Probably around 605 B.C.
There is no “Word of the LORD” introduction for Habakkuk, no genealogy, no geographic marker. In fact, there is no mention of Judah or Jerusalem or Zion or Israel anywhere in this book. The only placement of any kind is the rise of the Chaldeans, who ruled from Babylon and had overrun Assyria, Egypt, and all their former lands.
These Chaldeans are the answer to Habakkuk’s first question, looking out on the corruption among his people, Habakkuk asks: “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you "Violence!" and you will not save?... The wicked surround the righteous, so justice goes forth perverted.” Justice, the LORD offers, will come from the hand of these Chaldeans who “all come for violence, all their faces forward.” But this raises an even deeper question for Habakkuk: But what then is to stop the violence of the Chaldeans?
This conversation slows down in chapter 2, and after the LORD assuages Habakkuk’s fear, the prophet sets his eyes on the gathering enemy, taunting “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own! …Will not your debtors suddenly arise? Then you will be spoil for them. …You will have shame instead of glory.”
As we’ve seen with prophets such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Habakkuk’s journey is intensely personal. The final chapter is Habakkuk’s psalm of response. Look for where the prophet finds encouragement and strength, and what leads to his final conclusion.
Our verse for this week is Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
The prophet Habakkuk. Now let’s read it!
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,