God orders his Temple rebuilt
Haggai complains to governor, priest1God told the prophet Haggai to deliver a message to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and to the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak. Haggai got the LORD’s message on August 29. It was the first day of the sixth month of Darius’s second year as king.
2This is the message the LORD gave Haggai to deliver:
People say it’s not yet time to rebuild the Temple, the LORD’s house. 3The LORD told Haggai to tell them this: 4You say it’s not yet time to rebuild the LORD’s house from the ruins. But I’ve noticed it is time for you to live in nicely appointed houses paneled in wood.
5The LORD of everyone wants you to think about what life has been like for you lately. 6You planted a lot of seed, but you didn’t harvest much. You don’t eat your fill because you don’t have enough food to eat. You have something to drink, but not enough to drink all you want. You have clothes to wear, but not enough to keep you warm in cold weather. You make a living, but you can’t keep up with the cost of living.
7The LORD of everyone says this: 8Go into the hills and cut some timber. Then use it to build my house so I can enjoy it. It will become the place where people meet to honor me. 9You had high hopes. But you came up short. You did manage to take home a little something. But I blew it out the window for you. Why would I do something like that, asks the LORD of everyone? It’s because every day you hurry off to your houses. But you let my house remain a pile of busted rocks.
10That’s why the morning dew won’t fall, and your crops won’t grow. 11I’ve ordered a drought, hot and dry. Your land will suffer in the hills and valleys. You’re not going to produce much grain, wine, or olive oil. And the weather is going to take a toll on your animals. You might work hard during this drought, but it won’t get you much.
September 21, 520 BC: Rebuilding Jerusalem’s Temple begins12Governor Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak believed Haggai spoke for the LORD their God. So did the Jewish people. They respected the LORD.
13Haggai turned to the people and gave them this message from the LORD: I am with you.
14The LORD’s message moved everyone: Judah’s governor Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and all the Jewish people in the area. Energized and with spirits lifted, they started work on the Jerusalem Temple, the house of the LORD of everyone. 15Work began about three weeks later, on the 24th day of that same month.
Israel didn’t have a king or a country. Jewish people who returned from exile in Babylon, today’s Iraq, came home to a Persian province called Yehud, translated as Judah. Persians appointed governors to rule this province in a territory that became known as Palestine.
August 29, 520 BC. That’s 66 years after Babylonian invaders destroyed Jerusalem, in 586 BC. They had destroyed other cities throughout all the Jewish nation and then deported many survivors. That erased the Jewish nation from the world map. Darius I, known as Darius the Great, ruled Persia’s Empire about 36 years, from 522-486 BC.
“LORD” is one of more than 7,000 times the Bible refers to the name of God, abbreviated in ancient Hebrew writings as YHWH. Bible experts are left to guess what vowels to add. The current guess: Yahweh (YAH way). Many English Bibles translate the name as LORD, printed in capital letters. “Lord” without all capital letters can refer to leaders such as a ruler, slave master, or man of the house.
Jewish writers sometimes described the Jerusalem Temple as God’s home on earth (Psalm 42:4).
Literally “LORD of Hosts.” A host can refer to an army, a lot of angels, stars, or all of creation.
September 21, 520 BC. Jews followed a lunar calendar, with every month starting at the first tiny crescent after the new moon. A new moon is when the moon is hidden behind earth’s shadow for one day. The sun, moon, and earth are aligned, with earth in the middle. Nisan is the name of the first Jewish month of the year. It’s when Jews celebrate one of their most revered holidays: Passover. The month falls around Eastertime, in March or April. Jews began rebuilding the Temple in the month known as Elul, sixth month on the Jewish religious calendar. It’s the 12th month on the civil calendar.
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