Nothing is known or ti iis prophet apart from this book. He prophesies in Judah during the reign of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim shortly before the invasion by Nebuchadnezzar, 1. 5-6; 1. 3; and 3. 2-16. In this case the background of the book extends over a period from 625 to 605 or even 597 bc.
The prophets name means ‘embracing’ or ‘wrestler’ and occurs in other portions of the word, e.g. Gen. 29. 3; 33. 4; 48. 10, and 2 Kgs. 4. 16. ‘He embraces the people in his arms, he comforts them and lifts them up as one embraces a weeping child to quieten it, with assurance that, if God will, it shall be better soon’, Luther. The book is built up around the meaning of his name. He ‘embraced’ his God in prayer for he was perplexed, 1. 4, 12-15. He ‘embraced’ God by faith for he expected a solution to his problems, 2.1-4, 14-20. He ‘embraced’ God with songs of victory as he anticipated the glorious triumph of God over all in it, 3. 1-19. He may have been a Levite as well as a prophet, for his references to musical instruments would suggest that, for only the Levites and certain women were set apart for this work.
Here is the history of a servant, troubled, trusting, and triumphant. A man with a burden, 1. 1-4-a saint of God. A man with a vision, 3. 12-13-a seer. A man with a mission 2. 1-4-a faithful watchman, A man with a message, 2. 1, 6-19-a powerful preacher. A man with a passion, 1. 2-4, 12-13; 3. 1-3-a humble intercessor. A man with a song, 3. 17- 19-a joyful singer.
In chapter 1: Yearning for Jehovah’s honour.
In chapter 2: Yearning to know Jehovah’s purpose.
In chapter 3: Yielding to Jehovah’s will.
His perplexity, the Trial of Faith, Ch. 1
The sins of God’s people, vv. 1-4.
His burden, v. 1.
His problem, v. 2.
Divine indifference, v. 2.
Human iniquity, v. 3a.
Human insurrection, vv. 3b-4.
Divine inactivity, v. 4.
The strangeness of God’s ways, vv. 5-11.
History under his control, vv. 5-6.
History follows his plan, vv. 7-8.
The enemy fulfils his purpose, vv. 9-11. The strength of God’s character, vv. 12-17.
His majesty, v, 12.
His impartiality, v. 13.
Chaldean iniquity, v. 14-17.
His appeal, apprehension, anxiety, and awareness. The seer is troubled.
His Patience, the Trust of Faith, Ch. 2.
The attitude: waiting, v. 1.
The answer: write the message, vv. 2-4.
Permanent, v. 2a.
Plain, v. 2b.
Practical, v. 2c.
Powerful, v. 3.
The announcement: on the Chaldeans, vv. 5-19.
Evil is rapacious, vv. 5-7.
Evil is rampant, vv. 8-11.
Evil is ruthless, vv. 12-13.
Evil is repulsive, vv. 15-17.
Evil is ruinous, vv. 18-19.
The anticipation: Jehovah reigneth, v. 20.
Looking to the future, v. 14.
Leaning on God, v. 20a.
Learning to be quiet, v. 20b.
The scholar is taught.
His Prayer and Praise, the Triumph, Ch. 3
His petition for remembrance and revival, vv. 1-2. His praise of Jehovah, vv. 3-15.
Poems about Divine glory, vv. 3-6.
Poems about Divine government, vv. 7-11.
Poems about Divine goings, vv. 12-15. His peace in Jehovah, vv. 16-18.
Fear and trembling, v. 16.
Faith amid trouble, v. 17.
Faith makes him sing, v. 1.8,
Final triumph and joy, v. 18. His power in Jehovah, v. 19.
Faith makes him strong, v. 19.
Faith makes him swift and sure, v. 19. The singer is triumphant.
‘The just shall live by faith’, 2. 4b.
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