Habakkuk 3:16
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us.

King James Bible
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.

American Standard Version
I heard, and my body trembled, My lips quivered at the voice; Rottenness entereth into my bones, and I tremble in my place; Because I must wait quietly for the day of trouble, For the coming up of the people that invadeth us.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I have heard and my bowels were troubled: my lips trembled at the voice. Let rottenness enter into my bones, and swarm under me. That I may rest in the day of tribulation: that I may go up to our people that are girded.

English Revised Version
I heard, and my belly trembled, my lips quivered at the voice; rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in my place: that I should rest in the day of trouble, when it cometh up against the people which invadeth him in troops.

Webster's Bible Translation
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 to the people, he will invade them with his troops.

Habakkuk 3:16 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The previous announcement of the glory to which Zion is eventually to attain, is now completed by the announcement of the birth of the great Ruler, who through His government will lead Israel to this, the goal of its divine calling. Micah 5:2. "And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, too small to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee will He come forth to me who will be Ruler over Israel; and His goings forth are from the olden time, from the days of eternity." The ואתּה, with which this new section of the proclamation of salvation opens, corresponds to the ואתּה in Micah 4:8. Its former government is to return to Zion (Micah 4:8), and out of little Bethlehem is the possessor of this government to proceed, viz., the Ruler of Israel, who has sprung from eternity. This thought is so attached to Micah 5:1, that the divine exaltation of the future Ruler of Israel is contrasted with the deepest degradation of the judge. The names Bethlehem Ephratah ('Ephrâth and 'Ephrâthâh, i.e., the fertile ones, or the fruit-fields, being the earlier name; by the side of which Bēth-lechem, bread-house, had arisen even in the patriarchal times: see Genesis 35:19; Genesis 48:7; Ruth 4:11) are connected together to give greater solemnity to the address, and not to distinguish the Judaean Bethlehem from the one in Zebulun (Joshua 19:15), since the following words, "among the thousands of Judah," provide sufficiently for this. In the little town the inhabitants are addressed; and this explains the masculines אתּה, צעיר, and ממּך, as the prophet had them in his mind when describing the smallness of the little town, which is called κώμη in John 7:42. צעיר להיות, literally "small with regard to the being among the 'ălâphı̄m of Judah," i.e., too small to have a place among them. Instead of the more exact מהיות, להיות is probably chosen, simply because of the following להיות.

(Note: The omission of the article before צעיר, and the use of להיות instead of מהיות, do not warrant the alteration in the text which Hitzig proposes, viz., to strike out להיות as erroneous, and to separate the ה from אפרתה and connect it with צעיר equals אפרת הצּעיר; for the assertion that צעיר, if used in apposition, must have the article, is just as unfounded as the still further remark, that "to say that Bethlehem was too small to be among the 'ălaphı̄m of Judah is incorrect and at variance with 1 Samuel 20:6, 1 Samuel 20:29," since these passages by no means prove that Bethlehem formed an 'eleph by itself.)

Alâphı̄m, thousands - an epithet used as early as Numbers 1:16; Numbers 10:4, to denote the families, mishpâchōth, i.e., larger sections into which the twelve tribes of Israel were divided (see the comm. on Numbers 1:16 and Exodus 18:25) - does not stand for sârē 'ălâphı̄m, the princes of the families; since the thought is simply this, that Bethlehem is too small for its population to form an independent 'eleph. We must not infer from this, however, that it had not a thousand inhabitants, as Caspari does; since the families were called 'ălâphı̄m, not because the number of individuals in them numbered a thousand, but because the number of their families or heads of families was generally somewhere about a thousand (see my biblische Archologie, 140). Notwithstanding this smallness, the Ruler over Israel is to come forth out of Bethlehem. יצא מן does not denote descent here, as in Genesis 17:6 for example, so that Bethlehem would be regarded as the father of the Messiah, as Hofmann supposes, but is to be explained in accordance with Jeremiah 30:21, "A Ruler will go forth out of the midst of it" (cf. Zechariah 10:4); and the thought is simply this, "Out of the population of the little Bethlehem there will proceed and arise." לי (to me) refers to Jehovah, in whose name the prophet speaks, and expresses the thought that this coming forth is subservient to the plan of the Lord, or connected with the promotion of His kingdom, just as in the words of God to Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:1, "I have provided me a King among his sons," to which Micah most probably alluded for the purpose of showing the typical relation of David to the Messiah. להיות מושׁל is really the subject to יצא, the infinitive להיות being used as a relative clause, like לכסּות in Hosea 2:11, in the sense of "who is destined to be ruler." But instead of simply saying יצא מושׁל ישׂראל, Micah gives the sentence the turn he does, for the purpose of bringing sharply out the contrast between the natural smallness of Bethlehem and the exalted dignity to which it would rise, through the fact that the Messiah would issue from it. בּישׂראל, not in, but over Israel, according to the general meaning of משׁל ב. The article is omitted before mōshēl, because the only thing of primary importance was to give prominence to the idea of ruling; and the more precise definition follows immediately afterwards in וּמוצאתיו וגו. The meaning of this clause of the verse depends upon our obtaining a correct view not only of מוצאות, but also of the references to time which follow. מוצאה, the fem. of מוצא, may denote the place, the time, the mode, or the act of going out. The last meaning, which Hengstenberg disputes, is placed beyond all doubt by Hosea 6:3; 1 Kings 10:28; Ezekiel 12:4, and 2 Samuel 3:25. The first of these senses, in which מוצא occurs most frequently, and in which even the form מוצאות is used in the keri in 2 Kings 10:27, which is the only other passage in which this form occurs, does not suit the predicate מימי עולם here, since the days of eternity cannot be called places of departure; nor is it required by the correlate ממּך, i.e., out of Bethlehem, because the idea which predominates in Bethlehem is that of the population, and not that of the town or locality; and in general, the antithesis between hemistich a and b does not lie in the idea of place, but in the insignificance of Bethlehem as a place of exit for Him whose beginnings are in the days of eternity. We take מוצאות in the sense of goings forth, exits, as the meaning "times of going forth" cannot be supported by a single passage. Both קדם and ימי עולם are used to denote hoary antiquity; for example in Micah 7:14 and Micah 7:20, where it is used of the patriarchal age. Even the two together are so used in Isaiah 51:9, where they are combined for the sake of emphasis. But both words are also used in Proverbs 8:22 and Proverbs 8:23 to denote the eternity preceding the creation of the world, because man, who lives in time, and is bound to time in his mode of thought, can only picture eternity to himself as time without end. Which of these two senses is the one predominating here, depends upon the precise meaning to be given to the whole verse.

