The Prophecy of Habakkuk

The prophecy of Habakkuk is divided into three chapters that include a total of 56 verses. For your convenience links to the New International Version text of the prophecy are provided.
Habakkuk 1:1-17 (NIV)
Habakkuk 2:1-20 (NIV)
Habakkuk 3:1-19 (NIV)

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A Summary of the Prophecy of Habakkuk

The prophecy opens with a conversation between Habakkuk and God in which Habakkuk becomes the spokesman for the people. Habakkuk begins (1:1-4) by voicing the general complaints of the people. The complaints are so reflective of the human condition that we can almost imagine that they were being spoken today. In fact, you could hear just such complaints being voiced in almost any Tim Horton's on almost any morning of the week.

God's response (1:5-11) is not very encouraging. In essence God says, "You haven't seen anything yet!" God says that the Babylonians (Chaldeans in some translations), the rising world power of that generation, are going to work even greater devastation in the future.

Habakkuk then responds on behalf of the people (1:12-2:1). Again, the sentiments he expresses are ones we repeatedly hear in our own generation too. If you are the Lord why are you letting all these bad things happen. Although Habakkuk speaks respectfully to God he does make it clear (2:1) that he is waiting for an answer.

In responding (2:2-2:20) God declares that the problem is not just the bad Babylonians but that the problem is everywhere because of human sin. God implies that if it was not the Babylonians exploiting the world through the abuse of power that the people that Habakkuk is representing are themselves capable of behaving in the same violent and greedy way. God also points out that their religion is really idolatry and not the worship of the true God. In fact, God's response ends with the blunt declaration that the people should stop grumbling and complaining and start to listen (2:20)

The prophecy ends with a prayer by Habakkuk (3:1-19) in which Habakkuk acknowledges the might and majesty of God both in his work as Creator and as an intervenor on behalf of his people. Habakkuk acknowledges the peril that the people are in because of their violence and their forgetfulness (3:16). The final verses of the prophecy express a confident trust in the Lord's care. (3:17-19)

Exploring the text of Habakkuk

Now that you have read a brief summary of the prophecy of Habakkuk it is time to click on and review the Simplified Approach to Bible Study. When you have reviewed the five steps it is time to start applying them to the text of the prophecy of Habakkuk.

Some Internet Resources

For a general list of Bible study resources on the Internet click on
Bible Study Helps on the Internet

Notes on Habakkuk from the NIV Study Bible

Habakkuk: Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

Commentary on Habakkuk by John Calvin

Habakkuk by Hampton Keathley IV

Psalmody in Prophecy: Habakkuk 3 in Context by James Watts is a more academic study of the special literary and liturgical character of Habakkuk 3 which has just been drawn to my attention. It may be too technical in nature to be of general interest but it does explore the unique character of Habakkuk 3. I may add further comments when I have had more time to consider it.