Last updated
Russian icon of Haggai, 18th century (Iconostasis of Kizhi monastery, Karelia, Russia). Haggai-prophet.jpg
Russian icon of Haggai, 18th century (Iconostasis of Kizhi monastery, Karelia, Russia).

Haggai ( /ˈhæɡ/ ; Hebrew : חַגַּיḤaggay; Koine Greek: Ἀγγαῖος; Latin : Aggaeus) was a Hebrew prophet during the building of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and one of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible and the author of the Book of Haggai. He is known for his prophecy in 520 BCE, commanding the Jews to rebuild the Temple. [1] His name means "my holiday." He was the first of three post-exile prophets from the Neo-Babylonian Exile of the House of Judah (with Zechariah, his contemporary, and Malachi, who lived about one hundred years later), who belonged to the period of Jewish history which began after the return from captivity in Babylon.


Scarcely anything is known of his personal history. He may have been one of the captives taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. He began God’s prophesy about sixteen years after the return of the Jews to Judah (ca. 520 BCE). The work of rebuilding the temple had been put to a stop through the intrigues of the Samaritans. After having been suspended for eighteen years, the work was resumed through the efforts of Haggai and Zechariah. [2] They exhorted the people, which roused them from their lethargy, and induced them to take advantage of a change in the policy of the Persian government under Darius I.

The name Haggai, with various vocalizations, is also found in the Book of Esther, as a eunuch servant of the Queen.

Haggai Prophecies

Haggai (watercolor circa 1896-1902 by James Tissot) Tissot Haggai.jpg
Haggai (watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot)

Haggai prophesied in 520 BCE Jerusalem, about the people needing to complete building the Temple. The new Temple was bound to exceed the awesomeness of the previous Temple. He claimed if the Temple was not built there would be poverty, famine and drought affecting the Jewish nation.

There is a controversy regarding who edited Haggai's works. According to scholars, they credit it to his students. However, Jewish Tradition believe, that the Men of the Great Assembly were responsible for the edits. The Men of the Great Assembly are traditionally known for continuing the work of Ezra and Nehemiah. [1]

Haggai and officials of his time

Haggai supported the officials of his time, specifically Zerubbabel, the governor, and Joshua the High Priest. In the Book of Haggai, God refers to Zerubbabel as "my servant" as King David was, and says he will make him as a "signet ring," as King Jehoiachin was (Haggai 2:23; cf. Jer 22:24). The signet ring symbolized a ring worn on the hand of Yahweh, showing that a king held divine favour. Thus, Haggai is implicitly, but not explicitly, saying that Zerubbabel would preside over a restored Davidic kingdom. [3]

Jewish Persian Diplomacy

The Persian Empire was growing weak, and Haggai saw time as an opportunity to restore the Davidic Kingdom. He believed that the Kingdom of David was able to rise and take back their part in Jewish issues. Haggai’s message was directed to the nobles and Zerubbabel, as he would be the first Davidic monarch restored. He saw this as important because the Kingdom would be an end to Jewish Idol worship. [1]

Haggai in Jewish tradition

Haggai, in rabbinic writing, is often referred to as one of the men of the Great Assembly. The Babylonian Talmud (5th century CE) mentions a tradition concerning the prophet Haggai, [4] saying that he gave instruction concerning three things: (a) that it is not lawful for a man whose brother married his daughter (as a co-wife in a polygamous relationship) to consummate a levirate marriage with one of his deceased brother's co-wives (a teaching accepted by the School of Hillel, but rejected by the School of Shammai); [5] (b) that Jews living in the regions of Ammon and Moab separate from their produce the poor man's tithe during the Sabbatical year; (c) that they accept of proselytes from the peoples of Tadmor (Palmyra) and from the people of Ḳardu.

Liturgical commemoration

On the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, Haggai is commemorated as a saint and prophet. His feast day is 16 December (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 16 December currently falls on 29 December of the modern Gregorian Calendar). He is also commemorated, in common with the other righteous persons of the Old Testament, on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers (the second Sunday before the Nativity of the Lord).

Haggai is commemorated with the other Minor prophets in the Calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on 31 July.

Haggai in Freemasonry

In the Masonic degree of Holy Royal Arch Haggai is one of the Three Principals of the Chapter. Named after Haggai the prophet and accompanies Zerubbabel, Prince of the People, and Joshua, the son of Josedech, the High Priest.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Book of Haggai book of the Bible

The Book of Haggai, also known as the Book of Aggeus, is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, and has its place as the third-to-last of the Minor Prophets. It is a short book, consisting of only two chapters. The historical setting dates around 520 BCE before the Temple has been rebuilt.

Book of Malachi book of the Bible

Malachi is the last book of the Neviim contained in the Tanakh, canonically the last of the Twelve Minor Prophets. In the Christian ordering, the grouping of the Prophetic Books is the last section of the Old Testament, making Malachi the last book before The New Testament.

Book of Zechariah book of the Bible

The Book of Zechariah, attributed to the Hebrew prophet Zechariah, is included in the Twelve Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Bible.

Malachi, Malachias, Malache or Mal'achi was the traditional writer of the Book of Malachi, the last book of the Neviim (prophets) section in the Hebrew Bible. No allusion is made to him by Ezra, however, and he does not directly mention the restoration of the temple. The editors of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia implied that he prophesied after Haggai and Zechariah and speculated that he delivered his prophecies about 420 BCE, after the second return of Nehemiah from Persia, or possibly before his return, comparing Malachi 2:8 with Nehemiah 13:15.

