Habakkuk 3:16-19

 Faith In God And His Character Is The Key To Living In Times
Of Violence And Perverted Justice!

I.   Why Is Yahweh Unresponsive to My Prayers? 1:1-11
II.  Yahweh’s Response Concerning Babylon, 2:1-20
III. Habakkuk’s Prayer, 3:1-19
        A.   Fear and Revival, 1-2
        B.   Theophany, 3-1                                                                                C.    Habakkuk’s Fright and Faith, 16-19 

16‌        Verse 16 echoes v. 2. “Verse 16 follows the theophany with the prophet’s response to wait quietly for the evil to come on the Babylonians.” (Barker, Habakkuk, 372)

שָׁמַ֣עְתִּי׀‌ QPf 1CS, Persistent Pf, I hear. On the pase   q see GKC, Grammar, p. 50, note 2; Scott, A Simplified Guide to BHS, p. 5.

וַתִּרְגַּ֣ז‌ Paratactic Conjunction, Relative + QI 3FS, Progressive I, and . . . trembles.

בִּטְנִ֗י‌ Noun FNS Construct, Subject N + Personal Pronoun MGS, Possessive, Antecedent = Habakkuk), my inward being. Disjunctive accent.

לְקוֹל֙‌ Preposition, Reference + Noun MGS Absolute, at the sound. Forward emphasis. Asyndetic.

צָלֲל֣וּ‌ QPf 3CP, Persistent Pf, quiver.

שְׂפָתַ֔י‌ Noun FND Construct, Subject N + Personal Pronoun MGS (Possessive, Antecedent = Habakkuk), my lips. Disjunctive accent.

יָב֥וֹא‌ QI 3MS, Progressive I, enters. Asyndetic.

רָקָ֛ב‌  Noun MNS Absolute, Subject N, rottenness.

בַּעֲצָמַ֖י‌ Preposition, Locative + Noun FGP Construct + Personal Pronoun, Possessive G, Antecedent = Habakkuk), into my bones. Disjunctive accent.

וְתַחְתַּ֣י‌ Paratactic Conjunction, Relative + Preposition, Locative + Personal Pronoun MGS, Antecedent = Habakkuk), and underneath me. Forward emphasis. “under me, i.e., in my lower members, knees, feet.” (K&D, loc. cit.)

אֶרְגָּ֑ז‌ QI 1CS, Progressive I, I tremble. Disjunctive accent.

אֲשֶׁ֤ר‌ Particle, Causal, because.

אָנ֙וּחַ֙‌ QI 1CS, Modal of Obligation, I must wait. “Nūăch, to rest, not to rest in the grave (Luther and others), nor to bear quietly or endure (Ges., Maurer), but to wait quietly or silently.” (K&D, loc. cit.) NET, loc. cit. opts for an unattested verb: “I long for the day of distress” to come upon the Babylonians.

לְי֣וֹם‌  Preposition, Terminative + Noun MGS Construct, for the day of.

צָרָ֔ה‌ Noun FGS Absolute, distress. Disjunctive accent.

לַעֲל֖וֹת‌ Preposition, Terminative + Q Inf Construct, Gerundive, for the coming. Appositional to the preceding phrase.

לְעַ֥ם‌ Preposition, Reference + Noun MGS Absolute, Collective S, of the people.

“The NIV and most other versions (e.g., the ESV, NET, NRSV, NLT, and NJB) render verse 16 to say that the prophet waits for calamity to come up on the invading nation, but the NASB and the NJPS understand the verse to say that the prophet waits for the invasion to come upon Judah.” (Ham & Hahlen, Minor Prophets, 167) The function of the ל and the identification  of the עם holds the interpretive key here.

יְגוּדֶֽנּוּ׃ QI 3MS, Future I, Collective S + Personal Pronoun 1CPA, A Direct Object, Antecedent = Judah), [who] will attack us. Disjunctive accent. The 3MS seems to identify the עם.


