God came from Teman
Or, "may God come from Teman" F20; since it is part of the prayer of Habakkuk: or, as "from Teman" F21; as he of old came from thence, a city in the land of Edom, ( Jeremiah 49:7 ) ( Amos 1:12 ) it was five miles from Petra, in Idumea, where was Mount Seir, from whence the Lord arose, and shone forth from Mount Paran, at the giving of the law, ( Deuteronomy 33:2 ) to which the allusion is here. So the Targum,
``at the giving of the law to his people, God was revealed from the south;''
for so Teman signifies. The prophet, to encourage his own faith, and the faith of others, takes notice, in this and the following verses, of the instances of the grace, goodness, and power of God to his people Israel, in appearing to them at Mount Sinai, going before them in the wilderness, destroying their enemies, casting them out before them, and introducing them into the land of Canaan, and settling them there; suggesting, that he that had done these great and wonderful things would support and maintain, carry on and promote, his own kingdom and interest in the world; in order to which the prophet prays to God the Father for the coming of his Son, either in the flesh, that the incarnate God would appear in the world, and set up his kingdom in it; or, in prayer, he prophesies of it, and expresses his faith in it: "God cometh from the south"; or, "he shall come" F23
, as it may be rendered: he knew, from the prophecy of Micah, that he that was to be ruler in Israel was to come from Bethlehem, ( Micah 5:2
) which lay to the south of Jerusalem; and from hence he expected him, and believed he would come, and prayed for it as being most desirable and welcome: or else this respects the coming of the Messiah, in the ministration of the word to Jews and Gentiles, after his resurrection from the dead, and ascension to heaven, and the pouring forth of his Spirit on the day of Pentecost; that as the Lord came from the places here mentioned, when he gave the law on Mount Sinai, so he would send forth his Gospel out of Zion and Jerusalem, and go forth himself along with it, riding in his glory, and in his majesty, conquering and to conquer; causing his ministers to triumph in him, and by them subdue multitudes of souls to him, both in Judea, and in the Gentile world, whereby his kingdom might appear in it: and the Holy One from Mount Paran
or, "even the Holy One" F24
; that came or shined forth "from Mount Paran" formerly; for it was Christ then that appeared on Mount Sinai, and gave to Moses the lively oracles of God; see ( Psalms 68:17 Psalms 68:18
) ( Acts 7:38
) he, as he is truly God, God manifest in the flesh, "Immanuel", God with us; so he is the holy One of God, infinitely and essentially holy, as a divine Person; and holy, and harmless, and without sin in his human nature and life; and is the sanctifier and sanctification of his people. Mount Paran was situated to the south of the land of Canaan, as well as Teman, which so signifies, as before observed. It is called by Ptolemy, Pomponius Mela, and others, Strobilus, from its likeness to a pineapple. It had its name from the city Paran, which lay between Egypt and Arabia F25
; see ( 1 Kings 11:18
) which Jerom says F26
was three days' journey from Aila to the east; mention is made of Ail, or Elparan in ( Genesis 14:6
) near to which was the wilderness of Paran, frequently spoken of in Scripture, ( Genesis 21:21
) ( Numbers 10:12
) ( Numbers 13:3 Numbers 13:26
) ( 1 Samuel 25:1
) the same which Josephus F1
calls the valley or plain of Pharan, where Simon of Gerasa made caves and dens, and hid the treasure he plundered from the people: according to Adrichomius F2
, it was a most dreadful barren desert, where nothing grew, or was to be had, through which the children of Israel journeyed; and was sometimes taken for the first part of the desert of Arabia, near Mount Sinai, and sometimes for the last part of it, towards the land of promise; sometimes it was called the desert of Sin, and sometimes the desert of Sinai, from that mountain; but its most general name was that of Paran, and contained eleven days' journey from Mount Sinai to Kadeshbarnea. Mount Paran (he says F3
) is thick and shady, near to Mount Sinai, and even "contiguous", as it should seem to be from ( Deuteronomy 33:2
) to which the reference is here. So Hillerus F4
interprets it, "full of boughs", or "branches"; or else he would have it to signify "the corner of Aran", the son of Dishan, a son of Seir the Horite, who inhabited this country; see ( Genesis 36:20 Genesis 36:28
) and both Teman and Paran being to the south, may point to the place of the Redeemer, by whom the great work was to be done, referred unto. Jerom says he heard a Hebrew man discourse on this passage, thus,
``that Bethlehem lies to the south, where the Lord and Saviour was born: and that he it is of whom it is here said, "the Lord shall come from the south"; that is, shall be born in Bethlehem, and thence arise; and because he who is born in Bethlehem formerly gave the law on Mount Sinai, he is "the Holy One" that came from "Mount Paran"; seeing Paran is a place near to Mount Sinai; and the word "Selah" signifies "always"; and the sense is, he who is born in Bethlehem, and who on Mount Sinai, that is, on Mount Paran, gave the law, always is the author and giver of all blessings, past, present, and to come.''
