Great Hymn to the Aten

Ancient Near East

You appear beautifully on the horizon, the living Aten, the beginning of life. When you rise in the east, you fill every land with your beauty. You are gracious, great, shining, and high above all lands. Your rays reach the ends of the earth, and you subdue them for your beloved son. Though far away, your rays touch the earth, and though in their faces, no one knows your path. When you set in the west, the land becomes dark like death. People sleep with their heads covered, unable to see one another. Their possessions could be stolen without them knowing. The lions leave their dens, and creeping creatures sting. Darkness covers the earth, and it is still, for the creator rests on the horizon.

Habakkuk 3:3

Hebrew Bible

2 Lord, I have heard the report of what you did; I am awed, Lord, by what you accomplished. In our time repeat those deeds; in our time reveal them again. But when you cause turmoil, remember to show us mercy! 3 God comes from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His splendor has covered the skies, the earth is full of his glory. 4 His brightness will be as lightning; a two-pronged lightning bolt flashing from his hand. This is the outward display of his power. 5 Plague will go before him; pestilence will march right behind him.

 Notes and References

"... The prayer begins with Habakkuk describing the approach of God from the south. As we have seen in the Kuntillet ‘Ajrud inscriptions, Yahweh was known to be associated with the south (COS 2.47 B, C). Teman and Paran (verse 3) lie in the south, near Sinai, where Israel found refuge after deliverance from the Egyptian army at sea, and where God’s formation of Israel began. Mount Paran may be an alternative name for Sinai (compare Deuteronomy 33:2). Yahweh’s glory covers the heavens, his praises fill the earth. He is present in all of creation - from the height of the heavens to the depth of the earth. This is not unlike the description of Aten ... Indeed, God’s brightness was comparable to light itself (perhaps of the sun?). The “קַרְנַיִם” ("rays") coming from God’s hand has been a subject of debate, with some taking these as literal horns, other metaphorical horns (a metaphor for power), and others as describing rays of light. The context of solar imagery tips the scales toward the third option, although it is a rare usage. Thus, rays of light emanate from the divine hands, as Yahweh begins to unveil his power ..."

Patty, Tyler J. Ancient Near Eastern Literature and the Psalm of Habakkuk 3 (pp. 1-24) Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2015

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.