2016-04-01 - Habakkuk
The First Woe
The woes we find here are statements of God’s assessment of these behaviors and implicit in the “woe” is that God will judge accordingly. And while these were directed against Babylon, they should also have serve as a warning to Judah and a reinforcement of why they were about to fall under God’s hand.
The first woe, then, deals with extortion or different forms of taking that which does not belong to Babylon. Armerding explains it as:
“The crime is specified, first, as unjust acquisition of wealth, achieved by “extortion” (v.6b) and plunder (v.8), and, more seriously, as the wholesale destruction of man and his environment in the pursuit of this wealth (v.8). The noun “extortion” (abtit) denotes the accumulation of pledges taken as security by a creditor …; such a procedure often accompanied the exploitation and even enslavement of the poor ….” 1
To be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.