Book of Haggai


{hag' - ay - ee}

General Information

Haggai is one of the books of the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament of the Bible. It was written in 520 - 519 BC, but nothing is known of the author. The book consists of four addresses aimed at promoting the rebuilding of the Temple after the Babylonian exile (586 - 537 BC) of the Jews. Even though the second Temple would lack the grandeur of Solomon's Temple, the prophet gave assurances that the glory of the second would be greater than the first. The text was addressed to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the high priest.

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Book of Haggai, Aggeus

Brief Outline

  1. Call and encouragement to build (1)
  2. The Messianic hope (2)


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Haggai, festive, one of the twelve so-called minor prophets. He was the first of the three (Zechariah, his contemporary, and Malachi, who was about one hundred years later, being the other two) whose ministry belonged to the period of Jewish history which began after the return from captivity in Babylon. Scarcely anything is known of his personal history. He may have been one of the captives taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. He began his ministry about sixteen years after the Return. The work of rebuilding the temple had been put a stop to through the intrigues of the Samaritans. After having been suspended for fifteen years, the work was resumed through the efforts of Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 6:14), who by their exhortations roused the people from their lethargy, and induced them to take advantage of the favourable opportunity that had arisen in a change in the policy of the Persian government.

Haggai's prophecies have thus been characterized:, "There is a ponderous and simple dignity in the emphatic reiteration addressed alike to every class of the community, prince, priest, and people, 'Be strong, be strong, be strong' (2:4). 'Cleave, stick fast, to the work you have to do;' or again, 'Consider your ways, consider, consider, consider' (1:5, 7;2:15, 18). It is the Hebrew phrase for the endeavour, characteristic of the gifted seers of all times, to compel their hearers to turn the inside of their hearts outwards to their own view, to take the mask from off their consciences, to 'see life steadily, and to see it wholly.'", Stanley's Jewish Church.

(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)

Book of Haggai

Advanced Information

The Book of Haggai consists of two brief, comprehensive chapters. The object of the prophet was generally to urge the people to proceed with the rebuilding of the temple. Chapter first comprehends the first address (2-11) and its effects (12-15). Chapter second 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 5:1; 6:14; Heb. 12:26. (Comp. Hag. 2:7, 8, 22.)

(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)

Book of Haggai

From: Home Bible Study Commentary by James M. Gray

This is the first of the post-Babylonian prophets-those who prophesied after the return from the seventy years' captivity. To be interested in this book therefore, one needs to read Ezra afresh, particularly chapters 4 and 5, for the mission of Haggai was to stir up the people of that time to rebuild the temple. What excuse did the people make for not engaging in the work (2)? What showed their selfishness (4)? What showed their moral blindness (6)? What remedy for the material conditions indicated does God propose (7)? How is the divine judgment upon their neglect extended in verses (9-11)? What is the result of the prophet's indictment against them (12), and its effect in heaven (13)?

How shall we explain this result from the spiritual point of view (14)? How much time is covered by the events of this chapter (compare first and last verses)? Note the date of the second message beginning chapter 2, and compare Ezra 3:8-13. Some were discouraged because of their weakness and poverty, and felt that the temple could never be completed, and that in any event it would be outclassed by that of Solomon (3). How does God inspire them (4, 5)? Verses 6-10 are messianic, in which the first and second advents of our Lord are blended.

The "shaking of the nations" seems future. "The desire of all nations" is taken as a personal designation of Christ, and yet the Revised Version renders it "the desirable things of all nations" which has a millennial flavor. Verse 9 is usually considered fulfilled by Christ's presence in this second temple. Note the date of the third message (2:10). For the Levitical bearing of 11-13, compare the marginal references, Leviticus 10:10, 11; Deuteronomy 33: 10; Numbers 19:11; Malachi 2:7, etc. Moral cleanness was not communicated by contact, but the same was not true of uncleanness. Israel was unclean in the spiritual sense, and all that they did in the way of divine service was correspondingly so (14), but in God was their help as the following verses prove.

