Correct Interpretation of Habakkuk


My question lies in the correct interpretation of Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 4 as it is written in original Hebrew. I do not know Hebrew, and I go to Church, but I question many things, and I know that the law and prophets are not to be abolished. Therefore I question many things that Paul writes. I say this just to introduce why I have trouble understanding exactly what the Lord intends the reader to understand in Habakkuk’s vision.
In my NKJV bible chapter 2 verse 4 goes as following “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.” It is then followed by “Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man.
When I read this, I find it open to the interpretation that the Lord is not creating a juxtaposition between the Just and the faith of the Proud Man, but rather combining them together and stating the Just people in the times nearing the end are following a false prophet – the Proud Man. Obviously this has serious implications for Christianity if it is true, as Paul identifies with the Just in this passage and therefore all who follow him are subject to this warning.
I do not know the original Hebrew though, and so I wonder if this interpretation is possible, correct, or incorrect in the eyes of a Rabbi, based on the original text without any translation.
Thank you!



  1. The original Hebrew translates as follows:
    Verse 4 – Behold, his soul is defiant; it is unsettled in him. But the righteous person shall live through his faith.
    Verse 5 – The [man of] wine also acts treacherously; he is an arrogant man and does not stay at home. He has widened his soul like the grave and, like death, he is not satisfied. He gathered unto himself all the nations and assembled unto himself all the peoples.

    The “defiant” one in verse four is Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian ruler. He is never satisfied with what he has and devours everything that stands in his way. But the righteous person is not moved by Nebuchadnezzar’s grandeur and his strength. Rather, the righteous person lives steadfast in his faith that everything is being dictated by God.

    According to the Rabbis, verse number five is depicting the fall of the Babylonian empire.
    The “man of wine” is a reference to Belshazzar – Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson – who desecrated the holy vessels from the Temple in Jerusalem whilst he was drunk. he is arrogant and he did not recognize the enormity of his sin. Instead of staying at home and trying to repent he went out to conquer more nations which ended in his death.
    “He ahs widened his soul like the grave” is referring back to Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar was so debauched and degenerate that, in the end, nothing satisfied him.

    Best wishes from the Team