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Icons of the Bible: Habakkuk the Prophet

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

Icons of the Bible: Habakkuk the Prophet
Icons of the Bible: Habakkuk the Prophet

Icons of the Bible

Who is Habakkuk in the Bible?

"Habakkuk was a prophet who penned the biblical book called by his name. His book is among the minor prophets and is unique in including a doxology (Habakkuk 3). Very little is known about Habakkuk and his life except for what is mentioned in his short book. There is even disagreement over the meaning of his name, whether it means “embracer” or “embraced.” Some commentators have conjectured that Habakkuk is the Shunammite woman’s son, whom Elisha said she would “embrace” (2 Kings 4:16, ESV) and who was later raised from the dead (verses 32–37). Although it is an interesting theory, there’s no way to prove that the Shunammite’s boy grew up to become the prophet we know as Habakkuk.

Since Habakkuk prophesied about the Babylonians and the destruction of Jerusalem (Habakkuk 1:6), most biblical scholars believe that the book of Habakkuk was written sometime in the 600s BC, possibly around 605. Based on the content of his prophecy, many scholars place him around the same time as Jeremiah, who also prophesied about the coming Babylonian Captivity. It is possible that, like Jeremiah, Habakkuk lived to see the destruction of Jerusalem.

Not only was he a prophet, but Habakkuk was also a skilled poet. In the book of Habakkuk, the prophet shows great literary prowess in recording a dialogue between himself and God, as well as including a psalm-like song intended to be performed with instruments (Habakkuk 3:19). Whether or not he played music himself is unknown, but it is a possibility.

Habakkuk was saddened by the rampant injustice and violence occurring around him, and he was puzzled by God’s toleration of it. In his questioning of God, the prophet asks, “Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds” (Habakkuk 1:3). Clearly, Habakkuk was not afraid to ask the Lord questions, which shows that the prophet had a strong relationship with Him. Habakkuk’s questions of why God would allow suffering and let evilness go unpunished are answered; the Lord declares He would bring judgment on the people through the Babylonians (verse 6).

God’s choice to use Babylon puzzled Habakkuk even more, and he again questioned God: how could God use such a violent, idolatrous group of people to carry out a righteous judgment (Habakkuk 1:12–13, 16)? God answered Habakkuk by assuring him of the judgment the Babylonians themselves would face at a later time (Habakkuk 2:8, 16).

Habakkuk accepts God’s answers and shows himself to be man of great faith. Despite the fear, suffering, and trouble the prophet faced, Habakkuk proclaims, “I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:18). Like Habakkuk, we can ask God about events happening in our lives, and like Habakkuk, we can conclude that “the Sovereign LORD is my strength” (verse 19)." from the article: Who is Habakkuk in the Bible?

6 Things to Know about Habakkuk in the Bible

Where is God when life doesn’t make sense? When it seems like the wicked are prospering? When circumstances are as chaotic as they are confusing? These were the questions swirling in the mind of the prophet Habakkuk, and the record of his prayer life as he wrestled through these questions provides a bracing and encouraging example of how to trust God in the midst of hard times that we don’t fully understand.

Who is Habakkuk in the Bible?

Habakkuk was a prophet who likely lived at the same time as Zephaniah and Jeremiah. Historians estimate he likely “prophesied a short time before the Babylonian invasions of Judah, which began in 605 B.C. Habakkuk watched with horror as the people of Judah became more and more unrighteous, but he was even more horrified when God used an even more unrighteous nation (Babylon) to judge them through the exile. God’s answers to Habakkuk’s questions provided insight and encouragement for Habakkuk and the righteous remnant in Judah, and those words preserved in the book of Habbakuk continue to do the same for believers today.

Here Are 6 Things to Know about Habakkuk and His Book:

What Was the Character of Habakkuk?

1. Habakkuk models honest, righteous prayer that asks the hard questions.

In a departure from most prophetic literature in the Bible, the book of Habbakuk is not directly addressed to God’s people; “rather, it is a dialogue, between the prophet and God” ( The book is almost entirely a back-and-forth conversation in which Habakkuk is deeply honest with God. He asks difficult questions and struggles with reconciling what he knows about God’s characters with what God’s current actions are. He wonders why a more wicked nation (Babylon) will be able to win a victory over a less wicked nation (Judah). He cannot deduce how that is just or how that will communicate God’s character to a watching world.

You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? (Habakkuk 1:13)

After sharing all that is on his heart, Habakkuk says: I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. (Habakkuk 2:1).." from the article:

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