Habakkuk 3:18
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Yeti.e., in spite of all the afflictions predicted in Habakkuk 3:17. We are reminded of St. Paul’s expression of confidence in Romans 8:37.

3:16-19 When we see a day of trouble approach, it concerns us to prepare. A good hope through grace is founded in holy fear. The prophet looked back upon the experiences of the church in former ages, and observed what great things God had done for them, and so was not only recovered, but filled with holy joy. He resolved to delight and triumph in the Lord; for when all is gone, his God is not gone. Destroy the vines and the fig-trees, and you make all the mirth of a carnal heart to cease. But those who, when full, enjoyed God in all, when emptied and poor, can enjoy all in God. They can sit down upon the heap of the ruins of their creature-comforts, and even then praise the Lord, as the God of their salvation, the salvation of the soul, and rejoice in him as such, in their greatest distresses. Joy in the Lord is especially seasonable when we meet with losses and crosses in the world. Even when provisions are cut off, to make it appear that man lives not by bread alone, we may be supplied by the graces and comforts of God's Spirit. Then we shall be strong for spiritual warfare and work, and with enlargement of heart may run the way of his commandments, and outrun our troubles. And we shall be successful in spiritual undertakings. Thus the prophet, who began his prayer with fear and trembling, ends it with joy and triumph. And thus faith in Christ prepares for every event. The name of Jesus, when we can speak of Him as ours, is balm for every wound, a cordial for every care. It is as ointment poured forth, shedding fragrance through the whole soul. In the hope of a heavenly crown, let us sit loose to earthly possessions and comforts, and cheerfully bear up under crosses. Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry; and where he is, we shall be also.Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. - The words are very impressive, as they stand in the Hebrew. "For," he says, "the fig tree shall not blossom, and there is no fruit in the vines, the labor of the olive hath failed;" (the prophet does not look on, only to these things, but in his mind stands in the midst of them, they are done, and he amid them, feeling their effects) "and the field hath yielded no food; the flock hath been cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stall; and I." He relates it as the result of all which had gone before; such and such was the state of fruit-trees, vintage, harvest, flocks and herds; such was the aspect of all nature, living or inanimate; all was barren, disappointing; all had failed and was gone; and then at last he comes to himself, and I; what is he doing, when all nature and every seeming hope is dead? thus and thus it is with them; and I will rejoice.

He almost uses the expression as to the exultation of the enemy, adopting the same word only in a softer form. "Their exulting joy was" concentrated in this, "as to devour the poor secretly;" he too had "exulting joy." There is a joy against joy - a joy of theirs in the possession of all which their rapacity covets, in the possession of all things: a joy of his amid the privation of all things. He contrasts the two joys, as David had of old; Psalm 17:13, Psalm 17:15 : "the men of the world, whose portion is in this life, whose belly Thou fillest with Thy hid treasure; they are sated of children and leave their substance to their babes: I," he adds, "I shall behold Thy Presenee in righteousness, I shall be sated, in the awakening, with Thine image." So Habakkuk, "I will not rejoice only, but shout for joy;" and not so only, but "I will bound for joy;" and this not for a time only; both words express a drawing, yearning of the soul, and this yet more and more, "I will shout for joy and would shout on; I will bound for joy and would bound on."

But whence the source of this measureless unutterable joy? In the Lord, the Unchangeable God, "who is and was and is to come," I am (it is the incommunicable Name); in the God of my salvation: it is almost the Name of Jesus; for jesus is salvation, and the Name means "the Lord is Salvation;" whence the words are here rendered even by a Jew "in God the Author of my redemption," and yet more sweetly by a father. Augustine, de Civ. D. xviii. 32: "To me what some manuscripts have; 'I will rejoice in God my Jesus,' seems better than what they have, who have not set the Name itself (but saving) which to us it is more loving and sweeter to name.") "in God my Jesus." In Him his joy begins, to Him and in Him it flows back and on; before he ventures, amid all the desolation, to speak of joy, he names the Name of God, and, as it were, stays himself in God, is enveloped and wrapped round in God; sad I((the words stand in this order) "and I in the Lord would shout for joy."