God did not wait until the outcome of their labors testified to their change of heart, but from the day of that change His blessing began to be visited upon them (19). Previously, as the result of their disobedience, they reaped but ten measures of grain where they expected twenty, and twenty vessels of the fruit of the vine where they expected fifty; they had experienced blasting, and mildew and hail.

But now all this would be changed, and the harvest plenteous. Let them take it by faith before the seed was in the barn, or the blossoms had come upon the trees (19). Note the date of the fourth message (2:20). This is in the future, and recalls the forthcoming judgments on the Gentile nations of which the pre-exilic prophets have spoken. The period referred to is the end time. There are those who regard verse 23 as a prophecy of Christ of whom Zerubbabel is the type, though others take the words literally as foreshadowing the resurrection of the governor himself.

Questions 1. To what period does Haggai belong? 2. With what historical book is this contemporaneous? 3. Have you re-read that book? 4. What was Haggai's mission? 5. How many of the questions on chapter 1 were you able to answer? 6. How would you explain the purpose of the second message? 7. To what period does the fourth message point?

Book of Haggai

Henry Concise Commentary

After the return from captivity, Haggai was sent to encourage the people to rebuild the temple, and to reprove their neglect. To encourage their undertaking, the people are assured that the glory of the second temple shall far exceed that of the first, by the appearing therein of Christ, the Desire of all nations.

Haggai 1

Synopsis: Haggai reproves the Jews for neglecting the temple. (1-11) | He promises God's assistance to them. (12-15)

VER. 1-11 Observe the sin of the Jews, after their return from captivity in Babylon. Those employed for God may be driven from their work by a storm, yet they must go back to it. They did not say that they would not build a temple, but, Not yet. Thus men do not say they will never repent and reform, and be religious, but, Not yet. And so the great business we were sent into the world to do, is not done. There is a proneness in us to think wrongly of discouragements in our duty, as if they were a discharge from our duty, when they are only for the trial of our courage and faith. They neglected the building of God's house, that they might have more time and money for worldly affairs.

That the punishment might answer to the sin, the poverty they though to prevent by not building the temple, God brought upon them for not building it. Many good works have been intended, but not done, because men supposed the proper time was not come. Thus believers let slip opportunities of usefulness, and sinners delay the concerns of their souls, till too late. If we labour only for themeat the perishes, as the Jews here, we are in danger of losing our labour; but we are sure it shall not be in vain in the Lord, if we labour for the meat which lasts to eternal life. If we would have the comfort and continuance of temporal enjoyments, we must have God as our Friend. See also Luke xii. 33.

When God crosses our temporal affairs, and we meet with trouble and disappointment, we shall find the cause is, that the work we have to do for God and our own souls is left undone, and we seek our own things more than the things of Christ. How many, who plead that they cannot afford to give to pious or charitable designs, often lavish ten times as much in needless expenses on their houses and themselves! But those are strangers to their own interests, who are full of care to adorn and enrich their own houses, while God's temple in their hearts lies waste. It is the great concern of every one, to apply to the necessary duty of self-examination and communion with our own hearts concerning our spiritual state. Sin is what we must answer for; duty is what we must do. But many are quick-sighted to pry into other people's ways, who are careless of their own. If any duty has been neglected, that is no reason why it should still be so. Whatever God will take pleasure in when done, we ought to take pleasure in doing. Let those who have put off their return to God, return with all their heart, while there is time.

12-15 The people returned to God in the way of duty. In attending to God's ministers, we must have respect to him that sent them. The word of the Lord has success, when by his grace he stirs up our spirits to comply with it. It is in the day of Divine power we are made willing. When God has work to be done, he will either find or make men fit to do it. Every one helped, as his ability was; and this they did with a regard to the Lord as their God. Those who have lost time, need to redeem time; and the longer we have loitered in folly, the more haste we should make. God met them in a way of mercy. Those who work for him, have him with them; and if he be for us, who can be against us? This should stir us up to be diligent.

