The Heart Song of Habakkuk
Habakkuk means. “The Embracer or Wrestler with God.” Habakkuk “embraces” the unknown about God by “wrestling” with theologicalphilosophical questions about God, such as, “Why would He bring calamity on His own people and seemingly let the wicked go unpunished?” Habakkuk is like the prophetic version of the book of Job or Ecclesiastes, yet like Job and Solomon he never loses his faith as he “embraces” YHWH’s Salvation (3:18).
The Philosophizing Poetic Prophet is somewhat of an enigma because unlike other prophets we have no Scriptural record of his ancestry or place of birth. The only hint we are given is in 3:19 which suggests he may have been a Levitical musician. We can confidently date his book even though he gives no timelines or names of contemporary kings. Because of his pondering of why God would use the Chaldeans (Babylonians) as a judgment against Judah, plus the description of the Babylonian army in 1:6-11 most likely refer to the Babylonian march toward Carchmish which Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians at the Battle of Carchmish in 605 BCE, which would put this prophecy around the early years of king Jehoiakim, king of Judah’s reign, about 606 BCE; although the Seder Olam has Habakkuk prophesying during the reign of the wicked king Manasseh.
More than a book prophesying in the defeat and exile of Judah by the Babylonians, Habakkuk seems more to address the godly remnant of Judah in an attempt to understand what was about to befall them and why. Although few if any satisfying answers are given, we are forced to recognize ADONAI’s Infinite Sovereignty and trust Him even though we see through a fractured finite lens.
Habakkuk sees things as black and white and questions arise when he begins to see hues of grey. Because of his questions regarding justice, I call this commentary, “The Heart Song of Habakkuk.” Being a prophetic philosopher and poet he emotionally is much like his contemporary prophetic brother Jeremiah, who is called the “weeping Prophet.”