We know very little about Haggai apart from this book that bears his name and his appearance in the book of Ezra with Zechariah (5:1;6:14). This short book happens during the reign of Darius, the Persian successor to Cyrus. Cyrus was the Persian king who allowed the Exiles to return home. Darius assumes the throne about two years before Haggai’s prophecy. There were tensions between the returning exiles and those who had remained on the land. People are struggling both economically and religiously. Recall that the Babylonians had destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem as well as taking many people (mostly the educated people) into exile in Babylon.

Haggai prophesied over a four month period in 520 BCE and the book is organized chronologically

August 29 1:1-11

September 21, 1:12-15a

October 17, 1:15b-2:9

December 18, 2:10-19

December 18, 2:20-23

The rebuilding of the Temple is the focus of Haggai’s prophecy. The Temple was completed in 515 BCE. The book of Haggai does not mention the completion of the Temple and so probably was written before that time. The period of history after the Temple is rebuilt is referred to as the Second Temple period.

The first 8 chapters of Zechariah are similar in arrangement and subject.


Read More About It:

Here are several good sources to aid your reading of Ezekiel.

Anderson, Bernhard W., Katheryn Pfister Darr, Understanding the Old Testament Abridged fourth Edition. (Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall) 1998.

March, W Eugene, “Haggai” in The New Interpreter’s Bible Vol 7, Keck, Leander E. ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press) 1996.

Petersen, David L. “Haggai” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version.Coogan, Michael D.; Brettler, Marc Z.; Perkins, Pheme; Newsom, Carol A. (2010-01-20) Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Richards, Kent Harold, “Haggai” in  HarperCollins Bible Commentary Mays, James L. ed.(San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco) 2000.