Haggai 2

Synopsis: Greater glory promised to the second temple than to the first. (1-9) | Their sins hindered the work. (10-19) | The kingdom of Christ foretold. (20-23)

Ver. 1-9 Those who are hearty in the Lord's service shall receive encouragement to proceed. But they could not build such a temple then, as Solomon built. Though our gracious God is pleased if we do as well as we can in his service, yet our proud hearts will scarely let us be pleased, unless we do as well as others, whose abilities are far beyond ours. Encouragement is given the Jews to go on in the work notwithstanding. They have God with them, his Spirit and his special presence. Though he chastens their transgressions, his faithfulness does not fail. The Spirit still remained among them. And they shall have the Messiah among them shortly; "He that should come." Convulsions and changes would take place in the Jewish church and state, but first should come great revolutions and commotions among the nations.

He shall come, as the Desire of all nations; desirable to all nations, for in him shall all the earth be blessed with the best of blessings; long expected and desired by all believers. The house they were building should be filled with glory, very far beyond Solomon's temple. This house shall be filled with glory of another nature. If we have silver and gold, we must serve and honour God with it, for the property is his. If we have not silver and gold, we must honour him with such as we have, and he will accept us. Let them be comforted that the glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, in what would be beyond all the glories of the first house, the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord of glory, personally, and in human nature. Nothing but the presence of the Son of God, in human form and nature, could fulfil this.

Jesus is the Christ, is He that should come, and we are to look for no other. This prophecy alone is enough to silence the Jews, and condemn their obstinate rejection of Him, concerning whom all their prophets spake. If God be with us, peace is with us. But the Jews under the latter temple had much trouble; but this promise is fulfilled in that spiritual peace which Jesus Christ has by his blood purchased for all believers. All changes shall make way for Christ to be desiredand valued by all nations. And the Jews shall have their eyes opened to behold how precious He is, whom they have hitherto rejected.

10-19 Many spoiled this good work, by going about it with unholy hearts and hands, and were likely to gain no advantage by it. The sum of these two rules of the law is, that sin is more easily learned from others than holiness. The impurity of their hearts and lives shall make the work of their hands, and all their offerings, unclean before God. The case is the same with us. When employed in any good work, we should watch over ourselves, lest we render it unclean by our corruptions. When we begin to make conscience of duty to God, we may expect his blessing; and whoso is wise will understand the loving-kindness of the Lord. God will curse the blessings of the wicked, and make bitter the prosperity of the careless; but he will sweeten the cup of affliction to those who diligently serve him.

20-23 The Lord will preserve Zerubbabel and the people of Judah, amidst their enemies. Here is also foretold the establishment and continuance of the kingdom of Christ; by union with whom his people are sealed with the Holy Ghost, sealed with his image, thus distinguished from all others. Here also is foretold the changes, even to that time when the kingdom of Christ shall overthrow and occupy the place of all the empires which opposed his cause. The promise has special reference to Christ, who descended from Zerubbabel in a direct line, and is the sole Builder of the gospel temple. Our Lord Jesus is the Signet on God's right hand, for all power is given to him, and derived from him. By him, and in him, all the promises of God are yea and amen. Whatever changes take place on earth, all will promote the comfort, honour, and happiness of his servants.

Aggeus (Haggai)

Catholic Information

Name and personal life

Aggeus, the tenth among the minor prophets of the Old Testament, is called in the Hebrew text, Hággáy, and in the Septuagint Haggaios, whence the Latin form Aggeus. The exact meaning of his name is uncertain. Many scholars consider it as an adjective signifying "the festive one" (born on feast-day), while others take it to be an abbreviated form of the noun Hággíyyah, "my feast is Yahweh", a Jewish proper name found in 1 Paralipomenon 6:15 (Vulgate: 1 Chronicles 6:30). Great uncertainty prevails also concerning the prophet's personal life. The book which bears his name is very short, and contains no detailed information about its author. The few passages which speak of him refer simply to the occasion on which he had to deliver a divine message in Jerusalem, during the second year of the reign of the Persian King, Darius I (520 B.C.) And all that Jewish tradition tells of Aggeus does not seem to have much, if any, historical basis. It states that he was born in Chaldea during the Babylonian Captivity, was a young man when he came to Jerusalem with the returning exiles, and was buried in the Holy City among the priests. It also represents him as an angel in human form, as one of the men who were with Daniel when he saw the vision related in Daniel 10:7, as a member of the so-called Great Synagogue, as surviving until the entry of Alexander the Great into Jerusalem (331 B.C.), and even until the time of Our Saviour. Obviously, these and similar traditions deserve but little credence.

