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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Habakkuk 1:16

 

 

Therefore they offer a sacrifice to their net And burn incense to their fishing net; Because through these things their catch is large, And their food is plentiful.

Adam Clarke Commentary

They sacrifice unto their net - He had no God; he cared for none; and worshipped only his armor and himself. King Mezentius, one of the worst characters in the Aeneid of Virgil, is represented as invoking his own right hand and his spear in battle. Aen. 10:773.

Dextra mihi Deus, et telum quod missile libro, Nunc adsint.

"My strong right hand and sword, assert my stroke.

Those only gods Mezentius will invoke."

Dryden.

And Capaneus, in Statius, gives us a more decisive proof of this self-idolatry. Thebaid, lib. x.

Ades, O mihi dextera tantum

Tu praeses belli, et inevitabile Numen,

Te voco, te solum Superum contemptor adoro.

"Only thou, my right hand, be my aid; I contemn the gods, and adore thee as the chief in battle, and the irresistible deity."

The poet tells us that, for his impiety, Jupiter slew him with thunder.

This was an ancient idolatry in this country, and has existed till within about a century. There are relics of it in different parts of Europe; for when military men bind themselves to accomplish any particular purpose, it is usual to lay their hand upon their sword: but formerly they kissed it, when swearing by it. With most heroes, the sword is both their Bible and their God. To the present day it is a custom among the Hindoos annually to worship the implements of their trades. See Ward.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/habakkuk-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag - literally he sacrifices unto his, etc. Whatever a man trusts in is his god. If a man relies to compass his end by his strength, or his wisdom, or his forethought, or his wealth, his armies or navies, these his forces are his God. So the Assyrian said Isaiah 10:13, Isaiah 10:15, “By the strength of my hand I did it; and by my wisdom, for I am prudent;” and God answered, “Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith?” The coarse forms of idolatry only embody outwardly the deep inward idolatry of the corrupt human mind. The idol is Ezekiel 14:4 “set up in the heart” first. There have not indeed been lacking savage nations, who in very deed worshiped their arms; those of old worshiped spears as immortal gods; Even now we are told of some North American Indians “who designate their bow and arrow as the only beneficent deities whom they know.”

Among the civilized Romans, the worship of the eagles, their standards to whom they did sacrifice, was no other nor better. The inward idolatry is only a more subtle form of the same sin, the evil spirit which shapes itself in the outward show. Here the idolatry of self is meant, which did not join creatures with God as objects of worship; but denying, Him in practice or misbelief, became aged to itself. So Habakkuk had said, this his strength is his God. His idol was himself.

Because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous - literally, is in the English margin, well-fed). All the choicest things of the world stood at his command, as Nebuchadnezzar boasted (Daniel 4:30, compare 22), and all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, all the knowledge and wisdom and learning of the world, and the whole world itself, were Satan‘s lawful prey Luke 4:6; John 12:31; Isaiah 49:24 Cyril: “Nebuchadnezzar, as by a hook and meshes and line, swept into his own land both Israel himself and other nations, encompassing them. Satan, as it were, by one line and net, that of sin, enclosed all, and Israel especially, on account of his impiety to Christ. “His food was choice.” For Israel was chosen above the rest, as from a holy root, that of the fathers, and having the “law as a schoolmaster,” and being called to the knowledge of the one true God. Yet he, having this glory and grace, was taken with the rest. They became his prey by error; but Israel, knowing Him who is by nature God, in an ungodly manner, slaying Him who was by nature His Begotten Son and who came as Man, were taken in his nets.”


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/habakkuk-1.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Habakkuk 1:16

Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense to their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.

Self-worship

Nebuchadnezzar is here represented as gathering the people into his net, and then, forgetting that he was only an instrument, doing homage to his own power and skill, as though they had won for him the victory.

