Habakkuk 3 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Habakkuk 3)

Verse 1

[1] A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.

Upon Sigionoth — A musical instrument.

Verse 2

[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.

Thy speech — In answer to the inquiry made chap. 1:13,14.

Was afraid — Trembled at what thou speakest.

In the midst of the years — Even before the seventy years are expired.

Make known — Thy truth, wisdom, power, and compassion.

Verse 3

[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.

God — The God of our fathers, discovered himself from Teman, a mountain not far from mount Sinai, where the law was given.

Paran — Near Sinai.

His glory — This the prophet mentions as a support of his faith, that God so gloriously appeared among their fathers.

Full of his praise — Of works which were worthy of all praise.

Verse 4

[4] And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.

As the light — Pure, clear as the sun, but much more dazzling.

His hand — The face of Moses shined; the face, yea, hands of our God, shine with glorious light.

There — In that light wherewith he appeared.

The hiding — Which discovered much of it, but hid much more; it was light inaccessible.

Verse 5

[5] Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.

Before him — When God was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, he made the pestilence go before him, so preparing room for his people.

Verse 6

[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 — Gave his presence with Joshua, as one that stood by while the work was done.

The land — The promised land.

He beheld — Looked with a frowning countenance.

Drove asunder — Cast them out, his eye did this, for he looked on them, and did this.

His ways — The wisdom, goodness, justice, holiness, and power of God, which he shews in governing his people.

Verse 7

[7] I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.

The tents — The people that dwelt in them.

Arabia — Near whose borders Israel marched.

In affliction — In fear and pain, lest that mighty people should fall on them.

The curtains — Those that dwelt within them; these people dwelt in tents, which were made up on the sides with curtains.

Verse 8

[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?

The sea — The Red Sea.

Ride — As a general in the head of his army.

Upon thine horses — Alluding to the manner of men.

Salvation — No; but he came to save his people.

Verse 9

[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.

Thy bow — One part of armour is put for the whole. The Lord is represented as armed, in readiness to smite through all his enemies.

According to the oaths — In pursuance of his oath made to our fathers, and their posterity.

Cleave the earth — When they were to march through a dry and thirsty land.

Verse 10

[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.

Overflowing — The inundation which at that season was wont to be very great in and round Jordan, passed away at the word of God; the waters below flowed, and ran from those above, which stood on a heap to make a path for Israel.

The deep — Either the deep channel in which Jordan flowed, or the Red Sea with dreadful roaring parted its waters.

Lift up his hands — Its waves which stood on an heap.

Verse 11

[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.

Stood still — At the prayer of Joshua.

In the light — Which was most miraculously continued.

Verse 13

[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*/.

With thine anointed — Under the conduct of thine anointed, Joshua, the type of the Messiah.

Thou woundest — Gavest a deadly wound to the kings of Canaan.

The house of the wicked — The courts of these kings were houses of the vilest wickedness.

By discovering — Destroying all from head to foot.

Verse 14

[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.

Villages — All the cities and all the unwalled towns.

They — The inhabitants of Canaan.

As a whirlwind — With violence invading me on every side.

To scatter — To disperse and drive away the Israelites.

Their rejoicing — They rejoiced in full confidence of swallowing up Israel unawares.

Verse 15

[15] Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.

Didst walk — Thou heldest on thy way, from thy entering in on the east of the land, to the west thereof.

Verse 16

[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 — What dreadful desolations God threatened against Israel.

My heart trembled — Another effect of surprising fears and astonishment.

Rottenness — A decay of all my strength.

That I might rest — These fears made me betake myself to God, that I might rest in him.

He — The king of Babylon.

The people — The Jews.

Verse 17

[17] Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour 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 labour — The labour bestowed upon the olive.

Yield no meat — Corn.

Flock — Of sheep.

Verse 19

[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.

Like hinds feet — That I may escape to God my refuge.

He will make me — To conquer and triumph.