Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah. The book has a long and complex history, but its final form is due to a Priestly redaction of a Yahwistic source made some time in the early Persian period; the name of the book comes from the two censuses taken of the Israelites. Numbers begins at Mount Sinai, where the Israelites have received their laws and covenant from God and God has taken up residence among them in the sanctuary; the task before them is to take possession of the Promised Land. The people are counted and preparations are made for resuming their march; the Israelites begin the journey, but they "murmur" at the hardships along the way, about the authority of Moses and Aaron. For these acts, God destroys 15,000 of them through various means, they send spies into the land. Upon hearing the spies' fearful report concerning the conditions in Canaan, the Israelites refuse to take possession of it. God condemns them to death in the wilderness until a new generation can grow up and carry out the task.
The book ends with the new generation of Israelites in the Plain of Moab ready for the crossing of the Jordan River. Numbers is the culmination of the story of Israel's exodus from oppression in Egypt and their journey to take possession of the land God promised their fathers; as such it draws to a conclusion the themes introduced in Genesis and played out in Exodus and Leviticus: God has promised the Israelites that they shall become a great nation, that they will have a special relationship with Yahweh their god, that they shall take possession of the land of Canaan. Numbers demonstrates the importance of holiness and trust: despite God's presence and his priests, Israel lacks faith and the possession of the land is left to a new generation. Most commentators divide Numbers into three sections based on locale, linked by two travel sections. God orders Moses, in the wilderness of Sinai, to number those able to bear arms—of all the men "from twenty years old and upward," and to appoint princes over each tribe.
A total of 603,550 Israelites are found to be fit for military service. The tribe of Levi is exempted from military service and therefore not included in the census. Moses consecrates the Levites for the service of the Tabernacle in the place of the first-born sons, who hitherto had performed that service; the Levites are divided into three families, the Gershonites, the Kohathites, the Merarites, each under a chief. The Kohathites were headed by Eleazar, son of Aaron, while the Gershonites and Merarites were headed by Aaron's other son, Ithamar. Preparations are made for resuming the march to the Promised Land. Various ordinances and laws are decreed; the Israelites set out from Sinai. The people are punished by fire. Miriam and Aaron insult Moses at Hazeroth. Twelve spies are come back to report to Moses. Joshua and Caleb, two of the spies, report that the land is abundant and is "flowing with milk and honey", but the other spies say that it is inhabited by giants, the Israelites refuse to enter the land.
Yahweh decrees that the Israelites will be punished for their loss of faith by having to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. Moses is ordered by God to make plates to cover the altar; the children of Israel murmur against Moses and Aaron on account of the destruction of Korah's men and are stricken with the plague, with 14,700 perishing. Aaron and his family are declared by God to be responsible for any iniquity committed in connection with the sanctuary; the Levites are again appointed to help in the keeping of the Tabernacle. The Levites are ordered to surrender to the priests a part of the tithes taken to them. Miriam dies at Kadesh Barnea and the Israelites set out for Moab, on Canaan's eastern border; the Israelites blame Moses for the lack of water. Moses is ordered by God to speak to a rock but disobeys, is punished by the announcement that he shall not enter Canaan; the king of Edom refuses permission to pass through his land and they go around it. Aaron dies on Mount Hor; the Israelites are bitten by Fiery flying serpents for speaking against Moses.
A brazen serpent is made to ward off these serpents. The Israelites arrive on the plains of Moab. A new census gives the total number of males from twenty years and upward as 601,730, the number of the Levites from the age of one month and upward as 23,000; the land shall be divided by lot. The daughters of Zelophehad, who had no sons, are to share in the allotment. Moses is ordered to appoint Joshua as his successor. Prescriptions for the observance of the feasts and the offerings for different occasions are enumerated. Moses orders the Israelites to massacre the people of Midian; the Reubenites and the Gadites request Moses to assign them the land east of the Jordan. Moses grants their request after they promise to help in the conquest of the land west of the Jordan; the land east of the Jordan is divided among the tribes of
Book of Zechariah
The Book of Zechariah, attributed to the Hebrew prophet Zechariah, is included in the Twelve Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Bible. Zechariah's prophecies took place during the reign of Darius the Great, were contemporary with Haggai in a post-exilic world after the fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 BC. Ezekiel and Jeremiah wrote before the fall of Jerusalem, while continuing to prophesy in the early exile period. Scholars believe Ezekiel, with his blending of ceremony and vision influenced the visionary works of Zechariah 1–8. Zechariah is specific about dating his writing. During the Exile many Judahites and Benjamites were taken to Babylon, where the prophets told them to make their homes, suggesting they would spend a long period of time there. Freedom did come to many Israelites, when Cyrus the Great overtook the Babylonians in 539 BC. In 538 BC, the famous Edict of Cyrus was released, the first return took place under Sheshbazzar. After the death of Cyrus in 530 BC, Darius consolidated power and took office in 522 BC.