1. The most numerous illustrations of this spirit are those which may be found in the conduct of our secular work. The ungodliness of the daily life of men is a fact too manifest to be disputed. They see in every increase of their wealth and power a fresh evidence of their skill and strength; and, intoxicated with pride or vanity, burn incense only to their own net. Among those who bear the Christian name there are evidences only too palpable of its presence and power, now prone are we, in secular matters, to forget the relation in which we stand to God. The precept, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him,” is either wholly ignored, or its application restricted to special spiritual exercises and duties. We need a more thorough and pervading sense of God’s presence, and our reliance on Him to penetrate our lives. The danger is one to which we are specially liable in an age when the science and industry of man have achieved so much. Science has unveiled so many secrets of nature that we begin to fancy that there is nothing so hidden that the same skill may not drag it from its retreat. It is not wonderful that man should deify intellect, and forgetful of Him from whom comes every talent, should ask, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built?” Everywhere, in fact, do we see men thus exalting themselves and their own wisdom. They would fain put God out of His own world, by enthroning man in His place. To correct these godless views of life, God, from time to time, sends us solemn and emphatic warnings of His power and our dependence. The wise hear the rod, and who hath appointed it. Judgment instructs those whom the gentler voice of mercy did not reach.

2. Mark the development of this spirit in our spiritual life. Much apparently Christian service would not abide the Master’s test, because so much of this earthly element enters into the spirit by which it is inspired. Is there not too often a disposition to trust in the wisdom of our plans and the efficiency of our instruments, rather than in that blessing which alone can make rich? Self-reliance, self-conceit, self-exaltation, self-seeking, self-worship, are evils that intrude even into religious institutions.

(1) This spirit may reveal itself in the motives that induce activity in the service of the Church. Love to Christ is the only true and enduring motive of all Christian labour. But we may work to extend our party rather than to glorify God. There is danger in mere sectional attachments. Our motives may be more directly personal. We may labour only to gratify our own ambition or fancy. Our vanity may be pleased by the rich incense of flattery. Our desire for power may be gratified by the influence we gain over other men. There are tests which we may all employ with advantage to prove the character of our work.

(2) The spirit displays itself in regard to the modes of Christian labour. There are two opposite extremes against which we have to guard. There are not a few who are crying out for a new Gospel. There are those who are sticklers not only for truth, but for the very phrases in which it is set forth. These two parties are wide as the poles asunder, yet they agree in this--they are both burning incense to their own net.

(3) This spirit may reveal itself in the way in which we regard the results of Christian labour. In the hour of success we think more of the efficiency of the instrument than of the grace of the Divine Spirit. The greatest talent is insufficient if alone. We want all the power that Christians possess sanctified to Christ. We want to see the most perfect instrumentality, but we want something beyond that. There is no real power unless the Spirit of God be in our midst. (J. Guinness Rogers, D. D.)

The worship of the net

The word “drag” simply means a large fishing net. The bold metaphor of the text is that of a fisherman whose mind is so overborne by the large draughts of fish which he is continually taking that he begins actually to worship those nets which are the instruments of such wonderful success. The prophet is portraying the condition of the Babylonian Empire. It had been swallowing up the smaller nations. Puffed up by its military successes, it had sunk into a condition of practical atheism. They came to worship the resources which they had at their disposal. They paid homage to material power. In answer to his prayer the prophet receives a vision of judgment. Haughty, idolatrous Babylon will not continue for ever. They worshipped the net; they would be captured by the net of another military empire. The sin of man keeps repeating itself throughout the ages. Notwithstanding all the lessons of the past, there are still multitudes who forget the living God. They seek their own gratification and aggrandisement. When they are successful they are puffed up with pride. They boast themselves of the means and methods which have been the instruments of their success. Let us be thankful that the righteousness of God keeps repeating itself too. The principles of the Divine government are eternal. God was in the history of old Judaea and Assyria, but He is also in the history of every nation of modern Europe. His providence must not be left out of human calculations. Have we in England learnt the lesson that only “righteousness” can really and permanently exalt any nation? How prone are we to magnify the instruments of our national greatness! We worship rank, wealth, intellect, business. But God is not mocked, and in many ways He breaks men’s idols before their eyes. (T. Campbell Finlayson.)

