Nothing is said of the prophet's ancestors, nor as to when he prophesied. He is generally placed in the time of Josiah or a little later: it was before the captivity of Judah, for that is foretold.
The prophet exhibits the exercise of a heart full of sympathy towards the people of God. The evil among them greatly distressed him, and he cried mightily unto God. In Hab. 1: 5-11 is God's answer. He will raise up the Chaldeans, a "bitter and hasty nation," to punish them. The character and violence of the Chaldeans are described.
In the verses from Hab. 1: 12 to Hab. 2: 1, the prophet pleads with God not to be unmindful that the Chaldeans were worse than Judah. He will watch for God's answer.
In Hab. 2: 2-20
is God's reply. The prophet was told to write the vision so plainly that he who read it might run. The vision was for an appointed time, but it hasted to the end. The restless, grasping pride of the Chaldeans God would in due time judge; but meanwhile "the just shall live by his faith." The rapacity of the Babylonian is spoken of, and then woes are pronounced against the oppressor, for his covetousness, his blood-shedding, his debauchery, and his idolatry.
In contrast to all this the announcement is made that "The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the [bed of the] sea." This looks forward to the millennium, passing over the partial return of the people in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The prophet is assured that "The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him." Judgement on the Gentile rulers of God's people will, at the time of the end, immediately precede and lead to the kingdom.
is a prayer of the prophet. 'Upon Shigionoth,' reads in the margin "according to variable songs or tunes," which signification seems confirmed by the subscription, "To the chief singer on stringed instruments." The prophet realises the presence of God while he reviews His past dealings against Israel's enemies, and sees in them the pledge of the future salvation. At the close, while faith has to wait for the blessing he rejoices in God, saying, "I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places."