His system divided the different colonies of the empire into manageable districts overseen by governors. Zerubbabel comes into the story, appointed by Darius as governor over the district of Yehud Medinata. Under the reign of Darius, Zechariah emerged, centering on the rebuilding of the Temple. Unlike the Babylonians, the Persian Empire went to great lengths to keep “cordial relations” between vassal and lord; the rebuilding of the Temple was encouraged by the leaders of the empire in hopes that it would strengthen the authorities in local contexts. This policy was good politics on the part of the Persians, the Jews viewed it as a blessing from God; the name "Zechariah" means "God remembered." Not much is known about Zechariah's life other than what may be inferred from the book. It has been speculated that his grandfather Iddo was the head of a priestly family who returned with Zerubbabel, that Zechariah may himself have been a priest as well as a prophet; this is supported by Zechariah's interest in the Temple and the priesthood, from Iddo's preaching in the Books of Chronicles.
Some scholars accept the book as the writings of one individual. For example, George Livingstone Robinson's dissertation on chapters 9–14 concluded that those chapters had their origin in the period between 518 and 516 BC and stand in close relation to chapters 1–8, having most been composed by Zechariah himself. However, most modern scholars believe the Book of Zechariah was written by at least two different people. Zechariah 1–8, sometimes referred to as First Zechariah, was written in the 6th century BC. Zechariah 9–14 called Second Zechariah, contains within the text no datable references to specific events or individuals but most scholars give the text a date in the fifth century BCE. Second Zechariah, in the opinion of some scholars, appears to make use of the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel, the Deuteronomistic History, the themes from First Zechariah; this has led some to believe that the writer or editor of Second Zechariah may have been a disciple of the prophet Zechariah. There are some scholars who go further and divide Second Zechariah into Second Zechariah and Third Zechariah since each begins with a heading oracle.
The return from exile is the theological premise of the prophet's visions in chapters 1–6. Chapters 7–8 address the quality of life God wants his renewed people to enjoy, containing many encouraging promises to them. Chapters 9–14 comprise two "oracles" of the future; the book begins with a preface, which recalls the nation's history, for the purpose of presenting a solemn warning to the present generation. Follows a series of eight visions, succeeding one another in one night, which may be regarded as a symbolical history of Israel, intended to furnish consolation to the returned exiles and stir up hope in their minds; the symbolic action, the crowning of Joshua, describes how the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of God's Messiah. Chapters Zechariah 7 and Zechariah 8, delivered two years are an answer to the question whether the days of mourning for the destruction of the city should be kept any longer, an encouraging address to the people, assuring them of God's presence and blessing.
This section consists of two "oracles" or "burdens": The first oracle gives an outline of the course of God's providential dealings with his people down to the time of the coming of the Messiah. The second oracle points out the glories that await Israel in "the latter day", the final conflict and triumph of God's kingdom; the purpose of this book is not historical but theological and pastoral. The main emphasis is, he will cleanse them from sin. Zechariah's concern for purity is apparent in the temple and all areas of life as the prophecy eliminates the influence of the governor in favour of the high priest, the sanctuary becomes more the centre of messianic fulfillment; the prominence of prophecy is quite apparent in Zechariah, but it is true that Zechariah allows prophecy to yield to the priesthood. Most Christian commentators read the series of predictions in chapters 7 to 14 as Messianic prophecies, either directly or indirectly; these chapters helped the writers of the Gospels understand Jesus’ suffering and resurrection, which they quoted as they wrote of Jesus’ final days.
