by Ken Cayce

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Haggai Explained

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Book of Haggai Explained

Title: The prophecy bears the name of its author. Because his name means "festal one", it is suggested that Haggai was born on a feast day. Haggai is the second shortest book in the Old Testament (Obadiah is shorter), and is quoted by the New Testament once (compare Heb. 12:26).

Author - Date: The author of the prophecy is identified simply as "Haggai the prophet" or "the prophet Haggai" (1:1; 2:1, 10). The meaning and etymology of the name are somewhat uncertain, as some render it "Festival" or "Festive" or Festal One," and have inferred that the prophet was born on a feast day. Others consider his name to be a form of feast of the Lord, and see in the name an indication of the joyous character of the predictions he delivered. Nothing is known of his personal history, though he is mentioned (in Ezra 5:1 and 6:14).

Once again God has obscured the origin of His prophet. God's message was all-important. Some have inferred (from 2:3), that Haggai was born in Judah (before 586 B.C.), and was one of a small company who had seen the former temple in its glory. If this is true, he must have been an old man when he prophesied. This supposition agrees with the brevity of his public ministry. Although his personal history is scarcely known, he was extremely practical in his ministry. He was a man whom God raised up at specific time for a specific mission.

Haggai began his ministry (in 520 B.C.), to exhort the people to complete the task of rebuilding the temple. The resumption of the work aroused further opposition, and a letter was sent to Darius (which he did not receive until 519/518 B.C.). Haggai's ministry was short, lasting only four months. His prophecy was sufficient motivation to get the people started again. The work that he began was carried on by Zechariah and Malachi. The prophecy takes place in Jerusalem, the site of the rebuilt temple.

The lists of refugees in Ezra mention nothing of Haggai; there are no indications of his parentage or tribal ancestry. Nor does history provide any record of his occupation. He is the only person in the Old Testament with the name, although similar names occur (Gen. 46:16; Num. 26:15; 2 Sam. 3:4; 1 Chron. 6:30). Furthermore (Hag. 2:3), may suggest that he too had seen the glory of Solomon's temple before it was destroyed, making him at least 70 years of age when writing his prophecy.

Background - Setting: Next to Obadiah, Haggai is the shortest book in the Old Testament, containing but two chapters comprised of a total of 38 verses. It is the only book of the English Bible to contain two chapters. Haggai delivered his prophecy using simple prose. The prophecy consists of four messages from God delivered to the nation after the rebuilding of the temple had ceased for about 10 years. The straightforward style of the book is enhanced by the use of questions, recurring expressions, and commands.

(In 538 B.C.), as a result of the proclamation of Cyrus the Persian (Ezra 1-4), Israel was allowed to return from Babylon to her homeland under the civil leadership of Zerubbabel and the spiritual guidance of Joshua the High-Priest (Ezra 3:2). About 45,000 to 50,000 Jews returned. (In 536 B.C.), they began to rebuild the temple (Ezra 3:1 - 4:5), but opposition from neighbors and indifference by the Jews caused the work to be abandoned (Ezra 4:1-24). Sixteen years later Haggai and Zechariah were commissioned by the Lord to stir up the people to:

(1) Not only rebuild the temple, but also to;

(2) Reorder their spiritual priorities (Ezra 5:1-6:22).

As a result, the temple was completed 4 years later (ca 516 B.C.; Ezra 6:15).

Historical - Theological Themes: The immediate purpose of the book is to encourage the people to resume the building of the temple, which had been incomplete for about 10 years. It was imperative that the people build the temple, for blessing from God depends on obedience.

The primary theme is the rebuilding of God's temple, which had been lying in ruins since its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar (in 586 B.C.). By means of messages from the Lord, Haggai exhorted the people to renew their efforts to build the house of the Lord. He motivated them by noting that the drought and crop failures were caused by misplaced spiritual priorities (1:9-11).

But to Haggai, the rebuilding of the temple was not an end in itself. The temple represented God's dwelling place, His manifest presence with His chosen people. The destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar followed the departure of God's dwelling glory (Ezek. Chapters 8 - 11). To the prophet, the rebuilding of the temple invited the return of God's presence to their midst. Using the historical situation as a springboard, Haggai reveled in the supreme glory of the ultimate messianic temple yet to come (2:7). Encouraging them with the promise of even greater peace (2:9), prosperity (2:19), divine rulership (2:21-22), and national blessing (2:23), during the Millennium.

Historical Background: Haggai was the first of the prophets to minister to Israel following the return from the Babylonian captivity. The period of Israel's history into which he fits is recorded in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. His personal background is recorded in Ezra (chapters 5 and 6).

Haggai dates his prophecy according to the year of the reigning Persian monarch "Darius the king" (Darius I, son of Darius Hystaspis, who was also known as Darius the Great; 1:1). Darius began his reign (in 521 B.C.). During his first two years as king, Darius I defeated nine kings in 19 different battles. He became interested in law and permitted the Jews to rebuild Solomon's temple, which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (in 586 B.C).


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Haggai 1
Haggai 2

Haggai 1

Haggai Chapter 1

Haggai 1:1 "In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,"

Haggai 1:2 "Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built."

Haggai 1:3 "Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying,"

Haggai 1:4 "(Is it) time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house (lie) waste?"

Haggai 1:5 "Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways."

Haggai 1:6 "Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages (to put it) into a bag with holes."

Haggai 1:7 "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; consider your ways."

Haggai 1:9 "Ye looked for much, and, lo, (it came) to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? Saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that (is) waste, and ye run every man unto his own house."

Haggai 1:10 "Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed (from) her fruit."

Haggai 1:11 "And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon (that) which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labor of the hands."

Haggai 1:12 "Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD."

Haggai 1:13 "Then spake Haggai the Lord's messenger in the LORD's message unto the people, saying, I (am) with you, saith the LORD."

Haggai 1:14 "And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,"

Haggai 1:15 "In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king."

Haggai 2

Haggai Chapter 2

Haggai 2:1 "In the seventh [month], in the one and twentieth [day] of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying,"

Haggai 2:2 "Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying,"

Haggai 2:3 "Who [is] left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? [is it] not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?"

Haggai 2:4 "Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I [am] with you, saith the LORD of hosts:"

Haggai 2:5 "[According to] the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not."

Haggai 2:6 "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it [is] a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry [land];"

Haggai 2:7 "And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts."

Haggai 2:8 "The silver [is] mine, and the gold [is] mine, saith the LORD of hosts."

Haggai 2:9 "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts."

Haggai 2:10 "In the four and twentieth [day] of the ninth [month], in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,"

Haggai 2:11 "Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests [concerning] the law, saying,"

Haggai 2:12 "If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No."

Haggai 2:13 "Then said Haggai, If [one that is] unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean."

Haggai 2:14 "Then answered Haggai, and said, So [is] this people, and so [is] this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so [is] every work of their hands; and that which they offer there [is] unclean."

Haggai 2:15 "And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD:"

Haggai 2:16 "Since those [days] were, when [one] came to a heap of twenty [measures], there were [but] ten: when [one] came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty [vessels] out of the press, there were [but] twenty."

Haggai 2:17 "I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labors of your hands; yet ye [turned] not to me, saith the LORD."

Haggai 2:18 "Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth [month, even] from the day that the foundation of the LORD'S temple was laid, consider [it]."

Haggai 2:19 "Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless [you]."

Haggai 2:20 "And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth [day] of the month, saying,"

Haggai 2:21 'Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;"

Haggai 2:22 "And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother."

Haggai 2:23 "In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts."