Bible Commentaries
Habakkuk 3

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-19


[Title and Introduction (Habakkuk 3:1-2). The Prophet represents Jehovah as appearing in glorious Majesty on Sinai (Habakkuk 3:3-4). He describes the Ravages of the Plague in the Desert (Habakkuk 3:5). The Consternation of the Nations (Habakkuk 3:6-10). Reference to the Miracle at Gibeon (Habakkuk 3:11). Results of the Interposition of God on Behalf of his People (Habakkuk 3:12-15). Subject of the Introduction resumed (Habakkuk 3:16). The Prophet asserts his Confidence in God in the midst of anticipated Calamity. Parallels to this Ode: Deuteronomy 33:2-5; Judges 5:4-5; Psalms 68:7-8; Psalms 77:13-20; Psalms 114:0 : Isaiah 63:11-14.—C. E.]

1 A prayer of Habakkuk, the prophet: with triumphal music.1

2 O Jehovah! I have heard the report of thee, I am afraid;

O Jehovah ! revive thy work in the midst of the years;
In the midst of the years make it known:
In wrath remember mercy.

3 God2 comes from Teman,3

And the Holy One from mount Paran.4 Selah.

His splendor covers the heavens,
And the earth is full of his glory.

4 And the brightness is like the sun;

Rays5 stream from his hand;

And there is the hiding6 of his power.

5 Before him goes the plague;

And burning pestilence follows his feet.

6 He stands and measures7 the earth:

He looks, and makes nations tremble:
The everlasting mountains are broken in pieces
The eternal hills sink down:
His ways8 are everlasting.

7 I saw the tents of Cushan9 in trouble:

The tent-curtains of the land of Midian tremble.

8 Was it against the rivers it burned, O Jehovah?

Was thine anger against the rivers?
Was thy fury against the sea?
That thou didst ride upon thy horses,
In thy chariots of victory.

9 Thy bow is made entirely bare:

Rods10 [of chastisement] are sworn by the word. Selah.

Thou cleavest the earth into rivers.

10 The mountains saw thee, they writhe;

A flood of water passes over:
The abyss utters its voice;
It lifts up its hands on high.

11 Sun, moon, stood back in their habitation,11

At the light of thine arrows, which flew,
At the shining of the lightning of thy spear.

12 In anger thou marchest through the earth;

In wrath thou treadest down the nations.

13 Thou goest forth for the salvation of thy people;

For the salvation of thine anointed:
Thou dashest in pieces the head from the house of the wicked,
Laying bare the foundation even to the neck. Selah.

14 Thou piercest with his own spears the chief of his captains,

That rush on like a tempest to scatter me;
Their rejoicing is to devour, as it were, the poor in secret.

15 Thou treadest upon the sea with thy horses,

Upon the foaming of many waters.

16 I heard, and my bowels trembled;

At the sound my lips quivered;
Rottenness entered my bones;
I tremble in my lower12 parts,

That I am to wait13 quietly for the day of distress,

When he that approaches the nation shall press upon it.

17 For14 the fig tree will not blossom;

And there is no produce on the vines;
The fruit of the olive tree fails,
And the fields bear no food:
The flock is cut off from the fold;
And there are no cattle in the stalls.

18 But I will exult in Jehovah,

And rejoice in the God of my salvation.

19 Jehovah, the Lord, is my strength,

And makes my feet like the hinds,
And causes me to walk upon my high places.
To the precentor,15 with my stringed instruments.


The prophecy of the judgment of the world, under the form of a theophany, and already prepared by Habakkuk 2:14, immediately follows, like Zephaniah 1:7 (comp. Zechariah 2:13), the emphatic favete linguis: let all the world be silent before the Lord. That its contents are evidently just as much prophetic as the previous is evident from their entirely original character and from their having reference throughout to the future; and it has been furnished by the prophet himself (comp. Introd.) with the liturgical heading, subscription, and intermediate sign (Selah, Habakkuk 3:3; Habakkuk 3:9; Habakkuk 3:13), for the reason that it is, in fact, by its rhythm, diction, and formal finish, conformed to the hymns and psalms adapted to performance [in the public service]. It is solely the application of a subjective notion of a palm on the part of Delitzsch and Keil, when they make the entire song a mere lyrical effusion of subjective emotions, an echo of chaps, 1 and 2 in the soul of the poet inspired with poetic feeling. Compare on Habakkuk 3:2. It can be said at the most, that theclosing lyrical verses, 16–19, sustain a relation to the prophecy proper similar to that of Nahum 2:12 ff. to Nahum 2:1-11; but they do not cease thereby to belong to the prophecy. That the poetic form is selected has its reason in the fact, that as all prophecy involuntarily utters itself poetically in consequence of the elevation of the soul freed from the earth, so also the highest degree of the prophetical inspiration includes, at the same time, the highest degree of the poetical. We have examples of this in the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah, which, in their greatest height, strike up the key of the Psalms. It entirely contradicts the thoroughly original and grand character of the hymn, when Delitzsch does not even allow it to pass as original, but brings it down to an imitation of Psalms 77:0 The reasons for this opinion, which Delitzsch brings together with great pains, and the most plausible of which he repeats in the Commentary on the Psalms, are only of a subjective demonstrative power; a more exact examination is not in place here, since the question for the understanding [of the hymn] is an equivalent one. Hupfeld gives the positive counter proof. Psalms 3:0 p. 345, Observ. 69.)

According to the contents the hymn is composed of the following constituent parts:—

I. The prophecy of the theophany itself; Habakkuk 3:2-15.

II. The application of this prophecy; Habakkuk 3:16-19.

The prophecy itself (Habakkuk 3:2-15) is divided into—

(a) The introitus, Habakkuk 3:2, five lines.

(b) First chief part: the approach of God, Habakkuk 3:3-7, sixteen lines.

(c) Transitus, Habakkuk 3:8, five lines.

(d) Secon chief part: the operations of the judgment, Habakkuk 3:9-13, sixteen lines.

(e) The concluding strophe, Habakkuk 3:14-15, seven lines.

The application is divided into two strophes of six lines each, and a concluding strophe [Abgesang, Collect] of five lines. [The rhythmical structure is determined somewhat differently, to wit, by the recurring Selah, which, in the second place, where it might be expected on account of the symmetry, is substituted in the text by a very old intermediate space; the theme of the hymn is divided into the following symmetrical groups: (1) seven lines (Habakkuk 3:2-3 b); (2) fourteen lines (Habakkuk 3:3-7); (3) seven lines (Habakkuk 3:8-9 b); (4) fourteen lines (Habakkuk 3:9-13); (5) seven lines (Habakkuk 3:14-15). The symmetry of the structure extends even (as is frequently the case in the Proverbs of Solomon) to the separate members, which generally (only with the exception of Habakkuk 3:7-8 c, Habakkuk 3:13 c–Habakkuk 3:14, Habakkuk 3:16 d) consist of three words. [This of course refers to the Hebrew text.—C. E.] The knowledge of this is not unimportant for the interpretation. Comp. on Habakkuk 3:15.]

The form of the theophany, i.e. of an appearance of God for judgment accompanied with the agitation of all the powers of nature and elements, is quite peculiar to the hymnology of the Old Testament and entirely born of its [O. T.] spirit. It is, namely, the correlate of the first appearance of the kind at the giving of the law upon Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:16 ff.), which in its turn refers back to the first appearances of God manifesting himself to the patriarchs: compare particularly, Genesis 15:0. From that appearance the hymns, which refer to a historical theophany, take their start, Deuteronomy 33:0; Judges 5:0 (comp. Psalms 68:8 ff; Psalms 77:10 ff.); Psalms 18:0, which sums up the battles of God for his anointed, in the form of the theophany (comp. 2 Kings 6:17), is included with these. But the use [of the O. T. hymns] is not restricted to this [a historical theophany]. For as God gave his law with such a proof of his glory, so also will the fulfillment and execution of the law, the judgment, be accompanied by such an appearance of God, coming either as then from the south out of the wilderness, or down from heaven. Of this the prophetic Psalms 50:7 treat; furthermore Isaiah 30:27 ff; Isaiah 64:1 ff. (with Isaiah 63:19 b) [19 b begins Isaiah 64:1 in the A. V.; but in the Hebrew Original, LXX., Vulgate, and Luther’s Version, it closes chap. 63—C. E.]; and most fully this prophecy. It lies in the nature of the subject, that in prophecies of this kind prophetic vision, poetic intuition, symbolism, and reality, are interwoven in a manner that cannot be fully explained by the finite understanding.

Heading. A Prayer, a general name of a song that can be sung in worship, hence also a collective name of the Psalms (Psalms 72:20), of Habakkuk,—this passage shows plainly that the ל in the headings of the Psalms also is intended to indicate the author—the prophet (comp. chap. 1 Habakkuk 3:1) after the manner of the dithyramb. This liturgical definition is, like almost all preserved in the O. T., obscure; and its signification, since tradition is entirely unreliable in these things, can only be conjectured. Probably it is to be traced, like שִׁגָּיוֹן, Psalms 7:1 (comp. Clauss on the passage), to the root שׁגה, to err, reel, and accordingly signifies, as a plur. abstr., the mode of the reeling song, the cantio erratica, the Dithyramb. [The Dithyramb (Epich., p. 72, Herod., 1:23, and Pindar) was a kind of poetry chiefly cultivated in Athens, of a lofty but usually inflated style, originally in honor of Bacchus, afterwards also of the other gods. It was always set in the Phrygian mode, and was at first antistrophic, but later usually mono-strophic. It was the germ of the choral element in the Attic tragedy. It was sung to the flute, whilst the rest of the chorus danced in a circle round the altar of the god. From this circumstance the dithyrambic choruses were called Cyclian.—C. E.] It has no connection with the contents of the prophecy.

[Keil: As shâgâh, to err, then to reel to and fro, is applied to the giddiness both of intoxication and of love (Isaiah 28:7; Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 5:20), shiggâyõn signifies reeling, and in the termination of poetry a reeling song, i. e., a song delivered in the greatest excitement, or with a rapid change of emotion, dithyrambus.—C. E.]

Introitus. Habakkuk 3:2. Jehovah, I have heard thy report [rather the report of thee: the genitive is that of the object—C. E.]; not that mentioned Habakkuk 1:5 ff.; Habakkuk 2:2 ff.; for he had not only heard that, but also written it down, and published it; but the report which he is just about to announce (comp. the retrospective reference, Habakkuk 3:16; Obadiah 1:1; Jeremiah 49:14; Jonah 1:0); the report of the grand appearance of Jehovah, in the impending judgment, which is drawing near, for the purpose of visiting with punishment the Holy Land, and that with a twofold power of execution (comp. Amos 1:2); so that in the Holy Land laid waste and purified by the judgment, God by means of the judgment overthrows the spoilers. The separate acts meet in a picture, as in Psalms 18:0, before the vision of the seer. Before the power of this theophany rising upon his vision, and because the first moment16 enters into his consciousness as a fellow sufferer with others (Micah 1:8) the prophet recoils: Therefore I tremble, I am afraid. This is the result of the manifestation of the mighty deeds of God (Exodus 15:14; Psalms 18:45). Jehovah revive thy work in the midst of the years. What work is meant? Habakkuk 1:5 spoke of a work which was to be accomplished in a wonderful manner, and under that was understood the desolation of the earth by the Chaldæan. That work cannot be meant here; for although the prophet, without human weakness, has to communicate the severe chastisements of God, yet he cannot directly pray for them. That work, moreover, was not called פעל יי, but it was a work by itself, whose distinguishing feature was the fact, that, although ordained of God, it nevertheless wrought out itself, it had its power and energy in itself (Habakkuk 1:7). A work of grace must be intended, by which Jehovah proves Himself, in his peculiar, well-known way, the Holy One of Israel (Habakkuk 1:12), a work by means of which the impending calamities are endurable (comp. בְּקֶ־ֶב צָרָח תְּחיֵּנִי, Psalms 138:7). And certainly the meaning is here; quicken it in the midst of the years; חִיִּה has the meaning of revivifying, of quickening anew (Psalms 80:19; Psalms 85:7 [6]), a work of grace, which had occurred once already in the beginning of the years, and whose recurrence Israel now needs, in order to be joyful again. And this consists with no other act of God than the deliverance from Egypt, which is described, Psalms 44:2, in entirely similar words, and so this passage understands Psalms 77:13. It stands in fact at the beginning of the years, namely, at the beginning of the national existence (Hosea 11:1). Then do thy work anew in the midst of the years; in the midst of the years make known; the imperative continued by the imperfect as in Psalms 31:2 ff.; to make known is the same as to accomplish before all eyes (Psalms 103:7). The explanation of the work, which has been given, agrees well not only with the circumstance that in fact in the following context (comp. namely, the “old paths,” Habakkuk 3:6) a return of the wonderful works, that were performed at the time of that deliverance, is predicted, but also with the concluding clause: in wrath (comp. Isaiah 28:21) remember mercy, which, according to what has been said, evidently means, if thou intendest to humble us again, do thou also again deliver us.

The announcement follows the exclamation of feeling: Habakkuk 3:3-7.

