Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
THE PROPHECY OF HABACUC.
Habacuc was a native of Bezocher, and prophesied in Juda some time before the invasion of the Chaldeans, which he foretold. He lived to see this prophecy fulfilled, and for many years after, according to the general opinion, which supposes him to be the same that was brought by the angel to Daniel, in Babylon, Daniel xvi. (Challoner) --- He might very well live to see the captives return, as only sixty-six years elapsed from the first of Joakim, when he began to prophesy, till that event. He retired at the approach of the Chaldeans, and afterwards employed himself in agricultural pursuits. (Calmet) --- The sins of Juda, the coming of the Chaldeans, and the relaxation of the captivity are specified; and in the canticle, the appearance of Christ, the last judgment and eternity, (Worthington) are mentioned in the most sublime style. (Haydock)
Burden. Such prophecies more especially are called burdens, as threaten grievous evils and punishments. (Challoner) --- He says not against whom, because the menace is directed to persecutors in general. (Worthington)
Save. Some think that he expresses the sentiments of the weak, like David, (Psalms lxxii. 2.) or what he had formerly entertained. The language of the prophets is very bold, Exodus xxxii. 32., Job iii. 3., Jeremias xx. 14., and Jonas iv. 8. (Calmet)
Opposition. Septuagint, "the judge receives" bribes. (Haydock) --- Such was the state of Juda after Josias, Jeremias xxi. 12.
Among. Septuagint ye despisers. St. Paul nearly agrees with this version, Acts xiii. 41. The copies vary, as the Hebrew has done. (Calmet) --- The apostle gives the mystical sense; the literal is very obscure. (Worthington) --- God answers the prophet's complaints, and shews that the Chaldeans shall punish the guilty, and afterwards be themselves chastised.
Chaldeans. Nabuchodonosor was the first of this nation who attacked Joakim, and having conquered all as far as the Nile, returned to succeed Nabopolassar. He afterwards came upon Jechonias and Sedecias, &c. The prophet might have all this in view, particularly the first invasion. (Calmet) --- Bitter; warlike, as all the Greek historians remark. (St. Jerome) --- The Chaldeans were not yet arrived at such greatness, and of course this is not the Habacuc specified [in] Daniel xiv. (Worthington) --- Yet the same prophet might foresee it. (Haydock)
Proceed. They admit no authority but their own. (Calmet) --- This pride will prove their ruin. (Haydock)
Leopards: the swiftest quadrupeds. (Calmet) --- The horses near the Euphrates were swift and warlike. (Oppian.) --- Swifter. Hebrew, "sharper" (Haydock) in seeing, even when there is no moon. (Elian x. 26.) --- Evening. Septuagint, "Arabian." (Haydock) --- It may denote the hyena of that country, which is most terrible. (Guevar.)
Burning. Hebrew also, "eastern," which is hot, and raises the sand of Arabia so as to be very detrimental. (Calmet) --- Out of 2,000 travellers from Mecca to Aleppo, only twenty-nine escaped such a storm, or kamsin, in that vast desert, August 23, 1813. (Rock. 312.) (Haydock) --- Sand, from various countries, Isaias xx. 4. (Berosus cited [by Josephus,] contra Apion i.)
Prince, or "it," the nation, ver. 10. Hebrew, "They," &c. --- Laughingstock, (ridicule.) Nabuchodonosor raised or deposed princes as in jest. (Haydock) --- Sennacherib's officers were or had been kings, Isaias x. 8. --- Mount. Thus cities were chiefly taken, Ezechiel iv. 1. (Calmet)
Spirit; viz., the spirit of the king of Babylon. It alludes to the judgment of God upon Nabuchodonosor, recorded [in] Daniel iv., and to the speedy fall of the Chaldean empire. (Challoner) --- It shall yield to the Medes, &c., after conquering the Assyrians. (Worthington) --- Fall. Hebrew, "sin." Septuagint, "obtain pardon." --- God: "idol," Chaldean. "This is the strength of my God," Septuagint. God forced the proud king to confess that his great exploits were not to be attributed to himself or to idols. (Haydock)
Die? We hope that this scourge will not entirely ruin us. --- Correction, like Pharao, Exodus ix. 16.
Look, with approbation (Calmet) or connivance.
Ruler. People are subdued by Nabuchodouosor. (Haydock) --- They make little resistance. (Calmet)
Drag, adoring his own arms and prowess, (Sanct.) like Mezentius and Capaneus:------ Dextra mihi Deus, (Virgil, Æneid x.)
Te voco, te solum, superum contemptor, adoro. (Stat. x.)
--- Guevare thinks fishes were adored, as they were among the Syrians. Nabuchodonosor attributed all to his own genius, or to Bel, whose statue he set up, Daniel iii. (Calmet) --- Victorious nations thus honour themselves and not God.
Nations, of every country. (Worthington) --- Few have been so much addicted to war as Nabuchodonosor. (Calmet)