Now the just shall live by faith
The "just" man is one not in appearance only, but in reality; not by his obedience to the law, but by the obedience of Christ; and he is evidently so by the Spirit, and by faith: and he is one, who lives soberly and righteously; and the life he lives, and shall live, at present, is, not eternal life; for though he shall live that life, yet this is not intended; for it is a living by faith that is spoken of, and as antecedent to the coming of Christ; but a spiritual life is meant, a life of justification in Christ, a life of communion with Christ, and a life of holiness from Christ, with peace, joy, and comfort through him: and the manner of this just man's living is "by faith"; not upon his faith, but upon Christ, the object of it; and by "his faith", as in ( Habakkuk 2:4 ) his own, and not another's; or by the faith of Christ: the Syriac version here renders it, "by the faith of myself"; that is, by the faith of Christ, who speaks, and who is the author and object of faith: the Alexandrian copy and the Vulgate Latin version read, "my just man shall live by faith"; and this life is to be now, in the mean while, until Christ comes, and because he will certainly come:
but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
The Hebrew word (hlpe) , used in ( Habakkuk 2:4 ) and which, by the Septuagint there, and by the apostle here, is translated by (uposteilhtai) , and rendered "draw back", according to R. David Kimchi F3 signifies, pride and haughtiness of heart; and, according to R. Sol. Jarchi F4 it signifies impudence; R. Moses Kimchi F5 takes it to be the same with (lpe) , which is used for a tower, or fortified place; and thinks it designs one who betakes himself to such a place for safety from the enemy, and seeks not to God for deliverance: so that such a person seems to be designed, who swells with pride and confidence in his own righteousness; who betakes himself to some fortress of his own for safety; who withdraws from the assembly of the saints, through fear of reproach and persecution; who withholds the truth, shuns to declare it, or maintain a profession of it; plays the hypocrite, and deals deceitfully in religious things; and, in short, it may intend one, who finally and totally apostatizes from the doctrine of faith, and the profession of it: and in such persons God has no pleasure, never had, nor never will have; but, on the contrary, they are abominable to him, and will lie under his sore displeasure, and feel the keen resentments of it; such stand opposed to the just man, that lives by faith, walks humbly with God, in a dependence, not on his own righteousness, but on the righteousness of Christ, in which he is safe from condemnation, and secure of the divine favour; for drawing back is not supposed of the just man, but of any man, as we, with the Ethiopic version, rightly supply; and is to be understood of anyone of the external professors of religion, who forsake the assembling of the saints, ( Hebrews 10:25 ) and is denied of the truly righteous in the following words.
F3 In Hab. ii. 4.
F4 In ib.
F5 Apud R. David Kimchi in ibid. & in Sepher Shorashim, rad. (lpe) .