OF THE PROPHECY OF
It is a very foolish fancy of some of the Jewish rabbins, that this prophet was the son of the Shunamite woman, that was at first miraculously given, and afterward raised to life, by Elisha; (2 Kings 4.) as they say also that the prophet Jonah was the son of the widow of Zarephath, which Elijah raised to life. It is a more probable conjecture of their modem chronologers, that he lived and prophesied in the reign of king JVlanassch, when wickedness abounded, and destruction was hastening on; destraction by the Clialdeans, whom this prophet mentions as the instruments of God's judgments; and Manasseh was liimself can-ied to Babylon, as an earnest of what should come afterward. In the apocryphal story of Bel and tlie Dragon, mention is made of Habakkuk the prophet in the land of Judah, who was carried thence by an migel to Babylon, to feed Daniel in the den; those who give credit to that storv, take pains to 'reconcile our prophet's living before the captivity, and foretelling it, with that. Huetius thinks that that was another of the same name, a prophet, this is of the tribe of Simeon, that of Levi; others, tliat he lived so long as to the end of the captivity, though he prophesied of it before it came. And some have imagined that Habakkuk's feeding Daniel in the den, is to be understood mystically, that Daniel then lived by faith, as Habakkuk luid said the just should do; He was fed by that word, Hab. ii. 4. The prophecy of this book is a mixture of the prophet's addresses to God in the people's name, and to the people in God's name; for it is the office of the prophets to carry messages both ways. We have in it a lively representation of the intercourse and communion between a gracious God and a gracious soul. The whole refers particularly to the invasion of the land of Judah by the Chaldeans, which brought spoil upon the people of God, a just punishment of the spoil they had been g-uilty of among themselves; but it is of general use, especially to help us through that great temptation with which good men have in all ages been exercised, arising from the power and prosperity of the wicked, and the sufferings of the righteous by it.
fn this chapter, I. The prophet complains to God of the vio- lence done by the abuse of the sword of justice among his own people, and the hardships thereby put upon many good people, v. I . . 4. II. God by him foretells the punishment of that abuse of power by the sword of war, and the desolations which I he army of the Chal- deans should make upon them, v 5 . . U. III. Then the prophet complains of that loo, and is grieved that the Chaldeans prevail so far; (v. 12. . 17.) so that he scarcely knows which is more to be lamented, the sin, or the punishment of it, for in both many harmless, good people are very great suflerers. It is well that there is a day of judgment, and a future stale, before us, in ivhich it shall be eternallv well with all the righteous, and with them only, and ill with all the wicked, and them only; so llie present seeming disorders of provi- dence shall be set to rights, and there will remain no matter of complaint ivhatsoever.
1.THE burden which Habakkuk the JL prophet did see. 2. O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee o/" violence, and thou wilt not save! 3. Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance I for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are t/iat raise up strife and contention. 4. Therefore the law is slacked, and judg- ment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about tlie lighteous ; there- fore wrong judgment proceedeth. We are told, in the title of this hook, (which wehave, V. I. V that the p nmM wns a /iro/i'nf, >,