It is now generally admitted that the Ruler proceeding from Bethlehem is the Messiah, since the idea that the words refer to Zerubbabel, which was cherished by certain Jews, according to the assertion of Chrysostom, Theodoret, and others, is too arbitrary to have met with any acceptance. Coming forth out of Bethlehem involves the idea of descent. Consequently we must not restrict מוצאתיו (His goings forth) to the appearance of the predicted future Ruler in the olden time, or to the revelations of the Messiah as the Angel of Jehovah even in the patriarchal age, but must so interpret it that it at least affirms His origin as well. Now the origin of the Angel of the Lord, who is equal to God, was not in the olden time in which He first of all appeared to the patriarchs, but before the creation of the world - in eternity. Consequently we must not restrict מקּדם מימי עולם (from of old, from the days of eternity) to the olden time, or exclude the idea of eternity in the stricter sense. Nevertheless Micah does not announce here the eternal proceeding of the Son from the Father, or of the Logos from God, the generatio filii aeterna, as the earlier orthodox commentators supposed. This is precluded by the plural מוצאתיו, which cannot be taken either as the plur. majestatis, or as denoting the abstract, or as an indefinite expression, but points to a repeated going out, and forces us to the assumption that the words affirm both the origin of the Messiah before all worlds and His appearances in the olden time, and do not merely express the thought, that "from an inconceivably remote and lengthened period the Ruler has gone forth, and has been engaged in coming, who will eventually issue from Bethlehem" (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, ii. 1, p. 9).

(Note: We must reject in the most unqualified manner the attempts that have been made by the Rabbins in a polemical interest, and by rationalistic commentators from a dread of miracles, to deprive the words of their deeper meaning, so as to avoid admitting that we have any supernatural prediction here, whether by paraphrasing "His goings forth" into "the going forth of His name" (we have this even in the Chaldee), or the eternal origin into an eternal predestination (Calv.), or by understanding the going forth out of Bethlehem as referring to His springing out of the family of David, which belonged to Bethlehem (Kimchi, Abarb., and all the later Rabbins and more modern Rationalists). According to this view, the olden time and the days of eternity would stand for the primeval family; and even if such a quid pro quo were generally admissible, the words would contain a very unmeaning thought, since David's family was not older than any of the other families of Israel and Judah, whose origin also dated as far back as the patriarchal times, since the whole nation was descended from the twelve sons of Jacob, and thought them from Abraham. (See the more elaborate refutation of these views in Hengstenberg's Christology, i. p. 486ff. translation, and Caspari's Micha, p. 216ff.))

The announcement of the origin of this Ruler as being before all worlds unquestionably presupposes His divine nature; but this thought was not strange to the prophetic mind in Micah's time, but is expressed without ambiguity by Isaiah, when he gives the Messiah the name of "the Mighty God" (Isaiah 9:5; see Delitzsch's comm. in loc.). We must not seek, however, in this affirmation of the divine nature of the Messiah for the full knowledge of the Deity, as first revealed in the New Testament by the fact of the incarnation of God in Christ, and developed, for example, in the prologue to the Gospel of John. Nor can we refer the "goings forth" to the eternal proceeding of the Logos from God, as showing the inward relation of the Trinity within itself, because this word corresponds to the יצא of the first hemistich. As this expresses primarily and directly nothing more than His issuing from Bethlehem, and leaves His descent indefinite, מוצאתיו can only affirm the going forth from God at the creation of the world, and in the revelations of the olden and primeval times.

