Book of Haggai

The Book of Haggai is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, and has its place as the antepenultimate of the Minor Prophets. It is a short book, consisting of only two chapters. The historical setting dates around 520 BCE before the Temple has been rebuilt.[1] 520 BCE falls between the start of the Persian empire in 539 BCE and 520 BCE, a period that saw major leaders such as Zerubbabel help lead the Jews in their return to the land.

Authorship

The Book of Haggai is named after its presumed author, the prophet Haggai. There is no biographical information given about the prophet in the Book of Haggai, so we know no personal information about him. Haggai's name is derived from the Hebrew verbal root hgg, which means "to make a pilgrimage." W. Sibley Towner suggests that Haggai's name might come "from his single-minded effort to bring about the reconstruction of that destination of ancient Judean pilgrims, the Temple in Jerusalem." [2]

Date

The Book of Haggai was written in 520 BCE some 18 years after Cyrus had conquered Babylon and issued a decree in 538 BCE allowing the captive Jews to return to Judea. Cyrus saw the restoration of the temple as necessary for the restoration of the religious practices and a sense of peoplehood after a long exile.

Synopsis

Haggai's message is filled with an urgency for the people to proceed with the rebuilding of the second Jerusalem temple. Haggai attributes a recent drought to the people's refusal to rebuild the temple, which he sees as key to Jerusalem’s glory. The book ends with the prediction of the downfall of kingdoms, with one Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, as the Lord’s chosen leader. The language here is not as finely wrought as in some other books of the minor prophets, yet the intent seems straightforward.

The first chapter contains the first address (2–11) and its effects (12–15).

The second chapter contains:

  1. The second prophecy (1–9), which was delivered a month after the first
  2. The third prophecy (10–19), delivered two months and three days after the second; and
  3. The fourth prophecy (20–23), delivered on the same day as the third

These discourses are referred to in Ezra 5:1 and 6:14. (Compare Haggai 2:7, 8 and 22)

Haggai reports that three weeks after his first prophecy, the rebuilding of the Temple began on September 7 521 BCE. "They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius I.(Haggai 1:14–15) and the Book of Ezra indicates that it was finished on February 25 516 BCE "The Temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius." (Ezra 6:15)

Outline

  1. Divine Announcement: The Command to Rebuild the Temple (1.1–15 )
  2. Introduction: Reluctant Rebuilders (1.1–2 )
  3. Consider your ways: fruitless prosperity (1.3–12 )
  4. Promise and Progress (1.13–15 )
  5. Divine Announcement: The Coming Glory of the Temple (2.1–2.9 )
  6. God will fulfill his promise (2:1–5 ) [3]
  7. Future Splendor of the temple (2:6–9 )[3]
  8. Divine Announcement: Blessings for a Defiled People (2.10–19 )
  9. Former Misery (2.10–17 )[3]
  10. Future Blessing (2.18–19 )[3]
  11. Divine Announcement: Zerubbabel Chosen as a Signet (2.20–23 )
  12. References

    1. ^ Coogan, Michael D. "A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament." Oxford University Press, 2009. o. 346.
    2. ^ Towner, W. Sibley. The Harper Collins Study Bible. HarperCollins Publishers. 2006. p. 1265.
    3. ^ a b c d Achtemeier, Paul J., and Roger S. Boraas. The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996. Print.

    External links

    • Jewish translations:
      • Chaggai – Haggai (Judaica Press) translation with Chabad.org
    • Christian translations:
      • at GospelHall.orgOnline Bible (ESV, KJV, Darby, American Standard Version, Bible in Basic English)
    Book of Haggai
    Preceded by
    Zephaniah
    Hebrew Bible Succeeded by
    Zechariah
    Christian
    Old Testament
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