Much of the Book of Revelation, which narrates the denouement of his
Book of Jonah
The Book of Jonah is a book of the Nevi'im in the Hebrew Bible. It tells of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah son of Amittai, sent by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh but tries to escape the divine mission. Set in the reign of Jeroboam II, it was written in the post-exilic period, some time between the late 5th to early 4th century BC; the story has a long interpretive history and has become well known through popular children's stories. In Judaism, it is the Haftarah portion read during the afternoon of Yom Kippur to instill reflection on God's willingness to forgive those who repent, it is retold in the Quran. Unlike the other Prophets, the book of Jonah is entirely narrative, with the exception of the poem in chapter 2; the actual prophetic word against Nineveh is given only in passing through the narrative. As with any good narrative, the story of Jonah has a setting, characters, a plot, themes, it relies on such literary devices as irony. Jonah Flees His Mission Jonah's Commission and Flight The Endangered Sailors Cry to Their gods Jonah's Disobedience Exposed Jonah's punishment and Deliverance His Prayer of Thanksgiving Jonah Reluctantly fulfills His Mission Jonah's Renewed Commission and Obedience The Endangered Ninevites' Repentant Appeal to the Lord The Ninevites' Repentance Acknowledged Jonah's Deliverance and Rebuke Jonah is the central character in the Book of Jonah, in which God commands him to go to the city of Nineveh to prophesy against it "for their great wickedness is come up before me," but Jonah instead attempts to flee from "the presence of the Lord" by going to Jaffa, sailing to Tarshish.
A huge storm arises and the sailors, realizing that it is no ordinary storm, cast lots and discover that Jonah is to blame. Jonah admits states that if he is thrown overboard, the storm will cease; the sailors refuse to do this and continue rowing, but all their efforts fail and they are forced to throw Jonah overboard. As a result, the storm calms and the sailors offer sacrifices to God. Jonah is miraculously saved by being swallowed by a large fish, in whose belly he spends three days and three nights. While in the great fish, Jonah prays to God in his affliction and commits to thanksgiving and to paying what he has vowed. God commands the fish to vomit Jonah out. God again commands Jonah to prophesy to its inhabitants; this time he goes and enters the city, crying, "In forty days Nineveh shall be overthrown." After Jonah has walked across Nineveh, the people of Nineveh begin to believe his word and proclaim a fast. The king of Nineveh puts on sackcloth and sits in ashes, making a proclamation which decrees fasting, the wearing of sackcloth and repentance.
God spares the city at that time. The entire city is broken with the people in sackcloth and ashes. Displeased by this, Jonah refers to his earlier flight to Tarshish while asserting that, since God is merciful, it was inevitable that God would turn from the threatened calamities, he leaves the city and makes himself a shelter, waiting to see whether or not the city will be destroyed. God causes a plant to grow over Jonah's shelter to give him some shade from the sun. God causes a worm to bite the plant's root and it withers. Jonah, now being exposed to the full force of the sun, becomes pleads for God to kill him, and God said to Jonah: "Art thou angry for the Kikayon?" And he said: "I am angry unto death."And the LORD said: "Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow, which came up in a night, perished in a night. The story of Jonah has numerous theological implications, this has long been recognized. In early translations of the Hebrew Bible, Jewish translators tended to remove anthropomorphic imagery in order to prevent the reader from misunderstanding the ancient texts.
This tendency is evidenced in the Greek translations. As far as the Book of Jonah is concerned, Targum Jonah offers a good example of this: In Jonah 1:6, the Masoretic Text reads, "...perhaps God will pay heed to us...." Targum Jonah translates this passage as: "...perhaps there will be mercy from the Lord upon us...." The captain's proposal is no longer an attempt to change the divine will. Furthermore, in Jonah 3:9, the MT reads, "Who knows, God may turn and relent?" Targum Jonah translates this as, "Whoever knows that there are sins on his conscience let him repent of them and we will be pitied before the Lord." God does not change His mind. Fragments of the book were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, most of which follows the Masoretic Text and with Mur XII reproducing a large portion of the text; as for the non-canonical writings, the majority of references to biblical texts were made as appeals to authority. The Book of Jonah appears to have served less purpose in the Qumran community than other texts, as the writings make no references to it.
The earliest Christian interpretations of Jonah are found in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. Both Matthew and Luke record a tradition of Jesus’ interpretation of the Book of Jonah (notably, Matthew includes two similar
Book of Ezekiel
The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Tanakh and one of the major prophetic books in the Old Testament, following Isaiah and Jeremiah. According to the book itself, it records six visions of the prophet Ezekiel, exiled in Babylon, during the 22 years 593–571 BC, although it is the product of a long and complex history and does not preserve the words of the prophet; the visions, the book, are structured around three themes: Judgment on Israel. Its themes include the concepts of the presence of God, Israel as a divine community, individual responsibility to God, its influence has included the development of mystical and apocalyptic traditions in Second Temple and rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. Ezekiel has the broad three-fold structure found in a number of the prophetic books: oracles of woe against the prophet's own people, followed by oracles against Israel's neighbours, ending in prophecies of hope and salvation: Prophecies against Judah and Jerusalem, chapters 1–24 Prophecies against the foreign nations, chapters 25–32 Prophecies of hope and salvation, chapters 33–48 The book opens with a vision of YHWH.
