The events of today’s chapter are as follows: the Jewish authorities go before Governor Felix with their grievances against Paul. Paul gives his defense, asserting his innocence of any crime except believing in the resurrection of the dead, which of course is no crime at all. Felix dismisses the charges under the pretense of postponing his judgment, and Paul remains in protective custody for two years, during which time he has several opportunities to discuss religion and morality with the governor. But when the governorship passes from Felix to Porcius Festus, Felix decides to give the Jews a freebie and leaves Paul in prison. Now, having stated the events of today’s chapter, let us dissect them.
The horses from chapter one are back today. They don’t have anything to say this time around, but they’re accompanied by chariots coming from mountains made out of bronze. Also, Joshua the high priest gets crowned, but he doesn’t get crowned king. He gets crowned branch. In other words, the vision is still a little bit weird.
Habakkuk concludes his book with his own words. He identifies them as a “Shigionoth,” which my NASB’s margin notes tell me is a highly emotional poetic form, thereby saving me the trouble of googling “Shigionoth.” Habakkuk’s prayer here actually reminds me of the first chapter of Nahum, insofar as it displays God’s power and greatness through his actions. It would seem Habakkuk has received some form of satisfactory answer to his questions: if not the information that he asked for, then at least a response that addresses his concerns. Let’s take a closer look at the character of his final words and see what’s changed.
Translation’s a tricky business. Generally, my translation of choice is the NASB, because it cuts fairly close to the original languages of the Bible. But, in my fondness for the NASB, I have to be careful not to fall into the trap of the KJV-onlyists. Fact is, a lot of people more qualified and knowledgeable than I have put together a lot of different and useful translations, and God communicates to us through their work. The NASB’s attempt to retain the original text’s grammatical constructions (where possible) can sometimes obstruct clarity and readability. Just look at 1 Corinthians 4:5.
I tend to forget how good The Prince of Egypt is. One of the things I like best about it is how it conveys a sense of scale. The monuments of Egypt are big. The crowds of Hebrew slaves are big. The Red Sea is big, and it’s a big event when God parts it. But without modern animation technology, how would you have conveyed the magnitude of the Exodus? If you were anything like the author of Psalm 114, you would have written a song.