Monday, March 15, 2010

An Introduction to the Old Testament - Habakkuk

Dillard, Raymond B. & Longman, Tremper III. "Habakkuk."  An Introduction to the Old Testament.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 1994. 409-413.

Habakkuk is largely unknown.  His name is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture.  He has been alternatively identified as a Levite, the sone of the Shunamite woman, and the watchman in Isaiah 21.  This inconclusivity does not in any way take away from the importance of the prophetic writing.  It simply indicates that we really have no idea who Habakkuk might have been.  

According to chapter 1 verse 6 the date of composition is in the late 7th or early 6th century B.C.  At this time Babylon is rising to power, overtaking the former great Assyrian empire.  As we would expect, scholars have assigned the book various different dates and have assigned different authors to the narrative text and the psalm in chapter 3.  As with the debates about the identity of Habakkuk, these other disputes are inconclusive.

We see the structure consists of a dialog between God and the prophet, a series of oracles against oppressors, and a psalm of submission.  As we consider the overall theological message of Habakkuk we see that God is apparently unconcerned with the struggles of his people.  Yet God has given promises to his people, promises which the faithful Habakkuk determines to trust.

As we consider this text in relation to the New Testament we see that God is the righteous one who will come and vindicate himself, though he may not do it according to our timing or our preferences.

Dave Spotts
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