Jerusalem Temple Mount
Map of the Jerusalem Temple Mount, with Jericho and the Jordan River Valley in the distance.
Replacing Solomon's Temple Jews rebuilt their own destroyed houses before they rebuilt God’s house—the Jerusalem Temple. God didn’t like that one bit. He had the prophet Haggai tell ‘em so.
“You 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” (Haggai 1:4).
Jews ordered to stop building in JerusalemJews apparently felt they had good reason not to rebuild the temple. They had started the work as soon as they got back from exile in Iraq. That’s where Babylonians forced them to stay for 66 years. Persians from what is now Iran defeated Babylon and told the Jews they could go home. Settlers who had moved into the region objected. They didn’t want Jews dragging their dead nation up out of the dirt. So, they threatened them. Later, they convinced a new Persian king to stop all building projects in Jerusalem. Eighteen years afterward, Haggai shows up, but for just four sermons—one a month.
How to get good crops through carpentryOn August 29, 520 BC, at the end of what sounds like a terrible year for farmers, Haggai tells them how to fix it. He says God broke it. And God will fix it. But only if they get back to work on the Temple.
“I’m the LORD and I did it. I hit you with heat, mold, and hail. But you didn’t get the message. You didn’t come back to me” (2:17).Jews rushed back to work on the Temple before the month is up: September 21.
Jews get the blues rebuilding the TempleBut they apparently get bummed out by December. Perhaps it’s because the Temple isn’t shaping up as magnificent of Solomon’s Temple. Haggai apparently pumps them with a reminder about a good harvest ahead—and with the promise that this Temple will be bigger and better than Solomon’s.
Balage Balogh / ArchaeologyIllustrated.com / Licensed to Casual English Bible