Book of Haggai
The Book of Haggai is a book of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 or Tanak, and has its place as the antepenultimate of the Minor Prophets or the "Book of the Twelve." It is a short book, consisting of only two chapters. The historical setting dates around 520 BCE before the Temple has been rebuilt. 520 BCE falls between the start of the Persian empire in 539 BCE and 520 BCE a period that saw major kings such as Zerubbabel
Zerubbabel was a governor of the Persian Province of Judah and the grandson of Jehoiachin, penultimate king of Judah. Zerubbabel led the first group of Jews, numbering 42,360, who returned from the Babylonian Captivity in the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia . The date is generally thought to...

 helped lead the Jews in their return to the land.


The Book of Haggai is named after its presumed author, the prophet Haggai
Haggai was a Hebrew prophet during the building of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and one of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible and the author of the Book of Haggai. His name means "my holiday"...

. 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
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...



The Book of Haggai was written in 520 BCE some 18 years after Cyrus
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

 had conquered Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 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.


Haggai's message is filled with an urgency for the people to proceed with the rebuilding of the second Jerusalem temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

. Haggai attributes a recent drought to the peoples' 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
Zerubbabel was a governor of the Persian Province of Judah and the grandson of Jehoiachin, penultimate king of Judah. Zerubbabel led the first group of Jews, numbering 42,360, who returned from the Babylonian Captivity in the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia . The date is generally thought to...

, governor of Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

, 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.

A closer look

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
Book of Ezra
The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible. Originally combined with the Book of Nehemiah in a single book of Ezra-Nehemiah, the two became separated in the early centuries of the Christian era...

 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
Darius I of Persia
Darius I , also known as Darius the Great, was the third king of kings of the Achaemenid Empire...

.(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)


  1. Divine Announcement: The Command to Rebuild the Temple
    1. Introduction: Reluctant Rebuilders
    2. Consider your ways: fruitless prosperity
    3. Promise and Progress
  2. Divine Announcement: The Coming Glory of the Temple
    1. God will fulfill his promise
    2. Future Splendor of the temple
  3. Divine Announcement: Blessings for a Defiled People
    1. Former Misery
    2. Future Blessing
  4. Divine Announcement: Zerubbabel Chosen as a Signet

External links

  • Jewish
    Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

    • Chaggai - Haggai (Judaica Press) translation [with Rashi
      Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

      's commentary] at is the flagship website of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement. It serves not just its own members but Jews worldwide in general. It was one of the first Jewish internet sites and the first and largest virtual congregation.-History:...

  • Christian
    A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

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