The idolatry of work

In our times the idolatry of work has replaced the thirst for wisdom; there is no time to fill the treasure-house, and there is no time to dispense its stores. The consequences of this sort of life are sufficiently mischievous before we bring in on it the light of Christ and the Gospel. What was our Lord’s teaching in correction of this tendency to an idol-worship of work? He taught that work is not an end, but a means. It may be fruitful or unfruitful, stopping with itself, or producing something. It is essentially of two kinds--it may begin with itself, or it may have a beginning behind it; it may be (so to say) its own life, or it may be the manifestation of a life prior and ancient. Not the work, but the workman, is the all-important thing. All depends, not upon what the man wrought, but upon what he was. (C. J. Vaughan, D. D.)

Self-conceit

The over-estimate of one’s capabilities and powers, and the depreciation of the capabilities and Dowers of all other people. Self-knowledge is not self-conceit. Nor is the right and diligent use of the talents with which God has entrusted us any indication of self-conceit. Illustration-The principle contained in the words, “They sacrifice unto their own net,” etc.

I. Men do this when they attribute their temporal prosperity to their own skill and energy, and not to God. Wealth may, or may not, be a proof of skill and industry. Self-reliance is a noble quality; it is different from self-sufficiency. But we are dependent upon God.

II. When they attribute the discoveries of science and the inventions that have benefited the world to the human intellect and not to God. Man’s discoveries are God’s revelations.

III. When they attribute the prosperity of a country to any other source than to God. Patriotism is a virtue. Our prosperity may be ascribed to different causes. Let us honour God; let not our pride weaken us.

IV. In their treatment of God’s merciful revelation to the world.

V. When they depend for the spread of God’s rule on human plans and organisations, and not on the blessing of the highest. “The excellency of the power is of God.” Without God’s presence and blessing all that we do is in vain. (James Owen.)

Conceit born of success

This passage discovers to us the secret impiety of all those who do not serve God sincerely and with an honest mind. There is, indeed, imprinted on the hearts of men a certain conviction respecting the existence of a God; for none are so barbarous as not to have some sense of religion; and thus all are rendered inexcusable, as they carry in their hearts a law which is sufficient to make them a thousand times guilty. But at the same time the ungodly, and those who are not illuminated by faith, bury this knowledge, for they are enveloped in themselves; and when some recollection of God creeps in, they are at first impressed, and ascribe some honour to him; but this is evanescent, for they soon suppress it as much as they can; yea, they even strive to extinguish (though they cannot) this knowledge, and whatever light they have from heaven. This is what the prophet now graphically sets forth in the person of the Assyrian king. He had before said, “This power is that of his God.” He had complained that the Assyrians would give to their idols what was peculiar to God alone, and thus deprive Him of His right; but he says now, that they would “sacrifice to their own drag, and offer incense to their net.” This is a very different thing; for how could they sacrifice to their idols if they ascribed to their drag whatever victories they gained? Now by the words “drag” and “net” the prophet means their efforts, strength, forces, power, councils, and policies, as they call them, and whatever else there be which profane men arrogate to themselves. But what is it to sacrifice to their own net? The Assyrian did this, because he thought he surpassed all others in craftiness; because he thought himself so courageous as not to hesitate to make war with all nations, regarding himself as well prepared with forces, and justified in his proceedings; and because he became successful, and omitted nothing calculated to ensure victory. Thus the Assyrian regarded as nothing his idols; for he put himself in the place of all his gods. But if it be asked, whence came his success? we must answer, that the Assyrian ought to have ascribed it all to the one true God; but he thought that he prospered through his own valour. If we refer to counsel, it is certain that God is He who governs the counsels and minds of men; but the Assyrian thought he gained everything by his own skill. If, again, we speak of strength, whence is it? And of courage, whence is it but from God? But the Assyrian appropriated all these things to himself. What regard, then, had he for God? We see how he now takes away all honour even from his own idols, and attributes everything to himself. But this sin belongs to all the ungodly; for where God’s Spirit does not reign there is no humility, and men ever swell with inward pride until God thoroughly Cleanse them. It is, then, necessary that God should empty us by His special grace, that we may not be filled with this Satanic pride, which is innate, and which cannot by any means be shaken off by us until the Lord regenerates us by His Spirit. God cannot be really glorified except when men wholly empty themselves. (John Calvin.)