The approach of Jehovah from the South. Eloah (poetic archaism instead of אלהים, comp. Deuteronomy 32:15) comes from Teman, and the Holy One (comp. on Habakkuk 1:12) from the mountains of Paran. The southern country, as in Judges 5:0 and Psalms 68:0 (יְשִׁימוֹן), the point from which God sets out, because He approaches from Sinai (Psalms 68:9 [8]), is introduced (compare Deuteronomy 33:0) by the enumeration of two divisions, namely, Teman, which is the same as Edom, and forms the East division (comp. Obadiah 1:9 with Jeremiah 49:22); and the mountainous region of Paran, between Edom and Egypt (1 Kings 11:18), forming the West division. Compare the peri-phrase, Gilead and Manasseh, Ephraim and Judah (Psalms 60:9), for Canaan. In regard to the Selah, compare Sommer, Bib. Essays, Habakkuk 1:1 ff., Delitzsch, Psalter (1867), p. 70 ff. While God approaches, his splendor covers the heavens (comp. Psalms 8:1), the clear brightness of his glory making its appearance (Psalms 104:1 f.; Luke 1:78), which like the purple light of the morning (Hosea 6:3) covers the heavens, and like a sea of fire sinks on the earth: and the earth is filled with his glory (comp. Habakkuk 2:14; Isaiah 6:3 f.). תהלה, properly praise, here by metonymy the object of praise, is synonymous with כּבור, as in Psalms 66:2. The flaming glory of Jehovah filling everything, is a vision of such excessive sublimity, that one scarcely dares to follow the prophet in spirit to meditate upon it.

Habakkuk 3:4. Out of this glory—the veil of God—bursting upon the view, shoot forth lightnings like rays (comp. Psalms 18:13; Matthew 24:27), like the rays of the rising sun through the morning sky: a brightness bursts forth like sunlight (Isaiah 5:30), and horns, i.e. rays (Exodus 34:29 f.) are at his side [hand]. The Arabic poetry and popular language also call the first rays of the rising sun horns, antlers, and conformably with this they call the sun himself a gazelle (comp. Psalms 22:1). Hence also the dual, מִיּדָוֹ is used in a general sense: at the side, equivalent to “on both sides”; compare the expression, “before and behind ” [at his presence, at his feet—C. E.], in the following verse (Delitzsch). [מִיּדָוֹ signifies literally “from his hand,” but since the hand is by the side, it is equivalent to “at his side.” “As the disc of the sun is surrounded by a splendid radiance, so the coming of God is inclosed by rays on both sides.” The suffix in לוֹ refers to God.—C. E.] And there, in this radiant splendor, is the veil, properly the hiding of his omnipotence (comp. Ezekiel 1:27). He is so resplendent himself, that even the light is only his garment (Psalms 104:2). The garment of his omnipotence, by virtue of which He is judge of the world, and at the service of which are the satellites of the judgment.

Habakkuk 3:5. Before Him goes the plague, and burning pestilence follows his feet. So had Hosea 13:14 predicted it: I will be thy plague, O death (the plague, which provides for thee the victim), I will be thy pestilence, O grave. With these angels of death he had, approaching from the south, destroyed also the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35).

Habakkuk 3:6. Then He stands (He alone is calm amidst all the violent commotion, comp. Micah 5:3) and measures the earth. The measuring, מדד is a function of God as the judge of the world; also in Psalms 60:8 (Kal is employed to signify parcelling out tracts of land, comp. Micah 2:4), and Isaiah 65:7 (requiting with the right measure), comp. 2 Samuel 8:2. He measures the earth, i.e., He measures the countries and their practices, in order to execute a right judgment. [Delitzsch and others more conformably to the parallelism, following the Targum: He sets [the earth] reeling; however, the signification (מוּד =מוּט) cannot be verified.] He looks, examines with a scrutinizing look (Psalms 10:14), and makes the heathen tremble. [יַתֵּר is the Hiphil of נָתַר, and means to cause to shake or tremble.—C. E.] God is a spirit, and his spiritual acts are of complete energy and efficiency; his hearing is granting; his seeing, helping or judging; his rebuking, annihilation. Then the primeval mountains, the unchangeable [mountains] (Micah 6:2; comp. Deuteronomy 33:15) burst asunder; the hills of the early world sink down. His are the paths of olden time, i.e., He follows them: the paths in which He then conducted his people from Egypt into the land [of Canaan] (68:25 [24]).

Hence also now, as then (comp. Exodus 15:14 ff.) the nations on both sides of the way fall into fear and confusion. It is quite plain that Habakkuk 3:7, in which the borderers on the Red Sea, on the east and west, are mentioned as the trembling nations, refers to that event [the deliverance from Egypt] of the ancient time. I, the prophet, see, in vision, the tents of Cushan, i.e., Cush, Ethiopia, west, on the sea, in affliction (comp. Jeremiah 4:15). (So Luther, Gesenius, Maurer, Delitzsch, Keil, Hitzig, and others. According to the Targum, Talmud, Cushan of Mesopotamia is meant (Judges 3:8 ff.) [which I let pass, it does not agree with the arrangement, Lath.]; Ewald considers it the same as Jokshan). [Smith, Dict. of the Bible, art. “Chushan,” thinks that Cushan is possibly the same as Cushan-rishathaim (A. V. Chushan-) King of Mesopotamia (Judges 3:8; Judges 3:10). See article, “Cushan.”—C. E.] The curtains of the land of Midian, on the east of the Red Sea, tremble.

Habakkuk 3:8. A lyrical intermediate strophe, which, at the same time, serves as a connecting link with what follows: the poet stops in the description, in order to take a new start (compare similar pauses, Genesis 49:14; Judges 5:12; Psalms 68:20 ff; Psalms 18:21 ff.). He inquires after the purpose of the approaching God. The question is evidently not put for an answer; but it is a poetical form. Was it against the rivers, O Jehovah, against the rivers that thy wrath was kindled? Jehovah is in the vocative, because it would [otherwise] be connected with חרה by ל. [The Hebrew idiom is ל חרה to burn to one (scil., anger), to feel angry, be wroth. See Nordheimer’s Heb. Gram., vol. 2 p. 227.—C. E.] Or was thy fury against the sea? The sea and rivers also retire before the approaching glory of God (Psalms 114:3; Psalms 114:5). אִם connects cumulative questions, even when they have nothing disjunctive in them (Genesis 37:8). That thou didst ride upon thy horses, the cherub wings of the wind (Psalms 18:11) upon thy chariot of salvation? The elements, clouds and winds, here as everywhere, servants, messengers, media of the manifestation of God (Psalms 104:4), are symbolized as horses and chariots, because the judgment is a warlike act of the Lord of Hosts, and chariots and horses are the instruments of war (Micah 5:9 [10]). [When complex terms receive a suffix, they can stand, according to Hebrew idiom, in the stat. constr., Ewald, sec. 291 b.] [This construction is poetical.—C. E.] The signification of victory for ישׁועה, denied by some, is evidently implied in that of “salvation,” both here and in Isaiah 59:17, and in the passages, where the noun occurs in the plural (Ps. 18:51, and other places). [Keil: “By describing. the chariots of God as chariots of salvation, the prophet points at the outset to the fact, that the riding of God has for its object the salvation or deliverance of his people.—C. E.] With this warlike turn the transition is immediately made to—

