Prayer to Yahweh (Hab 3:2-3:2)

“O Yahweh!

I have heard

Of your renown!

O Yahweh!

I stand in awe

At your work!

In your own time,

Revive it!

In your own time,

Make it known!

In wrath,

May you remember mercy.”

This hymn or prayer is clearly addressed to Yahweh.  Habakkuk had heard of the great renown of Yahweh.  He was standing in awe of Yahweh and the works of his hand.  Yahweh would set his own time when he would revive his work.  He would make it know when he wanted to.  Habakkuk wanted Yahweh to remember his mercy whenever he was angry.

The prayer of Judith for the future (Jdt 9:4-9:6)

“O God, my God,

Hear me also, a widow!

You have done these things,

Those things that went before

And those things that followed.

You have designed the things that are now.

You have designed those things that are to come.

What you had in your mind has happened.

The things that you decided on presented themselves.

Here we are!

All your ways are prepared in advance.

Your judgment is with foreknowledge.”

Now Judith is asking for the God of her ancestors to help her, a poor widow. She trusts in the providence of God. He has controlled the past. He has designed things for the future. Whatever is in the mind of God will be done. So now here we are. What are we to do? God has prepared all in advance since he has foreknowledge of all that is to come to pass.

The prayer of the Levites (Neh 9:5-9:5)

“Then the Levites Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said.

‘Stand up!

Bless Yahweh your God,

From everlasting to everlasting!

Blessed be your glorious name

That is exalted above all blessing and praise.’”

This is somewhat reminiscent of Psalm 78. These are the 8 Levites just mentioned in the preceding paragraph. However Bunni has become Hodiah and Chenani has become Pethahiah. They wanted the people to stand up and bless God because he is everlasting and glorious. Therefore Yahweh should be exalted above all blessings and praises.


King David’s praise of Yahweh (1 Chr 17:23-17:27)

“Now, O Yahweh God,

As for the word that you have spoken

Concerning your servant and concerning his house,

Let it be established forever.

Do as you have promised.

Thus your name will be established and magnified forever.

In the saying,

Yahweh of hosts is Israel’s God.

The house of your servant David will be established in your presence.

For you, my God, have revealed to your servant,

That you will build a house for him.

Therefore your servant has found it possible to pray before you.

Now, O Yahweh, you are God.

You have promised this good thing to your servant.

Therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant,

So that it may continue forever before you!

You, O Yahweh have blessed and are blessed forever.”

This is once again a long stirring prayer ascribed to King David based on 2 Samuel, chapter 7. All he asked for was the continued blessing of Yahweh on him and his household that it might continue forever. The house of David may refer to his palace house or more precisely to the Davidic dynasty. At the same time he was talking about building a house or temple to Yahweh. I am personally surprised that this prayer is not more widely used since it is a great hymn of praise and humility.