corner graphic

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Habakkuk 1:3

 

 

Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises.

Adam Clarke Commentary

And cause me to behold grievance - עמל amal, labor, toil, distress, misery, etc., the common fruits of sin.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/habakkuk-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Why dost Thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold - , or rather, “Why beholdest Thou grievance?” God seemed to reverse what He had said by Balaam Numbers 23:21, “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, and hath not seen grievousness in Israel”; and in the Psalms Psalm 10:14, “Thou hast seen, for thou (emphatic) beholdest grievousness and wrong, to put it in Thy hand,” i. e., Thou layest it up in Thy hand, to cast it back on the head of the evildoer. Now He seemed to behold it and leave it unpunished, which yet Habakkuk says to God below, He could not do Habakkuk 1:13; “Thou canst not look upon iniquity.” What then did this mean? What was the solution?

All forms and shapes of sin are multiplied; oppressive “violence”, such as “covered the earth” before the flood, and brought it down; which Nineveh had to put away Jonah 3:8, and it was spared; “iniquity,” i. e., what is unequal and contrary to truth, falsehood.

Grievance - literally, burdensome wearisome “toil”; “spoiling,” or open robbery; “strife and contention,” both through perversion of the law and, without it, through endless jarrings of man with man. Sin recoils on the sinner. So what he beholds is not “iniquity” only, but (in the same word) “vanity”; “grievance”; which is a burden both to him who suffers, and yet more to him who inflicts it. For nothing is so burdensome as sin, nothing so empty as wickedness. And while to him who suffers, the suffering is temporal, to him who inflicts it, it is eternal. And yet the prophet and whose prays against ungodliness, “must commiserate him who doth wrong yet more, since they hurt what is most precious, their own soul, and that eternally”. All then is full of evil. Wherever the prophet looks, some fresh violence is before him; it confronts him on every side; “strife hath arisen”, come up, exists where it was not before; “contention lifteth itself” on high, bowing down all beside.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/habakkuk-1.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Why dost thou show me iniquity, and look upon perverseness? for destruction and violence are before me; and there is strife, and contention riseth up."

Despite all of the terrible wickedness, God apparently did nothing about it; at least it seemed so to Habakkuk. Everywhere he looked, he continued to "behold iniquity and perverseness in the character and conduct of his (God's) people."[8] The question in Habakkuk's heart was, "How could God look on this condition without punishing it, thus bringing it to an end?"[9]


Copyright Statement
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 1:3". "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

Why dost thou show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance?.... That is, wicked men, and such as give a great deal of trouble vexation, and grief to others, by their rapine and oppression; suggesting that he could not turn his eyes any where, but such persons presented themselves to his view; and that their wicked actions were performed by them openly and publicly, in the sight of all, without any shame or fear. So the Targum,

"why do I see oppressors, and behold those that do the labour of falsehood?'

For spoiling and violence are before me; in my sight and presence, though a prophet, and notwithstanding all my remonstrances, exhortations, and reproofs; such were the hardness, obstinacy, and impudence of this people; to such a height and pitch of iniquity were they arrived, as to regard not the prophets of the Lord. The Targum is,

"spoilers and robbers are before me:'

or, "against me"F17לנגדי "contra me", Pagninus, Montanus; "e regione mei", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Tarnovius. , as in the text; these sins were committed against him, he was injuriously used himself; or they were done to others, contrary to his advice and persuasion:

and there are that raise up strife and contention; in the kingdom, in cities, in families; in one man, brother, friend, and neighbour, against another; which occasion lawsuits, and in them justice is not done, as follows. It may be rendered, and "there shall be and is a man of strife"; so Japhet: "and he shall raise up contention"; one man given to strife will and does use great contention in communities, civil and religious.


