I. A Prophetic Call to Rebuild the Temple (Haggai 1:1-11)
In the second year of King Darius, the sixth month, the first day of the month (August 29, 520 B.C.E.), the word of the Lord comes to the prophet Haggai, and he calls on Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor to rebuild the temple. The former exiles have not prospered, and Haggai blames the poor yield of the land on the fact that the temple still lies in ruins eighteen years after the end of the Babylonian exile.
II. The People and Leaders Obey (Haggai 1:12-15)
Joshua, Zerubbabel, and the people are stirred to obedience by Haggai's words, and they begin work on the temple. Haggai prophesies again to promise that the Lord will be with them.
III. Promise of a Glorious Second Temple (Haggai 2:1-9)
The word of the Lord comes to Haggai again, and he reassures the people that the second temple will be more glorious than the first. The Lord will "shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land" (2:6) and the nations, so that their treasure will come to Jerusalem and will fill the temple with splendor. The Lord will also grant prosperity to the people.
IV. A Ruling from the Priests (Haggai 2:10-19)
Haggai asks the priests for a ruling about what makes something clean or unclean. He then uses the ruling as an analogy to the present situation. Though the Lord had previously punished the people with agricultural disasters (blight, mildew, and hail) because the "work of their hands" was unclean, now that the foundation of the temple is laid, the Lord will bless them with economic and agricultural prosperity.
V. Zerubbabel, the Chosen One (Haggai 2:20-23)
On the day when the foundation of the temple is laid (December 18, 520 B.C.E.), almost four months after Haggai first prophesies, he speaks the last oracle recorded in his book. This oracle concerns Zerubbabel, the Davidic governor of the province. The Lord has chosen him to be a "signet ring," the future ruler on the day that the Lord defeats the nations.
AUTHOR: Kathryn Schifferdecker, Associate Professor of Old Testament