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©Michael Player

Chapter 2:6-14 (ESV)

Posted on May 19, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 2:6-14 (ESV) - Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say,

“Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own—
    for how long?—
    and loads himself with pledges!”
Will not your debtors suddenly arise,
    and those awake who will make you tremble?
    Then you will be spoil for them.
Because you have plundered many nations,
    all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you,
for the blood of man and violence to the earth,
    to cities and all who dwell in them.

“Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house,
    to set his nest on high,
    to be safe from the reach of harm!
You have devised shame for your house
    by cutting off many peoples;
    you have forfeited your life.
For the stone will cry out from the wall,
    and the beam from the woodwork respond.

“Woe to him who builds a town with blood
    and founds a city on iniquity!
Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts
    that peoples labor merely for fire,
    and nations weary themselves for nothing?
For the earth will be filled
    with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.”

Question to consider: How do you think these woes could be applied to us today?

Habakkuk was someone who lived by faith. He trusted that the LORD would judge the proud and unrighteous within Israel, for He could not look upon evil, and His promise was to raise up a people for Himself and dwell among them. However, it was shocking for Habakkuk to hear that the LORD’s plan of judging Israel was to wield the godless Babylonians against them. In his mind, if the godless were able to conquer Israel, it would be the undoing of both the unrighteous and righteous among them. If the entire world was filled with godless men, wouldn’t their wars and greed continue forever?

The LORD reassured Habakkuk that the insatiable desires and greed of the proud would ultimately be their undoing. To illuminate this thought, the LORD pronounced general woes (curses) upon the prideful. While the Babylonians may have been the near-term recipients of these woes, they can be applied to all who fit their description.

The first woe was for those who heap up debt for themselves, for their creditors would rise up against them and take their possessions. Babylon took what was not theirs and amassed wealth for herself. They took the treasures of the nations they conquered and tried to turn their best citizens into Babylonians while enslaving or murdering the rest. In the book of Daniel there was a description of those captured from Judah who were given the king’s meat and taught to bow down to their gods. Their day of judgment would come by the Medes and Persians who would band together to defeat them— because they had plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples plundered them. God would use them to let Israel return their land after seventy years of exile.

The next two woes deal with those who build up their houses and towns with unrighteous means like theft and murder. Like the king of Babylon, those who try to rule over others so that they labor without purpose do so in iniquity. No matter how high they build their towers and try to insulate themselves from those who would rise up against them, the LORD promised that even the stones of their own buildings would turn on them. There are political and global elitists even today who believe they can create their own personal utopia on the slavery of their lessors. Eventually, the population will rise up against them to be free no matter how much power they believe they wield.

The LORD’s desire is that the earth be filled with those who know Him. The LORD is the source of everything good and is our very reason for being. People may work hard to find purpose in the world outside of God, but everything outside of God diminishes and decays.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for creating us to be more than the sum of our labors. Help us to find our peace and reason for being in You alone and not in people or things which do not last. Amen.