Habakkuk 3



            PSALM OR PRAYER OF HABAKKUK. (vs. 1-19)


1 “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.”

The title. A prayer. There is only one formal prayer in the

ode, that in v. 2; but the term is used of any devotional composition; and,

indeed, the whole poem may be regarded as the development of the

precatory sentences in the proemium (see the inscriptions in Psalm 17.; 86.;

90.; 102.; 142.; and the last verse of Psalm 72., the subscription of Book

II.). (For other hymns in the prophetical books, see Isaiah 24, and 35.;

Ezekiel 19.; Jonah 2.; Micah 6:6, etc.; and as parallel to this ode, compare

Deuteronomy 33:2, etc.; Judges 5:4, etc.; Psalm 68:7, etc.; 77:13-20; 114.;

Isaiah 63:11-14.) Of Habakkuk the prophet. The name and title of the author

are prefixed to show that this is no mere private effusion, but an outpouring of

prophecy under Divine inspiration.  Upon Shigionoth (compare title of Psalm 7.);

Septuagint, μετὰ ᾠδῆςmeta odaeswith song - Vulgate, pro ignorantiis.

For this latter rendering Jerome had etymological ground, but did not sufficiently

consider the use of shiggayon in Psalm 7., where it indicates the style of poetry,

nor, as Keil shows, the fact that all the headings of Psalms introduced, as the

present, with al, refer either to the melody, or accompaniment, or style in which

they were to be sung. The Revised Version gives, “set to Shigionoth;” and the

expression is best explained to mean, in an impassioned or triumphal strain, with

rapid change of emotion, a dithy rambic song — a description which admirably

suits this ode.



                                    Prayer and Praise.  (v. 1)


This chapter records the remarkable “prayer” or “Code” of Habakkuk. The

superscription contained in the first verse and a cursory glance at the

chapter as thus described may be found suggestive of important teachings

respecting the sacred exercises of prayer and praise. Note:




Ø      We do well to solicit present blessings. “In the midst of the years make

                        known(v. 2); i.e. he sought the Divine manifestation in mercy to be

                        granted to his people in his own day.


Ø      We should recount God’s goodness in the past. The prayer abounds in

                        reminiscences of God’s favor as bestowed upon His chosen in the days

                        of yore.


Ø      The comprehensive nature of prayer. This prayer of Habakkuk contains


o       petition;

o       adoration;

o       devout contemplation of God in His character and works;

o       review of His providential doings; and,

o       pervading the whole, the spirit of confiding and joyous trust.




Ø      The desirability of employing in this exercise the devout compositions of

                        God’s servants in past ages, which have been preserved, in His Word.


Ø      The appropriateness of the language of prayer as the medium of

                        expressing praise to God. “The prayers of David the son of Jesse”

                        (Psalm 72:20) are contained and expressed in his Psalms. “The prayer

                        of Habakkuk” is also “an ode” set to music, and used at his suggestion

                        in the liturgical services of the temple.


Ø      The importance of cultivating correct musical expression in the

                        presentation of the sacrifice of praise to God. The tones should be in

                        harmony with the character of the thoughts and sentiments of the words

                        being sung. This is probably the meaning of the expression, “upon

                        Shigionoth(v. 1), ‘al shigyonoth meaning “in wandering measures,” the

                        tones to be varied according to the character of the thoughts and words.

                        The term “Selah,” used by him (vs. 3, 9,13), and the direction, “To the

                        chief singer on my stringed instruments,” with which he closes his book,

                        also indicate the carefulness in execution the prophet would have

                        exercised. All true worship to God must proceed from humble and

                        trusting hearts, and be presented “in spirit and in truth,” and this is

                        perfectly compatible with regard for all that is cultured and artistic in

                        method. Our motto should be, “The best for the Lord.”


2 “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD,

revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years

make known; in wrath remember mercy.” 2. The proemium, in which the

prophet expresses his fear at the coming judgment, and prays God in His wrath to

remember mercy. Thy speech; or, the report of thee; the declaration made by God in

the preceding chapters concerning the punishment of the Jews and the destruction

of the Chaldeans. The Septuagint, regarding the ambiguity of the Hebrew, gives

a double rendering, εἰσακήκοα τὴν ἀκοήν σουeisakaekoa taen akoaen sou - I heard

thy report  and κατενόησα τὰ ἕργα σου katenoaesa ta erga sou - I considered thy

works.  Pusey considers that both meanings are intended, viz. both what

God had lately declared, and all that might be heard of God, His greatness

and His workings. Was afraid. The revelation of God’s interposition

makes the prophet tremble. Revive thy work. God’s work is the twofold

judgment spoken of above; and the prophet prays God to “quicken” and

make it live, because, though it brings temporary distress upon his

countrymen, it will also cause the destruction of their enemies, and reestablish

the Jews and crown them with salvation, and make the glory of

God known to all the earth. Dr. Briggs (‘Messianic Prophecy,’ p. 234)

translates, “Jahveh, I have heard the report of thee; I fear, Jahveh, thy

work. In the midst of the years revive him (Israel).” He explains God’s

“work” to be His acts in theophany — His judgment, especially as in v.16,

the cause of fear to the psalmist. In the midst of the years. The

“years” are the period between the announcement of the judgment and its

final accomplishment (ch.2:3); the prophet prays that God would manifest His

power, not merely at the extreme limit of this epoch, but earlier, sooner. This

overthrow of the world power forms, as it were, the central point of history, the

beginning of a new age which shall culminate in the Messianic kingdom.

Make known. Let all the earth know and acknowledge thy work. The Septuagint

gives two or more versions of this passage, one of which is remarkable. Thus they

read, “In the midst of two animals (δύο ζώωνduo zoon) thou shalt be known;

when the years draw nigh thou shalt be well known; when the time is come thou

shalt be revealed.” The rendering, “two animals,” arises from a confusion of words

but many of the Fathers, who were conversant with the Greek Scriptures, saw herein

a reference to the incarnation of our blessed Lord, as lying in the stable at

Bethlehem between the ox and the ass, which was the mystical explanation

of Isaiah 1:3, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s

crib.” Others interpreted the two animals of the two thieves between whom

Christ was crucified; or of angels and men; or Jews and Gentiles; or the

two Testaments; or Moses and Elias. Others again accented the word

ζώων so as to understand “two lives,” the present and the future, in the

midst of which the Judge shall appear; or the life of Christ before His death

and after His resurrection. There is a great truth underlying most of these

interpretations, namely, that this magnificent hymn is concerned with the

victories of Christ and his Church. In wrath remember mercy. When thine

anger is displayed by sending the Chaldeans against us, remember thy

mercy, and make a speedy end of our misery, and mitigate our enemies’

cruelty (compare ch. 1:13; and vs. 9,13,18-19 of this chapter). The Septuagint

gives a double version, “In the troubling of my soul, in wrath, thou wilt remember




                                    The Prayer of an Alarmed Prophet. (v. 2)




Ø      Its cause. The report of Jehovah; i.e. the communication received from

                        Jehovah concerning the punishment of Judah and the destruction of

                        Chaldea. Habakkuk not the first man that had been afraid at the hearing

                        of God’s voice (Genesis 3:10; Exodus 3:6), at the thought of His

                        presence (Job 23:15), at the manifestation of His power (Psalm 65:8),

                        at the contemplation of His judgments (Psalm 119:120). Nor will

                        they who hear the fame of His doings in the past or the announcement

                        of His “judgments to come,” as both of these are unfolded in Scripture,

                        fail to be similarly affected. Like the Canaanites before the advance of

                        Joshua and his host, their hearts will melt in them for fear (Joshua 2:11).

                        What excited terror in the breast of Habakkuk was the prospect Jehovah’s

                        report opened up before him! Though a pious man and a prophet, he

                        was at the same time a philanthropist and a patriot, who could not

                        contemplate without a shudder the decimation of his people or the

                        desolation of his country; and neither can the Christian anticipate without

                        apprehension those chastisements that are promised to himself for

                        correction of his backslidings, and to the Church for her recovery from

                        doctrinal aberration or spiritual declension. It may be better to fall into

                        God’s hands, because His mercies are great, than to fall into those of

                        man (II Samuel 24:14); but in any case it is a fearful thing to fall for

                        judgment into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). Again,

                        the fierce whirlwind of retribution, which in the end should throw

                        down the eagle’s nest of Chaldean pride and blow up the crackling

                        flames in which its palaces and temples were to be destroyed, raised

                        within him awe-inspiring conceptions of the omnipotence of Jehovah

                        which made him tremble, even though the downfall of Chaldea

                        meant the deliverance of Judah; and so, although the final destruction

                        of the ungodly will be to the saints a cause of rejoicing (Revelation

                        18:20), it will also inspire them with a solemn awe of the Divine

                        holiness and justice, majesty and power.


Ø      Its cure. Prayer. Different from Adam, who, having heard God’s voice,

                        ran from God, Habakkuk, in his alarm, betook himself to God. Hiding

                        from God, the custom of sinners; hiding in God, the comfort of saints

                        (Psalm 143:9). Suitable for all times (Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6;

                        I Thessalonians 5:17), prayer is specially appropriate for bad times

                        (Psalm 50:15). In addition to the promise that God will be a Refuge for

                        the oppressed, a Refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 9:9), and to the fact

                        that good men in all ages have found him so (Psalm 48:3; 91:2;

                                                Jeremiah 16:19), the practice of pouring one’s fears (Psalm 34:4) as

                        well as complaints (Psalm 142:2) and requests (Philippians 4:6) into

                        the ear of God seems justified by this, that He who by His judgment

                        causes, is by His wisdom and mercy best able to remove alarms.




Ø      Its fervor.   Intimated by the repetition of the term “Jehovah,” and by the

                        three short sentences of which the prayer is composed. Souls laboring

                        under strong emotion commonly express themselves in brief and broken

                        ejaculations, rather than in long and polished periods.


Ø      Its tenor. A threefold petition.


o       For the acceleration of Jehovah’s work. “O Lord, revive thy work

      in the midst of the years.” The work referred to was the

      purification of Judah by means of the Chaldean exile, and the

      salvation of Judah by the ultimate overthrow of her oppressor.

      It was thus a picture of God’s work in all ages — the deliverance

      of the individual believer and of the Church in general,

                                    first through the afflictions and trials of life from the moral

                                    defilement of sin; and second, through the overthrow (by

                                    Christ’s cross and rule) of the enemies of both from the legal and

                                    spiritual bondage of sin. The prophet craved that Jehovah might

                                    not defer the completion of Judah’s redemption till the end of

                                    the time which had been appointed for this purpose, but that

                                    He might cause His work to live (not suffer it to go to sleep,

                                    but quicken and revive it), no that it might be finished in the

                                    midst of the years, and Judah’s reformation and emancipation

                                    brought about long before the stipulated period had arrived.

                                    Thus his prayer was one the believer might offer for himself,

                                    that God would perfect that which concerned him

                                    (Psalm 138:8), would carry on His work of grace within him

                                    (Philippians 1:6), making all things work together for his good

                                    (Romans 8:28), causing tribulation to work in him patience, etc.

                                    (Romans 5:3), and afflictions to yield him the peaceable fruits of

                                    righteousness (Hebrews 12:11), as well as to work out for him a

                                    far more exceeding, even an eternal weight of glory (II Corinthians

                                    4:17); and would crown that work by completely effecting his

                                    deliverance from the curse and power of sin, from the terror of

                                    death, the darkness of the grave, the misery of hell. It was also a

                                    petition which the Church might present for herself, that she

                                    might be purified, extended, completed, glorified, net after long

                                    waiting, but soon, in the middle of the years. “Even

                                    so, come [quickly], Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).


Ø      For the manifestation of Jehovah’s glory. “In the midst of the years

                        make it known.” Make it known, the prophet meant, that the work of

                        punishing and purifying Judah by means of exile in Babylon is thy work;

                        so shall it comfort Judah and awe Babylon. Make it known that the

                        deliverance of Judah by means of the overthrow of Babylon is thy work;

                        so again shall Judah rejoice and the nations of the earth be afraid. The

                        believer and the Church may also ask that God’s work in dealing with

                        them should be manifest, not to themselves merely, but to the world

                        at large. This would both sustain them and impress the world. Until

                        affliction is seen to be God’s work, it does little good to the soul; till

                        the world perceives that God is in the Church, it will not cease to

                        persecute and hinder the Church.


