Haggai:in the bible, meaning, And Nehemiah, And Zechariah, Death. Haggai was a Hebrew prophet during the construction of the second Temple in Jerusalem. He was one of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible.
He was in prophecy in 520 BCE during which he commanded the Jews to rebuild the Temple. The meaning of his name is ‘my holidays’.
He is among the first of three post-exilic prophets from the Neo-Babylonian Exile of the House of Judah and Malachi who lived for a hundred years. Haggai belonged to the period of Jewish history that came into existence after the return from captivity in Babylon.
Haggai was one of the captives who was taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and began prophecy after the return of Jews to Judah. The work of the rebuilding of the Temple was stopped after the conspiracy of the Samaritans.
The rebuilding of the Temple was suspended for eighteen years and it was resumed through the efforts of Zechariah and Nehemiah. They encouraged the people from their sloth and induced them to get an advantage of a change under the policy of the Persian government under Darius I.
The name Haggai has also been found in the Book of Esther with different vocalizations where he was a eunuch servant of the Queen.
In the Bible
Haggai was a prophet who lived in Jerusalem for a little time after the return of Jews from the Babylonian exile. Haggai’s prophecy was about the building of the Temple to meet people’s needs. This new temple was bound to exceed the previous temple and then built. According to Haggai’s claim, if the temple would not be constructed, poverty will head up all around and famine and drought will be affecting the Jewish nation.
There arose a controversy over who edited Haggai’s work and according to scholars, it was the work of his students. However, the Jewish tradition has different beliefs that according to the Men of the Great Assembly were responsible for the editing of work. These Men of Great are traditionally popular for the continuation of the work of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Moreover, in rabbinic writing, Haggai is referred to as one of the men of the Great Assembly. The Babylonian Talmud mentioned a concern relating to Haggai that he gave instructions about three things. These three things are:
- It is not lawful for a man to marry the daughter of his brother to ultimate a levirate marriage with one of the wives of his deceased brother that was accepted by the school of Hillel but rejected by the School of Shammai.
- The Jews living in the areas of Moab and Ammon separated from the poor man’s tithe during the sabbatical year.
- To accept the proselytes from the peoples of Kardu and Tadmor.
Haggai was a Hebrew prophet who received his prophecy in 520 BCE. It means that Haggai was in his seventies when he delivered his prophecies and owing to this fact his picture came into focus. Haggai can be described as an older looking and wishing for the glories of his nation, a prophet who had a passionate desire to see his people’s success rising from the ashes of exile.
Haggai delivered his prophecy when the people of Judah were extremely endangered. They were carrying the hope to return to their promised land but were discouraged by the opponents in the building of the temple that they eventually gave up.
After sixteen years when Haggai was seen blaming the lack of clothing, shelter, and food for their failure to build the temple the Jews responded to his message of rebuilding the temple.
For the encouragement of people to finish the building of the Temple he gave forth messages, the first message was given on August 29,520 BC, the second message on October 17,520 BC, and the last two-four messages on December 18,520 BC.
The Book of Haggai has remained unique even after a thousand years among the books of the Old Testament of Prophets for one of the key reasons the people of Judah paid attention to Haggai’s message to rebuild a straightforward, passionate, and simple message.
Through the act of rebuilding the temple, people started to indicate a shift in their spiritual lives that they began shifting from self-devotion towards devotion to God.
According to Jewish tradition, Nehemiah considers himself the primary author of the historical books. A huge part of this book is written from a first-hand perspective. Nehemiah remained in Persia after exiles were permitted to go home, he was interested in the affairs of Judah.
The book of Nehemiah can be read as the sequel of the Book of Ezra; moreover, in some scholars’ perspective these two were originally one work. The book of Nehemiah was opened in the Persian city of Susa in 444 BC. However, last year Nehemiah moved to Israel. Most of the events in books are centered in Jerusalem. The narrative concludes that this book was written shortly in Jerusalem in 430 BC.
Although Nehemiah appeared before the Esters it is the last historical book of the Old Testament. The books of Esther cover the period between Ezra6 and 7.
Nehemiah is important as he was a layman and not a prophet like Malachi nor a priest in Ezra. He is known for serving the Persian King in a secular position before he ordered a leading group in Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls.
Under the leadership of Nehemiah, Jews showed unity and stood together to accomplish the goal assigned to them. Nehemiah set examples as he gave up a respected position in places for hard labor in a district that was politically significant.
In this book, it is also mentioned that Nehemiah partnered with Ezra for the solidification of the spiritual and political spirit of people. Nehemiah never claimed credit for himself and always gave glory to God for his success.
Haggai and Zechariah were peers. They encouraged the people who were rebuilding the Temple when Zerbu Badai in 536 B.C. This thing made both Haggai and Zechariah post-exilic prophets.
The history of both of these prophets is Nehemiah and Ezra including what they refer to before they got to Jerusalem as well as what happened when they got there. At this Jerusalem was included as a part of the Persian Empire and Assyria was not in power it was. Babylon was also not in power what it was.
The response of people showed the respect they had for Haggai. Just like his name, he was well-known for joy and it proved joyous for all of them in actuality as Persian’s king allowed them to return to Jerusalem. Haggai guided his people that if they get their priorities straight and rebuild the Temple without any neglect God will furnish them.
According to the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, Haggai is observed as a prophet and saint. For the churches who follow the traditional Julian Calendar the feast day of Haggai is 16 December and according to the Gregorian calendar 16 December falls on 9 December.
Haggai is celebrated with other righteous persons of the Old Testament too on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers. Haggai is commemorated with other Minor Prophets on 31 July in the Calendar of saints and American Apostolic.
Due to the small size of Haggai, numerous differences exist between Septuagint and Hebrew texts. Haggai prophecies are composed of 38 verses starting from the second year of the reign of Darius between the first of Elul and the 24th of Kislev.
Although people respected the Haggai for his previous work he is referred to as Malak yhwh. The prophecies of Haggai mainly dealt with the construction of the Temple and focusing on events that will benefit the nation in the future.
According to him, all the mishaps of famine, drought, and poverty were faced by the nation due to their negligence in work. The second temple that was to be rebuilt was assured to be richer than the first time as the first temple seemed poor in the eyes of people.
Haggai suggested that the achievement of holiness requires hard work as the temple was not built despite that sacrifices were offered by people but still, people were unclean as the prophet believed that the blessing of God will return only if the temple was created.
Haggai was born during the sixth century in the old testament and he wrote the book of the bible Haggai. Nothing about Haggai’s ancestors, parents, or tribal origin is known.
The name of Haggai is a form of the Hebrew word which means Festival which leads some students to speculate that Haggai was born during one of Israel’s feasts. The same is the case with his date of death as it is not mentioned in the Bible.
I hope you liked it as this piece is a great source of information about Haggai and his prophecies including the historical background and services that Haggai provided at the age of 70. Not only did he order the people to build but also unite them for this purpose.
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