Habakkuk 2:5
Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Yea, also. . . .—Better, Add, too, that wine is treacherous (and that) he is a braggart and cannot be quiet, whose appetite is large as (that of) Hades. The rest of the verse illustrates this last-named characteristic—restless, rapacious ambition. Two more charges are thus added to the gravamen of Habakkuk 2:4. Not only are the Chaldæans arrogant, but drunkards, and insatiably covetous. The former charge is expressed in a kind of proverb, “(It is a known fact that) wine is treacherous.” Perhaps the aphorisms of Proverbs 20:1 are in Habakkuk’s mind: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is noisy.” The other charge, that of rapacity, also recalls the Book of Proverbs, where the insatiable appetite of death and Hades is twice described. (See Proverbs 27:20; Proverbs 30:16.) The charge of drunkenness is illustrated in Rawlinson, Ancient Monarchies, vol. 2, 504-507.

Habakkuk 2:5. Yea also, because he — Namely, the king of Babylon; transgresseth by wine — Hereby Belshazzar, his city and kingdom, fell a prey to Darius and Cyrus. He is a proud man — Insolent in his behaviour toward all, whether subjects, strangers, or conquered enemies; such pride shall have a fall. Neither keepeth at home — Is always abroad, warring upon some nation or other. The sense, some think, would be plainer, if the words were thus translated: Moreover, like a man transgressing by wine, he is proud, and shall not continue, or prosper. So the Chaldee paraphrase and Vulgate interpret the words. Who enlargeth his desire as hell — Or rather, as the grave. He is most insatiably greedy to devour all, and as far from saying, It is enough, as the grave is. And is as death — As pernicious and ravenous. And cannot be satisfied — All is too little for him. But gathereth unto him all nations — Addeth one after another of the neighbouring nations to his kingdom; and heapeth unto him all people — Another expression of the same import. Now all these things, predicted of the future disposition of the kings of Babylon and their kingdom, were sure presages of their not continuing long in power and grandeur, but that divine vengeance would soon overtake them. Accordingly at this verse begins the denunciation against the Chaldean, or Babylonian empire, which is spoken of as comprised under one head, who is described as intoxicated with his successes, and not knowing how to set any bounds to his ambition; but still, as his conquests enlarged, his desire of having more increased. Death and the grave are proverbial emblems of an insatiable temper.

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.This general rule the prophet goes on to apply in words which belong in part to all oppressors and in the first instance to the Chaldaean, in part yet more fully to the end and to antichrist. "Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine" (or better, "Yea, how much more, since wine is a deceiver , as Solomon says, Proverbs 20:1, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever erreth thereby shall not be wise;" and Proverbs 23:32, "In the end it biteth like a serpent and pierceth like an adder;" and Hosea Hos 4:11, "Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart." As wine at first gladdens, then deprives of all reason, and lays a man open to any deceit, so also pride. And whereas all pride deceives, how much more , when people are either heated and excited by the abuse of God's natural gifts, or drunken with prosperity and hurried away, as conquerors are, to all excess of cruelty or lust to fulfill their own will, and neglect the laws of God and man.

Literal drunkenness was a sin of the Babylonians under the Persian rule, so that even a pagan says of Babylon, "Nothing can be more corrupt than the manners of that city, and more provided with all to rouse and entice immoderate pleasures;" and "the Babylonians give themselves wholly to wine, and the things which follow upon drunkenness." It was when flushed with wine, that Belshazzar, with his princes his wives and his concubines, desecrated the sacred vessels, insulted God in honor of his idols, and in the night of his excess "was slain." Pride blinded, deceived, destroyed him. It was the general drunkenness of the inhabitants, at that same feast, which enabled Cyrus, with a handful of men, to penetrate, by means of its river, the city which, with its provisions for many years and its impregnable walls, mocked at his siege. He calculated beforehand on its feast and the consequent dissolution of its inhabitants; but for this, in the language of the pagan historian, he would have been caught "as in a trap," his soldiery drowned.

