Habakkuk 2: 12-20

Woe:  The word seems meaningless because of its lack of use.  However, when a word like ‘Woe’ is repeated several times in a passage we should take note.  Why are these people suffering the opposite of joy?  They indulge in crime, they have orgies, they have their idols.  These things that are meant to give joy are a cause for woe.  Our cars, our parties, our little vices are meant to give us joy.  Woe is where they leave us.

  1. What word is repeated in verses 6, 9, 12, 15, and 19?
  2. What is the city built with in verse 12?
  3. What does the person give their neighbour in verse 15?
  4. What does a person say to wood in verse 19?
  5. Are there violent acts, problems related to alcohol, or idols taht you need to leave behind?

Going Deeper


  • For what has God determined that the people exhaust themselves?
  • With what will the earth be filled?
  • With what will people be filled instead of glory?
  • What cup is coming from god?
  • Where is God and what must the earth be?


  • To whom is God talking?
  • How does this passage contrast with the rejoicing of 1:15?
  • How does God show that the Babylonians crimes are not only against the nations taht they conquer but against him?
  • How is verse 14 the centrepiece of all the woes?
  • ‘Exposed’ in verse 16 is a reference to the uncovering of the foreskin.  How does that change how you read that verse?


  • How and when do you participate in a silent worship (cf. v. 20)?
  • How can captive peoples today use the five woes as taunts?
  • How do you rely on and give credit to:  your intelligence, wealth, logic, strength, military might, aesthetic abilities, pride of status and birth, tenacity, or problem solving skills (Achtmeier)?
  • How do you care for the non-human creation as a part of a home and community that is made and loved by the Creator (Bruckner)?
  • How do you honour God in your ability to earn money?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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