Chapter 3

1A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet concerning the errors.   אתְּפִלָּ֖ה לַֽחֲבַקּ֣וּק הַנָּבִ֑יא עַ֖ל שִׁגְיֹנֽוֹת:
concerning the errors: This may be interpreted according to the Targum . However, according to the apparent meaning, Habakkuk is begging for mercy for himself because he spoke rebelliously: (1: 4) “Therefore Torah is slackened,” and (verse 14) “You have made man like the fish of the sea.” He criticized the Divine standard of justice.  
2O Lord, I heard a report of You; I feared, O Lord, Your deed. In the midst of the years, revive it; in the midst of the years, let it be known. In anger You shall remember to have mercy.   ביְהֹוָ֗ה שָׁמַ֣עְתִּי שִׁמְעֲךָ֘ יָרֵאתִי֒ יְהֹוָ֗ה פָּֽעָלְךָ֙ בְּקֶ֚רֶב שָׁנִים֙ חַיֵּ֔יהוּ בְּקֶ֥רֶב שָׁנִ֖ים תּוֹדִ֑יעַ בְּרֹ֖גֶז רַחֵ֥ם תִּזְכּֽוֹר:
I heard a report of You: that from days of yore You always inflicted retribution upon those who provoked You, yet You tolerate this wicked man.  
I feared: I said, “How has the Divine standard of justice changed because of Israel’s iniquity?”  
Your deed. In the midst of the years: Your original deed, that You would wreak vengeance for us upon our enemies in the midst of the years of trouble in which we are found.  
revive it: Awaken it and restore it.  
in the midst of the years: And in the midst of these years let it be known.  
In anger: In the anger that You will vent upon the wicked, You will remember to have mercy.  
to have mercy: like לְרַחֵם, to have mercy.  
You shall remember: You shall remember to have mercy on Israel.  
3God came from Teman; yea, the Holy One from Mt. Paran, with everlasting might. His glory covered the heavens and His splendor filled the earth.   גאֱל֙וֹהַּ֙ מִתֵּימָ֣ן יָב֔וֹא וְקָד֥וֹשׁ מֵֽהַר־פָּארָ֖ן סֶ֑לָה כִּסָּ֚ה שָׁמַ֙יִם֙ הוֹד֔וֹ וּתְהִלָּת֖וֹ מָֽלְאָ֥ה הָאָֽרֶץ:
God: The prophet now mentions before God His original deed, which he begs Him to revive - the deed of the love of Israel and the retribution of the first generations: When You came to give the Torah, You went around to Esau and Ishmael, and they did not accept it.  
Teman: Esau.  
Paran: Ishmael, as Scripture states (Gen. 21:21): “And he dwelt in the desert of Paran.”  
His glory covered the heavens: at Sinai for Israel.  
4And there was a brightness like the light; they had rays from His hand, and there was His strength hidden.   דוְ֙נֹגַהּ֙ כָּא֣וֹר תִּֽהְיֶ֔ה קַרְנַ֥יִם מִיָּד֖וֹ ל֑וֹ וְשָׁ֖ם חֶבְי֥וֹן עֻזּֽוֹ (כתיב עֻזֹּֽה) :
And there was a brightness: on that day.  
like the light: Like the special light of the seven days of Creation. So did Jonathan render it.  
rays: The expression of a light, which, when piercing and shining through a hole, appears like protruding horns. Similarly, (Ex. 34:29) “For the skin of his face shone.”  
from His hand: From the hand of the Holy One, blessed be He, they came to them.  
and there was His strength hidden: As the Targum renders: There His strength, which had previously been hidden, was revealed in the secret place of the Most High.  
5A pestilence went before Him, and sparks went out at His feet.   הלְפָנָ֖יו יֵ֣לֶךְ דָּ֑בֶר וְיֵצֵ֥א רֶ֖שֶׁף לְרַגְלָֽיו:
A pestilence went before Him: I found in a Midrash Aggadah: At the time the Holy One, blessed be He, gave the Torah to Israel, He drove away the Angel of Death to divert him to other things, lest he stand to accuse and say, “You are giving the Torah to a nation that is destined to deny you at the end of forty days?”  
and sparks went out at His feet: Fiery angels came with Him to Sinai.  
6He stood and meted out to the earth; He saw and caused nations to wander. And the everlasting mountains were shattered; the everlasting hills were humbled. The procedures of the world are His.   ועָמַ֣ד | וַיְמֹ֣דֶד אֶ֗רֶץ רָאָה֙ וַיַּתֵּ֣ר גּוֹיִ֔ם וַיִּתְפֹּֽצְצוּ֙ הַרְרֵי־עַ֔ד שַׁח֖וּ גִּבְע֣וֹת עוֹלָ֑ם הֲלִיכ֥וֹת עוֹלָ֖ם לֽוֹ:
He stood and meted out to the earth: He waited to examine minutely the case of the generation of the Flood, to mete out to them a measure for a measure, and He meted it out. “He stood” is to be understood in the sense of (Isa. 3: 13) “The Lord stands to plead, and He stands to judge the peoples.” He waits and examines their case minutely.  
and meted out to the earth: They sinned with heat, and they were judged with boiling water.  
