The Book of Haggai
Haggai or The Book of Haggai is a prophetic text included in the Jewish Bible Tanakh, and forms a part of the Minor Prophets section of the Nevi’im. Comprised of only 2 chapters, Haggai is a very short book. Very little is known about prophet Haggai, the man who wrote the book of Haggai. The name Haggai means “festal”; this might indicate that the author was born during any of the 3 pilgrimage feasts (i.e. the Pentecost or Weeks, the Unleavened Bread and the Tabernacles).
The book of Haggai was written around 520 BC, eighteen years after the Jewish people had returned to Judea from their Babylonian exile. In this book of Haggai, Haggai is presenting an urgent plea to the Jewish people to go ahead and rebuild the second Jerusalem temple. From what can be seen on Haggai 2:3, we might confer that the prophet had witnessed Jerusalem’s glory prior to the temple’s destruction and the Babylonian exile in 586 BC. This means that Haggai was in his seventies when he delivered his prophetic messages. From this, we can see that Haggai was an old man reminiscing on the majestic past of his nation. He was deeply imbued with a strong desire to see Jewish people recover from the darker days of exile and go back to being the God’s Holy nation it once was.
Although the Book of Haggai is one of the shortest in the Old Testament, its message is still deeply significant. Haggai urgently calls on the people of Jerusalem to rebuild the Second Temple. Haggai feels that even more than the disturbances caused by their opponents; it is the spiritual laziness that is most responsible for the present predicament of the Jewish people. Although the altar and certain parts of the temple’s foundation have been laid, the actual work of rebuilding the temple has been postponed for the last sixteen years. It was as if the people had other work to handle that they felt were more important.
The Jewish people were busy decorating their own homes but had no time for rebuilding God’s house. This tendency to procrastinate rebuilding God’s Temple showed Jewish people’s lack of understanding and sincerity with the project. Without the temple ordinances, the people of the day lacked the ingredients that were necessary for their overall spiritual welfare. People were inclining more towards the profane aspects of life over the sacred, which surely was not in keeping with God’s ways.
Furthermore in the Book of Haggai, Haggai prophecies the downfall of the kingdoms and that Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah will be hailed as the leader appointed by the Lord. The first chapter of the book of Haggai contains Haggai’s first address and its effects. The second chapter of the book of Haggai contains the second, third and fourth prophecies. In this chapter, we see that God is speaking to the laborers who are working to rebuild the temple and encourages them for their efforts under difficult and stressful conditions. He says that the glory of this modest temple will even surpass the greatness of King Solomon’s original Temple. Learn more about Bible Quotes from the book of Haggia.