Historical circumstances

Upon the return from Babylon (536 B.C.) the Jews, full of religious zeal, promptly set up an altar to the God of Israel, and reorganized His sacrificial worship. They next celebrated the feast of Tabernacles, and some time later laid the foundation of the "Second" Temple, called also the Temple of Zorobabel. Presently the Samaritans -- that is, the mixed races which dwelt in Samaria -- prevented them, by an appeal to the Persian authorities, from proceeding further with the rebuilding of the Temple. In fact, the work was interrupted for sixteen years, during which various circumstances, such as the Persian invasion of Egypt in 527 B.C., a succession of bad seasons entailing the failure of the harvest and the vintage, the indulgence in luxury and self-seeking by the wealthier classes of Jerusalem, caused the Jews to neglect altogether the restoration of the House of the Lord. Toward the end of this period the political struggles through which Persia passed would have made it impossible for its rulers to interfere with the work of reconstruction in Jerusalem, even had they wished to do so, and this was distinctly realized by the Prophet Aggeus. At length, in the second year of the reign of Darius the son of Hystaspes (520 B.C.), Aggeus came forward in the name of the Lord to rebuke the apathy of the Jews, and convince them that the time had come to complete their national sanctuary, that outward symbol of the Divine presence among them.

The prophecies

The book of Aggeus is made up of four prophetical utterances, each one headed by the date on which it was delivered.

The first (1:1,2) is ascribed to the first day of the sixth month (August) of the second year of Darius' reign. It urges the Jews to resume the work of rearing the Temple, and not to be turned aside from this duty by the enjoyment of their luxurious homes. It also represents a recent drought as a divine punishment for their past neglect. This first utterance is followed by a brief account (1:12-14) of its effect upon the hearers; three weeks later work was started on the Temple.

In his second utterance (2:1-9), dated the twentieth day of the same month, the prophet foretells that the new House, which then appears so poor in comparison with the former Temple of Solomon, will one day be incomparably more glorious.

The third utterance (2:11-20), referred to the twenty-fourth of the ninth month (Nov.-Dec.), declares that as long as God's House is not rebuilt, the life of the Jews will be tainted and blasted, but that the divine blessing will reward their renewed zeal.

The last utterance (2:20-23), ascribed to the same day as the preceding, tells of the divine favour which, in the approaching overthrow of the heathen nations, will be bestowed on Zorobabel, the scion and representative of the royal house of David.

The simple reading of these oracles makes one feel that although they are shaped into parallel clauses such as are usual in Hebrew poetry, their literary style is rugged and unadorned, extremely direct, and, therefore, most natural on the part of a prophet intent on convincing his hearers of their duty to rebuild the House of the Lord.

Besides this harmony of the style with the general tone of the book of Aggeus, strong internal data occur to confirm the traditional date and authorship of that sacred writing. In particular, each portion of the work is supplied with such precise dates and ascribed so expressly to Aggeus, that each utterance bears the distinct mark of having been written soon after it was delivered. It should also be borne in mind that although the prophecies of Aggeus were directly meant to secure the immediate rearing of the Lord's House, they are not without a much higher import. The three passages which are usually brought forth as truly Messianic, are 2:7-8, 2:10, and 2:21-24. It is true that the meaning of the first two passages in the original Hebrew differs somewhat from the present rendering of the Vulgate, but all three contain a reference to Messianic times. The primitive text of the book of Aggeus has been particularly well preserved. The few variations which occur in the manuscripts are due to errors in transcribing, and do not affect materially the sense of the prophecy.

