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The Purpose of Haggai in light of ‘Revelation,’ ANE's Temple Rebuilding Ideology

신우철 1

1연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The research problem concerns the ideological background of the temple rebuilding records between Ancient Near East and Ancient Israel in light of god’s revelation. Both regions have left numerous temple rebuilding records; among others, three major building inscriptions as for Neo Babylonia contemporaneously during the 6th century BCE (Nabopolassar’s, Nebucahadnezzar II’s, and Nabonidus’) and Gudea cylinders (A&B) as for the ancient Mesopotamia in the 3rd Millennium; in ancient Israel there were so-called 2nd temple reconstruction records in OT, especially the Book of Haggai will be dealt with for this research. The significant ideological relationship is expected to shed a new light to some interpretational aspects of Haggai, widely presumed to be one of the major historiographical sources in Ancient Israel. Especially the following questions are put in order in regards to Haggai: first, who was the primary incipient of Haggai’s message; second, who would be the legitimate temple rebuilder of the Jerusalem temple in the Persian period, third and last, what was the purpose of book of Haggai in connection with the aforementioned questions. The research showed that a king was the ultimate recipient of a revelation in regard to projected temple rebuilding in Ancient Near East as well as in Israel. It is by no means a surprise considering the long standing tradition in terms of divine-king ideology in this civilization. This in turn points to the strong indication that a would-be recipient of YHWH’s message to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem should be none other than the person of Zerubbabel, then Persia-appointed governor over Judah and Jerusalem. This conclusion has much to do with the purpose of book of Haggai itself. Haggai will be the only book in OT which illustrates that the rebuilt temple in the Persian-period Judah was the temple of YHWH, not the temple of a Persian god. YHWH had revealed his intention to build his temple in Jerusalem to his sole deputy on earth, the prospective carrier of kingship in Judah. Haggai successfully ushers in a new phase of history in Ancient Israel by officially declaring cessation from the past; his people and the nation at large are once again set to enter into a new relationship with YHWH. Haggai is diplomatically skillful in that his aspiration for a restored Davidic dynasty is described in somewhat sophisticated prophetic oracles towards the nations as well as towards Zerubbabel.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.