“Of all the wonderful passages in the Old Testament, the climax to Habakkuk’s psalm fits as one of the great affirmations of faith. His circumstances have not changed. The outer world with its evil conduct and rapacious warfare remains the same. God’s people remain in time of lamentation.” (Barker, Habakkuk, 375)

            “In v. 17 the trouble of this day is described; and the sensation of pain, in the anticipation of the period of calamity, is thereby still further accounted for. The plantations and fields yield no produce. Folds and stalls are empty in consequence of the devastation of the land by the hostile troops and their depredations: ‘a prophetic picture of the devastation of the holy land by the Chaldaean war’(Delitzsch). Fig-tree and vine are mentioned as the noblest fruit-trees of the land, as is frequently the case (see Joel 1:7; Hos. 2:14; Mic. 4:4). To this there is added the olive-tree, as in Mic. 6:15, Deut. 6:11; 8:8, etc. Ma’asēh zayith is not the shoot, but the produce or fruit of the olive-tree, after the phrase עָשָׂה פְרִי, to bear fruit. Kichēsh, to disappoint, namely the expectation of produce, as in Hos. 9:2. Shedēmōth, which only occurs in the plural, corn-fields, is construed here as in Isa. 16:8, with the verb in the singular, because, so far as the sense was concerned, it had become almost equivalent to sâdeh, the field (see Ewald, § 318, a). Gâzar, to cut off, used here in a neuter sense: to be cut off or absent. מִכְלָה, contracted from מִכְלָאָה: fold, pen, an enclosed place for sheep. Repheth, ἁπ. λεγ., the rack, then the stable or stall.” (K&D, loc. cit.)

‌כִּֽי־תְאֵנָ֣ה‌ Paratactic Conjunction, Concession + Noun FNS Absolute, Subject N, though the fig tree. The apodosis of the concession appears at verse 18. Forward emphasis.

לֹֽא־תִפְרָ֗ח‌ Adverb, Negation + QI 3FS, I of Possibility, may not blossom. Disjunctive accent.

וְאֵ֤ין‌ Paratactic Conjunction, Relative + Negative Adverb, and . . . there may be no.

יְבוּל֙‌ Noun MNS Absolute, Predicate N, fruit. Forward emphasis.

בַּגְּפָנִ֔ים‌ Preposition, Locative + Article, Particular + Noun MGP Absolute, on the vines. Disjunctive accent.

כִּחֵשׁ֙‌ PiPf 3MS, Persistent Pf, fails. Copulative asyndeton.

מַעֲשֵׂה־זַ֔יִת‌ Noun MNS Construct, Subject N + Noun MGS Absolute, Partitive G, Collective S, the crop of olives. Disjunctive accent.

וּשְׁדֵמ֖וֹת‌ Paratactic Conjunction, Relative + Noun FNP Absolute, Subject N, and the cultivated fields. Forward emphasis.

לֹא־עָ֣שָׂה‌ Adverb, Negation + QPf 3MS, Persistent Pf, Collective S, do not yield. Perhaps the S focuses on the individual fields.

אֹ֑כֶל‌ Noun MAS Absolute, A Direct Object, food. Disjunctive accent.

גָּזַ֤ר‌  QPf 3MS, Persistent Pf, is cut off.  Copulative asyndeton.

מִמִּכְלָה֙‌ Preposition, Separation + Noun FGS Absolute, from the fold.

צֹ֔אן‌ Noun MNS Absolute, Subject N, the flock. Disjunctive accent.

וְאֵ֥ין‌ Paratactic Conjunction, Relative + Negative Adverb, and there are no.

בָּקָ֖ר‌ Noun MNS Absolute, Predicate N, Collective S, cattle.

בָּרְפָתִֽים׃ Preposition, Locative + Article, Particularizing + Noun MGP Absolute, in the stalls. Disjunctive accent.

18 “The turning-point is introduced with וַאֲנִי, as is frequently the case in the Psalms.” (K&D, loc. cit.) Reflect on the notes at verse 17.

וַאֲנִ֖י Paratactic Conjunction, Adversative + Personal Pronoun MS, Emphasis, Antecedent = Habakkuk), but I.

Nevertheless I. The use of the personal pronoun is very emphatic and indicates a tremendous assertion of faith. The response is intensely individual. There is no prophetic outreach to the people. It supports our argument that the whole of this prophecy is a testament of Habakkuk in his private crisis of faith. If this is so, it is an exception to the rule that God’s dealings with the prophets were always for public purposes.” (Anderson, Habakkuk, 347)

“The sentence beginning with the six ‘concessive’ (‘though’) clauses of v. 17 are continued in v. 18 with two clauses expressing contrast or ‘counterexpectation.’ The contrastive sense of these clauses is indicated by the word order of the first clause (beginning waʾaʾnî, ‘yet I’). In v. 18 the prophet gave his reaction to the imminent events. Let the nation face the worst economic disasters; still the prophet vowed to remain faithful to the God of his salvation.” (Barker, Habakkuk, 376)

בַּיהוָ֣ה Preposition, Emotion + Noun MGS Construct, in Yahweh. Forward emphasis.