The second principal part, Habakkuk 3:9-13, which describes how the judgment is put in execution. Habakkuk 3:9 a, b, continues the picture of God as the warrior, begun in Habakkuk 3:8. Thy bow is made quite bare. [It is unnecessary to invent, with the interpreters, for תֵּעוֹר, the stem עוֹר nudare, which has no exi tence, of which the form [in question] would be the 3 fem. imp. Niph.; it is the 3 imp Kal from ערר (Isaiah 32:11), comp. יֵרֹעַ from רעע (Proverbs 11:15). עֶריָה is an anomalous feminine form of the infin. absolute from the cognate stem ערה (comp. Ewald, sec. 240 d.; 312 b, 2); and so the words are closely connected: it would have been prosaic and according to rule to have said ערוֹר תָּעוֹר.] [Gesenius, Fürst, and Keil take תֵּעוֹר from עוּר, and עֶריָה noun.—C. E.] God’s judgment is represented as an arrow upon the string also in Psalms 21:13 [12] comp. Lamentations 3:12). But the bow, and in general God’s weapons of war, are not to be taken in the strictest literal sense, but they are, as the prophet adds in explanatory apposition, the scourges sworn by the word. מטה has nowhere the signification of arrow, which would suit excellently the bow, and which is held by some interpreters (e.g., Meier, Stud. u. Krit., 1842, 1031 f.); even in Habakkuk 3:4 it can at the most, as in 2 Samuel 14:17, signify spears. Were it to be actually taken in this sense, then, since it introduces a new figure, it must be joined to קשׁת by ו. But certainly the אֹמר indicates that here the figure passes over into the thing [reality]; hence we understand, as we have said, the clause rather as an explanatory adjunct, and accordingly מטות as scourges, calamities; compare this usage of the language for the chastisements threatened by the prophets: Micah 6:9 (hear the rod !); Ezekiel 7:11; Isaiah 10:5; Isaiah 9:3; Isaiah 14:5. They are sworn to by the word, i. e. the Word of God; comp. Micah 6:9; Deuteronomy 32:40 f.; and as to the absolute use of אמר for the omnipotent Word of God, which opens a way for his great deeds in the world, compare Psalms 68:34 [33]; 11 [12]. אמר is in the acc. instr. like חַרְבְּךָ, Psalms 17:13. The participle שׁבועות (comp. Ezekiel 21:23 [28] is separated from this instrumentalis belonging to it, because it should stand emphatically at the beginning, and for the same reason it is also placed before its substantive; consequently it is to be considered as the stat. constr., שבועות מטות, like נסיכי ארכ, Micah 5:4 (5). Delitzsch gives a synopsis of more than a hundred explanations of this difficult passage). After the Selah the prophet turns again, Habakkuk 3:9-12, to the description of the powerful catastrophe of Nature which, according to the parallelism pervading the Holy Scriptures between the mikrokosmos and makrokosmos, man and visible nature, accompanies the judgment. With streams thou dividest the earth. [Delitzsch, Bäumlein, Keil: into rivers thou dividest the earth; without sense; Hitzig: Thou dividest rivers to earth; Ewald: Thou dividest streams to land, etc.]. Our translation [נהרות, acc. instr. like אֹמֵר] is justified by Micah 1:4, where the surface of the earth is cleft into gulleys by the masses of water rushing from the mountains.

Habakkuk 3:10. Whence the torrents? The mountains saw thee and trembled, the water-flood rushes on. Thunder-storm and violent rains, as a representation of the most powerful agitation of the elements, accompany the theophany, comp. on Micah, at the place cited. From the mountains the prophet turns to the extreme opposite, the depths of the sea: the abyss raises its voice—the deep water, that surrounds the main-land (Jonah 2:6) and lies spread out under the main-land (Genesis 49:25) is here, like the mountains, poetically personified. The voice of the abyss is the roaring of the waters shut up underneath (Job 28:14). It raises its hands on high. רוֹם is not the subject-nominative, which would yield no sense, since the height cannot stretch out its hands over itself; but it is the accusative of direction (2 Kings 19:22). The archaic form יָדָיו is selected for pictorial effect, instead of the current form יָרָיו. By the hands of the abyss one will properly understand the waves of water thrown visibly on high, which, as at the Deluge, break through the flood-gates of the earth (Nahum 2:7), and unite with the gushing rains from heaven (comp. Genesis 7:11).

Habakkuk 3:11. The sun, the moon, either, enter into their dwelling, i. e., withdraw so that one sees them no more, and darkness comes on (Delitzsch, Hitzig, Keil); or, stand still, continue standing terrified in their place, just where they were standing at the beginning of the judgment. The latter, on account of עמד and the reference to Joshua 10:0 is the more probable, זבול is a place of abode (comp. Ps. 49:26 with Psalms 103:16); the precise idea of dwelling arises only from the addition of בית (1 Kings 6:13; 2 Chronicles 6:2).

At the light of thine arrows, which flew, at the shining of thy spear. The holy majesty of God manifesting itself is turned to the majesty of a judge executing justice; the holy light into the devouring fire (Isaiah 10:17).

The discourse, Habakkuk 3:12-13, turns directly to the acts of judgment connected with the salvation of Israel: In anger thou marchest (poetical expression, as in Judges 5:4; Psalms 68:8) the land, first of all the Holy Land, since He comes from Sinai (comp. Micah 1:2). In indignation thou thrashest the heathen, as of old (Psalms 68:22 [21]).

Habakkuk 3:13. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people—ישׁע, as a nom. verb. is construed with the Acc. (Ewald, sec. 239 a)—for the salvation of thy anointed, by whom, according to the parallelism, is to be understood not so much the unworthy Jehoiakim as the nation itself (Psalms 84:10 [Psalms 84:9]; Psalms 105:15). (LXX, Rosenmuller, Ewald, Hitzig.)

Thou crushest the head (Psalms 110:6) of the house of the wicked, laying bare the foundation even to the neck. The house of the wicked is the Chaldæan nation viewed as a family; compare the house of Israel, Psalms 115:12, and above. Whilst it is compared to a human body (compare the inverted comparison, Job 22:16; Ecclesiastes 12:3 f.) its entire destruction (πανολεθρια, Jo. Schmid) is represented by the enumeration of the separate parts, head, lower extremities, and neck. The infin. abs. ערוֹת, to lay bare, i. e., from the foundation, to raze to the ground (Psalms 137:7) stands as the abl. gerundii, Ges., sec. 131, 2.

The concluding portion [of the description of the theophany—C. E.], Habakkuk 3:14-15, carries out this thought still further. It differs from what precedes by beginning with shorter rhythms. Thou piercest through with his spear (comp. on Habakkuk 3:9), with the weapons of the wicked one (comp. Psalms 7:17 (16), the head of his princes, comp. פרזון, Judges 5:7-11; LXX. on the same passage, and Ges., s. v. in Thes. The signification of hordes (Delitzsch, Keil) cannot be evolved from the circumstance that פְּרָזִי designates an inhabitant of the פְּרָוֹת, the plain: the passage treats of warriors, who have entered by force, not of peaceful settlers. His princes, they rush in (comp. Habakkuk 1:11) to disperse me, properly to scatter me: the prophet speaks in the name of the people; and they rejoice as if they were allowed to devour the poor in secret; literally, whose rejoicing is, as it were, in devouring, etc. (comp. Psalms 10:5 ff.). The ל concomitantiæ as in Habakkuk 3:11.

