English Standard Version
Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen.
King James Bible
And the LORD shewed me four carpenters.
American Standard Version
And Jehovah showed me four smiths.
And the Lord shewed me four smiths.
English Revised Version
And the LORD shewed me four smiths.
Webster's Bible Translation
And the LORD showed me four carpenters.
Zechariah 1:20 Parallel
CommentaryKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
Habakkuk 2:1-3 form the introduction to the word of God, which the prophet receives in reply to his cry of lamentation addressed to the Lord in Habakkuk 1:12-17. Habakkuk 2:1. "I will stand upon my watchtower, and station myself upon the fortress, and will watch to see what He will say in me, and what I answer to my complaint. Habakkuk 2:2. Then Jehovah answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon the tables, that he may run who reads it. Habakkuk 2:3. For the vision is yet fore the appointed end, and strives after the end, and does not lie: if it tarry, wait for it; for it will come, it does not fail." Habakkuk 2:1 contains the prophet's conversation with himself. After he has poured out his trouble at the judgment announced, in a lamentation to the Lord (Habakkuk 1:12-17), he encourages himself - after a pause, which we have to imagine after Habakkuk 1:17 - to wait for the answer from God. He resolves to place himself upon his observatory, and look out for the revelation which the Lord will give to his questions. Mishmereth, a place of waiting or observing; mâtsōr, a fortress, i.e., a watch-tower or spying-tower. Standing upon the watch, and stationing himself upon the fortification, are not to be understood as something external, as Hitzig supposes, implying that the prophet went up to a steep and lofty place, or to an actual tower, that he might be far away from the noise and bustle of men, and there turn his eyes towards heaven, and direct his collected mind towards God, to look out for a revelation. For nothing is known of any such custom as this, since the cases mentioned in Exodus 33:21 and 1 Kings 19:11, as extraordinary preparations for God to reveal Himself, are of a totally different kind from this; and the fact that Balaam the soothsayer went up to the top of a bare height, to look out for a revelation from God (Numbers 23:3), furnishes not proof that the true prophets of Jehovah did the same, but is rather a heathenish feature, which shows that it was because Balaam did not rejoice in the possession of a firm prophetic word, that he looked out for revelations from God in significant phenomena of nature (see at Numbers 23:3-4). The words of our verse are to be taken figuratively, or internally, like the appointment of the watchman in Isaiah 21:6. The figure is taken from the custom of ascending high places for the purpose of looking into the distance (2 Kings 9:17; 2 Samuel 18:24), and simply expresses the spiritual preparation of the prophet's soul for hearing the word of God within, i.e., the collecting of his mind by quietly entering into himself, and meditating upon the word and testimonies of God. Cyril and Calvin bring out the first idea. Thus the latter observes, that "the watch-tower is the recesses of the mind, where we withdraw ourselves from the world;" and then adds by way of explanation, "The prophet, under the name of the watch-tower, implies that he extricates himself as it were from the thoughts of the flesh, because there would be no end or measure, if he wished to judge according to his own perception;" whilst others find in it nothing more than firm continuance in reliance upon the word of God.
(Note: Theodoret very appropriately compares the words of Asaph in Psalm 73:16., "When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me, until I entered into the sanctuaries of God, and gave heed to their end;" and observes, "And there, says the prophet, will I remain as appointed, and not leave my post, but, standing upon such a rock as that upon which God placed great Moses, watch with a prophet's eyes for the solution of the things that Iseek.")
Tsippâh, to spy or watch, to wait for the answer from God. "This watching was lively and assiduous diligence on the part of the prophet, in carefully observing everything that took place in the spirit of his mind, and presented itself either to be seen or heard" (Burk). ידבּר־בּי, to speak in me, not merely to or with me; since the speaking of God to the prophets was an internal speaking, and not one that was perceptible from without. What I shall answer to my complaint (‛al tōkhachtı̄), namely, first of all to myself and then to the rest. Tōkhachath, lit., correction, contradiction. Habakkuk refers to the complaint which he raised against God in Habakkuk 1:13-17, namely, that He let the wicked go on unpunished. He will wait for an answer from God to this complaint, to quiet his own heart, which is dissatisfied with the divine administration. Thus he draws a sharp distinction between his own speaking and the speaking of the Spirit of God within him. Jehovah gives the answer in what follows, first of all (Habakkuk 2:2, Habakkuk 2:3) commanding him to write the vision (châzōn, the revelation from God to be received by inward intuition) upon tables, so clearly, that men may be able to read it in running, i.e., quite easily.