Ø      For the dispensation of Jehovah’s mercy. Habakkuk’s plea was not

                        merit. He knew well that what he asked could not be granted on the

                        score of justice.


                                                “‘Tis from the mercy of our God

                                                          That all our hopes begin.”




            1. That God’s voice should excite alarm even in the hearts of good men is

                 no mean proof of the fallen state of mankind generally.

            2. It is a good sign of grace when an alarmed soul betakes itself to God.

            3. The pre-eminence which belongs to redemption over all the other works

                 of God.

            4. The only power that can awaken dead souls or revive unspiritual and

                 decadent Churches is God.

            5. The chief hope of man lies in the mercy of Heaven, not in the goodness

                 of himself.



                                                Prayer for Revival (v. 2)


The revival of God’s work stands intimately connected with prayer. The

Holy Spirit is the Author of all true quickening of the Divine life in the

souls of men, and his renewing and sanctifying influences are secured in

response to earnest supplication (Ezekiel 36:37; Malachi 3:10;

Acts 1:14; 2:1). Observe:




            IN THE AGE, IN WHICH IT IS OFFERED. The language of the prophet

            in the former part of his prophecy indicates the possession by him of an

            insight into the character and needs both of the Hebrew nation and Church

            in his day; and this acquaintance prepared his mind and heart for pleading

            so earnestly for a revival of God’s work Our own age and the state of

            religion in it claims our thoughtful regard. Reflection upon it will show the

            imperative need there is for the possession of a higher measure of

            spirituality, consecration, Christian intelligence and courage, and will

            impel the utterance of the earnest cry, “O Lord, revive thy work” (v. 2).




            FROM THE PREVAILING DEGENERACY. “O Lord,” cried the

            prophet, I have heard thy speech, and I was afraid.” Jehovah had spoken

            unto him in vision, unfolding the terrible judgments which should overtake

            his people in consequence of their apostasy, and this vision of coming

            Divine chastisement filled him with terror; and with the real concern of a

            true patriot in view of the disastrous issue to which, through the prevailing

            iniquity, the national interests were tending, he implored Divine

            interposition and help (“O Lord, revive,” etc.). The Christian patriot in our

            own land has reason for anxious solicitude as he views the present in its

            relation to the future. He knows that there is danger lest the temporal

            prosperity enjoyed in this age should result in the cherishing of pride, in

            conformity to the world, and in apathy in holy service; and lest the

            intellectual activity prevailing should lead to the weakening of conviction,

            the cherishing of doubt, and resulting in complete indifference in relation to

            spiritual realities. All this occasions him serious concern, which is

            intensified as he beholds multitudes in whom these dire effects have been

            already wrought; and in this spirit of solicitude he is led to the throne of

            grace, and to cry with impassioned earnestness, “O Lord, revive thy work.”



            SECURING OF SPIRITUAL RESULTS. “In wrath remember mercy”

            (v. 2). The seer knew by revelation that his nation, owing to its

            sinfulness, should be overtaken by judgment, and should fall into the power

            of the Chaldeans; and in his prayer he did not ask for the reversal of this.

            Divine wrath must follow transgression, but he prayed that in the midst of

            this God would “remember mercy,” in other words, that He would so

            interpose as to sanctify the dark experiences looming in the future, drawing

            his erring people nearer to himself, so that they might trustfully pass

            through the painful discipline in store for them, and come out of it at length

            purified as gold. And so ever true prayer for revival seeks the spiritual

            renewal of men; it solicits the manifestation of the Divine mercy in

            delivering the plants of His own planting from the blighting effects of sin,

            and in causing them to abound in all holy excellence and grace.



            present blessing. “In the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make

            known (v. 2); i.e. without lingering, without postponement, forthwith,

            in the seer’s own time. “How long, O Lord, how long?” “Thy kingdom

            come;” “It is time for thee to work.”


Vs. 3-15 - § 3. The prophet or the congregation depicts in a majestic

theophany the coming of God to judge the world, and its effect

symbolically on material nature, and properly on evil men.


3 “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran.  Selah.

His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.”

In this episode Habakkuk takes his imagery from the accounts

of God’s dealings with His people in old time, in Egypt, at the Red Sea, at

Sinai, at the Jordan, in Canaan; he echoes the songs of Moses and Deborah

and the psalmist; and he looks on all these mighty deeds as anticipative of

God’s great work, the overthrow of all that opposes and the establishment

of the kingdom of Messiah. God (Eloah) came from Teman. The words

are connected with Moses’ description of the Lord’s appearance at Sinai

(Deuteronomy 33:2; compare Judges 5:4). As He then came in glory

to make a covenant with His people, SO WILL HE APPEAR AGAIN  in majesty

to deliver them from the power of evil and to execute judgment. The verbs

throughout are best rendered in the present. The prophet takes his stand in

time preceding the action of the verb, and hence uses the future tense, thus

also showing that he is prophesying of a great event to come, symbolized

by these earlier manifestations. Habakkuk here and in ch. 1:11

uses the word Eloah, which is not found in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or the other

minor prophets; it occurs once in Isaiah, twice in Deuteronomy, and

frequently in Job. There is no ground for the contention that its

employment belongs to the latest stage of Hebrew. Teman; i.e. Edom;

Vulgate, ab Austro (see notes on Amos 1:12 and Obadiah 1:9). In

Moses’ song the Lord is said to come from Sinai. Habakkuk omits Sinai,

which was the emblem of the Law, and points to another

Lawgiver, like unto Moses, telling how He who spake the Law, God.

should come in the likeness of man. The Holy One. A name of God

(ch. 1:12), implying that He will not let iniquity pass unpunished,

and that He will preserve the holy seed. Mount Paran. The mountainous

district on the northeast of the desert of Et-Tih. The glory of the Lord is

represented as flashing on the two hilly regions separated by the Arabah.

They both lay south of Canaan; and there is propriety in representing the

redeemer and deliverer appearing in the south, as the Chaldean invader

comes from the north. The Septuagint  adds two translations of the word

Pharan,” viz. “shady,” “rough;” according to its etymology it might also

mean “lovely.” Selah; Septuagint, διάψαλμαdiapsalma - This term occurs

also in vs. 9, 13, and frequently in the Psalms, but nowhere else, and indicates

some change in the music when the ode was sung in the temple service.

What is the exact change is a matter of great uncertainty. Some take it to

indicate “a pause;” others, connecting it with salah, “to lift up,” render it

“elevation,” and suppose it means the raising of the voice, or the

strengthening of the accompaniment, as by the blast of trumpets. The

meaning must be left undetermined, though it must be added that it is

always found at the end of a verse or hemistich, where there is a pause or

break in the thought, or, as some say, some strongly accented words occur.

His glory covered the heavens. His majestic brightness spread over the

heavens, dimming the gleam of sun and stars; or it may mean his boundless

majesty fills the highest heavens and encompasses its inhabitants. His

praise. This is usually explained to signify that the earth and all that dwell

therein, at this glorious manifestation, utter their praise. But there is no

allusion as yet to the manner in which the appearance is received, and in

v. 6 it produces fear and trembling; so it is best to take “praise” in the

sense of “matter of praise,” that glory “which was calculated to call forth

universal adoration/


4 “And His brightness was as the light; He had horns coming out of His

hand: and there was the hiding of His power.”  His brightness was as the light;

brightness appeareth like light, The sunlight is meant, as Job 31:26; 37:21; Isaiah 18:4.

He had horns coming out of His hand; i.e. rays of light on either side. The

comparison of the first rays of light to the horns of the gazelle is common in

Arabic poetry (compare Exodus 34:29-30). In the original passage, Deuteronomy 33:2,

we read, “At his right hand was a fiery Law unto them” — a reference to the two

tables of stone, perhaps resplendent with light. The “hand” in our text is a general

expression, and is not to be taken with any special reference to lightning launched

by the hand (which is not a scriptural expression), nor to works effected by God’s

agency, but simply as signifying that the light of His presence streamed

forth from both sides, i.e. EVERYWHERE!  There was the hiding of His

power. There, in that ineffable light, was the hiding place of His majesty.

He clothes Himself with light as with a garment (Psalm 104:2), and the

splendor is the mantle of that presence which eye of man cannot behold

(Exodus 24:17; I Timothy 6:16). Farrar quotes Psalm 18:11,

“He made darkness his secret place;” and Milton


“Dark with excess of light his skirts appear.”


Septuagint, ἔθετο ἀγάπησιν κραταιὰν ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ -  etheto agapaesin krataian

ischuus autouwhere His power is hidden - which rendering has arisen from

taking the adverb sham as a verb (sam), and mistaking the meaning of the following




                                    The Divine Concealments.  (v. 4) 


“The hiding of His power.”




            CONCEALMENTS. He is a God “that hideth Himself” (Isaiah 45:15);

            He doeth great things past finding out, yea, and wonders without

            number!” (Job 9:10); “He giveth no account of any of His matters”

            (Job 33:13); “He maketh darkness His secret place” (Psalm 18:11);

            “How unsearchable are His ways past finding out!” ” (Romans 11:33).


Ø      We realize this as we think of His Being and perfections. “Who by

                        searching canst find out God?”  (Job 11:7). He is veiled to us by the

                        very covering of His splendor. “Who coverest thyself with light as

                        as with a garment.” etc. (Psalm 104:2).


Ø      And we also realize this as we think of His working. Mystery meets

      us in every department of His operations. The scientist and the

      theologian alike become baffled in their researches, the former

      having to admit his partial failure as he strives to penetrate the

      mystery of the universe, and the latter being perplexed at the

      seeming inequality of God’s ways in the providential

                        government of the world, and feeling himself enclosed as with

                        a veil when he ventures to inquire into the high themes of revelation.

                        “There is the hiding of His power.” Notice:



            GREAT FACT.


Ø      There is that which is pursued by the skeptic. He reasons — God

      cannot be known; therefore all thought on the part of man concerning

      Him is needless and vain; all worship of Him is folly; all structures

      reared by His servants to His honor mean waste; His very existence

      is but a possibility. Here we have THE OLD ATHEISM,  banishing

      God from His universe; the old atheism, only arrayed in a newer and

      more subtle guise!


Ø      There is, however, “a more excellent way.” Though our God is

      infinitely beyond our poor stretch of thought, yet He may be known

      by us. Beyond the comprehension of human reason He is nevertheless

      present to faith, and deigns to reveal Himself to the pure and loving

      heart. (“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

      Matthew 5:8)  And we do well to remember this, and to repose the

      trust of our hearts in Him, and then to set ourselves to inquire whether,

      after all, the partial obscurity of the Divine nature and operations may

      not be wisely and graciously as well as necessarily designed. And

      pursuing this course, such quieting thoughts as the following, bearing

      upon the Divine concealments, will be suggested to us.


o       That our personal well being is advanced by this partial

      concealment which characterizes our God. It would not be

      well for us to have complete knowledge of Him or His

      purposes and plans, since then there would be no

                                    room for the exercise of faith, patience, resignation; life

                                    would cease to be a time of discipline; and there would be no

                                    scope for trial and no stimulus to earnest and thoughtful inquiry.


o       That these Divine Concealments, whilst they are for our good,

      also contribute to the advancement of the Divine glory. “It is

      the glory of God to conceal a thing” (Proverbs 25:2). It is in

      this way that He makes His power felt; that He indicates His

      superiority to man and His independence of him (Isaiah 40:13-14).


o       That whilst much is thus concealed, everything essential to man’s

                                    salvation is clearly unfolded.






Ø      It has been so in reference to the sacred Scriptures. During the lapse of

                        ages God gradually drew back the veil, revealing more of His will than

                        had been unfolded before.


Ø      It has been so in the working out of the purpose of redeeming mercy.

