HAGGAI (Heb. חַגַּי; "born on a festival"), prophet who lived in the post-Exilic period and whose book is the tenth in the Minor Prophets. The book of Haggai and chapters 1–8 of Zechariah appear to be part of the same redactional effort. Considering the small size of Haggai, there are numerous differences between the received Hebrew text and the Septuagint. Haggai's extant prophecies, never narrated in the first person, consist altogether of 38 verses, dating from the second year of the reign of Darius i, king of Persia, i.e., 520 b.c.e., between the first of Elul and the 24th of Kislev. It appears, however, that the prophet was previously well-known to the people and that his words carried weight (1:12). He is referred to (Hag. 1:13) as malak yhwh, often used of non-human messengers of yhwh. The author of Ezra-Nehemiah notes the important role he played in the rebuilding of the Temple (Ezra 5:1; 6:14).
His prophecies deal mainly with the construction of the Temple, and with the great events that the nation will experience in the future as a result. Haggai turns first to *Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest (1:1–2), and then to the people (1:3–11), encouraging them not to postpone the construction of the Temple, but to begin immediately. He claimed that all the mishaps of poverty, famine, and drought which befell the nation were caused by the delay in the work. The people listened to Haggai's words despite their fears (1:13) and, led by Zerubbabel and Joshua, they began work on the temple. Although the new temple seemed poor in their eyes (2:3) Haggai assured the people that the second temple would be more richly adorned than the first temple (2:7–9; see below).
Three months later, on the 24th of Kislev (2:10–19), when the Temple's foundations were laid, Haggai proclaimed two new prophecies. He turned to the priests to seek guidance from them (cf. Jer. 18:18 "instruction from the priest"). He asked what the law is concerning a man who carries hallowed meat in the skirt of his garment which touches any food. They replied that the food does not become holy, but if a man made unclean by a dead body touches the food, the food does become unclean. From the fact that holiness is far less contagious than impurity, Haggai deduces that the achievement of holiness demands hard work: as long as the Temple was not built, despite the fact that sacrifices were being offered on the altar, the people were unclean. Only when the Temple is rebuilt will the Lord's blessing (Hag. 2:19) return. That very day (2:20ff.) the prophet uttered an oracle about Zerubbabel. He announced that God was about to shake the heavens and earth and overthrow the "throne of kingdoms and destroy the strength of the nations, overthrow the chariot and those who ride in it. The horses and their riders will come down, everyone by the sword of his brother" (Hag. 3:22). Haggai's words probably reflect the great disturbances that shook the Persian Empire in 522–21 until Darius i took full control as successor to Cambyses. As for Zerubabel, says Haggai, his time will come. Whereas Jeremiah had prophesied about Jehoiakim (22:24), "though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet ring on My right hand, yet I would pluck thee thence," Haggai turned the curse into a blessing for his grandson Zerubbabel: "I will take you… and make you like a signet ring" (2:23). With Talshir, it is probably inaccurate to regard this vision as messianic in any utopian sense. It is rather about the restoration of the earthly Davidic monarchy and the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple, for both of which there were still living eyewitnesses (Hag. 2:3). Haggai agrees with Isaiah 60:5 that "the wealth (ḥayil) of nations" will come to the temple (Hag. 2:7–9; the terms ḥayil, kavod and ḥemdah all mean "wealth"). But in contrast to Isaiah 60 and Zechariah 8:20–23, the nations themselves will not come to the Jewish temple. Israel's earthly kingdom will be renewed, the second temple will be richer than the first, but the gentiles will not be converted. The language of the book is difficult to classify as either prose or poetry (see e.g. 1:5–11; 2:6–9, 21–23). It is apparent that Haggai had recourse to earlier writings that would become "biblical." The prophet uses phrases from the Torah (cf. Haggai 2:5 with Ex. 24:8; Haggai 2:12 with Lev. 6:20; etc.). He alludes to Jeremiah's words (Jer. 22:24) which he reinterprets; and to the prophecies of Ezekiel (Ezek. 37:27) about the holy spirit resting upon the new Temple. He is similar to Zechariah, his contemporary, with regard to the greatness of Zerubbabel (ibid., 3:8). The prophecies of Haggai were probably assembled not long after they were delivered. Fragments of Haggai are found in the tere asar (book of the 12 minor prophets) scroll written probably in the second century c.e. and unearthed in cave 5 at Wadi Murabbat. Probably encouraged by Haggai's legal questions to the priests (Hag. 2:12–13), rabbinic tradition credited Haggai with halakhic (legal) decisions (Yev. 16a; Kid. 43a). The sages (bb 15a) attributed the editing of the book to the elders of the Great Assembly.
