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The Agora
Bible Commentary
Haggai

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OVERVIEW

Time: 520 BC -- during a 4-month period.

Haggai referred to himself as simply "the prophet Haggai" (1:1; etc). Nothing is known about Haggai's parents, ancestors, or tribal origin. His name apparently means "festal" or possibly "feast of Yahweh" -- appropriate since much of his prophecy deals with the blessings of the coming Kingdom. It is a form of the Hebrew word "hag", meaning "feast" (cp the Arabic "haj").

Ezra mentioned that through the prophetic ministries of Haggai and Zechariah the returned Jewish exiles resumed and completed the restoration of their temple (Ezra 5:1,2; 6:14; cp Zec 8:9; and -- in the Apocrypha -- 1 Esdras 6:1; 7:3; 2 Esdras 1:40; Ecclesiasticus 49:11).

Haggai exhorts them to "consider their ways" and to complete the Temple whose foundation had been laid 18 years before. (The people responded and the Temple was completed in 516 BC.) Haggai further pronounces that pagan empires will be overthrown by God, and Judah will be elevated during the time of the Messiah.

Key verse: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little... You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it... build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honoured" (Hag 1:5,6,8).

Outline

1. First message: the call to rebuild the temple: Hag 1:1–11
2. The response of Zerubbabel and the people: Hag 1:12–15
3. Second message: The temple to be filled with glory: Hag 2:1–9
4. Third message: a defiled people purified and blessed: Hag 2:10–19
5. Fourth message: the promise to Zerubbabel: Hag 2:20–23

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