He is a proud man, neither keepeth at home. - It is difficult to limit the force of the rare Hebrew word rendered "keep at home;" for one may cease to dwell or abide at home either with his will or without it; and, as in the case of invaders, the one may he the result of the other. He who would take away the home of others becomes, by God's Providence, himself homeless. The context implies that the primary meaning is the restlessness of ambition; which abides not at home, for his whole pleasure is to go forth to destroy. Yet there sounds, as it were, an undertone, "he would not abide in his home and he shall not." We could scarcely avoid the further thought, could we translate by a word which does not determine the sense, "he will not home," "he will not continue at home." The words have seemed to different minds to mean either; as they may . Such fullness of meaning is the contrary of the ambiguity of pagan oracles; they are not alternative meanings, which might be justified in either case, but cumlative, the one on the other. The ambitious part with present rest for future loss. Nebuchadnezzar lost his kingdom and his reason through pride, received them back when he humbled himself; Belshazzar, being proud and impenitent, lost both his kingdom and life.

Who enlargeth his desire - literally, his soul. The soul becomes like what it loves. The ambitious man is, as we say, "all ambition;" the greedy man, "all appetite;" the cruel man, "all savagery;" the vain-glorious, "all vain glory." The ruling passion absorbs the whole being. It is his end, the one object of his thoughts, hopes, fears. So, as we speak of "largeness of heart," which can embrace in its affections all varieties of human interests, whatever affects man, and "largeness of mind" uncramped by narrowing prejudices, the prophet speaks of this "ambitious man widening his soul," or, as we should speak, "appetite," so that the whole world is not too large for him to long to grasp or to devour. So the Psalmist prays not to be delivered into the murderous desire of his enemies (Psalm 27:12; Compare Psalm 41:3 (Psalm 41:2 in English); Ezekiel 26:27) (literally their soul,) and Isaiah, with a metaphor almost too bold for our language Isaiah 5:14, "Hell hath enlarged her soul, and opened her mouth beyond measure." It devours, as it were, first in its cravings, then in act.

As hell - which is insatiable Proverbs 30:15. He saith, "enlargeth"; for as hell and the grave are year by year fuller, yet there is no end, the desire "enlargeth" and becometh wider, the more is given to it to satisfy it.

And (he) is (himself) as death - o, sparing none. Our poetry would speak of a destroyer as being "like the angel of death;" his presence, as the presence of death itself. Where he is, there is death. He is as terrible and as destroying as the death which follows him.

And cannot be satisfied - Even human proverbs say (Juv. Sat. xiv. 139): "The love of money groweth as much as the money itself groweth." "The avaricious is ever needy." Ecclesiastes 5:10 : "he that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver." For these fleeting things cannot satisfy the undying soul. It must hunger still; for it has not found what will allay its cravings .

But gathereth - literally, "And hath gathered" - He describes it, for the rapidity with which he completes what he longs for, as though it were already done.

Unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people - One is still the subject of the prophecy, rising up at successive times, fulfilling it and passing away, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, Attila, Timur, Genghizchan, Hunneric, scourges of God, all deceived by pride, all sweeping the earth, all in their ambition and wickedness the unknowing agents and images of the evil One, who seeks to bring the whole world under his rule. But shall it prosper?

5. Yea also, because—additional reason why the Jews may look for God punishing their Chaldean foe, namely, because … he is

a proud man—rather, this clause continues the reason for the Jews expecting the punishment of the Chaldeans, "because he transgresseth by wine (a besetting sin of Babylon, compare Da 5:1-31, and Curtius [5.1]), being a proud man." Love of wine often begets a proud contempt of divine things, as in Belshazzar's case, which was the immediate cause of the fall of Babylon (Da 5:2-4, 30; compare Pr 20:1; 30:9; 31:5).

enlargeth his desire as hell—the grave, or the unseen world, which is "never full" (Pr 27:20; 30:16; Isa 5:14). The Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar were filled with an insatiable desire of conquest. Another reason for their punishment.

Behold; note it: there are two sorts of persons who concern themselves in this puzzling question of the Divine providence; some object. and quarrel contest with God, proudly, discontentedly, and impatiently; others inquire humbly, submitting themselves to God, and waiting for him.

