall be filled, etc. The words are from Isaiah 11:9, with some little alterations (comp. Numbers 14:21). This is cue of the passages which attests "the community of testimony," as it is called, among the prophets. To take a few out of many cases that offer, Isaiah 2:2-4 compared with Micah 4:1-4; Isaiah 13:19-22 with Jeremiah 50:39, etc.; Isaiah 52:7 with Nahum 1:15; Jeremiah 49:7-22 with Obadiah 1:1-4; Amos 9:13 with Joel 3:18 (Ladd, 'Doctrine of Scripture,' 1:145). All the earth is to be filled with, and to recognize, the glory of God as manifested in the overthrow of ungodliness; and therefore Babylon, and the world power of which she is a type, must be subdued and perish. This announcement looks forward to the establishment of Messiah's kingdom, which "shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and shall stand forever" (Daniel 2:44). We must remember how intimately in the minds of Eastern heathens the prosperity of a nation was connected with its local deities. Nothing in their eyes could show more perfectly the impotence of a god than his failing to protect his worshippers from destruction (comp. 2 Kings 18:33, etc.). The glory of Jehovah and his sovereignty over the earth would be seen and acknowledged in the overthrow of Babylon, the powerful, victorious nation. As the waters cover the sea. As the waters fill the basin of the sea (Genesis 1:22; 1 Kings 7:23, where the great vessel of ablution is called "the sea"). Habakkuk 2:14The third woe refers to the building of cities with the blood and property of strangers. Habakkuk 2:12. "Woe to him who buildeth cities with blood, and foundeth castles with injustice. Habakkuk 2:14. For the earth will be filled with knowledge of the glory of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea." The earnest endeavour of the Chaldaean to found his dynasty in permanency through evil gain, manifested itself also in the building of cities with the blood and sweat of the subjugated nations. עיר and קריה are synonymous, and are used in the singular with indefinite generality, like קריה in Habakkuk 2:8. The preposition ב, attached to דּמים and עולה, denotes the means employed to attain the end, as in Micah 3:10 and Jeremiah 22:13. This was murder, bloodshed, transportation, and tyranny of every kind. Kōnēn is not a participle with the Mem dropped, but a perfect; the address, which was opened with a participle, being continued in the finite tense (cf. Ewald, 350, a). With Habakkuk 2:13 the address takes a different turn from that which it has in the preceding woes. Whereas there the woe is always more fully expanded in the central verse by an exposition of the wrong, we have here a statement that it is of Jehovah, i.e., is ordered or inflicted by Him, that the nations weary themselves for the fire. The ו before יינעוּ introduces the declaration of what it is that comes from Jehovah. הלוא הנּה (is it not? behold!) are connected together, as in 2 Chronicles 25:26, to point to what follows as something great that was floating before the mind of the prophet. בּדי אשׁ, literally, for the need of the fire (compare Nahum 2:13 and Isaiah 40:16). They labour for the fire, i.e., that the fire may devour the cities that have been built with severe exertion, which exhausts the strength of the nations. So far they weary themselves for vanity, since the buildings are one day to fall into ruins, or be destroyed. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 51:58) has very suitably applied these words to the destruction of Babylon. This wearying of themselves for vanity is determined by Jehovah, for (Habakkuk 2:14) the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah. That this may be the case, the kingdom of the world, which is hostile to the Lord and His glory, must be destroyed. This promise therefore involves a threat directed against the Chaldaean. His usurped glory shall be destroyed, that the glory of Jehovah of Sabaoth, i.e., of the God of the universe, may fill the whole earth. The thought in Habakkuk 2:14 is formed after Isaiah 11:9, with trifling alterations, partly substantial, partly only formal. The choice of the niphal תּפּלא instead of the מלאה of Isaiah refers to the actual fact, and is induced in both passages by the different turn given to the thought. In Isaiah, for example, this thought closes the description of the glory and blessedness of the Messianic kingdom in its perfected state. The earth is then full of the knowledge of the Lord, and the peace throughout all nature which has already been promised is one fruit of that knowledge. In Habakkuk, on the other hand, this knowledge is only secured through the overthrow of the kingdom of the world, and consequently only thereby will the earth be filled with it, and that not with the knowledge of Jehovah (as in Isaiah), but with the knowledge of His glory (כּבוד יי), which is manifested in the judgment and overthrow of all ungodly powers (Isaiah 2:12-21; Isaiah 6:3, compared with the primary passage, Numbers 14:21). כּבוד יי is "the δόξα of Jehovah, which includes His right of majesty over the whole earth" (Delitzsch). יכסּוּ על־ים is altered in form, but not in sense, from the ליּם מכסּים of Isaiah; and יכסּוּ is to be taken relatively, since כ is only used as a preposition before a noun or participle, and not like a conjunction before a whole sentence (comp. Ewald, 360, a, with 337, c). לדער is an infinitive, not a noun, with the preposition ל; for מלא, ימּלא is construed with the accus. rei, lit., the earth will be filled with the acknowledging. The water of the sea is a figure denoting overflowing abundance.
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