1. What does the word Shigionoth mean?
“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth” (Habakkuk 3:1).
- Definition: “aberration, i.e. (technically) a dithyramb or rambling poem: — Shiggaion, Shigionoth. Song? used in title of Ps 7; meaning doubtful” (Strong’s # 7692).
- Notice the “title” of Psalm 7. “Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto Jehovah, concerning the words of Cush a Benjamite. O Jehovah my God, in thee do I take refuge: Save me from all them that pursue me, and deliver me” (Psalms 7:1).
- Apparently, this prayer was offered in the form of a song.
- The ASV says: “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, set to Shigionoth.”
- This prayer being sung is further supported by “Selah” [a music pause] in vs. 3 9, and 13 (cf. Psalms 3:2, Psalms 3:4, Psalms 3:8, etc. @ 70 times in the Psalms) and the last phrase in the chapter: “To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.”
2. How did Habakkuk react when he heard the speech [fame/report] of the Lord?
“(2) O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).
- The word translated speech in the KJV means: “something heard, i.e. a sound, rumor, announcement; abstractly, audience: — bruit, fame, hear(-ing), loud, report, speech, tidings…” (Strong’s # 8088). Most often translated “fame” or “report”.
- A Psalmist said: “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments” (Psalms 119:120).
- Consider: Psalms 25:14, Psalms 34:9, Psalms 103:11, Psalms 118:1-14, Isaiah 66:1-2, and Philippians 2:12
- Revive thy work (cf. Psalms 85:6).
- Remember…. Jeremiah 31:20 and Luke 1:72
3. How did Habakkuk describe the coming of the Lord and the land of Midian’s reaction?
“(3) God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. (4) And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. (5) Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. (6) He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting. (7) I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble” (Habakkuk 3:3-7).
- God came from Teman [the name of two Edomites, and of the region and descendant of one of them: — south; Strong’s # 8487] and Paran [a desert of Arabia [Strong’s # 6290]. Habakkuk used imagery that Moses used (Deuteronomy 33:1-2).
- Paran is where Abraham’s son Ishmael went (Genesis 21:17-21).
- His glory covered the heavens (Exodus 24:15-17).
- Brightness as imagery (Psalms 27:1 and I John 1:5).
- Horns as imagery (Deuteronomy 33:17).
- Pestilence (Psalms 78:49-50).
- Burning coals at His feet (Psalms 18:12 and Ezekiel 1:13).
- Measuring the earth (II Samuel 8:2).
- His everlasting ways because He is everlasting (Psalms 90:2). This also speaks to His unchanging character (Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8).
- Affliction in Arabia, Midian. These are also children of Abraham (Genesis 25:1-4).
4. In poetic fashion, what did Habakkuk say in his prayer about the rivers, mountains, sun, and moon when the Lord marched through the land in indignation?
“(8) Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? (9) Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. (10) The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. (11) The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. (12) Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger” (Habakkuk 3:8-12).
- Like imagery: Psalms 68:4, Psalms 114:1-8, Isaiah 64:1-4, Jeremiah 4:24, etc.
- The representation of his bow (Psalms 7:11-13).
- The literal sun and moon standing still (Joshua 10:12-13) or tracking backwards (Isaiah 38:8).
- God marching (Psalms 68:7-8; cf. Exodus 13:21).
5. What was Habakkuk’s reaction to the Lord’s going forth for the salvation of His people that included actions against the wicked?
“(13) Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. (14) Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. (15) Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. (16) 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” (Habakkuk 3:13-16).
- The Lord’s action was for the salvation of His people (Psalms 53:6 and Psalms 68:19-23).
- What anointed individual was part of God’s judgment on the Chaldeans? The answer is - Cyrus (Isaiah 45:1; cf. II Chronicles 36:20-23).
- The wicked oppressors, that rejoiced to spoil the people as prey, were stricken through. Even their heads [leaders] (Psalms 17:9-15).
- The imagery of the Lord walk through the sea is that His ways are not known - no footprints (Psalms 77:19).
- Habakkuk wanted an answer from the Lord. Do you remember that the Lord’s answer was going to cause those that heard it to run (Habakkuk 2:1-3)?
- Habakkuk feared, had pain in his stomach from what God showed him (cf. Daniel 8:26-27).
6. Why was Habakkuk going to rejoice when conditions of famine existed?
“(17) Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: (18) Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (19) The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
- So, how could a prophet that trembled turn his mind to rejoice in such terrible times? Hint - Philippians 4:4-8
- See: Deuteronomy 33:26-29 and Psalms 46:1-11
© 2021 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.