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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Habakkuk 1:1

 

 

The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The burden - המשא hammassa signifies not only the burdensome prophecy, but the prophecy or revelation itself which God presented to the mind of Habakkuk, and which he saw-clearly perceived, in the light of prophecy and then faithfully declared, as this book shows. The word signifies an oracle or revelation in general; but chiefly, one relative to future calamities.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/habakkuk-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The burden - On the word “burden” see the note at Nahum 1:1.

Which Habakkuk the prophet did see - The prophet‘s name signifies “strong embrace.” The word in its intensive form is used both of God‘s enfolding the soul within His tender supporting love, and of man clinging and holding fast to divine wisdom Proverbs 4:8. It fits in with the subject of his prophecy, faith, cleaving fast to God amid the perplexities of things seen. Dion.: “He who is spiritually Habakkuk, cleaving fast to God with the arms of love, or enfolding Him after the manner of one holily wrestling, until he is blessed, enlightened, and heard by Him, is the seer here.” “Let him who would in such wise fervidly embrace God and plead with Him as a friend, praying earnestly for the deliverance and consolation of himself and others, but who sees not as yet, that his prayer is heard, make the same holy plaint, and appeal to the clemency of the Creator.” (Jer. Abarbanel has the like: “He strengthens himself in pleading his cause with God as to the prosperity of Nebuchadnezzar as if he were joined with God for the cause of his people” Preface to Ezekiel). “He is called ‹embrace‘ either because of his love to the Lord; or because he engages in a contest and strife and (so to speak) wrestling with God.” For no one with words so bold ventured to challenge God to a discussion of His justice and to say to Him, “Why, in human affairs and the government of this world is there so great injustice?”

The prophet - The title, “the prophet,” is added only to the names of Habakkuk, Haggai, Zechariah. Habakkuk may have added it to his name instead because he prominently expostulates with God, like the Psalmists, and does not speak in the name of God to the people. The title asserts that he exercised the pastoral office of the prophets, although not directly in this prophecy.

Did see - Cyril: “God multiplied visons, as is written Hosea 12:10, and Himself spoke to the prophets, disclosing to them beforehand what should be, and all but exhibiting them to sight, as if already present. But that they determined not to speak from their own, but rather transmit to us the words from God, he persuades us at the outset, naming himself a prophet, and showing himself full of the grace belonging thereto.”


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/habakkuk-1.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

This chapter begins with the salutation (Habakkuk 1:1), and a plaintive summary of Judah's wickedness (Habakkuk 1:2,3). Then comes the bold and courageous prophecy of the destruction of Judah by the Chaldeans (Habakkuk 1:4-11). But Habakkuk had a problem with regard to the inherent justice of God who would use the wicked Babylonians against a people who, wicked as they were, were yet better than the Babylonians. As a result of that problem, Habakkuk did not withdraw from God and assume the status of an enemy; but he boldly presented it (Habakkuk 1:12-17) and waited patiently for the answer, which came, of course, in the opening verses of the next chapter. It is well to keep in mind that Habakkuk's concern here was the inherent justice or righteousness of God, a fact that corroborates that as the subject of the apostle Paul in Romans 1:17ff.

Habakkuk 1:1

"The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see."

"Burden..." "This noun, translated in other versions as oracle, utterance, or lifted up, is synonymous with revelation, a revelation which had come from God."[1] The RSV is therefore correct in the addition of "from God." "It became a technical term for a prophecy spoken against a nation under judgment";[2] and that is the usual meaning of it in the Old Testament. Nahum is a "burden" against Assyria; and Habakkuk is a "burden" against both Judah and Babylon. Although the wickedness of Judah is outlined, and the agent of their doom prophesied, the prophet nevertheless directed his words, not to Judah, but "almost entirely to God or the Chaldeans."[3]


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/habakkuk-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. This prophecy is called a "burden", or something took up and carried, being what the prophet received from the Lord, and went with to the people of the Jews, and was a heavy burdensome prophecy to them; declaring the calamities that should come upon them by the Chaldeans, who would invade their land, and carry them captive; and Habakkuk, that brought this account, is called a "prophet", to give the greater sanction to it; and it was what he had in vision from the Lord represented unto him, and therefore should be credited. Abarbinel inquires why Habakkuk should be called a prophet, when none of the lesser prophets are, excepting Haggai and Zechariah; and thinks the reason of it is, to give weight to his prophecy, since it might be suspected by some whether he was one; there being none of those phrases to be met with in this prophecy as in others, as "the word of the Lord came", &c. or "thus saith the Lord".


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/habakkuk-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

The burden which Habakkuk the prophet saw. p> p>
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The Argument - The Prophet complains to God, considering the great felicity of the wicked, and the miserable oppression of the godly, who endure all types of affliction and cruelty, and yet can see no end. Therefore he had this revelation shown to him by God, that the Chaldeans would come and take them away as captives, so that they could look for no end of their troubles as yet, because of their stubbornness and rebellion against the Lord. And lest the godly should despair, seeing this horrible confusion, he comforts them by this, that God will punish the Chaldeans their enemies, when their pride and cruelty will be at height. And for this reason he exhorts the faithful to patience by his own example, and shows them a form of prayer, with which they should comfort themselves.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/habakkuk-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Habakkuk 1:1-17. Habakkuk‘s expostulation with Jehovah on account of the prevalence of injustice: Jehovah summons attention to his purpose of sending the Chaldeans as the avengers. The prophet complains, that these are worse than those on whom vengeance was to be taken.

burden — the prophetic sentence.


