Study Guide

The Twelve Minor Prophets Habakkuk Chapter 3

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Habakkuk Chapter 3

One of These Chapters is Not Like the Others

  • The third chapter of Habakkuk is a prayer in the form of a psalm. Like the psalms of David, it even has an instrument cue, a shout-out to the director of music and pirated torrents on the Bible Bay. Some Bible scholars think that this musical instruction suggests that Habakkuk was one of the Levites, who were in charge of music in the Temple.
  • Habakkuk starts his hymn of praise with, well, praise.
  • He knows what God has done for his people in the past and asks that he do it again even though he’s angry.
  • He recalls God coming to Mt. Sinai (although it’s called Mount Paran here), and delivering Israel via plagues and pillars of fire.
  • There’s the usual imagery of God thundering upon the earth, causing the ground to shake and the sea to roar.
  • Habakkuk knows that God will bash in the heads of the evil.
  • After shaking in his boots, Habakkuk finds some kind of inner calm because he knows that deliverance will come.
  • Even though things will get very bad, he’ll get through it because God is his strength.
  • There will be no oil, no sheep, no cattle, no wheat, and no figs. Due to chronic shortages, Fig Newtons are selling at ten shekels a pop.
  • That said, God is sovereign over all and will eventually rescue his people. Someday the psalmist will get deer feet and climb up the mountain, which is either a popular metaphor in Hebrew psalms or the secret origin of a Native American myth.
  • The different style of this chapter has led some to suggest that it might have actually been tacked on to the original book by someone else. Biblical scholars have debated this unanswerable question for years, of course.

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