      In the cross of Christ there was expressed the power as well as the

      wisdom of God (I Corinthians 1:24); but there was the hiding of this

      Divine power. The spectators of the scene at Calvary saw only the

      weakness, and the cross was suggestive to them of shame and reproach

      and dishonor; BUT THE POWER WAS THERE,  although hidden,

      which soon began to be felt, one of the criminals crucified at the side

      of the Saviour being the first to experience it. The macerated

                        body of the Redeemer was taken down from the cross, and laid in the

                        sepulcher hewn out of the rock; and again there was the hiding of God’s

                        power, and it seemed as though death had conquered; but with the dawn

                        of the first day of the week this power became revealed — the mighty

                        Victor rose, despite seal and guard, the earnest and pledge of the



Ø      And it has been so in human experience. In the dark days of sorrow

                        there has been realized “the hiding of God’s power;” but there has

                        followed the revelation of His loving purpose and the making clear

                        to troubled hearts that in all “His banner over them was love.”

                        (Song of Solomon 2:4)  (I highly recommend The Cedarmont

                        Kids – His Banner over Me is Love – CY – 2015 -

                        www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxgw6pbW59E -  And this shall

                        be made still more manifest hereafter, for the eternal day shall

                        break, and the shadows flee away forever!


5 “Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at His feet.”

After describing the splendor of the theophany, the prophet

now turns to the purpose and effects of God’s appearing. He comes to

avenge and judge, therefore before him went the pestilence. Before Him

stalks plague, to punish His enemies and the disobedient, as in Egypt, in

Canaan (Exodus 23:27; I Samuel 5:9, 11); and among His own

people (Numbers 11:33; 14:37, etc.; Leviticus 26:25). For“pestilence

the Septuagint reads “word.” Burning coals went forth at His feet.

“Fiery bolts” followed His advance, “hailstones and coals of fire” (Psalm

18:12-13); as in Psalm 97:3, “A fire goeth before Him, and burneth up

His enemies on every side.” But, regarding the parallelisms of the

hemistiches, it is better to take resheph in the sense of “fever heat,” as in

Deuteronomy 32:24; scorching fever follows in His train. Jerome

translates the word, diabolus, looking on the evil spirit as the agent of the

Divine vengeance. The Jews, he says, had a tradition that Satan was called

Reseph, from the speed of his movements. The Septuagint has, “It (the word)

shall go forth into the plains,” which Jerome interprets, “shall make the

crooked straight and the rough ways smooth.”



            An Ideal Theophany: 1. The Onward March of the Deity. (vs. 3-5)




Ø      God, or Eloah, the Strong or Powerful One. A name for the Supreme

                        used for the first time by Moses (Deuteronomy 32:15) to portray God

                        as the Creator of Israel, and employed by Habakkuk to designate God

                        as the Lord and Governor of the whole world. Omnipotence is an

                        essential attribute of Divinity (Genesis 17:1; Joshua 4:24; I Chronicles

                        29:12; Job 36:5; 42:2; Psalm 62:11); the impotence of heathen idols

                        was the best proof that they were no gods (Isaiah 45:20; Jeremiah 2:28).


Ø      The Holy One. An appellation given to God at least three times in the

                        Psalter (Psalm 71:2; 78:41; 89:18), twice in Jeremiah (Jeremiah

                        50:29; 51:5), once in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 39:7), once in Hosea (Hosea

                        11:9), twice in Habakkuk (ch. 1:12; 3:3), and occurring frequently in

                        Isaiah. Equally with strength is purity an indispensable quality

                        in the Supreme; and this no less than that in an infinite measure and

                        degree.  An unholy God could not be all-powerful, all-wise, all-just,

                        or all-good.  Holiness is the guarantee and guardian of the other attributes

                        of His nature. Least of all could an unholy God be either a Saviour or a

                        Judge of men.




Ø      Its extent. All-pervading, irradiating the entire universe, covering the

                        heavens and spreading over the earth (Ezekiel 43:2), What is here

                        declared of the material or symbolic presence of Deity is true of His real,

                        though unseen, presence (Psalm 8:1; 19:1; Isaiah 6:3).


Ø      Its brightness. Resembling the light, i.e. the sun, to which Scripture

                        likens God Himself (Psalm 84:11), and Christ (Malachi 4:2;

                                                John 9:5), who is God’s Image (II Corinthians 4:4), the Brightness

                        of His Father’s glory, and the express Image of His Person (Hebrews

                        1:3). In exact accordance with the prophet’s thought, God is represented

                        as covering Himself with light as with a garment (Psalm 104:2), and as

                        dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto (I Timothy 6:16);

                        while Christ is ever set forth as the highest expression of the

                        uncreated glory of the Supreme (John 1:14).


Ø      Its manifestation. Emitting rays or shooting forth beams on all sides,

      like the rising sun, an emblem suggestive of the partial and gradual,

      though universal, manner in which the Divine glory unveils itself

                        to intelligent spectators on earth (Job 26:14).


Ø      Its power. Emanating from His hand, like rays darting forth from the

                        sun’s disc, or like horns shooting out from the head of a gazelle.

                        The allusion may have been to the lightnings which flashed forth

                        from the cloud upon Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16); but the underlying

                        thought is that one principal aspect of God’s glory is the exhibition of

                        power which He furnishes to men in the material creation

                        (Isaiah 40:26, 28), in the phenomena of nature (Job 36:22, etc.), and

                        in the scheme of grace (I Corinthians 1:24).


Ø      Its essence. Hidden, unsearchable, unfathomable, the above-mentioned

                        coruscations of His glory being not so much unveilments as concealments

                        of His ineffable Personality, not so much exhibitions as hidings of His

                        power. That which may be known of God from the outshinings of His

                        glory is the fact, not the fullness, of His power and Godhead, The

                        grand truth symbolized by the cloudy pillar infolding brightness, viz.

                        that Israel’s God was a God that, while discovering, yet hid Himself

                        (Isaiah 45:15), was in the Incarnation exemplified and emphasized

                        (compare John 1:14 with 7:27), and is receiving confirmation by

                        every advance the human mind makes in knowledge (Job 11:7-9;

                        26:9; 37:23; Psalm 145:3; 147:5; Isaiah 40:28; Romans 11:33).

                        Agnoscticism is a witness to the truth here stated.




Ø      The quarter whence He comes. Teman and Paran, i.e. the country south

                        of Judah or Idumea, and Paran the desert region lying between Judah and

                        Sinai (see Exposition). Separated only by the Wady-el-Arabah, the two

                        localities were intended to indicate the Sinaitic region as the spot whence

                        this sublime theophany of the future should proceed. In so defining its

                        starting point, the prophet probably wished to suggest a variety of

                        thoughts, as e.g. that the future glorious manifestation of Jehovah was

                        rendered possible, and even probable, by what had in the past occurred at

                        Sinai; that it would proceed in the line of that earlier theophany, and be a

                        carrying out of the Divine policy therein revealed a policy of mercy and

                        judgment, of salvation and destruction; and that in it, as in the ancient

                        Apocalypse, both the power and the holiness of God would be

                        SIGNALLY DISPLAYED! True of the Divine advent in the overthrow

                        of Babylon, these thoughts were also realized in the advent of the

                        fullness of the times, and will be conspicuous in the final advent at the

                        close of human history.


Ø      The purpose for which He comes. To execute judgment upon the

                        ungodly world (Jude 1:15), and so to effect the deliverance of His

                        people. This was to be the object of His interposition in the overthrow

                        of Babylon, as it had been in the destruction of Egypt; this was the

                        end aimed at in the first coming of the Saviour, the redemption of

                        His Church by the annihilation of her foes; this will be the purpose

                        of HIS APPEARING at the end of the world, to complete the

                        REDEMPTION OF HIS PEOPLE  by completing the punishment

                        of the ungodly.  (II Thessalonians 1:7-9)  


Ø      The attendants by whom He is served. Pestilence in front, and fiery

      bolts in the rear, signifying that God will be accompanied with

      sufficient instruments to effect his purpose. DEATH  and

      DESTRUCTION of all sorts are a great army at His command.


  • Learn:


            1. The certainty of a future manifestation of Jehovah in the Person of the

                 glorified Christ.


6 “He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder

the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the

perpetual hills did bow: His ways are everlasting.”

He stood, and measured the earth. God takes His stand, and

surveys the earth which He is visiting in judgment. As His glory filled the

heavens, so now He with His presence paces the earth, measuring it, as it

were, with His foot. He considers, too, all the doings of the children of

men, and requites them accordingly. Vulgate, Stetit, et mensus est terram.

So the Syriac. On the other hand, the Septuagint gives, Αστη καὶ ἐσαλέυθηγῆ -

Astae kai esaleuthae hae gae - The earth stood and quaked. Thus the Chaldee,

and many modem commentators, “rocketh the earth.” This rendering seems to

anticipate what follows, and is not so suitable as the other, though it is quite

admissible. Drove asunder. Dispersed and scattered. Septuagint, διετάκη ἔθνη

dietakae ethen -  nations melted away. Others translate, “made to tremble”

(Exodus 15:15, etc.). The everlasting mountains. Mountains that

have lasted as long as creation, and are emblems of stability and

permanence (Deuteronomy 33:15). Were scattered; or, were shattered

(compare Micah 1:4; Nahum 1:5). His ways are everlasting. This is                         

best taken alone, not as connected grammatically with the preceding

clause, and epexegetical of the “hills and mountains,” which are called

God’s “ways,” i.e. His chief creative acts, as Job 40:19; Proverbs 8:22;

but it means that, AS GOD ACTED OF OLD, SO HE ACTS NOW!;

“The ancient ways of acting are His” (Proverbs 31:27). The eternal,

unchangeable purpose and operation of God are contrasted with the

disruption of “the everlasting hills.” The Greek and Latin Versions connect

the words with what precedes.Septuagint, Ἐτάκησαν βουνοὶ αἰώνιοι πορείας

αἰωνίας, - Etakaesan bounoi aionisis poreiasThe everlasting hills melted at

His everlasting goings -Vulgate, Incurvati sunt colles mundi ab itineribus

aeternitatis ejus, where the idea seems to be that the high places of the earth

are God’s paths when He visits the world.


7 “I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land

of Midian did tremble.” As God moves in His majesty the various nations are

struck with fear, as of old were the peoples that heard of the Exodus (see Exodus

15:14-16). I saw. In prophetic vision (I Kings 22:17). The tents of Cushan;

Septuagint - σκηνώματα Αἰθίοτων skaenomata Aithioton - the tents of the

Ethiopians; Vulgate, tentoria AEthiopiae. “Cushan” is not Chushan-Rishathaim,

the Mesopotamian king mentioned in Judges 3., but is a lengthened form of

Cush (as Lotan for Lot, Genesis 36:20), the biblical name for Ethiopia.

Here the African country is meant, lying along the west coast of the Red

Sea. In affliction. Panic-stricken. The prophet particularizes what he had

said above generally of the nations hostile to the people of God. The

curtains; the tent curtains; Vulgate, pelles. Both “tents” and “curtains” are

used by metonymy for their inhabitants. Midian. The country on the Gulf

of Akaba, the eastern arm of the Red Sea. Ethiopia and Midian are named,

as God is supposed to advance from the south.



    An Ideal Theophany: 2. The Wonderful Acts of the Deity.  (vs. 6-7)





Ø      Measuring the earth; i.e. either surveying it with His all-seeing glance

                        whereat there is universal consternation, or measuring it out among the

                        peoples on its surface, as Joshua partitioned the Holy Land after

                        its conquest among the tribes. Both ideas are historically true, no

                        Divine interposition of any magnitude occurring among earth’s

                        inhabitants without bringing with it to thoughtful minds a conviction

                        that the hand and eye of God are at work, and leaving after it, as a

                        result, a rearrangement of the map of the globe. The marginal reading,

                        shaking the earth,” causing it to reel, as David says it trembled on the

                        occasion of Jehovah’s coming down on Mount Sinai (Psalm 68:8),

                        presents also a valuable truth that the Divine providential government

                        of the world, especially when it takes to deal with long established

                        iniquity for the purpose of punishing and destroying the same, is

                        calculated to inspire awe among earth’s inhabitants (Psalm 99:1),

                        as it did when it broke the pride of Egypt (Exodus 15:14), as it was

                        to do when it overthrew the Chaldean power, and as it will do when

                        it hurls the mystical Babylon to the abyss (Revelation 18:19). This the

                        thought contained in the parallel clause.


