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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 4. Judah in the Achaemenid Economy: Hag 1:1–15


Chapter 4 Judah in the Achaemenid Economy: Hag 1:1–15 Background In this chapter, I will do an exegesis of Hag 1:1–15 in which I will examine how the province of Judah was constituted in the imperial economic struc- ture implemented by Darius. In the second year of his reign (520 BCE), Darius charged Judah with rebuilding the Jerusalem temple. Through orders to rebuild the Jerusalem temple, Darius wanted to expand the impe- rial economy. A quick reading of Hag 1:1–15 reveals that the text includes several types of prophetic words. In this investigation, I will not discuss the intri- cate questions of redactional layers on the Book of Haggai.1 Rather, I shall 1 For a thematic perspective, see John Kessler, “Building the Second Temple: Questions of Time, Text, and History in Haggai 1.1–15,” JSOT 27 (2002): 243–56; Kessler, The Book of Haggai, 108; Meyers and Meyers, Haggai, Zechariah 1–8, xliv–lxx; Verhoef, The Book of Haggai and Malachi, 47; Tim Meadowcroft, Haggai: Reading (NBC; Sheffield: Phoenix, 2006), 88–9; Rex Mason, The Book of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 13–7; Rex Mason, “Purpose of the ‘Editorial Framework’ of the Book of Haggai,” VT 27 (1977): 413–21. Alternatively, for a psychological interpretation, see Elie Assis, “Composition, Rhetoric and Theology in Haggai 1:1–11,” JHS 7 (2007): 1–14; Elie Assis, “To Build or not to Build: a Dispute between Haggai and His People (Hag 1)...

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