Habakkuk,[a] who was active around 612 BC, was a prophet whose oracles and prayer are recorded in the Book of Habakkuk, the eighth of the collected twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible. He is revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Almost all the information we have about Habakkuk is drawn from the book of the Bible bearing his name, with no biographical details provided other than his title, "the prophet". Outside the Bible, he is mentioned over the centuries in the forms of Christian and Rabbinic traditions, but these are dismissed by modern mainstream scholars as speculative and apocryphal.
|Major shrine||Toyserkan, Iran|
|Feast||January 15 (Roman Catholic; Greek)|
December 2 (Orthodox)
|Major works||Book of Habakkuk|
Almost nothing is known about Habakkuk, aside from what few facts are stated within the book of the Bible bearing his name, or those inferences that may be drawn from that book. His name appears in the Bible only in Habakkuk 1:1 and 3:1, with no biographical details provided other than his title "the prophet." Even the origin of his name is uncertain.
For almost every other prophet, more information is given, such as the name of the prophet's hometown, his occupation, or information concerning his parentage or tribe. For Habakkuk, however, there is no reliable account of any of these. Although his home is not identified, scholars conclude that Habakkuk lived in Jerusalem at the time he wrote his prophecy. Further analysis has provided an approximate date for his prophecy and possibilities concerning his activities and background.
Beyond the Bible, considerable conjecture has been put forward over the centuries in the form of Christian and Rabbinic tradition, but such accounts are dismissed by modern scholars as speculative and apocryphal.
Because the book of Habakkuk consists of five oracles about the Chaldeans (Babylonians), and the Chaldean rise to power is dated circa 612 BC, it is assumed he was active about that time, making him an early contemporary of Jeremiah and Zephaniah. Jewish sources, however, do not group him with those two prophets, who are often placed together, so it is possible that he was slightly earlier than the pair.
The name Habakkuk, or Habacuc,[b] appears in the Hebrew Bible only in Habakkuk 1:1 and 3:1. In the Masoretic Text, it is written in Hebrew: חֲבַקּוּק (Standard Ḥavaqquq Tiberian Ḥăḇaqqûq). This name does not occur elsewhere. The Septuagint transcribes his name into Greek as Ἀμβακοὺμ (Ambakoum), and the Vulgate transcribes it into Latin as Abacuc.
The etymology of the name is not clear, and its form has no parallel in Hebrew. The name is possibly related to the Akkadian khabbaququ, the name of a fragrant plant, or the Hebrew root חבק, meaning "embrace".
Habakkuk appears in Bel and the Dragon, which is part of the deuterocanonical Additions to Daniel. Verses 33–39 state that Habakkuk is in Judea; after making some stew, he is instructed by an angel of the Lord to take the stew to Daniel, who is in the lion's den in Babylon. After proclaiming that he is unaware of both the den and Babylon, the angel transports Habakkuk to the lion's den. Habakkuk gives Daniel the food to sustain him, and is immediately taken back to "his own place".
And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace (חבקת – hoveket, therefore Habakkuk) a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, [thou] man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.
The style of the book has been praised by many scholars, suggesting that its author was a man of great literary talent. The entire book follows the structure of a chiasmus in which parallelism of thought is used to bracket sections of the text.
Habakkuk is unusual among the prophets in that he openly questions the working of God (1:3a, 1:13b). In the first part of the first chapter, the Prophet sees the injustice among his people and asks why God does not take action: "O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?" (1:2, ESV).
The final resting place of Habakkuk has been claimed at multiple locations. The fifth-century Christian historian Sozomen claimed that the relics of Habakkuk were found at Cela, when God revealed their location to Zebennus, bishop of Eleutheropolis, in a dream. Currently, one location in Israel and one in Iran lay claim to being the burial site of the prophet.
The burial place of Habakkuk is identified by Jewish tradition as a hillside in the Upper Galilee region of northern Israel, close to the villages Kadarim and Hukok, about six miles southwest of Safed and twelve miles north of Mount Tabor. A small stone building, erected during the 20th century, protects the tomb. Tradition dating as early as the 12th century AD holds that Habakkuk's tomb is at this location, but the tomb may also be of a local sheikh of Yaquq, a name related to the biblical place named "Hukkok", whose pronunciation and spelling in Hebrew are close to "Habakkuk". Archaeological findings in this location include several burial places dated to the Second Temple period.
