A. Less familiar
portions of Scripture which are equally part of God's Word.
B. Our understanding of
the New Testament –and even the words of Jesus—is too
often compromised by our lack of understanding of the Old
Testament—especially the historical context within which the
various books of the Bible were given.
C. Modern man imagines
he has progressed, not just in technology or science, but also in
social advancement. This, as anyone with unbiased eyes can see, is
manifestly untrue. Thus, universal principles concerning man's
predicament and his relationship with God are just as applicable
today as when written thousands of years ago.
II. Haggai 1:1-2
A. In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth
month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by
Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of
Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,
"Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: 'This people says, "The
time has not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built."'”
III. Historical Context – Restoration
1. Civil war of Israel after Solomon.
2. Northern kingdom (Israel, Samaria) falls to
Assyria in 722 B.C.
3. Southern kingdom (Judah) continues, but
a) Josiah (last godly king)
b) Jehoahaz (Shallum) – deposed by Egypt
c) Vassal kings – God is beginning to judge
the Davidic ruler.
(1) Jehoiakim (Eliakim) – vassal of Egypt
(2) Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah) – deposed
by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
(3) Zedekiah (Mattaniah), uncle of Jehoiachin.
d) Jerusalem and Temple destroyed by
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 B.C.
4. The end of Davidic rule (but not the throne)!
(1) 'Therefore thus says the LORD concerning
Jehoiakim king of Judah: "He shall have no one to sit on the
throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of
the day and the frost of the night. (Jeremiah 36:30)
(1) "As I live," says the LORD,
"though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the
signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off; (Jeremiah
(2) Thus says the LORD: 'Write this man down as
childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none
of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And
ruling anymore in Judah.'" (Jeremiah 22:30)
c) Last ungodly kings are slighted in Matthew's
genealogy of Christ.
(1) Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about
the time they were carried away to Babylon. (Matthew 1:11)
(a) Josiah – last godly king.
ungodly kings omitted.
(b) Jeconiah – cursed ungodly king.
5. 70 year captivity (2Chr. 36:21; Jer. 29:10).
B. Captivity followed by restoration.
1. A series of rulers while in Babylon.
a) At the death of Nebuchadnezzar (561 B.C.):
(1) 2 year reign of Amēl-Marduk (562-560)
(2) 2 year reign of Neriglissar
(3) Less than 1 year reign of Labashi Marduk
(4) 17 year reign of Nabonidus (556-539 B.C.)
(5) Belshazzar begins coregency with Nabonidus
(a) Nabonidus living away from Babylon, leaves his
son in charge.
b) Darius the Mede captures Babylon from
Belshazzar, then coregent with Nabonidus (Dan. 5:31, 539 B.C.).
(1) Not the Darius of Haggai - “Darius”
was used as ruling title similar to Pharaoh.
(2) A Mede, but acting under the authority of
Cyrus of Persia (Isa. 45:1).1
c) Cyrus of Persia ruled from 539-527 B.C.
(a) Prophesied to rebuild the Jewish Temple (Isa.
44:24-28) Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, And He who formed you
from the womb: "I am the LORD, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth
by Myself; Who frustrates the signs of the babblers, And drives
diviners mad; Who turns wise men backward, And makes their knowledge
foolishness; Who confirms the word of His servant, And performs the
counsel of His messengers; Who says to Jerusalem, 'You shall be
inhabited,' To the cities of Judah, 'You shall be built,' And I will
raise up her waste places; Who says to the deep, 'Be dry! And I will
dry up your rivers'; Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd,
And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, "You
shall be built," And to the temple, "Your foundation shall
(b) God's choice to allow the Jews to return from
Babylon (Isa. 45:1-4) "Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To
Cyrus, whose right hand I have held-To subdue nations before him And
loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So
that the gates will not be shut: 'I will go before you And make the
crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the
LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel. For Jacob My
servant's sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your
name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.
(c) Cyrus Cylinder – in the British
Museum "I returned to [these] sacred cities on the other side
of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been in ruins for a long
time, the images which [used] to live therein and established for
them permanent sanctuaries. I gathered all their [former] inhabitants
and returned [to them] their habitations. . ." [Price, 251]
d) Cambyses of Persia
(1) Viceroy with Cyrus (538-530 B.C.).
(2) Sovereign reign (530-521 B.C.).
e) Darius I Hystaspes (522-486 B.C.) = “king
Darius” of Haggai 1:1.
(1) 2nd year of King Darius (Hag. 1:1
cf. Ezra 4:24).
f) Haggai was the first true prophet—in the
sense of speaking God’s word directly to Israel—since the
return from Babylon.
(1) Although Daniel had been given prophetic
revelation while in Babylon, this dutifully recorded but never
pronounced to the nation in the traditional formula, “thus says
C. Rebuilding the temple amidst opposition.
1. First year of Cyrus (of Persia), a decree was
issued to allow the Jews to return and rebuild the Temple (Ezra
1:1-3, 538 B.C.).
