Habakkuk 2:8
Because you have spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil you; because of men's blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Violence of.—Scil., violence wreaked on, both here and in Habakkuk 2:17.

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.Because (or For). The prophet assigns the reason of the woes he had just pronounced. "Thou (emphatic), thou hast spoiled many nations, all the resonant of the people shall spoil thee." So Isaiah Isa 33:1, "When thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee." Boundless as his conquests were, each remaining people, tribe, or family shall be his foe. Theodotion: "Having subdued very many, thou shalt be destroyed by few, and they who long endured thy tyranny, arising as from sleep, shall compass thy destruction; and thou shalt pay the penalty of thy countless slaughters and thy great ungodliness and thy lawless violence to cities which thou modest desolate of inhabitants." Nothing was too great or too little to escape this violence.

All the remnant - Theodotion: "As thou, invading, didst take away the things of others, in like way shall what appertaineth to thee be taken away by those who are left for vengeance." Jeremiah foretold of Elam "in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah" Jeremiah 49:34-39 (in expansion of the prophecy in the reign of Jehoiakim) ; "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might. And upon Elam I will bring the four winds from the four quarters of the heavens, and will scatter them toward all these winds, and there shall be no nation where the outcasts of Elam shall not come. For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before her enemies; but it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the Lord." Elam is also counted by Ezekiel Ezek. 32:17-32 among those who, together with Pharaoh, should be brought down to the grave, with Asshur, Meshech, Tabal, Edom and all the Zidonians, by the king of Babylon. They were then all which remained, Jeremiah 39:9) of the nations which he had conquered, who should be gathered against his house.

"Because of men's blood and of the violence of" i. e., "to the land, as the violence of," i. e., "to , Lebanon," and "men's blood" is their blood which was shed. "To land, city, and all dwellers therein." Land or earth, city, are left purposely undefined, so that while that in which the offence culminated should be, by the singular, specially suggested, the violence to Judah and Jerusalem, the cruelty condemned should not be limited, to these. The violence was dealt out to the whole land or earth, and in it, to cities, and in each, one by one, to all its inhabitants. Babylon is called Jeremiah 50:23, "the hammer of the whole earth Jeremiah 51:7; a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunken; Jeremiah 25 a destroying mountain, which destroyeth the whole earth; the whole earth is at rest and is quiet" Isaiah 14:7, after Babylon, "which made it to tremble" Isaiah 14:16, is overthrown.

So Satan had by violence and deceit subdued the whole earth, yet Christ made him a spoil to those whom he had spoiled, and the strong man was bound and his goods Spoiled and himself trampled underfoot. Yet here as throughout the prophets, it is a "remnant" only which is saved Cyril: "Satan too was spoiled by the remnant of the people, i. e., by those justified by Christ and sanctified in the Spirit. For the remnant of Israel was saved."

8. the remnant of the people—Those remaining of the peoples spoiled by thee, though but a remnant, will suffice to inflict vengeance on thee.

the violence of the land … city—that is, on account of thy violent oppression of the lands and cities of the earth [Grotius] (compare Hab 2:5, 6, 12). The same phrase occurs in Hab 2:17, where the "land" and "city" are Judea and Jerusalem.

The prophet proceeds to give account of the reasons on which the Divine nemesis moves in this affair, and these may convince and confirm us in it.

Thou hast spoiled many nations; slain their people, sacked their cities, robbed their treasuries, led captive the subjects, and deposed kings, and done this to many nations, whose cry is come up to heaven. Jeremiah 25:9, and Jeremiah 27:3, recounts some six or seven nations. It is likely all the nations that lay round about this kingdom were spoiled by it. Now shalt thou be paid in thine own coin. The remnant of the nations unspoiled by thee, shall combine against thee, and execute the Lord’s just sentence, and spoil the spoiler.

Thee, O Babylon.

Because of men’s blood; either shed by private murders which cried to Heaven for vengeance, or shed by ill application of the sword of justice, or continual needless wars upon her neighbours.

And for the violence, injustice and oppressions, of the land; of the whole land of Chaldea, if you understand it actively, or else, if passively taken, it is the violence done by Babylon to the land of Judea especially.

Of the city; either Babylon, which oppressed Jerusalem, or Jerusalem, oppressed by Babylon.

