The book asserts that oppressive violence is not enduring in the face of God's opposition to it.God is involved in the ebb and flow of history to provide refuge, even from God's own wrath. Purpose: To guide Israel toward faith in God during the trials of the Babylonian conquest and exile by displaying the prophet's personal struggle and resolution. The reference in Habakkuk 1:1 as "the prophet" may imply that he was well known.
Habakkuk opens by protesting God's inaction in the face of injustice and violence: the wicked thrive at the expense of the righteous.
God responds by announcing the invasion of the Babylonians to exact punishment.
Habakkuk is the thirty-fifth book of the Old Testament. Through dialogue with God, Habakkuk embodies a way to live in the time between present suffering and future deliverance. The reader can take up the role of Habakkuk in the dialogue to ask questions about God's attention to the contemporary world.
It is the eighth of the so-called "minor" (or shorter) prophets, the twelve books that make up the final portion of the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles. The Chaldeans (Babylonians) remain a threat, even in the final, edited form of the book. Lamenting, petitioning, and trembling are coupled with confident rejoicing in God's commitment to deliver. Given its placement in the prophetic collection (unlike Job, with its similar concerns), readers may find themselves indirectly indicted as they hear echoes of the conduct of the oppressor in their own actions, individual or communal.
Habakkuk protests that God's use of the Babylonians is an injustice worse than the injustice they are to punish.