Book of the Prophet Haggai (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 513)
Book of the Prophet HAGGAI
Haggai (1:1) was a prophet who, along with Zechariah, his contemporary, encouraged the returned exiles to
rebuild the temple (see Ezr 5:1–2; 6:14). Haggai means “festal,” which may indicate that the prophet was born
during one of the three pilgrimage feasts (Unleavened Bread, Pentecost or Weeks, and Tabernacles; cf. Dt 16:16).
Based on 2:3 Haggai may have witnessed the destruction of Solomon’s temple. If so, he must have been in his 70s
during his ministry.
10th Book of the 12 Minor Prophets (Old Testament)
The Book of Haggai is named after its presumed author, the prophet Haggai. It is a short book, consisting of only
Haggai’s words concern conditions in the Persian province of Judah at the beginning of the postexilic period during
the reign of the Persian king Darius I (522–486 B.C.). The community in Judah is struggling with its identity in light of
the loss of its statehood through the demise of the monarchy and the destruction of the Temple. Haggai’s oracles
address both these problems. First, the provincial government, despite its subordination to Persian hegemony, is
seen as the legitimate heir to the Davidic monarchy; the governor Zerubbabel, himself a descendant of the Davidic
line, and the high priest Joshua together provide political, economic, and religious leadership for the survivors of the
Babylonian destruction and the returnees from the Babylonian exile who live together in Judah. Still, the possibility for
restoration of Davidic rule is not relinquished but rather is shifted to the eschatological future. Second, the Temple’s
ruined state is addressed by a rebuilding program. The prophet links the well-being of the community to the work of
Temple restoration, and his exhortations to the leaders and the people to begin work on this project are apparently
heeded. The brief period of Haggai’s ministry (August to December 520 B.C.) marks the resumption of work on the
Temple, the symbol of divine presence among the people.
Six date formulas (1:1, 15; 2:1, 10, 18, 20) are an important feature of the Book of Haggai. In their specificity and in
their link to the reign of a foreign king (Darius), the dates underscore God’s control over history, as do similar
chronological references in Zechariah, a prophetic book connected in literary and thematic ways to Haggai.
The prophecies of Haggai can be divided into two major parts:
I. The Restoration of the Temple (1:1–15)
II. Oracles of Encouragement (2:1–23)