Sacrificing to the net

There is a curious passage in the prophecy of Habakkuk which speaks of fishermen who “sacrifice to their net, and burn incense to their drag.” I think that sometimes very true and earnest Christians are in danger of doing that. They almost worship the visible Church, which, after all, is only a net “to catch men” for Christ. They delight in its historic character. They glory in its apostolic order. They venerate every feature of its organic structure. In one word, it becomes no more a spiritual Church, but a kingdom of this world. But by and by a terrible shock shakes them like an earthquake. Some iniquity appears in Zion. Wickedness shelters itself under the robes of piety. Political scheming creeps into ecclesiastical councils. The very law of the Church is made an instrument of oppression. They stand confounded and amazed. What means it all? Why, it means just this, that Christ is telling you that no earthly kingdom is the Church of Christ. This is not your rest. The marriage supper of the Lamb is not in the poor feast of a visible Church. The “New Jerusalem” is not yet let down from God Out of heaven. (Bishop Cheney.)
.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Habakkuk 1:16". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/habakkuk-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Therefore, he sacrificeth unto his net, and burneth incense unto his drag; because by them his portion is fat, and his food plenteous."

Most of the commentators suppose that this language is altogether metaphorical, as is the preceding verse. "It means that the Babylonians recognized not God's hand, but attributed their success to the means which they employed... There is no evidence in Chaldean monuments of their paying divine honors to weapons, etc."[31] Any person, or any people, who trust not in God, but attribute all of their success, wealth, and prosperity to their system of government, their fertile lands, their natural resources, their powerful armies, their great armaments, their army navy, or airforce, or anything else that was given to them by the bounty of heaven or achieved by them through their intelligence and labors - all such persons are worshipping their nets and burning incense to their drags!


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/habakkuk-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag,.... Either to their idols, to fortune and the stars, as Aben Ezra; imagining they gave them success, and prospered them in the arts and methods they used: or to their arms, as the Targum; nor was it unusual with the Heathens to worship their spears, sacrifice to them, and swear by themF7Vid. Doughtaei Analect. Sacra, p. 494,495. . So Justin saysF8E Trogo, l. 43. c. 3,4. , originally the ancients worshipped spears for gods, in memory of whose religion spears are still added to the images of the gods. LucianF9In Jupiter Tragoedus. asserts that the Scythians sacrificed to a scimitar; and ArnobiusF11Adv. Gentes, l. 6. p. 232. says the same; and Ammianus MarcellinusF12Hist. l. 17. reports, that the Quadi worship their swords or daggers instead of gods; and that it was usual to swear by the spear is evident from othersF13 ομνυσι δ'ουιχμην, Aeschylus. . Or else the sense is, they sacrificed to their own valour and courage, skill and conduct.

Because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous: that is, by their angle, net, and drag; or by those things signified by them, the arts and methods they used to subdue nations, conquer kingdoms, and bring them into subjection to them; they enlarged their dominions, increased their riches and revenues, and had plenty of everything that was desirable for food and raiment, for pleasure and profit; or to gratify the most unbounded ambition, having everything that heart could wish for and desire: the allusion is to making sumptuous feasts, and rich banquets, on occasion of victories obtained.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/habakkuk-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Therefore they sacrifice to their m net, and burn incense to their drag; because by them their portion [is] fat, and their food plenteous.

(m) Meaning that the enemies flatter themselves, and glory in their own strength, power, and intellect.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/habakkuk-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

sacrifice unto their net — that is, their arms, power, and military skill, wherewith they gained their victories; instead of to God. Compare Habakkuk 1:11, Maurer‘s interpretation. They idolize themselves for their own cleverness and might (Deuteronomy 8:17; Isaiah 10:13; Isaiah 37:24, Isaiah 37:25).

by them — by their net and dragnet.

their portion — image from a banquet: the prey which they have gotten.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/habakkuk-1.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.

They sacrifice — Ascribe the praise of their victories.