general: Ackroyd, in: jjs, 2 (1951), 163–76; 3 (1952), 1–13, 151–6; idem, in: jnes, 17 (1958), 13–27; Bentzen, in: rhpr, 10 (1930), 493–503; H.W. Wolff, Haggai (1951); K. Galling, Studien zur Geschichte Israels im persischen Zeitalter (1964); Hess, in: Rudolph Festschrift (1961), 109–34; Kaufmann, Y., Toledot, 4 (1956), 215, 225. special studies: Bloomhardt, in: huca, 5 (1928), 153–95; Budde, in: zaw, 26 (1906), 1–28; James, in: jbl, 53 (1934), 229–35; Kittel, Gesch, 3 pt. 2 (1929), 441–57; Noth, in: zaw, 68 (1956), 25–46; Siebeneck, in: cbq, 19 (1957), 312–28; Waterman, in: jnes, 13 (1954), 73–78; J.W. Rothstein, Juden und Samaritaner (1908). add. bibliography: D. Petersen, Haggai and Zechariah 1–8 (1984); C. Meyers and E. Meyers, Haggai, Zechariah 1–8 (1990); idem, in: abd, 3:20–23; Z. Talshir, Enẓiklopedyah Olam ha-Tanakh, vol.15b (1993), 138–66; R. Albertz, in: R. Albertz and B. Becking (eds.), Yahwism after the Exile (2003), 1–17.
[Yehoshua M. Grintz /
S. David Sperling (2nd ed.)]
HAGGAI (or Ḥagga ; fl. c. 300 c.e.), Palestinian amora. Probably born in Babylon (tj, Or 3:1, 63a; tj, Av. Zar. 3:14, 43c), he went to Palestine, where after initial difficulties (Av. Zar. 68a) he became a prominent member of the academy of Tiberias and one of the principal pupils of *Zeira whom he often accompanied (tj, Dem. 3:2, 23b) and in whose name he transmitted sayings (tj, Kid. 3:2, 63d). In a dispute with *Ḥanina in a case of marital law, Haggai was praised by R. Hilla as a scholar of sound judgment (ibid.). Because of his important position in the academy he opened each study session while *Yose and Jonah closed them (tj, rh 2:6, 58b). Haggai was also the pupil (according to Frankel, Mevo ha-Yerushalmi, 79b–80b, the associate) of Yose (bb 19b; tj, Pes. 4:3, 31a; tj, Kid. 3:3, 64a; see tj, Shab. 1:5, 4a, where Yose calls him "rabbi"; cf. tj, rh 2:6, 58b). In a case brought before *Aḥa he supported the view of his teacher Yose by an oath "By Moses," a formula often employed by him (tj, Naz. 5:1, 54a; tj, 4:3, 24a, etc.). Like Yose he held the view that the reason for the interdiction against looking at the kohanim while they are reciting the Priestly Benedictions is because it may distract them from proper concentration (tj, Ta'an. 4:1, 67b).
His close pupil and associate was *Mana, the head of the academy in Sepphoris, who participated in Haggai's scholarly discussions (ibid.). Once Mana visited his sick teacher on the Day of Atonement and gave him permission to drink, but Haggai declined to avail himself of it (tj, Yoma 6:4, 43d). His daughter was involved in lawsuits because she squandered her property (tj, bb 10:15, 17d). His son Eleazar was a pupil of Mana's academy in Sepphoris (tj, Shek. 7:3, 50c). Haggai appears to have lived for a while in Tyre (tj, Ket. 2:6, 4a) and some sources hint at the fact that he migrated to Babylonia in the days of *Abbaye and *Rabbah since he is quoted in the Babylonian Talmud as having had discussions with them (e.g., bm 113b but see Dik. Sof. bm 169b, n. 100). The Haggai who ordered Jacob of Kefar Nibburaya to be punished by flagellation for falsely interpreting Scripture to the effect that fish must be slaughtered in the same way as animals and that the son of a gentile mother may be circumcised on the Sabbath is probably this Haggai and not *Haggai of Sepphoris.
Bacher, Pal Amor, 3; Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; J.L. Maimon, Yiḥusei Tanna'im ve-Amora'im (1963), 229–30; Ḥ. Albeck, Mavo la-Talmudim (1969), 323–5.
Haggai (hăg´āī), prophetic book of the Bible. Dated 520 BC, it is a collection of five oracles addressed to Jews, newly returned from the Babylonian exile. The prophet summons the people to renew work on the restoration of the Temple as the necessary prerequisite for the imminent dawning of the messianic age—the time when the splendor of the Solomonic empire will be reestablished under the earthly rule of a Davidic monarch. The book is addressed to the leader Zerubbabel, a Davidic prince, and the high priest Joshua, saying that the new Temple will be less in material splendor than Solomon's, but its glory will be greater. The book concludes with a Messianic prophecy about Zerubbabel's divine purpose, the imminent overthrow of the nations, and the dawning of the rule (i.e., the Kingdom) of God. For an account of the rebuilding program, see chapters 5 and 6 of the Book of Ezra.
See studies by D. L. Petersen (1984) and C. L. and E. M. Meyers (1987). See also bibliography under Old Testament.