Introducing the people

This video has been dubbed into Polish: https://youtu.be/gsHzi0IwEzo

Who are Darius, Haggai, Zerubbabel and Joshua?

In this second video, we will examine the four people introduced in the first verse of Haggai’s book. With this video, the introduction of Haggai’s book will be completed.

Haggai 1:1

Let us now take a few moments to introduce the people mentioned to us in the very first verse.

“In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, came the word of Jehovah by the prophet Haggai unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.” (Haggai 1:1)

Darius

King Darius is not Darius the Mede that we find in the book of Daniel. It is Darius, king of Persia, known as Darius the First. This king is also mentioned in the book of Ezra and Zechariah. He reigned from 522 to 485 Before Christ. The second year of his reign places us at about 520 Before Christ.

Haggai

The word of the Lord came through Haggai the prophet.

Who is Haggai?

In fact, we have little information about him. We see his name appearing in Ezra 5:1 and 6:14, where we learn that he and “Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem; in the name of the God of Israel,” and that “the elders of the Jews built; and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo.”

Haggai is the first prophet of the post-exilic period, the second being Zechariah, who prophesied two months later.

Haggai’s name means “my feasts”. It is interesting to think that the feasts of the Lord could not be celebrated without the temple. The call to rebuild it would once again allow celebrations after 70 years of exile. We can notice by the way that the inauguration of the second temple took place 70 years after the destruction of the first one.

Some believe that Haggai would have seen the first temple, based on verse 3 of chapter 2 where he asks, “Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? and how do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes?”(Haggai 2:3) If indeed Haggai had seen the first temple, it means that he would have been about seventy-five years old at the beginning of his ministry, assuming that he was 10 years old at the time Jerusalem was taken. But it is equally possible that this word of the Lord has no connection with whether Haggai saw the first temple or not.

Finally, we learn from some commentaries on the book of Haggai that his literary style was simple compared to other prophets. If it was simple, it was nonetheless effective, for these were the words and the mission given to him by the Lord his God (1:12; Ezra 5:1).

Here is a little word of encouragement. Let us not look at our abilities and compare ourselves to others. But let us make sure that we do well, and humbly, what the Lord has asked us to do. The eyes should not be on the servant, but on the master. Haggai may have been a simple man, by his style, but God used him, by His Spirit, to do great work in the hearts. And this is what every true servant of God desires: that God works in hearts, and that glory be His alone. What is proper for the servant, after having done what was asked of him, is not to draw attention to him, but to say as we read in Luke 17:10: “We are unprofitable bondmen; we have done what it was our duty to do.”

Zerubbabel

Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, also called Sheshbazzar, was one of the princes who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem, and he was the Tirshatha (Ezra 2:63), the governor of Judah.

The genealogical inscription in 1 Chronicles 3, verses 18 and 19, is rather difficult to understand. It is the only place where we read that Pedaiah was the father of Zerubbabel. Pedaiah was the brother of Shealtiel, and their father was King Jehoiachin. There are several possible explanations, one of which is a copyist error, but here are two others that are likely. Either Pedaiah was the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel was adopted by Shealtiel. Or Shealtiel died without children and Pedaiah, his brother, took the name of the deceased by marrying Shealtiel’s widow, as we find in the law, in Deuteronomy chapter 25, verses 5 to 10. According to these two hypotheses, Pedaiah would be the biological father of Zerubbabel. But, once again, it is difficult to know exactly what happened.

It is also very interesting to note that Zerubbabel—as well as Shealtiel—can be found in both genealogies of the Lord Jesus: in the lineage of Joseph in the Gospel according to Matthew, and in the lineage of Mary in the Gospel according to Luke.

Zerubbabel is thus a representative, albeit weakly, of royalty, and he will be used as a type of the Messiah in the last prophetic message of Haggai, as well as by the prophet Zechariah in chapter 4 of his book.

Joshua

Joshua, also called Jeshua, the son of Jehozadak, was the high priest.

In 1 Chronicles 6:15 we read that Jehozadak was deported to Babylon, while his father, Seraiah, the first priest, was put to death by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:18-21). Concerning Seraiah, Joshua’s grandfather, we remember that King Jehoiakim had asked him and others to seize the prophet Jeremiah and the scribe Baruch; but the Lord had protected them.

Voilà! This completes the presentation of the people we find in this first verse of the book of Haggai.

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