Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Habakkuk 2:18

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

What profiteth the graven image - This is against idolatry in general, and every species of it, as well as against those princes, priests, and people who practice it, and encourage others to do the same. See on Isaiah 44:9-10; (note); Isaiah 46:2; (note).

Dumb idols? - אלמים אלילים elilim illemim, "dumb nothings." This is exactly agreeable to St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 8:4, who says, "An idol is nothing in the world." What signify the idols worshipped by the Chaldeans, Tyrians, and Egyptians? They have not been able to save their worshippers.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

What profiteth - (Hath profited) הועיל מה. Samuel warned them, “Serve the Lord with all your heart, and turn ye not aside; for (it would be) after vanities which will not profit nor deliver for they are vain:” and Jeremiah tells their past; “their prophets prophesied by Baal; and after things יועילי לא which profit not, have they gone.” Elsewhere the idol is spoken of as a thing “which will not profit” (future) “My people hath changed its glory יועיל בלא for that which profiteth not,” Jeremiah 2:8, Jeremiah 2:11. So Isaiah, “Who hath formed a god, הועיל לבלתי not to profit.” Isaiah 44:9.10. “The makers of a graven image are all of them vanity, and their desirable things יועילו בל will not profit.”

The graven image, that the maker therefore hath graven it? - What did Baal and Ashtaroth profit you? What availed it ever but to draw down the wrath of God? Even so neither shall it profit the Chaldaean. As their idols availed them not, so neither need they fear them. Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar were propagandists of their own belief and would destroy, if they could, all other worship, false or true: Nebuchadnezzar is thought to have set up his own image 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:15-17. We may take warning at least by our own sins. If we had no profit at all from them, neither will the like profit others. the Jews did, in the main, learn this in their captivity.

The molten image and teacher of lies - It is all one whether by “teacher of lies” we understand the idol, or its priest. For its priest gave it its voice, as its maker created its form. It could only seem to teach through the idol-priest. Isaiah used the title “teacher of lies,” of the false prophet Isaiah 9:14. It is all one. Zechariah combines them Zechariah 10:2; “The teraphim have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have had false dreams.”

That the maker of his work trusteth therein - This was the special folly of idolatry. The thing made must needs he inferior to its maker. It was one of the corruptions of idolatry that the maker of his own work should trust in what was wholly his own creation, what, not God, but himself created, what had nothing but what it had from himself. He uses the very words which express the relation of man to God, “the Framer” and “the thing framed.” Isaiah 29:16, “O your perverseness! Shall the framer be accounted as clay, theft the thing made should say of its Maker, He made me not, and the thing framed say of its Framer, He hath no hands?” The idol-maker is “the creator of his creature,” of his god whom he worships. Again the idol-maker makes “dumb idols” (literally, “dumb nothings”) in themselves nothings, and having no power out of themselves; and what is uttered in their name, are but lies. And what else are man‘s idols of wealth, honor, fame, which he makes to himself, the creatures of his own hands or mind, their greatness existing chiefly in his own imagination before which he bows down himself, who is the image of God?

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
A severe woe is pronounced against drunkenness; it is very fearful against all who are guilty of drunkenness at any time, and in any place, from the stately palace to the paltry ale-house. To give one drink who is in want, who is thirsty and poor, or a weary traveller, or ready to perish, is charity; but to give a neighbour drink, that he may expose himself, may disclose secret concerns, or be drawn into a bad bargain, or for any such purpose, this is wickedness. To be guilty of this sin, to take pleasure in it, is to do what we can towards the murder both of soul and body. There is woe to him, and punishment answering to the sin. The folly of worshipping idols is exposed. The Lord is in his holy temple in heaven, where we have access to him in the way he has appointed. May we welcome his salvation, and worship him in his earthly temples, through Christ Jesus, and by the influence of the Holy Spirit.