The word Selah
stands here in the middle of the verse. It is interpreted, by several of the Jewish writers, "for ever", as by the aforementioned Hebrew; and by others as an affirmation, and render it, "verily, truly", as answering to "Amen". Some understand it as a pause or full stop, denoting attention to something said that is remarkable; and others take it to be a note, directing the singer to the elevation of his voice, where it stands; and so it is no other than a musical note; hence the Septuagint render it (diaqalma
) . A very learned man F5
has wrote a dissertation upon it, showing that it is one of the names of God; and used differently, as the sense requires, either in the vocative case, as "Selah", that is, O God; or in the other cases, of God, to God: his glory covered the heavens
that is, the glory of God, the Holy One, when he came, or should come: this was true of him when he descended on Mount Sinai, and his glory abode upon it; and the sight of his glory was like devouring fire; and the elders saw the God of Israel, under whose feet was as a paved work of sapphire, and as the body of heaven in its clearness; yea, so great as to make the light and glory of the celestial bodies useless, even to cover and hide the shining of them; see ( Exodus 24:10 Exodus 24:16 Exodus 24:17
) and may respect the glorious appearances at the birth of Christ, when the heavenly host descended, and sung Glory to God in the highest, and when the glory of the Lord shone round about the shepherds, ( Luke 2:9-14
) and at his baptism, when the heavens were opened, the Father's voice was heard, and the Spirit descended on Christ, as a dove; and at his transfiguration, when his face shone as the sun; and Moses and Elias appeared in glorious forms, and a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice was heard from the excellent Glory, ( Matthew 3:16 Matthew 3:17
) ( 17:2-5
) ( 2 Peter 1:19
) or rather it may be, this may respect Christ as the brightness of his Father's glory, and the glory of God in the face of Christ, as set forth in the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, when carried throughout the world by his apostles; whereby his glory was so spread in it, that the heavens were covered with it, and declared it; yea, it was set above the heavens, and the name of the Lord became excellent in all the earth, as follows; see ( Psalms 19:1-4
) ( 8:1
) : and the earth was full of his praise
with the words of his praise, as the Targum; so the fame of the mighty things done by the Lord in Egypt, at the Red sea, and in the wilderness, for his people, reached the nations of the world, and especially those of the land of Canaan, and struck them with awe and dread, ( Joshua 2:9 Joshua 2:10
) and the fame of Christ, his miracles and doctrines, went through the land of Israel, and all Syria; and multitudes glorified God, and praised him for what was done by him, ( Matthew 4:23 Matthew 4:24
) ( 15:31
) and more especially the earth was filled with his glory and praise when his Gospel was carried into all the parts of it by his apostles; which occasioned universal joy to all sensible sinners, and filled their hearts and mouths with praise to God for such a Saviour, and for such blessings of grace and good things that came by him: or, "the earth was full of his light" F6
; of the light of his Gospel, and of the knowledge of himself by it.
F20 (awby) "veniet", so some in Calvin, Van Till.
F21 (Nmytm) "sicuti olim ex Theman", Van Till.
F23 Venit, Grotius; "veniet", Pagninus, Montanus, Calvin, Gussetius.
F24 (vwdqw) .
F25 Hiller. Onomastic. p. 585, 908.
F26 De locis Hebr. fol. 91. F. G.
F1 De Bello Jud. l. 4. c. 9. sect. 4.
F2 Theatrum Terrae Sanctae, p. 116.
F3 Ibid. p. 123.
F4 Ut supra, (Hiller. Onomastic.) p. 431, 477, 908.
F5 Paschii Dissertatio de Selah, p. 670. in Thesaur. Theolog. Philolog. par. 1.
F6 (Urah halm wtlht) "et lux ejus implevit terram", Junius & Tremellius; "et splendoris, [vel] fulgoris ejus plena terra", Vatablus, Drusius; so Kimchi, Ben Melech, and R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 3. 1.