Prayers of Habakkuk

Habakkuk the prophet, Russian icon from first ...

Habakkuk the prophet, Russian icon from first quarter of 18th cen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not much is known about the prophet, Habakkuk. With most of the prophets, we are given at least some minor biographical information, but we are not even told where he came from. Many scholars, however, have somehow deduced that he was from Jerusalem. And the fact that the third chapter is in fact a song – a psalm, suggests quite reasonably to some that he was from the tribe of Levi. Habakkuk 3:1 reads “a prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.” Shigionth is a reference to a type of music that is sung in times of victory.

The date of the book can only be surmised in approximation. In Habakkuk 1:6, the Lord tells Habakkuk that He is raising up the Chaldeans. The Chaldean rise to power was about 612 B.C., with their first invasion of Judah occurring in 605 B.C.  A date shortly before that is reasonable. This would place this prophet as a contemporary of Zephaniah, and possibly Daniel. Likely, the time was during the reign of Josiah (640 – 609 B.C.) or just after his death. There are some non-inspired writings with Habakkuk in them, but the more interesting one is not considered historically accurate.

Although clearly written for their benefit, Habakkuk does not address the people of Judah. The first two chapters consist of Habakkuk’s prayers (and protestations) to God, as well as God’s responses. Habakkuk is taken aback that God would send those who were even more wicked than the people of Judah to exact His punishment on them. This does not seem to him to be the actions of a just God. God assures him that He has every intention of punishing the evil nations involved – but in His own time. By the end of the book, Habakkuk is resigned to the fate, but more importantly,  he realizes that his faith in God means that he must trust Him to take care of justice.

These words were evidently a comfort to the faithful after the captivity, as they struggled to understand. The key verse is Habakkuk 2:4, which says “but the righteous will live by his faith.” That is the lesson of Habakkuk. As His children, we must trust in God to deal with the evil of this world in His time.

/Bob’s boy
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image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Psalm 7 – In You Do I Take Refuge

The superscript for this psalm calls it a Shiggaion of David.  The term is only used again in plural form in Habakkuk 3:1.  The best that we can surmise is that it may be a type of instrument or liturgical description pertaining to the psalm.  Cush the Benjamin had likely accused David concerning treason against Saul.  David is languishing here and it seems likely that he is experiencing guilt on his own part (see verses 3-5), possibly for his anguish over what his part had been in Doeg the Edominte’s betrayal and the resulting slaughter of the priests of Nob (1 Samuel 22:11-23)?

Nob, Shufat from north, the Tabernacle was here for awhile. David visited the priest Ahimelech here (1 Samuel 21). Because the priests helped David, Saul destroyed the priests and their city.

Nob, Shufat from north, the Tabernacle was here for awhile. David visited the priest Ahimelech here (1 Samuel 21). Because the priests helped David, Saul destroyed the priests and their city.

David’s guilt, though tempered with his anger with Doeg in Psalm 52, does not give him pause to absolve himself, but rather to pray to God for justice, even if that means his own complicity should result in his death at the hands of his pursuers.  He places his fate in the hand of his God in whom he places his confidence in His judgment of David’s heart and integrity (verse 8-16).  He expresses his certainty that God will do justly with the wicked in Verses 14-16: B

Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
and is pregnant with mischief
and gives birth to lies.
He makes a pit, digging it out,
and falls into the hole that he has made.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.