By: Emil G. Hirsch
Judean prophet of the early post-exilic period; contemporary with Zechariah (Ezra v. 1; III Ezra [I Esd.] vi. 1, vii. 3).
= "Aggeus" in I Esd.; "Aggæus, "Ἀγγαιος = "festal" (born on feast-day) or "feast of Yah" (Olshausen, "Grammatik," § 277b); Wellhausen, in Bleek, "Einleitung," 4th ed., p. 434, takes "Haggai" to be equivalent to "Ḥagariah" (= "God girdeth"). The name is found on Semitic inscriptions—Phenician, Palmyrene, Aramaic, Hebrew; comp. "C. I. S." lxviii. 1 and Lidzbarski, "Handbuch der Nordsemitischen Epigraphik," p. 270, Weimar, 1898; it occurs as "Ḥagga" on a tablet from Nippur
Very little is known of Haggai's life. Ewald ("Propheten des Alten Bundes," p. 178, Göttingen, 1868) concludes from Hag. ii. 3 that he had seen the first Temple, in which case he would have been a very old man at the time of Darius Hystaspes, in the second year of whose reign (520
It is not certain that Haggai was ever in Babylonia. He may have lived continuously at Jerusalem (comp. Lam. ii. 9). At all events, to judge by the extent of his book, his public ministry was brief. That Zechariah was the leading prophet of those times (Zech. vii. 1-4) lends plausibility to the assumption that Haggai was nearing death when he made his appeal to the people. According to tradition he was born in Chaldea during the Captivity, and was among those that returned under Zerubbabel. It has even been claimed that he was an angel of
Haggai is credited with having instituted certain practical decisions("taḳḳanot"). Among these were a provision for the intercalation of the month of Adar (R. H. 19b); a decision in favor of enlarging the altar; a decision permitting the bringing of sacrifices independently of the existence or presence of the Temple (Mid. iii. 1; Zeb. 62; Yer. Naz. ii. 7). The organization of the priestly service into twenty-four relays (Tosef., Ta'an. ii.; 'Ar. 12b), and the regulation of the wood-contributions (Tosef., Ta'an. iii.; Ta'an. 28; comp. Neh. x. 35), are traced to him. Other references to Haggai's legislative influence are given in R. H. 9; Yeb. 16a; Ḳid. 43a; Ḥul. 137b; Bek. 57; Naz. 53a. The "seat" () on which he sat as legislator is mentioned (Yeb. 16a).