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Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4 - A message carved in stone


[1] The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.

[2] Yahweh, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?

Or cry to you "Violence!" and you will not save?

[3] Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble?

Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.

[4] So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails.

The wicked surround the righteous-- therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

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[2:1] I will stand at my watch post, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.

[2:2] Then Yahweh answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.

[2:3] For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.

[2:4] Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.


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The Hebrew word translated above as “the oracle” is “ham·maś·śā.” The root noun “massa’” means “a load, burden, lifting, bearing, tribute.” While it can imply “oracle,” it is better to understand that a “prophet” of Yahweh “bears” a responsibility to receive (“see”) insights that must be passed on to others.


Because verse two is separate from Habakkuk stating he bore the responsibility of a vision, it is not Habakkuk that should be seen as lamenting to Yahweh. The laments come from those who are crying out for help, but are not heard because they do not have a relationship with Yahweh, as does Habakkuk. When Yahweh does not hear a call for help (“you will not listen”), the reason is those crying out have turned their backs to Yahweh, which means they serve lesser gods (including self), while calling those gods by His name. In essence, they are calling to the demons they worship for help; but demon spirits are gods that cannot manifest in the material realm, although they can only influence souls there.


In verse three, the question about why those crying out for help were instead seeing “sorrows,” “troubles,” “devastating violence,” with “strife and contention” says Yahweh responded to their prayers in His name, by showing them themselves. It was they who had acted in ways that projected anger upon others, who were returning the face of their gods to them


In verse four the focus turns to a mishandling of the law, which renders the “law powerless.” The Hebrew word “tā·p̄ūḡ” (construct of “pug”) means “it grows numb,” which is a statement that the “law” no longer serves as the marriage vows between a soul and Yahweh. As such, the “law” is little more than empty words, lacking the true commitment that divine marriage demands, where spiritual love never grows “numb.” This then leads Habakkuk to add that a lack of commitment then keeps “judgment” from being based on a cleansed soul-flesh; so, those pretending to be married to Yahweh (as His chosen children, not His wives in divine marriage) will die and be found unworthy of heaven. This state is magnified when the “wicked surround the righteous,” so those who are married to Yahweh in soul-spirit are persecuted by “perverse judgment,” which demands their prophets declare sins legal.


When the transfer goes from chapter one to chapter two, we hear the voice of Habakkuk speaking his commitment to Yahweh in divine marriage. The last segment of words are poorly translated in the above NRSV translation, as it should be read as saying, “and what I will answer when I am corrected.” This makes the whole of verse one not be about Habakkuk keeping physical watch on some rampart of a city wall, but his spiritual vigilance that makes his soul-body be a fortress that is surrounded by the Spirit of Yahweh and the presence of His Son as His voice that speaks to Habakkuk. Thus, to “be corrected” is then the role of a prophet who goes to the wayward and speaks the truth, so the wayward can be “corrected” from their evil ways.


In verse two we again have a weak translation shown above. Instead of a “runner may read it,” the participle is stated in the Hebrew text, where the intent is for a courier to deliver “a vision” of Yahweh through a prophet, which those to whom the “runner” has been sent will be “reading” it. This message is clear in its statement from Yahweh, as the element of “making it plain on tablets” means the message is ‘carved in stone,’ which is a repeating of the Law that has been disobeyed.


In verse three, Yahweh had Habakkuk tell those that the “vision is for an appointed time,” which will definitely be found true, as the message conveyed in the “reading will not lie.” While it might seem the prophecy envisioned might have been ‘lost in the shuffle,’ it will come when it will come; so, it is best to forever “wait for it” to come true, than to think it is no longer prophesied. When it does come true, it will come like a powerful rush that nothing can stop.


In verse four, the prophecy sent as a “vision” ‘set in stone’ by Habakkuk will only overtake those whose egos “swell” with self-pride. They are the ones who think they are above the Law, simply because their blood is descended to some long gone Israelite. They will find that lineage by blood is meaningless, as only a lineage of “righteousness,” made possible by a soul’s divine marriage to Yahweh, will be spared the wrath of the “vision” to come. Only those “upright in his or her soul,” who have become “righteous by their faith will live.” Here, “life” means the eternal life of a soul beyond death.

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