The book moves on to anticipate the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, explains this as God's punishment, closes with the promise of a new beginning and a new Temple. Inaugural vision Ezekiel 1:1–3:27: God approaches Ezekiel as the divine warrior, riding in his battle chariot; the chariot is drawn by four living creatures, each having four wings. Beside each "living creature" is a "wheel within a wheel", with "tall and awesome" rims full of eyes all around. God commissions Ezekiel as a prophet and as a "watchman" in Israel: "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites." Judgment on Jerusalem and Judah and on the nations: God warns of the certain destruction of Jerusalem and of the devastation of the nations that have troubled his people: the Ammonites, Moabites and Philistines, the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon, Egypt. Building a new city: The Jewish exile will come to an end, a new city and new Temple will be built, the Israelites will be gathered and blessed as never before.
Some of the highlights include: The "throne vision", in which Ezekiel sees God enthroned in the Temple among the heavenly host. Most scholars today accept the basic authenticity of the book, but see in it significant additions by a "school" of followers of the original prophet. While the book exhibits considerable unity and reflects much of the historic Ezekiel, it is the product of a long and complex history and does not preserve the words of the prophet. According to the book that bears his name, Ezekiel ben-Buzi was born into a priestly family of Jerusalem c.623 BC, during the reign of the reforming king Josiah. Prior to this time, Judah had been a vassal of the Assyrian empire, but the rapid decline of Assyria after c. 630 led Josiah to assert his independence and institute a religious reform stressing loyalty to Yahweh, the national God of Israel. Josiah was killed in 609 and Judah became a vassal of the new regional power, the Neo-Babylonian empire. In 597, following a rebellion against Babylon, Ezekiel was among the large group of Judeans taken into captivity by the Babylonians.
He appears to have spent the rest of his life in Mesopotamia. A further deportation of Jews from Jerusalem to Babylon occurred in 586 when a second unsuccessful rebellion resulted in the destruction of the city and its Temple and the exile of the remaining elements of the royal court, including the last scribes and priests; the various dates given in the book suggest that Ezekiel was 25 when he went into exile, 30 when he received his prophetic call, 52 at the time of the last vision c.571. The Jewish scriptures were translated into Greek in the two centuries before the birth of Christ; the Greek version of these books is called the Septuagint. The Jewish Bible in Hebrew is called the Masoretic text; the Greek version of Ezekiel differs from the Hebrew version – it is shorter and represents an early interpretation of the book we have today – while other ancient manuscript fragments differ from both. The first half of the 20th century saw several attempts to deny the authorship and authenticity of the book, with scholars such as C.
C. Torrey and Morton Smith placing it variously in the 3rd century BC and in the 8th/7th; the pendulum swung back in the post-war period, with an increasing acceptance of the book's essential unity and historical placement in the Exile. The most influential modern scholarly work on Ezekiel, Walther Zimmerli's two-volume commentary, ap
The Book of Psalms referred to as Psalms or "the Psalms", is the first book of the Ketuvim, the third section of the Hebrew Bible, thus a book of the Christian Old Testament. The title is derived from the Greek translation, ψαλμοί, meaning "instrumental music" and, by extension, "the words accompanying the music"; the book is an anthology of individual psalms, with 150 in the Jewish and Western Christian tradition and more in the Eastern Christian churches. Many are linked to the name of David; the Book of Psalms is divided into five sections, each closing with a doxology —these divisions were introduced by the final editors to imitate the five-fold division of the Torah: Book 1 Book 2 Book 3 Book 4 Book 5 Many psalms have individual superscriptions, ranging from lengthy comments to a single word. Over a third appear to be musical directions, addressed to the "leader" or "choirmaster", including such statements as "with stringed instruments" and "according to lilies". Others appear to be references to types of musical composition, such as "A psalm" and "Song", or directions regarding the occasion for using the psalm.