Habakkuk 3:15. Thou treadest upon the sea, Thy horses upon the billows of great waters. Usually, Thou walkest on the sea (Umbreit, Hitzig) or Thou walkest through the sea (Delitzsch, Keil) with thy horses. The exposition has its origin in the Masoretic interpunction, which, in following the rhythmical structure of the hymn, unites the first three words. But already in the preceding verse the rhythmical unity does not consist of three, but of two words; and even if in Habakkuk 3:15 we take the number three as a foundation [of rhythmical unity] the rhythmical arrangement indicated by the Masorites would still not involve the logical (comp. Psalms 30:8). Our exposition is much simpler, by which the last four words, with the verb רָּרַךְ, which is naturally to be supplied, form a sentence. In this way the dragging occasioned by the following ace. instr. סוסיך as well as the still more pompous conception of the second member disappears, and the clause [156] stands in apposition. דרך has then both constructions, with ב as in Deuteronomy 11:24, and with the Acc. as in Job 20:15. Following Psalms 77:20 (19) Delitzsch finds in the passage a reminiscence of the Red Sea; Hitzig understands by the sea the host of the enemy. The latter on account of the connection with what immediately precedes, is the more probable (comp. Isaiah 17:12 ff.). And it appears to me nearest the truth according to the joint connection of the combined thoughts: As thou didst once lead thy people through the Red Sea, and marching before didst cast down the waters, so wilt thou now march through, renewing thy work (Habakkuk 3:2) and treading down the surging mass of the enemy’s host.

The Subjective Application of the Prophecy follows, with trembling, but confident faith, in the third principal part, Habakkuk 3:16-19. After the vast picture has rolled past his eyes, the prophet looks back to the beginning. I have heard this,—this divine judgment just described, which depends upon the sad condition of the land’s being overrun by the Chaldæans;—my belly trembled (comp. Isaiah 16:11). At the cry, crying aloud, my lips quivered. Gew.: At the sound my lips quivered (Delitzsch, chattered). צלל cannot mean to chatter, for the lips do not chatter, but the teeth. We translate it according to the analogy of לַשָּׁוִא and לְמִרְמָה, Exodus 20:7; Psalms 24:4; comp. Isaiah 15:5. Rottenness, the feeling of complete weakness (Proverbs 12:4) comes into my bones, and under me, down to my feet (Ewald, sec. 217 k), I tremble: that I (אשׁרֹ, quod, as in 1 Samuel 2:23; Psalms 89:52) am to wait quietly (נוּחַ, of silent submission, as in Lamentations 3:26) for the day of distress (comp. on Habakkuk 3:2 and on Obadiah 1:12), for the approach of him against the people, who is about to oppress them. לְ, sensu infenso, as in Job 20:27. After the grand consolatory picture, the prophet once more indulges, for himself and his hearers, in this gloomy view, which he draws of the nearest future.

Habakkuk 3:17. For the fig tree will not blossom, and no yield will be on the vine—the fruit of the olive tree fails: it shrivels up. [Kleinert translates מַֽעֲשֵׂה־זַיִת, das Ansetzen, die Frucht-ansätze des Oelbaums; it is literally fruit of the olive tree. Compare the phrase עָשָׂח פְרי to bear fruit.—C. E.] Figs, wine, olive tree are mentioned as the noblest products of the land (Micah 4:4; Micah 6:15). And the corn-field yields no food. שׁדמות, fields, is plurale tantum, with a singular signification, equivalent to שָׂדֶה hence construed with the singular (Ges., sec. 146, 2). The flock is away, literally cut off from the fold, and there are no cattle in the stalls. As in Joel 1 f. the desolation caused by the enemy (e. f.) seems to be summed up with the natural calamities that befall the land (a–d).

But out of the distress the prophet, and with him the people, raises his eye to the object of faith, gathering words of hope and confidence from the Psalms, as in Micah 6:7. Habakkuk 3:18. But I—used emphatically to express the antithesis: notwithstanding all that, just as in Micah 7:7will rejoice upon Jehovah. בּ, not in God, but as in the verbs expressing delight generally, indicating the ground of the joy, comp. ἐπί, Luke 1:47. I will exult in the God of my salvation, who procures my salvation, and upon whom my salvation rests (Habakkuk 3:13; Micah 7:7). For—

Habakkuk 3:19. Jehovah, the Lord, the God of Israel, whom other nations do not have, nor know (Micah 4:5; comp. Genesis 9:25 (26)), is my strength (Psalms 27:1), and He makes my feet like hinds; a concise comparison, equivalent to the feet of hinds, borrowed from Psalms 18:34 (33). This is not merely a figure for warlike activity in pursuing, but more commonly for the irresistible strength, which springs from confidence in God (comp. Isaiah 40:29 ff.), (Delitzsch). He makes me to walk on my high places (from Psalms 18:34 (33); comp. Deuteronomy 33:29),—upon the heights of salvation, which stand at the end of the way of tribulation, and which only the righteous man climbs by the confidence of faith (Habakkuk 2:4). With this prospect of faith resulting from Habakkuk 3:4-15, the hymn closes naturally and beautifully.

The Liturgical Subscription,—to the chief singer on my stringed instruments,—corresponds to the heading, Habakkuk 3:1 (compare the Introduction, 3). בּ cannot, as Hitzig thinks, represent the stat. abs.; but it is, as in these musical expressions generally, the בּ of accompaniment (Psalms 33:2-3). Habakkuk accordingly dispatched his hymn to the director of the temple-music (comp. the Comm. on Psalms 4:1), and stipulated for the accompaniment of the performance. To accompany the hymn for the praise of God with stringed instruments was customary among those skilled in music (Psalms 77:7 (6)), Not merely the Levites, but also other prominent members of the congregation and moved by the Spirit, as, e. g., the king, had the right and were accustomed to do this in the temple (Isaiah 38:20).