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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/habakkuk-1.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Habakkuk 1:1 contains the heading not only to ch. 1 and 2, but to the whole book, of which ch. 3 forms an integral part. On the special heading in Habakkuk 3:1, see the comm. on that verse. The prophet calls his writing a massâ' , or burden (see at Nahum 1:1), because it announces heavy judgments upon the covenant nation and the imperial power.


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The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/habakkuk-1.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.

The burden — The prophet seems to speak of these grievous things, as a burden which he himself groaned under.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/habakkuk-1.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

The greater part of interpreters refer this burden to the Chaldeans and the monarchy of Babylon; but of this view I do not approve, and a good reason compels me to dissent from their opinion: for as the Prophet addresses the Jews, and without any addition calls his prophecy a burden, there is no doubt but that he refers to them. Besides, their view seems wholly inconsistent, because the Prophet dreads the future devastation of the land, and complains to God for allowing His chosen and elect people to be so cruelly treated. What others think is more correct—that this burden belonged to the Jews.

What the Prophet understood by the word משא, mesha, has been elsewhere stated. Habakkuk then reproves here his own nation, and shows that they had in vain disdainfully resisted all God’s prophets, for they would at length find that their threatening would be accomplished. The burden, then, which the Prophet Habakkuk saw, was this—That God, after having exercised long forbearance towards the Jews, would at length be the punisher of their many sins. It now follows—


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/habakkuk-1.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

burden See note 1, (See Scofield "Isaiah 13:1").


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Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Habakkuk 1:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/habakkuk-1.html. 1917.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

The title of the prophecy is said to be a burthen. In this Chapter we find the Prophet crying to the Lord, and calling also to the nations of the heathen concerning their sins, and the punishment to follow.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/habakkuk-1.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Habakkuk 1:1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.

Ver. 1. The burden] The prophetic burden, saith the Chaldea paraphrast; the burdenous prophecy, saith Tremellius. {See Trapp on "Malachi 1:1"}

Which Habakkuk the prophet did see] Amplexator ille, That embracer (so some interpret his name), yea, Optimus Amplexator (as they gather from the last radical emphatically doubled), That best embracer. Et carte omen habet nomen, He hath not his name for nought; for (as Luther writeth) in this prophecy he loveth and huggeth his afflicted countrymen; he helps and solaces them, as the mother doth her crying babe, to still it. Jerome and others make Habakkuk to signify Luctatorem amplex stringentem, a wrestler, that, by closing, strives to prevail; that, by might and slight, seeks to get the better. Such a one was Jacob, whose wrestling was by weeping, and his prevailing by praying, Hosea 12:4. Such another was Habakkuk, who argueth earnestly with God about the state of his people, and prayeth ardently for them; not doubting but that the Lord would "preserve the faithful, and plentifully reward the proud doer," Psalms 31:23. A prophet he is here styled, and a seer, and that is all is said of him; nothing of his pedigree, or time of prophesying; that the word (and not the man) might be glorified, Acts 13:47. Regis epistolis acceptis, saith Gregory; when a king’s letters are brought to his subjects, it is a ridiculous thing for them to inquire with what pen they were written; it is the matter must be minded: so here. A prophet Habakkuk was; and is therefore to be received into our hearts, if we look for a prophet’s reward. He received heavenly visions, whereunto therefore we must not be disobedient, Acts 26:19. That memorable sentence of his, "The just shal1 live by faith," is more than once made use of by St Paul, in that weighty business of justification, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, which proves the canonical authority of this prophecy. The precise time when it was uttered is not known. In the days of Manasseh most think; but some are of the opinion in Josiah’s time rather, or not long before; because he foretelleth the Babylonish captivity, and seemeth to agree with Jeremiah in many things. Sure it is, that this prophet lived not after the captivity, [Habakkuk 1:6-7] as Epiphanius and Jerome would have it; grounding upon those Apocryphal additions to Daniel, which either are false, or else there were two Habakkuks.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/habakkuk-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Habakkuk 1:1. The burden, &c.— The sentence, or prophesy. The prophet in the first four verses inveighs against the irregularities of Judah; and in the 6th verse he speaks of the coming of the Chaldeans into the country as of a thing entirely new; and as if those people had been called into existence for the very purpose of punishing the Jewish nation. See Calmet.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/habakkuk-1.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

HABAKKUK CHAPTER 1

Unto Habakkuk, complaining of the iniquity of the land, Habakkuk 1:14, showed the fearful vengeance by the Chaldeans, Habakkuk 1:5-11. He complaineth that vengeance should be executed by them who are far worse, Habakkuk 1:12-17.

The burden; see Nahum 1:1; to which we may here add, as proper to this time and place, that the prophet seems to speak of the grievous things here intended as a burden to himself, a trouble he did feel and groan under.

