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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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Chapter 1. Agriculture and Economy in the Ancient Near East


Chapter 1 Agriculture and Economy in the Ancient Near East Background In this chapter, I will survey the agricultural activities of the ancient Near East. My survey will concern archaeological records on the above areas from the Upper Paleolithic period (between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago) to the Achaemenid period (circa fifth century BCE), even though the key concern is agricultural economy during the Achaemenid period. This historical survey will provide the necessary background on the agri- cultural economy of the ancient Near East, because agricultural economy in one region would not usually be changed and rather further developed throughout the ancient Near Eastern history. Therefore, the foraging Age should be considered part and even the very foundation of the ancient Near Eastern agriculture. By way of introduction it is worth highlighting that, from the impe- rial period of the first millennium BCE, the agricultural economies of the Mesopotamian Empires and Israel were closely related. Mesopotamian cen- tral powers depended upon their peripheries for the many natural resources required for sustenance and prosperity. Israel demonstrated disproportion- ately large agricultural production, though she represented a geographically small portion of the Near East. As a result, the agricultural economy of ancient Israel contributed together with numerous other subordinates to that of the Mesopotamian empires. The imperial administrative system which controlled taxes and trade constitutes the larger economic context for understanding the agricul- tural activities in the Near East at that time. Turning to the survey itself, it is necessary to...

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