[Keil: “The last words, לַמְצֵּחַ בִּנְגִֽינוֹתַי, do not form part of the contents of the supplicatory ode, but are a subscription answering to the heading in Habakkuk 3:1, and refer to the use of the ode in the worship of God, and simply differ from the headings בִּנְגִינוֹת לַמְנַצֵּחַ in Psalms 4:6.,54, 55, 67, and 76. through the use of the suffix in בִּנְגינוֹתַי. Through the words, “to the president (of the temple-music, or the conductor) in accompaniment of my stringed playing,” the prophet appoints his psalm for use in the public worship of God accompanied by his stringed playing. Hitzig’s rendering is grammatically false, “to the conductor of my pieces of music;” for בְ cannot be used as a periphrasis for the genitive, but when connected with a musical expression, only means with or in the accompaniment of (ב instrumenti or concomitantiæ). Moreover, נְגִינוֹת does not mean pieces of music, but simply a song, and the playing upon stringed instruments, or the stringed instrument itself (see at Psalms 4:0). The first of these renderings gives no suitable sense here, so that there only remains the second, viz.: “playing upon stringed instruments.” But if the prophet, by using this formula, stipulates that the ode is to be used in the temple, accompanied by stringed instruments, the expression bingînôthai, with my stringed playing, affirms that he himself will accompany it with his own playing, from which it has been justly inferred that he was qualified, according to the arrangements of the Israelitish worship, to take part in the public performance of such pieces of music as were suited for public worship, and therefore belonged to the Levites, who were entrusted with the conduct of the musical performance of the temple.

Alexander on Isaiah 38:20 : “The singular form, my songs, refers to Hezekiah as the author of this composition; the plurals, we will sing and our lives, to the multitude who might be expected to join in his public thanksgiving, not only at first, but in after ages.”

Kleinert has adduced no proof, except the single case of Hezekiah, which does not seem to be conclusive, that others besides Levites were accustomed to take part in the performance of the Temple-music. David divided four thousand Levites into twenty-four classes, who sang psalms and accompanied them with music. Each of these classes was superintended by a leader, מְנַצֵּחַ placed over it; and they performed the duties, which devolved upon them, each class a week at a time in succession, 1 Chronicles 16:5; 1 Chronicles 23:4-5; 1 Chronicles 25:1-31; comp. 2 Chronicles 5:12-13. This arrangement was continued with occasional interruptions. 2 Chronicles 5:12-14; 2 Chronicles 29:27; 2 Chronicles 35:15; Ezra 3:10; Nehemiah 12:45-47; 1Ma 4:54; 1Ma 13:51.—C. E.]


Concerning the nature of the theophany see the Exegetical Exposition.
The works of God are all profoundly connected with one another. The soul of this connection is the revelation-principle, the light. With the shining of the light the physical creation begins, and each day is a copy of it [the physical creation] (Psalms 104:0 :, comp. Herder, WW. zur Rel. u. Theol., 1:56 ff.; 5:70 ff.); from a fresh shining in [upon us] of the light the prophets expect the removal of the disturbance in the moral world (Hosea 6:3; Isaiah 9:0 and this hymn); and every governing act from the spirit of God is a prefiguration of this future [renovation] (2 Samuel 23:4). A shining of the light into the darkness, is the fulfillment of these expectations (John 1:5). The connection between the economy of the Old Testament and that of the New is this, that the spiritual meaning is evolved, with increasing clearness, from the physical groundwork. But this is in the midst of the years. At the end of the years the entire physical nature will be restored to the sphere of the spiritual light.

For between these two spheres there exists also an indissoluble connection. As the destruction of the original moral unity between God and mankind reflected itself on nature (Genesis 3:0), (and hence the prophets expect the removal of terrors and discord from the time of the salvation [the last time, or time of the Messiah], Isaiah 11:0), so the last consequence of sin, the judgment, is accompanied by the fearful commotion of the elements; before the avenging God march the most terrible judgments: the sighing of nature (Romans 8:0) becomes groaning and shrieking; but these again are only the travail-throes of the pure and glorious new birth. After the darkness and terror at the death of Jesus follows the resurrection of the dead.

On the other hand the coming of God to the judgment is organically connected with the issue of the document, according to which the judgment is to take place. It is a coming from Sinai. And as a coming to the relief and deliverance of captive Israel, it is associated with the prototype of their deliverances,—their emancipation from Egypt. It is indeed always something new, which Jehovah does, and yet always only a revival of the old; He is a steadfast and unchangeable God, and perfectly uniform in his manifestations, and always acknowledges the beginnings of his actions. However strange his works and revelations appear, considered a priori, so strange that the view of them is unsupportable; yet when He goes forth, He goes forth for the salvation of his people. He is a faithful and concealed God.

Every renewal of the wrath and pity of God is one of the gradual fulfillments of the protevangelium (Genesis 3:0), that the serpent is indeed permitted to bruise the holy seed on the heel, on account of sin, but that again and again its head is crushed (Habakkuk 3:14); and it is a gradual revival of the proto-prophecy (1 Kings 19:0), according to which, the still small voice, in which God is, comes, after the wild agitations of the terrible judgment which goes before Him.

In this all-embracing unity of the work of God lies the key to the understanding of intuitive prophecy. Standing upon its watch-tower (Habakkuk 2:1) it sees, over the scene of confusion, the work of God in its unity and entireness, as if its parts were placed side by side, and it leaves to the succession of time to carry into effect successively the parts of that [work], which it sees as one. Thus the individual fulfillments are like coverings, which drawn over the picture and transparent, fall off one after the other, until the substance, which lies in the nature of God Himself, the Cabodh [glory] of Jehovah, shall arrive at its perfect manifestation. In the mean time it finds in the combined view ground enough to rejoice on [über, see on Habakkuk 3:18—C. E.] God, for the certainty of salvation is the true central feature of the picture. God is neither in the storm, and tempest, and earthquake, which go before Him, neither is He in the fiery chariots and horsemen; but behind all these in the still small voice. When those events going before have purified the high places, God sets his people likewise purified upon them. Then Mount Zion is higher than all mountains (Micah 5:0).

Crusius: The things, which the prophets announce, are exhibited (complexe) in a comprehensive picture, so that they are taken into the eye all at once in their whole extent, or κατὰ τὸ�, i. e., according to the form, which the thing will have at the time of its full accomplishment.

Schmieder (on Habakkuk 3:13): The picture might be still more comprehensive, if, in accordance with Daniel 2:31 ff., we conceive the entire succession of hostile empires as the image of one man or house, whose colossal size falls under the judgments of God, after its head is broken off.

Beck: The promise enters upon a new active development, when corruption of morals and distress reached with rapid steps their culminating point in the Exile. As on the one side the character of guilt and penal liability impressed itself always more generally and more perceptibly upon the life, soon the other side, particularly among the better sort, a despair of the means of delivery lying within their own reach, and a longing for reconciliation and redemption, directed to help from another source, must always have increased the more, but without being able to find thoroughly its true development and satisfaction otherwise than in the ground of Divine grace. For from it proceeds the consolation of deliverance and reconciliation, in such a manner, however, that the future salvation is never to be expected in a human way, but only from the Word and Arm and Spirit of Jehovah.


The consolation of prophecy in the last tribulations of the people of God.

1. These tribulations must and will come (Habakkuk 3:2 a, Habakkuk 3:16, Habakkuk 3:17).

2. But the same God, who decrees them, will also turn them away and put down all his enemies (Isaiah 54:10) (Habakkuk 3:2-15).

