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The Book of Habakkuk
Introduction

I will do the Habakkuk Commentary similar to my other Commentaries . . . in that I will bring the verse or verses in the KJV, followed by what it is saying to me. What I write will be a personal comment, it is NOT Scripture.

Habakkuk is the eighth of the twelve Minor Prophets. #1. Hosea; #2. Joel; #3. Amos; #4. Obadiah; #5. Jonah; #6. Micah; #7. Nahum; #8. Habakkuk; #9. Zephaniah; #10. Haggai; #11. Zechariah; #12. Malachi.

"Minor" does NOT mean that these men of God have less important, less significant, less vital or less valuable things to say. That is not true. They were chosen by God, and what they have to say IS important! And much of what they have to say can be applied to us today . . . IF we are wise enough to admit it!

These wonderful men back up the "Major Prophets" many times. Major Prophets include: #1. Isaiah. #2. Jeremiah. #3. Lamentations. #4. Ezekiel. #5. Daniel.

Both the Major and Minor Prophets are often the least popular books of the Bible, possibly because of the difficult language and the seemingly constant warnings and condemnations recorded there. But, there is SO much there for us to consider. Christ’s birth is in Isaiah and Micah. Christ’s atoning sacrifice in Isaiah. Christ’s Return in Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah. And we see God’s concern, grace, love, holiness, mercy, purity and wrath in ALL of the Prophets. For that reason alone, they are MOST worthy of our consideration and study, IF we have any concern for our eternal soul, and the souls of others.

There is really no reliable information on Habakkuk. He was possibly a member of the Levitical choir, because of the way he ends chapter 3. He was contemporary of Jeremiah and Zephaniah. Some say he came from the tribe of Levi; others say the tribe of Simeon. He was a native of Beth-zacar. It seems that he lived after the destruction of Nineveh, because he speaks of the Chaldeans, but makes no mention of the Assyrians. And he appears also to have prophesied before the Jewish captivity (Hab.1:5; 2:1; 3:2,16-19). Some think that he may be placed in the reign of Jehoiakim, between the years 606 B.C. and 598 B.C. "Habakkuk" comes from a Hebrew word meaning to "embrace," meaning a "favorite" (namely, of God) and a "struggler" (for his country's good).

The time seems to have been about 610 B.C. because the Chaldeans attacked Jerusalem in the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim, 605 B.C. (Jer. 36:9). Habakkuk (Hab. 1:5-6) speaks of the Chaldeans as about to invade Judah, but not as having actually done so. In the second chapter he proceeds to comfort his people by foretelling the humiliation of their conquerors, and that the vision will soon have its fulfillment. In the third chapter a deep foreboding of the destruction of his country, competes with his hope that the enemy would be chastised. The third chapter is an inspiring song dedicated "to the chief musician," surely intended to be used in the worship of God. It is "unequalled in majesty and splendor of language and imagery."

In the third chapter, Habakkuk celebrates the deliverances brought by God for His people in times past, as ground for assurance, and despite all their existing calamities, He will deliver them again. Hab. 3:16 shows that the invader is still coming, though as yet not arrived. Some say that Habakkuk lived to see the Babylonian exile (588 B.C), which would agree with his prophesying early in Jehoiakim's reign, about 610 B.C.

The Book of Habakkuk following Nahum is correct, for Nahum spoke of the judgments of the Lord on Assyria, for its violence against Israel, and Habakkuk, spoke on those inflicted by and on, the Chaldeans for the same reason.

Habakkuk's style is poetical and inspiring. There are some parallels: (Hab.3:19 with Ps.18:33; Hab.2:6 with Isa.14:4; Hab.2:14 with Isa.11:9).

The passage in Hab 2:4, "The just shall live by his faith," is quoted by the apostle Paul in Romans 1:17. (Also see: Gal. 3:11; Heb.10:38). Acts 13:40-41 quotes Hab 1:5.

The prophecy of Habakkuk SEEMS to touch the seeming unequalness of the proceedings of God in the government of the world: where the good suffer evil and the evil rejoice in prosperity; the righteous are afflicted and the unrighteous prosper, and the worst people dominate the best. This greatly troubled David (Ps.73:1-14) and Jeremiah (Jer.12:1-6), and has always been matter of wonder to multitudes, as it was to Habakkuk, who lived in the times of great sin against God, and great injustice amongst men.

Some say it is possible Habakkuk lived and prophesied in the days of Manasseh (2 Ki. 21:10-15; 2 Chron. 33:2-17), when the wicked devoured those more righteous than himself; as this is the subject of his complaint (Hab.1:1-4). The abominable sins which then abounded, Habakkuk declares would be punished by the Chaldeans. It was terrible grief to him to foresee the wicked nation of the Chaldeans prosper in the ruins of a more righteous nation (Hab.1:5-11), but of which God commanded him to foretell.

From verse 12 to the end of chapter 1, and the second chapter, the sins of Judah and the sins of the Chaldeans are enumerated, and both nations are threatened with punishment. When the Chaldeans had punished Judah's sins, the Medes and Persians would punish the same sins of the Chaldeans. In all of this, the pure righteousness and the remarkable wisdom our Almighty God is clearly seen: #1. He in the control of His church, which are chastised for her sins against God; #2. and He is in control of the unbelieving world, which sin so horribly against God.

The prophet, with steady and diligent faith and fervent prayer, speaks to God in a most elegant way, recounting God's mercy and faithfulness to His people (Hab.3:1-19), leaving it as a foundation to OUR hope and a marvelous pattern for OUR life. Habakkuk determines, as we should, to wait for, rejoice in, and submit to the Lord (Jam.4:6-10), in our greatest trials and tribulations.

Habakkuk chapter 3 is an excellent subject for our meditations in this day and time, just as it was in the days of the prophet. We can see him wrestling with the difficulties of that time, and we can see him lovingly embracing Almighty God, giving us a clue to our safest course in dire circumstances . . . grabbing hold and adhering to God. May we never let go of Him! Grab hold of God and hang on to Him, for He is our hope of help in this life and our only hope of eternal life (John 3:15-18,36; 5:24; 8:24; 14:6; Acts 4:10-12; 1 John 5:11-13).

The Book abounds in striking expressions and rare words. The description of the invasion of the Chaldeans (Hab.1:6); of God as having "eyes too pure to behold evil" (Hab.1:13); of "men as fishes of the sea" (Hab.1:14); of the worship of the fisherman's implements (Hab.1:16); of "the stone that crieth out" (Hab.2:11); of the folly of idolatry (Hab.2:18-19). Chapter 3 is especially rich in striking symbols (Hab.3:14-15).

The book is remarkably original. Habakkuk departs from the usual method of the other Prophets. In their addresses, the nation is central, but in Habakkuk . . . it is God and His control of the world. He tries to figure out why God tolerates tyranny and wrong. Habakkuk voices his doubts to God with questions, although NOT against God.

As a poet, Habakkuk holds a high rank among the Hebrew prophets. The beautiful connection between the parts of his prophecy, its language, spirit, symbolism and inspiration cannot be admired too much; and his worshipful hymn in chapter 3, is considered by the best judges to be a masterpiece.

Book of Habakkuk

Ch.1 . Ch.2 . Ch.3

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