Haggai (hăgˈāĪ) [key], prophetic book of the Bible. Dated 520 B.C., it is a collection of five oracles addressed to Jews, newly returned from the Babylonian exile. The prophet summons the people to renew work on the restoration of the Temple as the necessary prerequisite for the imminent dawning of the messianic age—the time when the splendor of the Solomonic empire will be reestablished under the earthly rule of a Davidic monarch. The book is addressed to the leader Zerubbabel, a Davidic prince, and the high priest Joshua, saying that the new Temple will be less in material splendor than Solomon's, but its glory will be greater. The book concludes with a Messianic prophecy about Zerubbabel's divine purpose, the imminent overthrow of the nations, and the dawning of the rule (i.e., the Kingdom) of God. For an account of the rebuilding program, see chapters 5 and 6 of the Book of Ezra.
See studies by D. L. Petersen (1984) and C. L. and E. M. Meyers (1987). See also bibliography under Old Testament.