1:1 Darius the king. “Darius the king” was Darius Hystaspes, who ruled the Persian empire from 521 to 486 B.C., also known as “Darius the Great.”
1:1 by Haggai. Haggai preceded Zechariah and then Malachi as the three post-exilic prophets, ministering to the returning Jews who rebuilt Jerusalem and its temple. Both Haggai and his younger contemporary, Zechariah, are mentioned in Ezra 5:1 and 6:14. Haggai was probably very old when he wrote his short book—the shortest Old Testament book except Obadiah—and the only two-chapter book in the Bible.
1:1 Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel the governor had led the first contingent of returning exiles from Babylon, following the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1:2; 2:2). Here, he is called “the son of Shealtiel (or Salathiel),” whereas I Chronicles 3:17-19 indicates that Salathiel was his uncle, with Pedaiah his father. A possible explanation is that Salathiel became his “foster father,” as it were, after Pedaiah died. Another possibility is that, through a Levirate marriage (as described in Deuteronomy 25:5,6), Shealtiel died without a son, and Pedaiah married his widow, giving their first-born son the name of Shealtiel as his legal father.