Haggai Intro

When Cyrus, king of Persia, conquered Babylon in 539 BC, he allowed the exiled Jews to return home and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. One group returned the next year, completing and dedicating the temple foundation within two more years. But they were stopped by suspicious and resentful neighbors who had influence in the Persian court (see

Ezra 4:4–6:22

). Sixteen years later, when King Darius takes the throne, the prophet Haggai urges the people to restart their work. He calls specifically on Zerubbabel, the appointed governor, and Joshua the high priest, to lead the project. Within four years the reconstruction was completed and worship in the temple resumed.

Haggai delivers his four messages during a strategic four-month period at the beginning of Darius’ reign. The first message explains that Israel’s crops aren’t being blessed because God’s house has been left in ruins. The second message gives encouragement to those who found the new temple disappointing compared to Solomon’s original temple. God promises that its glory will outshine the first temple. The third message assures the people that from now on their crops will be blessed. The final message is a personal encouragement to Zerubbabel himself, the heir to the throne of David. The people are back in their land, and so is God’s blessing.


Haggai 1

A Call to Build the House of the Lord

1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of theLordcame through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak,the high priest:

2 This is what theLordAlmighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild theLord’s house.’ ”

3 Then the word of theLordcame through the prophet Haggai:

4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

5 Now this is what theLordAlmighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.

6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

7 This is what theLordAlmighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.

8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says theLord.

9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares theLordAlmighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.

10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops.

11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”

12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of theLordtheir God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because theLordtheir God had sent him. And the people feared theLord.

13 Then Haggai, theLord’s messenger, gave this message of theLordto the people: “I am with you,” declares theLord.

14 So theLordstirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of theLordAlmighty, their God,

15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month.

The Promised Glory of the New House

In the second year of King Darius,



Haggai 2

1 on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of theLordcame through the prophet Haggai:

2 “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak,the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them,

3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?

4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares theLord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares theLord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares theLordAlmighty.

5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’

6 “This is what theLordAlmighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.

7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says theLordAlmighty.

8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares theLordAlmighty.

9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says theLordAlmighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares theLordAlmighty.”

Blessings for a Defiled People

10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of theLordcame to the prophet Haggai:

11 “This is what theLordAlmighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says:

12 If someone carries consecrated meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’ ”

The priests answered, “No.”

13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”

“Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”

14 Then Haggai said, “ ‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares theLord. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.

15 “ ‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in theLord’s temple.

16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty.

17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares theLord.

18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of theLord’s temple was laid. Give careful thought:

19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.

“ ‘From this day on I will bless you.’ ”

Zerubbabel the Lord’s Signet Ring

20 The word of theLordcame to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month:

21 “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth.

22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.

23 “ ‘On that day,’ declares theLordAlmighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares theLord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares theLordAlmighty.”