A Commentary on the Book of Habakkuk (Essay Sample)
The Interpretive Commentary Assignment provides an opportunity to write your own
commentary on a book of the Old Testament. This is essentially an interpretive paper but should
be structured as a commentary would be structured, following the literary units within the book
and providing interpretive analysis of each unit. The Interpretive Commentary Assignment
engages directly with the biblical text so that you may observe, interpret, and apply the text
through an inductive means that also incorporates research into the interpretive issues that
surround the historical, literary, and theological elements of Scripture.
The Interpretive Commentary: Final Assignment is an interpretive paper on the book of
Habakkuk. You will write a commentary on the book of Habakkuk that is at least 2500 words
excluding title page and bibliography. The paper should include an introduction that emphasizes
introductory matters pertaining to author, audience, historical setting, literary genre, and
theological motifs. The paper should also include a conclusion that emphasizes application in
areas of practice and theology.
The main body of the paper is an interpretive commentary on the three chapters of Habakkuk.
However, it should be structured not merely by chapter breaks, but by literary units that are
marked by cohesion of subject matter and genre. For example, most would see Habakkuk 1:2-4
as a literary unit (Habakkuk’s initial complaint). For each literary unit (as determined by your
own structural analysis), you will provide interpretive commentary that discusses, analyzes, and
interprets the content within that unit. A well-rounded commentary will engage in the historical,
literary, and theological points of interest and interpretive issues within the text of Habakkuk.
The Interpretive Commentary: Final Assignment must follow current Turabian format. At
least five (5) sources are necessary for the assignment. Recommended source material includes
academic commentaries (those published within the past 40 years are preferred), relevant journal
articles, and academic monographs. Avoid popular source material and internet-based resource
information (not to be confused with internet search engines or electronic platforms that house
Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool.
A Commentary on the Book of Habakkuk
The Book of Habakkuk is one of the prophetic books in the Bible. As its name suggests, the Book has three brief chapters written by Habakkuk. Habakkuk seems to live during the era of King Josiah. Furthermore, thus, he might have given his prophecy during King Josiah's succession. Thus, the prophet knew what is talked about enduring the era of revival and then followed by an era of spiritual decline. Another challenge that affected Habakkuk was dealing with tough questions and challenging situations. There are chapters 1-3. In chapters one and two, Habakkuk highlights two mysteries he writes on. Firstly, God leaves Judah unpunished, and secondly, God could use Babylon to judge Judah's sin, yet Babylon was worse than Judah. In the last chapter of the BookBook, the author ends with making praises and commitments to God. Even though there were problems in Judah, Habakkuk claims that he would continue to praise the sovereign God. Habakkuk means "He that embraces."[Schmoyer, R. (2018). Understanding Habakkuk by Understanding His Context - Read the Hard Parts. Read the Hard Parts. Retrieved fromhttps://readthehardparts.com/understanding-habakkuk-by-understanding-his-context/.]
There is a possibility that God embraced him to pass His message to the people. Rejoicing and having faith in God is significant rather than relying on encountered circumstances. The outcome of his thoughts and sentiments is a book that shows God's aims within a world driven by corruption and brutality. There is little information on Habakkuk's background in the Bible. Faithfulness is also used as a challenging tool. Meaning faithfulness can be used to challenge God to illustrate His justice. The struggle does not cease because believers tend to believe in a highly sovereign world, the struggle does not cease. When the historical, prophetical, ideological, and theological perspective of Habakkuk's Book is evaluated, God's message is well interpreted within the passages. According to Pastor Church Swindoll, Habakkuk's Book perceives that God's inaction towards evildoers was passive, and the author had to channel his energy to praise the Lord instead of being disappointed as Jonah did.[Swindoll, C. (2022) Book of Habakkuk Overview - Insight for Living Ministries. Insight.org. Retrieved from https://insight.org/resources/bible/the-minor-prophets/habakkuk.]