3. And the final salvation is certain, therefore the Church can already, in the midst of troubles, maintain a joyful heart (Habakkuk 3:18-19).

Habakkuk 3:2. It is enjoined in the kingdom of God to rejoice with trembling. That easy indifference, which relies upon the forbearance and promises of God, without considering, with profound earnestness, his powerful wrath and the severity of his judgments, is a disposition of heart not well pleasing to Him. Rather from the knowledge that no one can stand before Him, if he will only consider (Habakkuk 3:6) what sin and wrong are done, ought the prayer for mercy to come from every lip. If some are saved, yet no one has any claim to it; for it is alone his work.

Habakkuk 3:3. The eye of the prophet standing upon his watch-tower turns to the south. In that direction lay Bethlehem, whence, according to Micah, the Messiah was to come.

Habakkuk 3:4-5. The hand of God is also in that, which appears to us the most hostile and the least consistent with his nature full of life and light. If men do not prepare a way for Him, then He must prepare it for Himself.

Habakkuk 3:6. The judgment proceeds according to strict justice, not in precipitate, but in holy, rigorously distributive wrath; without respect of persons, but with strict regard to the facts. The highest things in the world, which appear to the eye of man altogether unassailable and indestructible, sink before the glance of God’s eye into dust and nothing. The Word is everywhere God’s weapon and instrument. By the Word of his mouth all things were created; before the Word they perish; the Word is a hammer, which breaks the rocks. Wind and sea are obedient to Him; what will men oppose? They raise their weapons (Habakkuk 3:14) in order to destroy themselves mutually; they do not hurt Him. If He cuts off the head of wickedness, then the remainder of it, though it flow like a sea, will not be able to continue, but it will be crushed.

Habakkuk 3:10 f. It is a great matter, that we have the power to be tranquil in the time of tribulation, but it is not easy (Matthew 26:37 ff.). And it is the less easy since the affliction is not caused merely by the wickedness and provocation of the enemy, but by the presence of God’s hand besides. In this lies the smarting sting of the chastisement.

Habakkuk 3:18. But yet this sorrow is not worthy to be compared with the glory, which is to be revealed in us? If we are of good cheer when cast down, then we are the more certain that He will place us upon the high places. It is this alone that can banish from us what is not God’s power, and what is unworthy of his salvation; what troubles us. Hard as it is for us to bring ourselves to this, we will then nevertheless be tranquil and free. The lighter the burden the swifter the course to salvation (Habakkuk 2:3).

Luther: Habakkuk 3:2. The prophet says: History says this of thee, that thou art such a wonderful God as to afford help in the midst of trouble; thou castest down and raisest up; thou destroyest when thou intendest to build, and killest him to whom thou givest life (1 Samuel 2:6 ff.); thou doest not as the world does, which at the very beginning attempts to prevent misfortune and continues involved in it, but thou bringest us into the midst of it, and drawest us out again. In the midst of the years means just at the right time: He knows well how to find the means to render help neither too soon, nor too late. For in case He brought help too soon we would not learn to despair of ourselves and would continue presumptuous; in case He brought it too late, we would not learn to believe. To revive and to make known are nearly the same thing, only that to revive is to perform the miracle and bring relief; but to make known means that we should be sensible of and delight in it. He who desires to be saved must learn so to know God. It is consolatory to believers, but intolerable to the ungodly.

Habakkuk 3:6. At the Red Sea He stood between Israel and the Egyptians, and measured off the land so that the Egyptians could not proceed farther than He had allotted to them.

Habakkuk 3:16. A joyful heart is half the man, a sorrowful heart makes even the bones weak.

Habakkuk 3:19. The Lord is still my God. Of this we will be so glad, that we will run and spring like hinds, so nimble are our feet to become; and we will no longer wade and creep in mire, but for perfect delight we will soar and fly in the high places and do nothing but sing joyfully and pursue all kinds of delightful employment. This is to take place when the Babylonian sceptre is cursed and destroyed, and we are redeemed and the kingdom comes.

Starke: Habakkuk 3:1. Preachers must pray earnestly for the welfare of their hearers and of the whole church.

Habakkuk 3:2. The remembrance of God is not an inactive, but an active and busy remembrance, since He actually increases faith, and causes the faithful to taste his sweetness, presence, and assistance. Even if He scourges his children, He does not cease to be their father, and to remember his mercy (Lamentations 3:33).

Habakkuk 3:3. The reason that God causes the great deeds which He has done of old to be written down, is that such deeds may be made known to all men upon earth, and that men may thence learn his majesty and glory.

Habakkuk 3:7. We should ascribe to God the brave deeds of great heroes, by which they have assisted the Church of the Lord.

Habakkuk 3:9. “God bends, as it were, his bow, when He would warn impenitent people of coming calamity.

Habakkuk 3:12. When God intends to execute penal judgments, He proceeds by degrees.

Habakkuk 3:15. The ungodly man is like a tempest, which passes by and vanishes; but the righteous man continues forever.

Habakkuk 3:16. The pious, as well as the godless, are terrified at the divine threatenings, but with a great difference.

Habakkuk 3:18. In tribulation we ought not to look only upon the blows which we suffer, but also upon the gracious deliverance which ensues.

Habakkuk 3:19. Servants of God do not despise music, but only give directions how it should be properly used in the praise of God.

Pfaff: Habakkuk 3:2. Behold how merciful and kind God is. In the midst of tribulation He remembers mercy, yes, in the midst of tribulation He causes his children to feel the strongest consolations.

Habakkuk 3:3. How great is the majesty of our God, proof of which He has given in the giving of his law and in the destruction of his enemies.

Habakkuk 3:8 ff. As God formerly led his Israel gloriously into the land of Canaan and protected them against his enemies, so will He also gloriously protect the spiritual Israel of the New Covenant against all enemies.

Rieger: Habakkuk 3:1. So can contemplation and prayer even at this day alternate in the treatment of the prophetic Word.

Habakkuk 3:2. The prophet shows in the very beginning what was in the bottom of his heart, namely, a calm, holy fear of God occasioned by the past, and a good confidence acquired for the future. God’s work in Christ Jesus, and the making of it known to the whole world, fell in the middle of the world’s age, as it was fitting for the light of the world. If at the same time confusion may seem to exist on the earth, and judgments, of whatever kind they may be, may press upon a people, yet on account of this grace, which is through Christ Jesus, mercy is conspicuous far above judgment.

Habakkuk 3:3-15. The prophet recalls in his memory how God had judged from the beginning of the world, and how all former proofs in the midst of Israel give a ground of hope and confidence for the future; because all the works and ways of God in their great diversity have nevertheless a coherent relation, and always meet in this, that in tribulation God yet remembers mercy, and that from the most terrible commotions still something gracious comes forth.

