Book of Habakkuk

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The Prophet

There is not much biographical information on the prophet Habakkuk; in fact less is known about this prophet than any other. His name comes from the Akkadian word meaning a plant or fruit tree. His name is also mentioned in the apocryphal book Bel and the Dragon. In the superscription of the Old Greek version Habakkuk is called the son of Joshua of the tribe of Levi. In this book Habakkuk is lifted by an angel to Babylon to provide Daniel with some food while he is in the lion's den.
Due to the liturgical nature of Habakkuk, there have been some scholars who think that Habakkuk may have been a temple prophet. Temple prophets are described in 1 Chronicles 25:1 as using lyres, harps and cymbals. Some feel that this may be echoed in Habakkuk 3:19a.

Historical Context

At this time we do not know when Habakkuk lived and preached. However one clue to the date of Habakkuk's work is the reference to the rise and advance of the Chaldeans in 1:6 -11, which locates it in the last quarter of the 7th century B.C. One possible period might be during the reign of Jehoiakim, who reigned from 609 -598 BC. The reasoning for this date is that during his reign that the Babylonians were growing in power. The Babylonians marched against Jerusalem in 598 where Jehoiakim was killed and there is a sense of an intimate knowledge of the Babylonian brutality in 1:12 -17.

Overview of Contents

The book of Habakkuk is a book of the Bible Old Testament and stands eighth in a section known as the 12 Minor Prophets in the Masoretic and Greek texts. It follows Nahum and precedes Zephaniah, who are considered to be his contemporaries.

The book consists of three chapters and the book is neatly divided into three different genres:

  • A discussion between God and Habakkuk
    • An Oracle of Woe
      • A Psalm

A breakdown of the book's structure looks this way:
I. Title (1:1)
II. The Problem of Unpunished wickedness (1:2 4)
III. Yahwehs first response (1:5 11)
IV. The problem of excessive punishment (1:12 17)
V. Awaiting an Answer (2:1)
VI. Yahwehs second response (2:2 20)

A. A vision (2:2 -5)
i. Announcement (2:2 -3)
ii. Life and Death (2:4 -5)
B. Taunting woes (2:6 20)
i. The pillager (2: 6 -8)
ii. The plotter (2:9 11)
iii. The promoter of violence (2:12 -14)
iv. The debaucher (2:15 -17)
v. The pagan idolator (2:18 -20)

VII. Habakkuks Psalm (3:1 -19)

A. Musical notes (3:1, 19b)
B. Petition (3:2)
C. Gods powerful presence in history (3:3 15)
i. Gods coming (3:3 -7)
ii. Gods combat (3:8 15)
D. Fear and Faith (3:16 19a)


The major theme of Habakkuk is trying to grow from a faith of perplexity and doubt to the height of absolute trust in Yahweh. Habakkuk addresses his concerns over the fact that the punishment for Judah's sins is going to be executed by what was thought to be a sinful nation in Habakkuk's eyes.

External links


Baker, David W. Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah. (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press. 1988.)
Clark, David J., Howard A. Hatton. A Translators Handbook on The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah. (New York: United Bible Societies. 1989.)
Gowan, Donald E., The Triumph of Faith in Habakkuk. (Atlanta: John Knox Press. 1976.)
Henderson, Ebenezer. The Twelve Minor Prophets. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House. 1980.)
Hailey, Homer, A Commentary on The Minor Prophets. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House. 1972.)
LaSor, William, David Allen Hubbard, Frederic Bush,Old Testament Survey (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans. 1996.)
McComiskey, Thomas Edward, The Minor Prophets. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.1993.)
Smith, Ralph L., Word Biblical Commentary. (Waco: Words Books. 1984.)

cs:Kniha Abakuk

de:Habakuk (Buch) ko:하바꾹 (구약성서) he:ספר חבקוק nl:Habakuk ja:ハバクク書 pt:Habacuque sv:Habackuk


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