Habakkuk 3:15
You did walk through the sea with your horses, through the heap of great waters.
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(15) Thou didst walk.—Better, Thou walkest. “Heap” is probably the correct translation of chômer here, as in Exodus 8:10. With this glance at the miraculous passage of the Red Sea (see Habakkuk 3:8) this prophetic poem comes to a sudden termination. The new paragraph begins with Habakkuk 3:16, not, as is indicated in the Authorised Version, with Habakkuk 3:17.

3:3-15 God's people, when in distress, and ready to despair, seek help by considering the days of old, and the years of ancient times, and by pleading them with God in prayer. The resemblance between the Babylonish and Egyptian captivities, naturally presents itself to the mind, as well as the possibility of a like deliverance through the power of Jehovah. God appeared in his glory. All the powers of nature are shaken, and the course of nature changed, but all is for the salvation of God's own people. Even what seems least likely, shall be made to work for their salvation. Hereby is given a type and figure of the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ. It is for salvation with thine anointed. Joshua who led the armies of Israel, was a figure of Him whose name he bare, even Jesus, our Joshua. In all the salvations wrought for them, God looked upon Christ the Anointed, and brought deliverances to pass by him. All the wonders done for Israel of old, were nothing to that which was done when the Son of God suffered on the cross for the sins of his people. How glorious his resurrection and ascension! And how much more glorious will be his second coming, to put an end to all that opposes him, and all that causes suffering to his people!Thou didst walk through the sea with Thine horses - God Himself is pictured as leading them on the way, Himself at the head of their multitude, having, as Asaph said of old "His path in the sea." So Isaiah Isa 63:13. "who leddest them in the depths;" and Zechariah Zechariah 10:11. "And he shall pass through the sea." God was literally there; for Acts 17:28. "in Him we live and move and have our being." He who "is wholly everywhere but the whole of Him nowhere" manifested His Presence there. Such anthropomorphisms have a truth, which people's favorite abstractions have not.

Through the heap - o of great waters as of old Exodus 15:8; Psalm 78:13. "the waters stood us a heap, and He made the waters to stand a a heap." The very hindrances to deliverance are in God's hands a way for His ends. The waves of the Red Sea rose in heaps, yet this was but a readier way for the salvation of His people and the destruction of their enemies. Dion.: "God prepareth ever a way for His elect in this present evil world, and leadeth them along the narrow way which leadeth unto life."

15. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses—(Hab 3:8). No obstacle could prevent Thy progress when leading Thy people in safety to their inheritance, whether the Red Sea, Jordan, or the figurative waves of foes raging against Israel (Ps 65:7; 77:19). Thou, O God, or thou, O Israel, notwithstanding all plots and opposition,

didst walk; heldest on thy way, and walkedst from thy entering on the east of the land to the west thereof; from Beth-el, Jordan, and Jericho on the east, where they entered the land that lay within Jordan.

Through, rather to, (as Junius, Tremellius, and Grotius,)

the sea, the most western parts Of all the land God gave; they took possession from east to west, to the great sea, the western sea, the mightiest sea the Jews of that time knew, called here by way of eminency

the heap of great waters; called

the great sea, Ezekiel 47:10,15,19,20, as Joshua 9:1. So was fulfilled what was promised, and they took possession of that was estated on them, Joshua 1:3,4. I rather refer this 15th verse in this manner, than, with most interpreters, to the Red Sea, which is to me a repetition unseemly for so short and elegant an enumeration of God’s wonderful deliverances and blessings to Israel, from their leaving Egypt to their settling in Canaan. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses,.... And as thou didst of old, so do again; as Jehovah walked through the Red sea in a pillar of cloud and fire, which were his horses and chariots, and destroyed the Egyptians; so may he walk through another sea by his instruments, and destroy the enemies of his church and people; See Gill on Habakkuk 3:8. The "sea" here signifies the world, compared to it for the multitude of its people; the noise, fluctuation, and uncertainty of all things in it; and particularly the Roman empire, the sea out of which the antichristian beast arose, Revelation 13:1. The "horses" are the angels or Christian princes, with whom the Lord will walk in majesty, and in the greatness of his strength, pouring out the vials of his wrath on the antichristian states:

through the heap of many waters; or "the clay", or "mud of many waters" (w); that lies at the bottom of them; which being walked through and trampled on by horses, is raised up, and "troubles" them, as the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it: these "many waters" are those on which the whore of Rome is said to sit; and which are interpreted of people, multitudes, nations, and tongues, Revelation 17:1 and the "mud" of them is expressive of their pollution and corruption, with her false doctrines, idolatry, superstition, and immoralities; and of their disturbed state and condition, through the judgments of God upon them, signified by his horses walking through them; trampling upon them in fury; treating them with the utmost contempt; treading them like mire and clay, and bringing upon them utter ruin and destruction.

(w) "in luto aquarum multarum", Tigurine version; "calcasti lutum aquarum multarum", Cocceius, Van Till; "lutum, aquae multae", Burkius.

Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.
15. Thou didst walk through the sea] Thou hast gone through the sea (Isaiah 11:15). The verse refers to the passage of the Red Sea; and the thought remains unexpressed, though it is understood, that with this was completed the destruction of the enemy and the deliverance of the people. The strophe reads as a whole:

  12.  In indignation thou marchest through the earth,

Thou dost thresh the nations in anger.

  13.  Thou art come forth for the salvation of thy people,

For the salvation of thine anointed.

Thou hast shattered the head from the house of the wicked,

Laying bare the foundation unto the neck.

  14.  Thou hast pierced through with thy spears the head of his warriors,

Which were come out as a whirlwind to scatter me,

Exulting as about to devour the afflicted in secret places.

  15.  Thou hast gone through the sea with thy horses,

The heap of great waters.

  16.   Habakkuk 3:16 returns to Habakkuk 3:2, taking up the words “I heard the report of thee” and “I feared.”

When I heard] I heard (or, have heard) and my belly, i.e. heart or inward parts.

My lips quivered at the voice] i.e. the report or voice which he heard.

Rottenness entered] Or, entered. “Rottenness” is a figure for utter failure of strength.

I trembled in myself] I tremble in my place, or, where I stand. 2 Samuel 2:23.

That I might rest in the day of trouble] The words on to the end of the verse are very obscure. The first half of the verse describes the terror and paralysis that came upon the poet (or community) from what he “heard”; there appears no connexion between this idea and A.V. that I might rest. R.V. renders that I should rest, which appears to mean, that I must rest or remain quiet in the day of trouble, i.e. probably, endure patiently the day of trouble. R.V. marg. suggests: that I should rest waiting for the day of trouble, i.e. wait patiently for (or unto) the day of trouble. The term rest has nowhere else such a sense.

When he cometh up unto the people] The words might possibly mean: the day of trouble, which is to come up against the people, to invade them (like a troop). The “people” might be the speaker’s own people, for the day of trouble is universal; or possibly it might mean the people of the earth universally (Psalm 22:6; Isaiah 40:7; Isaiah 42:5). The day of trouble is a day resembling that of which the speaker has “heard” (Habakkuk 3:3-15), the report of which makes his lips tremble, and such a day can hardly be a time of calamity to come on Israel from any invader, it must rather be the day of general judgment and of the divine Theophany prayed for in ch. Habakkuk 3:2. For this reason the other marginal suggestion of R.V. is not probable: the day of trouble, when he that shall invade them cometh up against the people. The hard ellipses which this rendering assumes in the Heb. text are also against it. Owing to the ambiguity of the pronouns in Heb. another rendering still is possible: the day of trouble, which is to come up against the people that invades (assails) us. So Wellh. Certainty as to the exact meaning is not attainable. The “day of distress,” however, is the Theophany of the judge, in conformity with the whole scope of the poem. Zephaniah 1:15 also calls the day of the Lord “a day of distress.” This manifestation of the great God is terrible even to Israel, notwithstanding that the issue of it will be the deliverance of the people of God and the destruction of their adversaries. The “day” is personified and spoken of as coming on mankind (“the people”) like an invader.Verse 15. - 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 and pledges of future. (Heb. Bib. 4:14). "Now wilt thou gather in troops, thou daughter of troops; they lay siege against us; with the staff they smite the judge of Israel upon the cheek." With ‛attâh (now) the prophet's address turns once more to the object introduced with ‛attâh in Micah 4:9. For we may see clearly enough from the omission of the cop. Vav, which could not be left out if it were intended to link on Micah 5:1 to Micah 4:11-13, that this ‛attâh points back to Micah 4:9, and is not attached to the ve‛attâh in Micah 4:11, for the purpose of introducing a fresh occurrence to follow the event mentioned in Micah 4:11-13. "The prophecy in Micah 4:11-13 explains the ground of that in Micah 4:9, Micah 4:10, and the one in Micah 5:1 sounds like a conclusion drawn from this explanation. The explanation in Micah 4:11-13 is enclosed on both sides by that which it explains. By returning in Micah 5:1 to the thoughts expressed in Micah 4:9, the prophet rounds off the strophe in 4:9-5:1" (Caspari). The words are addressed to the daughter Zion, who alone is addressed with every ‛attâh, and generally throughout the entire section. Bath-gegūd, daughter of the troop, might mean: thou nation accustomed or trained to form troops, thou warlike Zion. But this does not apply to what follows, in which a siege alone is mentioned. This turn is given to the expression, rather "for the purpose of suggesting the thought of a crowd of people pressing anxiously together, as distinguished from gedūd, an invading troop." The verb hithgōdēd does not mean here to scratch one's self or make incisions (Deuteronomy 14:1, etc.), but, as in Jeremiah 5:7, to press or crowd together; and the thought is this: Now crowd together with fear in a troop, for he (sc., the enemy) sets, or prepares, a siege against us. In עלינוּ the prophet includes himself in the nation as being a member of it. He finds himself in spirit along with the people besieged Zion. The siege leads to conquest; for it is only in consequence of this that the judge of Israel can be smitten with the rod upon the cheek, i.e., be shamefully ill treated (compare 1 Kings 22:24; Psalm 3:8; Job 16:10). The judge of Israel, whether the king or the Israelitish judges comprehended in one, cannot be thought of as outside the city at the time when the city is besieged. Of all the different effects of the siege of the city the prophet singles out only this one, viz., the ill-treatment of the judge, because "nothing shows more clearly how much misery and shame Israel will have to endure for its present sins" (Caspari). "The judge of Israel" is the person holding the highest office in Israel. This might be the king, as in Amos 2:3 (cf. 1 Samuel 8:5-6, 1 Samuel 8:20), since the Israelitish king was the supreme judge in Israel, or the true possessor of the judicial authority and dignity. But the expression is hardly to be restricted to the king, still less is it meant in distinction from the king, as pointing back to the time when Israel had no king, and was only governed by judges; but the judge stands for the king here, on the one hand with reference to the threat in Micah 3:1, Micah 3:9, Micah 3:11, where the heads and princes of Israel are described as unjust and ungodly judges, and on the other hand as an antithesis to mōshēl in Micah 5:2. As the Messiah is not called king there, but mōshēl, ruler, as the possessor of supreme authority; so here the possessor of judicial authority is called shōphēt, to indicate the reproach which would fall upon the king and the leaders of the nation on account of their unrighteousness. The threat in this verse does not refer, however, to the Roman invasion. Such an idea can only be connected with the assumption already refuted, that Micah 4:11-13 point to the times of the Maccabees, and no valid argument can be adduced to support it. In the verse before us the prophet reverts to the oppression predicted in Micah 4:9 and Micah 4:10, so that the remarks already made in Micah 4:10 apply to the fulfilment of what is predicted here. The principal fulfilment occurred in the Chaldaean period; but the fulfilment was repeated in every succeeding siege of Jerusalem until the destruction of the city by the Romans. For, according to Micah 5:3, Israel will be given up to the power of the empire of the world until the coming of the Messiah; that is to say, not merely till His birth or public appearance, but till the nation shall accept the Messiah, who has appeared as its own Redeemer.
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