Habakkuk 3:16 ff. But indeed if one discovers a view of the kingdom of God, be it ever so beautiful, behind the judgments, yet it fills him with dread that room is to be made for the good only thus, and we are reminded of what will still thereby be stripped from us and ours. Nevertheless the mind gains relief: leave me only, when all is gone, thyself, and Jesus and thy Word; then the mind remains contented and humble, and one is preserved from all vexation at the ways of God.

Schmieder: On Habakkuk 3:3. The prophet is here a poet, who soars by separate images easily under stood to the mental vision of the inexpressible majesty of the holy God in his active character of judge also hereafter, when the new enemies oppress the and deliverer. All his powerful operations in nature, the power of the sun, storm, earthquake, and flood, all the recollections of former divine judgments, he employs as insufficient images in order to indicate how everything lofty in nature, all the power of the nations, must vanish before the power of God. The impending judgment upon the empire of the Chaldæans and the deliverance of Israel from Babylon serve him only as a suggestion, in order to announce in the midst of the years of the world’s course the great deeds of God, which lead in the very last time to the full revelation of God on all sides we find a lasting and firm consolation and of his kingdom.

Schlier: Habakkuk 3:10 ff. The head of the enemy was broken. Pharaoh and his entire host were drowned in the depths of the sea. So will it be also hereafter, when the new enemies oppress the Lord’s people; their head, a second Pharaoh, shall perish with all his people; as certainly as the hand of the Lord then smote the enemy upon the head, so certainly will it happen to them on every day of affliction.

Tarnov: Habakkuk 3:16 ff. The pious are terrified at God’s threatenings; the wicked, on the contrary, despise them at first in proud security; but afterward, when calamity afflicts them, they entirely lose their courage and perish.

L. Osiander: Habakkuk 3:19. When we are assailed on all sides we find a lasting and firm consolation within, that our God, the God of our salvation, is our Saviour and Redeemer. For after reconciliation and forgiveness of sins, what harm can external attacks do to us? Comp. Isaiah 33:24.


[1] [Habakkuk 3:1.—עַל שִׁגְיֹנוֹת, upon shigyonoth. Keil derives it from שָׁגָה, to err, then to reel to and fro, a reeling song, i. e., a song delivered in the greatest excitement, dithyrambus; after dithyrambs, or after the manner of a martial and triumphal ode. Kleinert: nach Dithyrambenweise.

Gesenius derives it from שָׁגָה, perhaps i. q. שָׂגָה,שָׂגָא, to be great, the letters שׁ and שׂ being interchanged.

[2][Habakkuk 3:3. אֶל וֹהַּ, not used by any of the minor prophets except Habakkuk, in this verse and in Habakkuk 1:11. It is most frequently used in the book of Job.

[3] [Habakkuk 3:3.—תֵּימָז, at, or on the right hand, hence the south, the quarter on the right hand, when the face is toward the east.

Teman was a country probably named after the grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:11); perhaps a southern portion of the land of Edom, or, in a wider sense, that of the sons of the East, Beni-Kedem. Eusebius and Jerome mention Teman as a town in their day distant fifteen miles (according to Eusebius) from Petra, and a Roman post. Smith’s Dict. Bib.

[4][Habakkuk 3:3.—הר־פָּארָן, Deuteronomy 33:2. See Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, art. “Paran,” and Robinson’s Bib. Res. in Pal., etc., vol. 1, pp. 186 and 552.

[5][Habakkuk 3:4.—קַרְנַיִם, in the dual, poetical for rays of light. Arabic poets compare the first rays of the rising sun to horns, and hence give to the sun the poetical name of gazelle. Compare אַיֶּלֶת. Gesen., Lex. Kleinert: Strahlen sind ihm zur Seite.

[6][Habakkuk 3:4, etc.וְשָׁם חֶבְיוֹן, and there—in the sun-like splendor, with the rays emanating from it—is the hiding of his omnipotence, i.e, the place where his omnipotence hides itself. The splendor forms the covering of the Almighty God. Keil.

[7][Habakkuk 3:6.—וַיְמֹדֶד, derived by some from מָרַר, to measure, and by others from מוּר, to be moved, to be agitated. The LXX. read: Καὶ ἐσαλεὑθη ἡ γῆ; the Vulgate has: mensus est terram. Luther renders it: und mass das Land; Keil: sets the earth reeling; Kleinert: und misst die Erde.

[8][Habakkuk 3:6.—הֲלִיכוֹת עוֹלָם לוֹ. Henderson considers these words as epexegetical of the preceding, and translates them: His ancient ways. Keil understands it as a substantive clause, and to be taken by itself: everlasting courses, or goings are to him, i. e. He now goes along as he went along in the olden time. Kleinert: Die Pfade der Vorzeit schlagt er ein.

[9][Habakkuk 3:7.—כוּשָׁן, a lengthened form for כוּשׁ. Whether it is intended to designate the African or the Arabian Cush is disputed. Gesenius, Maurer, Delitzsch, and others contend for the former; but the connection of the name with that of מִדְיָן, is decidedly in favor of the latter. Henderson.

[10][Habakkuk 3:9.—שְׁבֻעוֹת מַטּוֹת ֹאמֶר is a very obscure clause, and has not been satisfactorily explained. Henderson renders it: “Sevens of spears was the word.” LXX,:̓Εντείνων ʼεντενεῖς τὸ τόξον σου ἐπὶ τὰ σκῆπτρα, λέγει κύριος; the Vulgate: juramenta tribubus quœ, locutus es: Luther: wie du geschworen hattest den Stammen; Kleinert: die durch’s Wort beschworenen Zuchtruthen.

[11][Habakkuk 3:11.—זְבֻלָה, the ה in this word indicates direction. The sun and moon withdrew to their habitation.

[12][Habakkuk 3:16.—תַּחַת, the lower part, what is underneath. תַחְתַּי, what is underneath me, i. e., my lower parts.

[13][Habakkuk 3:16.—This clause explains the great fear that fell upon him. Vulgate: ut requiescam in die tribulationis. The LXX. do not translate אַשׁור—ἀναπαύσομαι ἐν ἡμέρᾳ θλίψσεώς μου. Luther: O dass ich ruhen möchte zur Zeit der Trübsal. Kleinert: dass ich ruhig entgegenharren soll dem. Tage der Angst.

[14][Habakkuk 3:17.—כּי may be rendered although, as in the A. V., or though, as by Henderson: or it may be translated, what time, when; but it can also be rendered like the Greek γαρ, or the Latin enim. The LXX. render it in this verse by διότι; the Vulgate translates it enim; Luther, denn; and Kleinert, denn da. The sense is substantially the same in either case.

[15][Habakkuk 3:19.—לַמְנַצֵּחַ, from the Piel of כָצַח, signifying, to be over anything, to be chief, to superintend—Dem Gesangmeister.—C. E.]

[16][Moment, among other meanings, has that of essential element, part of a whole. The two momenta, that make up the prophetic vision here, are destruction and purufication. It is the first which cause the prophet to recoil.—C. E.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Habakkuk 3". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". 1857-84.