6 occurrences in 6 dictionaries

Reference: Habakkuk


One of the minor prophets. Of his life we know nothing, except that he appears to have been contemporary with Jeremiah, and to have prophesied about 610 B.C., shortly before Nebuchadnezzar's first invasion of Judea, 2Ki 24:1.

The BOOK OF HABAKKUK consists of three chapters, which all constitute on oracle. In Hab 1, he foretells the woes which the rapacious and terrible Chaldeans would soon inflict upon his guilty nation. In Hab 2, he predicts the future humiliation of the conquerors. Hab 3 is a sublime and beautiful ode, in which the prophet implores the succor of Jehovah in view of his mighty works of ancient days, and expresses the most assured trust in him. Nothing, even in Hebrew poetry, is more lofty and grand then this triumphal ode.

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embrace, the eighth of the twelve minor prophets. Of his personal history we have no reliable information. He was probably a member of the Levitical choir. He was contemporary with Jeremiah and Zephaniah.


The cordially embraced one (favorite of God), or the cordial embracer. "A man of heart, hearty toward another, taking him into his arms. This Habakkuk does in his prophecy; he comforts and lifts up his people, as one would do with a weeping child, bidding him be quiet, because, please God, it would yet be better with him" (Luther). The psalm (Habakkuk 3) and title "Habakkuk the prophet" favor the opinion that Habakkuk was a Levite. The closing words, "to the chief singer on my stringed instruments," imply that Habakkuk with his own instruments would accompany the song he wrote under the Spirit; like the Levite seers and singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun (1Ch 25:1-5). A lyrical tone pervades his prophecies, so that he most approaches David in his psalms.

The opening phrase (Hab 1:1) describes his prophecy as "the burden which," etc., i.e. the weighty, solemn announcement. Habakkuk "saw" it with the inner eye opened by the Spirit. He probably prophesied in the 12th or 13th year of Josiah (630 or 629 B.C.), for the words "in your days" (Hab 1:5) imply that the prophecy would come to pass in the lifetime of the persons addressed. In Jer 16:9 the same phrase comprises 20 years, in Eze 12:25 six years.

Zep 1:7 is an imitation of Hab 2:20; now Zephaniah (Zep 1:1) lived under Josiah, and prophesied (compare Zep 3:5,15) after the restoration of Jehovah's worship, i.e. after the 12th year of Josiah's reign, about 624 B.C. So Habakkuk must have been before this. Jeremiah moreover began prophesying in Josiah's 13th year; now Jeremiah borrows from Habakkuk (compare Hab 2:13 with Jer 51:58); thus, it follows that 630 or 629 B.C. is Habakkuk's date of prophesying (Delitzsch).

Contents. - Habakkuk complains of the moral disorganization around, and cries to Jehovah for help (Hab 1:2-4); Jehovah in reply denounces swift vengeance (Hab 1:5-11) by the Chaldeans. Habakkuk complains that the Chaldees are worse than the Jews whom they are to be the instruments of chastising; they deal treacherously, sweep all into their net, and then "they sacrifice unto their net and burn incense unto their drag," i.e. idolize their own might and military skill, instead of giving the glory to God (De 8:17; Isa 10:13; 37:24-25). Habakkuk therefore, confident that God is of purer eyes than to behold evil (Hab 1:13), sets himself in an attitude of waiting for the Lord's own solution of this perplexing apparent anomaly (Hab 2:1); Jehovah desires him accordingly, "write the vision" of God's retributive justice plainly, so "that he may run that readeth it," namely, "run" to tell to all the good news of the foe's doom and Judah's deliverance, or, as Grotius, run through it, i.e. run through the reading without difficulty.

The issue must be awaited with patience, for it shall not disappoint; the lifted up soul, as that of the Chaldean foe and the unbelieving apostatizing Jew, is not accounted upright before God and therefore shall perish; but the just shall be accounted just by his faith and so shall live. The Chaldeans' doom is announced on the ground of this eternal principle of God's moral government. The oppressed nations "shall take up a parable," i.e. a derisive song (compare Isa 14:4; Mic 2:4), whom Habakkuk copies, against their oppressor. It is a symmetrical whole, five stanzas; three of three verses each, the fourth of four, and the last of two verses. Each stanza, except the last, begins with "woe." All have a closing verse introduced with "for," "but," or "because." Each strophe begins with the character of the sin, then states the woe, lastly confirms the woe (Hab 2:2-20).