Besides the short prophetical work which bears his name, Aggeus has also been credited, but wrongly, with the authorship of Psalms 111 and 145. (See PSALMS.)

Publication information Written by F.E. Gigot. Transcribed by John G. Orr. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York


Commentaries; KNABENBAUER (1886); PEROWNE (1886); TROCHON (1883); ORELLI (1888; tr. 1803); NOWACK (1897); SMITH (1901), Introductions to the Old Testament: VIGOUROUX RAULT; TROCHON-LESETRE; KEIL; BLEEK-WELLHAUSEN; KAULEN; CORNELY; DRIVER; GIGOT.

Holy Prophet Haggai

Orthodox Perspective Information

Commemorated December 16

The Prophet Haggai, whose name means "festive", was born in Babylon at the time of the captivity of the Jews. He began to prophesy in Jerusalem after their return thereto, and to admonish the people to rebuild the Temple, in the days of Zorobabel, the second year of the reign of Darius Hystaspes, King of Persia, about the year 520 BC. His prophecy, divided into two chapters, is ranked tenth among the minor Prophets.

Dismissal Hymn of the Prophet

As we celebrate the memory of Your Prophet Haggai, O Lord, through him we beseech You to save our souls.

Kontakion of the Prophet
You sought the heights

Illumined in mind with streams of light from Heaven's heights, you brightly shined in prophecy throughout the world; and in manifesting types of Christ's dispensation, which was to come, you became illustrious, O Prophet Haggai, wise in things divine.

Book of Haggai

Jewish Perspective Information


The Four Discourses.

Haggai's Style.

"Variæ Lectiones."

The Historical Background.

Rebuilding of the Temple.

One of the so-called minor prophetical books of the Old Testament. It contains four addresses. The first (i. 2-11), dated the first day of the sixth month of the second year of Darius Hystaspes (520 B.C.), described as directed against, or to, Zerubbabel the governor and Joshua the high priest (i. 1), is designed to arouse the people from their indifference to the rebuilding of the Temple, an indifference in glaring contrast to the care taken to secure comfortable and well-appointed private dwellings (i. 4); drought and dearth are announced as a penalty (i. 5-6, 10-11). Their failure to rebuild the Temple is the cause of their disappointment (i. 9). This brief discourse has the desired effect (i. 12). Haggai announces that Yhwh is with them. In the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month (520) work on the Temple begins.

The Four Discourses.

The second address is dated the twenty-first day of the seventh month, and strikes the note of encouragement. It seems that many had again become despondent; the prophet assures these that God's spirit, in accordance with the covenant made at the time of the exodus from Egypt, is with them. Yet a little while, and Yhwh's power will become manifest. All the nations will bring tribute to make this house glorious. What the nations now call their own is in fact Yhwh's. Thus the glory of the later house will be greater than that of the earlier, which so many despair of equaling. Peace will reign in the Second Temple (ii. 1-9).

The third discourse is dated the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of Darius. It is prefaced by questions addressed to the priests concerning certain applications of the law of Levitical purity. The answers of the priests to his questions furnish the text for his exposition of the people's sin in not erecting the Temple. These shortcomings are the reason for the dearth. Their removal, therefore, will bring Yhwh's blessing (ii. 10-19).

On the same day (the twenty-fourth of the ninth month) Haggai addresses another (the fourth) discourse to Zerubbabel, announcing Yhwh's determination to bring to pass great political upheavals, resulting in the dethroning of kings and the defeating of their armies. In consequence of these wonderful reversals of the prevailing political conditions, Zerubbabel will become the "signet" as the one chosen of Yhwh; that is, Zerubbabel will be crowned as the independent (Messianic) king of independent Judea (ii. 20-23).

Haggai's Style.