Their net — To their own contrivances, diligence, and power.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/habakkuk-1.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

The Prophet confirms the closing sentence of the last verse; for he explains what that joy was of which he had spoken, even the joy by which the wicked, as it were, designedly provoke God against themselves. It is indeed an abominable thing when the ungodly take delight in their vices; but it is still more atrocious when they deride God himself. Such, then, is the account now added by the Prophet, as though he had said, “Not only do the ungodly felicitate themselves while thou sparest them, or for a time bearest with them; but they now rise up against thee and deride all thy majesty, and openly blaspheme against heaven itself; for they sacrifice to their own net, and offer incense to their drag.” By this metaphor the Prophet intimates, that the wicked do not only become hardened when they succeed in their vices, but that they also ascribe to themselves the praise of justice; for they consider that to be rightly done which has been attended with success. They thus dethrone God, and put themselves in his place. We now then see the Prophet’s meaning.

But this passage discovers to us the secret impiety of all those who do not serve God sincerely and with an honest mind. There is indeed imprinted on the hearts of men a certain conviction respecting the existence of a God; for none are so barbarous as not to have some sense of religion: and thus all are rendered inexcusable, as they carry in their hearts a law which is sufficient to make them a thousand times guilty. But at the same time the ungodly, and those who are not illuminated by faith, bury this knowledge, for they are enveloped in themselves: and when some recollection of God creeps in, they are at first impressed, and ascribe some honor to him; but this is evanescent, for they soon suppress it as much as they can; yea they even strive to extinguish (though they cannot) this knowledge and whatever light they have from heaven. This is what the Prophet now graphically sets forth in the person of the Assyrian king. He had before said, “This power is that of his God.” He had complained that the Assyrians would give to their idols what was peculiar to God alone, and thus deprive him of his right: but he says now, that they would sacrifice to their own drag, and offer incense to their net. This is a very different thing: for how could they sacrifice to their idols, if they ascribed to their drag whatever victories they had gained? Now, by the words drag and net, the Prophet means their efforts, strength, forces, power, counsels, and policies as they call them, and whatever else there be which profane men arrogate to themselves. But what is it to sacrifice to their own net? The Assyrian did this, because he thought that he surpassed all others in craftiness, because he thought himself so courageous as not to hesitate to make war with all nations, regarding himself well prepared with forces and justified in his proceedings; and because he became successful and omitted nothing calculated to ensure victory. Thus the Assyrian, as I have said, regarded as nothing his idols; for he put himself in the place of all the gods. But if it be asked whence came his success, we must answer, that the Assyrian ought to have ascribed it all to the one true God: but he thought that he prospered through his own valour. If we refer to counsel, it is certain that God is he who governs the counsels and minds of men; but the Assyrian thought that he gained everything by his own skill. If, again, we speak of strength, whence was it? and of courage, whence was it, but from God? but the Assyrian appropriated all these things to himself. What regard, then, had he for God? We see how he now takes away all honor even from his own idols, and attributes everything to himself.

But this sin, as I have already said, belongs to all the ungodly; for where God’s Spirit does not reign, there is no humility, and men ever swell with inward pride, until God thoroughly cleanse them. It is then necessary that God should empty us by his special grace, that we may not be filled with this satanic pride, which is innate, and which cannot by any means be shaken off by us, until the Lord regenerates us by his Spirit. And this may be seen especially in all the kings of this world. They indeed confess that kings rule through God’s grace; and then when they gain any victory, supplications are made, vows are paid. But were any one to say to those conquerors, “God had mercy on you,” the answer would be, “What! was then my preparation nothing? did I not provide many things beforehand? did I not attain the friendship of many? did I not form confederacies? did I not foresee such and such disadvantages? did I not opportunely provide a remedy?” In a word, they sacrifice apparently to God, but afterwards they have a regard mainly to their drag and their net, and make nothing of God. Well would it be were these things not so evident. But since the Spirit of God sets before us a lively image of the fact, let us learn what true humility is, and that we then only have this, when we think that we are nothing, and can do nothing, and that it is God alone who not only supports and continues us in life, but also governs us by his Spirit, and that it is he who sustains our hearts, gives courage, and then blesses us, so as to render prosperous what we may undertake. Let us hence learn that God cannot be really glorified, except when men wholly empty themselves.