He comes, as it were, and places himself quite close to God, so that nothing, not even his joy should be between himself and God; "and I in the Lord." All creation, as it had failed, ceases to be; all out of God: he speaks of nothing but himself and God, or rather himself in God; and as He, God, comes before his joy, as its source, so in Him does he lose himself, with joy which cannot be contained, nor expressed, nor rest, but utters itself in the glad motions of untiring love. "I would bound for joy in my Saving God." Truly all our joy is, to be in Him in whom is all Good, who is all Goodness and all Love.

18. yet I will rejoice—The prophet speaks in the name of his people. As for my part, I will, saith the prophet, rejoice; look for joy, expect matter of rejoicing

in the Lord, who will preserve a remnant and redeem them, who will rebuke Babylon, and will very strangely destroy it.

I will joy in the God of my salvation: the prophet renews his own faith, and confirms ours. All shall end in salvation to him and believers.

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,.... In the Word of the Lord, as the Targum; the essential Word of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ; in his person, the greatness and glory of it; in his offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King, the only Mediator and Saviour; in his relations, as head and husband, father, brother, friend; in his fulness, grace, and righteousness; in his spiritual presence, and comfortable communion with him, which may be expected in a remarkable manner after the above day of trouble is over; and in his personal appearance, which will shortly be, and when his tabernacle will be with men on earth:

I will joy in the God of my salvation; in Christ, who is God, and so able to save his people; to make everything he did and suffered in human nature effectual and available to them; to supply all their wants, and to keep what they commit unto him, and to preserve them safe to his kingdom and glory: and who also joy in the salvation of their God, or which he is the author of, both temporal and spiritual, especially the latter; which is so great and glorious in itself, so suitable to their case, so complete and perfect, and makes so much for the glory of all the divine perfections, and is all of free grace, and lasts for ever: this salvation is peculiar to the people of God; it is theirs, and theirs only; it is what they choose and prefer to all other ways of salvation; it is brought and applied to them by the Spirit, and which they appropriate to themselves under his witnessings; and then it is they can and do rejoice: particularly salvation and deliverance from antichristianism, in all the branches of it, may be chiefly pointed at as the matter and ground of joy; and the enjoyment of Gospel privileges in the full extent of them; the word and ordinances in their power and purity; and the presence of Christ in them.

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy {y} in the God of my salvation.

(y) He declares in what the joy of the faithful consists, though they see ever so great afflictions prepared.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord] Comp. Psalm 5:11; Psalm 32:11; Psalm 33:1; Isaiah 61:10. In spite of calamities the people will joy in God; though earthly blessings perish He remains their portion. The joy is partly a present one in the possession of God, as Psalm 73:23, “Nevertheless I am continually with thee”; and partly one of hope in His salvation; Psalm 18:46; Micah 7:7; Isaiah 17:12 ff.

