Who was the author? God inspired the prophecies in the book through the prophet Haggai, who may have seen firsthand the destruction of Jerusalem and who was one of the three prophets given to the people of Judah after they returned from exile in Babylon. Someone else may have worked with Haggai in recording them.
What is the book? The book is the Lord's prophecy through Haggai to Judah's governor, Zerubbabel, and to the high priest at the time, Joshua, which prophecy in part calls for the rebuilding of the Temple.
Where was it written? Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, seems the likely location for the prophesying and the writing of the book that contains the prophecies.
When was it written? The prophecies were given to Haggai during a four-month period in the second year of King Darius's reign, usually dated as 520 B.C.
Why? Particularly in regards to the reconstruction of the Temple, Haggai shows the blessings that follow obedience and the curses that follow disobedience. His oracles also contain several prophecies of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
How? Haggai makes use of rhetorical questions and repetition in a book that is plainly structured by the dates on which the prophecies came. The prophecies themselves reflect knowledge and perhaps influence of other Old Testament books, likely Haggai's if not that of the book's ultimate author.
For further reading on the book of Haggai:
- Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch. Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume X: Minor Prophets , translated by James Martin and published as two volumes in one. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted March 1986. (There are some 49 pages on Haggai.)
- Kretzmann, Paul E. Popular Commentary of the Bible: The Old Testament, Volume II, The Poetical and the Prophetical Books. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1924. (This volume, one that is in our Grace library, has 4 pages on Haggai.)