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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Chavakuk - Habakkuk - Chapter 1

Chavakuk - Habakkuk - Chapter 1

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 1

1. The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet prophesied:   א. הַמַּשָּׂא אֲשֶׁר חָזָה חֲבַקּוּק הַנָּבִיא:
The prophecy: Heb. הַמַשָּׂא. The burden of prophecy - what he bore and received by the Holy Spirit. [after Jonathan]  
2. O Lord! How long will I cry and You will not hear! I cry out to You of violence, and You will not save!   ב. עַד אָנָה יְהֹוָה שִׁוַּעְתִּי וְלֹא תִשְׁמָע אֶזְעַק אֵלֶיךָ חָמָס וְלֹא תוֹשִׁיעַ:
O Lord! How long: He foresaw with the Holy Spirit that Nebuchadnezzar was destined to be the ruler of the world and to cause trouble for Israel, as the matter is stated in his prophecy (1:6): “For behold, I raise up the Chaldeans, etc.” He was complaining for this.  
I cry out to You of violence: I mention before You the violence committed against me, and You do not save me.  
3. Why do You show me iniquity and look upon mischief; and plunder and violence are before me; and the one who bears quarrel and strife endures.   ג. לָמָּה תַרְאֵנִי אָוֶן וְעָמָל תַּבִּיט וְשֹׁד וְחָמָס לְנֶגְדִּי וַיְהִי רִיב וּמָדוֹן יִשָּׂא:
iniquity: plunder and violence.  
and look upon mischief: You look upon this mischief, but You do not help.  
and the one who bears quarrel and strife endures: And this wicked man who bears quarrel and strife, will live, remain in existence, and prosper.  
endures: He who bears quarrel and strife will endure. So did Jonathan render.  
4. Therefore Torah is slackened, and justice does not go out forever, for a wicked man surrounds the righteous; therefore, justice emerges perverted.   ד. עַל כֵּן תָּפוּג תּוֹרָה וְלֹא יֵצֵא לָנֶצַח מִשְׁפָּט כִּי רָשָׁע מַכְתִּיר אֶת הַצַּדִּיק עַל כֵּן יֵצֵא מִשְׁפָּט מְעֻקָּל:
Therefore Torah is slackened: Because of this, that Israel sees his [the wicked man’s] success, the Torah will slacken and leave them; and they [Israel] will obey him [the wicked man] and prostrate themselves before the idol in the valley of Dura.  
and justice does not go out forever: I.e., the true decision of the Law.  
surrounds: surrounds, as in (Ps. 22:13): “Strong bulls of Bashan have surrounded me (כִּתְּרוּנִי).”  
5. See among the nations, and look, and wonder with amazement, for He is performing a deed in your days. You shall not believe when it is told   ה. רְאוּ בַגּוֹיִם וְהַבִּיטוּ וְהִתַּמְּהוּ תְּמָהוּ כִּי פֹעַל פֹּעֵל בִּימֵיכֶם לֹא תַאֲמִינוּ כִּי יְסֻפָּר:
You shall not believe when it is told: When this is told to you, that I am setting up the Chaldeans, the people that did not deserve to be created, as it is written (Isa. 23:13): “This people has never been.” They are one of three things whose creation God regrets, and now [they] will rise, and [they] will be bitter, and [they will be] impetuous to run and to march to the breadth of the lands of all the nations.  
