The Book of Haggai is a book of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and of the Old Testament, written by the prophet Haggai. It 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. He saw the restoration of the temple as necessary for the restoration of the religious practices and a sense of peoplehood after a long exile.
It consists of two simple, comprehensive chapters. The object of the prophet is generally urging the people to proceed with the rebuilding of the second Jerusalem temple in 521 BCE after the return of the deportees. Haggai attributes a recent drought to the peoples' 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.
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; 6:14;(Compare Haggai 2:7, 8, 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 King Darius.(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)
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