Habakkuk 2:15
Woe to him that gives his neighbor drink, that put your bottle to him, and make him drunken also, that you may look on their nakedness!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15-17) Woe on the cruel invader who has made the world drink of the cup of wrath.

(15, 16) Woe unto him.—It is possible that wanton outrages committed by the debauched Babylonian soldiery in the hour of triumph are here meant. And this is in accordance with the mention of drunkenness as their special sin in Habakkuk 2:5. But we much prefer to treat the language as figurative. The invader has made his neighbours drink the cup of his cruel anger till they have reached the depths of shameful degradation. He, too, shall drink “of the cup of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 16:19; see also Psalm 76:8, Jeremiah 25:26, Lamentations 4:21); and then foul shame, as of a man stupefied with drink, shall take the place of glory and dignity.

Puttest thy bottle.—It is possible to render, pourest out thy wrath, and this makes the metaphor less obscure.

Habakkuk 2:15-16. Wo unto him that giveth his neighbour drink — By the metaphorical expressions used in this verse is signified the perfidy of Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans, who gained advantage over other nations by cunning arts of policy, and taking them off their guard by pretences of friendship, and the like; just as some men gain advantage over others by persuading them to drink too much. Thou art filled with shame for glory, &c. — Thy glory shall now be turned into shame. Perhaps this might be intended to signify the rejoicing of the nations at the downfall of the Chaldean empire. Drink thou also — Now it is come to thy turn to drink of the cup of God’s anger. Be thou also naked, as thou hast made others naked. All this is spoken in derision, or by way of mockery. The cup of the Lord’s right hand shall be turned unto thee — Or, upon thee; that is, thou shalt drink out the whole cup, or experience all the indignation of God. “Grotius justly observes, that these two verses contain an allegory. The Chaldeans gave to the neighbouring nations the cup of idolatry and of deceitful alliance, and in return they received from Jehovah the cup of his fury.” — Newcome.2:15-20 A severe woe is pronounced against drunkenness; it is very fearful against all who are guilty of drunkenness at any time, and in any place, from the stately palace to the paltry ale-house. To give one drink who is in want, who is thirsty and poor, or a weary traveller, or ready to perish, is charity; but to give a neighbour drink, that he may expose himself, may disclose secret concerns, or be drawn into a bad bargain, or for any such purpose, this is wickedness. To be guilty of this sin, to take pleasure in it, is to do what we can towards the murder both of soul and body. There is woe to him, and punishment answering to the sin. The folly of worshipping idols is exposed. The Lord is in his holy temple in heaven, where we have access to him in the way he has appointed. May we welcome his salvation, and worship him in his earthly temples, through Christ Jesus, and by the influence of the Holy Spirit.From cruelty the prophet goes on to denounce the woe on insolence. "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor" (to whom he owes love) drink (literally, that maketh him drink); that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also , that thou mayest look (gaze with devilish pleasure) on their nakedness." This may either be of actual insults (as in the history of Noah), in keeping certainly with the character of the later Babylonians, the last wantonness of unbridled power, making vile sport of those like himself (his neighbor), or it may be drunkenness through misery Isaiah 29:9 wherein they are bared of all their glory and brought to the lowest shame. The woe also falls on all, who in any way intoxicate others with flattering words or reigned affection, mixing poison under things pleasant, to bring them to shame. 15. giveth … neighbour drink … puttest … bottle to him—literally, "skin," as the Easterns use "bottles" of skin for wine. Maurer, from a different Hebrew root, translates, "that pourest in thy wrath." English Version keeps up the metaphor better. It is not enough for thee to be "drunken" thyself, unless thou canst lead others into the same state. The thing meant is, that the Chaldean king, with his insatiable desires (a kind of intoxication), allured neighboring states into the same mad thirst for war to obtain booty, and then at last exposed them to loss and shame (compare Isa 51:17; Ob 16). An appropriate image of Babylon, which at last fell during a drunken revel (Da 5:1-31).

that thou mayest look on their nakedness!—with light, like Ham of old (Ge 9:22).

Another public and crying sin of this Chaldean kingdom was excessive drinking, and making one another drunk, and for this God will severely punish.

Puttest thy bottle to him; forcing them by importunity or threats to drink by greater measures then they can bear.

Makest him drunken also; never givest over till thou hast made him vile and loathsome, as well as senseless in his drink.

That thou mayest look on their nakedness; designing to put the greatest abuse on them, exposing them to view, scorn, and derision, or to beastly or not to be named uncleanness, which vice the Babylonians are charged with by Herodotus and Ctesias.

Another public and crying sin of this Chaldean kingdom was excessive drinking, and making one another drunk, and for this God will severely punish.

Puttest thy bottle to him; forcing them by importunity or threats to drink by greater measures then they can bear.

Makest him drunken also; never givest over till thou hast made him vile and loathsome, as well as senseless in his drink.

That thou mayest look on their nakedness; designing to put the greatest abuse on them, exposing them to view, scorn, and derision, or to beastly or not to be named uncleanness, which vice the Babylonians are charged with by Herodotus and Ctesias. Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink,.... Before the full accomplishment of the above prophecy concerning the abundance of the knowledge of the Lord in the earth, and before the utter destruction of antichrist; between that and the Reformation, when it had its fulfilment in part; the following practices inveighed against would be used, as we find they are, and for which the man of sin and his followers will be punished: one of which is expressed by a man's "giving his neighbour drink"; which is a commendable action, when drink is given to a person in want to quench his thirst, or in sorrowful and distressed circumstances to refresh and cheer him; but when this is done to intoxicate him, and draw him into uncleanness, it is an evil one; and which is the sense of the phrase here, as appears by the "woe" denounced, and by what follows; and is to be understood, not in a literal sense, but in a figurative one; and is expressive of the various artful methods and alluring ways used by the Papists, especially the Jesuits, after the Reformation, with the Protestants, to forsake their religion, and to draw them into the superstition and idolatry of the church of Rome; and which are in the New Testament signified by "the wine of her fornication", with which the kings, nations, and inhabitants of the earth, are made drunk, Revelation 17:2 crying up the devotion and religion of their church, its antiquity, purity, holiness, and unity; pretending great love to the souls of men, that they seek nothing but their spiritual good; promising them great advantages, temporal and spiritual, worldly riches and honour, and sure and certain salvation within the pale of their church, without which they say there is none; and by such means they have intoxicated many princes, kingdoms, and multitudes of people, since the Reformation; and have drawn them off from the profession of the Protestant religion, and brought them back to Popery again, as in Poland, Bohemia, Hungary, Germany, France, and other places; and these methods they are now taking in all Protestant countries, and in ours, and that with great success, as is notorious, and time will more abundantly show; but there is a "woe" lies against them for it:

that puttest thy bottle to him; giving him not only a glass or cup at a time, but a whole bottle to drink off at once, in order to inebriate him. The word is by some translated "thy gall", or "thy poison" (k); which fitly enough expresses the poisonous doctrines of the church of Rome, which men insensibly imbibe, infused in her wine of fornication, or drink in through the alluring and ensnaring methods taken. It properly signifies "heat" or "wrath". The Targum is,

"that pours it with heat, that he may drink, and be inebriated.''

The Syriac version is,

"woe to him that gives his neighbour to drink the dregs of fury.''

The words may be truly rendered, "adding thy wrath" (l); that is, to the alluring and enticing methods before mentioned, adding menaces, wrathful words, and furious persecutions: and this the Papists do where they can; when good words and fair speeches will not prevail, and they can not gain over proselytes with flattery, deceit, and lying, they threaten them with racks and tortures, with prisons and galleys, and death itself in various shapes, to force men into their communion; and which they have put in execution in many places, in Bohemia, Hungary, and in France even to this day; and this is what in the New Testament is called "the wine of the wrath of her fornication", Revelation 14:8,

and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! as Ham did on his father's nakedness when in such circumstances: all the above methods are taken in order to intoxicate them, deprive them of the use of their reason, as is the case of a drunken man; and so bring them to believe, with an implicit faith, as the church believes; to believe things contrary to reason; to give into the spiritual whoredom and idolatry of that church, as men when drunk are easily drawn into uncleanness; to cast off their profession of the true religion, as a garment is cast off, as men when drunk are apt to do; and particularly to reject the doctrine of justification by the righteousness of Christ, which is the only robe to cover the nakedness of men, and receive the doctrine of merit and justification by works; in short, to apostatize wholly from the religion they have professed, and join in communion with the whore of Rome, that so they may look upon their apostasy, which is their nakedness, with the utmost pleasure and delight.

(k) "venenum tuum", Montanus; so some in Drusius, and R. Jonah in Ben Melech. (l) "adjugenti, sive adhibenti furorem tuum", Tigurine version.

Woe to him that giveth his neighbour {m} drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunk also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!

(m) He reproaches by this the king of Babylon, who as he was drunken with covetousness and cruelty, so he provoked others to the same, and inflamed them by his madness, and so in the end brought them to shame.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15–17. Fourth woe: his contemptuous humiliation of prostrate potentates and nations

15. The helplessness of the nations before the power or the craft of the Chaldean and his contemptuous treatment of them when subject to him is represented under the figure of giving one to drink to intoxication and then making brutal merriment over the exposure of his nakedness (Genesis 9:21).

That puttest thy bottle to him] As the text stands the verse reads: Woe to him that giveth his neighbour drink, mixing therewith (or, adding thereto) thy wrath, and makest him drunken also. The idea would be, not that the wrath was the drink, but only mixed with it or added to it (1 Samuel 2:36; Isaiah 14:1). This is not natural. A.V. “bottle” (Genesis 21:14) is in Heb. a word similar to “wrath,” and might be read if the vowel points were altered, but its use is quite improbable. The ancient “bottle,” being a wine-skin, would not suggest the figure. Wellh. makes the ingenious conjecture that the term “mixing,” or adding to, has arisen by accidental repetition of a letter, and that its true sense is “from the cup” (Zechariah 12:2)—Woe to him that giveth his neighbour drink from the cup of his (lit. thy) wrath, and makest him drunken also.Verses 15-17. - § 11. The fourth woe: for base and degrading treatment of subject nations. Verse 15. - Not only do the Chaldeans oppress and pillage the peoples, but they expose them to the vilest derision and contumely. The prophet uses figures taken from the conduct produced by intemperance. That giveth his neighbour drink. The Chaldeans behaved to the conquered nations like one who gives his neighbour intoxicating drink to stupefy his faculties and expose him to shame (comp. ver. 5). The literal drunkenness of the Chaldeans is not the point here. That puttest thy bottle to him. If this translation is received, the clause is merely a strengthened repetition of the preceding with a sudden change of person. But it may be rendered, "pouring out, or mixing, thy fury," or, as Jerome, "mittens fel suum," "adding thy poison thereto." This last version seems most suitable, introducing a kind of climax, the "poison" being some drug added to increase the intoxicating power. Thus: he gives his neighbour drink, and this drugged, and in the end makes him drunken also. For the second clause the Septuagint gives, ἀνατροπῇ θολερᾷ, subversione turbida and the versions collected by Jerome are only unanimous in differing from one another That thou mayest look on their nakedness. There seems to be an allusion to the case of Noah (Genesis 9:21, etc.); but the figure is meant to show the abject state to which the conquered nations were reduced, when, prostrated by fraud and treachery, they were mocked and spurned and covered with ignominy (comp. Nahum 3:5, 11). So the mystic Babylon is said to have made the nations drink of her cup (Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:2; Revelation 18:3). In the second strophe, Micah turns from the godless princes and judges to the prophets who lead the people astray, with whom he contrasts the true prophets and their ways. Micah 3:5. Thus saith Jehovah concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who bite with their teeth, and preach peace; and whoever should put nothing into their mouths, against him they sanctify war. Micah 3:6. Therefore night to you because of the visions, and darkness to you because of the soothsaying! and the sun will set over the prophets, and the day blacken itself over them. Micah 3:7. And the seers will be ashamed, and the soothsayers blush, and all cover their beard, because (there is) no answer of God. Micah 3:8. But I, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of Jehovah, and with judgment and strength, to show to Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin." As the first strophe attaches itself to Micah 2:1-2, so does the second to Micah 2:6 and Micah 2:11, carrying out still further what is there affirmed concerning the false prophets. Micah describes them as people who predict peace and prosperity for a morsel of bread, and thereby lead the people astray, setting before them prosperity and salvation, instead of preaching repentance to them, by charging them with their sins. Thus they became accomplices of the wicked rulers, with whom they are therefore classed in Micah 3:11, together with the wicked priests. המּתעים, leading astray (cf. Isaiah 3:12; Isaiah 9:15) my people, namely, by failing to charge them with their sins, and preach repentance, as the true prophets do, and predicting prosperity for bread and payment. The words, "who bite with their teeth," are to be connected closely with the next clause, "and they preach peace," in the sense of "who preach peace if they can bite with their teeth," i.e., if they receive something to bite (or eat). This explanation, which has already been expressed by the Chaldee, is necessarily required by the antithesis, "but whoever puts nothing into their mouth," i.e., gives them nothing to eat, notwithstanding the fact that in other passages nâshakh only signifies to bite, in the sense of to wound, and is the word generally applied to the bite of a snake (Amos 5:19; Genesis 49:17; Numbers 21:6, Numbers 21:8). If, however, we understand the biting with the teeth as a figurative representation of the words of the prophets who always preach prosperity, and of the injury they do to the real welfare of the people (Ros., Casp., and others), the obvious antithesis of the two double clauses of Micah 3:5 is totally destroyed. The harsh expression, to "bite with the teeth," in the sense of "to eat," is perfectly in harmony with the harsh words of Micah 3:2 and Micah 3:3. Qiddēsh milchâmâh, to sanctify war, i.e., to preach a holy war (cf. Joel 3:9), or, in reality, to proclaim the vengeance of God. For this shall night and darkness burst upon them. Night and darkness denote primarily the calamity which would come upon the false prophets (unto you) in connection with the judgment (Micah 2:4). The sun which sets to them is the sun of salvation or prosperity (Amos 8:9; Jeremiah 15:9); and the day which becomes black over them is the day of judgment, which is darkness, and not light (Amos 5:18). This calamity is heightened by the fact that they will then stand ashamed, because their own former prophecies are thereby proved to be lies, and fresh, true prophecies fail them, because God gives no answer. "Convicted by the result, they are thus utterly put to shame, because God does not help them out of their trouble by any word of revelation" (Hitzig). Bōsh, to be ashamed, when connected with châphēr (cf. Jeremiah 15:9; Psalm 35:26., etc.), signifies to become pale with shame; châphēr, to blush, with min causae, to denote the thing of which a man is ashamed. Qōsemı̄m (diviners) alternates with chōzı̄m (seers), because these false prophets had no visions of God, but only divinations out of their own hearts. ‛Atâh sâphâm: to cover the beard, i.e., to cover the face up to the nose, is a sign of mourning (Leviticus 13:45), here of trouble and shame (cf. Ezekiel 24:17), and is really equivalent to covering the head (Jeremiah 14:4; Esther 6:12). Ma‛ănēh, the construct state of the substantive, but in the sense of the participle; some codd. have indeed מענה. In Micah 3:8 Micah contrasts himself and his own doings with these false prophets, as being filled with power by the Spirit of Jehovah (i.e., through His assistance) and with judgment. Mishpât, governed by מלא, is the divine justice which the prophet has to proclaim, and gebhūrâh strength, manliness, to hold up before the people their sins and the justice of God. In this divine strength he can and must declare their unrighteousness to all ranks of the people, and predict the punishment of God (Micah 3:9-12).
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