Translations of Habakkuk 3:14

NIV:

With his own spear you pierced his head

when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,

ESV:

You pierced with his own arrows the heads of his warriors,

who came like a whirlwind to scatter me,

Teleioteti:

14With his rods you pierce the head,

his warriors storm in to scatter me,

NET:

You pierce the heads of his warriors with a spear.

They storm forward to scatter us;

NASB 

You pierced with his own spears
The head of his throngs.
They stormed in to scatter us;

(Emphasis added)


Significance

The various ways translations of verse 14 differ are significant but  most significant is the question  of who possesses the arrows/rods/spears. A careful judgment on who “he” is supports the translation decision made in v. 13.

Reason for Translation

Most of the translations assume that “his rod” refers to the spears or arrows of the “head” being pierced; this however makes no sense in context. If, however, we ask who the pronoun “his” refers to, the most evident person is the “anointed” in Habakkuk 3:13.

If we read the verse in this way, we see that God uses the rods of his anointed Chaldean army to pierce the head of the house of wickedness (cf. 3:13, 1:4), the wicked Judean leadership. This explains why “his soldiers” are such an object of terror.

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