Verses 18, 19. - § 5. In spite of the terror produced by these judgments, the true Israelite is blessed with hope of salvation and joy in the Lord. Verse 18. - Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. Unshaken in confidence, the prophet, representing the faithful Israelite, expresses his unbounded joy at the prospect of salvation which opens to him beyond the present affliction. The psalmist often thus shews his exulting faith (see Psalm 5:7; Psalm 13:6; Psalm 17:14, 15; Psalm 31:19). I will joy. I will shout for joy; my joy shall express itself outwardly. The God of my salvation (see note on Micah 7:7). The God who judges the nations to procure the final salvation of his people. Septuagint, Τῷ Θεῷ τῷ σωτῆρί μου, "God my Saviour;" Vulgate, In Deo Jesu meo. From this gloss of St. Jerome some of the Fathers have argued for the existence in this passage of a revelation of the incarnation of Christ and the redemption wrought by him. Habakkuk 3:18Although trembling on account of the approaching trouble, the prophet will nevertheless exult in the prospect of the salvation that he foresees. Habakkuk 3:18. "But I, in Jehovah will I rejoice, will shout in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:19. Jehovah the Lord is my strength, and makes my feet like the hinds, and causes me to walk along upon my high places." The turning-point is introduced with ואני ht, as is frequently the case in the Psalms. For this exaltation out of the sufferings of this life to believing joy in God, compare Psalm 5:8; Psalm 13:6; Psalm 31:15, etc. עלז, a softened form of עלץ, to rejoice in God (cf. Psalm 5:12), i.e., so that God is the inexhaustible source and infinite sphere of the joy, because He is the God of salvation, and rises up to judgment upon the nations, to procure the salvation of His people (Habakkuk 3:13). Elōhē yish‛ı̄ (the God of my salvation), as in Psalm 18:47; Psalm 25:5 (see at Micah 7:7). The thoughts of the 19th verse are also formed from reminiscences of Psalm 18:the first clause, "the Lord is my strength," from Psalm 18:33. "God, who girdeth me with strength," i.e., the Lord gives me strength to overcome all tribulation (cf. Psalm 27:1 and 2 Corinthians 12:9). The next two clauses are from Psalm 18:34, "He maketh my feet like hinds'," according to the contracted simile common in Hebrew for "hinds' feet;" and the reference is to the swiftness of foot, which was one of the qualifications of a thorough man of war (2 Samuel 1:23; 1 Chronicles 12:8), so as to enable him to make a sudden attack upon the enemy, and pursue him vigorously. Here it is a figurative expression for the fresh and joyous strength acquired in God, which Isaiah calls rising up with eagles' wings (Isaiah 40:29-31). Causing to walk upon the high places of the land, was originally a figure denoting the victorious possession and government of a land. It is so in Deuteronomy 32:13 and Deuteronomy 33:29, from which David has taken the figure in Psalm 18, though he has altered the high places of the earth into "my high places" (bâmōthai). They were the high places upon which the Lord had placed him, by giving him the victory over his enemies. And Habakkuk uses the figurative expression in the same sense, with the simple change of יעמידני into ידרכני after Deuteronomy 33:29, to substitute for the bestowment of victory the maintenance of victory corresponding to the blessing of Moses. We have therefore to understand bâmōthai neither as signifying the high places of the enemy, nor the high places at home, nor high places generally. The figure must be taken as a whole; and according to this, it simply denotes the ultimate triumph of the people of God over all oppression on the part of the power of the world, altogether apart from the local standing which the kingdom of God will have upon the earth, either by the side of or in antagonism to the kingdom of the world. The prophet prays and speaks throughout the entire ode in the name of the believing congregation. His pain is their pain; his joy their joy. Accordingly he closes his ode by appropriating to himself and all believers the promise which the Lord has given to His people and to David His anointed servant, to express the confident assurance that the God of salvation will keep it, and fulfil it in the approaching attack on the part of the power of the world upon the nation which has been refined by the judgment.

The last words, למנצּח בּנגינותי, do not form part of the contents of the supplicatory ode, but are a subscription answering to the heading in Habakkuk 3:1, and refer to the use of the ode in the worship of God, and simply differ from the headings למנצּח בּנגינות in Psalm 4:1-8; Psalm 6:1-10; Psalm 54:1-55:23; Psalm 67:1-7, and Psalm 76:1-12, through the use of the suffix in בּנגינותי. Through the words, "to the president (of the temple-music, or the conductor) in accompaniment of my stringed playing," the prophet appoints his psalm for use in the public worship of God accompanied by his stringed playing. Hitzig's rendering is grammatically false, "to the conductor of my pieces of music;" for ב cannot be used as a periphrasis for the genitive, but when connected with a musical expression, only means with or in the accompaniment of (ה instrumenti or concomitantiae). Moreover, נגינות does not mean pieces of music, but simply a song, and the playing upon stringed instruments, or the stringed instrument itself (see at Psalm 4:1-8). The first of these renderings gives no suitable sense here, so that there only remains the second, viz., "playing upon stringed instruments." But if the prophet, by using this formula, stipulates that the ode is to be used in the temple, accompanied by stringed instruments, the expression bingı̄nōthai, with my stringed playing, affirms that he himself will accompany it with his own playing, from which it has been justly inferred that he was qualified, according to the arrangements of the Israelitish worship, to take part in the public performance of such pieces of music as were suited for public worship, and therefore belonged to the Levites who were entrusted with the conduct of the musical performance of the temple.

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