And all that dwell therein: this also, as understood actively or passively, is applicable to either Babylon’s or Jerusalem’s citizens and inhabitants. Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee,.... Those that survived the persecutions of the Roman emperors; those that were left of the great numbers put to death by them; those under Constantine rose up, and by just retaliation spoiled them of all their power and wealth:

because of men's blood; the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus, of those under the altar, whose blood cried for vengeance, Revelation 6:9, which was shed under the ten bloody persecutions: or, "because of the blood of a man": of Adam (f), as it may be rendered; the blood of Christ the second Adam, which, though shed at the instance of the Jews, yet by the order of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor:

and for the violence of the land, and of the city, and of all that dwell therein: that is, for the violence and injuries done to the land of Israel and city of Jerusalem, and the inhabitants thereof, as the Targum, and so Jarchi; and which were done by the Romans to those places and people, under Titus Vespasian, when he invaded the country of Judea, and made it desolate; besieged and took Jerusalem, and burnt it with fire; destroyed great numbers of its inhabitants, and carried them captive, and sent great multitudes of them to the mines; as well as for what were done to the Christians in every country and city where they dwelt; and to the city of the living God, the church, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the citizens of it, who were used by them in a very cruel and inhuman manner, and for which vengeance would be, and was, taken upon them.

(f) "propter sanguinem hominis", i. e. "Christi, qui est secundus Adam", Cocceius, Van Till.

Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; because of men's blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. remnant of the people] the peoples. The most natural meaning is, all the other peoples in contrast with the Chaldean: the nations shall make common cause against him and spoil their spoiler. Others consider that reference is made to the desolating wars of the Chaldeans which have reduced the inhabitants of the world to a “remnant.” This is less natural. Altogether unacceptable is the view that the remnant or rest of the nations are those nations whom the Chaldean did not spoil, for in Habakkuk 2:5 he is said to have gathered to him all nations.

