Habakkuk 3:13

13 You came forth to save your people, to save your anointed. You crushed the head of the wicked house, laying it bare from foundation to roof. (Selah)

Habakkuk 3:13 Meaning and Commentary

Habakkuk 3:13

Thou wentest forth for the salvation of that people,
[even] for salvation with thine anointed
Or, "thy Messiah"; which Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret of Messiah the son of David; and read and give the sense of the words thus,

``as thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, by bringing them into the land of Canaan, so do thou go forth for salvation with thy Messiah.''
God of old went forth in his power and providence for the salvation of his people, whom he chose above all people to be his special and peculiar people; making use of Moses and Aaron in bringing them out of Egypt, and leading them through the wilderness, and of Joshua to introduce them, and settle them in the land of Canaan; who were all types of Christ in the salvation of the chosen people. Joshua particularly was a type of Jesus; they agree in their name, which signifies a Saviour the salvation of God, or God the salvation; and in their character, office, and usefulness to the people of God, Jesus is the Lord's "anointed"; anointed with the Holy Ghost, the oil of gladness, above his fellows, which he received without measure; anointed to the office of Prophet, Priest, and King; and from whom his people receive the unction, and are denominated Christians, or anointed ones: and the "people" of God, for whose salvation he went forth with him, are not all mankind, who are not all saved; nor the people of the Jews only, or all of them; but a peculiar people, out of Jews and Gentiles, loved with a special love; chosen to salvation, secured in the covenant of grace, and given to Christ as his portion and people, and so saved by him, ( Matthew 1:21 ) . The "salvation" of them is a spiritual one, a salvation from all their sins; from the power and dominion, pollution and guilt, the damning power of them, and at last from the very being of them; as well as from Satan, the law, death, hell, and wrath to come: it is perfect and complete, and endures for ever. Jehovah the Father "went forth" with Christ his Son for this salvation, in his purposes and decrees concerning it; in his council and covenant relating to it; in the mission of him into this world to effect it; and by helping and assisting him in it, as man and Mediator. The words may be rendered, "thou wentest forth"; or, "thou goest forth"; thou wilt do so; and mayest thou do so, "to save thy people, to save thy anointed" F20; and so respect not the salvation of Israel by Moses or Joshua; nor the spiritual and eternal salvation of God's elect by the Messiah; but the salvation of the Lord's people from mystical Babylon, from the oppression and tyranny of antichrist, and from all his false doctrines, superstition, and idolatry, and ruin by them; and particularly the salvation of the two witnesses, the two olive trees, the two anointed ones that stand before the Lord of the whole earth; the singular being put for the plural, "anointed" for "anointed ones"; and so the Alexandrian copy of the Septuagint version, and the Arabic version, render it, "thy Christs", or "thy anointed ones"; now this will be done when the Lord shall go forth in his power and providence, and quicken and raise their dead bodies, when they have lain three days and a half, and shall cause them to ascend to heaven in the sight of their enemies; see ( Zechariah 4:14 ) ( Revelation 11:3 Revelation 11:4 Revelation 11:11 Revelation 11:12 ) : thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked;
not the princes of the families of the land of Canaan, as some; nor the first born of Pharaoh's family in Egypt, or him and his host at the Red sea, as, others; nor Goliath of Gath, smitten by David, as Burkius; nor Satan and his principalities and powers by Christ on the cross; but antichrist the man of sin, that wicked and lawless one, who is at the bead of a wicked house or family, the antichristian party; who received a wound at the Reformation; and ere long the kings of the earth will hate the whore, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire; and Christ, will utterly consume and destroy this wicked one with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming, ( Revelation 13:3 ) ( 17:16 ) ( 2 Thessalonians 2:8 ) see ( Psalms 110:6 ) . Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret this of the head of the army of wicked Gog, the king of Magog, taking it to belong to future time; and so some render all those phrases, "thou wilt go forth, thou wilt wound" F21: by discovering the foundation unto the neck;
or "razing the foundation", as in ( Psalms 137:7 ) . There seems to be a double metaphor in the words, expressing the utter ruin and destruction of antichrist and his party; who, being compared to a building, will be demolished, and razed to the very foundation; that will be dug up, and laid bare, and no trace of an edifice to be seen any more; and, being compared to a human body, will be plunged into such distresses and calamities, as to be as it were up to the neck in them, from whence there is no escape and deliverance. Some understand this of the princes of this head, or of his friends, and those of his family that are nearest to him, as the neck is to the head; or of the whole body of the people under him, of which he will be deprived; and so be as a head without a body, and who cannot long survive them. Selah
is added as a mark of attention, something of moment and importance being observed.

F20 (Kxyvm ta evyl Kme evyl) "ad salutem populi tui, ad servandum unctum tuum", De Dieu.
F21 (tauy) "egredieris"; so some in Vatablus. (tuxm) "transfiges"; so some in Drusius.

Habakkuk 3:13 In-Context

11 the moon stood still in its exalted place, at the light of your arrows speeding by, at the gleam of your flashing spear.
12 In fury you trod the earth, in anger you trampled nations.
13 You came forth to save your people, to save your anointed. You crushed the head of the wicked house, laying it bare from foundation to roof. (Selah)
14 You pierced with their own arrows the head of his warriors, who came like a whirlwind to scatter us, gloating as if ready to devour the poor who were in hiding.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses, churning the mighty waters.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Meaning of Heb uncertain
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.