Darius was king of the Persian Empire from 522 to 486 BCE. In the second year, sixth month, first day, August 29, 520 BCE. The first day of the month was ordinarily a time of special religious observance; thus, a date when the dismal state of the Temple was even more apparent.
Haggai means “(born on) the festival”; Zerubbabel (1 Chr 3.19; Ezra 2.2; 3.2,8; 5.2; Neh 12.1; Zech 4.6–10; Sir 49.11
), the grandson of Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24.8–17; 1 Chr 3.16–19
), was a descendant of David. Son of Shealtiel,
cf. Ezra 3.2; contrast 1 Chr 3.19. Joshua, Zech 3.1–10; 6.11
(= Jeshua in Ezra 2–5; Sir 49.12
). For this model of community leadership shared by a Davidic descendant and a high priest,
see Zech 4.3n.
The Temple had been plundered and burned in 586 (2 Kings 25.8–17
). Paneled probably refers to “roofed” or completed houses, in contrast to the state of the Temple.
The poor conditions in Judah were evidence of the people's disobedience to the covenant (Lev 26
), and are presented here in the form of futility curses (cf. Deut 28.30–41
These verses are built around a Heb pun; as long as the Temple is in ruins, “ḥareb,” the people will suffer drought, “ḥoreb.”
Contrast Hos 2.10
The remnant probably refers to those who had recently returned from Babylon (Jer 43.5
For the prophet as a messenger,
see Mal 1.1; 3.1; 2 Chr 36.15–16
September 21, 520 BCE.
October 17, 520 BCE. This date, the twenty‐first day of the seventh month, would place this oracle during the festival of booths (Lev 23.33–36,39–42
), which would make the reference to the Exodus (
) all the more appropriate.
A few of the people present may have seen Solomon's Temple before its destruction.
By using the style of war oracles (take courage; I am with you; do not fear;
cf. Deut 31.7; Josh 1.9
), the prophet rhetorically casts the building drive as nothing short of heroic.
Take courage … work, in 1 Chr 28.10,20
, David delivers a similar exhortation to Solomon, builder of the first Temple. People of the land, Haggai here may be addressing people who had not gone into exile and who resisted the efforts of the returning exiles (Ezra 4.1–5; Neh 4.7–8
Isa 60.5–16; 61.5–6
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