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Literature / Book of Habakkuk

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One of the books of the Minor Prophets that make up the Old Testament.

Structure of the book:

  • Habakkuk's first complaint: injustice (Habakkuk 1:1-4)
  • God's first response (Habakkuk 1:5-11)
  • Habakkuk's second complaint: God is unfair (Habakkuk 1:12-2:1)
  • God's second response (Habakkuk 2:2-20)
  • Habakkuk's psalm (Habakkuk chapter 3)

Tropes associated with this work:

  • Cargo Cult: Habakkuk says in Habakkuk 1:15-17 that Jersualem's enemies, the Babylonians, worship the net that they use to capture the Jews, which bring them much food and treasure to feast upon. God speaks about this issue in Habakkuk 2:18-19:
    What profit is a carved image when its maker has carved it,
    a cast image, and a teacher of lies,
    that its maker trusts in what he has shaped
    when he makes mute idols?
    Woe to him who says to the wood, “Awake!”
    To the silent stone, “Arise!” Can it teach?
    It is overlaid with gold and silver,
    and there is no breath at all in it.
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  • Doomed Hometown: Jerusalem, at the time of Habakkuk's prophecy, is about to be overrun by the Babylonians.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: Habakkuk's complaint to God in Habakkuk 1:3:
    Why do you make me see iniquity,
    and why do you idly look at wrong? (English Standard Version)
    • And again in Habakkuk 1:13:
    You who are a of purer eyes than to see evil
    and cannot look at wrong,
    why do you idly look at traitors
    and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
    the man more righteous than he? (English Standard Version)
  • Moral Myopia: Of the Babylonians, God says, "They are frightening and terrifying; they decide for themselves what is right." (Habakkuk 1:7, NET Bible)
  • Musical Episode: Chapter 3 ends the book with a song of praise from Habakkuk the prophet.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In Habakkuk 2:15-16:
    “Woe to him who makes his neighbor drink,
    pouring out your poison until they are drunk,
    that you may look on their nakedness!”
    You will be filled with shame instead of glory.
    You yourself—drink and show your uncircumcision!
    The cup of the Lord’s right hand will be turned against you,
    and utter shame will come on your glory!
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: God says to Babylon in Habakkuk 2:8: "Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the people will plunder you, because of the bloodshed of men and violence of the land, of the cities and all who live in them."
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  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: The last verses of this book that end with a song:
    Though the fig tree does not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines;
    though the yield of the olive fails,
    and the fields produce no food;
    though the flocks are cut off from the fold,
    and there be no herd in the stalls—
    yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will exult in the God of my salvation.
    The Lord God is my strength;
    He will make my feet like hinds’ feet,
    and He will make me walk on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
  • Vice City: Jerusalem, as described in the opening verses of Chapter 1:
    Why do You make me see wickedness,
    and cause me to see trouble?
    Plundering and violence are before me;
    strife and contention arise.
    Therefore the law is powerless,
    and justice never goes forth.
    For the wicked surround the righteous;
    therefore injustice proceeds. (Habakkuk 1:3-4)

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