The Minor Prophets: Haggai

The Minor Prophets Hosea


I. Historical context

    A. “In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month” (1:1); 520 B.C. (Coffman, Hailey, Lewis, Waddey)
    B. “Significantly, Haggai did not date his message from the times of any Jewish ruler, for both Israel and Judah had been removed from their homeland and had been enslaved by Assyria and by Babylon. Thus it was necessary to date his prophecy from the rule of a pagan king, contrasting sharply with the custom of earlier prophets.” (Coffman)
    C. The Jews that returned from Babylonian captivity began work on rebuilding the temple (Ezra 3:10)

      1. Their opponents complained to Artaxerxes, who decreed that the reconstruction must stop (Ezra 4:21)
      2. After Darius came to power, the Jews did not attempt to resume their efforts on the temple structure until the Lord spoke through Haggai (1:1)
      3. “The effect that Haggai’s prophetic work had on the Jews is at least partly seen in the fact that, twenty-three days after his first address was made, the work on the temple began (Hag. 1:1,15). Four years, six months and two days after Haggai’s first address, the work on the temple was completed (Hag. 1:1; Ezra 6:15).” (Deaver)

    D. “Concerning the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar’s troops, we read in II Kings 25:9 that it was burned, not demolished. This would explain why so few could do the work of rebuilding in only four years. The original temple built by Solomon was seven years in construction.” (Waddey)

II. About the prophet

    A. “Haggai, as a person, remains obscure. No one else in the Old Testament shares the name, the literal meaning of which is ‘festival.’ He is mentioned in Ezra 5:1 and 6:4 and referred to in Zechariah 8:9. He is named two times in the apocraphal I Esdras and Sirach 49:11.” (Gill)
    B. “Haggai had been in exile with his fellow Hebrews in the land of Babylon. He was among the faithful remnant that returned in 536 B.C. On the basis of 2:3, it is thought by some that he was an old man who had seen Solomon’s Temple before it was destroyed.” (Waddey)
    C. “Jewish rabbis attributed some of the Psalms to Haggai, as did the early church fathers. In the Vulgate he is credited with (Ps. 111); in the Septuagint with Pss. 137, 146, 147, 148; and in the Peshitta with Ps. 145.” (Waddey)

III. Lessons for today

    A. The importance of “thus says the Lord”

      1. “The basis of all successful preaching is ‘saith Jehovah.’ It got results then, and such preaching will get results today.” (Hailey)
      2. “The outstanding feature of Haggai’s style is found in his oft repeated declaration that he was speaking God’s word. ‘Thus saith Jehovah,’ ‘the word of Jehovah of hosts’ and similar expressions ‘are used twenty-six times in the four short addresses of thirty-eight verses.’” (Coffman)
      3. Haggai “teaches that when we heed the teaching of God’s teacher, who faithfully delivers the divine message, we are obeying God. In the words of Christ, ‘He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me…’ (John 13:20). It is worth noting that all the people obeyed God and began to work on God’s house. None are so great or important that they are excused from obedience and participation in the Master’s Cause.” (Waddey)
      4. There are so many false doctrines prevalent in the religious community, we must be diligent in our study of the Word so we can discern between truth and error
      5. Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

    B. The importance of proper priorities (1:4,9)

      1. Putting first things first
      2. We talk about this a lot – why?
      3. Hailey quotes Farrar: “When a good work is awaiting its accomplishment, the time to do it is now.” (Hailey)
      4. Matthew 6:19-20, 33; Colossians 3:1-3
      5. “To be eagerly zealous for one’s own material welfare and house, running enthusiastically to care for it but loitering negligently in his responsibility to the Lord, is to invite retributive consequences.” (Hailey)

    C. “Obligations do not disappear merely because opposition appears.” (Deaver)

      1. Hailey again quotes Farrar: “Discouragement however profound is not an adequate reason for neglecting duties, even when they seem to be encompassed with difficulty. ‘Be strong and work’ is a glorious motto for human life.” (Hailey)
      2. Haggai 2:4
      3. “Their strength, like that of God’s saints today, is ‘in the Lord, and in the strength of his might’ (Eph. 6:10). In this power through the strength of the Lord nothing that comes within the promise of God’s will is impossible to His people. While God provides the strength, the believer must do his part; he must work. When strength through faith is combined with work, obstacles vanish….They should be of good courage, for if Jehovah, the God of all forces, is for them, who can be against them?” (Hailey)
      4. Did the early church face opposition to the truth? (Acts 4:17-18)
      5. Even among the disciples, there were factions that worked against the church’s mission (Acts 20:29-30)
      6. What must our response be when we are warned to be silent about God’s grace and peace and love and mercy? (Acts 4:19-20)
      7. “The church must continue to support the truth (I Tim. 3:15), help the needy (Gal. 6:10), reach the lost (Matt. 28:19,20), edify herself (Heb. 10:25). And the church must not allow the world to make her over in its image so that she, too, no longer cares about spiritual affairs. The Jews refused to build for a while because the world forced her to that end. The Jews became apathetic for a while because the world influenced her to so become.” (Deaver)
      8. 1 John 5:4

    Coffman, James Burton. (1982). Commentary on the Minor Prophets, Volume 3: Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Haggai. Austin, TX: The Firm Foundation Publishing House. [Textual commentary excluding introductory notes on each book available online at]

    Deaver, Mac. “The Living Message of Haggai.” (1977). The Living Messages of the Books of the Old Testament. Garland Elkins and Thomas B. Warren, editors. Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press, Inc.

    Gill, Clinton R. (1971). Minor Prophets: A Study of Micah through Malachi. Joplin, MO: College Press. [Online at]

    Hailey, Homer. (1972). A Commentary on the Minor Prophets. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

    Lewis, Jack P. (1966). Minor Prophets. Austin, TX: R.B. Sweet Co., Inc.

    Waddey, John. (2011). The Testimony of the Twelve Minor Prophets. Delight, AR: Gospel Light Publishing Company. [Online at]

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