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Habakkuk 3 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Habakkuk 3 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.

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.

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.

(3:3-5) "God ... had horns coming out of his hand. ... Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet."

Can God be seen?
Does God have a body?
This is poetry...

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

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

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 ... and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow."
God measured the earth, scattered mountains, and made the hills bow down.
"He ... drove asunder the nations."
The meaning of driving asunder the nations is that God judges them. And they do not last because of their sins, but are driven from their place. Specifically this verse refers to the Canaanites, who were indeed driven out and their land given to others.
In this verse the word “earth” means the people of the earth, the mountains and hills are empires, i.e. this is all literary allusion.

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

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?

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.

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.

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." This verse apparently refers to Joshua 10:12-13, where God made the sun stand still.
Indeed, all these verses refer to historical facts and this verse refers indeed to Jos. 10:12-13.

12 Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger.

Habakkuk praises God for slaughtering "the heathen."
Yes, punishment of evildoers and the sentence upon criminals should be praised. Judgement of criminals is not slaughter.

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.

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.

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

"Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses."
Again a poetic description of the division of the Dead Sea and the drowning of the Egyptians in them, see Ex. 14:26.

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.

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:

18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my 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.