His soul, the heart and mind of every such one, which is lifted up; that proudly contests with the justice and wisdom of the Divine Providence, that slights promises of deliverance at so great a distance, and provides for his own safety by his own wit;

is not upright; is very corrupt and wicked, full of (not only distrusts, but) positive conclusions against God’s future punishing the wicked: such a one is so wicked that he thinks God will not punish the violent and bloody, the superstitious and idolatrous Babylonian.

The just; the humble, upright, and comparatively righteous one, who adores the depth of Divine providence, and is persuaded of the truth of Divine promises, and doth approve the season God chooseth.

Shall live; supports himself, and quiets his own heart, whilst he foreseeth the approaching deliverance of Zion.

By his faith; his well-grounded dependence on a persuasion of the truth of God’s promises touching the relief of the faithful servants of God, whose deliverance he believes to be certain, and so waits for the performance of promises made to him and them.

Yea also, or

moreover, furthermore, because he, the king of Babylon, or every one of them,

transgresseth by wine; which vice destroys kings and kingdoms, and in the excesses of luxury the Babylonian king Belshazzar, his city and kingdom of Babylon, fell a prey to Darius and Cyrus.

A proud man; insolent in his behaviour towards all, both retainers, subjects, strangers, and conquered enemies: such pride shall have a fall.

Neither keepeth at home; is ever abroad warring upon some or other, which though it enlarge his countries, it weakeneth his kingdom and gives advantage to malcontents and conspirators, besides that it exposeth him to imminent and continual dangers.

Enlargeth his desire as hell; is most insatiably greedy to devour all, as far from saying It is enough as the grave is.

Is as death; as pernicious and ravenous.

Cannot be satisfied; all is too little for him, and there is no possibility to satiate his appetite. Gathereth, addeth one after another, unto him, to his kingdom, all nations, that are round about him; all he knows are designed upon, and he purposeth to engross them.

Heapeth unto him all people; another expression of the same import. Now all this, foretold of the future temper of the Babylonish kings and kingdoms, is a sure presage of their no long continuance in grandeur, but that shortly Divine vengeance will overtake them. This might be an answer to disputers.

Yea also, or

moreover, furthermore, because he, the king of Babylon, or every one of them,

transgresseth by wine; which vice destroys kings and kingdoms, and in the excesses of luxury the Babylonian king Belshazzar, his city and kingdom of Babylon, fell a prey to Darius and Cyrus.

A proud man; insolent in his behaviour towards all, both retainers, subjects, strangers, and conquered enemies: such pride shall have a fall.

Neither keepeth at home; is ever abroad warring upon some or other, which though it enlarge his countries, it weakeneth his kingdom and gives advantage to malcontents and conspirators, besides that it exposeth him to imminent and continual dangers.

Enlargeth his desire as hell; is most insatiably greedy to devour all, as far from saying It is enough as the grave is.

Is as death; as pernicious and ravenous.

Cannot be satisfied; all is too little for him, and there is no possibility to satiate his appetite. Gathereth, addeth one after another, unto him, to his kingdom, all nations, that are round about him; all he knows are designed upon, and he purposeth to engross them.

Heapeth unto him all people; another expression of the same import. Now all this, foretold of the future temper of the Babylonish kings and kingdoms, is a sure presage of their no long continuance in grandeur, but that shortly Divine vengeance will overtake them. This might be an answer to disputers.

Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine,.... Or rather, "how much less" or "more (o), wine dealing treacherously": or "a man of wine", as Aben Ezra supplies it; that is, a winebibber, as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it: and the sense in connection with the preceding verse Habakkuk 2:4 is, if a Jew, elated with his works of righteousness, his soul is not right in him, "how much less" a drunken, treacherous, proud, and ambitious heathen? if the Scribes and Pharisees, who expected the coming of the Messiah, yet withdrew from him, and opposed themselves unto him when come, "how much more" will such persons set themselves against him and his interest, thus described? by whom are meant, not the Babylonian monarchs, Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar and the Chaldeans, as usually interpreted, though there are many things in the account applicable to them; but this is breaking the thread of the prophecy, which carries on the account of the enemies of Christ, and of his kingdom, from his first to his second coming; whereas to interpret this prophecy of the Chaldeans is to go back to times before the first coming of Christ; nor does it seem necessary to say anything more concerning them, since the people of God might be satisfied that these would be in their turn destroyed, and they delivered from them; and that they, the Jews, could not be cut off as a people, since the promise of the Messiah, as springing from them, is firmly established; and it is so strongly asserted, that he should come at the appointed time, and not tarry: after which the prophet goes on to observe two different sorts of people among the Jews; one sort proud and vain glorious, who opposed themselves to Christ when he came; the other sort true believers in him, who lived by faith upon him: so things would stand among the Jews when Christ came, and so they did; there was a separation among them on his account: next the prophet proceeds to observe another sort of enemies to Christ and his interest among the heathens, which was not to be wondered at, and therefore introduced by a comparative particle, "how much more" or "less"; and who must be removed to make way for his kingdom and glory in the latter day, manifestly pointed at in Habakkuk 2:14 now who can these be but the Romans, both Pagan and Papal in succession? and with these and their rulers, civil and ecclesiastical, do the characters given as well agree as with the Babylonian monarchy, and the Chaldeans, or better and therefore, after Cocceius and Van Till I shall choose to interpret the whole of them; and it is well known that several of the Roman emperors were greatly given to luxury and intemperance, the first character they stand described by in the text. Tiberius was greatly addicted to this vice; and, because of his greediness after wine (p), used to be called Biberius Caldius Mero, instead of Tiberius Claudius Nero; his successor Caligula spent the immense riches Tiberius had gathered together in less than a year's time in luxury and intemperance (q); and Claudius, that succeeded him, scarce ever went out of his doors but he was drunk (r); and Nero, who came after him to the empire, was of unusual luxury and sumptuousness, as the historian says (s); he used to keep on his banquets from the middle of the day to the middle of the night (t); to say nothing of Domitian, Commodus, and other emperors that followed after them: and these men were deceitful and treacherous, both to their friends and enemies; and it is no wonder that such as these should oppose themselves to the kingdom and interest of Christ, as they did. Kimchi interprets this of Nebuchadnezzar; and Jarchi of Belshazzar; and most interpreters think it refers to his drinking in the vessels of the temple, Daniel 5:2,

he is a proud man; the Roman emperors were excessively proud, like the unjust judge, neither feared God, nor regarded man; nay, set up themselves for gods, and required divine worship to be given them. Caius Caligula claimed divine majesty to himself, and set himself up to be worshipped among his brother gods; he built a temple to his own deity, and appointed priests and sacrifices; and placed a golden image of himself in it, and clothed it every day with such a garment as he himself wore (u); he also set up his own image in the temple at Jerusalem. Nero suffered himself to be called lord and god by Tiridates king of the Armenians, with bended knees, and hands lift up to heaven. Domitian and Aurelianus took the same titles as Nero did; and Dioclesian would be worshipped as a god, and called himself the brother of the sun and moon; and no marvel that such men as these should be enemies to Christ, and persecutors of his people:

neither keepeth at home; or "dwells not in the fold" (w); in the sheepfold of Christ, in his church, being none of his sheep, an alien from the commonwealth of Israel; and so it denotes a infidel, an heathen; a fit character for the Pagan emperors, who had no habitation in the house of God. Kimchi interprets it of Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom not being continued; or of his being driven from his habitation, his palace, from among men, to live with beasts; but it is the character, and not the punishment, of the person that is here pointed at:

who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied; death and the grave, though such vast numbers are continually slain by the one, and laid in the other, yet are never satisfied; see Proverbs 27:20. This describes the insatiable thirst of the Roman emperors after honour, riches, and universal monarchy; who were never satisfied with what they obtained:

but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people; that is, subdued them, and made them provinces of the Roman empire, and tributary to it, even almost all the then known world; hence the Roman empire is called the whole world, Luke 2:1 so Agrippa, in his orations to the Jews, mentions all nations as subject to the Romans (x).

