with a mere look he frightens 3 the nations.
The ancient mountains disintegrate; 4
the primeval hills are flattened.
He travels on the ancient roads. 5
the tent curtains of the land of Midian are shaking. 7
3:8 Is the Lord mad at the rivers?
Are you angry with the rivers?
Are you enraged at the sea? 8
your victorious chariots? 11
you commission your arrows. 13 Selah.
You cause flash floods on the earth’s surface. 14
3:10 When the mountains see you, they shake.
The torrential downpour sweeps through. 15
The great deep 16 shouts out;
it lifts its hands high. 17
the flash of your arrows drives them away, 19
the bright light of your lightning-quick spear. 20
3:12 You furiously stomp on the earth,
you angrily trample down the nations.
3:13 You march out to deliver your people,
to deliver your special servant. 21
You strike the leader of the wicked nation, 22
laying him open from the lower body to the neck. 23 Selah.
They storm forward to scatter us; 26
they shout with joy as if they were plundering the poor with no opposition. 27
3:15 But you trample on the sea with your horses,
on the surging, raging waters. 28
1 tn Heb “he stands.”
3 tn Heb “makes [the nations] jump [in fear].”
4 tn Or “crumbled,” broke into pieces.”
5 tn Heb “ancient ways [or, “doings”] are his.” The meaning of this line is unclear. Traditionally it has been translated, “his ways are eternal.” However, in this context (see vv. 3, 7) it is more likely that the line speaks of the
6 tn Heb “under trouble I saw the tents of Cushan.”
sn Cushan was located in southern Transjordan.
7 tn R. D. Patterson takes תַּחַת אֲוֶן (takhat ’aven) in the first line as a place name, “Tahath-Aven.” (Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah [WEC], 237.) In this case one may translate the verse as a tricolon: “I look at Tahath-Aven. The tents of Cushan are shaking, the tent curtains of the land of Midian.”
10 tn Heb “you mount your horses.” As the next line makes clear, the Lord is pictured here as a charioteer, not a cavalryman. Note NRSV here, “when you drove your horses, // your chariots to victory.”
11 tn Or “chariots of deliverance.”
12 tn Heb “[into] nakedness your bow is laid bare.”
13 tn Heb “sworn in are the arrow-shafts with a word.” The passive participle of שָׁבַע (shava’), “swear an oath,” also occurs in Ezek 21:23 ET (21:28 HT) referencing those who have sworn allegiance. Here the
14 tn Heb “[with] rivers you split open the earth.” A literal rendering like “You split the earth with rivers” (so NIV, NRSV) suggests geological activity to the modern reader, but in the present context of a violent thunderstorm, the idea of streams swollen to torrents by downpours better fits the imagery.
sn As the
15 tn Heb “a heavy rain of waters passes by.” Perhaps the flash floods produced by the downpour are in view here.
18 tn Heb “in their lofty dwelling places.”
19 tn Or “at the light of your arrows they vanish.”
20 tn Heb “at the brightness of the lightning of your spear.”
21 tn Heb “anointed one.” In light of the parallelism with “your people” in the preceding line this could refer to Israel, but elsewhere the Lord’s anointed one is always an individual. The Davidic king is the more likely referent here.
22 tn Heb “you strike the head from the house of wickedness.”
23 tn Heb “laying bare [from] foundation to neck.”
24 tn Some take “warriors” with the following line, in which case one should translate, “you pierce [his] head with a spear; his warriors storm forward to scatter us” (cf. NIV). The meaning of the Hebrew term פְּרָזוֹ (pÿrazo), translated here “his warriors,” is uncertain.
25 tc Heb “his shafts.” Some emend to “your shafts.” The translation above assumes an emendation to מַטֶּה (matteh, “shaft, spear”), the vav-yod (ו-י) sequence being a corruption of an original he (ה).
26 tn Heb “me,” but the author speaks as a representative of God’s people.
27 tn Heb “their rejoicing is like devouring the poor in secret.”
28 tn Heb “the foaming of the mighty [or “many”] waters.”