Chapter

Haggai

Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett

in The Bible: Authorized King James Version

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780192835253
Published online April 2009 |

Series: Oxford World's Classics

Haggai

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The prophets Haggai and Zechariah are mentioned by Ezra 5: 1–2 and 6: 14 as assisting with the rebuilding of the temple after the return of the deportees to Jerusalem in the Persian period. It is possible that the books of Haggai and Zechariah are part of their support for that project, but the intertextualities of all three books make such questions difficult to answer. Haggai consists of a series of prophetic utterances focused on the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple (they can be supplemented by Zech. 1–8 and Ezra 1–3). They are dated precisely: from the first day of the sixth month of the second year of Darius, the Persian emperor, to the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of the same year (that is, the year 520 bce: 1: 1, 15; 2: 1, 10). Whether the temple was rebuilt in this period or centuries later we do not know, but this setting, immediately after the return of the deportees to Jerusalem, is a fundamental part of the temple's legitimation claim (see Ezra 3–6). Haggai focuses on the people's initial refusal to rebuild the temple: ‘This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built’ (1: 2); on the drought, which Haggai interprets as evidence of divine opposition to the people's refusal to get involved in the rebuilding project (1: 5–11; 2: 15–19), on Zerubbabel, the governor of the province of Judah (2: 1–4, 20–3); and on the organization of the temple cultus (2: 10–14). In Haggai's preaching the building of the temple is made the prerequisite for YHWH's blessings. The rebuilt temple is the guarantor of wealth and prosperity in the land. Furthermore, without a rebuilt temple there will be no storehouse for the great treasures (from taxes?) about to arrive: ‘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. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The 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 of hosts’ (2: 7–9).

Chapter.  483 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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