The Prophet Habakkuk: His Prophecy and an Explanation

Essay by foleyoHigh School, 10th gradeA+, September 2007

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Habakkuk:The Prophet who questioned GodThere were many prophets in the Bible, but none were quite as daring as Habakkuk. Habakkuk spoke out to God, and asked why He was allowing the world to be full of hate, violence, and death. Habakkuk isn’t the most famous prophet, but he spoke with God, and preached God’s warnings.

Habakkuk lived in Jerusalem in the Southern Kingdom of Judah (Bandstra), which is current day Israel. He lived during the Babylonian Crisis, which was when the Babylonians were conquering much of the land between what is now the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf, around 608-598 B.C.(Bandstra). The meaning of Habakkuk’s name is not agreed on, and often debated. The two most common interpretations are either “embraced” or refers to a flower which was often used as a healing instrument (Szeles, 5). Habakkuk’s life was quite clouded and difficult to follow but he wasn’t erased from the face of the earth.

Habakkuk wrote his own book, and it is estimated to have been written between 608-605 B.C. He is referred to as a prophet, but this is believed to be inserted later as an attempt to give an explanation of who he was (Smith). Habakkuk’s book is very strange in the way it is written and what includes, and lacks. Habakkuk wrote his book completely as a dialogue with God (Szeles, 7). There is no stop in the conversation to describe place, time, or give a history or lineage. Habakkuk does not mention any thing about his life or where he originally came from. He didn’t even tell what his father’s name was, which was very unusual (Szeles, 7). The book is short and lacks answers of who Habakkuk really was, but is interesting and useful in explaining how God’s sovereign rule has been present throughout history.

Habakkuk’s mystery has perplexed scholars throughout history. Habakkuk called out God and questioned him. He wanted to know why God had allowed the Babylonians to invade Judah. God tells him that it is because Judah had been unfaithful and sinned and this was the solution. Habakkuk wasn’t satisfied and continued to question God, and God gave a prophesy to him. This prophecy was that a great warrior would come and free the Israelites (Habakkuk 3:3-6/ Habakkuk 3:16-19). His prophesy has not yet come true, but something interesting is how similar it is to the Christian belief (Roberts, 85). Habakkuk and Christians both believe the Messiah is coming, and will save us from the wickedness of the world. Habakkuk was disappointed with God and his allowing of evil and the Babylonians to conquer Judah, and is even more upset with God’s reasoning, but Habakkuk retains his faith, though after God tells him that the Israelites will be saved by a great warrior.

Habakkuk was daring in a way unknown at the time, yet in his questioning of God he remained faithful and waited for God to come and fulfill his final prophesy to him. Habakkuk encompassed the traits all people have. He question God when things seemed at their worst, but still trusted His judgment and believed what He said.

Work Cited1.Bandstra, Barry. "Book of the Twelve." Reading the Old Testament. 01/01/1999. Wadsworth Publishing. 15 Nov 2006 .

2.Catholic Youth Bible, Revised Standard Version. Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press3.Eszenyei Szeles, Maria. Wrath and Mercy: A commentary on the Books of Habakkuk and Zephaniah. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1987.

4.Roberts, Jimmy. Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. 1. Louisville, KY: John Knox Publishing, 1991.

5.Smith, Lee. "The Book of Habakkuk." Commentary on the Old Testament Book of Habakkuk. 2000. 15 Nov 2006 .