on Habakkuk 3 :1
A prayer of Habakkuk - upon Shigionoth - See the note on the title of Psalm 7 (note), where the meaning of Shiggaion is given. The Vulgate has, pro ignorantiis, for ignorances, or sins committed in ignorance; and so it is understood by the Chaldee. The Syriac has nothing but merely, A prayer of Habakkuk. And the Septuagint, instead of Shigionoth, have μετα ῳδης, with a hymn, which is copied by the Arabic.
I suspect that the title here given is of a posterior date to the prophecy. It appears to interrupt the connection between this and the termination of the preceding verse. See them together: -
Habakkuk 2:20 : "But the Lord is in his holy temple:Be silent before him, all the earth.
Habakkuk 3:1 : O Lord, I have heard thy speech:I have feared, O Lord, thy work.As the years approach thou hast shown;As the years approach thou makest known.In wrath thou rememberest mercy."
The prophet may here refer to the speech which God had communicated to him, Habakkuk 1:1-11, Habakkuk 2:4-20, and the terror with which he was struck, because of the judgments denounced against Jerusalem. I have followed the version of Apb. Newcome in this first verse. The critical reader may consult his notes, and the various readings of Kennicott and De Rossi.
on Habakkuk 3 :1
A prayer of Habakkuk - o. The "prayer" of the prophet, in the strictest sense of the word, is contained in the words of Habakkuk 3:2. The rest is, in its form, praise and thanksgiving, chiefly for God's past mercies in the deliverance from Egypt and the entering into the promised land. But thanksgiving is an essential part of prayer, and Hannah is said to have "prayed," whereas the hymn which followed is throughout one thanksgiving . In that also these former deliverances were images of things to come, of every deliverance afterward, and, especially, of that complete divine deliverance which our Lord Jesus Christ performed for us from the power of Satan 1 Corinthians 10:11, the whole is one prayer: "Do, O Lord, as Thou hast done of old; forsake not Thine own works. Such were Thy deeds once; fulfill them now, all which they shadowed forth." It is then a prayer for the manifestation of God's power, and therewith the destruction of His enemies, thenceforth to the Day of Judgment. Cyril: "Having completed the discourse about Babylon, and having fore-announced most clearly, that those who destroyed the holy city and carried Israel captive shall be severely punished, he passes suitably to the mystery of Christ, and from the redemption which took place partially in one nation, he carries on the discourse to that universal redemption, whereby the remnant of Israel, and no less the whole world has been saved."
Upon Shigionoth - The title, "Shiggaion," occurs only once besides Psalm 7. Upon, in the titles of the Psalms, is used with the instrument , the melody , or the first words of the hymn, whose melody has been adopted The two first are mentioned by a Jewish Commentator (Tanchum) with others, "in his delight," or "his errors," in the sense, that God will forgive them. This, which the versions and Jewish commentators mostly adopt, would be a good sense, but is hardly consistent with the Hebrew usage. "Shiggaion of David," as a title of a Psalm, must necessarily describe the Psalm itself, as "Mismor of David," "Michtam of David," "Tephillah of David," "Maschil of David." But "Shiggaion," as a "great error," is not a title: nor does it suit the character of the Psalm, which relates to calumny not to error.
It probably, then, means a psalm with music expressive of strong emotion, "erratic" or "dithyrambic." Habakkuk's title, on Shigionoth (plural) then would mean upon, or (as we should say,) "set to" music of psalms of this sort The number "three" remarkably predominates in this psalm (Habakkuk 3:6 has 15 words, in five combinations of three words; Habakkuk 3:3, Habakkuk 3:10 have 12 words, in four 3's: Habakkuk 3:4, Habakkuk 3:9, Habakkuk 3:19 have 9 words in three 3's: Habakkuk 3:5, Habakkuk 3:12, Habakkuk 3:15, Habakkuk 3:18 have 6 words in two 3's: Habakkuk 3:17 is divided into 4-3-3-4-3-3; Habakkuk 3:8 is 3-3-3-3-2; Habakkuk 3:11 is 4-3-3; Habakkuk 3:16 is 3-3-3-2-2-2-3. This forces itself on every reader. Delitzsch quotes the Meor. Enaim, i. 60, "The prayer of Habakkuk goeth on three's") yet so that long measures are succeeded by very short.
on Habakkuk 3 :1
3:1 Upon Sigionoth - A musical instrument.