|Old Testament (Christianity)|
The Book of Haggai is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, and is the third-to-last of the Minor Prophets. It is a short book, consisting of only two chapters. The historical setting dates around 520 BC before the Temple had been rebuilt.
The Book of Haggai is named after the prophet Haggai whose prophecies are recorded in the book. The authorship of the book is uncertain. Some presume that Haggai wrote the book himself but he is repeatedly referred to in the third person which makes it unlikely that he wrote the text: it is more probable that the book was written by a disciple of Haggai who sought to preserve the content of Haggai's spoken prophecies.
There is no biographical information given about the prophet in the Book of Haggai. 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."
The Book of Haggai records events in 520 BC, some 18 years after Cyrus had conquered Babylon and issued a decree in 538 BC, allowing the captive Judahites to return to Judea. Cyrus saw the restoration of the temple as necessary for the restoration of religious practices and a sense of peoplehood, after the long exile. The precise date of the written text is uncertain but most likely dates to within a generation of Haggai himself.
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:
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 BC. "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 Darius the King." (Haggai 1:14–15) and the Book of Ezra indicates that it was finished on February 25 516 BC "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)