Ø      Driving asunder the nations. “He beheld and drove asunder [or, ‘made

                        to tremble’] the nations.” He so paralyzed them with fear that He drove

                        them asunder, rendering combination amongst them impossible.



            Not the lesser heights of comparatively recent formation, but the primeval

            altitudes, whose hoary peaks have witnessed the passing by of millenniums,

            and whose roots go down amid the granite bars of the earth (Psalm 90:2).

            These by His encampment on their summits He causes to crumble,

            resolve themselves into dust, and vanish into naught (Nahum 1:5;

                        Micah 1:4). The image may point to the convulsions on Mount Sinai

            and to the earthquake which announced the descent of the Most High,

            but it signifies the utter impossibility of even the strongest forces of nature,

            whether in matter or in man, resisting the advance of God, and that because

            His ways are older than even the everlasting hills (Psalm 90:2) are the only things

            on earth to which everlastingness belongs. “The everlasting ways of the everlasting

            God are mercy and truth” (St. Bernard).



            ADVERSARIES OF HIS PEOPLE.  In prophetic vision Habakkuk

            beheld the impression made upon the neighboring nations through which

            Jehovah passed on His march from Teman to the Red Sea — the Cushites or

            African Ethiopians on the west“in affliction;” and the Midianites towards the

            east, “trembling.” A different interpretation makes Cushan the Mesopotamian

            king, Chushan-Rishathaim, who oppressed Israel eight years in the time of the

            Judges (Judges 3:8-10), and Midian the last enemy who seduced Israel into sin

            when on the borders of the promised land (Numbers 25:17), and came up

            against them after they had settled in it (Judges 6:4-11). In this case the

            prophet selects the judgments executed upon these — upon the first by

            Othniel, upon the second by Gideon — as typical of the inflictions that

            would fall upon Jehovah’s enemies at His future coming.


  • Learn:


            1. The sovereignty of God over men and kings.

            2. The duty and wisdom of recognizing God’s hand in the movements of

                 nations and in the phenomena of nature.

            3. The impossibility of defeating the ultimate realization of God’s purposes,

                whether of judgment or of mercy.


8 “Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger

against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst

ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation?”

Interrupting his description of the theophany, the prophet asks

the motive of this wrathful revelation. This is done, not with expectation of

an answer, but giving life and vigor to the composition. Such sudden

transitions are not uncommon (compare Judges 5:12; Psalm 78:19,

etc.). Was the Lord displeased against the rivers? Was it against the

rivers, O Jehovah? was thy wrath kindled against the rivers? Was God

angry with inanimate nature, when He showed His power, for instance, in

the Nile and the Jordan and the Red Sea? God meant more by these acts.

He showed His supremacy over all creation, and His will to save His people

and to crush all opposition to the execution of His great design (see

Psalm 106:9; 114:3, etc.). That thou didst ride upon thine horses.

The prophet speaks of the Lord as a Leader of a mighty host which came

with chariots and horses to defend the Israelites and to crush their foes

(compare Psalm 18:10). And thy chariots of salvation. “And,” which is

not in the Hebrew, is better omitted, the clause being an explanation of

thine horses.” The chariots come for the salvation, i.e. the deliverance,

of Israel (v. 13). Some translate, “Thy chariots are salvation;” as the

Septuagint, καὶἱππασία σου σωτηρίαkai hae ippasia sou sotaeria

on your chariots of salvation - and Vulgate, et quadrigae

tuae salvatio. It comes to the same thing, whichever rendering we adopt.



            An Ideal Theophany: 3. The Terrible Wrath of the Deity.  (v. 8)


  • ITS VISIBLE MANIFESTATIONS. The prophet conceives Jehovah as

            a warlike hero equipped for conflict,” depicts Him as marching forth

            against His enemies, and throwing all nature (especially its rivers and seas,

            emblems of the earth’s populations) into consternation, and inquires of Him

            what had been the cause of His vehement displeasure. The form of the

            question suggests that Jehovah’s anger had not been directed against

            inanimate nature, but that the commotions visible in the rivers and the seas

            were only symbols of His wrath against men.


  • ITS SECRET DESTINATION. It was aimed at a threefold purpose.


Ø      The destruction of His enemies. Of these the rivers and seas were

      merely emblems (v. 14).


Ø      The salvation of His people. Jehovah’s horses and chariots were horses

                        and chariots of salvation (v. 13). “The end of God’s armies, His

                        visitations and judgments, is the salvation of His elect, even while

                        they who are inwardly dead perish outwardly also” (Pusey).


Ø      The vindication of His own honor. His bow had been (and was to be)

                        made quite bare, i.e. drawn from its scabbard in fulfillment of the oaths

                        He had given to the tribes — first to Abraham, then to Isaac, next to

                        Jacob, and afterwards to David — that He would deliver them from

                        the hand of their enemies (Luke 1:73-75); or, accepting the marginal

                        translation, because “sworn were the chastisements [literally, ‘rods’]

                        of His word,” i.e. because the threatenings He had uttered against His

                        people’s enemies (Deuteronomy 32:40-42) were as sure as the promises

                        of deliverance bestowed upon his people themselves.


  1. Learn:


            1. That the wrath of God is as much a reality as the love of God is.

            2. That the destruction of God’s enemies is as sure as is the salvation of His


            3. That in both God will be glorified.


9 “Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the

tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers.”

The prophet continues his description of the Lord as “a man of

war” (Exodus 15:3). Thy bow was made quite naked. The sheath of

the bow was laid aside to make it ready for use. In the Assyrian

monuments the bow case forms part of the quiver, and holds only the

lower half of the bow (Rawlinson, ‘Anc. Mon.,’ 2:55, edit. 1864). It was

fastened to the side of the chariot or carried at the back of the archer. (For

the general sense, compare Deuteronomy 32:40-42; Psalm 45:5-7) In

the Revelation (Revelation 6:2) He that sits on the white horse has a

bow. According to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word; i.e. thou

doest all this to confirm the promises of deliverance and salvation made to

the tribes of Israel.  This sense is satisfactory; but the Hebrew text is

corrupt, and cannot be explained with any certainty. The Revised Version

gives,” The oaths to the tribes were a sure word;” in the margin, “Sworn

were the chastisements (Hebrew, ‘rods’) of thy word.” Thus Dr. Briggs:

“Sworn are the rods of thy word.” Orelli translates,” Oaths, rods of the

word,” and explains the clause to mean that the Lord comes to execute the

denounced punishment, which proceeds from his mouth like chastising

rods. The word mattoth is translated “tribes” (as in II Chronicles 5:2) or

“rods.” Keil contends for the latter, as instruments of chastisement,

rendering,” Rods are sworn by word” Henderson, taking the words as a

military signal, curiously translates, “‘Sevens of spears’ was the word.”

Pusey supports the Authorized Version, which, indeed. gives a good sense,

and is probably correct It is virtually supported by Jerome, who has,

Suscitans suscitabis arcum tuum, juramenta tribubus quae locutus es,”

Thou wilt awaken the oaths,” which, so long as the evil prospered,

seemed to be forgotten and sleeping. The Septuagint omits the word rendered

“oaths,” and translates mattoth, σκῆπτραskaeptra -  thus: Ἐντείνων ἐνέτεινας

τόξον σου ἐπὶ σκῆπτρα λέγει ΚύριοςEnteinon eneteinas toxon sou epi skaeptra

 legei Kurios Thou didst surely bend thy bow against sceptres.” Selah. A pause

ensues before the introduction of a new series of natural phenomena, accompanying

the Lord’s epiphany (see on v. 3). The next clause would be more fitly joined with

v. 10. Thou didst cleave the earth with (or, into) rivers. This refers to some

catastrophe like that which happened at the Flood, when “the fountains of

the great deep were broken up” (Genesis 7:11; compare Psalm 77:16). Others

think that the allusion is to the miracles at the Red Sea, or Sinai, or Rephidim

in the wilderness, as in Psalm 74.; 78.; 105. But though the prophet glances at

such particular circumstances, his scope is more general.


10 “The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the

water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands

on high.”  The mountains saw thee, and they trembled; literally, were

in pain, Septuagint, ὠδινήσουσι. - The words point to the phenomena of

an earthquake, as Sinai shook at the presence of the Lord (Exodus 19:18;

Psalm 114:6). So Virgil, ‘AEn.,’ 6:256 —


“Sub pedibus mugire solum, et juga coepta moveri

SilvarumAdventante des.”


For “mountains,” the Septuagint reads, “peoples” The overflowing of the

water passed by; the talent of water passed along. Cataracts of rain fell,

as in the Deluge. “The windows on high are open, and the foundations of

the earth do shake” (Isaiah 24:18). Those who confine the reference to

past events see here an intimation of the passage of the Jordan (Joshua

3:15-16). The deep uttered his voice. The mass of waters in the ocean

and under the earth rears mightily as it bursts forth (Genesis 49:25;

Deuteronomy 33:13). His hands. Its waves (Psalm 98:8).

Septuagint, ὕψος φαντασίας αὐτῆςhupsos phantasiaqs autaes

 the height of its form.


11 “The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of

thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear.”

The sun and moon stood still in their habitation; or, stand

still, or withdraw into their habitation. They hide themselves in the

tabernacles whence they are said to emerge when they shine (Psalm 19:4-6).

Overpowered with the splendor of God’s presence, the heavenly luminaries hide

their light in this day of the Lord (compare Isaiah 13:10; Joel 2:2, 10, 31; 3:15;

Amos 5:20; Matthew 24:29). The miracle of Joshua (Joshua 10:12-14) may have

suggested some of the language here, but the idea is quite different. At the light of

thine arrows they went; i.e. the sun and moon fled away discomfited at

the glory of God’s weapons, His arrows gleaming with light. The idea may

be that, in the absence of the sun and moon, the terrific scene was

illuminated only by flashes of lightning. “Lightnings” are sometimes celled

God’s “arrows,” as in Psalm 18:14; 77:17-18; but the image here is

rather of the arms of a warrior. Many supply the relative in the sentence,

and render, “arrows which shoot along.” This seems to be unnecessary,

and is not supported by the versions. There is no special reference to the

hailstorm at Beth-horon, which discomfited the Cananites, but enabled the

Israelites to pass on to victory (Joshua, loc. cit.). It is the terror of the

judgment that is adumbrated, when the Lord shall come in flames of fire

(II Thessalonians 1:8), and the heavens shall be dissolved, and the

elements shall melt with fervent heat (II Peter 3:12).


12 “Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh

the heathen in anger.”  Thou didst march through the land in indignation;

thou treadest the earth in .fury. The mighty Judge stalks over the earth (v. 6;

compare Judges 5:4; Psalm 68:7-8). It is a general statement, and not to

be confined to the successes of Joshua and the destruction of the

Canaanites. Septuagint, Ἐν ἀπειλῇ ὀλιγώσεις γῆνEn apeilae oligoseis gaen

with the alteration of a letter,Thou wilt bring low the land with threats. Thou

didst thresh the heathen (nations) in anger; Septuagint, ἐν θυμῷ κατάξεις

en Thumo kataxeisthou wilt break in pieces - ἔθνηethenthe heathern 

Jerome here renders the verb, obstupefacies; but elsewhere, as Isaiah 28:28;

Hosea 10:11; Amos 1:3, he uses triturare which gives the best meaning. The

kindred figure is found in Micah 4:13; Isaiah 63:1-.


13 “Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for

salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the

house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck.

Selah.”  Thou wentest forth. The prophet specifies the end which

these manifestations were designed to effect. God is said to “go forth”

when He intervenes for the aid of His people, as Judges 5:4; II Samuel 5:24;

Isaiah 42:13. For salvation with thine anointed; In salutem cum Christo tuo (Vulgate);

τοῦ σῶσαι τὸν χριστὸν σου tou sosai ton christen sou - to save thine anointed

(Septuagint). If the signification of the word “with” (eth) be pressed, the passage

is taken to mean that, as God manifested Himself in old time for the salvation of

His people with His chosen “Christ,” Moses; so He will hereafter reveal His

power for the destruction of the Chaldeans with His chosen “Christ,”

Cyrus. But this is too definite, and cannot be shown to be intended. The

“anointed one,” again, is not the nation of Israel, for the term is always

applied to a single individual and never to the people collectively; so here it

is the theocratic king who is meant — first, the representative of David;

and secondly, the Messiah. God reveals Himself for the salvation of His

people in union with the work especially of His anointed Son, Christ. This

is how the passage is taken by Eusebius (‘Dem. Evang.,’ 4:16), Αἰς σωτηρίαν

λαον σου σὺν Ξριστῷ σου Ais swtaerian laon sou sun Christo sou.  It must

be confessed, however, that most modern commentaters translate, for the

salvation of thy anointed, taking the last expression (contrary to all usage) to

mean the Israelites, as being a kingdom and nation of priests (Exodus 19:6). In

this case the present clause is merely a repetition of the preceding one.

Thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked; thou dashest

in pieces the head. As in the following clause the metaphor of a house is

plainly employed, “the head” must be taken for the gable or topmost ridge.

“The house of the wicked” is an allegorical description of the Chaldaic

dominion and its king; and the prophet declares that God will smite with

destruction both the ungodly monarch and the kingdom that opposes itself.

Some commentators see here an allusion to the primeval sentence

(Genesis 3:15): others to the destruction of the Egyptians’ firstborn;

others to the incident of Jael and Sisera (Judges 5:26). If the prophet’s

language was influenced by any of these matters, his view and his oracle

are concerned with the mighty future. The Septuagint has, “Thou wilt east death

upon the heads of the evil.” By discovering (literally, making naked) the

foundations unto the neck. “By” is better omitted. The general meaning is plain —

the metaphorical house is destroyed from summit to base, the destruction

beginning at the gable is carried on to the very foundations According to

this view, “the neck” should mean the very lowest basis of the walls.

Henderson (after Capellus and others) suggests that we should read

“rock,” a word derived from the same root. Septuagint, Ἐξήγειρας δεσμοὺς

ἕως τραχήλουExaegeiras desmous heos trachaelou -  Thou didst raise chains

unto the neck. It is possible that the mention of “the head,” just above, has led

the prophet to use the term “neck” in order to express the utter destruction of

the whole body. Selah. Another solemn pause ensues.


14 “Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages:

they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as

to devour the poor secretly.” Thou didst strike through with his staves; thou didst

pierce with his own spears. Thou dost turn on the Chaldeans and all thine enemies

the destruction which they intended for others. The people meet with the

same fate as the royal house (v. 13); Vulgate, maledixisti sceptris ejus,

which seems to be a mistranslation. The head of his villages (פרזים).

There is a difficulty in arriving at the meaning of this last word. The Septuagint

renders it, “mighty men;” Jerome, “warriors;” Chaldee, “army;” Delitzsch

and many modern critics, “hordes” or “inhabitants of the plain;” others

again, “rulers” or “judges.” The most probable version is either “warriors”

or “hordes.” The head, i.e. collectively the heads of his warlike troops.

They came out (or, who rush) as a whirlwind to scatter me (see the

description of the Chaldees, ch. 1:6-10). The prophet identifies

himself with his people. (For the figure of the whirlwind, compare Isaiah

41:16; Jeremiah 13:24; Hosea 13:3.) Dr. Briggs renders, “Thou

dost pierce with his rods the chief, when his rulers are rushing in to scatter

me.” Their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly; or, as in

ambush, to devour the helpless. They exult in acting the part of robbers

and murderers, who lurk for the defenseless and afflict the poor (Psalm10:8-10).

As is equivalent to “as it were.” Vulgate, Sicut ejus qui. The poor” are primarily

the Israelites, and then all meek worshippers of God.


15 “Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the

heap of great waters.”  The Exodus is the type of the deliverance of God’s people.

Thou didst walk through (didst tread) the sea with thine horses;

literally, thou treadest the sea, thy horses, the horses being explanatory.

The prophet takes his imagery from Exodus 15:1-19. He represents

God as a warrior in His chariot, leading the way through the waters to the

destruction of His enemies and to the salvation of His own people. Through

the heap of great waters; or, upon the surge of mighty waters. The verse

may also be rendered, Thou treadest the sea thy horses (tread) the heap

of great waters (Psalm 77:19). Past mercies and deliverances are TYPES




            God Poetically Portrayed and Practically Remembered.  (vs. 3-15)


“God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah,” etc.

The Bible contains many grand songs and odes. There is the song that

Moses taught Israel to sing (Exodus 15:1). There is the triumphant

song of Deborah and Barak (Judges 5.). There is the song of Hannah, the

mother of Samuel (I Samuel 2:1). There is the song of David bewailing

the death of Saul and Jonathan (II Samuel 1:19-27), and his song of

thanksgiving after the communication of Nathan respecting the building of

the temple (ibid. 7:18-29). There is the song of Hezekiah after he had

received comfort in his sickness and recovered his health (Isaiah 38:9-20).

There is the song of the blessed Virgin, Magnificat; the song of

Zacharias, Benedictus; the song of Simeon, Nunc dimittis. But this song of

Habakkuk stands in peerless splendor amongst them all. Here the majesty

of God in Jewish history is poetically portrayed and practically



  • POETICALLY PORTRAYED. God is here presented, not as He is in

            Himself — the Absolute One, whom “no one hath seen or can see,” nor as

            He appears to philosophical or logical minds, but as He appears to a lofty

            imagination divinely inspired. To the prophet’s imagination He appears as

            coming from Teman and Mount Paran, which refers to the visible display

            of His glory when He gave the Law upon Mount Sinai amidst thunders and

            lightnings and earthquakes. Then, indeed, His glory covered the heavens.

            People at a distance witnessed the splendor of His appearance and shouted

            His praise. He seemed encircled in surpassing radiance; His brightness was

            as the light; He “had horns coming out of His hand,” and there was the

            hiding of His power.” Henderson renders it, “Rays streamed from His

            hand, yet the concealment of His glory was there.” The idea, perhaps, is

            that the brightness that was seen was not His full glory, but mere

            scintillations or emanations of those infinite abysses of His unrevealed and

            unrevealable glory. What is revealed of God is as nothing compared with

            the unrevealed. “Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went

            forth at his feet.” Or, as Keil renders it, “Before Him goes the plague, and

            the pestilence follows His feet.” The reference is, perhaps, to the plagues

            which He brought upon the Egyptians in order to obtain the deliverance of

            His people. “He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove

            asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the

            perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.” “He stands, and sets the

            earth reeling: he looks, and makes nations tremble, primeval mountains

            burst in pieces, the early hills sink down: His are the ways of the olden

            time” (Keil). “While,” says Henderson, “Jehovah is marching forth to the

            deliverance of His people, He stops all of a sudden in His progress, the

            immediate effects of which are universal consternation and terror.” “I saw

            the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did

            tremble.” “When he drove asunder the nations of Canaan,” says an old

            writer, “one might have seen the tents of Cushan in affliction, and the

            curtains of the land of Midian trembling, and all the inhabitants of the

            neighboring countries taking alarm. He struck consternation into the heart

            of His enemies.” “Was the Lord displeased against the rivers? was thine

            anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride

            upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? The bow was made quite

            naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word? Thou didst

            cleave the earth with rivers.” “‘Was it against rivers, O Jehovah, against

            the rivers, that thy wrath was kindled? that thou ridest hither upon thy

            horses, thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow lays itself bare. Thou splittest

            the earth into rivers.’ The ode, taking a new turn, now passes from the

            description of the coming of God to an address to God Himself. To the

            mental eye of the prophet God presents Himself as Judge of the world, in

            the threatening attitude of a warlike hero equipped for conflict, so that he

            asks Him what is the object of His wrath. The question is merely a poetical

            turn given to a lively composition, which expects no answer, and is simply

            introduced to set forth THE GREATNESS OF THE WRATH OF GOD so

            that in substance it is an affirmation. The wrath of God is kindled over the

            rivers, His fury over the sea” (Keil). The riding upon horses is a figurative

            representation of the celerity of His triumphant progress. “The mountains

            saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the

            deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high.” “The mountains

            saw thee, they were in pain: the inundation of water overflowed; the abyss

            uttered its voice, it raised its hands on high.” “The mountains being the

            most prominent objects on the surface of the globe, Habakkuk reiterates in

            a somewhat prominent form what he had expressed in the sixth verse in

            order to preserve the impression of the tremendous character of the

            transactions to illustrate which they had been figuratively introduced”

            (Henderson). “The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light

            of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear” (see

                        Joshua 10:12-13). Some, however, suppose that the reference here is

            to the surpassing splendor of the Divine manifestation, that the heavenly

            orbs withdraw altogether from the fear and horror that pervade all nature,

            which are expressed in the mountains by trembling, and in the waters by

            roaring, and in the sun and moon by obscuration. God is here viewed as a

            warrior whose darts are so brilliant that sun and moon pale before them.

            “Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the

            heathen in anger.” The special reference here may be to His march in

            leading the children of Israel through the wilderness, and smiting down His

            enemies. “Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for

            salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of

            the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck.” “Having

            described, in language of the most sublime and terrible import, the

            manifestations of Jehovah in reference to His enemies, Habakkuk now

            proceeds to specify in express terms the end which they were designed to

            answer, viz. the deliverance and safety of the chosen people, and then

            depicts their fatal effects in the destruction of every hostile power”

            (Henderson). “‘Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his

            villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as

            to devour the poor secretly. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine

            horses, through the heap of great waters.’ Thou goest out to the rescue of

            thy people, to the rescue of thine anointed one: thou dashest in pieces the

            head from the house of the wicked one, laying bare the foundation even to

            the neck. Thou piercest with his spears the head of his hordes which storm

            hither to beat me to powder, whose rejoicing is as it were to swallow the

            poor in secret. Thou treadest upon the seas: thy horses upon the heap of

            great waters. The Lord, at whose coming in the terrible glory of the

            majesty of the Judge of the world, all nature trembles and appears to fall

            into its primary chaotic state, marches over the earth, and stamps or

            tramples down the nations with His feet (compare the kindred figure of the

            treader of the wine press in Isaiah 63:1, 6). Not all nations, however,

            but only those who are hostile to Him; for He has come forth to save His

            people and His anointed one. The perfects in vs. 13-15 are prophetic,

            describing the future in spirit as having already occurred” (Keil). Now, all

            this sublime representation of God is poetic, highly poetic. It is the

            characteristic of poetry that it ascribes to one class of objects attributes

            that belong to another; and in this ode we find attributes ascribed to the

            Creator which belong to the creature. For example, He is here represented

            as moving from one place to another, from Teman and from Paran; as

            standing, “He stood,” etc.; as conquering His enemies by human weapons;

            as riding upon horses and driving in chariots; and as fired with indignation.

            All this is human. The Infinite One does not move from place to place,

            does not stand in any one spot, knows no rage, fury is not in Him. Whilst in

            this ode the attributes of the creature are applied to the Creator, we find

            also the attributes of the living ascribed to dead and insentient existences.

            The mountains are here represented as writhing and in pain, the deep as

            uttering its voice and lifting up its hands. But whilst we take this as a

            poetic representation, we must not fail to notice some of the grand truths

            which it contains.


Ø      That Gods glory transcends all revelations. The brightness of the

                        Shechinah, in which He appeared on Sinai and elsewhere to the Jews,

                        however effulgent, was but a mere scintillation of the INFINITE

                        SPLENDOR OF HIS BEING,  the mere “hiding of His power.”

                        All His glory as seen in nature, both in the material and spiritual

                        universe, is but as one ray to the eternal sun.


Ø      That Gods power over the material universe is absolute. He makes

      the mountains tremble, and the seas divide, and the orbs of heaven

      stand still.  In the Apocalypse the refulgent glory of the judgment

      throne is represented as causing the material universe to melt away

      before it. (Revelation 20;11)  And before a full manifestation of

      Himself, what are mountains, rivers, sun, and stars? Mere vapors on

      the wings of the storm.


Ø      That Gods interest in good men is profound and practical. All His

                        operations, as here poetically described, are on behalf of His chosen

                        people. Though He is high, he has respect to the lowly, and to that

                        man He ever looks who is of a contrite and humble spirit.

