2:9. Woe to him that gathereth together an evil covetousness to his house, that his nest may be on high, and thinketh he may be delivered out of the hand of evil.
2:10. Thou hast devised confusion to thy house, thou hast cut off many people, and thy soul hath sinned.
2:11. For the stone shall cry out of the wall: and the timber that is between the joints of the building, shall answer.
2:12. Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and prepareth a city by iniquity.
2:13. Are not these things from the Lord of hosts? for the people shall labour in a great fire: and the nations in vain, and they shall faint.
Are not these things, etc... That is, shall not these punishments that are here recorded, come from the Lord upon him that is guilty of such crimes.-Ibid. The people shall labour, etc... Viz., the enemies of God's people.
2:14. For the earth shall be filled, that men may know the glory of the Lord, as waters covering the sea.
2:15. Woe to him that giveth drink to his friend, and presenteth his gall, and maketh him drunk, that he may behold his nakedness.
2:16. Thou art filled with shame instead of glory: drink thou also, and fall fast asleep: the cup of the right hand of the Lord shall compass thee, and shameful vomiting shall be on thy glory.
2:17. For the iniquity of Libanus shall cover thee, and the ravaging of beasts shall terrify them because of the blood of men, and the iniquity of the land, and of the city, and of all that dwell therein.
The iniquity of Libanus... That is, the iniquity committed by the Chaldeans against the temple of God, signified here by the name of Libanus.
2:18. What doth the graven thing avail, because the maker thereof hath graven it, a molten, and a false image? because the forger thereof hath trusted in a thing of his own forging, to make dumb idols.
2:19. Woe to him that saith to wood: Awake: to the dumb stone: Arise: can it teach? Behold, it is laid over with gold, and silver, and there is no spirit in the bowels thereof.
2:20. But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.
Habacuc Chapter 3
3:1. A PRAYER OF HABACUC THE PROPHET FOR IGNORANCES.
For ignorances... That is, for the sins of his people. In the Hebrew, it is Sigionoth: which some take to signify a musical instrument, or tune; with which this sublime prayer and canticle was to be sung.
3:2. O Lord, I have heard thy hearing, and was afraid. O Lord, thy work, in the midst of the years bring it to life: In the midst of the years thou shalt make it known: when thou art angry, thou wilt remember mercy.
Thy hearing, etc... That is, thy oracles, the great and wonderful things thou hast revealed to me; and I was struck with a reverential fear and awe.-Ibid. Thy work... The great work of the redemption of man, which thou wilt bring to life and light in the midst of the years, when our calamities and miseries shall be at their height.
3:3. God will come from the south, and the holy one from mount Pharan: His glory covered the heavens, and the earth is full of his praise.
God will come from the south, etc... God himself will come to give us his law, and to conduct us into the true land of promise: as heretofore he came from the South (in the Hebrew Theman) and from mount Pharan to give his law to his people in the desert. See Deut. 33.2.
3:4. His brightness shall be as the light: horns are in his hands: There is his strength hid:
Horns, etc... That is, strength and power, which, by a Hebrew phrase, are called horns. Or beams of light, which come forth from his hands. Or it may allude to the cross, in the horns of which the hands of Christ were fastened, where his strength was hidden, by which he overcame the world, and drove out death and the devil.
3:5. Death shall go before his face. And the devil shall go forth before his feet.
Death shall go before his face, etc... Both death and the devil shall be the executioners of his justice against his enemies: as they were heretofore against the Egyptians and Chanaanites.
3:6. He stood and measured the earth. He beheld, and melted the nations: and the ancient mountains were crushed to pieces. The hills of the world were bowed down by the journeys of his eternity.
He beheld, etc... One look of his eye is enough to melt all the nations, and to reduce them to nothing. For all heaven and earth disappear when they come before his light. Apoc. 20.11. Ibid. The ancient mountains, etc... By the mountains and hills are signified the great ones of the world, that persecute the church, whose power was quickly crushed by the Almighty.
