Instead of addressing the people of Judah, Habakkuk records conversations he has with God in which he wrestles with difficult questions about God’s nature.
Not much is known about Habakkuk’s identity or when he lived. The song in the last chapter suggests he might have been a Levite and temple prophet. In verse 6 he references the rise of the Chaldeans, which is a term that became synonymous with the Babylonians in the late 7th century BC when Babylon was ruled by a series of Chaldean kings.
Chapters 1-2 — Habakkuk’s complaints and God’s answers¶
Ch 1:2-11 — Habakkuk’s first complaint¶
- Why does Judah’s wickedness go unpunished?
- Why do you make me look at injustice?Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? (Hab. 1:3)
- God’s answer: I will raise the Chaldeans to punish Judah
- “Look at the nations and watch —and be utterly amazed.For I am going to do something in your daysthat you would not believe,even if you were told.I am raising up the Babylonians,that ruthless and impetuous people,who sweep across the whole earthto seize dwellings not their own.” (Hab. 1:5-6)
Ch 1:12-2:20 — Habakkuk’s second complaint¶
- But your instrument of judgment is even more wicked than Judah!
- You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment;you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?Why are you silent while the wickedswallow up those more righteous than themselves? (Hab. 1:12-13)
- God’s answer: The righteous will prevail, and I will punish the Chaldeans.
- Because you have plundered many nations,the peoples who are left will plunder you. (Hab. 2:8)