Zechariah (Hebrew prophet) Biblical prophet

Zechariah was a person in the Hebrew Bible and traditionally considered the author of the Book of Zechariah, the eleventh of the Twelve Minor Prophets. He was a prophet of the Kingdom of Judah, and, like the prophet Ezekiel, was of priestly extraction.

Zerubbabel Biblical character; governor of the Persian Province of Judah; grandson of Jehoiachin, King of Judah; rebuilt the temple (Hag 2:23, Zech 4:6–10, Ezra 2:2, 3:2, 3:8, 4:2, 4:3, 5:2, Neh. 12:1, 1 Chr 3:19)

According to the biblical narrative, Zerubbabel was a governor of the Achaemenid Empire's province Yehud Medinata and the grandson of Jeconiah, penultimate king of Judah. Zerubbabel led the first group of Jews, numbering 42,360, who returned from the Babylonian captivity in the first year of Cyrus the Great, the king of the Achaemenid Empire. The date is generally thought to have been between 538 and 520 BC. Zerubbabel also laid the foundation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem soon after.

Twelve Minor Prophets Book or collection of books in the Bible

The Minor Prophets or Twelve Prophets, occasionally Book of the Twelve, is the last book of the Nevi'im, the second main division of the Jewish Tanakh. The collection is broken up to form twelve individual books in the Christian Old Testament, one for each of the prophets. The terms "minor prophets" and "twelve prophets" can also refer to the twelve traditional authors of these works.

Davidic line Descendants of King David

The Davidic line or House of David refers to the lineage of King David through the texts in the Hebrew Bible, in the New Testament, and through the succeeding centuries.

Daniel (biblical figure) protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible

Daniel is the hero of the biblical Book of Daniel. A noble Jewish youth of Jerusalem, he is taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and serves the king and his successors with loyalty and ability until the time of the Persian conqueror Cyrus, all the while remaining true to the God of Israel. The consensus of modern scholars is that Daniel never existed, and the book is a cryptic allusion to the reign of the 2nd century BCE Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

The Second Temple period in Jewish history lasted between 516 BCE and 70 CE, when the Second Temple of Jerusalem existed. The sects of Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots and early Christianity were formed during this period. The Second Temple period ended with the First Jewish–Roman War and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Yehud Medinata Province of the ancient Achaemenid Empire

Yehud Medinata, or simply Yehud, was an autonomous state of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, roughly equivalent to the older kingdom of Judah but covering a smaller area, within the satrapy of Eber-Nari. The area of Yehud Medinata corresponded to the previous Babylonian province of Yehud, which was formed after the fall of the kingdom of Judah to the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Yehud Medinata continued to exist for two centuries, until being incorporated into the Hellenistic empires following the conquests of Alexander the Great.

Dosa ben Harkinas was of the first generation of the Jewish Tanna sages, proceeding from the era of the Zugot. Contemporary to Yochanan ben Zakai, he was active during the era of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, and lived to a ripe old age, even after the destruction of the Second Temple. He died approximately 60 years after the destruction of the temple.

Second Temple Judaism is Judaism between the construction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, c. 515 BCE, and its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE. The development of the Hebrew Bible canon, the synagogue, Jewish apocalyptic expectations for the future, and the rise of Christianity can all be traced to the Second Temple period.

Tomb of the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi

The Tomb of the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi is an ancient burial site located on the upper western slope of the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. According to a medieval Jewish tradition also adopted by Christians, the catacomb is believed to be the burial place of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, the last three Hebrew Bible prophets who are believed to have lived during the 6th-5th centuries BC. Archaeologists have dated the three earliest burial chambers to the 1st century BC, thus contradicting the tradition.

Haggai 1

Haggai 1 is the first chapter of the Book of Haggai in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Haggai, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

Haggai 2

Haggai 2 is the second chapter of the Book of Haggai in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Haggai, written c. 520-515 BCE, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

Zechariah 4

Zechariah 4 is the fourth chapter of the Book of Zechariah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Zechariah, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

Zechariah 1

Zechariah 1 is the first chapter of the Book of Zechariah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Zechariah, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

Ezra 5 A chapter in the Book of Ezra

Ezra 5 is the fifth chapter of the Book of Ezra in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, or the book of Ezra-Nehemiah in the Hebrew Bible, which treats the book of Ezra and book of Nehemiah as one book. Jewish tradition states that Ezra is the author of Ezra-Nehemiah as well as the Book of Chronicles, but modern scholars generally accept that a compiler from 5th century BCE is the final author of these books. This chapter records the contribution of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to the temple building project and the investigation by Persian officials. The section comprising chapter 1 to 6 describes the history before the arrival of Ezra to the land of Judah.


  1. 1 2 3 Schiffman, Lawrence. Judaism in the Persian Period. pp. 53–54.
  2. Ezra 6:14
  3. Coogan, Michael (2009). A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 346. ISBN   0195332725.
  4. Babylonian Talmud (Yebamot 16a)
  5. A quintessential Jewish teaching, since it is lawful for a Jewish man to marry his brother's daughter, or his sister's daughter. Likewise, polygamy was permitted under Mosaic law, as also the biblical injunction to take in marriage the wife of one's deceased brother (Heb. Yibum = levirate marriage) when they had no offspring. The problem, however, that arises here is that a man whose daughter was married to his brother, had his brother died childless, he (the living brother who is the father of his brother's wife) could not consummate a marriage with his own daughter, a thing prohibited in Jewish law, and therefore even the co-wives of his brother assume the same prohibition and are forbidden for him to marry.