Habakkuk is a unique book because it records a dialogue between the prophet and the Lord. The conversation progresses as Habakkuk’s understanding of the destruction Judah and Jerusalem increases. Yet, the book ends not as one would expect, but instead with a psalm. Habakkuk is both a prophet and a song-writer.
Author and Date
Habakkuk, similar to Ezekiel, describes oracles or visions from the Lord instead of preaching to a segment of Israel’s population. The oracle pertains to the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem which dates Habakkuk’s oracle between 610 and 586 B.C. Like Jeremiah who watched the destruction of Jerusalem and wrote a song about it, so also does Habakkuk in chapter 3.
- Dialogue with God (1:1-11)
- Dirge from God (1:12-2:20)
- Doxology to God (3:1-19)
The three exchanges between Habakkuk and the Lord develop one train of thought. At the beginning, Habakkuk is lamenting the coming destruction of Jerusalem and Judah. He wants to know why it is necessary, and why the Lord has chosen not to deliver his people. The Lord’s answer is simply, “Watch this, Habakkuk.” At the end of the day, Habakkuk realizes that it is the Lord who acts in the world. It is more than a demonstration of God’s power. It is more than simply to get to the attention of his people. It is God who moves, and Habakkuk breaks out into a song adoring the Lord for his acts. As one author states, “The answer to Habakkuk’s ‘Why?’ is ‘Who!'”