Habakkuk: here we might, as others, guess at his country, parentage, and tribe; but no certainty appears in these: his name may perhaps intimate somewhat, either actively one that embraceth, or passively one embraced, and so may refer to God, or to his people, and intimate good to a people, whom God will ere long embrace; or it may speak one that is puzzled with the intricacy of affairs, and therefore expostulateth, as Habakkuk 1:2,3.

The prophet; not he that is mentioned in the apocryphal book, but a prophet called and sent of God.

Did see; not only in the future certainty of it on others, but did also feel in the present trouble and perplexity wherewith it affected him.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/habakkuk-1.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘The burden which Habakkuk the prophet saw.’

This description of a prophecy as a ‘burden’ occurs regularly. This was firstly because it burdened the prophet’s soul. He could not forebear to speak because the message lay heavily on him. And, secondly, it was a burden because he found it very difficult to deliver. It was rarely a happy message, even though usually containing comfort for the future of God’s people. And yet he had to deliver it because God had told him to, we may assume in the face of fierce opposition. Being a true prophet was by no means an easy task.

This designation as "the prophet" as an opening designation is found in two other prophetic books, Haggai and Zechariah. This is probably because they were official prophets, belonging to the recognised order of prophets and connected with the central sanctuary (see Zechariah 11:12 where Zechariah is due his wages).


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/habakkuk-1.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1. The title.

Burden — See on Nahum 1:1 (compare “take up,” Habakkuk 2:6).

Habakkuk — See Introduction to Habakkuk.

Did see — During the earlier period of Israelitish history dreams and visions appear to have been common vehicles of divine revelation (Numbers 12:6); and it was during that period that the prophetic terminology originated. In the early days the prophets “did see” and “had visions,” but during the golden age of Hebrew prophecy dreams and visions became less common; the ancient terminology, however, was retained (compare Habakkuk 2:1-4; Nahum 1:1; Amos 1:1; Micah 1:1, etc.).


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/habakkuk-1.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

I. HEADING1:1

The writer described this book as an oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw in a vision or dream. This burden (Heb. massa", something lifted up) was a message predicting judgment on Judah and Babylon.

"Habakkuk"s prophecy possesses a burdensome dimension from start to finish." [Note: Robertson, p135.]

We know nothing more about Habakkuk with certainty than that he was a prophet who also had the ability to write poetry (ch3).

"Like Haggai and Zechariah in the books that bear their names ( Haggai 1:1; Zechariah 1:1) Habakkuk is called the prophet. This may mean that Habakkuk was a professional prophet on the temple staff ..." [Note: F. F. Bruce, " Habakkuk ," in The Minor Prophets, p842. Johannes Lindblom, Prophecy in Ancient Israel, pp208 , 254 , advanced this view. ]

These temple prophets led the people in worshipping God (cf. 1 Chronicles 25:1). [Note: On the subject of prophets who led the people in worship, see Aubrey R. Johnson, The Cultic Prophet in Ancient Israel.]

"One of the functions of temple prophets was to give responses to worshipers who came seeking divine guidance: when the problem was stated, the prophet inquired of God and obtained an answer." [Note: Bruce, p832.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/habakkuk-1.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Habakkuk 1:1. The burden — The grievous calamities, or heavy judgments; which Habakkuk did see — That is, foresee, and was commissioned to foretel. This burden, or prophetic vision, communicated to Habakkuk, was against the Chaldeans as well as the Jews. For while the prophet was complaining of iniquity among the Jews, 1st, God foreshows him the desolations which the Chaldeans would make in Judea and the neighbouring countries, as the ministers of divine vengeance: and, 2d, Upon the prophet’s falling into an expostulation with God about these proceedings, moved thereto probably by his compassion for his own people, God shows him the judgments which he would execute upon the Chaldeans.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/habakkuk-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Burden. Such prophecies more especially are called burdens, as threaten grievous evils and punishments. (Challoner) --- He says not against whom, because the menace is directed to persecutors in general. (Worthington)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/habakkuk-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

burden. See note on Nahum 1:1. did see. The Hebrew accent places the chief pause on this verb, to emphasize the fact that the giving of the vision was of more importance than what was revealed by it. A second and lesser pause is placed on "burden", leaving "Habakkuk" as being less important. The verse therefore should read, "The burden which he saw, Habakkuk the prophet".


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/habakkuk-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.

The burden - The prophetic sentence.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/habakkuk-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) The prophet.—This title (han-nâbî) is applied only to Habakkuk, Haggai, and Zechariah. In the later historical books it is used to designate the members of those prophetical colleges which were founded by Samuel, and kept up, at all events, till the time of Elisha. It is uncertain whether in these three minor prophets it has a similar force, or merely, as in the Pentateuch, indicates a chosen minister whom God inspires to reveal His will. On the term burden, or sentence, see Isaiah 13:1.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/habakkuk-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
Isaiah 22:1; Nahum 1:1

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/habakkuk-1.html.

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Habakkuk 1:1. Title.—On the "seeing" of an oracle, cf. Isaiah 2:1, etc.


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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1:1". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/habakkuk-1.html. 1919.

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