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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 3. Judah in the Neo-Babylonian and the Achaemenid Periods


Chapter 3 Judah in the Neo-Babylonian and the Achaemenid Periods Background The discussion in this chapter concerns the cultural and economic cir- cumstances of Judah under two empires: The Neo-Babylonian and the Achaemenid. The Achaemenids simply took over the Neo-Babylonian Empire, coordinated it and expanded it. Imperial policies in various regions would not usually be changed as long as they furthered profit and income for the empire. For this reason, I will discuss the history and archaeology of both Neo-Babylonian Judah and Achaemenid Judah. The Neo-Babylonian Empire developed an advanced political and economic system. Having few natural resources of its own it had to depend upon import of all sorts of food, and luxury and building materials like metals, stone and timber from the conquered territories. Judah was well known for her agricultural products above all the vine and the olive (see Chapter 1 above). Both of these were always expensive items in the larger international economic context of Mesopotamia. In relation to Judah, Darius utilised already existing administrative systems to maximise economic growth. Similar administrative strategies existed in all conquered territories (see Chapters 1 and 2 above). Darius controlled production and trade. For this reason, I will also investigate the administration of Achaemenid Judah. The Book of Haggai is an important historical source for Darius’s administrative policy in Judah. 118 Chapter 3 Destruction in Judah by Babylonian Campaigns The Biblical account of the Babylonian campaigns against Judah is in 2 kgs 24–25. In the days of Jehoiakim (608...

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