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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Habakkuk 3:4

Commentary On Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai by Jean Calvin

Habakkuk 3:4

4. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.

4. Et splendor quasi lux fuit; cornua e manu ejus ei, et ibi absconsio fortitudinis ejus.

He confirms the declaration which I have explained that God, when he intended his presence to be made known to his people, gave evidences of his wonderful power, capable of awakening the minds of all. He then says, that the brightness was like light. By the word 'vr, aur, is doubtless meant the light, which diffuses itself through the whole world, and proceeds from the sun. Then he says, that the brightness which appeared on mount Sinai was equal to the light of the sun, capable of filling the whole world. He adds, that horns were to him from the hand. Some render it, splendor; but qrn, coren, properly means a horn, and qrnym, corenium, is here in the dual number: it is therefore more probable, that the Prophet ascribes horns to God, carried in both hands; and it more corresponds with what immediately follows, that |there was the hiding of his strength,| or that |there was his power hidden.| They who render the word, splendours, think that what had been said is repeated, that is, that the brightness was like light; but they are mistaken, for we may collect from the verse that two different things are expressed by the Prophet: he first speaks of the visible form of God; and then he adds his power, designating it metaphorically by horns, which is common in Scripture. Indeed this mode of speaking occurs often. He then says, that God came armed with power, when he gave the law to his people; for he bore horns in his hands, where his strength was hid.

As to the word hiding, some indeed give this refined view, that God then put forth his strength, which was before hidden. But this is a very strained explanation. To me it seems evident, that the Prophet in the first place says, that God's glory was conspicuous, capable of irradiating the whole world like the light of the sun; and he then adds, that this splendor was connected with power, for God carried horns in both his hands, where his strength was laid: and he says, that it was hid, because God did not intend to make known his power indiscriminately throughout the world, but peculiarly to his own people; as it is also said in Psalm 31:20, that

|the greatness of his goodness is laid up for the faithful alone, who fear and reverence him.|

As then it is said, that the goodness of God is laid up for the faithful, for they enjoy it as children and members of the household; so also the power of God is said to be laid up, because he testifies that he is armed with power to defend his Church, that he may render safe the children of Abraham, whom he has taken under his protection. It afterwards follows --

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