(Hagʹgai) [[Born on a] Festival].
Jewish tradition holds that Haggai was a member of the Great Synagogue. From Haggai 2:10-19 it has been suggested that he may have been a priest. His name appears along with that of the prophet Zechariah in the superscriptions of Psalm 111 (112) in the Latin Vulgate; Psalms 125 and 126 in the Syriac Peshitta; 145 in the Greek Septuagint, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate; and 146, 147, and 148 in the Septuagint and the Peshitta. It is probable that Haggai was born in Babylon and that he returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel and the Jewish remnant in 537 B.C.E. But little is actually known about Haggai, for the Scriptures do not reveal the prophet’s parentage, tribe, and so forth.
Haggai became the first postexilic prophet and was joined about two months later by Zechariah. (Hag 1:1; Zec 1:1) A halt to temple construction had been precipitated by enemy opposition but extended for some years by Jewish apathy and selfish pursuit of personal interests. Haggai kindled the zeal of the repatriated Jewish exiles for the resumption of temple construction. (Ezr 3:10-13; 4:1-24; Hag 1:4) Four God-given messages delivered by Haggai during about a four-month period in the second year of Darius Hystaspis (520 B.C.E.) and recorded by the prophet in the Bible book of Haggai were especially effective in initially moving the Jews to resume temple-building work. (Hag 1:1; 2:1, 10, 20; see HAGGAI, BOOK OF.) Haggai and Zechariah continued to urge them on in the work until the temple was completed toward the end of Darius’ sixth year, in 515 B.C.E.—Ezr 5:1, 2; 6:14, 15.