The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
The burden — The prophet seems to speak of these grievous things, as a burden which he himself groaned under.
 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
Therefore — Because the wicked go on with impunity.
The law — The whole law, moral, ceremonial, and judicial.
Is slacked — Is slighted, and not observed.
Go forth — From magistrates, judges, and public officers.
Doth compass about — As it were besieges, with design to oppress and ruin.
 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
Behold ye — Here God begins to answer the prophet.
Among the heathen — See what judgments have been executed upon the heathen for like sins.
 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.
Bitter — Cruel, and without mercy.
Hasty — Speedy in executing their merciless purposes.
 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
Their judgment — The law they observe, is their own will.
Their dignity — Their authority is all from themselves, without respect to any other law or rule whatever.
 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.
The evening wolves — Which with fasting in the day, came out in the evening, fierce and ravenous.
Shall spread — All over the land.
 They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.
For violence — To enrich themselves by making a prey of all.
Their faces — Their very countenances shall be as blasting as the east-wind.
 And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.
At the kings — Which opposed their designs.
And take it — By mighty mounts cast up.
 Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.
Shall not die — Be utterly destroyed.
Ordained — Set up, and designed.
Them — The Chaldean kingdom.
For judgment — To execute this judgment, which is tempered with mercy.
For correction — To chastise, not to destroy.
 And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
And makest — Not infusing cruel appetites, but permitting them to act according to such appetite which was already in them.
As the fishes — Of which the greater greedily devour the smaller.
Creeping things — Which in the waters are food for the lesser fry; so the world, like the sea, is wholly oppression.
No ruler — None to defend the weak, or restrain the mighty.
 They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.
They — The Chaldeans draw out all alike, good or bad.
In their net — Destroying many together.
And gather — As if they could never have enough, they drive men into their nets.
 Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.
They sacrifice — Ascribe the praise of their victories.
Their net — To their own contrivances, diligence, and power.
 Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?
Empty their net — As fisher-men empty the full net to fill it again.