Many carry the names of individuals, the most common being of David, thirteen of these relate explicitly to incidents in the king's life. Others named include Asaph, the sons of Korah, Moses, Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman the Ezrahite; the LXX, the Peshitta, the Latin Vulgate each associate several Psalms with Haggai and Zechariah. The LXX attributes several Psalms to Ezekiel and to Jeremiah. Psalms are identified by a sequence number preceded by the abbreviation "Ps." Numbering of the Psalms differs -- by one, see table -- between Greek manuscripts. Protestant translations use the Hebrew numbering, but other Christian traditions vary: Catholic official liturgical texts follow the Hebrew numbering since 1969; the variance between Massorah and Septuagint texts in this numeration is enough due to a gradual neglect of the original poetic form of the Psalms. It is admitted that Pss. 9 and 10 were a single acrostic poem. Pss. 42 and 43 are shown by identity of subject, of metrical structure and of refrain, to be three strophes of one and the same poem.
The Hebrew text is correct in counting as one Ps. 146 and Ps. 147. Liturgical usage would seem to have split up these and several other psalms. Zenner combines into. 1, 2, 3, 4. A choral ode would seem to have been the original form of Pss. 14 and 70. The two strophes and the epode are Ps. 14. It is noteworthy that, on the breaking up of the original ode, each portion crept twice into the Psalter: Ps. 14 = 53, Ps. 70 = 40:14–18. Other such duplicated portions of psalms are Ps. 108:2–6 = Ps. 57:8–12. This loss of the original form of some of the psalms is allowed by the Biblical Commission to have been due to liturgical practices, neglect by copyists, or other causes; the Septuagint, present in Eastern Orthodox churches, includes a Psalm 151. Some versions of the Peshitta include Psalms 152–155. There are the Psalms of Solomon, which are a further 18 psalms of Jewish origin originally written in Hebrew, but surviving only in Greek and Syriac translation; these and other indications suggest that the current Western Christian and Jewish collection of 150 psalms were selected from a wider set.
Hermann Gunkel's pioneering form-critical work on the psalms sought to provide a new and meaningful context in which to interpret individual psalms—not by looking at their literary context within the Psalter, but by bringing together psalms of the same genre from throughout the Psalter. Gunkel divided the psalms into five primary types: Hymns, songs of praise for God's work in creation or history, they open with a call to praise, describe the motivation for praise, conclude with a repetition of the call. Two sub-categories are "enthronement psalms", celebrating the enthronement of Yahweh as king, Zion psalms, glorifying Mount Zion, God's dwelling-place in Jerusalem. Gunkel described a special subset of "eschatological hymns" which includes themes of future restoration or of judgment. Communal laments. Both communal and individual laments but not always include the following elements: address to God, description of suffering, cursing of the party responsib
Books of Kings
The two Books of Kings a single book, are the eleventh and twelfth books of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. They conclude the Deuteronomistic history, a history of Israel comprising the books of Joshua and Judges and the two Books of Samuel, which biblical commentators believe was written to provide a theological explanation for the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah by Babylon in c. 586 BCE and a foundation for a return from exile. The two books of Kings present a history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of King David to the release of Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years. Scholars tend to treat the books as made up of a first edition from the late 7th century BCE and a second and final edition from the mid 6th century BCE; the Jerusalem Bible divides the two books of Kings into eight sections: 1 Kings 1:1–2:46 = The Davidic Succession 1 Kings 3:1–11:43 = Solomon in all his glory 1 Kings 12:1–13:34 = The political and religious schism 1 Kings 14:1–16:34 = The two kingdoms until Elijah 1 Kings 17:1 – 2 Kings 1:18 = The Elijah cycle 2 Kings 2:1–13:25 = The Elisha cycle 2 Kings 14:1–17:41 = The two kingdoms to the fall of Samaria 2 Kings 18:1–25:30 = The last years of the kingdom of JudahIn David's old age, Adonijah proclaims himself his successor but Solomon's supporters arrange for David to proclaim Solomon as his successor, so he comes to the throne after David's death.
At the beginning of his reign he assumes God's promises to David and brings splendour to Israel and peace and prosperity to his people. The centrepiece of Solomon's reign is the building of the First Temple: the claim that this took place 480 years after the Exodus from Egypt marks it as a key event in Israel's history. At the end, however, he oppresses Israel; as a consequence of Solomon's failure to stamp out the worship of gods other than Yahweh, the kingdom of David is split in two in the reign of his own son Rehoboam, who becomes the first to reign over the kingdom of Judah. The kings who follow Rehoboam in Jerusalem continue the royal line of David. At length God brings the Assyrians to destroy the northern kingdom, leaving Judah as the sole custodian of the promise. Hezekiah, the 14th king of Judah, does "what right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done" and institutes a far reaching religious reform, centralising sacrifice at the temple at Jerusalem and destroying the images of other gods.
Yahweh saves the kingdom from an invasion by Assyria. But Manasseh, the next king, reverses the reforms, God announces that he will destroy Jerusalem because of this apostasy by the king. Manasseh's righteous grandson Josiah reinstitutes the reforms of Hezekiah, but it is too late: God, speaking through the prophetess Huldah, affirms that Jerusalem is to be destroyed after the death of Josiah. In the final chapters, God brings the Neo-Babylonian Empire of King Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem; the final verses record how Jehoiachin, the last king, is set free and given honour by the king of Babylon. In the Hebrew Bible and Second Kings are a single book, as are the First and Second Books of Samuel; when this was translated into Greek in the last few centuries BCE, Kings was joined with Samuel in a four-part work called the Book of Kingdoms. Orthodox Christians continue to use the Greek translation, but when a Latin translation was made for the Western church, Kingdoms was first retitled the Book of Kings, parts One to Four, both Kings and Samuel were separated into two books each.
What it is now known as 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel are called by the Vulgate, in imitation of the Septuagint, 1 Kings and 2 Kings respectively. What it is now known as 1 Kings and 2 Kings would be 3 Kings and 4 Kings in old Bibles before the year 1516 such as the Vulgate and the Septuagint respectively; the division we know today, used by Protestant Bibles and adopted by Catholics, came into use in 1517. Some Bibles still preserve the old denomination, for the Douay Rheims Bible. According to Jewish tradition the author of Kings was Jeremiah, who would have been alive during the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BCE; the most common view today accepts Martin Noth's thesis that Kings concludes a unified series of books which reflect the language and theology of the Book of Deuteronomy, which biblical scholars therefore call the Deuteronomistic history. Noth argued that the History was the work of a single individual living in the 6th century BCE, but scholars today tend to treat it as made up of at least two layers, a first edition from the time of Josiah, promoting Josiah's religious reforms and the need for repentance, a second and final edition from the mid 6th century BCE.
Further levels of editing have been proposed, including: a late 8th century BCE edition pointing to Hezekiah of Judah as the model for kingship. The editors/authors of the Deuteronomistic history cite a number of sources, including a "Book of the Acts of Solomon" and the "Annals of the Kings of Judah" and a separate book, "Chronicles of the Kings of Israel"; the "Deuteronomic" perspective is e
Book of Haggai
The Book of Haggai is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, has its place as the third-to-last of the Minor Prophets. It is a short book; the historical setting dates around 520 BCE. The Book of Haggai is named after the prophet Haggai. There is no biographical information given about the prophet in the Book of Haggai. Haggai's name is derived from the Hebrew verbal root hgg, which means "to make a pilgrimage." W. Sibley Towner suggests that Haggai's name might come "from his single-minded effort to bring about the reconstruction of that destination of ancient Judean pilgrims, the Temple in Jerusalem." The Book of Haggai was written in 520 BCE some 18 years after Cyrus had conquered Babylon and issued a decree in 538 BCE allowing the captive Jews to return to Judea. Cyrus saw the restoration of the temple as necessary for the restoration of the religious practices and a sense of peoplehood after a long exile. Haggai's message is filled with an urgency for the people to proceed with the rebuilding of the second Jerusalem temple.
Haggai attributes a recent drought to the people's refusal to rebuild the temple, which he sees as key to Jerusalem’s glory. The book ends with the prediction of the downfall of kingdoms, with one Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, as the Lord’s chosen leader; the language here is not as finely wrought as in some other books of the minor prophets, yet the intent seems straightforward. The first chapter contains its effects; the second chapter contains: The second prophecy, delivered a month after the first The third prophecy, delivered two months and three days after the second. Haggai reports that three weeks after his first prophecy, the rebuilding of the Temple began on September 7 521 BCE. "They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the King. and the Book of Ezra indicates that it was finished on February 25 516 BCE "The Temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius."
Divine Announcement: The Command to Rebuild the Temple Introduction: Reluctant Rebuilders Consider your ways: fruitless prosperity Promise and Progress Divine Announcement: The Coming Glory of the Temple God will fulfill his promise Future Splendor of the temple Divine Announcement: Blessings for a Defiled People Former Misery Future Blessing Divine Announcement: Zerubbabel Chosen as a Signet Jewish translations: Chaggai – Haggai translation with Rashi's commentary at Chabad.org Christian translations: Online Bible at GospelHall.org Haggai public domain audiobook at LibriVox Various versions