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Literature / Book of Haggai

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One of the books of the Minor Prophets that is part of the Old Testament. This is written around the time of the return of the Jewish exiles as they settling back into the land of Israel and rebuilding the Temple and the fallen cities.

Structure of the book:

  • Reprimand and call to rebuild the house of God (Haggai chapter 1)
  • Reminder of the Lord's presence and future glory of the Temple (Haggai 2:1-9)
  • Religious principles about holiness and uncleanness (Haggai 2:10-19)
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  • Restoration of Davidic line promised (Haggai 2:20-23)

Tropes associated with this work:

  • Apathetic Citizens: God through the prophet Haggai chastises the returning Jews for allowing the Temple to remain unfinished while they concern themselves with their own houses. Because of this, God had cursed them with poverty to get them to reconsider their ways.
  • Curse: The final verse, speaking of God's promise to make Zerubbabel like a signet ring, can be read as a reversal of the curse God placed on the Davidic line at the time of King Jeconiah, where in the Book of Jeremiah he would be spoken of as being "childless", having no one who will come from him that will sit on the throne of David.
  • Development Hell: In-universe, the second Temple was stuck in this state when, by the decree of the king of Persia, all construction work on it was halted. God had to use Haggai to exhort them to continue work on the Temple whether the king would permit it or not.
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  • Good Is Not Soft: In Haggai 2:21-22:
    Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the throne of the kingdoms. I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations. I will overthrow the chariots and their riders. The horses and their riders will come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
  • Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness: In Haggai 2:10-14, God has Haggai test the priests with two questions. The first is, "If a man carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and touches with his fold bread or stew, or wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?" The priests answer, "No." The second question is, "If one who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, will it become unclean?" The priests answer, "It is unclean." Then Haggai says, "So it is with this people, and so it is with this nation before Me, says the Lord, and so with every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean."

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