New American Bible (Revised Edition)
2 O Lord, I have heard your renown,
and am in awe, O Lord, of your work.
In the course of years revive it,[a]
in the course of years make yourself known;
in your wrath remember compassion!
His glory covered the heavens,
and his praise filled the earth;
4 his splendor spread like the light.
He raised his horns high,(B)
he rejoiced on the day of his strength.
5 Before him went pestilence,
and plague[d] followed in his steps.
6 He stood and shook the earth;
he looked and made the nations tremble.
Ancient mountains were shattered,
the age-old hills bowed low,
age-old orbits[e] collapsed.
7 The tents of Cushan trembled,
the pavilions of the land of Midian.[f]
8 Was your anger against the rivers, O Lord?
your wrath against the rivers,
your rage against the sea,[g](C)
That you mounted your steeds,
your victorious chariot?
9 You readied your bow,
you filled your bowstring with arrows.
You split the earth with rivers;
10 at the sight of you the mountains writhed.
The clouds poured down water;
the deep roared loudly.
The sun[h] forgot to rise,
11 the moon left its lofty station,(D)
At the light of your flying arrows,
at the gleam of your flashing spear.
12 In wrath you marched on the earth,
in fury you trampled the nations.
13 You came forth to save your people,
to save your anointed one.[i]
You crushed the back of the wicked,
you laid him bare, bottom to neck.
14 [j]You pierced his head with your shafts;
his princes you scattered with your stormwind,
as food for the poor in unknown places.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses
amid the churning of the deep waters.
- 3:2 In the course of years revive it: a plea for God to renew the works of the past.
- 3:3–15 Cf. the theophanies in Dt 33:2–3; Jgs 5:4–5; Ps 18:8–16; 68:8–9; 77:17–21; 97:1–5; Na 1:3–6, etc. Conventional language is employed to describe the appearance of the Lord, as in Ex 19:16–19.
- 3:3 Teman: a region in Edom. Mount Paran: in the territory of Edom, or the northern part of the Sinai peninsula.
- 3:5 Pestilence…plague: these may be figures who are part of the heavenly armies God leads into battle.
- 3:6 Age-old orbits: the regular paths through the skies of heavenly bodies are disrupted at the appearance of the divine warrior, as are the ancient mountains on earth. Such cosmic disruption is typical of divine appearances (Ps 18:8; Na 1:5).
- 3:7 Cushan…Midian: the inhabitants of the area southeast of Judah where the divine march originates (Teman, Mount Paran), who are shaken, together with the cosmos, at God’s appearance.
- 3:8 Rivers…sea: the forces of chaos personified as yam (Sea) and nahar (River) try to destroy the order God imposed at creation by sweeping past their boundaries and covering the earth. Their mention here and in v. 15 emphasizes that God is both creator and deliverer, subduing historical enemies and cosmic forces.
- 3:10–11 Sun…moon: heavenly figures who, like pestilence and plague (v. 5), serve in God’s army, or are startled at God’s appearance, as are the ancient constellations (v. 6).
- 3:13 Your anointed one: the theocratic king, the head of God’s people. The back of the wicked: this may refer both to God’s cosmic enemy, River/Sea, and to the leader of Israel’s historical enemy.
- 3:14 The last two lines of this verse are obscure in Hebrew and difficult to translate.