                        (Psalm 138:6)


  • PRACTICALLY REMEMBERED. Why did the prophet recall all

            these Divine manifestations made to the Hebrew people in past times?

            Undoubtedly to encourage in himself and in his countrymen unbounded

            confidence in God at the critical and dangerous period in which they were

            placed. The Chaldean hosts were threatening their ruin, the political

            heavens were black with thunderclouds under which his countrymen might

            well shiver and stand aghast. Under these perilous circumstances HE

            TURNS TO GOD!  He calls to mind and portrays in vivid poetry what God

            had been to His people in ancient times.


Ø      He recalls the fact that God had delivered His people in ancient times

                        from perils as great as those to which they were now exposed. From the

                        Egyptians, the Canaanites, the Philistines, etc.


Ø      That God had done this by stupendous manifestations of His power.

                        Manifestations of His power in the sea, in the mountains, in the orbs

                        of heaven, etc.


Ø      That what God had done for His people He would continue to do. “His

                        ways are everlasting,” or, as Keil renders it, “His are ways of the olden

                        times.” The idea, perhaps, is that He has an eternal plan, fixed and

                        settled.  What He has done for them HE WILL STILL DO!   Thus the

                        prophet remembered the days of old, and took courage.


Vs. 16-17 - § 4. The contemplation of the Divine judgments produces

in the people of God at first, fear and trembling at the prospect of



16 “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice:

rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I

might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the

people, he will invade them with his troops.” When I heard. “When” is

better omitted. “I heard” the report of thee (v. 2). The Septuagint refers to

ch. 2:1, rendering, “I watched.” If the former part is the paean of the congregation,

the present is the prophet’s own utterance expressive of his dismay at the prospect

before him. My belly trembled. My inmost part, my inward self, trembled

with fear (compare Isaiah 16:11). My lips quivered at the voice. My lips

quivered with fear at the voice of God that sounded in me (ch.2:1), proclaiming

these awful judgments. The word rendered “quivered” (tsalal) is applied to the

tingling of the ears (I Samuel 3:11; II Kings 21:12), and implies that the prophet’s

lips so trembled that he was scarcely able to utter speech. The Septuagintrenders,

“from the voice of the prayers of my lips.” Rottenness entered into my bones.

This is an hyperbolical expression, denoting that the firmest, strongest parts of his

body were relaxed and weakened with utter fear, as if his very bones were

cankered and corrupted, and there was no marrow in them. And I

trembled in myself. The last word (tachtai) is rendered variously: “under

me,” according to the Greek and Latin Versions, i.e. in my knees and feet,

so that I reeled and stumbled; or, “in my place,” on the spot where I stand

(as Exodus 16:29). That I might rest in the day of trouble; better, I

who shall rest in the day of tribulation. The prophet suddenly expresses his

confidence that he shall have rest in this affliction; amid this terror and awe

he is sure that there remaineth A REST FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD! 

This sentiment leads naturally to the beautiful expression of hope in the

concluding paragraph (v. 17, etc.). Thus the Septuagint, Ἀναπαύσομαι ἐν

ἡμέρα θλίψεως  - Anapausomai en haemera thlipseos - I will rest in the day

of affliction;” Vulgate, Ut requiescam in die tribulationis. When he cometh

 up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. This should be, When

he that invades with bands comes up against the people; i.e. in the day when the

Chaldeans attack the Israelites (compare II Kings 24:2, where the word

“bands” is also used). Septuagint, Τοῦ ἀναβῆναι εἰς λαὸν παροικίας μου  -

Tou anabaenai eis laon paroikias - To go up against the people of my sojourning

Vulgate, Ut ascendam ad populum aecinctum nostrum, which is thus explained:

“I will bear all things patiently, even death itself, that I may attain to the happy

company of those blessed heroes who fought for their country and their

God.” It is obvious to remark that this is a gloss, not on the original text,

but on the erroneous version.



  An Ideal Theophany: 4. The Glorious Interposition of the Deity.  (vs. 9-16)


  • NATURE’S HOMAGE TO THE JUDGE. (vs. 10-11.) Jehovah’s

            presence on that great and terrible day will be attested by a succession of



Ø      Wonders in the earth.


o       The cleaving of the earth with rivers (v. 9) may point to the

      bursting forth of waters from the deep places of the earth,

      which are again opened as at the Flood (Genesis 7:11) through

      violent convulsions, or to the overflowing of the land by the

      agitated and swollen waters, as also happened on the occasion

      of that appalling catastrophe (Genesis 7:11, 17, 19).


o       The trembling of the mountains, which writhe as if in pain, may

      contain an allusion to earthquakes and similar cataclysms.


Ø      Wonders in the sea. The tempest of waters passed by, the deep uttered

                        his voice, and lifted up his hands on high” (v. 10). These words possibly

                        allude to what occurred both in the Flood and in the dividing of the Red

                        Sea and the Jordan.


Ø      Wonders in the sky. “The sun and moon stood still in their habitation:

      at the light of thine arrows they went, at the shining of thy glittering

       spear(v. 11), as they did in the time of Joshua, when Jehovah fought

      for Israel against Gibeon (Joshua 10:13). Compare the description in the

                        Apocalypse of the great day of the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation





Ø      Marching through the land in indignation. The land referred to is in the

                        foreground Chaldea, and in the background the whole earth, which, no

                        less than Babylon, will have become an object of Divine displeasure.


Ø      Threshing the nations in anger. Not the Chaldean people only, but all

                        the peoples who, like them, shall have become the oppressors of God’s

                        heritage, all the nations that have not known or served God, will

                        experience the strokes of His anger.


Ø      Wounding the head of the house of the wicked, laying bare the

                        foundation even to the neck. The wicked one is first the Chaldean king,

                        the head of the Chaldean power, and lastly that wicked one whom Christ

                        will destroy with the brightness of His coming (II Thessalonians 4:8). The

                        image is that of complete destruction.


Ø      Piercing with his own staves the head of his warriors or hordes. These

                        were the Chaldean troops, whom the prophet saw coming up against

                        himself and Israel as a whirlwind to scatter them, as highway murderers

                        lying in wait to devour the poor secretly, but whom he also beheld falling

                        upon and destroying one another, wounding themselves with their own

                        swords (compare I Samuel 14:20; II Chronicles 20:23-24). So will God’s

                        enemies in the end consume and devour one another.


Ø      Overcoming every obstacle that might be supposed to hinder His

                        purpose, viz. the execution of wrath upon His foes, or the deliverance of

                        His people.



            always will be) the salvation of His people and of His anointed, i.e. of His

            people Israel and Judah with their Davidic king, then of His believing

            Church with its anointed Head. If God executes judgment upon the

            ungodly, it is because otherwise the salvation of the godly cannot be





            1. The certainty of a day of judgment.

            2. The terrifying aspect to the wicked of THE GLORY OF GOD!

            3. The infinite fierceness of the wrath of the Almighty.

            4. The ability of God to execute His purposes both of judgment and


            5. The graciousness towards believers of all God’s interpositions.



                                                Horror of God  (v. 16)


“When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness

entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day

of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with

his troops.”  Having finished the poetic rehearsal of the mighty acts of

Jehovah on behalf of His people in ancient times, which he had composed in

order to inspire the pious with unshaken confidence in Him as their

covenant God, Habakkuk reverts to the fear which had seized him on

hearing of the judgments that were to be inflicted upon his country by the

Chaldeans. Our subject is horror of God; and we offer three remarks on this

state of mind.


  • IT IS AN ABNORMAL STATE OF MIND. The benevolent character

            of God, and the moral constitution of the soul are sufficient to show that it

            was never intended that man should ever dread his Maker or be touched

            with any servile feelings in relation to Him. Unbounded confidence, cheerful

            trust, loyal love, — these are the normal states of mind in relation to the

            Creator. How has the abnormal state arisen? The history of the Fall shows

            this, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and was afraid.” (Genesis 3:10) 

            Having sinned, a sense of guilt came to the conscience, and conscience under

            the sense of guilt invested almighty love with attributes of terror. Horror of

            God springs from A SENSE OF GUILT!


  • IT IS AN UNNECESSARY STATE OF MIND. God is not terrible.

            There is nothing in Him to dread. “Fury is not in me.” (Isaiah 27:4)

            He is love.  His voice to man:


Ø      In all nature is, “Be not afraid.” The smiling heavens, the blooming

                        earth, the warbling songsters of the air, in all He says to man,

                        “Be not afraid.”  All things show benevolence in intention, and

                        breathe the genius of love.


Ø      In all true Christianity is, “Be not afraid.” Corrupt Christianity, it is true,

                        makes him horrific; but the Christianity of Christ reveals Him in love

                        and in love only. In Christ He comes down in man to man, and

                        demonstrates His love.


  • IT IS A PERNICIOUS STATE OF MIND. Horror is a pernicious

            (destructive) state of mind in every way. It is pernicious to the body. The

            language of the text implies this, “When I heard, my belly trembled; my

            lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled

             in myself.” The prophet’s alarm drove back the blood from the extremities

            to the heart, his flesh grew cold, contracted, his voice quivered, and his very

            bones seemed to rot. Horrific feeling is inimical to physical health. But dread

            of God is even more pernicious to SOUL!


Ø      It destroys its peace. Fear shakes every power of the soul as the winds

                        shake the leaves of the forest.


Ø      It depresses its powers. All the faculties of the soul shrink and shiver

                        under the influence of fear, as the herds of the mountain at the

                        approaching thunderstorm.


Ø      It distorts its views. Fear of God gives men horrid ideas of Him. It has

                        forged all the theologies, both in heathendom and Christendom, that

                        have frightened men away from THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF

                        THE BLESSED GOD!


  • CONCLUSION. Let us preach to men THE GOD OF CHRIST,  the God

            who says to all men, “It is I: be not afraid”  (Matthew 14:27; John 6:20)


17 “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the

vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no

meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no

herd in the stalls:”  The prophet depicts the effects of the hostile invasion, which

are such as to make the natural heart despair. Although the fig tree shall

not blossom. The devastations of the enemy leave the country bare and

uncultivated. The Chaldeans, like the Assyrians and Egyptians, cut down

and burnt the fruit-bearing trees of the countries which they invaded

(compare Deuteronomy 20:19; Isaiah 9:10; 37:24; Jeremiah 6:6).

The trees most useful and abundant in Palestine are mentioned (compare

Deuteronomy 6:11; Hosea 2:12; Joel 1:7; Micah 4:4; 6:15, etc.). The labor of

 the olive shall fail; literally, shall lie. The “labor” is the produce, the fruit.

Though the yield shall disappoint all expectation. The use of the verb “to lie”

in this sense is found elsewhere; e.g. Isaiah 58:11; Hosea 9:2. So Horace,

Carm.,’ 3:1, 30, “Fundus mendax;” and ‘ Epist.,’ 1:7. 87, “Spem mentita seges.”

The fields; the cornfields (Isaiah 16:8). The flock shall be cut off from the fold.

There shall be no flocks in the fold, all having perished for lack of food.

Omnia haec,” says St. Jerome, “auferentur a populo, quia inique egit in Deum

creatorem suum.”


Vs. 18-19 - § 5. In spite of the terror produced by these judgments,

the true Israelite is blessed with hope of salvation and joy in the Lord.


18 “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my

salvation.” Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. Unshaken in confidence, the

prophet, representing the faithful Israelite, expresses his unbounded joy at

the prospect of salvation which opens to him BEYOND THE PRESENT

AFFLICTION.  The psalmist often thus shews his exulting faith (see Psalm 5:7;

13:6; 17:14-15; [138:8 – CY – 2015] 31:19). I will joy. I will shout for joy; my joy

shall express itself outwardly. The God of my salvation (see note on Micah 7:7).

The God who judges the nations to procure the final salvation of His people.

Septuagint, Τῷ Θεῷ τῷ σωτῆρί μουTo Theo to sotaeri mou - God my Saviour;

Vulgate, In Deo Jesu meo. From this gloss of St. Jerome some of the Fathers have

argued for the existence in this passage of a revelation of the incarnation of

Christ and the redemption wrought by Him.



