Habakkuk 3:4


King James Version (KJV)

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

American King James Version (AKJV)

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

American Standard Version (ASV)

And his brightness was as the light; He had rays coming forth from his hand; And there was the hiding of his power.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

He was shining like the light; he had rays coming out from his hand: there his power was kept secret.

Webster's Revision

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

World English Bible

His splendor is like the sunrise. Rays shine from his hand, where his power is hidden.

English Revised Version (ERV)

And his brightness was as the light; he had rays coming forth from his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.

Clarke's Habakkuk 3:4 Bible Commentary

He had horns coming out of his hand - קרנים karnayim, rays. His hand - his power - was manifested in a particular place, by the sudden issuing out of pencils of rays, which diverged in coruscations of light, so as to illuminate the whole hemisphere. Yet "there was the hiding of his power." His Majesty could not be seen, nor any kind of image, because of the insufferable splendor. This may either refer to the lightnings on Mount Sinai or to the brightness which occasionally proceeded from the shechinah or glory of God between the cherubim, over the mercy-seat. See Capellus and Newcome. If lightnings are intended, the dense cloud from which they proceeded may be meant by the "hiding of his power;" for when the lightnings burst forth, his power and energy became manifest.

Probably from this the Jupiter Keraunos or Jupiter Brontes of the heathens was borrowed; who is always represented with forked or zigzag lightnings in his hand.

Barnes's Habakkuk 3:4 Bible Commentary

and His brightness - that wherein God dwelleth Ezekiel 10:4, "the brightness of the Lord's glory," before which darkness fleeth Psalm 18:12, "was as the light," or as the sun. Out of the midst of the darkness, wherewith God, as it were Exodus 19:9, Exodus 19:16; Exodus 20:21, hid Himself, the brightness of the "inapproachable Light" wherein "He dwelleth," gleams forth Exodus 24:10, bright as the brightest "light" gathered into one, which man knows of and whereon he cannot gaze. So amid the darkness of the humiliation of His presence in the flesh, John 1:14 : "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father;" and, Isaiah 9:2, "the people that walked in darkness see a great light," not dim. Theoph.: "nor weak, nor shadowed, like that of Moses, but pure unimaginable light of the knowledge of God." The brightness too of His flesh was like the light of the Godhead on Mount Tabor; for the Godhead flashed through. Rup.: "As often as He did His marvelous works, He put forth His "brightness" (tempered for His creatures, since they could not approach the depth of His light, yet) as "light" to enlighten people to know Him. Yet the brightness issues from the Light, co-existing with it, and in it, while issuing from it. And so the words aptly express, how He who is the, Hebrews 1:3, "brightness of the Father's Glory and the express Image of His Person." Wisdom Hebrews 7:25, "brightness of the eternal light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of His goodness," is as the Light from whom He is. Nicene Creed: "Light of Light," Equal to the Father by whom He was begotten. As John says in John 1:9 : "That was the true Light, which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world." As He prayeth in John 17:5, "Glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was."

He had horns coming out of His Hand - Jerome Dion: "Horns are everywhere in Holy Scripture the emblem of strength." It may be, that here "rays" are likened to horns, as the face of Moses is said, with the same image, to have "sent forth rays" after he had long been in the presence of God. So it may be a mingled image of the Glory and might; Light, which was also might. But "horns," though they may be a symbol of "light," are not of "lightning;" and the Hand of God is used as an emblem of His power, His protection, His bounty, His constraining force on His prophets. It is nowhere used of the side or sides. We have two images combined here; "horns" which in every other place in which they are used as a metaphor, is an emblem of power; and "from the hand of" which, wherever it is used of a person, means that the thing spoken of had been in his hand or power really or virtually. Both then combine in the meaning that the might came forth from the directing agency of God who wielded it.

When then did light or might, which lay, as it were, before in the hand of God, go forth from it? For "the hand of God" is always symbolic of His might, whether put forth, or for the time laid up in it. The form of the words remarkably corresponds to those of Moses, in the preface to the blessing on the tribes, which Habakkuk had in mind Deuteronomy 33:2, "From His right hand was a fiery law for them," and Paul says that the glory of Moses' face which he received from the Presence of God, was a symbol of the glory of the law. 2 Corinthians 3:7 says, "The ministration of death written and engraven on stone was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance." The law, being given by God, had a majesty of its own. The Psalms bear witness to its power in converting, enwisening, rejoicing, enlightening the soul Psalm 19:8. They in whose heart it was, none of their steps slipped Psalm 37:31. The whole 119th Psalm is one varied testimony of its greatness and its power. It was a guide on the way; it was a schoolmaster unto Christ Galatians 3:24, by whom it was fulfilled. But itself bare witness of the greater glory which should come forth from the Hand of God. 2 Corinthians 3:11 states, "If that which is done away were glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious." Cyril: "The horn signifieth power, when it is spoken of God the Father exhibiting to us God the Son, Luke 2:69, 'He hath raised up a horn of salvation for us,' and again, Psalm 111:9, 'His horn shall be exalted in honor.' For all things which were marvelously done were glorious. The only-begotten One then came in our form, and, in regard to the flesh and the manhood, enduring the appearance of our weakness, but, as God, invisible in might and easily subduing whom He willed."

And what has been the weapon of His warfare, whereby He has subdued the might of Satan and the hearts of people, but "the horns" of His cross, whereto His sacred hands were once fastened by the sharp nails, where was the "hiding of His Power," when His almightiness lay hid in His passion Isaiah 53:3, and He was Psalm 22:6 "a worm and no man; a reproach of men and the despised of the people?" Now it is the scepter laid upon His shoulder Isaiah 9:6, the ensign and trophy of His rule, the rod of His strength Psalm 110:2, terrible to devils, salvation to mankind. In it lay His might, although concealed, as He said, "The words, horns are in His hands, show the insignia of His kingdom, by which horns, pushing and thrusting the invisible and opposing powers, He drove them away." Eusebius Dem. Evang. vi. 15. Add Cyprian Test. ad Quirin. ii. 21. p. 57. Oxford Translation: "The horns in His hands, what are they but the trophy of the cross?"

Augustine, de Civ. Dei xviii. 32), "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me" John 12:32. His Might was lodged there, although hidden. It was "the hiding-place of His power." The cross was, 1 Corinthians 1:23-24, "to the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ crucified was the Power of God and the Wisdom of God." Through the Cross was, Matthew 28:18, "all power given to Him both in Heaven and earth." Daniel 7:14 : "there was given Him dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him." From Him shall go forth all power in earth; by His hands shall be given the vacant thrones in Heaven, as He says in Revelation 3:21, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His Throne." There too was the hiding of His Power, in that there, in His Cross, is our shelter , and in His pierced Side our hiding place, where we may take refuge from Satan and our sins; for therein is power.

Consider John 10:28, "Neither shall any pluck them out of My Hand." Light and darkness always meet in God. His inapproachable light is darkness to eyes which would gaze on it. Psalm 104:2, "he covereth Himself with Light as with a garmemt." His light is the very veil which hideth Him. His Light is darkness to those who pry into Him and His Nature; His darkness is light to those who by faith behold Him. He "emptied Himself" Philippians 2:8 and hid Himself; He hid the power of His Godhead in the weakness of the Manhood, and so, 2 Corinthians 4:6, "He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the Face of Jesus Christ." Jerome: "In the Cross was for a while His might hidden, when He said to His Father, Matthew 26:38-39, 'My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death, and, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me,' and on the Cross itself, Luke 23:13, 'Father, into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit. '"

Wesley's Habakkuk 3:4 Bible Commentary

3:4 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.

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