A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.
] Of the name, character, and office of the prophet, (See Gill on Habakkuk 1:1). This chapter is entitled a "prayer" of his, a supplicatory one, put up in an humble and earnest manner, and in the exercise of faith, and under the influence of a spirit of prophecy. He before had a vision of the coming of Christ, and of what enemies would rise up, and obstruct his kingdom and interest in the world; and here lie prays that these obstructions might be removed, and that the kingdom of Christ, in its full extent and glory, might take place in the world; and is a prayer of faith, as he prayed it might be, he believed it would be; and left this prayer behind him, for the use and instruction of the church in all ages, until the whole should be accomplished. It seems to be composed after the manner of the psalms of David, to make it the more pleasant and agreeable; and that it might be the more regarded, and be more fitted for the public use and service of the sanctuary: this appears from the style of it, which is poetical, lofty, and sublime; from the frequent use of the word "Selah", peculiar to the psalms of David, ( Habakkuk 3:3 Habakkuk 3:9 Habakkuk 3:13 ) and from the direction of it to the chief singer on the stringed instruments, ( Habakkuk 3:19 ) and from the phrase "upon", or "according to Shigionoth" here, which the Septuagint version renders "with a song"; and so the Arabic version, "after [the manner] of a song"; for this word seems to be the plural of Shiggaion, the title of the seventh psalm ( Psalms 7:1 ) ; which was either the name, title, or first word of some song or songs, according to which this was to be sung; or the name of the tune with which it was to be sung; or of the instrument on which was to be sung: it very probably designs, and may called, an "erratic" or "wandering" song, because of the variableness of its metre, and of its tune. The Vulgate Latin version wrongly interprets it, "for ignorances"; as if this was a prayer of the prophet's for the pardon sins of error and ignorance committed by himself, or by others, or both; which sense is favoured by the Targum,
``a prayer which Habakkuk the prophet prayed, when it was revealed unto him concerning the length (of time) which (God) gave to the wicked; that, if they would return to the law with a perfect heart, they should be forgiven all the sins which they had committed before him as ignorance:''but there does not appear throughout the whole prayer one single petition for the pardon of any sin at all.