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Bible Commentaries

Parker's The People's Bible


- Habakkuk

by Joseph Parker


[Note.. "Of the facts of the prophet's life we have no certain information, and with regard to the period of his prophecy there is great division of opinion. The Rabbinical tradition that Habakkuk was the son of the Shunammite woman whom Elisha restored to life is repeated by Abarbanel in his commentary, and has no other foundation than a fanciful etymology of the prophet's name, based on the expression in 2 Kings 4:16 . Equally unfounded is the tradition that he was the sentinel set by Isaiah to watch for the destruction of Babylon (comp. Isa 21:16 with Hab 2:1 ). In the title of the history of Bel and the Dragon, as found in the LXX. version in Origen's Tetrapla, the author is called 'Habakkuk, the son of Joshua, of the tribe of Levi.' Some have supposed this apocryphal writer to be identical with the prophet (Jerome prooem. in Dan. ). The psalm in Chap. iii. and its title are thought to favour the opinion that Habakkuk was a Levite.... It was during his residence in Judæa that he is said to have carried food to Daniel in the den of lions at Babylon. This legend is given in the history of Bel and the Dragon, and is repeated by Eusebius, Bar Hebræus, and Eutychius. It is quoted from Joseph ben Gorion ( B.J. xi. 3) by Abarbanel ( Comm. on Hab. ), and seriously refuted by him on chronological grounds. The scene of the event was shown to mediaeval travellers on the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem ( Early Travels in Palestine, p. 29). Habakkuk is said to have been buried at Keilah in the tribe of Judah, eight miles east of Eleutheropolis (Eusebius, Onomasticon ). Rabbinical tradition places his tomb at Chukkok, of the tribe of Naphthali, now called Jakuk. In the days of Zebenus, bishop of Eleutheropolis, according to Nicephorus ( H. E. xii. 48) and Sozomen ( H. E. vii. 28), the remains of the prophets Habakkuk and Micah were discovered at Keilah." Smith's Dictionary of the Bible .]