אֶעְל֑וֹזָה QCoh 1CS, Coh of Resolve,  I resolve to exult. Disjunctive accent.

אָגִ֖ילָה QCoh 1CS, Coh of Resolve, I resolve to rejoice. Copulative asyndeton.

בֵּאלֹהֵ֥י Preposition, Emotion + Noun MGP Construct, in the God of.

יִשְׁעִֽי׃   Noun MGS Absolute, Objective G (NET, loc. cit., transposes to a verb pattern) + Personal Pronoun MGS, Possessive G, Antecedent = Habakkuk), my salvation. Disjunctive accent.

19 “This is the only place outside the Psalms (16:2; 68:20; 109:21; 140:7; 141:8) that the phrase yahweh ʾădōnāy (‘Sovereign Lord’) occurs [in this order].” (Barker, Habakkuk, 377)

יְהוִ֤ה  Noun MNS Absolute, Subject N in Noun Clause, Yahweh. The clause is Asyndetic of explanation.

אֲדֹנָי֙ Noun MNP Absolute, N in Apposition + Personal Pronoun MGS, G Relationship, Antecedent = Habakkuk), Lord. Disjunctive accent.“of י׳ always אֲדֹנָי, fossilized sffx.” (KB, Lexicon, 13) Asyndetic.

חֵילִ֔י Noun MNS Absolute, N in Apposition + Personal Pronoun MGS, G of Relationship, Antecedent = Habakkuk, my Strength. Asyndetic. Disjunctive accent. “Or perhaps, “is my wall,” that is, “my protector.” (NET, loc. cit., Taken from the noun חֵיל and the sense of “rampart”) The translations differ.

וַיָּ֤שֶׂם  Paratactic Conjunction, Relative + QI 3MS, Persistent I), and he makes.

רַגְלַי֙ Noun FAD Construct, A Direct Object + Personal Pronoun MGS, G of Possession, Antecedent = Habakkuk), my feet.

כָּֽאַיָּל֔וֹת Preposition, Comparative + Article, Species + Noun FGP Absolute, like the deer. Disjunctive accent.

וְעַ֥ל  Hypotactic Conjunction, Relative + Preposition, and upon.

בָּמוֹתַ֖י Noun FGP Construct + Personal Pronoun MGS, G of Possession, Antecedent = Habakkuk), my high places.

יַדְרִכֵ֑נִי HiI 3MS, Progressive I + Personal Pronoun MAS, A Direct Object, Antecedent = Habakkuk), he causes me to walk.

לַמְנַצֵּ֖חַ Preposition, Advantage + Article, Particularizing + PiPtc MGS Absolute, Substantival, for the choir director.

בִּנְגִינוֹתָֽי׃           Preposition, Manner + Noun FGP Construct + Personal Pronoun MGS, Possessive G, Antecedent = Habakkuk), on my stringed instruments.

“The concluding words, For the director of music. On my stringed instruments, serve as an addendum and are related to the heading of the prophet’s doxological ode (Hab. 3:1). They refer to the use of this song in worship. The prophet appointed his psalm for use in public worship accompanied by players with stringed instruments. The sour drone of Habakkuk’s complaining (1:2–4, 12–2:1) was replaced by vibrant chords of hope and happiness.” (BKC, Habakkuk, 1522)


Verse 16

I heard and my inward parts trembled,

At the sound my lips quivered.

Decay enters my bones,

And in my place I tremble.

Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress,

For the people to arise who will invade us.

  • Lines 1-4 relate to the body (see the notes on line 4).
  • Line 6 expands line 5.

Verse 17

Though the fig tree should not blossom

And there be no fruit on the vines,

Though the yield of the olive should fail

And the fields produce no food,

Though the flock should be cut off from the fold

And there be no cattle in the stalls,

  • 6 Colons.
  • The term “though” appears only in line 1.
  • Alternating from singular to plural throughout.
  • Each line has a negative.

Verse 18

Yet I will exult in the Lord,

I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

  • Line 2 parallels line 1 grammatically and semantically.

Verse 19

The Lord God is my strength,

And He has made my feet like hindsfeet,

And makes me walk on my high places.

  • Line 1 has three titles for God (Yahweh, Elohim, Strength).
  • Line 3 expands line 2.

For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.

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