The problem of the rivers (Hab 3:8-3:8)

“Was your wrath

Against the rivers?

O Yahweh!

Was your anger

Against the rivers?

Was your rage

Against the sea,

When you drove

Your horses

With your chariots

To victory?”

Habakkuk wondered why Yahweh was angry at the rivers and the sea.  After all, Yahweh had driven his horses and chariots to victory over the rivers and seas.

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The power of Yahweh (Hab 3:5-3:6)

“Pestilence went before him.

The plague followed close behind.

Yahweh stopped.

He shook the earth.

He looked.

He made the nations tremble.

The eternal mountains

Were shattered.

The everlasting hills

Sank low,

Along his ancient pathways.”

Habakkuk remarked that Yahweh was powerful.  Pestilence went before him, while the plague followed him.  Yahweh stopped and shook the earth.  As he looked, the various countries trembled.  The eternal mountains and the everlasting hills were shattered, as they sank low to provide a path for him.

The Almighty Holy One (Hab 3:3-3:3)

“Elohim,

The Almighty One,

Came from Teman.

The Holy One

Came from Mount Paran.”

            Selah

Habakkuk has a series of names for Yahweh.  He was called Elohim, the Almighty One, and the Holy One.  This Almighty One was coming from Teman in Edom, the territory south of Judah.  Paran was a mountain in Edom.  Thus, Yahweh was going to enter Judah from the south.  Like in many of the psalms, there is an indication for a pause with the Selah.

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 fifth curse against the Chaldean idols (Hab 2:18-2:20)

“What use is an idol?

Once its maker

Has shaped it,

It is a cast image,

A teacher of lies.

Its maker trusts

In his own creation,

Even though the product

Is only an idol

That cannot speak.

Woe to you!

You say to the wood.

‘Wake up!’

You say to silent stone.

‘Rouse yourself!’

Can it teach?

See!

It is gold plated.

It is silver plated.

There is no breath

In it at all.

But Yahweh is

In his holy temple.

Let all the earth

Keep silence

Before him.”

This final and fifth curse of Habakkuk was against the Chaldean idols, a favorite theme of the prophets.  What good were these idols?  They were handmade human creations, full of lies.  They could not speak.  How foolish they were, when they asked wood and stone to wake up and rouse themselves.  These idols cannot teach anything, since they are gold and silver plated, without any breath in them.  Contrast that with Yahweh in his holy temple, where all the earth keeps silent before him.

The third curse against their towns (Hab 2:12-2:14)

“Woe to you!

You build a town

By bloodshed!

You found a city

On iniquity!

Is it not from Yahweh of hosts

That people labor,

Only to feed the flames?

Do nations weary themselves

For nothing?

The earth will be filled

With the knowledge

Of the glory of Yahweh,

As the waters cover the sea.”

Habakkuk issued his 3rd woe or curse against the Chaldeans, because they built their towns with bloodshed and founded their cities on iniquity.  They forced the people into building their cities with free labor.  However, the flames of a fire would come to destroy them.  They were wasting their time, because these towns and cities would not last.  The end result was that the earth would be filled with the knowledge and glory of Yahweh, just as water covered the sea.

The righteous live by their faith (Hab 2:4-2:5)

“Look at the proud!

Their spirit is not right

In them.

But the righteous

Live by their faith.

Moreover,

Wealth is treacherous.

The arrogant

Do not endure.

They open

Their throats wide

As in Sheol.

Just like death,

They never have enough.

They gather all nations

For themselves.

They collect

All people

As their own.”

Yahweh warned that these proud people would have a hard time, because their spirit was not right.  The main theme of this simple response was that the righteous live by their faith.  This idea that the righteous live by faith was a strong part of the apostle Paul in his Christian belief.  On the other hand, wealth was treacherous for the greedy.  Thus, the arrogant ones would not endure, because they were more open to the shadowy afterlife of Sheol.  These greedy people never had enough.  Just like death itself, they were always looking for more people.  They had tried to gather all people and countries to themselves as their own, but they were never satisfied.