Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An Introduction to the Old Testament - Haggai

Dillard, Raymond B. & Longman, Tremper III. "Haggai."  An Introduction to the Old Testament.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 1994. 421-426.

We know very little about Haggai.  He was apparently in Jerusalem at the time of Zechariah.  Being mentioned without a patronymic indicates he may have been well known.  Jerome identifies Haggai and Zechariah both as priests.

In the time after the exile a return to Jerusalem was a difficult task.  People had settled in Babylon, knowing that as their home.  The city of Jerusalem was in poor repair and the land had not been cared for.  Disputes between those returning and those who had remained during the exile were rife.  In their attempts to deal with these pressures people spent little effort rebuilding the temple.  Then in 520 B.C. Zechariah and Haggai exhorted the people to rebuild the temple, a project which was completed in 516.  Haggai's four oracles are dated, indicating a period of work lasting four months.  We have nothing else which indicates what Haggai might have done and said.

As we consider the New Testament, we see that Haggai's imagery of the glory of God coming back to Israel can readily be applied to Jesus, making God's glory evident and readily accessible.  In Jesus we have not only a restoration of a Davidic king, we have a whole new era ushering in the new temple, the new heavens, and the new earth.

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