First Responsory of Good Friday

Habacuc 3:2-3

O Lord, I have heard Thy hearing and was afraid: I have considered Thy works and trembled. In the midst of two animals Thou shalt be made known: when the years shall draw nigh Thou shalt be known: when the time shall come, Thou shalt be manifested. When my soul shall be in trouble, Thou wilt remember mercy, even in Thy wrath. God will come from Libanus, and the Holy One from the shady and thickly covered mountain. His majesty covered the heavens: and the earth is full of His praise.


Verse 2. Thy hearing, &c. That is, thy oracles, the great and wonderful things thou hast revealed to me: and I was struck with a reverential fear and awe. Ch. — I saw that the unjust would not escape. C. — Work. The great work of the redemption of man, which thou wilt bring to life and light in the midst of the years, when our calamities and miseries shall be at their height. Ch. — Years, at the time appointed. W. — Sept. read, “Lord, I considered thy works, and was astonished; in the midst of two living creatures, or lives, thou shalt be known,” (H.) or found, between an ox and an ass, as the Church has it. Nat. and and Circumc. W. — Christ appeared when the world was most dissolute. M. — The tradition of two animals being near the crib where he was born, is not of earlier date than about the fifth century. Some explain this of the Father between the Son and the Holy Ghost; others of Christ between the thieves, or the two testaments, or collecting his Church from Jews and Gentiles, &c. Sanct. C. — Moderns agree with S. Jerom’s version. The prophet begs that God would perform his ancient miracles in his days, (C.) by relieving the captives, as he had formerly delivered their ancestors. H. — Make. Heb. and Sept. “when the years approach, thou shalt be made known; when the time shall come, thou shalt be manifested; when my soul shall be troubled, in wrath thou,” &c. H. — God never shuts the gate of mercy to the penitent. Nah. i. 3. C.

Verse 3. South. God himself will come to give us his law, and to conduct us into the true land of promise: as heretofore he came from the south, (in the Heb. Teman) and from Mount Pharan, to give his law to his people in the desert. See Deut. xxxiii. 2. Ch. — Sept. render, “the shady and thick mount, Diapsalma.” S. Jerom, Pharan semper. Heb. Sela. Ps. ix. W. — The term seems to denote a pause. There might be many in the same canticle, (C.) as we find three here, (v. 9. 13) and many placed at irregular distances in the Psalms. H. — The Hebrews had long sojourned in the Stony Arabia, under the guidance of the Lord. We should render in the past time to v. 16. C. — Christ was born (H.) at Bethlehem, to the south of Jerusalem, (W.) and had given the law, as a Jew interpreted this passage to S. Jerom. He was probably a convert. H.

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