Study Guide

The Twelve Minor Prophets Habakkuk: Prophet’s Got Chutzpah

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Habakkuk: Prophet’s Got Chutzpah

  • Early rabbinical commentary posits that Habakkuk lived in the early seventh century BCE, but contemporary scholars believe that he lived closer to the end. We’re not given any information about his name, his parentage or his home. The story of Bel and the Dragon in the apocryphal books of the Bible has an angel flying Habakkuk to the prophet Daniel to deliver dinner, which is the first historic record of a food delivery service with a half-hour guarantee. This culinary episode may be the reason that Donatello’s famous sculpture of Habakkuk is called “Lo Zuccone”, which means “The Pumpkin”, which is Italian slang for pumpkin-head or bald-head.
  • Habakkuk’s watching the sinfulness of the people go on unchecked and pretty much says to God, “Enough already! Do something about it.” Bold move for a mortal, as if God hasn’t already given the matter some serious consideration. The reason God doesn’t incinerate Habakkuk on the spot is probably, as we see in the end, that Habakkuk has ultimate faith in God’s rulership and decisions. He was just wondering. Could’ve gone the other way, though. The book seems to say that it’s OK to question God, but just know that there’s an overriding purpose for what God does even if it isn’t immediately apparent to us.

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