He then adds, because in (or by) them is his fat portion and his rich meat. Though some render בראה, berae, choice meat, and others, fat meat, I yet prefer the meaning of rich. (22) His meat then will be rich. The Prophet intimates here that men are so blinded by prosperity that they sacrifice to themselves, and hence the more deserving of reproof is their ingratitude; for the more liberally God deals with us the more reason, no doubt, there is why we ought to glorify him. But when men, well supplied and fully satisfied, thus swell with pride and sacrifice to themselves, is not their impiety in this manner more completely discovered? But the Prophet not only proves that the Assyrians abused God’s bounty, but he shows in their person what is the disposition of the whole world. For when men accumulate great wealth, and pile up a great heap from the property of others, they become more and more blinded. We hence see that we ought justly to fear the evil of prosperity, lest our fatness should so increase that we can see nothing; for the eyes are dimmed by excessive fatness. Let this then be ever remembered by us. The Prophet then concludes his discourse: but as one verse of the first chapter only remains, I shall briefly notice it.

For through them abundant his portion,
And his meat well-fed.

The comparison of the drag and net is continued; by which is signified military strength and power. See Isaiah 10:13.—Ed.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/habakkuk-1.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Habakkuk 1:16 Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion [is] fat, and their meat plenteous.

Ver. 16. Therefore they sacrifice to their net] Thus wicked men grow worse and worse; their sin is infinite; what marvel, then, if their punishment be also infinite in hell? To all other their iniquities these Chaldeans add this of abominable idolatry, they sacrifice to themselves, as Sejanus did, Seianus sibi sacrificabat (Dio), to their net, drag, &c., that is, to their weapons, as Ajax called his sword his god; and thanked it for all his brave achievements. And as Mezentius (another atheist) is brought in, saying;

Dextra mlhi Deus, et telum quod missile libro.

So Sesostris, King of Egypt (in Samson’s days), would needs be called κοσμοκρατωρ, lord of the whole world; and when he had conquered any country he caused these words to be engraven there upon marble pillars, This country I gained by mine own strength ( τοις ωμοισιν εμοισιν εκτησαμην. Herod. l. 2). So Antiochus (that little antichrist) is said to worship his god Mauzzim, that is, his forces and armies, Daniel 11:38. It was Nebuchadnezzar that was here pointed at; and how he deified himself and his own doings, see Isaiah 10:13, Daniel 4:26.

And burn incense to their drags] While they ascribe to the instrument that which is due to God alone, the chief agent. Hold out, net, said they; well done, drag, &c. Hoc ego primus vidi, said Zabarell, Hoc ego feci, saith another. But what saith Luther? By men’s boasting in this sort, Haec ego feci, haec ego feci, they become nothing better than mere faeces, dregs and lees.

Because by them their portion is fat] "By them," that is, by their net and drag, they think that their condition is well mended, and their meat is fat, opimus et optimus, abundant and good. God (the giver of all this) is not in all their thoughts; but as the moon, the fuller it is of light the further it gets from the sun, the fountain of her light, so deal men with God.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/habakkuk-1.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Habakkuk 1:16

The word "drag" simply means a large fishing-net. The bold metaphor of the text is that of a fisherman whose mind is so overborne by the large draughts of fish which he is continually taking, that he begins actually to worship those nets which are the instruments of such wonderful success.

I. The sin of man keeps repeating itself throughout the ages. Notwithstanding all the lessons of the past, there are still multitudes who forget the living God. They are not at all anxious to be doers of the right; but they are anxious that "their portion be fat, their meat plenteous." And when they are successful, they are puffed up with pride. They glory in their own skill and power. "They sacrifice to their net, and burn incense to their drag."