בּאר as in Deuteronomy 27:8; see at Deuteronomy 1:5. The article attached to הלּחות does not point to the tables set up in the market-places for public notices to be written upon (Ewald), but simply means, make it clear on the tables on which thou shalt write it, referring to the noun implied in כּתב (write), though not expressed (Delitzsch). קורא בו may be explained from קרא בּספר in Jeremiah 36:13. The question is a disputed one, whether this command is to be understood literally or merely figuratively, "simply denoting the great importance of the prophecy, and the consequent necessity for it to be made accessible to the whole nation" (Hengstenberg, Dissertation, vol. i. p. 460). The passages quoted in support of the literal view, i.e., of the actual writing of the prophecy which follows upon tables, viz., Isaiah 8:1; Isaiah 30:8, and Jeremiah 30:2, are not decisive. In Jeremiah 30:2 the prophet is commanded to write all the words of the Lord in a book (sēpher); and so again in Isaiah 30:8, if כּתבהּ על־לוּח is synonymous with על־ספר חקּהּ. But in Isaiah 8:1 there are only two significant words, which the prophet is to write upon a large table after having taken witnesses. It does not follow from either of these passages, that luchōth, tables, say wooden tables, had been already bound together into books among the Hebrews, so that we could be warranted in identifying the writing plainly upon tables with writing in a book. We therefore prefer the figurative view, just as in the case of the command issued to Daniel, to shut up his prophecy and seal it (Daniel 12:4), inasmuch as the literal interpretation of the command, especially of the last words, would require that the table should be set up or hung out in some public place, and this cannot for a moment be thought of. The words simply express the thought, that the prophecy is to be laid to heart by all the people on account of its great importance, and that not merely in the present, but in the future also. This no doubt involved the obligation on the part of the prophet to take care, by committing it to writing, that it did not fall into oblivion. The reason for the writing is given in Habakkuk 2:3. The prophecy is למּועד, for the appointed time; i.e., it relates to the period fixed by God for its realization, which was then still (עוד) far off. ל denotes direction towards a certain point either of place or time. The vision had a direction towards a point, which, when looked at from the present, was still in the future. This goal was the end (הקּץ towards which it hastened, i.e., the "last time" (מועד קץ, Daniel 8:19; and עת קץ, Daniel 8:17; Daniel 11:35), the Messianic times, in which the judgment would fall upon the power of the world. יפח לקּץ, it pants for the end, inhiat fini, i.e., it strives to reach the end, to which it refers. "True prophecy is inspired, as it were, by an impulse to fulfil itself" (Hitzig). יפח is not an adjective, as in Psalm 27:12, but the third pers. imperf. hiphil of pūăch; and the contracted form (יפח for יפיח), without a voluntative meaning, is the same as we frequently meet with in the loftier style of composition. ולא יכזּב, "and does not deceive," i.e., will assuredly take place. If it (the vision) tarry, i.e., be not fulfilled immediately, wait for it, for it will surely take place (the inf. abs. בּוא to add force, and בּוא applying to the fulfilment of the prophecy, as in 1 Samuel 9:6 and Jeremiah 28:9), will not fail; אחר, to remain behind, not to arrive (Judges 5:28; 2 Samuel 20:5).
(Note: The lxx have rendered כּי בא יבא, ὅτι ἐρχόμενος ἥξει, which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 10:37) has still further defined by adding the article, and, connecting it with μικρὸν ὅσον ὅσον of Isaiah 26:20 (lxx), has taken it as Messianic, and applied to the speedy coming of the Messiah to judgment; not, however, according to the exact meaning of the words, but according to the fundamental idea of the prophetic announcement. For the vision, the certain fulfilment of which is proclaimed by Habakkuk, predicts the judgment upon the power of the world, which the Messiah will bring to completion.)
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.
Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy;
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