A mausoleum southeast of the city of Tuyserkan in the west of Iran is also believed to be Habakkuk's burial place. It is protected by Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization. The Organization's guide to the Hamadan Province states that Habakkuk was believed to be a guardian to Solomon's Temple, and that he was captured by the Babylonians and remained in their prison for some years. After being freed by Cyrus the Great, he went to Ecbatana and remained there until he died, and was buried somewhere nearby, in what is today Tuyserkan. Habakkuk is called both Habaghugh and Hayaghugh by the Muslim locals.
The surrounding shrine may date to the period of the Seljuq Empire (11–12th century); it consists of an octagonal wall and conical dome. Underneath the shrine is a hidden basement with three floors. In the center of the shrine's courtyard is the grave where Habakkuk is said to be buried. A stone upon the grave is inscribed in both Hebrew and Persian stating that the prophet's father was Shioua Lovit, and his mother was Lesho Namit. Both Muslims and Jews visit it to pay their respects.
On the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, his feast day is December 2. In the Roman Catholic Church, the twelve minor prophets are read in the Roman Breviary during the fourth and fifth weeks of November, which are the last two weeks of the liturgical year, and his feast day is January 15.[c] This day is also celebrated as his feast by the Greek Orthodox Church. In 2011, he was commemorated with the other Minor Prophets in the calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on February 8.
Habakkuk has also been commemorated in sculpture. In 1435, the Florentine artist Donatello created a sculpture of the prophet for the bell tower of Florence. This statue, nicknamed Zuccone ("Big Pumpkin") because of the shape of the head, now resides in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. The Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome contains a Baroque sculpture of Habakkuk by the 17th-century artist Bernini. Between 1800 and 1805, the Brazilian sculptor Aleijadinho completed a soapstone sculpture of Habakkuk as part of his Twelve Prophets. The figures are arranged around the forecourt and monumental stairway in front of the Santuário do Bom Jesus do Matosinhos at Congonhas.
Although not mentioned by name in the Qu'ran, Habakkuk is recognized as an Islamic prophet because he is believed to herald the coming of Muhammad and the Qu'ran in the Book of Habakkuk.
In the court of Al-Ma'mun, Imam Ali al-Ridha, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and chief Islamic scholar in the time of the Abbasid Caliphs, was asked by the Exilarch to prove that Muhammad was a prophet through the Torah. Among his many proofs, Imam Ridha asks "Do you know the prophet Habakkuk?" He said, “Yes. I know of him.” al-Ridha said, “and this is narrated in your book, ‘Allah brought down speech on Mount Faran, and the heavens were ﬁlled with the gloriﬁcation of Muhammad and his community. His horse carries him over water as it carries him over land. He will bring a new book to us after the ruin of the holy house [the temple in Jerusalem].’ What is meant by this book is the Qur'an. Do you know this and believe in it?” The Exilarch said, “Habakkuk the prophet has said this and we do not deny what he said.”
Although the Quran only mentions around twenty-five prophets by name, and alludes to a few others, it has been a cardinal doctrine of Islam that many more prophets were sent by God who are not mentioned in the scripture. Thus, Muslims have traditionally had no problem accepting those other Hebrew prophets not mentioned in the Quran or hadith as legitimate prophets of God, especially as the Quran itself states: "Surely We sent down the Torah (to Moses), wherein is guidance and light; thereby the Prophets (who followed him), who had surrendered themselves, gave judgment for those who were Jewish, as did the masters and the rabbis, following such portion of God's Book as they were given to keep and were witnesses to," with this passage having often been interpreted by Muslims to include within the phrase "prophets" an allusion to all the prophetic figures of the Jewish scriptural portion of the nevi'im, that is to say all the prophets of Israel after Moses and Aaron. Thus, Islamic authors have often alluded to Habakkuk as a prophet in their works, and followed the pronunciation of his name with the traditional salutations of peace bestowed by Muslims onto prophets after the utterance of their names.
Some medieval Muslim scholars even provided commentaries on the biblical Book of Habakkuk, with the primary purpose of showing that the prophet had predicted the coming of Muhammad in Habakkuk 3:2–6, in a manner akin to the earlier Christian tradition of seeing in the book's prophecies allusions to the advent of Christ. For example, the medieval exegete Najm al-Dīn al-Ṭūfī (d. 716 AH/1316 CE) provided a commentary on select verses from the book of Habakkuk, saying the prophet's words "for his rays become light" (Habakkuk 3:4) alluded to the spread of Islam; that his words "his glory comes to town, his power appears in his courts" (Habakkuk 3:4) referred to Muhammad's stay in the town of Yathrib and the help he received there from the ansar; and that his words "death goes before him" (Habakkuk 3:5) was a prophecy about the fear of the Muslim armies during the military campaigns of Muhammad and his companions. Likewise, Habakkuk 3:5–6 also received similar commentaries from medieval Islamic thinkers.
