Book Summaries

The 10th of the so-called Minor Prophets, addressed to the returned exiles at Jerusalem, who had become disheartened in their efforts to rebuild the Temple. The book consists of 5 messages that inspired the people to arise and complete the task. Four messages (the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th) are precisely dated, to the year, month, and day in the 2nd year of Darius I, and cover a period of about 31/2 months toward the close of the year 520 b.c. (chs 1:1; 2:1, 10, 20). A 5th (the 2nd) is approximately dated (ch 1:13 ­15). With the return of nearly 50,000 Jews under Zerubbabel in 536 b.c., by the decree of Cyrus, the work of rebuilding the Temple was begun (Ezr 3), but the immensity of the task and the interference of enemies had brought the work to a halt (ch 4). As a result of the encouragement of Haggai and Zechariah work was recommenced in 520/19 b.c. and completed 4 or 5 years later, c. 515 b.c. (ch 6:15).

The theme of the book is active co-operation in the work of the Lord and the assurance that faithful service will be richly rewarded. The hearty response of leaders and people to the 1st message, dated approximately Aug. 29, 520 b.c., a call to arise and build the house of the Lord that still lay in ruins, constitutes one of the brightest episodes of sacred history (Hag 1:1 ­12). The eager obedience of the people elicited a 2nd message giving the assurance that God would be with them in the task (vs. 13 ­15). As the work progressed it became evident that the new structure would fall far short of Solomon's Temple in size and beauty, but in his 3rd message, some 7 weeks after the 1st, Haggai assured the builders that "the desire of all nations" would come and "fill this house with glory" (ch 2:1 ­9). When, at the end of about 31/2 months, the work of preparation had progressed to the point where the foundation was laid, a 4th message came proclaiming that henceforth God would richly bless His people for their zeal and faithfulness (vs. 10 ­19). A 2nd message on the same day envisioned the overthrow of the heathen nations and confirmed Zerubbabel as a "signet" (vs. 20 ­23).

Horn, Siegfried H., Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association) 1979.