There is an actual approximation of the Habakkuk book dates. Many researchers have provided data that is in line with the prophecies. If we are to consider these dates, some assumptions can help discuss the historical background of the BookBook. According to Schmoyer , Habakkuk's experience can be assessed by considering how people lived in the 586-650BC. On the other hand, we can see that the BookBook was written in the late seventh century if we consider the chapters' incidences, themes, and literature setup. In chapter 1, verses 6-10, Habakkuk describes the people of Babylon as ruthless enemies, and Nineveh had failed. The Nineveh fallout time is around 612BC, and Babylon was a superior power by then. Habakkuk must have written the Book before Babylonians did their first invasion on Judah approximately 605 B.C. If we consider the Book's tone, Babylon's attack is looming. At this time, shortly before 606BC, Judah was under King Jehoiakim, an evil leader. According to the scriptures, this is another possible period considered from these chapters when Habakkuk claims that the uprising Babylonian conquest would have destroyed Judah's lands. According to 2 Kings chapter 24, the Book could have been written during Nebuchadnezzar's win over Judah in 597 B.C, and the next one happened in 588-586 B.C .[Schmoyer, R. (2018). ] [Robert Jr, B. (2009). Handbook on the Prophets. Baker Books]
Habakkuk's chapters focus on God's holiness and superiority in a kingdom filled with wrong deeds and sinful acts. The author complains about the injustices that are happening in Judah. The scripture explains how Habakkuk takes the reader to Psalms, where there are similar queries on the nature of the time frame of these injustices why it was happening to Judah. Habakkuk Chapter 1 verses 1-12 explains the Lord's character based on the prayer to God. Hiramatsu, focuses on the final text form and considers the whole Book as a single literary element. The prophet does not decline to express his sentiments regarding the judgments made by God towards his people. In the texts by Brinegar, Habakkuk laments that the society existed in the war due to the injustices created. This theme continues to appear throughout Chapters 1: 2-4. Several common words are used to describe the state of Judah. These words include; conflict, destruction, injustice, violence, and wrong-doings. The prophet's responsibility is to direct God's people towards obedience to His word. However, Habakkuk confronts God in the text, but in the end, he prays through faith and openness through submitting praises to God.[Hiramatsu, K. (2016). The Structure and Structural Relationships of the Book of Habakkuk. The Journal of Inductive Biblical Studies, 3(2), 4.] [Brinegar, Z. (2018). Revelation's use of the Prophets.]
Habakkuk addressed challenges that the tribe of Judah encountered during the Assyrian fall in Babylon. It was during the rise of the second half in Babylon. In this Book, Nahum was captured anticipating the Assyrian fall, whereas Zephaniah dealt with internal issues in Judah. However, Habakkuk is varying as he reflects both episodes (Assyrian fall of internal issues affecting Judah). Apart from the prophet's information at the opening of the BookBook, much is described about the prophet. Believers tend to believe in a highly sovereign world, yet the struggle does not cease; for instance, the prophet's personality is minimal. Initially, Habakkuk can be termed a prophet prepared to face and tackle challenges.
Following the Book, some challenges include faith issues and striving to understand Yahweh's justice. Due to these aspects, Habakkuk 2:4 explains the critical aspects of tension and faith and acknowledges that all in the world is not correct. Being a prophet who had much intact s in handling challenges, Habakkuk could prophesy the emerging threats in Babylon. More so, the prophet was not blind to Judas' internal problems. Thus, the prophet knew what is talked about enduring the era of revival and then followed by an era of spiritual decline. Another challenge that affected Habakkuk was dealing with tough questions and challenging situations. To add on, the purpose of this Book is foreseen when the prophet report Yahweh's word. In Habakkuk 2; 4, faith is identified as the solution. The life of faith is highly encouraged. It is because rejoicing and having faith in God is considered significant rather than relying on encountered circumstances. Faithfulness is also used as a challenging tool. Meaning faithfulness can be used to challenge God to illustrate His justice. It is because believers tend to believe in a highly sovereign world, yet the struggle does not cease.[Schmoyer, R. 2018]
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