The famous and revered Persian Islamic scholar and polymath Ibn Qutaybah, who served as a judge during the Abbasid Caliphate, said of the prophet Habakkuk: "Among the words of Habakkuk, who prophesied in the days of Daniel, Habakkuk says: 'God came from Teman, and the holy one from the mountains of Paran and the earth was filled with the sanctification of the praiseworthy one (aḥmad, which is a name of Muhammad in Islam), and with his right hand he exercised power over the earth and the necks of the nations,'" which has been interpreted by scholars to be a clear allusion to Habakkuk 3:3-4. Elsewhere, the same scholar glossed Habakkuk 3:4, 15 as follows: "The earth shines with his light, and his horses launched into the sea," again interpreting the prophecy to be an allusion to the coming of Muhammad. One further prophecy of Habakkuk which Ibn Qutaybah cited, from extra-canonical Hebraic literature, was "You shall be exceedingly filled in your bows ... o Praised One (muḥammad)," which he read as being "a clear statement of ... [Muhammad's] name ... [and] his characteristics." This final prophecy attributed to Habakkuk was also referred to by later scholars like Ibn al-Jawzi and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah.
The Book of Habakkuk is the eighth book of the 12 minor prophets of the Bible. It is attributed to the prophet Habakkuk, and was probably composed in the late 7th century BC.
Of the three chapters in the book, the first two are a dialog between Yahweh and the prophet. The message that "the just shall live by his faith" (2:4) plays an important role in Christian thought. It is used in the Epistle to the Romans, Epistle to the Galatians, and the Epistle to the Hebrews as the starting point of the concept of faith. A copy of these chapters is included in the Habakkuk Commentary, found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Chapter 3 may be an independent addition, now recognized as a liturgical piece, but was possibly written by the same author as chapters 1 and 2.Book of Odes (Bible)
The Book of Odes (Greek: Ὠδαί), commonly referred to simply as Odes, is a book of the Bible found only in Eastern Orthodox Bibles and included or appended after the Psalms in Alfred Rahlfs' critical edition of the Septuagint, coming from the fifth-century Codex Alexandrinus. The chapters are prayers and songs (canticles) from the Old and New Testaments. The first nine of them form the basis for the canon sung during matins and other services.
Chapters of this book as presented by Rahlfs are:
First Ode of Moses (Exodus 15:1–19)
Second Ode of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1–43)
Prayer of Anna, the Mother of Samuel (1 Samuel 2:1–10)
Prayer of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:2–19)
Prayer of Isaias (Isaiah 26:9–20)
Prayer of Jonah (Jonah 2:3–10)
Prayer of Azariah (Daniel 3:26–45, a deuterocanonical portion)
Song of the Three Young Men (Daniel 3:52–90, a deuterocanonical portion)
The Magnificat; Prayer of Mary the Theotokos (Luke 1:46–55)
Benedictus Canticle of Zachariah (Luke 1:68–79)
The Song of the Vineyard: A Canticle of Isaiah (Isaiah 5:1–7)
Prayer of Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:10–20)
Prayer of Manasseh, King of Judah when he was held captive in Babylon (ref. in 2 Chronicles 33:11–13 and appears also as a separate deuterocanonical book)
Nunc dimittis; Prayer of Simeon (Luke 2:29–32)
Gloria in Excelsis Deo; Canticle of the Early Morning (some lines from Luke 2:14, Psalm 144:2 and Psalm 118:12)Book of Zephaniah
The Book of Zephaniah (Hebrew: צְפַנְיָה, Tsfanya) is the ninth of the Twelve Minor Prophets, preceded by the Book of Habakkuk and followed by the Book of Haggai. Zephaniah means "Yahweh has hidden/protected," or "Yahweh hides".Canticle
A canticle (from the Latin canticulum, a diminutive of canticum, "song") is a hymn, psalm or other Christian song of praise with lyrics taken from biblical or holy texts other than the Psalms.Daniel and the Lion (Bernini)
Daniel and the Lion is a sculpture created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini c. 1655-57. Standing in a niche in the Chigi Chapel in the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, it shows the Prophet Daniel in the lions' den. It forms a part of a larger composition with the sculpture of Habakkuk and the Angel diagonally opposite.Florentino García Martínez
Florentino García Martínez (born 1942, in Mochales or Madrid) is a former Catholic priest, now married and for many years professor of religion and theology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He is a leading expert on messianic ideas in the Dead Sea scrolls.
