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Habakkuk 1:17

17. Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?

17. An propterea extendet 2323     The verb is [יריק], a hiphil form, and means, to evacuate, to empty, to empty out, and this is the sense in which it is taken here by Drusius, Marckius, Newcome, and Henderson. But the verb means also to draw out, i.e., a sword, Exodus 15:9, Leviticus 26:33, and to draw forth, i.e., an army, Genesis 14:14, and this is the meaning given to it by Grotius, Junius, and the Septuagint. To draw forth, to extend, or to expand, seems most in accordance with the drift of the passage. To empty his net, and that for the sake of filling it again, which must be what is implied, is rather a farfetched notion.—Ed. sagenam suam, et assiduus erit ad occidendas gentes, ut non parcat (alii vertuat, annon negative; atqui debuisset esse [וכ-לע אלה])?


This is an affirmative question, “Shall they therefore;” which, however, requires a negative answer. Then all interpreters are mistaken; for they think that the Prophet here complains, that he presently extends his net after having made a capture, but he rather means, “Is he ever to extend his net?” that is, “How long, O Lord, wilt thou permit the Assyrians to proceed to new plunders, so as to be like the hunter, who after having taken a boar or a stag, is more eager, and immediately renews his hunting; or like the fisherman, who having filled his little ship, with more avidity pursues his vocation? Wilt thou, Lord, he says, suffer the Assyrians to become more assiduous in their work of destruction?” And he shows how unworthy they were of God’s forbearance, for they slew the nations. “I speak not here,” he says, “either of fish or of any other animal, nor do I speak of this or that man, but I speak of many nations. As these slaughters are thus carried on through the whole world, how long, Lord, shall they be unpunished? for they will never cease.” We now see the purport of the Prophet’s complaint; but we shall find in the next lecture how he recovers himself.

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