Introduction to Haggai
Haggai was, chronologically, the first of the three post-exilic prophets, the others being his contemporaries Zechariah, and then later, the last Old Testament prophet, Malachi. Haggai was called by God to rebuke and then encourage the Jews in connection with their divine commission to rebuild the temple. The circumstances are outlined in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Little is known of Haggai personally, except that he identified himself as a prophet some five times (Haggai 1:1,3,12; 2:1,10), the only one of the writing prophets to do so except for Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1:1). His ministry lasted only a few months, but was successful in accomplishing the purpose of activating the people to work. Note references to his ministry in Ezra 5:1 and 6:14.
It is interesting to note that, while there are five books in the Bible with only one chapter, and seven with three chapters, Haggai is the only book with two chapters.
It is possible that Haggai was very old at the time when he wrote his prophecy, and that he was one of the few returnees who had seen the original temple in all its glory (Haggai 2:3; Ezra 3:12,13). If so, this would account, at least in part, for both the urgency of his message and the brevity of his ministry.
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