Contrasted with the flow and fervor of the utterances of other prophets, Haggai's style certainly justifies the rabbinical observation that he marks the period of decline in prophecy (Yoma 9b). He scarcely ever rises above the level of good prose. The critics have found in this a confirmation of the assumption that Haggai wrote and spoke only after having reached a very ripe old age. Certain turns of phraseology are characteristically affected by him: (i. 5, 7; ii. 15, 18a, b); = "and now," introducing an appeal (i. 5; ii. 4, 15). Repetitions of words are frequent: (i. 7, 8); [ (ii. 4a, b, c, 6, 7, 8a, b, 14, 17, 23a, b, c); (ii. 22, twice); (ii. 4, thrice). Haggai loves to recall in one final word the preceding idea: i. 2b, 12b; ii. 5b (), 19b ( ).

"Variæ Lectiones."

The text is in good condition, and the versions do not exhibit important variants. The Septuagint has additions in ii. 10-15, and several omissions, one (ii. 5) very extensive. "Be-mal'akut" (i. 13) is represented by έν ἀγγέλοις = "be-mal'ake." The Peshiṭta presents the reading "ḥereb" (sword) for "ḥoreb" (drought) in i. 11, and the "hif'il" instead of the "ḳal" in "u-ba'u"-(ii. 7; comp. L. Reinke, "Der Prophet Haggai," pp. 23 et seq., Münster, 1868, on the text of Haggai). Of emendations proposed by modern scholars, the following may be noted: In ch. i. 2 the first should be read ("now"), or, still better, corrected into ("as yet"); the versions omit i. 10. is probably a dittogram of the preceding . For ("their God") in i. 12, the Septuagint, the Peshiṭta, and the Vulgate present ("unto them"), which is preferable. Ch. i. 13 is held to be suspicious as a later gloss (Böhme, in Stade's "Zeitschrift," vii. 215; Nowack, "Die Kleinen Propheten," in "Handkommentar zum Alten Testament," p. 305, Göttingen, 1897). Ch. ii. 5a is grammatically of difficult construction; the Revised Version inserts "remember"; the Septuagint omits it. It is in all likelihood an interpolation (see Nowack, l.c. p. 306). (ii. 6) is doubtful; the Septuagint reads instead of . Wellhausen's observation ("Die Kleinen Propheten," ad loc.), that the verse combines two originally distinct readings, one as the Septuagint has it and the other that of the Masoretic text, with omitted, is probably based on fact. In verse 8 has been taken to refer to the Messiah (comp. the name "Mohammed"); but the allusion is distinctly to the "precious possessions" of the nations; perhaps it should be vocalized "ḥamudot." For ii. 9 the Septuagint has a much more complete text, probably originally included (see Wellhausen, l.c., ad loc.). The Septuagint addition to ii. 14 is partly taken from Amos v. 10, and the whole looks like a gloss. In ii. 16 something seems to have dropped out of the text (see Nowack, l.c. p. 309). (ii. 17) is clearly corrupt; is the better reading proposed (Nowack, l.c.). In ii. 18, from to must be considered as an explanatory gloss by a later reader. At the end of verse 22 some verb seems to be required. Wellhausen supplies "shall fall." Instead of , in reference to the horses' undoing, Grätz ("Emendationes," ad loc.) proposes ("tremble").

The authenticity of ii. 20-23 has been impugned by Böhme (Stade's "Zeitschrift," vii. 215 et seq.) on the ground that (a) differences of expression indicate a different authorship, and that (b) their contents merely repeat Haggai's former assurances; yet this conclusion is not warranted. The concluding discourse is marked in the text as addressed to Zerubbabel alone. This accounts for the repetitions, if there be any; the differences in style are not so striking as to be incompatible with Haggai's authorship.

The Historical Background.