(o) "quanto magis", Calvin, Drusius, Tarnovius, Cocceius, Van Till, Burkius. (p) Suetonius in Vita Tiberii, c. 42. (q) Ib. Vita Caligulae, c. 37. (r) Ib. Vita Claudii, c. 33. (s) Eutrop. Hist. Rom. l. 7. (t) Suetonius in Vita Neronis, c. 27. (u) Suetonius in Vita Caligulae, c. 22. (w) "qui non habitat; quod de mansionibus ovium imprimius dicitur", Cocceius; "qui non inhabitat grata", Van Till. (x) Apud Joseph de Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 16. sect. 4.

Yea also, because {e} he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth to him all nations, and heapeth to him all people:

(e) He compares the proud and covetous man to a drunkard that is without reason and sense, whom God will punish and make a laughing stock to all the world: and this he speaks for the comfort of the godly, and against the Chaldeans.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. Yea also … transgresseth by wine] A.V. is hardly a rendering of the text. R.V. renders: yea, moreover, wine is a treacherous dealer, a haughty man, and that keepeth not at home; who enlargeth his desire as hell. Such phraseology has little meaning. Any reference to Chaldean debaucheries, openly expressed by A.V. and apparently insinuated by R.V., is farfetched in the extreme and has no probability. The text cannot be right; the word “wine” does not appear either in Sept. or Syr., and the word rendered “keepeth at home” is unknown.

The term rendered by R.V. “treacherous (barbarous) dealer” is that applied to the Chaldean, ch. Habakkuk 1:13, and it would be more natural to take the “ruthless dealer” as the subject of the statement here, and to suppose that what is said of him is that he is insatiable, in agreement with the second half of the verse. The Syr. contents itself with expressing this general sense: an arrogant and greedy man is not satiated (insatiable). There is some corruption in the word “wine,” which should express the predicate; yea, moreover … is the treacherous dealer.

He is a proud man, neither keepeth at home] The term “proud” occurs Proverbs 21:24, “The proud and haughty man, scorner is his name.” The verb “keepeth at home” is found nowhere else; a noun in the sense of pasture, homestead, is not uncommon, and the verb if it existed might (after Arab.) mean to find a home, or resting-place—possibly even to be quiet or rest (Job 20:20). The whole would then read: yea, moreover … is the treacherous dealer, a man that is proud and resteth not; who enlargeth. For “resteth not” (yinweh) Wellh. suggests “is not satisfied” (yirweh). The latter word properly means to drink to satiety, as the thirsty does water, and as the sword does blood (Jeremiah 46:10). When Ibn Aḥmar sings of his camel: “She says, when I have raised the saddle upon her, Will Ibn Aḥmar be supplied with drink and never satisfy his thirst (yarwa) from me?” the beast refers to her sweat. If the word “wine” were retained a slight change in the Heb. text might produce a comparison: Moreover, like wine is the treacherous dealer, a man that is proud and restless (insatiable); who enlargeth:—the comparison “like wine” indicating the conduct and demeanour that wine produces. But all efforts to educe sense must fail with the present text.

enlargeth his desire as hell] who openeth wide his maw like Sheòl. Sheòl, the place of the dead, is insatiable. Isaiah 5:14; Proverbs 27:20, “Sheòl and Abaddon are never satisfied,” cf. Proverbs 30:16. “Death” like Sheòl is personified.

heapeth unto him all people] all peoples. He swalloweth down all nations like Sheòl.