                                    God in History.  (vs. 3-18)


On reading these verses containing the ode of Habakkuk we find that they

abound in historical allusions. The prophet recalled to mind the Divine

interpositions both in mercy and in judgment which had taken place in the

bygone days, and in the light of them contemplated the position and

prospects of his people in his own time. This course was a very customary

one with the Hebrew bards. They were eminently patriotic, and delighted

to touch upon the national experiences of sorrow and conflict, of joy and

triumph; and, indeed, to such an extent did they carry this, that an

acquaintance with the facts of Jewish history is essential in order that we

may apprehend the meaning and appreciate the beauty of their poetic

strains. But whilst thus national, these sacred songs, in that they refer to

principles which are of general application, and to experiences which are

common to humanity, are felt by us to be universal in their character, and

to belong unto us as well as to the Hebrews, that in reference to them

there is neither Jew nor Greek,” in that they are calculated to instruct and

edify, to stimulate and strengthen us all. Viewing in this light the celebrated

ode” of Habakkuk here recorded, we see illustrated in it the great fact of

God’s working in human history, together with the design and influence of

this Divine operation.



            WORKING IN HUMAN HISTORY. Looking back, the prophet traced

            this working:


Ø      In the giving of the Law on Sinai (compare vs. 3-4, with

                                                Deuteronomy 33:2;  Judges 5:4-5; Psalm 68:8; Teman being

                        another name for Seir). The manifestation of “the eternal light” is thus

                        fittingly compared to the rising of the sun, heaven and earth reflecting

                        His glory. The coming of God in judgment was the thought which, in the

                        circumstances, was necessarily the most vividly present to the prophet’s

                        mind; and his allusion here to the manifestation of God in His infinite

                        purity served as an appropriate prelude to this.


Ø      In the plagues which fell upon the Israelites in the desert, as the result of

                        their disobedience (compare v. 5 with Deuteronomy 32:24). The plague

                        is referred to as going before God, like the ancient shield bearer before

                        the warrior (I Samuel 17:7), or the courier before the man of rank

                        (II Samuel 15:1); and pestilence as coming after, as an attendant

                        following his master.


Ø      In the effects produced upon the Midianites by the advance of the hosts

                        of God’s chosen (compare vs. 6-7 with Exodus 15:13-15).


Ø      In the dividing of the Red Sea and the passage of the Jordan (compare

      v. 8 with Exodus 15:8; Psalm 114:3-5). V. 8 clearly has reference to

                        these Divine interpositions, although the poet, rising with his theme,

                        looked beyond those events and took a wider sweep, and beheld God as

                        going forth, the Divine Warrior in His chariot of salvation, to put Hs foes

                        to confusion and to effect deliverance for his own.


Ø      Expressions also are used in vs. 11-15 which, though somewhat

                        veiled, doubtless suggested to the Hebrews, as they raised this song of

                        praise, the sun standing still in Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of

                        Ajalon, in the time of Joshua’s victory over the Amorites (v. 11); the

                        tragedy of the slaughter of Sisera, the representative of the head of the

                        Canaanitish tribes (vs. 13-14); and the complete discomfiture of the

                        Canaanites (v. 12). So that the “ode” sets forth God’s hand in the events

                        connected with the Jewish nation, and in this way illustrates most

                        forcibly the great fact of the Divine working in human history through

                        all the ages.



            WORKING IN HUMAN HISTORY. This is ever wise and good (v. 13).

            God rules over all, making all events contribute to the working out of His

            purposes of love and mercy in the interests of the whole race. Earthly

            rulers pursue their own ends, and are prompted by considerations of glory

            and ambition, but their working is in subjection to the Divine control. “The

            king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord” (Proverbs 21:1). Nothing can befall

            us, whether individually or nationally, without the permission of our heavenly

            Father — nothing. too, which He cannot or will not overrule to the

            advancement of our highest interests.


                                    “All change changing

                                       Works and brings good;

                                    And though frequent storms, raging,

                                       Carry fire and flood;

                                    And the growing corn is beaten down,

                                       The young fruits fall and molder,

                                    The vessels reel, the mariners drown

                                       Awing the beholder;

                                    Yet in evil to men is good for man.

                                       Then let our heart be bolder,

                                    For more and more shall appear the plan

                                       As the world and we grow older.”

                                                                                                                (T.T. Lynch.)


            By a process of Divine progression, God causes the upheavings and

            commotions of all kinds which occur in the history of the world to result in

            the good of humanity; and whilst there is occasion for us, as we note His

            hand in human history, to say to Him with reverence and awe, “In anger

            thou marchest through the earth; in wrath thou treadest down the nations”

            (Revised Version), yet we find abundant reason for adding, in the spirit of

            true adoration, “Thou goest forth for the salvation of thy people, for the

            salvation of thine anointed (v. 13).




            LOYAL HEARTS.


Ø      In view of God’s terribleness in judgment which marks His working in

                        human history, such are filled with sacred awe. The prophet represents

                        his whole being as convulsed with terror as he thought of the

                        retributions God would, in righteousness, inflict (v. 16).


Ø      In view of God’s gracious purpose, in all His interpositions to save,

                        restore, and bless the race, such are inspired with holy joy. Hence,

                        strange paradox! whilst oppressed in spirit they are also glad in heart.

                        “They tremble and rejoice,” and this is their rapturous song in the

                        night, expressive of their whole-souled trust through all, “Although

                        the fig tree shall not blossom,……….yet I will rejoice in the Lord!”

                        (vs. 17-19).



                                    Songs in the Night.  (vs. 17-18)


The thought underlying these intensely human words is that of holy and

triumphant joy manifesting itself on occasions when in the ordinary course

of things the very opposite experience might naturally have been expected.

The writer was under the elevating influence of sincere piety, and his

rapturous outburst sets forth the truth that true religion excites within its

recipients such thoughts, inspires within them such emotions, and imparts

to them such confidence, as to enable them, even when all is adverse in

their experience, to rejoice and shout aloud for joy. These songsters can

break forth in song, not only in fair weather, when the sun is shining and

the sky is clear and blue, and when all nature is full of exhilaration, but also

when the sun is withdrawn, and when no rift can be traced in the dark





Ø      The language employed is figurative, and strikingly suggests to us

                        circumstances of the deepest human need. The fruit of the fig tree was

                        an extensive article both of food and commerce. The vine was diligently

                        cultivated from the earliest times, and, with its rich clusters of grapes and

                        its refreshing shade, became a very appropriate symbol of prosperity;

                        whilst the olive, living from age to age, and yielding an abundant supply

                        of oil, was also typical of abundance. Hence the failure of all these

                        indicates the deepest affliction, the direst calamity (Psalm 105:33), and

                        the picture of desolation is rendered still more complete when, in addition

                        to these, the bread corn is represented as ceasing, and the flocks and herds

                        as being cut off (v. 17).


Ø      These adverse circumstances befell the nation, and, as the result of the

                        Chaldean invasion, the direst woes had to be experienced.


Ø      The children of men still have to pass through such dark seasons.

      There is extremity arising from


o       temporal want occasioned by reverses in circumstances;

o       slander, charges having no foundation in truth, being made and

                                    resulting in mistrust and alienation;

o       mental depression, the strong man being brought down to the

      weakness of the child, the sturdy oak becoming feebler than the

      bruised reed;

o       bereavement, home being rendered “desolate as birds’ nests, when

      the fledglings have all flown.”




            FOR THEIR SALVATION. “In God,” “the God of my salvation” (v.18).

            The thought which appears specially to have been present to the mind

            of the prophet was that of adversity as being God’s loving discipline to

            result in the perfecting of the tried, and resulting in their salvation: “the

            God of my salvation.” A picture called “Cloudland,” by a German painter,

            viewed at a distance appears a mass of gloom and cloud, but on closer

            inspection every cloud is an angel or an angel’s wing; and so our sorrows,

            when interpreted in the light of this gracious design of our God, become

            changed into blessings. The thought that God is with us in our darkest

            experiences, working for our salvation and to secure to us the highest

            good, that the narrow path through which He, our Captain, causes us to

            fight our way will bring us to the prize of our high calling” (Philippians

            3:14), is indeed inspiring, and grasping it we may well press on, raising

            high our banners, and cheering the way and the conflict with music and song.




            TRIUMPHANT AND INSPIRED WITH HOLY JOY. “Yet will I rejoice

            in the Lord, I will joy,” etc. (v. 18). The joy of the wicked ceases when

            the fig trees cease to blossom, and the vines to yield their fruit (Hosea 2:11-12),

            for it lies upon the surface; but the joy of the holy lies deep in the soul, and is

            a settled and abiding possession, and triumphs under the darkest circumstances

            of life. Illustrations: David (Psalm 42:7-9); Asaph (Psalm 73:2, 24-25); Paul and

            Silas (Acts 16:25). Resting in God and apprehending His loving working in our

            life experiences, He will prove Himself our Strength and Song, and will become

            our Salvation.


19 “The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like

hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.

To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.” 

The Lord God is my strength; more accurately, Jehovah, the

Lord, is my strength, from Psalm 18:32; compare Psalm 27:1. He will

make my feet like hinds’ feet (Psalm 18:33). He makes me active and

swift-footed as the gazelle, as a lusty warrior (II Samuel 1:23; 2:18)

should be. So by the help of God I shall be superior to my enemies. He will

make me to walk upon mine high places. The expression is used

properly of God (Micah 1:3), and elsewhere to denote the

victorious possession and government of a country (see Deuteronomy

32:13; 33:29). Here it signifies that believing Israel shall overcome all

opposition and dwell in safety in its own land. To the chief singer

(musician) on my stringed instruments (neginoth). This is a musical

direction, answering to the heading in v. 1, and implies that the ode is

committed to the conductor of the temple music, to be by him adapted for

the public service to the accompaniment of stringed instruments. Such

directions are elsewhere always found at the beginning, not the end, of

psalms (see Psalm 4.; 6.; 54.; 55.; 67.; 76.). It has been thought that the

suffix of the first person, “my stringed instruments,” denotes that

Habakkuk had a right to take part in the temple service, and was therefore

a Levite; but it is very doubtful whether this suffix is not a clerical error, as

or merely paragogic (the addition of a sound to the end of a word). Certainly

neither the Greek, Latin, nor Syriac Versions afford it any confirmation. These

versions make the subscription part of the ode. Thus the Septuagint - 

Ἐπι τὰ ὑψηλὰ ἐπιβιβᾶ με, τοῦ νικῆσαι ἐν τῇ ὠδῇ αὐτοῦ - Epi ta hupsaela epibiba

me, tou nikaesai en tae odae autou -  He maketh me to mount upon the high places,

 that I may conquer by his song;  Vulgate, Super excelsa mea deducet me victor

(victori, Cod. Amiat.) in psalmis canentem.



                                    Sorrowing, yet Rejoicing.  (vs. 17-19)


  • THE CASE SUPPOSED. A complete failure of all creature comforts.


Ø      Extremely unusual. Even the worst are seldom reduced to the bare

                        boards of absolute privation (Psalm 145:9; Matthew 5:45). David

                        confesses in old age that he had “never seen the righteous forsaken,

                        nor his seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).


Ø      Not impossible or unknown. Persons, and these by no means always the

                        ungodly, but sometimes the good, the excellent of the earth, the pious, the

                        people who fear God and keep His commandments, who believe in His

                        Word and delight in His ways, have been known to be placed in

                        circumstances of utter destitution, such as Habakkuk so touchingly

                        describes. Whether Habakkuk himself was in it, he expected that he might

                        be, as he foresaw that many of his countrymen would be when the terrible

                        Chaldean invasion came. Job had experience of such a situation as

                        Habakkuk portrayed (Job 1:13-22); Paul (II Corinthians 11:27) and

                        many others both before and since have known it.


Ø      Always sad. No blossom on the fig tree, no fruit upon the vine, no

                        harvest from the olive trees or cornfields, no flocks in either fold or stall.

                        Everything gone. Every prop and stay taken — money scattered to the

                        winds by unsuccessful trading, household furniture arrested and sold to

                        pay debt, means of earning a livelihood gone, friends vanished just at the

                        moment when most required, children laid down with sickness when

                        money to pay for medical relief is wanting, health precarious through age

                        or infirmity. When a case like this occurs it is sad.