It is clear that in 520 B.C., according to Haggai's explicit statement, the reerection of the Temple had not begun. This is contrary to the common opinion that the work of rebuilding the Temple had been undertaken immediately after the return under Cyrus. Ezra iii. (and iv. 1-5) names the second year after the return as the date when the machinations of the Samaritans brought the enterprise to a standstill. For this reason Haggai has been held to plead merely for the "resumption," not for the "undertaking," of the (interrupted) building operations. Still, neither in Haggai nor in Zechariah is there any indication to justify this modification. Haggai is silent concerning the previous laying of a corner-stone. Far from laying the blame to foreign interference, he is emphatic in denouncing, as the sole cause of the deplorable state of affairs, the indifference and despondency of the Jews. In ii. 18 the laying of the corner-stone is described, either by himself or by a glossarist (see above), as taking place in his own time (Winckler, in Schrader, "K. A. T." 3d ed., p. 293, does not take this view, urging against it Haggai ii. 3, "how do ye see it now"). Probably on the return of the exiles only an altar was set up. Ezra iii. and iv., written much later, ascribe the later occurrences to an earlier date. W. H. Koster ("Het Herstel," 1894, German ed. 1895) argues, partly on these grounds, that no exiles returned under Cyrus, and that the Temple was built by Jews who had been left at Jerusalem (see against him Wellhausen, "Die Rückkehr der Juden," 1895, and Eduard Meyer, "Die Entstehung des Judentums," 1896). This extreme view is inadmissible. But Haggai makes it evident that the Temple was erected only in his time (during Darius Hystaspes' reign, not that of Cyrus), and that its erection was largely due to his and Zechariah's efforts.

Rebuilding of the Temple.

Haggai's description reveals the difficulties with which the small community had to contend; drought and dearth (i. 9 et seq., ii. 15) were among them; and the population must have been small. Under these disheartening circumstances, what encouraged the prophet to urge his people to the enterprise? The conditions of the Persian empire furnish a clue to the answer (comp. Isa.lx.); in the impending disruption of the Persian power he sees Yhwh's purpose to reestablish Judea's independence under the (Messianic) king Zerubbabel.

In the large Behistun inscription, Darius has left the record of these disturbances, caused by the assassination of pseudo-Smerdis in 521. While Darius was busy fighting the Babylonian usurper Nidintubal, Persia, Susiana, Media, Assyria, Armenia, and other provinces, under various leaders, rose in rebellion against him. These campaigns kept Darius engaged during 520-519, the period of Haggai's first appeals (see Ed. Meyer, "Die Entstehung des Judentums"). Nevertheless, Nowack contends that the predictions in Haggai concerning the great upheavals which, while troubling and overturning all other nations, will result in establishing permanent peace in Jerusalem (ii. 9), are of the nature of eschatological apocalyptic speculations. Haggai, according to him, was the first to formulate the notion of an ultimate opposition between God's rule and that of the heathen nations. The rôle clearly assigned to Zerubbabel in the prediction of Haggai does not seem to be compatible with this assumption. He is too definite and too real a historical personage in the horizon of Haggai to admit of this construction. The "ideal" Messiah is always central in apocalyptic visions.

Emil G. Hirsch

Jewish Encyclopedia, published between 1901-1906.


W. A. Böhme, in Stade's Zeitschrift, vii. 215 et seq.; Dillmann, Jesaja, Leipsic, 1898; Duhm, Die Theologie der Propheten, Bonn, 1875; Hitzig, Die Kleinen Propheten, Leipsic, 1881; Eugene Hühn, Die Messianischen Weissagungen, Freiburg-im-Breisgau, 1899; A. Köhler, Die Weissagungen Haggai's, Erlangen, 1860; Koster, Het Herstel van Israel in het Perzische Tijdvak, Leyden, 1894; Ed. Meyer, Die Entstehung des Judentums, Halle, 1895; Nowack, Kleine Propheten, Göttingen, 1897; W. Pressel, Kommentar zu den Schriften der Propheten Haggai, etc., Gotha, 1870; T. T. Perowne, Haggai and Zechariah, Cambridge, 1888; Reinke, Der Prophet Haggai, Münster, 1868; Sellin, Serubbabel, Leipsic, 1898; George Adam Smith, The Book of the Twelve Prophets, New York, 1901; Wellhausen, Skizzen und Vorarbeiten, 2d ed., vol. v., Berlin, 1893.E. G. H.


