Write the Vision and Make It Plain: What Does Habakkuk 2:2 Mean?


Habakkuk 2:2 reads, “And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationHabakkuk 2:2
ESVAnd the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
NASBThen the LORD answered me and said, “Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run.
NIVThen the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
NLTThen the LORD said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.

Write the Vision and Make It Plain: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

2:1-4 When tossed and perplexed with doubts about the methods of Providence, we must watch against temptations to be impatient.

When we have poured out complaints and requests before God, we must observe the answers God gives by his word, his Spirit, and providences; what the Lord will say to our case.

God will not disappoint the believing expectations of those who wait to hear what he will say unto them. All are concerned in the truths of God’s word. Though the promised favour be deferred long, it will come at last, and abundantly recompense us for waiting.

The humble, broken-hearted, repenting sinner, alone seeks to obtain an interest in this salvation. He will rest his soul on the promise, and on Christ, in and through whom it is given.

Thus he walks and works, as well as lives by faith, perseveres to the end, and is exalted to glory; while those who distrust or despise God’s all-sufficiency will not walk uprightly with him.

The just shall live by faith in these precious promises, while the performance of them is deferred. Only those made just by faith, shall live, shall be happy here and for ever.

Habakkuk 2:2 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Write the vision—which I am about to reveal to thee.
make it plain—(De 27:8). In large legible characters.

upon tables—boxwood tables covered with wax, on which national affairs were engraved with an iron pen, and then hung up in public, at the prophets’ own houses, or at the temple, that those who passed might read them. Compare Lu 1:63, “writing table,” that is, tablet.

that he may run that readeth it—commonly explained, “so intelligible as to be easily read by any one running past”; but then it would be, “that he that runneth may read it.”

The true sense is, “so legible that whoever readeth it, may run to tell all whom he can the good news of the foe’s coming doom, and Judah’s deliverance.”

Compare Da 12:4, “many shall run to and fro,” namely, with the explanation of the prophecy, then unsealed; also, Re 22:17, “let him that heareth (the good news) say (to every one within his reach), Come.”

“Run” is equivalent to announce the divine revelation (Jer 23:21); as everyone who becomes informed of a divine message is bound to run, that is, use all despatch to make it known to others [Henderson].

Grotius, Ludovicus De Dieu, and Maurer interpret it: “Run” is not literal running, but “that he who reads it may run through it,” that is, read it at once without difficulty.

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