Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Habakkuk 2:19

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Wo unto him - How foolish and contemptible to worship a thing formed by the hand of man out of wood, stone, gold, or silver! The meanest brute is superior to them all; it breathes and lives, but they have no breath in them. However, they are said above to be teachers of lies; that is, they appeared to give out oracles: but these were lies; and were not given by the statue, but by the priest.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

But then the greater is the “Woe” to him who deceiveth by them. The prophet passes away from the idols as “nothings” and pronounces “woe” on those who deceive by them. He. first expostulates with them on their folly, and would awaken them. “What hath it profited?” (As in Psalm 115:5; 1 Corinthians 12:2) Then on the obstinate he denounces “woe.” “Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise.” Self-made blindness alone could, in the light of truth, so speak; but yet more lies in the emphatic word, “It.” The personal pronoun stands emphatically in Hebrew; He shall teach, lo, He (this same of whom he speaks) this is It which shall teach: It, and not the living God. And yet this same It (the word is again emphatic) he points, as with the finger, to it, “behold, It is laid over with, held fast by, gold and silver,” so that no voice could escape, if it had any. “And there is no breath at all in the midst of it” (Compare Jeremiah 10:14 repeated Jeremiah 51:17), literally “All breath, all which is breath, there is none within it;” he first suggests the thought, breath of every sort, and then energetically denies it all; no life of any sort, of man, or bird, or beast, or creeping thing Isaiah 41:23; Jeremiah 10:5; none, good or bad; from God or from Satan; none whereby it can do good or do evil; for which it should be loved or feared. Evil spirits may have made use of idols: they could not give them life, nor dwell in them.

The words addressed to it are the language of the soul in the seeming absence or silence of God (Psalm 7:7; Psalm 35:23; Psalm 44:24; Psalm 59:6; Isaiah 51:9; Delitszch), but mockery as spoken to the senseless stone, as Ehijah had mocked the Baal-priests, “peradventure he sleepeth and must be awaked” 1 Kings 18:26-27.

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.