violence of the land] violence done to the earth, Jeremiah 50:23; Jeremiah 51:7; Jeremiah 51:25. The term “city” is collective, cities. Bloodshed of men, desolation of the earth, which also is sentient and moral (Isaiah 16:7; Isaiah 45:18), and burning of cities—these are the things for which nemesis awaits the Chaldean. The like shall be done unto him—he shall be spoiled, his proud cities burned in the fire (Habakkuk 2:13), and his glory covered with shame (Habakkuk 2:16). This refrain recurs Habakkuk 2:17.Verse 8. - The law of retaliation is asserted. All the remnant of the people (peoples) shall spoil thee. The remnant of the nations subjugated and plundered by the Chaldeans shall rise up against them. The downfall of Babylon was brought about chiefly by the combined forces of Media, Persia, and Elam (Isaiah 21:2; Jeremiah 1:9, etc.); and it is certain that Nebuchadnezzar, at one period of his reign, conquered and annexed Elam; and there is every probability that he warred successfully against Media (see Jeremiah 25:9, 25; Judith 1:5, 13, etc.); and doubtless many of the neighbouring tribes, which had suffered under these oppressors, joined in the attack. Because of men's blood. Because of the cruelty and bloodshed of which the Babylonians were guilty. For the violence of (done to) the land, of the city (see ver. 17). The statement is general, but with special reference to the Chaldeans' treatment of Judaea and Jerusalem, as in Isaiah 43:14; Isaiah 45:4; Jeremiah 51:4, 11. Jerome takes "the violence of the land," etc., to mean the wickedness of the Jews themselves, which is to be punished. He is led astray by the Septuagint, which gives, διὰ... ἀσεβείας γῆς, "through... the iniquity of the land." In Micah 2:12, Micah 2:13 there follows, altogether without introduction, the promise of the future reassembling of the people from their dispersion. Micah 2:12. "I will assemble, assemble thee all together, O Jacob; gather together, gather together the remnant of Israel; I will bring him together like the sheep of Bozrah, like a flock in the midst of their pasture: they will be noisy with men. Micah 2:13. The breaker through comes up before them; they break through, and pass along through the gate, and go out by it; and their King goes before them, and Jehovah at their head." Micah is indeed not a prophet, prophesying lies of wine and strong drink; nevertheless he also has salvation to proclaim, only not for the morally corrupt people of his own time. They will be banished out of the land; but the captivity and dispersion are not at an end. For the remnant of Israel, for the nation when sifted and refined by the judgments, the time will come when the Lord will assemble them again, miraculously multiply them, and redeem them as their King, and lead them home. The sudden and abrupt transition from threatening to promise, just as in Hosea 2:2; Hosea 6:1; Hosea 11:9, has given rise to this mistaken supposition, that Micah 2:12, Micah 2:13 contain a prophecy uttered by the lying prophets mentioned in Micah 2:10 (Abenezra, Mich., Ewald, etc.). But this supposition founders not only on the שׁארית ישׂראל, inasmuch as the gathering together of the remnant of Israel presupposes the carrying away into exile, but also on the entire contents of these verses. Micah could not possibly introduce a false prophet as speaking in the name of Jehovah, and saying, "I will gather;" such a man would at the most have said, "Jehovah will gather." Nor could he have put a true prophecy like that contained in Micah 2:12, Micah 2:13 into the mouth of such a man. For this reason, not only Hengstenberg, Caspari, and Umbreit, but even Maurer and Hitzig, have rejected this assumption; and the latter observes, among other things, quite correctly, that "the idea expressed here is one common to the true prophets (see Hosea 2:2), which Micah himself also utters in Micah 4:6." The emphasis lies upon the assembling, and hence אאסף and אקבּץ are strengthened by infinitive absolutes. But the assembling together presuppose a dispersion among the heathen, such as Micha has threatened in Micah 1:11, Micah 1:16; Micah 2:4. And the Lord will gather together all Jacob, not merely a portion, and yet only the remnant of Israel. This involves the thought, that the whole nation of the twelve tribes, or of the two kingdoms, will be reduced to a remnant by the judgment. Jacob and Israel are identical epithets applied to the whole nation, as in Micah 1:5, and the two clauses of the verse are synonymous, so that יעקב כּלּך coincides in actual fact with שׁאתית ישׂראל. The further description rests upon the fact of the leading of Israel out of Egypt, which is to be renewed in all that is essential at a future time. The following clauses also predict the miraculous multiplication of the remnant of Israel (see Hosea 2:1-2; Jeremiah 31:10), as experienced by the people in the olden time under the oppression of Egypt (Exodus 1:12). The comparison to the flock of Bozrah presupposes that Bozrah's wealth in flocks was well known. Now, as the wealth of the Moabites in flocks of sheep is very evident from 2 Kings 3:4, many have understood by בּצרה not the Edomitish Bozrah, but the Moabitish Bostra (e.g., Hengstenberg). Others, again, take botsrâh as an appellative noun in the sense of hurdle or fold (see Hitzig, Caspari, and Dietrich in Ges. Lex. after the Chaldee). But there is not sufficient ground for either. The Bostra situated in the Hauran does not occur at all in the Old Testament, not even in Jeremiah 48:24, and the appellative meaning of the word is simply postulated for this particular passage. That the Edomites were also rich in flocks of sheep is evident from Isaiah 24:6, where the massacre which Jehovah will inflict upon Edom and Bozrah is described as a sacrificial slaughtering of lambs, he-goats, rams, and oxen; a description which presupposes the wealth of Bozrah in natural flocks. The comparison which follows, "like a flock in the midst of its pasture," belongs to the last verse, and refers to the multiplication, and to the noise made by a densely packed and numerous flock. The same tumult will be made by the assembled Israelites on account of the multitude of men. For the article in הדּברו, which is already determined by the suffix, see at Joshua 7:21. In Joshua 7:13 the redemption of Israel out of exile is depicted under the figure of liberation from captivity. Was Egypt a slave-house (Micah 6:4; cf. Exodus 20:2); so is exile a prison with walls and gates, which must be broken through. הפּריץ, the breaker through, who goes before them, is not Jehovah, but, as the counterpart of Moses the leader of Israel out of Egypt, the captain appointed by God for His people, answering to the head which they are said to choose for themselves in Hosea 2:2, a second Moses, viz., Zerubbabel, and in the highest sense Christ, who opens the prison-doors, and redeems the captives of Zion (vid., Isaiah 42:7). Led by him, they break through the walls, and march through the gate, and go out through it out of the prison. "The three verbs, they break through, they march through, they go out, describe in a pictorial manner progress which cannot be stopped by any human power" (Hengstenberg). Their King Jehovah goes before them at their head (the last two clauses of the verse are synonymous). Just as Jehovah went before Israel as the angel of the Lord in the pillar of cloud and fire at the exodus from Egypt (Exodus 13:21), so at the future redemption of the people of God will Jehovah go before them as King, and lead the procession (see Isaiah 52:12).

The fulfilment of this prophecy commenced with the gathering together of Israel to its God and King by the preaching of the gospel, and will be completed at some future time when the Lord shall redeem Israel, which is now pining in dispersion, out of the fetters of its unbelief and life of sin. We must not exclude all allusion to the deliverance of the Jewish nation out of the earthly Babylon by Cyrus; at the same time, it is only in its typical significance that this comes into consideration at all, - namely, as a preliminary stage and pledge of the redemption to be effected by Christ out of the spiritual Babylon of this world.

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