6. that behold, I am setting up the Chaldeans, the bitter and impetuous nation who shall march through the breadth of the land, to inherit dwellings that are not theirs.   ו. כִּי הִנְנִי מֵקִים אֶת הַכַּשְׂדִּים הַגּוֹי הַמַּר וְהַנִּמְהָר הַהוֹלֵךְ לְמֶרְחֲבֵי אֶרֶץ לָרֶשֶׁת מִשְׁכָּנוֹת לֹא לוֹ:
7. They are terrible and dreadful; from themselves their judgment and their burden shall emanate.   ז. אָיֹם וְנוֹרָא הוּא מִמֶּנּוּ מִשְׁפָּטוֹ וּשְׂאֵתוֹ יֵצֵא:
from themselves their judgment and their burden shall emanate: From them are judges; from them are kings, who cast a burden and a fear upon all.  
their judgment: joustice in O.F:  
8. And their steeds are swifter than leopards, and they are more fierce than the wolves of the evening; and their riders shall increase and their riders shall come from afar; they shall fly like an eagle that hastens to devour.   ח. וְקַלּוּ מִנְּמֵרִים סוּסָיו וְחַדּוּ מִזְּאֵבֵי עֶרֶב וּפָשׁוּ פָּרָשָׁיו וּפָרָשָׁיו מֵרָחוֹק יָבֹאוּ יָעֻפוּ כְּנֶשֶׁר חָשׁ לֶאֱכוֹל:
and their riders shall increase: Heb. וּפָשוּ.  
9. They shall all come to commit violence-the eagerness of their faces is like the east wind, and they have gathered captives like the sand.   ט. כֻּלֹּה לְחָמָס יָבוֹא מְגַמַּת פְּנֵיהֶם קָדִימָה וַיֶּאֱסֹף כַּחוֹל שֶׁבִי:
come to commit violence: to plunder and to spoil.  
the eagerness of their faces: an expression like (Gen. 24: 17) “Give me to swallow, (הַגְמִיאִינִי) I pray you” and (Job 39:24) “He swallows (י ְגַמֶּה) the earth.” He runs swiftly - in a short time a distance of a day’s plowing - as though he had swallowed and drunk the earth that is before him. Here, too, the swallowing of their faces; the swallowing, the longing of their faces resembles the east wind, the fiercest of the winds. So did Jonathan render this.  
10. And they shall mock the kings, and princes are a laughingstock for them. He shall scoff at every fortress; he piles up earth and captures it.   י. וְהוּא בַּמְּלָכִים יִתְקַלָּס וְרֹזְנִים מִשְׂחָק לוֹ הוּא לְכָל מִבְצָר יִשְׂחָק וַיִּצְבֹּר עָפָר וַיִּלְכְּדָהּ:
And they shall mock the kings: shall mock them. Every expression of ק ַלָּסָה is an expression for the speech of those speaking about another; some [of these speeches] are for good, and some for bad - parledic in O.F.  
a laughingstock: like שְּׂחוֹק, laughter, like מִשְׁמָר, a watch, and מִסְתָּר, a hiding place.  
He shall scoff at every fortress: If his enemy is in a strong fortress, he scoffs at him.  
he piles up earth: upon it with his many armies, each one carrying a load of earth. It [the pile] is before the wall as a high mound, and they [the Chaldeans] battle from upon it. This is called שְׁפִיכַתסוֹלְלָה, pouring a siege mound (cf. Isa. 37:33), for all of them are translated into Aramaic: וְיִצְבּוֹר עֲלָה מְלֵיתָא, and he piled upon it a filling. This is an expression of Milo, for in the city of David there was a high mound, and they would battle upon it. Atop the mound was built a tower whose slant was inclined to the sides, and around its base was a low wall to prevent the earth from falling.  
11. Then a spirit goes further and passes, and they become guilty; this strength they attribute to their god.   יא. אָז חָלַף רוּחַ וַיַּעֲבֹר וְאָשֵׁם זוּ כֹחוֹ לֵאלֹהוֹ:
Then a spirit goes further: Then, when they see their way prospering, a spirit of guilt goes further and passes over them. Now what is the spirit?  
this strength they attribute to their god: This strength they attribute to their god, and they say, “My god acquired all this wealth for me.” Says the prophet, “Now, You, why should You remain silent to all this?”  
