Habakkuk 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.

And the Lord answered me,.... As he does his ministers and people sooner or later, in one way or another, when they call upon him with humility and reverence, with faith and fervency:

and said, Write the vision; which the prophet now had from him, concerning the coming of the Messiah, and the destruction of the enemies of the church and people of God: and this he has orders to "write"; not only to tell it to the people then present, for their particular information and satisfaction; but to write it, that it may be read over and over, and that it may remain, and be of use in times to come:

and make it plain upon tables, engrave it in plain legible letters on tables of wood; on box tree, as the Septuagint version; on which they used to write before paper was found out and used. Writing tables are of ancient use; they were used in and before the times of Homer, for he speaks {o} of writing very pernicious things on a two leaved table; wherefore Josephus must be mistaken when he suggests {p} that letters were not found out in the times of Homer. These tables were made of wood, sometimes of one sort, and sometimes of another; sometimes they were made of the pine tree, as appears from Euripides {q} but, for the most part, of box {r}, according to the Greek version as above; and consisted sometimes of two leaves, for the most part of three or five, covered with wax {s}, on which impressions were easily made, and continued long, and were very legible; and these impressions or letters were formed with an iron style or pen; see Jeremiah 17:1 this the Greeks and Tuscans first used, but was afterwards forbidden by the Romans, who, instead of it, ordered an instrument of bone to be used {t}: hence these tables were wont to be called "wax", because besmeared with it; and so, in wills and testaments written on them, the heirs are said to be written either in the first wax, or in the bottom of the wax {u}, that is, of the will, or in the lowest part of the table, or what we should call the bottom of the leaf or page: and it was a custom among the Romans, as Cicero {w} relates, that the public affairs of every year were committed to writing by the Pontifex Maximus, or high priest, and published on a table, and set to view within doors, that the people might have an opportunity and be able to know them; yea, it was usual to hang up laws, approved and recorded, in tables of brass, in their market places, and in their temples, that {x} they might be seen and read; the same we call annals. In like manner the Jewish prophets used to write and expose their prophecies publicly on tables, either in their own houses, or in the temple, that everyone that passed by might read them.

that he may run that readeth it; may run through the whole without any difficulty, without making any stop, being written in such large capital letters; and those cut so well, and made so plain, that a man might run it over at once with ease, or even read it as he was running; nor need he stop his pace, or stand to read. The Targum is,

"write the prophecy, and explain it in the book of the law, that he may hasten to obtain wisdom, whoever he is that reads in it.''

{o} graqav en pinaki ptuktw, &c. Homer. Iliad. 6.
{p} Contr. Apion, l. 1. c. 2.
{q} In Hippolito.
{r} "Ergo tam doctae nobis periere tabellae, Non illas fixum charas effeceret aurum, Vulgari buxo sordida cera fuit. Propertius. Buxa crepent cerata------" Prudentius.
{s} Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 2. c. 30.
{t} Isidor. Originum, l. 6. c. 8.
{u} "In ima cera", Sueton. in Vit. Jul. Caesar. c. 83. "in extrema cera", Cicero in Verrem, l. 3. Vid. Alex. ab Alex. ib. l. 1. c. 1.
{w} De Oratore, l. 2. sect. 34.
{x} Taciti Annales, l. 11. c. 14.