The promise to Zerubbabel. The focus shifts from the reconstruction of the Temple to the installation of Zerubbabel as Judah's leader.
Descriptions of Judah's restoration are often accompanied by references to the conquest of other nations (Joel 3
While Zerubbabel is only a governor of Judah (
) under Persian authority, he is a member of the Davidic family that had ruled Jerusalem (see comment on 1.1
), and Haggai may be announcing a greater role for him. Both my servant (2 Sam 7.5
) and signet ring (Jer 22.24
) may be royal images anticipating a revival of the Davidic dynasty.
The charge to rebuild the Temple.
Haggai's first speech directs those who have returned to Jerusalem from exile to begin reconstruction of the Temple.
King Darius (522–486) is the third monarch of the Persian empire, of which Judah became a province when the Persian king Cyrus conquered
Babylon in 538 BCE. The second year of Darius's reign is 520 BCE. Zerubbabel, grandson of Jehoiachin (“Jeconiah”; 1 Chr 3.16–19
), the king of Judah exiled to Babylon in 597 BCE (2 Kings 24.8–17; 25.27–30
), had returned to Judah with other exiles (Ezra 2.1–2
; see sidebar above). Joshua's grandfather Seraiah, chief priest of Jerusalem, was killed when Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians (2 Kings 25.18–21
), and Joshua's father, Jehozadak, was deported to Babylon (1 Chr 6.14–15
The remnant of the people refers to those who had returned to Judah from Babylonian exile (Jer 43.5
; see sidebar above).
The vision of the new Temple's glory. Haggai encourages those whose first efforts at reconstruction of the Temple
Its former glory recalls the splendor of Solomon's Temple (1 Kings 6
), which was destroyed when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 587 BCE (2 Kings 25.9, 13–17
The people of the land may refer to those who had remained in Judah after its conquest by Babylon.
Haggai reminds the people that God delivered them from slavery in Egypt (Ex 1–15
Descriptions of Judah's restoration are often accompanied by images of the cosmos in disarray (Isa 51.6
) and of the nations bringing tribute to Jerusalem (Isa 45.14
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