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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Haggai - Introduction

When the Exile in Babylon was lifted about 539 B.C.E., civil and religious life in Judah was at a low ebb. The temple (destroyed in 587) was in ruins, and the economy scarcely better. While the Persian rule proved more lenient than that of Babylonia, a simple return to the situation before the Exile was not possible.

By 520, the standard of living had improved, but there had been no progress in religious reestablishment. Along with Zechariah (see Introduction to Zechariah ) Haggai addressed himself to this latter problem with such zeal that the rebuilding of the temple began within a month after his first oracle. Haggai saw a correlation between prosperity and piety, in that he tended to ascribe adverse conditions to the failure to build the temple and to predict favorable ones as a result of its construction. Moreover, he considered the restoration of David's dynasty necessary to Judah's full life, and hence the promise of kingship to Zerubbabel ( 2.20–23 ). The rebuilding of the temple was completed about 516 B.C.E., four years after Haggai began to prophesy.

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Oxford University Press

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