Can you explain Habakkuk 2:2?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Let us consider Habakkuk chapter 2: “[2] And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. [3] For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Can you explain, “make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it?” Yes!

The LORD God directs the Prophet Habakkuk to write on “tables”—that is, stone tablets or plaques—what he sees in a vision. His words are to be “plain,” distinctly engraved and therefore easy to understand. We want to focus, however, on the rest of verse 2, that which seems less clear. Why is the reader said to “run?”

Here are three common explanations:

  1. The message is so clear anyone running by the “tables” could easily read and understand it.
  2. The message is so simple the reader can run and proclaim to others what he has learned from the “tables.”
  3. The message is so clear the reader can “run his eye” over the “tables” with ease.

Frankly, none of these views does the verse justice. A better way to expound the passage is this: “Habakkuk should write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that the reader be able to understand and quickly (speedily—‘run’ as in rapid movement) adjust his thinking and behavior accordingly.” In other words, God’s words motivate whoever reads them to conform to that Divine revelation. “I will run the way of thy [the LORD’S] commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart” (Psalm 119:32). See also verse 59: “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy [the LORD’S] testimonies.” Unless the language of the Scriptures is clear enough to introduce spiritual light, God’s Word will profit no one, so Habakkuk was commanded to be plain in his message. It was urgent that his audience reform their minds and ways!

Also see:
» Should ministers study Scripture to prepare for teaching?
» Must we follow along in the Bible?
» I have trusted Christ, so why do I see things in Scripture I have never noticed before?
» Is it normal for me to be “too busy” for daily Bible reading?