Inner-biblical allusions in Habakkuk’s משא (Hab 1:1-2:20) and משאות
concerning Babylon in Isaiah 13-23 (Isa 13:1-14:23; 21:1-10) suggest a shared circle of tradition and the reinterpretation of prophetic messages in developing social and political circumstances. Habakkuk’s
משא condemns violent behaviour (1:5-11, 12-17; 2:5-20), but with the exception of הכשדים (“the Chaldeans”) in 1:5, shows a surprising reluctance to name the perpetrators of violence overtly. An analysis of inner-biblical allusions in Hab 1:1-2:20 and Isa 13:1-14:23; 21:1-10 – where Babylonian arrogance is overtly condemned – facilitates a contextual interpretation of both prophetic corpora, throws light on the identity of “the wicked” in Habakkuk, and makes an (original) exilic setting for Hab 1-2 a distinct possibility. Habakkuk’s משא might be deliberately vague about the identity of the wicked because of their ominous presence in the concrete living conditions of its audience.