3:7. I saw the tents of Ethiopia for their iniquity, the curtains of the land of Madian shall be troubled.
Ethiopia... the land of the Blacks, and Madian, are here taken for the enemies of God and his people: who shall perish for their iniquity.
3:8. Wast thou angry, O Lord, with the rivers? or was thy wrath upon the rivers? or thy indignation in the sea? Who will ride upon thy horses: and thy chariots are salvation.
With the rivers, etc... He alludes to the wonders wrought heretofore by the Lord in favour of his people Israel, when the waters of the rivers, viz., of Arnon and Jordan, and of the Red Sea, retired before their face: when he came as it were with his horses and chariots to save them when he took up his bow for their defence, in consequene of the oath he had made to their tribes: when the mountains trembled, and the deep stood with its waves raised up in a heap, as with hands lifted up to heaven: when the sun and the moon stood still at his command, etc., to comply with his anger, not against the rivers and sea, but against the enemies of his people. How much more will he do in favour of his Son: and against the enemies of his church?
3:9. Thou wilt surely take up thy bow: according to the oaths which thou hast spoken to the tribes. Thou wilt divide the rivers of the earth.
3:10. The mountains saw thee, and were grieved: the great body of waters passed away. The deep put forth its voice: the deep lifted up its hands.
3:11. The sun and the moon stood still in their habitation, in the light of thy arrows, they shall go in the brightness of thy glittering spear.
3:12. In thy anger thou wilt tread the earth under foot: in thy wrath thou wilt astonish the nations.
3:13. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people: for salvation with thy Christ. Thou struckest the head of the house of the wicked: thou hast laid bare his foundation even to the neck.
The head of the house of the wicked... Such was Pharao heretofore: such shall Antichrist be hereafter.
3:14. Thou hast cursed his sceptres, the head of his warriors, them that came out as a whirlwind to scatter me. Their joy was like that of him that devoureth the poor man in secret.
3:15. Thou madest a way in the sea for thy horses, in the mud of many waters.
Thou madest a way in the sea, etc... To deliver thy people from the Egyptian bondage: and thou shalt work the like wonders in the spiritual way, to rescue the children of the church from their enemies.
3:16. I have heard and my bowels were troubled: my lips trembled at the voice. Let rottenness enter into my bones, and swarm under me. That I may rest in the day of tribulation: that I may go up to our people that are girded.
I have heard, etc... Viz., the evils that are now coming upon the Israelites for their sins; and that shall come hereafter upon all impenitent sinners; and the foresight that I have of these miseries makes me willing to die, that I may be at rest, before this general tribulation comes, in which all good things shall be withdrawn from the wicked. Ibid. That I may go up to our people, etc... That I may join the happy company in the bosom of Abraham, that are girded, that is, prepared for their journey, by which they shall attend their Lord, when he shall ascend into heaven. To which high and happy place, my Jesus, that is, my Saviour, the great conqueror of death and hell, shall one day conduct me rejoicing and singing psalms of praise, ver. 18 and 19.
3:17. For the fig tree shall not blossom: and there shall be no spring in the vines. The labour of the olive tree shall fail: and the fields shall yield no food: the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls.
3:18. But I will rejoice in the Lord: and I will joy in God my Jesus.
3:19. The Lord God is my strength: and he will make my feet like the feet of harts: and he the conqueror will lead me upon my high places singing psalms.
THE PROPHECY OF SOPHONIAS
SOPHONIAS, whose name, saith St. Jerome, signifies The Watchman of the Lord, or The hidden of the Lord, prophesied in the beginning of the reign of Josias. He was a native of Sarabatha, and of the tribe of Simeon, according to the more general opinion. He prophesied the punishments of the Jews, for their idolatry and other crimes; also the punishments that were to come on divers nations; the coming of Christ, the conversion of the Gentiles, the blindness of the Jews, and their conversion towards the end of the world.