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Darius In Parse

Relief of Darius I (Darius Hystaspis) in Persepolis, who reigned from Sep 522 BCE to Oct 486 BCE[1] (36 years)—Haggai and Zechariah, contemporaries, are recorded in Hebrew Scriptures as having lived in Judah and Jerusalem during the reign of King Darius, specifically during the second year of his reign (Hag 1:1; 2:1, 10, 20; Ezr 5:1, 2; 6:14).

Haggai, or book of Haggai (/ˈhæɡ/[2] (Hebrew: חַגַּי ‎, Ḥaggay or Hag-i, Koine Greek: Ἀγγαῖος; Latin: Aggaeus) is a text of the Hebrew Scriptures, concerning the Hebrew prophet Haggai who lived in Judah and Jerusalem, during Zerubbabel’s governorship during the reign of Persian King Darius Hystaspis (Darius I).[3] The book of Haggai is found in Nevi'im of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and is considered one of the "Minor prophets" of the Old Testament.

Textual sourcesEdit

The textual sources for Haggai derive from 10th century Masoretic text and the Dead Sea Scrolls.[4]

  • Masoretic text, Haggai
  • 4Q77b (4QXIIb), Haggai
  • 4Q80e (4QXIIe), Haggai
  • Wadi Murabba‘at (MurXII), Haggai

AuthorshipEdit

The traditional view of authorship is that the book of Haggai was named after its author, the prophet Haggai. No biographical information is given about the prophet, however Haggai's name derives from the Hebrew root hgg, which means "to make a pilgrimage." The book of Haggai is said to have been written in Jerusalem, 17 years after the Jews returned from Babylonian exile–when the Second Temple had not yet been completed.[5]

CanonicityEdit

While most of the ancient Scripture catalogs do not list the book of Haggai by name, it is evidently included in their references to the ‘twelve Minor Prophets,’ the number 12 thus being complete. Jewish scholars have never questioned its right to a place among the Hebrew Scriptures. The canonicity of the book is also established by the quotation from Haggai 2:6 appearing in Hebrews 12:26.[6]

Jewish tradition holds that Haggai was a member of the Great Synagogue. From Haggai 2:10-19 it has been suggested that he may have been a priest. His name appears along with that of the prophet Zechariah in the superscriptions of Psalm 111 (112) in the Latin Vulgate; Psalms 125 and 126 in the Syriac Peshitta; 145 in the Greek Septuagint, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate; and 146, 147, and 148 in the Septuagint and the Peshitta. It is probable that Haggai was born in Babylon and that he returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel and the Jewish remnant in 537 BCE. [7]

CompositionEdit

Haggai became the first postexilic prophet and was joined about two months later by Zechariah. (Hag 1:1; Zec 1:1) A halt to temple construction had been precipitated by enemy opposition but extended for some years by Jewish apathy and selfish pursuit of personal interests. Haggai kindled the zeal of the repatriated Jewish exiles for the resumption of temple construction. (Ezr 3:10-13; 4:1-24; Hag 1:4) Four God-given messages delivered by Haggai during about a four-month period in the second year of Darius Hystaspis (520 BCE) and recorded by the prophet in the Bible book of Haggai were especially effective in initially moving the Jews to resume temple-building work (Hag 1:1; 2:1, 10, 20).[7]

In the view of aged ones who had seen the glory of Solomon’s Temple, the new structure seems like nothing. Jehovah urges Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the rest of the people to be strong, not disheartened, to continue with the work, assuring them that the glory of a rebuilt temple will surpass that of the former one. To those feeling that it is not the time for rebuilding the temple Jehovah makes clear that neglect of this work has led to the withdrawal of his blessing, so that harvests are poor and hired laborers receive meager wages. Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the rest of the people respond favorably; they are promised that Jehovah will be with them in the temple rebuilding work, and the temple work begins.[5] Haggai and Zechariah continued to urge them on in the work until the temple was completed toward the end of Darius’ sixth year, in 515 BCE—Ezr 5:1, 2; 6:14, 15.[7]

MotifEdit

The motif of Haggai concerns messages of lasting benefit. It engenders faith in Jehovah (Biblical Hebrew: יהוה, YHWH; Tiberian Hebrew: Yahweh), and shows that God is with his people (Hag 1:13; 2:4, 5). It also urges them to put God's interests first in life (Hag 1:2-8; Mt 6:33). It also reiterates that formalistic worship does not please Jehovah (Hag 2:10-17; compare Isa 29:13, 14; Mt 15:7-9) but that faithful actions harmonizing with the Divine Will are what result in blessing (Hag 2:18, 19; compare Pr 10:22). The writer of the Bible book of Hebrews quotes Haggai 2:6 as having a greater fulfillment in connection with God’s Kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ.—Heb 12:26-29.[5]

HighlightsEdit

  • The Divine Name, Jehovah (Biblical Hebrew: יהוה, YHWH; Tiberian Hebrew: Yahweh) occurs 35 times in its 38 verses.[5]
  • Haggai receives four Divine messages within about a four-month period—messages designed to motivate the Jews to move ahead with the rebuilding of Jehovah’s temple. Meanwhile, Zechariah was prophesying for the same purpose during Haggai’s prophetic activity.[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Munn-Rankin, J.M. Encyclopædia Britannica, Darius I, King of Persia
  2. Alternatively, /ˈhæɡ/.
  3. Insight (1988) Vol.1, pp.1018, Haggai—Hag 1:1; 2:1, 10, 20; Ezr 5:1, 2.
  4. Dead Sea Scrolls: Scriptural Book Transcriptions
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Insight (1988) Vol.1, pp.1018-1019, Haggai, Book of
  6. Insight (1988) Vol.1, pp.1018-1019, Haggai, Book of—Compare Hag 2:21.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Insight (1988) Vol.1, pp.1018, Haggai
  8. Insight (1988) Vol.1, pp.1018-1019, Haggai, Book of—Hag 1:1; 2:1, 10, 20
Further reading
  • Coogan, Michael D. "A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament." Oxford University Press, 2009. o. 346.
  • Achtemeier, Paul J., and Roger S. Boraas. The Harper Collins Bible Dictionary. San Francisco, CA: Harper San Francisco, 1996. Print.
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