The future Ruler of Israel, whose goings forth reach back into eternity, is to spring from the insignificant Bethlehem, like His ancestor, king David. The descent of David from Bethlehem forms the substratum not only for the prophetic announcement of the fact that the Messiah would come forth out of this small town, but also for the divine appointment that Christ was born in Bethlehem, the city of David. He was thereby to be made known to the people from His very birth as the great promised descendant of David, who would take possession of the throne of His father David for ever. As the coming forth from Bethlehem implies birth in Bethlehem, so do we see from Matthew 2:5-6, and John 7:42, that the old Jewish synagogue unanimously regarded this passage as containing a prophecy of the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem. The correctness of this view is also confirmed by the account in Matthew 2:1-11; for Matthew simply relates the arrival of the Magi from the East to worship the new-born King in accordance with the whole arrangement of his Gospel, because he saw in this even a fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies.

(Note: In the quotation of this verse in Matthew 2:6, the substance is given freely from memory: Καὶ σὺ Βεθλεέμ, γῆ Ἰούδα, οὐδαμῶς ἐλαχίστη εἶ ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν Ἰούδα· ἐκ σοῦ γὰρ ἐξελεύσεται ἡγούμενος, ὅστις ποιμανεῖ τὸν λαόν μου, τὸν Ἰσραήλ The deviations from the original text may be accounted for from the endeavour to give the sense clearly, and bring out into more distinct prominence the allusion in the words to David. The γῆ Ἰούδα, in the place of the Ephrata of the original, has sprung from 1 Samuel 17:12, where Bethlehem is distinguished from the town of the same name in Zebulun in the account of the anointing of David as king, as it frequently is in the Old Testament, by the addition of the word Judah; and γῆ Ἰούδα, "land of Judah," is attached loosely in apposition to the name Bethlehem, in the place of the more precise definition, "in the land of Judah." The alteration of the expression, "too small to be among the thousands of Judah," into οὐδαμῶς ἐλαχίστη, κ.τ.λ., does not constitute a discrepancy, but simply alters the thought with an allusion to the glorification which Bethlehem would receive through the fact of the Messiah's springing from it. "Micah, looking at its outward condition, calls it little; but Matthew, looking at the nativity of Christ, by which this town had been most wondrously honoured and rendered illustrious, calls it very little indeed" (C. B. Mich.). The interpretation of באלפי (among the thousands) by ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν (among the princes) was very naturally suggested by the personification of Bethlehem, and still more by the thought of the ἡγούμενος about to follow; and it does not alter the idea, since the families ('ălâphı̄m) had their heads, who represented and led them. The last clause, ὅστις ποιμανεῖ, κ.τ.λ., is simply a paraphrase of בּישׂראל, probably taken from v. 3, and resting upon 2 Samuel 5:2, and pointing to the typical relation existing between the David born in Bethlehem and the second David, viz., the Messiah. The second hemistich of the verse is omitted, because it appeared superfluous so far as the immediate object of the quotation was concerned.)

Habakkuk 3:16 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I heard.

Habakkuk 3:2 O LORD, I have heard your speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive your work in the middle of the years...

Habakkuk 1:5-11 Behold you among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which you will not believe...

my belly.

Psalm 119:120 My flesh trembles for fear of you; and I am afraid of your judgments.

Jeremiah 23:9 My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man...

Ezekiel 3:14 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit...

Daniel 8:27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision...

Daniel 10:8 Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me...

that I.

Psalm 91:15 He shall call on me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.

Psalm 94:12,13 Blessed is the man whom you chasten, O LORD, and teach him out of your law...

Isaiah 26:20,21 Come, my people, enter you into your chambers, and shut your doors about you: hide yourself as it were for a little moment...

Jeremiah 15:10,11 Woe is me, my mother, that you have borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury...

Jeremiah 45:3-5 You did say, Woe is me now! for the LORD has added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest...

Ezekiel 9:4-6 And the LORD said to him, Go through the middle of the city, through the middle of Jerusalem...

2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you...

he will.

Habakkuk 1:6 For, see, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land...

Deuteronomy 28:49-52 The LORD shall bring a nation against you from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies...

2 Kings 24:1,2 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years...

Jeremiah 25:9-11 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, said the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant...

invade them. or cut them in pieces.

Cross References
Luke 21:19
By your endurance you will gain your lives.

Job 30:17
The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.

Job 30:30
My skin turns black and falls from me, and my bones burn with heat.

Psalm 94:13
to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked.

Psalm 119:120
My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.

Proverbs 12:4
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 14:30
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.

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