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Five Woes Against Tyrants: Woe #4

Habakkuk 2:6-19 – Part 5

In this next section of our journey through the book of Habakkuk, five woes are pronounced against the tyrants that take Judah captive. We will provide a short introduction in this post and address each woe in a separate post.

Note: We encourage you to click the link above and read the section in Habakkuk this post will discuss prior to reading the post.

Fourth Woe: Habakkuk 2:15-17

“Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink—
    you pour out your wrath and make them drunk,
    in order to gaze at their nakedness!
 You will have your fill of shame instead of glory.
    Drink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision!
The cup in the Lord’s right hand
    will come around to you,
    and utter shame will come upon your glory!
The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,
    as will the destruction of the beasts that terrified them,
for the blood of man and violence to the earth,
    to cities and all who dwell in them.”
–Habakkuk 2:15-17 (ESV)

The Woe Against Degrading One’s Neighbor

In the fourth woe oracle, God takes issue with the immoral debauchery that is degrading and exploitative. The result of which was shame and humiliation as their enemies were left without any dignity or honor. Verse 15 states, “Woe to him who gives his neighbors drink, pouring out your wrath and even making them drunk, in order to look at their nakedness! (HCSB)”. If the cup they were to drink from symbolizes the wrath of the Babylonians, than that wrath was full to the point that their enemies were left in a drunken stupor. Then the Babylonians took full advantage of them and looked on their nakedness. While this could refer to physical nakedness since often in times of war the victims were raped and hauled off naked, there are two other possibilities.

Exposing the Riches

First, their nakedness could refer to exposing the riches of the conquered land as the Babylonians plundered and stripped the nation of anything valuable. We have already seen that God pronounced a woe against plundering. Many of the riches of Judah were found in the Temple and these were carried off along with the people taken into captivity. God could be pronouncing this woe, at least in part, for exposing the Holy of Holies and taking off with the items of worship in the Temple.

A Spiritual Implication

Second, and more importantly, there could be a spiritual implication in that in God’s righteous judgment, the sins of the nation would be revealed, and their shame is exposed. They were not only drinking of the cup of wrath of the Babylonians, but also the cup of wrath that God had promised if they broke their covenant with Him. Judah and Israel both broke their covenant with God and chose to worship false gods. They were guilty of child sacrifices and temple prostitution. God’s woe is for any nation who turns away from Him and chooses to go their own way. That nation’s sin and shame will be exposed.

The Sins of Babylon…and Today

The specific sins mentioned are getting others drunk for the purpose of lust and sexual sins. In verse 17 it gives another result from drunkenness – violence. Drunkenness always leads to other immorality and society is filled with its corrupted fruit. In many ways drunkenness, lust and sexual sins and violence sum up where the moral decay we find in our world today. It is on our televisions, in our magazines, in the movies, littered over the internet and in our families. Today these acts of immorality have spread everywhere across the world. So when God comes to judge in the last days, the judgement will be worldwide. The woe of God’s judgement will be throughout the earth.

They Tyrant, Babylon, will Face the Same Fate

For these sins, God was going to judge Babylon. They were known for their drunken orgies and violence and now they were perverting other nations to be like them. Again, we find God’s judgment is a reversal of the situation and Babylon will experience themselves what they did to others. God says that they will become drunk with shame, not majesty when He brings His cup of wrath to them. They will not be pardoned for any of their offenses but will pay for them in full through God’s terrifying judgment. God’s reasoning is announced at the end of verse 17. He states that His judgment will be because Babylon destroyed the wild animals, shed human blood, and committed violent acts against lands, cities, and the people who live in them.

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1 Corinthians 11:1-15

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4: Journal what you prayed about and the results of your meditation.

5: Move to the next verse. Continue through the entire psalm this way.

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