[many Habak'kuk] (Heb. Chabakkuk', חֲבִקּוּק, embrace; Sept. Α᾿μβακούμ, Vulg. Habacuc; Jerome, Praef. in Habakkuk translates περίληψις, and Suidas πατὴρ ἐγέρσεως; other Graecized and Latinized forms are Α᾿ββακούμ, Α᾿μβακούκ, Ambacnum, Abacuc, etc.), the eighth in order of the twelve minor prophets (q.v.) of the Old Testament.
1. As to the name, besides the above forms, the Greeks, not only the Sept. translators, but the fathers of the Church, probably to make it more sonorous, corrupt it into Α᾿ραβακούκ, Α᾿ραβακούρω, or, as Jerome writes, Α᾿βακούρω, and only one Greek copy, found in the library of Alcala, in Spain, has Α᾿ββακούκ, which seems to be a recent correction made to suit the Hebrew text. The Heb. word may denote, as observed by Jerome, as well a "favorite" as a "struggler." Abarbanel thinks that in the latter sense it has allusion to the patriotic zeal of the prophet fervently contending for the welfare of his country: but other prophets did the same; and in the former and less distant signification, the name would be one like Theophilus, "a friend of God," which his parents may have given him for a good omen. Luther took the name in the active sense, and applied it to the labors and writings of the man, thus: "Habakkuk had a proper name for his office; for it signifies a man of heart, one who is hearty towards another and takes him into his arms. This is what he does in his prophecy; he comforts his people and lifts them up, as one would do with a weeping child or man, bidding him be quiet and content, because, please God, it would yet be better with him." But all this is speculation. See Keil and Delitzsch, Comment. ad cap. 1, 1.
2. Of the facts of this prophet's birth-place, parentage, and life we have only apocryphal and conflicting accounts (see Delitzsch, De Habacuci vita et cetate, Lips. 1842, 1844). The Rabbinical tradition that Habakkuk was the son of the Shunammite woman whom Elisha restored to life is repeated by Abarbanel in his commentary, and has no other foundation than a fanciful etymology of the prophet's name, based on the expression in 2Ki 4:16. Equally unfounded is the tradition that he was the sentinel set by Isaiah to watch for the destruction of Babylon (comp. Isa 21:16 with Hab 2:1). In the title of the history of Bel and the Dragon, as found in the Sept. version in Origen's Tetrapla, the author is called "Habakkuk, the son of Joshua, of the tribe of Levi." Some have supposed this apocryphal writer to be identical with the prophet (Jerome, Promen. in Dan.). The psalm in ch. 3 and its title are thought to favor the opinion that Habakkuk w-as a Levite (Delitzsch, Habakkuk, p. 3). Pseudo-Epiphanius (2, 240, De Vitis Prophetamum) and Dorotheus (Chronicles Pasch. p. 150) say that he was of Βηθζοκήρ or Βηθιτουχάρ (v.r. Βηδζοκήρ, Βιδζεχάρ) (Bethacat, Isid. Hispal. c. 47), of the tribe of Simeon. This may have been the same as Bethzacharias, where Judas Maccabaus was defeated by Antiochus Eupator (1 Macc. 6:32, 33). The same authors relate that when Jerusalem was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar, Habakkuk fled to Ostracine, and remained there till after the Chaldeans had left the city, when he returned to his own country, and died at his farm two years before the return from Babylon, B.C. 538. It was (during his residence in Judea that he is said to have carried food to Daniel in the den of lions at Babylon. This legend is given in the history of Bel and the Dragon, and is repeated by Eusebins, Bar Hebraeus, and Eutychius. It is quoted from Joseph ben-
Gorion (B. J. 11, 3) by Abarbanel (Comm. on Hab.), and seriously refuted by him on chronological grounds. The scene of the event was shown to mediaeval travelers on the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem (Early Travels in Palestine, p. 29). Habakkuk is said to have been buried at Ceila, in the tribe of Judah, eight miles east of Eleutheropolis (Eusebius, Onomasficon, s.v.); where, in the days of Zebenus, bishop of Eleutheropolis, according to Nicephorus (H. k. 12, 48) and Sozomen (H. E. 7, 28), the remains of the prophets Habakkuk and Micah were both discovered. SEE KEILAH. Iabbinical tradition, however, places his tomb at Chukkok, of the tribe of Naphthali, now called Jakuk. SEE HUKKOK.