Habakkuk 2:1
(1) The Tower.--The practice of ascending a high place to secure an extensive view suggests the figure here. (See 2Kings 9:17; 2Samuel 18:24.) In a yet bolder metaphor Isaiah represents himself as appointing a watchman, who brings reports from his tower. We need not suppose that Habakkuk literally betook himself to a solitary height to wait for a revelation. Balaam, the heathen soothsayer, did so (Numbers 23:3), but his conduct throws no light on the customs of the Jewish prophets.

What he will say unto me.--Better, what He will say in me, and what answer I shall make to my complaint: i.e., of what solution of the perplexities I am deploring, Jehovah shall make me the mouthpiece.

Verses 1-3. - § 5. The prophet, waiting for an answer to his expostulation, is bidden to write the oracle in plain characters, because its fulfilment is certain. Verse 1. - Habakkuk speaks with himself, and, mindful of his office, waits for the communication which he confidently ex-poets (Jeremiah 33:3). I will stand upon my watch (Isaiah 21:6, 8). As a watchman goes to a high place to see all around and discern what is coming, so the prophet places himself apart from men, perhaps in some secluded height, in readiness to hear the voice of God and seize the meaning of the coming event. Prophets are called "watchmen" (comp. Ezekiel 3:17; Ezekiel 33:2, 6; Micah 7:4). The tower; i.e. watch tower, either literally or metaphorically, as in the first clause. Septuagint, πέτραν, "rook." What he will say unto me; quid dicatur mihi (Vulgate); τί λαλήσει ἐν ἐμοί, "what he will speak in me" (Septuagint). He watches for the inward revelation which God makes to his soul (but see note on Zechariah 2:0). When I am reproved; ad arguentem me (Vulgate); ἐπὶ τὸν ἔλεγχόν μου (Septuagint); rather, to my complaint, referring to his complaint concerning the impunity of sinners (Habakkuk 1:18-17). He waits till he hears God's voice within him what answer he shall make to his own complaint, the expostulation which he had offered to God. There is no question here concerning the reproofs which others levelled against him, or concerning any rebuke conveyed to him by God - an impression given by the Anglican Version.

2:1-4 When tossed and perplexed with doubts about the methods of Providence, we must watch against temptations to be impatient. When we have poured out complaints and requests before God, we must observe the answers God gives by his word, his Spirit, and providences; what the Lord will say to our case. God will not disappoint the believing expectations of those who wait to hear what he will say unto them. All are concerned in the truths of God's word. Though the promised favour be deferred long, it will come at last, and abundantly recompense us for waiting. The humble, broken-hearted, repenting sinner, alone seeks to obtain an interest in this salvation. He will rest his soul on the promise, and on Christ, in and through whom it is given. Thus he walks and works, as well as lives by faith, perseveres to the end, and is exalted to glory; while those who distrust or despise God's all-sufficiency will not walk uprightly with him. The just shall live by faith in these precious promises, while the performance of them is deferred. Only those made just by faith, shall live, shall be happy here and for ever.I will stand upon my watch,.... These are the words of the prophet: so the Targum introduces them,

"the prophet said;''

and this he said in character as a watchman, as all the prophets were: as a watchman takes the proper place he watches in and looks out, especially in time of danger and distress, if he can spy anyone bringing tidings, that he may receive it, and notify it to the people that have appointed him a watchman; so the prophet retired from the world, and gave himself up to meditation and prayer, and put himself in a waiting posture; looking up to the Lord, and expecting an answer to his expostulations with him, concerning the success of the enemies of God's people, and the calamities that were like to come upon them, that he might report it to them; see Isaiah 21:8,

and set me upon the tower; a place of eminence, from which he could behold an object at a distance: it signifies a strait place, in which he was as one besieged; and may be an emblem of the straits and difficulties he was in, which he wanted to be extricated out of: the thoughts of his heart troubled him; he had a great many objections that rose up in his mind against the providences that were like to attend his people; he was beset with the temptations of Satan, and surrounded with objectors to what he had delivered, concerning the Chaldeans being raised up by God to the destruction of the Jewish nation; and, amidst these difficulties, he sets himself to reading the word of God, and meditation on it, to pray to God for instruction and information in this matter; as Asaph, in a like case, went into the sanctuary of the Lord, where he got satisfaction, Psalm 73:2 as well as it may be expressive of the confidence he had in God, in his covenant and promises, which were as a fortress and strong tower to him; in short, he kept his place, he was found in the way of his duty, in the performance of his office, and was humbly and patiently waiting on God, to know more of his mind and will, and acquaint the people with it.

And will watch to see what he will say unto me; or "in me" (n); that is, what the Lord would say unto him, either outwardly by an audible voice; or inwardly by impressing things upon his mind; or in a vision by the Spirit of prophecy, as Kimchi; so David, "the Spirit of the Lord spoke by me", or "in me", 2 Samuel 23:2 he was determined to wait patiently for an answer, and to continue in the present posture, and constantly attend to every motion and dictate of the Spirit of God, and take particular notice of what should be suggested to him:

and what I shall answer when I am reproved; either by the Lord, for using so much freedom and boldness in expostulations and reasonings with him, who is under no obligation to give an account of his matters unto the children of men; or by others, how he should be able to satisfy his own mind, and remove the scruples, doubts, and objections, that arose there against the providence of God, in prospering the wicked, and afflicting the righteous, and repel the temptation he was under to quarrel with God, and arraign his proceedings; and how he should answer the objections that his people made, both against his prophecies, and the providence of God, for which they reproved him; or, however, he expected they would. The Targum is,

"and what will be returned to my request.''

(n) "in me", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius, Tarnovius, Van Till, Burkius.

Habakkuk 1:17
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