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Jerusalem in the Achaemenid Period

The Relationship between Temple and Agriculture in the Book of Haggai

Jieun Kim

This is the first book to explore the importance of agriculture in relation to the restoration of the Jerusalem temple in the Book of Haggai during the Achaemenid period. Scholars discussing the rebuilding of the temple have mainly focused on the political and social context. Additionally, the missions of Ezra and Nehemiah have been used as a basis for analysing the economy of postexilic Judah. This has, however, understated the wider socio-economic significance of the temple by disregarding the agricultural capacity of Judah.
The Book of Haggai is primarily concerned with agriculture and the temple. This analysis of Haggai includes an examination of the temple’s reconstruction from a historical and economic point of view, with agriculture playing a central role. Archaeological records are examined and show that prized commodities such as olives and grapes were produced in and around Jerusalem in large quantities and exported all over the ancient Near East.
This book is intended to shed new light on the value of agriculture for the people of Judah and the whole imperial economy. It also presents a new interpretation of the Book of Haggai and a new perspective on the temple economy in Jerusalem.


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Introduction: Restoration of the Jerusalem Temple


This study deals with the relationship between the restoration of the Jerusalem temple and agriculture in the Book of Haggai. The problem is twofold: firstly, I want to look into the nature of agriculture in Judah in general; secondly, I intend to relate the agricultural activities to the pro- phetic exhortations to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.1 The corpus texts I have chosen are Hag 1:2, 5–6, 7–8, 9–11, 12–14; 2:3, 8–9, 15–19.2 Particularly in Hag 1:5–6, 9–11; 2:15–19, Haggai focuses above all on agricultural activities that are related to the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple. It is a major issue in the Book of Haggai that the state of Judean economy in general depended on a well functioning temple economy in Jerusalem. For this reason, quite a large portion of Haggai proclaims that the current economic disaster in Judah results from the ruined state of the Jerusalem temple (Hag 1:3–4, 9–11; 2:11–14). Thus, the text itself indicates the importance of the relationship between the temple and a larger agri- cultural industry. The book of Haggai is dated to the second year of Darius. It is com- monly assumed that the king in question is Darius I (522–486 BCE). From a historical viewpoint, the Book of Haggai should be read as reflecting Darius’s early reign. According to the text, the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple 1 In this thesis, the term...

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