2. Arrived in Jerusalem, set up an altar, and
began offering sacrifices before the foundation of the Temple was
even laid (Ezra 3:1-6).
3. Seven months later, in the 2nd year
of Cyrus, they laid the foundation amidst much fanfare (Ezra 3:8-13),
4. Opposition from Samaritans and Persians.
a) First, they claim religious identity with the
Jews (Ezra 4:2) and offer to help.
(1) But their approach to God was that of
syncretism and was rejected.
(2) The ongoing tension between the Jews and what
would become the Samaritans continued into NT times and forms the
backdrop to understanding Jesus' conversation with the women at the
well (John 4).
b) Outright opposition which frustrated progress
during the reign of Cyrus (Ezra 4:4-5).
c) The temple is on hold: 16 years have elapse
when Haggai receives the word of the Lord (Ezra 5:1, Haggai 1:1, 536
– 520 B.C.).
d) Opposition arises again and appeal is made to
then King Darius to stop the Jews.
5. King Darius searched the archives in Babylon
and confirms the original degree of Cyrus (Ezra 6:1-5). Jews granted
authority to proceed and their opponents told not to interfere, but
to support the work (Ezra 6:6).
6. Temple finished about 5 years later in the 6th
year of the reign of Darius (Ezra 6:15, 515 B.C.).
D. Zerubbabel and Joshua
1. Both kingly and priestly roles represented.
a) In Israel, prior to Christ, governmental rule
and priestly rule where not invested in a single individual.2
2. Joshua the high priest: in the line of the
Aaronic priesthood (through Zadok, 1Chr. 6:1-5,14-15).
a) His father was among the captives at the fall
of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
b) His grandfather Seraiah, as
chief priest, was taken captive and put to death by Nebuchadnezzar
a) Name means “dispersed to Babylon”
or, more probably, “the seed of Babylon” indicating that
he may have been born during the captivity [Feinberg, 238].
(1) Led the Jews of Babylon in their returned to
Jerusalem (538 B.C.).
(2) In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, he
led the first band of exiles, numbering about 42,000 Jewish men (with
additional family members and servants) returning from the Babylonian
captivity (Ezra 2:64).
(3) A descendant in the kingly line of Judah.
(a) In the line leading from David through Solomon
to Joseph, husband of Mary who gave birth to Jesus (Mat. 1:12).
(b) Seemingly strange fact: he is never pronounced
or anointed as king!
Persian dominion, declaring him king would have signaled possible
reason: God arranged the historical circumstances to preclude this
possibility because he was the grandson of the cursed Jehoiachin
given in Haggai and Zechariah are not in reference to Jewish kings,
but instead refer to Gentile rulers (Hag. 1:1,15; 2:10; Zec. 1:1,7;
(4) Times of the Gentiles.
(a) Occupation of the throne of David terminated
in the Babylonian Captivity.
(b) Times of the Gentiles have not come to an end.
they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into
all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the
times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)
(c) The end of the book looks forward to the end
of Gentile domination and restoration of Davidic rule.
2. The people repent and change their focus (Hag.
B. The rebuilt temple (Hag. 2:1-19).
1. Small beginnings and insignificant appearance
to men (Hag. 2:1-5).
a) Encouragement to continue forward in the face
of seemingly hopeless circumstances.
2. Future glory to surpass Solomon's temple (Hag.
3. The need for purity among the people doing
God's work (Hag. 2:10-14).
4. Restoring God's blessing in response to
obedience (Hag. 2:15-19).
C. The promise of final overthrow of Gentile
oppression and rule (Hag. 2:20-23).
Feinberg, Charles L. The Minor Prophets.
Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1976. ISBN 0-8024-5305-8.
Ironside, Harry A. The Minor Prophets: An
Ironside Expository Commentary.
Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1904, 2004. ISBN
Merrill, Eugene H. An Exegetical Commentary
– Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Chicago, IL: Moody Press,
1994. ISBN 0-8024-9266-5.
Price, Randall. The Stones Cry Out: What
Archaeology Reveals About the Truth of the Bible. OR: Harvest
House Publishers, 1997.
Verhoef, Pieter A. The Books of Haggai and
Malachi. Grand Rapids, MI:
Eerdmans, 1987. ISBN 0-8028-2376-9.
Whitcomb, John C. Darius the Mede.
Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company.
is our conviction that Gubaru, the governor of Babylon and the
region beyond the river, appears in the book of Daniel as Darius the
Mede, the monarch who took charge of the Chaldean kingdom
immediately following the death of Belshazzar. . .this
identification is the only one which satisfactorily harmonizes the
various lines of evidence which we find in the book of Daniel and in
the contemporary cuneiform records." [Whitcomb, 24].
the time of Abraham, we encounter Melchizedek who typifies Christ by
functioning in both governmental and priestly roles (Gen. 14:18; Ps.
dating of the prophecy (so Zechariah also) according to the reign of
a Gentile king reveals clearly that the times of the Gentiles were
in progress. (See Lk 21:24.)” [Feinberg, 238].