SPECIAL TOPIC: HAGGAI

I.  NAME OF THE BOOK

  A. Named after its speaker

  B. His name means "Festival."  The yod or "I" at the end may be an abbreviation for YHWH; if so, "festival of YHWH" (cf. I Chr. 6:30) or the pronoun "my," which would also refer to YHWH.  

 

II. CANONIZATION

 A. This book is part of the "latter prophets" (Ecclesiasticus 49:10).

 B. It is part of "the Twelve," a grouping of minor prophets (Baba Bathra 14b):

 1. like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, they fit on one scroll

 2. they represent the twelve tribes or the symbolic number of organization

 3. they reflect the traditional view of the book's chronology

 C. The order of "the Twelve," or Minor Prophets, has been linked by many scholars to a chronological sequence.  It is obvious that Haggai and Zechariah are paired historically. 

 

III. GENRE

 A. This is a series of four or five sermons (1:13).

 B. It is not poetic. 

 

IV. AUTHORSHIP 

 A. Haggai is mentioned in Ezra 5:1; 6:14, and Zech. 8:9, where he is linked with Zechariah. He was probably a returnee from Exile.

 B. He is also mentioned in I Esdras 6:1; 7:3 and II Esdras 1:40. Ecclesiasticus 49:11 is a quote from Haggai 2:23.

 C. Jerome says that he was a priest, but this is a misunderstanding derived from 2:10-19.

 D. Ewald and Pusey suggest that Hag. 2:3 implies that he saw Solomon's Temple, which would make him 70 or 80 years old.

 E. Cyril of Alexandria mentions a general opinion in his day that he was an angel. This is from a misunderstanding of the Hebrew term "messenger" in Hag. 1:13.

 F. The LXX attributes several Psalms to Haggai and Zechariah: Psalms 112, 126, 127, 137, 146-149.

 G. all of Haggai's four sermons are recorded in the third person which implies:

 1. a common literary technique

 2. a scribe or editor.  

 

V. DATE

 A. Haggai was a post-exilic prophet along with Zechariah, his contemporary.

 B. The book is dated from the first day of the sixth month (1:1) until the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month (2:10,20) of the second year of Darius I Hystaspes (521-486 b.c.).  Therefore, the date is 520 b.c.  This was four years before the second Temple was finished in 516 b.c., and fulfills the prophecy of Jeremiah regarding the seventy years of exile, which began in 586 b.c.

 

VI. CHRONOLOGY OF THE PERIOD (taken from The Minor Prophets by Dr. Theo Laetsch, published by Concordia, p. 385)

Darius' Regnal Year Year B.C. Month Day Text Content
2 520 6      
    Sept/Oct 1 Hag. 1:1-11 Haggai rouses the people into activity
      24

7

Hag. 1:12-15 The people begin to build
    Oct/Nov 1

8

Hag. 2:1-9 The latter glory of God's Temple
    Nov/Dec ?

9

Zech. 1:1-6 Zechariah begins to prophesy
    Dec/Jan 24 Hag. 2:10-19 God will begin to bless
        Hag. 2:20-23 Messiah's kingdom established after overthrow of world powers
  519 11      
    Feb/Mar 24 Zech. 1:7-6:8 Zechariah's night visions
4 518 9      
    Dec/Jan 4 Zech. 7, 8 Repentance urged; blessing promised
6 516 12      
    Mar/Apr 3 Ezra 6:15 Dedication of Temple
    ?   Zech. 9-14 After dedication of Temple 

VII. LITERARY UNITS—It is outlined by the prophet's sermons

 A. First Sermon, 1:1-11, Rebuild the Temple!

 B. The leaders and people respond, 1:12-15.

 C. Second Sermon, 2:1-9, The Temple size is not the issue!

 D. Third Sermon, 2:10-19, God's blessings will flow if the people obey and rebuild the Temple.

 E. Fourth Sermon, 2:20-23, The universal reign of the Messiah foreshadowed in Zerubbabel. 

 

VIII. MAIN TRUTHS

 A. The book focuses on the rebuilding of the Second Temple, which had been neglected several years earlier.

 1. Ezra 5:16 (1st year, under Sheshbazzar)

 2. Ezra 3:8-13 (2nd year, under Zerubbabel)

 B. God's promises of immediate physical blessings and future Messianic blessings are linked to the rebuilding of the Temple (restoration of Mosaic Covenant). 

 C. The size and majesty of the Temple was not the issue, rather its presence. God's presence, which it symbolized, was the true glory!

 

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