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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 5. A Judean Revolt and its Results: Hag 2:1–23

Extract

Chapter 5 A Judean Revolt and its Results: Hag 2:1–23 Background Hag 2:1–23 contains the responses of Zerubbabel the governor, Joshua the high priest, and the people in Judah to the Jerusalem temple rebuilding claim in the second year of Darius (520 BCE).1 According to Hag 1:1–15, Judah had been ordered to restore the Jerusalem temple’s economy for supporting the empire (Hag 1:1, 7–8, 15). However, along with their two leaders, Zerubbabel and Joshua, the people of Judah rejected Darius’s command. Instead, they were engaged with their own hope of re-establishing a Davidic dynasty through Zerubbabel (Hag 1:2, 4, 9). According to Haggai, the messenger of YHWH, Judah’s diso- bedience to YHWH had been punished (Hag 1:12–14). YHWH caused crop failure (Hag 1:5–6), drought and famine (Hag 1:9–11). Nevertheless, the Jerusalem temple remained derelict (Hag 1:9). Zerubbabel and Joshua were commissioned by Darius in the name of YHWH specifically for the work of rebuilding the Jerusalem temple (Hag 1:1, 15). Working as imperial administrators, they were to do their best for the Jerusalem temple restoration. However, they never carried out their responsibility. This was a violation against YHWH and a revolt against 1 For literary analyses of Hag 2:1–23, see Boda, “Haggai,” 295–304; Wolff, Haggai, 73, 78–9, 99; Kessler, The Book of Haggai, 161–3, 201–2, 220–1; Meyers and Meyers, Haggai, Zechariah 1–8, xliv–lxx;...

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