He is responsible for the standard translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls along with Eibert Tigchelaar: The Dead Sea Scrolls: Study Edition, 2 Volumes, (Leiden/Grand Rapids: Brill/Eerdmans, 1997 & 1998).
García Martínez has put forward an analysis of the material regarding the Wicked Priest found columns 8 to 12 of the Habakkuk Commentary known as the Groningen hypothesis.
García Martínez became a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.Habakkuk 1
Habakkuk 1 is the first chapter of the Book of Habakkuk in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies spoken by the prophet Habakkuk, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. This chapter and the next form a unit, which Sweeney sees as "a report of a dialogue between the prophet and YHWH" about the fate of Judah which the biblical scholars, such as F. F. Bruce, label as "the oracle of Habakkuk".Habakkuk 2
Habakkuk 2 is the second chapter of the Book of Habakkuk in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies spoken by the prophet Habakkuk, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. This chapter and the previous one form a unit, which Sweeney sees as "a report of a dialogue between the prophet and YHWH" about the fate of Judah which the biblical scholars, such as F. F. Bruce, label as "the oracle of Habakkuk".Habakkuk 3
Habakkuk 3 is the third (and the last) chapter of the Book of Habakkuk in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies spoken by the prophet Habakkuk, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. This chapter records "Habakkuk's song", a poetic psalm "extolling God's triumphs."Habakkuk Commentary
The Habakkuk Commentary or Pesher Habakkuk, labelled 1QpHab (Cave 1, Qumran, pesher, Habakkuk) was among the original seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 and published in 1951. Due to its early discovery and rapid publication, as well as its relatively pristine preservation, 1QpHab is one of the most frequently researched and analyzed scrolls of the several hundred now known.Habakkuk and the Angel (Bernini)
Habakkuk and the Angel is a sculpture created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini c. 1656-61. Standing in a niche in the Chigi Chapel in the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, it shows the Prophet Habakkuk with the angel of God. It forms a part of a larger composition with the sculpture of Daniel and the Lion diagonally opposite.John Habakkuk
Sir Hrothgar John Habakkuk (13 May 1915 – 3 November 2002) was a British economic historian.Pesher
Pesher ( (listen); Hebrew: פשר, pl. pesharim from a Hebrew word meaning "interpretation," is a group of interpretive commentaries on scripture. The Pesharim commentaries became known from the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The pesharim give a theory of scriptural interpretation of a number of biblical texts from the Old Testament, such as Habakkuk and Psalms. The authors of pesharim believe that scripture is written in two levels: the surface for ordinary readers with limited knowledge, and the concealed one for specialists with higher knowledge. This is most clearly spelled out in the Habakkuk Pesher (1QpHab), where the author of the text asserts that God has made known to the Teacher of Righteousness, a prominent figure in the history of the Essene community, "all the mysteries of his servants the prophets" (1QpHab VII:4-5). By contrast, the prophets, and other readers of the texts, only had a partial interpretation revealed to them.
The result of this pesher method creates a fixed-literary structure, which is seen most in the continuous Pesharim, with the goal of giving the plain meaning of the prophets words.Project Habakkuk
Project Habakkuk or Habbakuk (spelling varies) was a plan by the British during the Second World War to construct an aircraft carrier out of pykrete (a mixture of wood pulp and ice) for use against German U-boats in the mid-Atlantic, which were beyond the flight range of land-based planes at that time. The idea came from Geoffrey Pyke, who worked for Combined Operations Headquarters. After promising scale tests and the creation of a prototype on a lake in Alberta, Canada, the project was shelved due to rising costs, added requirements, and the availability of longer-range aircraft and escort carriers which closed the Mid-Atlantic gap the project was intended to address.Prophetic books
The prophetic books are a division in the Christian Old Testament, corresponding to the Latter Prophets of the Hebrew Nevi'im, with the addition of Lamentions (which in the Tanakh is one of the Five Megillot) and Daniel also included among the books of the Hebrew Ketuvim.