Copyright Statement
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/habakkuk-1.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

cause me to behold grievance — Maurer denies that the Hebrew verb is ever active; he translates, “(Wherefore) dost Thou behold (without doing aught to check) grievance?” The context favors English Version.

there are that raise up strife and contention — so Calvin. But Maurer, not so well, translates, “There is strife, and contention raises itself.


Copyright Statement
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 1:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/habakkuk-1.html. 1871-8.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

He afterwards adds, How long wilt thou show me iniquity, and make me to see trouble? Here the Prophet briefly relates the cause of his indignation,—that he could not, without great grief, yea, without anguish of mind, behold such evils prevailing among God’s chosen people; for they who apply this to the Chaldeans, do so strainedly, and without any necessity, and they have not observed the reason which I have stated—that the Prophet does not here teach the Jews, but prepares them for a coming judgement, as they could not but see that they were justly condemned, since they were proved guilty by the cry and complaints made by all the godly.

Now this passage teaches us, that all who really serve and love God, ought, according to the Prophet’s example, to burn with holy indignation whenever they see wickedness reigning without restraint among men, and especially in the Church of God. There is indeed nothing which ought to cause us more grief than to see men raging with profane contempt for God, and no regard had for his law and for divine truth, and all order trodden under foot. When therefore such a confusion appears to us, we must feel roused, if we have in us any spark of religion. If it be objected, that the Prophet exceeded moderation, the obvious answer is this,—that though he freely pours forth his feelings, there was nothing wrong in this before God, at least nothing wrong is imputed to him: for wherefore do we pray, but that each of us may unburden his cares, his griefs, and anxieties, by pouring them into the bosom of God? Since, then, God allows us to deal so familiarly with him, nothing wrong ought to be ascribed to our prayers when we thus freely pour forth our feelings, provided the bridle of obedience keeps us always within due limits, as was the case with the Prophet; for it is certain that he was retained under the influence of real kindness. Jeremiah did indeed pray with unrestrained fervor (Jeremiah 15:10): but his case was different from that of our Prophet; for he proceeds not here to an excess, as Jeremiah did when he cursed the day of his birth, and when he expostulated with God for being made a man of contention. But our Prophet undertakes here the defense of justice; for he could not endure the law of God to be made a sport, and men to allow themselves every liberty in sinning.

We now, then, see that the Prophet can be justly excused, though he expostulates here with God, for God does not condemn this freedom in our prayers; but, on the contrary, the end of praying is, that every one of us pour forth, as it is said in the Psalms, his heart before God. As, then, we communicate our cares and sorrows to God, it is no wonder that the Prophet, according to the manner of men, says, Why dost thou show me iniquity, and make me to see trouble? Trouble is to be taken here in an active sense, and the verb תבימ, tabith, has a transitive meaning. (8) Some render it, Why dost thou look on trouble? as though the Prophet indignantly bore the connivance of God. But the context necessarily requires that this verb should be taken in a transitive sense. “Why dost thou show me iniquity?” and then, “and makest me to look on violence?” He says afterwards, in the third place, in my sight is violence. But I have said, that the word trouble is to be taken actively; for the prophet means not that he was worn out with weariness, but that wicked men were troublesome to the good and the innocent, as it is usually the case when a freedom in sinning prevails.

And why, he says, are violence and plunder in my sight? and there is he who excites, etc.? The verb נשא, nusha means not here to undertake, as some render it; but, on the contrary, to raise. Others render it, “Who supports,” but this is frigid. Therefore the translation which I have stated is the most suitable—And why is there one who excites strife and contention?

But the Prophet here accuses them only of sins against the second table of the law: he speaks not of the superstitions of people, and of the corrupted worship of God; but he briefly says, that they had no regard for what was just and right: for the stronger any one was, the more he distressed the helpless and the innocent. It was then for this reason that he mentioned iniquity, trouble, plunder, violence, contention, strife. In short, the Prophet here deplores, that there was now no equity and no brotherly kindness among the people, but that robberies, rapines, and tyrannical violence prevailed everywhere. It follows—

In these two verses there is no need of continuing the interrogatory form throughout, nor is this justified by the original. A strictly literal rendering, such as the following, would be the most appropriate:

2.How long, Jehovah, have I cried, and thou hearest not? I cry aloud to thee, "oppression,” and thou savest not:

3.Why showest thou to me iniquity? Yea, wickedness is what thou seest; Even wasting and oppression are before me; Then there is strife, and contention arises.

