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16

You will be sated with contempt instead of glory.

Drink, you yourself, and stagger!

The cup in the Lord’s right hand

will come around to you,

and shame will come upon your glory!


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He says that he is satiated with shame instead of glory. Some give this rendering—“Thou art satiated with shame more than glory;” but this does not suit the passage; for the Prophet does not mean that the Babylonian king was satiated with his own reproach, but rather with that of others. Secondly, the particle מ, mem, is not put here in a comparative sense, but the clause is on the contrary to be understood thus—“By thy glory, or, on account of thy glory, thou art satiated with shame”. It must also in the third place be observed, that punishment is not what the Prophet describes in these words; for it immediately follows—שתה גם אחה, shite gam ate, “drink thou also.” He comes now to punishment. By saying, then, that the king of Babylon was satiated with shame on account of glory, it is the same as though he had said, that while he was intent on increasing his own glory he brought all others to shame. It is indeed the common game of great kings, as it has been said, to enlarge their own power at the expense and loss of others. They would, indeed, if they could, render their friends safe; but when any one loses ground in their favor they neglect him. We see how at this day great kings, raising great armies, shed innocent blood. When a slaughter is made in war they express their grief, but it is only on account of their own glory or advantage. They will in words profess that they sympathise with the miserable men who faithfully spent their life for them, but they have for them no real concern. As, then, great kings draw human blood, and care nothing when many perish for their sake, the Prophet justly says, That the king of Babylon was satiated with shame on account of glory; that is, that while he was seeking his own glory he was satiated with the reproaches of many; for many perished on his account, many had been robbed of their power, or were afterwards to be robbed—for the Prophet refers not here to what had taken place, but he speaks of things future; and the past tense of verbs was intended to express certainty; and we know that this was a common mode of speaking with the Prophets. 4242     The view presented here of the first clause of the verse is striking, and such as the words may admit. But most commentators attach to them another meaning. Newcome’s version is—
   Thou art filled with shame instead of glory.

   Henderson’s rendering is—

   Thou art filled with shame, not with glory.

   The verb being in the past tense seems to favor Calvin’s view—“Thou hast been satiated with shame from glory,” that is, thou hast been filled to satiety with the shame occasioned to others, arising from the pursuit of thine own glory. And then, as Calvin justly observes, his punishment is denounced.—“Drink thou also.”—Ed.

He now adds—drink thou also. We hence see that the king of Babylon was secure as long as he remained untouched, though his alliance and friendship had proved ruinous to many. As long then as his kingdom flourished, the king of Babylon cared but little for the losses of others. Hence the Prophet says—“Thou shalt also drink; thou thinkest that others only shall be punished, as though thou were not exposed to God’s judgement; but thou shalt come in thy turn and drink;”—in what way? He speaks here allegorically of the vengeance which was nigh the king of Babylon—“Thou, also,” he says, “shalt drink and become a reproach,” or, shalt be uncovered.

The word ערל, orel, means in Hebrew the foreskin; and the foreskinned, or uncircumcised, was the name given to the profane and the base, or the contaminated; and hence many give this rendering—“Thou also shalt become ignominious;” but others express more clearly the Prophet’s meaning by this version—“Thou shalt be uncovered.” Yet their opinion is not amiss who think that there is here a change of letters, that הערל, eorel,is put for הרעל, erol; and רעל, rol, means to be cast asleep; and it well suits a drunken man to say that he is stupefied. But as the Prophet had spoken of nakedness, I retain the word as it is; and thus the two clauses will correspond—Then thou shalt drink and be uncovered

Then follows the explanation—Poured forth 4343     The verb [תסוב], loosely expressed here, is very correctly rendered by Henderson “shall come round;” and this is the idea which Calvin suggests in the following explanation.—Ed. into thee shall be the cup of Jehovah’s right hand; that is, “the Lord shall in his time be thy cup-bearer; as thou hast inebriated many nations, and under the pretense of friendship hast defrauded those who, being bound to thee by treaties, have been ruined; so the Lord will now recompense thee with the reward which thou hast deserved: As thou hast been a cup-bearer to others, so the Lord will now become thy cup-bearer, and will inebriate thee, but after another manner.” We indeed know what the Scripture everywhere means by the cup of God’s hand—even vengeance of every kind. God strikes some with giddiness and precipitates them, when deprived of all humanity, into a state of madness; others he infatuates by insensibility; some he deprives of all understanding, so that they perceive nothing aright; against others he rouses up enemies, who treat them with cruelty. Hence the Lord is said to extend his cup to the wicked whenever he takes vengeance on them.

Therefore he adds—the reproach of spewing shall be on thy glory. The word קיקלון, kikolun, is a compound. 4444     It is commonly derived from [קי], a contraction of [קיא], a vomit or spewing, and [קלוז], shame. Compounds are no common things in Hebrew; and these are found separate in nine MSS. The Septuagint have ἀτιμια, reproach only; and the Vulgate, “vomitus ignominiae—the spewing of shame.” Newcome renders it “foul shame,” and Henderson “great ignominy,” regarding it as a reduplicate noun for [קלקלוז]. But as drunkenness is the metaphor used, “shameful spewing,” or the spewing of shame or of reproach is most suitable to the passage.—Ed. We have already seen that קלוכ, kolun, is shame; and now he speaks of shameful spewing. And this may be referred to the king of Babylon—that he himself would shamefully spew out what he had before intemperately swallowed down; or it might be fitly applied to his enemies—that they would spew in the face of the king of Babylon.

The end of which Habakkuk speaks, awaits all tyrants, who disturb the world by their cupidity. Ambition does indeed so infatuate them, that they neither spare human blood, nor hesitate to endanger their nearest and most friendly associates. Since then an insatiable thirst for glory thus inflames them, the Prophet justly allots to them this reward—that they shall receive filthy and shameful spewing instead of that glory, in seeking which they observed no limits. Let us now proceed -




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