The Major Prophets in Christianity are:
DanielThe Minor Prophets are as in Judaism:
Tuyserkan (Persian: تويسركان, also Romanized as Tūyserkān, Tooyserkan, Tūīsarkān, and Tūysarkān) is a city and capital of Tuyserkan County, Hamadan Province, Iran. At the 2016 census, its population was 50,455, in 16,291 families.Tuyserkan is located about 100 km south of Hamadan, in western Iran. However, it was formerly called Roud Avar. Latter was ruined in the invasion of the Mongols and its people fled to Toy (or Tuy) village, afterwards called Toyserkan because of its proximity to Serkan (a town located northwest of Toyserkan).
The ancient hills of Baba Kamal, Roudlar, Shahrestaneh, the remains of a Sassanid city in Velashjerd, the Saljuk Dome named after prophet Habakkuk, the Safavid building of Shaykh Ali Khani School and the Qajar period’s covered bazaar, are all indicative of Toyserkan’s historical background.
Toyserkan is well known for its quality Walnut trees within Iran and the world.
Its weather is mild and nice in the summer and cold in the winter, the city is surrendered by Zagros Mountains with great views and landscapes.Twelve Minor Prophets
The Minor Prophets or Twelve Prophets (Aramaic: תרי עשר, Trei Asar, "Twelve"), occasionally Book of the Twelve, is the last book of the Nevi'im, the second main division of the Jewish Tanakh. The collection is broken up to form twelve individual books in the Christian Old Testament, one for each of the prophets. The terms "minor prophets" and "twelve prophets" can also refer to the twelve traditional authors of these works.
The term "Minor" relates to the length of each book (ranging from a single chapter to fourteen); even the longest is short compared to the three major prophets, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah. It is not known when these short works were collected and transferred to a single scroll, but the first extra-biblical evidence we have for the Twelve as a collection is c. 190 BCE in the writings of Jesus ben Sirach, and evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls suggests that the modern order was established by 150 BCE. It is believed that initially the first six were collected, and later the second six were added; the two groups seem to complement each other, with Hosea through Micah raising the question of iniquity, and Nahum through Malachi proposing resolutions.Wicked Priest
Wicked Priest (Hebrew: הכהן הרשע; Romanized Hebrew: ha-kōhēn hā-rāš'ā) is a sobriquet used in the Dead Sea Scrolls pesharim, four times in the Habakkuk Commentary (1QpHab) and once in the Commentary on Psalm 37 (4QpPsa), to refer to an opponent of the "Teacher of Righteousness." It has been suggested that the phrase is a pun on "ha-kōhēn hā-rōš", as meaning "the High Priest", but this is not the proper term for the High Priest. He is generally identified with a Hasmonean (Maccabean) High Priest or Priests. However, his exact identification remains controversial, and has been called "one of the knottiest problems connected with the Dead Sea Scrolls."The most commonly argued-for single candidate is Jonathan Apphus, followed by his brother Simon Thassi; the widespread acceptance of this view, despite its acknowledged weaknesses, has been dubbed the "Jonathan consensus." More recently, some scholars have argued that the sobriquet does not refer to only one individual. Most notably the "Groningen Hypothesis" advanced by García Martinez and van der Woude, argues for a series of six Wicked Priests.Zuccone
Lo Zuccone (Italian pronunciation: [lo dzukˈkoːne]; Italian: literally, pumpkin; figuratively bald-head) is the popular name given to a marble statue by Donatello. It was commissioned for the bell tower of the Cathedral of Florence, Italy and completed between 1423 and 1425. It is also known as the Statue of the Prophet Habakkuk, as many believe it depicts the Biblical figure Habakkuk.
The statue is known for its realism and naturalism, which differed from most statuary commissioned at the time. Zuccone is reported to have been Donatello's favorite, and he was said to swear by the sculpture, "By the faith I place in my Zuccone." Donatello is said to have shouted "speak, damn you, speak!" at the marble as he was carving it. It has been described as the most important marble sculpture of the fifteenth century. It is now in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence.
Prophets in the Hebrew Bible
|Patriarchs / Matriarchs|
in the Torah
Mentioned in the
Italics indicate persons whose status as prophets is not universally accepted.
Extra-Quranic Prophets of Islam
|In Stories of the Prophets|
|In Islamic tradition|
|In Quranic exegesis|
Italics = While the figure has been revered by many Muslims, status as a prophet is not accepted by all.