Original Research - Special Collection: Qumran Texts

Habakkuk 2:5a: Denouncing ‘wine’ or ‘wealth’? Contextual readings of the Masoretic text and 1QpHab

Gert Prinsloo
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3576 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3576 | © 2016 Gert Prinsloo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 June 2016 | Published: 30 November 2016

About the author(s)

Gert Prinsloo, Department of Ancient Languages, University of Pretoria, Pretoria,, South Africa


Habakkuk 2:5 is a problematic text. The ‘correctness’ of the Masoretic text’s passage ‘moreover, the wine is treacherous, an arrogant person – he will not come to rest’ has often been questioned. The discovery of the Pesher Habakkuk (1QpHab) in Cave 1 at Qumran gave impetus to this tendency. It contains a reading quite different from the Masoretic text. It reads ‘moreover, wealth deceives an arrogant man, and he will not come to rest’. Many modern commentaries and translations assume that 1QpHab contains the ‘correct’ reading. This study argues that this assumption is based upon questionable text critical practice and pleads for a contextual interpretation of variant readings before rash decisions about the status of the Masoretic text can be made.


Habakkuk 2:5a; Masoretic text; 1QpHab; Wine; Wealth


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