He saw: the generation of separation, who, since they were of one language, all came upon the plan, as it is written (Gen. 1 1:1): “And all the earth was of one language.”  
and caused nations to wander: He caused them to jump into seventy languages as it is said (Lev. 11:21): “To jump with them on the earth,” and (Job 37:1) “My heart trembles and jumps from its place.”  
the everlasting mountains: The heavenly princes of the nations.  
the procedures of the world are His: He demonstrated to them that all the procedures of the world are His.  
7Because of iniquity I saw the tents of Cushan; the curtains of the land of Midian quaked.   זתַּ֣חַת אָ֔וֶן רָאִ֖יתִי אָֽהֳלֵ֣י כוּשָׁ֑ן יִרְגְּז֕וּן יְרִיע֖וֹת אֶ֥רֶץ מִדְיָֽן:
Because of iniquity: that was found in Israel.  
I saw the tents of Cushan: standing in the open and inflicting injury upon Israel, and when they humbled themselves before you…  
the curtains… quaked: All is to be understood according to the Targum .  
8Was the Lord angry with the rivers? Is His wrath against the rivers, or His fury against the sea? Only that You rode on Your steeds with Your chariots of salvation.   חהֲבִנְהָרִים֙ חָרָ֣ה יְהֹוָ֔ה אִם־בַּנְּהָרִים֙ אַפֶּ֔ךָ אִם־בַּיָּ֖ם עֶבְרָתֶ֑ךָ כִּ֚י תִרְכַּב֙ עַל־סוּסֶ֔יךָ מַרְכְּבֹתֶ֖יךָ יְשׁוּעָֽה:
Was… with the rivers?: Some questions are in the affirmative. Have we seen that He performed all these? The explanation of the verse is according to the Targum.  
Your chariots: were salvation for us.  
9Your bow revealed itself; The oaths to the tribes were a perpetual statement; You split the earth into rivers.   טעֶרְיָ֚ה תֵעוֹר֙ קַשְׁתֶּ֔ךָ שְׁבֻע֥וֹת מַטּ֖וֹת אֹ֣מֶר סֶ֑לָה נְהָר֖וֹת תְּבַקַּֽע־אָֽרֶץ:
Your bow revealed itself: Your might was revealed.  
the oaths to the tribes: The oaths that You swore to the tribes.  
perpetual statement: A statement that is to last forever. אֹמֶר is vowelized with a “pattah,” [meaning a “seggol”] and the accent is on the first syllable, making it a noun.  
You split the earth into rivers: According to the Targum .  
10Mountains saw You and quaked. A stream of water passed. The deep gave forth its voice. The heaven raised up its thanks.   ירָא֚וּךָ יָחִ֙ילוּ֙ הָרִ֔ים זֶ֥רֶם מַ֖יִם עָבָ֑ר נָתַ֚ן תְּהוֹם֙ קוֹל֔וֹ ר֖וֹם יָדֵ֥יהוּ נָשָֽׂא:
Mountains saw You and quaked: The mountains of the streams of Arnon that cleft to one another.  
A stream of water passed: When they crossed the Jordan, the water was “completely cut off,” and the flow of the stream of water passed downstream; the water “which came down from above stood and rose up.”  
The deep gave forth its voice: The inhabitants of the land praised Him.  
The heaven raised up its thanks: The host of the heaven thanked Him.  
11The sun and the moon stood in their dwellings; to the light of Your arrows they go, to the brightness of the lightning of Your spear.   יאשֶׁ֥מֶשׁ יָרֵ֖חַ עָ֣מַד זְבֻ֑לָה לְא֚וֹר חִצֶּ֙יךָ֙ יְהַלֵּ֔כוּ לְנֹ֖גַהּ בְּרַ֥ק חֲנִיתֶֽךָ:
stood in their dwellings: in their dwellings. In every word that requires a “lammed” at the beginning - Scripture placed a “he” at the end [meaning “to”]. They explained the phrase as referring to the war of Gibeon, as the Targum paraphrases it.  
to the light of Your arrows they go: Israel.  
12With fury You tread the earth; with wrath You trample nations.   יבבְּזַ֖עַם תִּצְעַד־אָ֑רֶץ בְּאַ֖ף תָּד֥וּשׁ גּוֹיִֽם:
With fury You tread the earth: to drive out the seven nation [the heathens of Canaan].  
13You went forth to rescue Your people, to rescue Your anointed. You have crushed the head of the house of the wicked, uncovering it from the foundation to the neck-forever.   יגיָצָ֙אתָ֙ לְיֵ֣שַׁע עַמֶּ֔ךָ לְיֵ֖שַׁע אֶת־מְשִׁיחֶ֑ךָ מָחַ֚צְתָּ רֹאשׁ֙ מִבֵּ֣ית רָשָׁ֔ע עָר֛וֹת יְס֥וֹד עַד־צַוָּ֖אר סֶֽלָה:
to rescue Your anointed: Saul and David.  
uncovering it from the foundation: The walls of their enemies.  
to the neck: The height of the walls and the towers.  
