INTRODUCTION

The Book of Haggai is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, and has its place as the third-to-last of the Minor Prophets.

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 Achaemenid Empire in 539 BCE and 520 BCE, a period that saw major leaders such as Zerubbabel help lead the Jews in their return to the land from Babylonian captivity.

The Book of Haggai is named after its presumed author, the prophet Haggai.

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 was written in 520 BCE some 18 years after Cyrus had conquered Babylon 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.

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.

 

CHAPTERS

The first chapter contains the first address (2–11) and its effects (12–15).

The second chapter contains:

  • The second prophecy (1–9), which was delivered a month after the first
  • The third prophecy (10–19), delivered two months and three days after the second; and
  • The fourth prophecy (20–23), delivered on the same day as the third

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 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 Darius the King.(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)


OUTLINE

Divine Announcement: The Command to Rebuild the Temple (1.1–15 )

  1. Introduction: Reluctant Rebuilders (1.1–2 )
  2. Consider your ways: fruitless prosperity (1.3–12 )
  3. Promise and Progress (1.13–15 )

Divine Announcement: The Coming Glory of the Temple (2.1–2.9 )

  1. God will fulfill his promise (2:1–5 )
  2. Future Splendor of the temple (2:6–9 )

Divine Announcement: Blessings for a Defiled People (2.10–19 )

  1. Former Misery (2.10–17 )
  2. Future Blessing (2.18–19 )

Divine Announcement: Zerubbabel Chosen as a Signet (2.20–23 )

CHAPTER 1

TIME TO BUILD THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

1:1 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,

1:2 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.

1:3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,

1:4 [Is it] time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house [lie] waste?

1:5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

1:6 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 with holes.

1:7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

1:8 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.

1:9 Ye 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.

1:10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed [from] her fruit.

1:11 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.

1:12 Then 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.

1:13 Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I [am] with you, saith the LORD.

1:14 And 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,

1:15 In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.

CHAPTER 2

THE LORD SAYS - BE STRONG

2:1 In the seventh [month,] in the one and twentieth [day] of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying,

2:2 Speak 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, saying,

2:3 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?

2:4 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:

2:5 [According to] the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.

2:6 For 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;]

2:7 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.

2:8 The silver [is] mine, and the gold [is] mine, saith the LORD of hosts.

2:9 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.

 

LEARN TO DISCERN THE CLEAN FROM THE UNCLEAN

2:10 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,

2:11 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests [concerning] the law, saying,

2:12 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.

2:13 Then 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 unclean.

2:14 Then 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.

2:15 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:

2:16 Since 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.

2:17 I 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.

2:18 Consider 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.]

2:19 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.]

 

ZERUBBABEL IS A PROPHETIC SIGNET

2:20 And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth [day] of the month, saying,

2:21 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;

2:22 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.

2:23 In 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.