Sunday, Apr 09, 2006: “The Book Of Twelve (The MP’s: Habakkuk & Obadiah): Session 6”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
“THE BOOK OF TWELVE (The Minor Prophets: Habakkuk and Obadiah)”
Group Leader / Handouts: Mike Kreutzer, Rector
Session 6
Sunday, April 09, 2006


The Book of the Twelve — Adult Forum Notes



Other than a passing reference in the story of Bel and the Dragon (1:33-39), nothing is known of Habakkuk, not even his father’s name. He probably lived and taught at the height of Babylon’s power (c. 608-598). The book may well be a combination of material from three sources.

E. Achtemeier (p. 32): “In short, Habakkuk is a book about the providence of God: that is, it is primarily concerned with how God is keeping his promises to his chosen people Israel, and through them, to humankind.”

three sections:

1:1 – 2:5 introduction and dialogue between the prophet and God

2:6-20 uses older material regarding five “woes”

3 a liturgical hymn

1:1 – 2:5 introduction and dialogue between the prophet and God

1:1 brief introduction

1:2-4 the prophet’s cry to God; because the people have abandoned the way of life that God spelled- out in the covenant (righteousness; justice), all of society has broken down into chaos; there are good, faithful people in his world but “the wicked surround the righteous”; he prays for a just world, but his prayer goes unanswered

1:5-11 God responds; God is at work in the world, but not in the way that prophet necessarily wants; God is sending the Babylonians (Chaldeans) to dominate the earth; Israel has rejected God’s “justice” (vs. 4; mishpat), so they will have to contend with Babylon’s “justice” (vs. 7, mishpat)

1:12-17 the prophet call’s out to God for deliverance; he acknowledges that God’s “judgment” (12) has come upon them, viz. the Babylonians; Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Second Isaiah see the situation the same way
The question remains: why does God allow the evil Babylonians to go on like this? They worship their absurd, pagan gods (vss. 15-16). How long will they continue? (17)

2:1 the prophet waits for God’s response; the prophet’s wisdom is not his own: he must wait for it from God

2:2-5 God responds: The time of deliverance may seem to be delayed, but it is actually coming quickly. (“The Lord is not slow about his promises as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Pt 3:9)

4: how to live in the meantime, while we are waiting for God’s deliverance; 
cited in Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11 and Heb 10:38-39, and also in the Talmud (“In this one sentence, ‘The just shall live by his faith,’ the 613 precepts, which God once delivered from Sinai, are collected into a compendium.”); “Faithfulness” means fulfilling the demands of a relationship with God (E. Achtemeier, p. 46)

2:6-20 uses older material regarding five “woes” (NRSV: “Alas”); there are also series like this in Isaiah and Amos; (E. Achtemeier, p. 52: “In the rise and fall of rulers and nations, these woes in Habakkuk are telling us, the Lord of all history is actively at work, sustaining the faithful and returning the evil of the wicked on their own heads.”

3 a liturgical hymn

3:2 and 16: Habakkuk tells what he himself has heard about God’s works and prays for God’s mercy

3:13a: why God is destroying the nations: to save God’s people

3:17-19 the certainty of God’s deliverance

Uses of Haggai in the Sunday readings of The Revised Common Lectionary
1:15b – 2:9 Year C, Proper 27

Click HERE to see an historical outline of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah.




The shortest book in the OT: just 21 verses

Nothing is known of Obadiah himself, although he considers himself one with the people of Judah whom he is addressing.. The book seems to have been written shortly after Judah’s fall in 587. There is a close tie-in between verses 1-9 and Jeremiah 49:7-22. Obadiah seems to be drawing on older prophetic texts and applying them to his situation.

Verses 1-14 and 15b are directed to, and against, Edom, who saw itself as an innocent bystander at the time of Judah’s fall. Verses 15a and 16-21 address Israel, and speak of a “day of the Lord” which will bring condemnation for the nations, but deliverance for the Jews.

Uses of Obadiah in the Sunday readings of The Revised Common Lectionary