II. "What have we that we have not received?" Our very existence is itself a boon from God, and all our faculties and blessings are gifts of His bounty. The highest blessings for man are not material, but spiritual—not the fat portion and the plenteous meat, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. It is for want of grasping these two simple, cardinal truths that men so often fall into the worship of the net. Rank, wealth, intellect, business, such are some of the nets men worship. But God is not mocked, and in many ways He breaks men's idols before their very eyes. Let us take God's gifts with humble gratitude; let us use the powers which He has given us, not for our own aggrandisement, but for His glory; and instead of casting forth our net merely to enrich ourselves out of others, let us seek to become, in the good, true sense of the word, "fishers of men."

T. Campbell Finlayson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 168.


Reference: Habakkuk 1:16.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 170.





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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "Sermon Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/habakkuk-1.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Habakkuk 1:16. Therefore, &c.— Therefore will he sacrifice to his net, and burn incense to his drag; because by them is his portion fat, and his meat delicious. The meaning is, that he attributes all his good success to his valour, his courage, his conduct, and good fortune; or else to that god, whose statue he erected in the plains of Dura. See Daniel 3:1.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/habakkuk-1.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Therefore, because they prosper and thrive, in which they should see and acknowledge thy wise and mighty providence,

they sacrifice, idolize and pay Divine honours, ascribe the praise of their victories and acquired glory, unto their net; to their own contrivances, diligence, and power, as if the fisherman should make his net his god, and offer sacrifice for a good draught of fishes taken to the net that took them.

And burn incense, another part of Divine honour, and mostly used in giving thanks and praises, to their drag; to their policy and power, their own counsel conduct, and arms, expressed in the metaphor of a fisherman’s drag.

Because by them their portion, State, condition, or interest,

is fat; great and flourishing.

Their meat; the revenues of the kingdom in general, and the revenues of particular subjects, especially of the commanders and military officers, those who help to spread, draw, and empty the net.

Plenteous; abundant, that it might seem a sufficient provision, as well as a pleasant mess, sufficient for quantity as sweet in quality. It is likely these self-admirers did not only eat the fat of the land they wasted, but laid up in store for themselves.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/habakkuk-1.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

16. When he sees this wonderful success he makes the implements that have assisted him his gods and pays homage to them; he loses sight entirely of Him under whose direction he acts.

Net,… drag — An expansion of the comparison in Habakkuk 1:14-15. The net and the drag represent the weapons and means used by the conqueror to subdue the nations (Habakkuk 1:11).

Whether the words imply that the Chaldeans, like the Scythians (Herodotus, 4:59, 62), offered sacrifices to their swords, or whether they are only a vivid picture of the glorification and deification of their might, cannot be determined.

Meat — Better, R.V., “food.” Through the conquests wealth and prosperity have been acquired.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/habakkuk-1.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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.


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/habakkuk-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

fat = fertile, or rich.

plenteous = fat.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/habakkuk-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.

Therefore they sacrifice unto their net - i:e., their arms, power, and military skill, wherewith they gained their victories; instead of to God. Compare Habakkuk 1:11, Maurer's intepretation, 'as one to whom his power is his god.' They idolize themselves for their own cleverness and might (Deuteronomy 8:17; Isaiah 10:13; Isaiah 37:24-25). Because by them - by their net and drag net.

Their portion is fat - image from a banquet: the pray which they have gotten.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/habakkuk-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(16) The prophet has already stated that the Chaldæan deifies his own military prowess. Of this statement the present verse is an expansion. Weapons of war may have been literally worshipped by the Babylonians. Similarly, the Sarmatians offered yearly sacrifices to a sword, as the emblem of their god of war (Clem. Alex. Protrept. 64). The Romans also sacrificed to their eagles. But probably the language is metaphorical, and we need not seek a closer illustration than that of Dr. Pusey,—“So the Times said at the beginning of the late war, ‘The French almost worshipped the mitrailleuse as a goddess.’ ‘They idolised, it would say, their invention, as if it could do what God alone could.’”


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/habakkuk-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.
they
11; Deuteronomy 8:17; Isaiah 10:13-15; 37:24; Ezekiel 28:3; 29:3; Daniel 4:30; 5:23
plenteous
or, dainty. Heb. fat.

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/habakkuk-1.html.

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