Ø      Yet it might be worse. It would be if a Christian were to lose not the

                        creature comforts merely, but the Creator Himself, from whom these

                        comforts flow. Let a man lose what he may, so long as he has God and

                        Jesus Christ, the Bible and the throne of grace, with the gift of

                        forgiveness and the hope of heaven, he is not utterly undone.


  • THE RESOLUTION TAKEN. To “rejoice in the Lord.”


Ø      Sensible. If a man loses three-fourths of his fortune, it may be natural to

                        grieve over what is lost, but it cannot fail to strike one as more sensible to

                        make much of and rejoice in what remains. So a good man, when he sees

                        his creature comforts taken from him, will show himself a wise man by

                        letting these go without too great indulgence in sorrow and cleaving to

                        the Creator, who is INFINITELY MORE PRECIOUS  than all



Ø      Satisfactory. What remains to the good man after the departure of

                        creature comforts is the best part of his estate. It is the part he can least

                        want; he might do without his fig trees, etc., but not without his God;

                        and the part that is most satisfying — fig trees, etc., might feed the body,

                        but only God can support a soul; and the part that is most permanent —

                        the only part that is permanent, all earthly things being subject to decay.


Ø      Sanctifying. No man can make and keep it without becoming holier and

                        better because of it. He who rejoices in God will gradually grow like God.


Ø      Profitable. It will come back to him who adopts it in blessings upon his

                        head. If any man will delight in God. God will delight in him, will rejoice

                        over him to do him good.  (See Zephaniah 3:17)


  • THE CHERISHED EXPECTATION. That God would perfect His



Ø      By imparting to him strength. “Jehovah, the Lord, is my Strength.” The

                        man who used these words had made three great discoveries:


o       that man’s strength at the best is little better than weakness —

      in the domain of the body, and in that of the mind, but chiefly

      in that of  the spirit;

o       that the source of all strength, whether physical, intellectual, or

                                    spiritual, for the human being, is God (Zechariah 10:12;

                                    II Corinthians 3:5; 9:8; 10:4; Ephesians 3:20; Colossians 1:11);


o       that this Divine strength is indispensable for enabling the soul to

      cling to God in the day of trouble and season of calamity

      (Philippians 1:6; 2:13; I Peter 1:5).


Ø      By inspiring him with eagerness or zeal. “He maketh my feet like hinds’

                        feet;” (v. 19)  i.e. maketh them lithe and nimble, active and steady,

                        skilful to climb, and tenacious to hold on like those of the female deer,

                        which quickly scents danger, and bounds along with safety among the

                        crags and cliffs of its native haunts. The language is descriptive of one

                        who, in the season of adversity, in the hour of trial, temptation, and

                        danger, is quick to discern, eager in adopting, and steadfast in pursuing

                        the path of duty, which for him, as for all, is the path of safety. Moreover,

                         the man who rejoices in God will commonly find himself advised in due

                        season of the approach of danger, assisted in ascertaining the path of

                        duty, and strengthened both to enter upon and adhere to it.


Ø      By exalting him to safety. “He maketh me to walk upon mine high

                        places.” (ibid.)  The man who can rejoice in God will sooner or later

                        find that God has begun to exalt him beyond common men:


o       has set him on a high place of safety beyond the reach of


o       is setting him upon a high path of moral and spiritual elevation;


o       will set him in the end upon a high throne of glory.


  • Learn:

            1. The vanity of creature comforts.

            2. The sweetness of Divine comforts.

            3. The secret of true happiness.

            4. The certainty of final glory.



            The Possibilities in the Life of a Good Man (vs. 17-19)


“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines;

the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock

shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I

will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation,” etc.  The

desolation here so graphically and forcibly described is that which was to

be effected by the Chaldeans, whose army would consume or destroy the

best and most necessary productions of the land; not only seizing upon the

cattle and devouring the fruits of the earth, but so injuring the trees as to

render them incapable of yielding any produce. The passage contains the

most beautiful exhibition of the power of true religion to be found in the

Bible. The language is that of a mind weaned from earthly enjoyments, and

habituated to find the highest fruition of its desires IN GOD!   When every

earthly stream is dried up, it has an infinite supply in His all-sufficient and

exhaustless fullness.” Our subject is — The possibilities in the life of a

good man.



            GOOD MAN. It is possible for the fig tree not to blossom, etc. Man lives

            by the fruits of the earth. These may fail from one of two reasons:


Ø      From human neglect. It is the eternal ordinance of God, that what man

                        wants from the earth for his existence he must get from it by labor —

                        skillful, timely, persevering labor. The earth gives to the brute what he

                        wants without his labor, because the brute is not endowed with

                        qualifications for agricultural work. But man must labor, and this

                        arrangement is wise and beneficent. It promotes health, imparts vigor,

                        and develops faculties both intellectual and moral. Let man cease to

                        cultivate the soil, and the earth will fail to support him either with the

                        right animal or vegetable productions.


Ø      From Divine visitation. The mighty Maker can, and sometimes does,

                        wither the fruits of the earth, destroy the cattle of the fields. He does this

                        sometimes without instrumentality, by mere volition; sometimes with the

                        feeblest instrumentality — locusts, worms, etc.; sometimes with human

                        instrumentality — war, etc. We say the greatest material destitution is

                        possible to a good man. Possible? It is frequent. In all ages some of the

                        best men have been found in the most destitute circumstances. Even

                        Christ Himself had nowhere to lay His head; and the apostles, what

                        had they?



            MAN. “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

            “Spiritual joy,” says Caleb Morris, “is a free, full, and overflowing stream,

            that takes its rise in the very depth of the Divine essence, in the

            immutability, perfection, abundance, munificence, of the Divine nature.

            While there is a God, and that God is happy, there is no necessity that there

            should be any unhappy Christians.” What is it to “joy in God”?


Ø      It is the joy of the highest contemplation. The joys of contemplation are

                        amongst the most pure and elevating which intelligent creatures can

                        experience. These rise in the character according to their subjects. The

                        highest subject is GOD, HIS ATTRIBUTES AND HIS WORKS!


Ø      It is the joy of the most elevating friendship. The joys of friendship are

                        amongst the chief joys of earth; but the joys of friendship depend upon

                        the purity, depth, constancy, reciprocity of love; and friendship with

                        God secures all this in the highest degree.  (Consider Jonathan and

                        David! I recommend  http://rcg.org/youth/articles/0201-jadatalf.html

                        from which I copied from The Restored Church of God’s web page

                        the introduction of which is given below:  - CY – 2015)


You have probably met and known many different people in your life. Most of them may

simply be acquaintances, while others you might consider friends. Of these, there may be

only a few that you would consider close friends.  Most likely, there is one person who is

as close to you as a brother or sister. He or she could be, as the Bible says, “a friend that

sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24), someone in whom you can confide and trust,

and with whom you can share your hopes and dreams. A friend who is there not only

through the good times, but also the bad—through thick and thin—someone who will

not desert you when the going gets tough.  A true friendship that stands the test of trials

 and time is rare. Friends may come and go, but to have a lifelong, close, personal

friendship is truly a great blessing.  The story of Jonathan and David is the story of one

such friendship. As you read about this friendship, you will find that they shared

much in common. There were also things that could have easily destroyed their bond,

but instead, they made it stronger.



Ø      It is the joy of the sublimest admiration. Whatever the mind admires it

                        enjoys, and enjoys in proportion to its admiration, whether it be a

                        landscape or a painting. Moral admiration is enjoyment of the

                        highest kind, and this in proportion to the grandness of the character.

                        Admiration of DIVINE EXCELLENCE  is the sublimest joy.

                        “I will joy in God.” (Like He was to Abraham, God is to me my

                        SHIELD AND EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD” – Genesis 15:1 –

                        CY – 2015)  To joy in God is to:

o       bask in sunshine,

o       to luxuriate in abundance,

o       to revel in the immensity of moral beauty, and,

o       to dwell with God.




            MAN “Although” every material blessing is gone, “I will rejoice.” Good

            men have always been enabled to do so. They have been happy:

o       in poverty,

o       exultant in prisons, and

o       even triumphant in the martyr’s flames.

            Having God with them, they have had the reality without the forms, they

            have had the crystal fountain rather than the shallow and polluted streams.

            Like Paul, they have “gloried in tribulation,” (Romans 5:3)   All things have

            been theirs.  In material destitution they felt:


Ø      In God they had strength. “The Lord God is my Strength.” “As thy

      days, so shall thy strength be.”   (Deuteronomy 33:25)


Ø      In God they had swiftness. “He will make my feet like hinds’ feet.”

      The reference is here, perhaps, to the swiftness with which God

      would enable him to flee from the dangers which were overtaking

      his country. It is, however, a universal truth that God gives to a

      good man a holy readiness in duty. Duty to him is not a clog or a

      burden, but a delight.


Ø      In God they had elevation. “He will make me to walk upon mine high

                        places.” “They that wait upon God shall renew their strength; they

                        shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary,

                        they shall walk, and not be faint”  (Isaiah 40:31)  - up upon the

                        mountains, far too high for any enemies to scale. “God, willing more

                        abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His

                        counsel, confirmed it by an oath:  that by two immutable things, in

                        which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong

                        consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon

                        the hope set before us (Hebrews 6:17-18).



                                    God our Strength. (v. 19)


“The Lord God is my Strength.”



            SIN. Men are drawn into sin in the hope of securing some personal

            gratification; they yearn after some unattained good, some unrealized

            satisfaction, and they yield to the enticements of evil in the hope of

            securing that for which they are thus craving. But the man whose hope is in

            God, and to whom He is his “exceeding joy,” has parted with these earthly

            yearnings; in proportion as the higher and the eternal has gained an

            influence over him, this attachment to the lower and the fleeting has been

            rooted out. With hearts uncentered from the true God, the Chaldeans craved

            worldly dominion, and in seeking this “rejoiced to devour the poor

            secretly(v. 14), whereas Habakkuk with God as his Portion was as

            unaffected by the vanities of earth as dwellers inland are by the noise of the

            distant sea. So the good, rejoicing in God, are unallured by the baits of

            temptation, and are rendered strong to war against evil.



            ADVERSE SCENES OF LIFE. Man, seeking his satisfaction in earthly

            things, must be feeble indeed when these fail him, since, with thoughts and

            affections centered in these, as they depart they leave him without comfort

            and in a state of orphanage. But he who has sought and found his

            satisfaction in God has remaining with him, when things seen and temporal

            have taken their flight, the unseen and the eternal to cheer and gladden his

            soul. (II Corinthians 4:17-18)  Hence he is strong, and in the light of the

            Divine teaching and the Divine love can calmly look at his sorrows until,

            interpreted thus, they become to him light afflictions which are but for a

            moment, and which work for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight

            of glory.



            service is ever attended with difficulties and discouragements, and it is only

            as we lift up our eyes to the everlasting hills, rejoicing in God and

            becoming strengthened by Him, that we can grapple with these and

            overcome them. It was this prophet’s strong faith and delight in his God

            that enabled him to prove himself so true a witness in the corrupt age in

            which his lot was cast. It has ever been the case that the men who have

            been the most effective workers for God have been the men to whom His

            living Presence has been an intense reality.




            Whether this prophet lived to see the devastation of his country which he

            predicted, we cannot tell, the accounts of his life being so meager and for

            the most part apocryphal. We know, however, that, from the state of

            mental doubt and distress in which he was when he commenced his

            prophecy (ch. 1:2), he fought his way to unswerving trust in

            God; for his brief prophecy, opening with the expression of his ardent

            yearning for more light in reference to the mystery of God’s ways, closes

            with notes of triumphant confidence and hope. Often, doubtless, as his faith

            became strengthened, did he feel himself in life to be so raised and elevated

            through his hope and joy in God, as to be like the hind bounding joyously

            to the high places: and raised above the tumults of earth, though not in

            heaven, yet in “heavenly places” he communed with his God. (Ephesians

            2:6) Even so we should believe that, as his life terminated, he calmly departed in

            peace, having seen God’s salvation. And all faithful servants of Heaven shall

            find that when heart and flesh fail, God will be the Strength of their hearts and

            their Portion forever. Happy, then, in life and in death such as can say from

            their inmost souls, “The Lord is my Strength”



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