Some think that there is to be understood a preposition before [ חמם ], which I render “oppression,” in the second line; but there is no need of it. The word means outrage, wrong forcibly done, violent injustice. [ עמל ], wickedness, in the second line of the third verse, in its primary sense, is labor, toil; it means also what produces toil, mischief, wickedness. Henderson renders it misery; but it is not so suitable; for it must be something that corresponds with iniquity in the previous line. Wickedness is the word adopted by Newcome. [ ריב ], strife, is a verbal contention or quarrel; and [ מדוז ] contention, is a judicial contest, or a trial by law. Then in the next verse we see how unjustly this trial was conducted.—Ed.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/habakkuk-1.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Habakkuk 1:3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause [me] to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence [are] before me: and there are [that] raise up strife and contention.

Ver. 3. Why dost thou show me iniquity? &c.] These were Hazaels to Habakkuk’s eyes, he could not see them with dry eyes, he could not but vex his righteous soul from day to day, as Lot did at Sodom, with their unlawful deeds, 2 Peter 2:8, privately committed (as here in their common commerce), and publicly, as in the next words, in courts and consistories; for all was out of order.

And cause me to behold grievance] Molestation and mischief done to those that would live peaceably in the land, [Psalms 7:14; Psalms 7:16; Psalms 94:20; Psalms 55:11] to the poor that are fallen into their nets, debts, bonds, and mortgages, Psalms 10:9. It is as if the prophet should say, Why dost thou not punish these enormous practices, but suffer evildoers to abuse thy longsufferance, to thy dishonour? Averroes, the philosopher, drew an argument from God’s patience to deny his providence. But what saith Austin? Some wicked God punisheth here, lest his providence, and but some, lest his patience and promise of judgment, should be called in question.

For spoiling and violence are before me] E regione mei vastatio et violentia, so that I cannot look beside them, I cannot but complain of them. Elijah and Jeremiah were more passionate, 1 Kings 19:4; 1 Kings 19:10; 1 Kings 19:14, Jeremiah 15:10; Jeremiah 20:14.

And there are that raise up strife and contention] These are Satan’s seeds men, and kindling coals. He is an unquiet spirit, and strives to make others so; loves to fish in troubled waters, doth all he can to set one man against another, that he may prey upon both; as the master of the pit suppeth upon the bodies of those cocks whom he hath set to kill one another. Be not mischief maker, seeds men of sedition.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/habakkuk-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Habakkuk 1:3. And there are that raise up strife, &c.— And there is strife; and contention carries it.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:3". 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

Why dost thou show me? it is a most unpleasing sight, and that which troubles me and every good man, to see unjust and injurious men without control, and unpunished, to act their iniquity; and yet, O God, thou not only permittest it to be done, but to be done in sight, and to the grief of thy servants: thus God showeth it, and it is not without just cause, though the cause be hidden.

Iniquity; men of iniquity and vanity, unrighteous toward men, and vain in their thoughts and practices of religion toward God.

And cause me to behold: this explains the former. Grievance: so it is in regard of the effect it hath upon beholders, and such as suffer by this iniquity; it is grief and sorrow to them, it is a grievance they groan under.

For spoiling, such as wasteth, and undoeth them that fall under it,

and violence, perverting judgment, and turning it into wormwood; or else it is a Hebraism, spoiling and violence, that is, most violent robbing and spoiling each other.

Are before me; every where I see it, to the breaking of mine heart.

