Haggai: A Plea To Rebuild the Temple

There are four prophecies contained within the two chapters of the book of Haggai (whose named means something akin to “my holiday” though the root word in Hebrew means something like “to make a pilgrimage”). The text is believed to have been written after the Babylonian exile, during the reign of Darius, the Persian emperor, as stated at the outset of the book.

Each of the four prophecies, come from the Lord to Haggai, and in total they are a passionate plea to the people of Israel to stop dragging their feet and rise up to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Cyrus, a predecessor to Darius, conquered Babylon and freed the Jews. The Persian support for the Jews to practice their own customs and rebuild the temple was instrumental to Haggai’s efforts. According to the text, why does Haggai want the temple to be rebuilt in the first place? Because God will take “pleasure in it” (1:8) and for the “glory” of Judah (2:9). Otherwise, if the people do not rebuild the temple, a great drought will continue to spread across the land from God.

Haggai bookends his text with a praise of the then-governor of Jerusalem, Zerubbabel. He pays deference to the politics of his age, and thereby cloaks his biases from persecution.

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