Verse 5. - § 7. The character of the Chaldeans in some particulars is intimated. The general proposition in the former hemistich of ver. 4 is here applied to the Chaldeans, in striking contrast to the lot of the just in the latter clause. Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine. This should be, And moreover, wine is treacherous. A kind of proverbial saying (Proverbs 20:1). Vulgate, Quomodo vinum potantem decipit. There is no word expressive of comparison in the original, though it may be supplied to complete the sense. The intemperate habits of the Babylonians are well attested (see Daniel 5:3, 4; Quint. Curt., 5:1, "Babylonii maxime in vinum et quae ebrietatem sequuntur effusi sunt;" comp. Her., 1:191; Xen., 'Cyrop.,' 7:5. 15). They used beth the fermented sap of the palm tree as well as the juice of the grape, the latter chiefly imported from abroad. "The wealthy Babylonians were fond of drinking to excess; their banquets were magnificent, but generally ended in drunkenness" (Rawlinson, 'Anc. Men.,' 3:450, edit. 1865). Neither the Septuagint, nor the Syriac, nor the Coptic Version has any mention of wine in this passage. The Septuagint gives, ὁ δὲ κατοιόμενος καὶ καταφρονητής, "the arrogant and the scorner." He is a proud man, neither keepeth he at home; a haughty man, he resteth not. His pride is always impelling him to new raids and conquests. This is quite the character of the later Chaldeans, and is consistent with the latter part of the verse. The comparison, then, is this: As wine raises the spirits and excites men to great efforts which in the end deceive them, so pride rouses these men to go on their insatiate course of conquest, which shall one day prove their ruin. The verb translated "keepeth at home" has the secondary sense of "being decorous;" hence the Vulgate gives, Sic erit vir superbus, et non decorabitur; i.e. as wine first exhilarates and then makes a man contemptible, so pride, which begins by exalting a man, ends by bringing him to ignominy. Others take the verb in the sense of "continueth not," explaining that the destruction of Babylon is here intimated. But what follows makes against this interpretation. The LXX. gives, 'Ανὴρ ἀλαζὼν οὐθὲν μὴ τεράνη, which Jerome, combining with it his own version, paraphrases, "Sic vir superbus non decorabitur, nec voluntatem suam perducet ad finem; et juxta Symmachum, οὐκ εὐπορήσει, hoc est, in rerum omnium erit penuria." Who enlargeth his desire as hell; Hebrew, Sheol. Hell is called insatiable (Proverbs 27:20; Proverbs 30:16; Isaiah 5:14). Is as death, which seizes all creatures and spares none. People; peoples. Habakkuk 2:5Habakkuk 2:5 is closely connected with Habakkuk 2:4, not only developing still further the thought which is there expressed, but applying it to the Chaldaean. אף כּי does not mean "really if" (Hitzig and others), even in Job 9:14; Job 35:14; Ezekiel 15:5, or 1 Samuel 21:6 (see Delitzsch on Job 35:14), but always means "still further," or "yea also, that;" and different applications are given to it, so that, when used as an emphatic assurance, it signifies "to say nothing of the fact that," or when it gives emphasis to the thing itself, "all the more because," and in negative sentences "how much less" (e.g., 1 Kings 8:27). In the present instance it adds a new and important feature to what is stated in Habakkuk 2:4, "And add to this that wine is treacherous;" i.e., to those who are addicted to it, it does not bring strength and life, but leads to the way to ruin (for the thought itself, see Proverbs 23:31-32). The application to the Chaldaean is evident from the context. The fact that the Babylonians were very much addicted to wine is attested by ancient writers. Curtius, for example (Habakkuk 2:1), says, "Babylonii maxime in vinum et quae ebrietatem sequuntur effusi sunt;" and it is well known from Daniel 5 that Babylon was conquered while Belshazzar and the great men of his kingdom were feasting at a riotous banquet. The following words גּבר יהיר are not the object to בּוגד, but form a fresh sentence, parallel to the preceding one: a boasting man, he continueth not. ולא introduces the apodosis to גבר יהיר, which is written absolutely. יהיר only occurs again in Proverbs 21:24, and is used there as a parallel to זד: ἀλαζών (lxx), swaggering, boasting. The allusion to the Chaldaean is evident from the relative clause which follows, and which Delitzsch very properly calls an individualizing exegesis to גבר יהיר. But looking to what follows, this sentence forms a protasis to Habakkuk 2:6, being written first in an absolute form, "He, the widely opened one, etc., upon him will all take up," etc. Hirchı̄bh naphshō, to widen his soul, i.e., his desire, parallel to pâ‛ar peh, to open the mouth (Isaiah 5:14), is a figure used to denote insatiable desire. כּשׁאול, like Hades, which swallows up every living thing (see Proverbs 27:20; Proverbs 30:15-16). The comparison to death has the same meaning. ולא ישׂבּע does not refer to מות, but to the Chaldaean, who grasps to himself in an insatiable manner, as in Habakkuk 1:6-7, and Habakkuk 1:15-17. The imperff. consecc. express the continued gathering up of the nations, which springs out of his insatiable desire.
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