Loading
Haggai

Author: Haggai
Date Written: 520-515 BC

 

The book of Haggai is a very short collection of the prophet's oracles given in the fall of 520 BC, interspersed with a few historical accounts.  Haggai was a contemporary of Zechariah.  They both encouraged the people to rebuild the Temple (Ezra 5:1, 6:14).  Haggai's name means "born on the feast-day."


In 538 BC, Cyrus the Persian conquered Babylon and sent some of the exiled Jews back to Palestine to rebuild.  Zerubbabel, a descendant of David, was the governor of the group and Joshua, a descendant of Zadok, was the high priest.  The two led the group of returned exiles to begin reconstructing the Temple in 537 BC, but the "people of the land" halted their progress (Ezra 4:5).  After Darius I the Great acceded to the Persian throne in 522 BC, Haggai prophesied to the returned exiles, calling them to recommit themselves to building the Temple.


The book is divided into five precisely dated occasions.  In the first, the Lord calls the people to build his house with a promise of prosperity (Hag 1:1-11).  The people respond to Haggai's word and begin the building process under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua (1:12-15).  As Haggai encourages the people to work heartily he prophesies that the future glory of the temple will be greater than the former (2:1-9).   Next, through a dialogue with the Jewish priests, Haggai pronounces that uncleanness is more contagious than holiness in order to show that the lack of Temple-building activity is the cause of the people's lack of material goods (2:10-19).  Finally, Haggai prophesies that Zerubbabel will be the Lord's "signet ring" (2:20-23).  The hope for a new political kingdom under the rule of Zerubbabel, the Davidic heir to the throne was never realized.  Yet this prophecy is often understood to be fulfilled by the ultimate Son of David of whom Zerubbabel is only a type: Jesus.


The Temple was extremely significant for Judah's relationship with the Lord.  It was the only place where the cult could be celebrated, animals sacrificed, feasts commemorated.  The Temple was the heart of Jewish worship.  While the returned exiles were already sacrificing on the ruins of the first Temple, the Lord wanted them to reconstruct the whole building.  They built the second Temple with meager resources and under difficult circumstances.  But their work was an act of faith that God would fulfill his promises to them.  The second Temple did achieve a greater glory than the first because it was graced by the presence of Christ himself.


Haggai is relatively unique among the prophets, in that the people immediately responded to his message in obedience.  Haggai roused a people who had forgotten their purpose.  Initial obstacles, legal entanglements, resource shortages and the march of time had caused them to forget why they returned to Palestine.  They were living their lives in "paneled houses," trying to make ends meet, but Haggai shocked them out of their haze and helped them to realize they had a mission to build the Temple and restore the practice of worship.  When our lives get filled with clutter, we can turn to Haggai and his generation for a dose of reality, mission and purpose.  God did not place us on this earth merely to live in paneled houses and enjoy our grain, wine and oil.  We are made to worship him and our lives should constantly reflect this calling.

 

By Mark Giszczak

Ads by Google
(What's this?)

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
22

Liturgical Calendar

November 22, 2014

Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 20:27-40

Gospel
Date
11/22/14
11/21/14
11/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 11: 4-12
Gospel:: Lk 20: 27-40

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Homily
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: