Haggai Begins Temple Building
1 In the second year of [a]Darius the king [of Persia], on the first day of the sixth month (Aug 29, 520 b.c.), the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘These people say, “The time has not come that the Lord’s house (temple) should be [b]rebuilt.”’”(A)Read full chapter
- Haggai 1:1 Darius the Great ruled Persia (capital city, Persepolis) from 522-486 b.c. He was an avid builder who used paid workers for his projects instead of slaves, a concept which at that time was revolutionary. He was a gifted visionary, and an energetic king whose social and economic goals endured and greatly benefited both his subjects and future generations. He developed efficient highways, standardized coinage, weights, measures, and he promoted religious tolerance and human rights.
- Haggai 1:2 The people of Judah had completed seventy years of captivity in Babylon (Jer 25:11, 12; Dan 9:2). In October 539 b.c., the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon, whereupon Cyrus the Great (founder of the Persian Empire, his reign extended from 559-529 b.c.) issued a decree permitting the Jews to return home and mandating the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 1:1-4). Some 50,000 returned (Ezra 2:64, 65) and shortly thereafter laid the foundation of the temple (Ezra 3:8-10), but when neighboring Samaritans antagonized the Jews, work on the temple stopped and the temple work lay dormant for some sixteen years. It was during the reign of Darius the Great that Haggai and Zechariah rebuked the people and admonished them to complete the temple. The people responded and the temple was completed in 516 b.c.