12. Are You not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, You have ordained them for judgment, and, O Mighty God, You have established them for correction.   יב. הֲלוֹא אַתָּה מִקֶּדֶם יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי קְדֹשִׁי לֹא נָמוּת יְהֹוָה לְמִשְׁפָּט שַׂמְתּוֹ וְצוּר לְהוֹכִיח יְסַדְתּוֹ:
Are You not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, my Holy One?: Who shall not die. Now, the reason it is written לֹא נָמוּת we shall not die, is that it is one of the emendations of the scribes in Scripture, by which Scripture euphemizes. Likewise, (Mal. 1:13) “And you sadden it.” And so are many of them [these euphemisms] explained in Sifre (Num. 10:35). According to the emendation of the scribes, this is its explanation: Are you not my God from everlasting, my Holy One? Do not deliver us into their hands to die.  
O Lord, You have ordained them for judgment: I know that You have set this one [Nebuchadnezzar] up only to judge those who rebel against You. In any case, why should all this come about? Is it not so that…  
13. [You are] of eyes too pure to behold evil, and You cannot gaze upon iniquity. Why should You gaze upon traitors, be silent when a wicked man swallows up one more righteous than he?   יג. טְהוֹר עֵינַיִם מֵרְאוֹת רָע וְהַבִּיט אֶל עָמָל לֹא תוּכָל לָמָּה תַבִּיט בּוֹגְדִים תַּחֲרִישׁ בְּבַלַּע רָשָׁע צַדִּיק מִמֶּנּוּ:
[You are] of eyes too pure: to behold evil?  
gaze: like וּלְהַבִּיט, and to gaze upon iniquity.  
one more righteous than he: that he will blind the eyes of Zedekiah (II Kings 25:7).  
14. And You have made man like the fish of the sea, like the creeping things of the earth over which there is no ruler.   יד. וַתַּעֲשֶׂה אָדָם כִּדְגֵי הַיָּם כְּרֶמֶשׂ לֹא מֹשֵׁל בּוֹ:
And You have made man: before this wicked man - free as the fish of the sea, which anyone who wishes may catch.  
15. He takes all of them up with the fishhook, he catches them in his net and gathers them in his trawl. Therefore he rejoices and is glad.   טו. כֻּלֹּה בְּחַכָּה הֵעֲלָה יְגֹרֵהוּ בְחֶרְמוֹ וְיַאַסְפֵהוּ בְּמִכְמַרְתּוֹ עַל כֵּן יִשְׂמַח וְיָגִיל:
He takes all of them up with the fishhook: This wicked man takes up all people with his fishhook.  
catches them: an expression of (Prov. 6:8) “Gathers (אָגְרָה) her food in the harvest,” and (Joel 1:17) “Granaries (מַמְּגֻרוֹת) are demolished.”  
16. Therefore he sacrifices to his net, and he burns incense to his trawl, for through them his portion is fat and his food is a fatling.   טז. עַל כֵּן יְזַבֵּחַ לְחֶרְמוֹ וִיקַטֵּר לְמִכְמַרְתּוֹ כִּי בָהֵמָּה שָׁמֵן חֶלְקוֹ וּמַאֲכָלוֹ בְּרִאָה:
he sacrifices to his net: To his god, for he says that it conquers everyone before him.  
through them: This is similar to בהם, because of them.  
a fatling: fat.  
17. Is it because of this that he empties his net and continually [does] not spare to slay nations?   יז. הַעַל כֵּן יָרִיק חֶרְמוֹ וְתָמִיד לַהֲרֹג גּוֹיִם לֹא יַחְמוֹל:
Because of this does he arm himself with his net: There are many interrogative forms that are affirmative, e.g., (I Sam. 2:27) “Did I appear?” concerning Eli, and (II Sam. 15:27) “Do you see?” Here, too: Does it appear in Your eyes that because of this he prospers every time, in that he arms himself with his net over everyone and to hunt game?  
arms himself: As in (Gen. 14:14) “And he armed רֶק) (וַיָּ his trained men” and (Ps. 35:3): 'Arm yourself (הָרֵק) with a spear." He arms himself with his net.  
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