Jewish Perspective Information

Judean prophet of the early post-exilic period; contemporary with Zechariah (Ezra v. 1; III Ezra [I Esd.] vi. 1, vii. 3).(Hilprecht, in "Pal. Explor. Fund Quarterly," Jan., 1898, p. 55). = "Aggeus" in I Esd.; "Aggæus, "Ἀγγαιος = "festal" (born on feast-day) or "feast of Yah" (Olshausen, "Grammatik," § 277b); Wellhausen, in Bleek, "Einleitung," 4th ed., p. 434, takes "Haggai" to be equivalent to "Ḥagariah" (= "God girdeth"). The name is found on Semitic inscriptions-Phenician, Palmyrene, Aramaic, Hebrew; comp. "C. I. S." lxviii. 1 and Lidzbarski, "Handbuch der Nordsemitischen Epigraphik," p. 270, Weimar, 1898; it occurs as "Ḥagga" on a tablet from Nippur

Very little is known of Haggai's life. Ewald ("Propheten des Alten Bundes," p. 178, Göttingen, 1868) concludes from Hag. ii. 3 that he had seen the first Temple, in which case he would have been a very old man at the time of Darius Hystaspes, in the second year of whose reign (520 B.C.) Haggai appears as a prophetic preacher to stir the people to the work of rebuilding the Temple (Hag. i. 1 et seq.). It is not certain that Haggai was ever in Babylonia. He may have lived continuously at Jerusalem (comp. Lam. ii. 9). At all events, to judge by the extent of his book, his public ministry was brief. That Zechariah was the leading prophet of those times (Zech. vii. 1-4) lends plausibility to the assumption that Haggai was nearing death when he made his appeal to the people. According to tradition he was born in Chaldea during the Captivity, and was among those that returned under Zerubbabel. It has even been claimed that he was an angel of Yhwh, sent temporarily to earth to move the indifferent congregation (see Hag. i. 13). He was remembered as a singer of psalms, and as the first to use the term "Hallelujah." In fact, his name is mentioned in the Septuagint superscriptions to Psalms cxii., cxlv.-cxlix., though not in all manuscripts alike (Köhler, "Die Weissagungen Haggais," p. 32; Wright, "Zechariah and His Prophecies," xix. et seq.; B. Jacob, in Stade's "Zeitschrift," xvi. 290; Cheyne and Black, "Encyc. Bibl." ii. 1935, note 2, in reference to Epiphanius, "Vitæ Prophetarum"). By Jewish historiography Haggai is numbered among the "men of the Great Synagogue" (B. B. 15a), or among those that "transmitted revelation" (see Cabala) from their prophetic predecessors to the "men of the Great Synagogue" (Ab. R. N. i. [recension A, p. 2, ed. Schechter]; comp. Yoma 9b). In his days prophetic inspiration was growing less frequent (ib.). Haggai is credited with having instituted certain practical decisions("taḳḳanot"). Among these were a provision for the intercalation of the month of Adar (R. H. 19b); a decision in favor of enlarging the altar; a decision permitting the bringing of sacrifices independently of the existence or presence of the Temple (Mid. iii. 1; Zeb. 62; Yer. Naz. ii. 7). The organization of the priestly service into twenty-four relays (Tosef., Ta'an. ii.; 'Ar. 12b), and the regulation of the wood-contributions (Tosef., Ta'an. iii.; Ta'an. 28; comp. Neh. x. 35), are traced to him. Other references to Haggai's legislative influence are given in R. H. 9; Yeb. 16a; Ḳid. 43a; Ḥul. 137b; Bek. 57; Naz. 53a. The "seat" () on which he sat as legislator is mentioned (Yeb. 16a).E. G. H.

Emil G. Hirsch

Jewish Encyclopedia, published between 1901-1906.

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