The prayer-song (Habakkuk 3) is the spiritual echo, resuming the previous parts of the prophecy, for the enlightenment of God's people. Prayer, thanksgiving, and trust, are the spiritual key to unlock the mysteries of God's present government of the earth. The spirit appears tumultuously to waver (from whence the title "Shigionoth" from shagah, "to wander") between fear and hope; but faith at the end triumphs joyfully over present trials (Hab 3:17-19). Upon God's past manifestations for His people, at Paran, Teman, and the Red Sea, Habakkuk grounds the anticipated deliverance of his people from the foe, through Jehovah's interposition in sublime majesty; so that the believer can always rejoice in the God of his salvation and his strength.

The interests of God's righteous character, seemingly compromised in the Chaldees' successful violence, are what Habakkuk has most at heart throughout; to solve this problem is his one grand theme. Paul quotes Hab 1:5 in his warning to the unbelieving Jews at Antioch in Pisidia. Thrice Paul quotes Hab 2:4, "the just shall live by his faith" (one fundamental truth throughout the Bible, beginning with Abram in Ge 15:6); first in Ro 1:17, where the emphasis rests on "just," God's righteousness and the nature of justification being the prominent thought; secondly in Ga 3:11, where the emphasis is on "faith," the instrument of justification being prominent; thirdly in Heb 10:38, where the emphasis is on "live," the continued life that flows from justification being prominent.

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The eighth of the Minor Prophets. Except for legends, e.g. in Bel and the Dragon (33

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Nothing is said of the prophet's ancestors, nor as to when he prophesied. He is generally placed in the time of Josiah or a little later: it was before the captivity of Judah, for that is foretold.

Hab. 1. The prophet exhibits the exercise of a heart full of sympathy towards the people of God. The evil among them greatly distressed him, and he cried mightily unto God. In Hab 1:5-11 is God's answer. He will raise up the Chaldeans, a "bitter and hasty nation," to punish them. The character and violence of the Chaldeans are described.

In the verses from Hab 1:12 to Hab 2:1, the prophet pleads with God not to be unmindful that the Chaldeans were worse than Judah. He will watch for God's answer.

In Hab 2:2-20 is God's reply. The prophet was told to write the vision so plainly that he who read it might run. The vision was for an appointed time, but it hasted to the end. The restless, grasping pride of the Chaldeans God would in due time judge; but meanwhile "the just shall live by his faith." The rapacity of the Babylonian is spoken of, and then woes are pronounced against the oppressor, for his covetousness, his blood-shedding, his debauchery, and his idolatry.

In contrast to all this the announcement is made that "The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the bed of the sea." This looks forward to the millennium, passing over the partial return of the people in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The prophet is assured that "The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him." Judgement on the Gentile rulers of God's people will, at the time of the end, immediately precede and lead to the kingdom.

Hab. 3 is a prayer of the prophet. 'Upon Shigionoth,' reads in the margin "according to variable songs or tunes," which signification seems confirmed by the subscription, "To the chief singer on stringed instruments." The prophet realises the presence of God while he reviews His past dealings against Israel's enemies, and sees in them the pledge of the future salvation. At the close, while faith has to wait for the blessing he rejoices in God, saying, "I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places."

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HABAKKUK, the author of the prophecy bearing his name, Hab 1:1, &c. Nothing is certainly known concerning the tribe or birth place of Habakkuk. He is said to have prophesied about B.C. 605, and to have been alive at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. It is generally believed that he remained and died in Judea. The principal predictions contained in this book are, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the captivity of the Jews by the Chaldeans or Babylonians; their deliverance from the oppressor "at the appointed time;" and the total ruin of the Babylonian empire. The promise of the Messiah is confirmed; the overruling providence of God is asserted; and the concluding prayer, or rather hymn, recounts the wonders which God had wrought for his people, when he led them from Egypt into Canaan, and expresses the most perfect confidence in the fulfilment of his promises. The style of Habakkuk is highly poetical, and the hymn in the third chapter is perhaps unrivalled for sublimity, simplicity, and power.

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