14You pierced the heads of his villages with his war clubs. They storm to scatter me. Their joy was when they could devour a poor one in secret.   ידנָקַ֚בְתָּ בְמַטָּיו֙ רֹ֣אשׁ פְּרָזָ֔יו (כתיב פְּרָזָ֔ו) יִסְעֲר֖וּ לַֽהֲפִיצֵ֑נִי עֲלִ֣יצֻתָ֔ם כְּמוֹ־לֶֽאֱכֹ֥ל עָנִ֖י בַּמִּסְתָּֽר:
You pierced the heads… with war clubs: Sennacherib and his company.  
the heads of his villages: The heads of his towns and his castles, as in (Deut. 3:5) “The open towns” and (Zech. 2: 8) “Jerusalem shall be inhabited without walls.”  
they storm: Who were storming with a tempest to scatter me. [Sennacherib] was the staff with which you chastised the nations. When he came and stormed to scatter me, You pierced the heads of his troops with his staffs, with which he had come to chastise me.  
their joy: was when they could…  
devour a poor one in secret: Israel, known as a poor people.  
15You trampled in the sea with Your steeds, a heap of many waters.   טודָּרַ֥כְתָּ בַיָּ֖ם סוּסֶ֑יךָ חֹ֖מֶר מַ֥יִם רַבִּֽים:
You trampled in the sea: You trampled upon [Sennacherib’s] hordes, which were as heavy as the sand by the sea.  
a heap of many waters: Jonathan renders. upon a heap, an expression of (Exod. 8:10) “many heaps.”  
16I heard, and my inward parts trembled; my lips quivered at the sound. Decay entered my bones, and I quaked in my place, that [the time] I would rest is destined for a day of trouble-to bring up a people that will troop back.   טזשָׁמַ֣עְתִּי | וַתִּרְגַּ֣ז בִּטְנִ֗י לְקוֹל֙ צָֽלְל֣וּ שְׂפָתַ֔י יָב֥וֹא רָקָ֛ב בַּֽעֲצָמַ֖י וְתַחְתַּ֣י אֶרְגָּ֑ז אֲשֶׁ֚ר אָנ֙וּחַ֙ לְי֣וֹם צָרָ֔ה לַֽעֲל֖וֹת לְעַ֥ם יְגוּדֶֽנּוּ:
I heard, and my inward parts trembled: Jonathan rendered. Said Babylon, “I heard, and the kings trembled before the judgement meted out upon the Egyptians.”  
my lips quivered at the sound: At the sound of the report, trembling took hold of me until my lips knocked one against the other and their sound was heard.  
quivered: An expression of (Zech. 14:20) “The bells of the horses.” Tentir in O.F., to tinkle.  
and I quaked in my place: In my place, I quake.  
that [the time] I would rest is destined for a day of trouble: That this tranquility of mine is destined for a day of trouble.  
to bring up a people that will troop back: For the day that He said to bring up from there the people that He will cause to troop back, to return with its troops to its land.  
17For a fig tree shall not blossom; neither is there produce on the vines. The labor of the olive tree shall fail, and the grain field shall not produce food. The flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no cattle in the stalls.   יזכִּֽי־תְאֵנָ֣ה לֹֽא־תִפְרָ֗ח וְאֵ֚ין יְבוּל֙ בַּגְּפָנִ֔ים כִּחֵשׁ֙ מַֽעֲשֵׂה־זַ֔יִת וּשְׁדֵמ֖וֹת לֹא־עָ֣שָׂה אֹ֑כֶל גָּזַ֚ר מִמִּכְלָה֙ צֹ֔אן וְאֵ֥ין בָּקָ֖ר בָּֽרְפָתִֽים:
For a fig tree shall not blossom: As the Targum renders. However, the phrase may be interpreted according to its simple meaning: From now on, none of Babylon’s deeds shall succeed.  
the grain field: a white field.  
from the fold: a stall for sheep.  
18Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord; I will jubilate in the God of my salvation.   יחוַֽאֲנִ֖י בַּֽיהֹוָ֣ה אֶֽעֱל֑וֹזָה אָגִ֖ילָה בֵּֽאלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׁעִֽי:
Yet I: the nation of Israel, will rejoice in the Lord.  
19God the Lord is my strength. He made my feet [as swift] as the hind's, and He guides me on my high places. To the conductor [to play] with my melodies!   יטיֱהֹוִ֚ה אֲדֹנָי֙ חֵילִ֔י וַיָּ֚שֶׂם רַגְלַי֙ כָּֽאַיָּל֔וֹת וְעַ֥ל בָּֽמוֹתַ֖י יַדְרִכֵ֑נִי לַֽמְנַצֵּ֖ח בִּנְגִינוֹתָֽי:
19. To the conductor [to play] with my melodies: To the Levite who conducts the music in the Temple. I will compose for him [the Levites’ conductor] with my melodies, and the Levite[s] will accompany him with musical instruments.  
To the conductor: As it is stated (Ezra 3:8) “… appointed the Levites from twenty years old and upward to superintend the work of the house of the Lord.”  
with my melodies: This is an expression of a vocal melody to raise and lower, orgenedors in O.F.