The Book Of HAGGAI
The prophet Haggai, in 520 B.C.E., urges those who have returned from
Babylonian exile, including Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the
governor, to rebuild the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. Haggai blames
their lack of prosperity on the fact that the temple still lies in ruins
while they themselves live in paneled houses. The people are moved by
Haggai's prophecy to start rebuilding the temple. Through Haggai, the
Lord promises to be with the people and to make this second temple
greater than the first. Haggai's book ends with a prophecy for
Zerubbabel, a descendant of David. When the Lord defeats the nations,
Zerubbabel will become like a "signet ring" on God's hand; he will be
the Lord's chosen ruler.
Haggai gives us a glimpse into a critical period in Jewish history, when
those who have returned from exile are struggling to reshape their
identity as a people in the land of their ancestors. To help in forming
that identity, Haggai looks to the past, evoking the Exodus from Egypt
(2:5), and to the future--the vision of a glorious rebuilt temple (2:9)
and a new Davidic ruler (2:23). Hope for the future rests on God's
faithfulness in the past.
Haggai is the thirty-seventh book of the Old Testament. It is the tenth
of the so-called "minor" (or shorter) prophets, the twelve books that
make up the final portion of the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles.
We don't know who compiled Haggai's prophecies into the book that bears
his name, but the dominant "voice" in the book is that of Haggai
himself. He was a prophet who lived in Judah in the years after the
Babylonian exile. We don't know whether he was one of those who returned
from exile in Babylon or whether he had remained in Judah during the
exile. In any case, he was a figure of great influence in rebuilding the
temple. Outside of the book of Haggai, he is referred to in Ezra 5:1
and 6:14 as a prophet.
The book of Haggai can be dated very accurately. According to several
chronological notes in the book itself, Haggai prophesied in the latter
half of the year 520 B.C.E. His prophecies must have been written down
The prophet Haggai in 520 B.C.E. exhorts the leaders and people who have
returned from Babylonian exile to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, and
Perhaps more than any other prophetic book, Haggai is based in a
particular time and place: Judah in the latter half of 520 B.C.E. For
that reason, it is necessary to know the historical circumstances of the
book in order to read it with understanding. One should also pay
attention to Haggai's focus on the future, his vision of a restored
temple and a Davidic ruler. Such a vision inspired hope and a renewed
sense of identity for a people newly returned from exile.
AUTHOR: Kathryn Schifferdecker, Associate Professor of Old Testament
The Book Of HAGGAI
1 In the
second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of
the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto
Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the
son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,
2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built.
3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?
5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
6 Ye have
sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye
drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is
none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag
7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
8 Go up
to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take
pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.
looked for much, and, lo it came to little; and when ye brought it home,
I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house
that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
11 And I
called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the
corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the
ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the
labour of the hands.
Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the
high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the
LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their
God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.
13 Then spake Haggai the LORD's messenger in the LORD's message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.
the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel,
governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the
high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they
came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,
15 In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
1 In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying,
now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua
the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people,
3 Who is
left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see
it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?
4 Yet now
be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son
of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land,
saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:
5 According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.
thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will
shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;
7 And I
will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I
will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.
glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith
the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD
10 In the
four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of
Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
11 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying,
12 If one
bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do
touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy?
And the priests answered and said, No.
said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these,
shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be
answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation
before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that
which they offer there is unclean.
15 And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD:
those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were
but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels
out of the press, there were but twenty.
smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours
of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD.
now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the
ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD's temple
was laid, consider it.
19 Is the
seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the
pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day
will I bless you.
20 And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying,
21 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;
22 And I
will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength
of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and
those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come
down, every one by the sword of his brother.
that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my
servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a
signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.