There are that raise up strife; or, and there is strife, that is, little else but strife among men, occasioned by these oppressive practices.

And contention: so it will be a Hebraism, expressing endless contentions. It would bear, and judgment is taken away, which suits the next verse.

Why dost thou show me? it is a most unpleasing sight, and that which troubles me and every good man, to see unjust and injurious men without control, and unpunished, to act their iniquity; and yet, O God, thou not only permittest it to be done, but to be done in sight, and to the grief of thy servants: thus God showeth it, and it is not without just cause, though the cause be hidden.

Iniquity; men of iniquity and vanity, unrighteous toward men, and vain in their thoughts and practices of religion toward God.

And cause me to behold: this explains the former. Grievance: so it is in regard of the effect it hath upon beholders, and such as suffer by this iniquity; it is grief and sorrow to them, it is a grievance they groan under.

For spoiling, such as wasteth, and undoeth them that fall under it,

and violence, perverting judgment, and turning it into wormwood; or else it is a Hebraism, spoiling and violence, that is, most violent robbing and spoiling each other.

Are before me; every where I see it, to the breaking of mine heart.

There are that raise up strife; or, and there is strife, that is, little else but strife among men, occasioned by these oppressive practices.

And contention: so it will be a Hebraism, expressing endless contentions. It would bear, and judgment is taken away, which suits the next verse.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/habakkuk-1.html. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Habakkuk wanted to know why Yahweh allowed the iniquity and wickedness that he had to observe every day to continue in Judah. Destruction, ethical wrong, strife, and contention were not only common, but they were increasing. Yet Yahweh did nothing about the situation.

"Violence" (Heb. hamas) occurs six times in Habakkuk ( Habakkuk 1:2-3; Habakkuk 1:9; Habakkuk 2:8; Habakkuk 2:17 [twice]), an unusually large number of times for such a short book. The Hebrew word means more than just physical brutality. It refers to flagrant violation of moral law by which someone injures his fellowman (e.g, Genesis 6:11). It is ethical wrong, and physical violence is only one manifestation of it. By piling up synonyms for injustice, Habakkuk stressed the severity of the oppression.

"This is not an instance of the earthen vessel finding fault with the potter who made it-an attitude rebuked by Isaiah and Paul. It is to the one who answers back in unbelief that Paul says, "Who indeed are you ... to argue with God?" ( Romans 9:20). But there are others who answer back in faith; their words, when they do Song of Solomon , are the expression of their loyalty to God." [Note: Ibid, p844.]


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:3". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/habakkuk-1.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Opposition. Septuagint, "the judge receives" bribes. (Haydock) --- Such was the state of Juda after Josias, Jeremias xxi. 12.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/habakkuk-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

iniquity. Hebrew. "avert. (App-44.) = trouble, having special reference to the nature and consequences of evil-doing.

grievance = oppression, or injustice. Hebrew. "amal. App-44.

there are that raise up. A reading is found in some codices (named in the Massorah), "I had to endure".

strife and contention. There should not be a comma after "strife", as in the Revised Version. The Hebrew accents indicate the one act, "and contention rising up", like "spoiling and violence are before me" in the preceding clause.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/habakkuk-1.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) Why dost thou shew me iniquity? . . .—Better, Why dost thou show me distress and look upon grievance; oppression and violence are before me; and there is strife, and contention exalts itself.” The question, “Why dost thou . . . look upon grievance?” is illustrated by Habakkuk 1:13, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil.” Grievance, or “trouble wilfully caused.” Heb. âmâl, associated again with âven, a term of similar import, in Psalms 10:7; Psalms 55:11.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/habakkuk-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.
Psalms 12:1,2; 55:9-11; 73:3-9; 120:5,6; Ecclesiastes 4:1; 5:8; Jeremiah 9:2-6; Ezekiel 2:6; Micah 7:1-4; Matthew 10:16; 2 Peter 2:8

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/habakkuk-1.html.

To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology