festive, one of the twelve so-called minor prophets. He was the
first of the three (Zechariah, his contemporary, and Malachi,
who was about one hundred years later, being the other two)
whose ministry belonged to the period of Jewish history which
began after the return from captivity in Babylon. Scarcely
anything is known of his personal history. He may have been one
of the captives taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. He began his
ministry about sixteen years after the Return. The work of
rebuilding the temple had been put a stop to through the
intrigues of the Samaritans. After having been suspended for
fifteen years, the work was resumed through the efforts of
Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 6:14), who by their exhortations
roused the people from their lethargy, and induced them to take
advantage of the favourable opportunity that had arisen in a
change in the policy of the Persian government. (See DARIUS
T0000975 [2].) Haggai's prophecies have thus been
characterized:, "There is a ponderous and simple dignity in the
emphatic reiteration addressed alike to every class of the
community, prince, priest, and people, 'Be strong, be strong, be
strong' (2:4). 'Cleave, stick fast, to the work you have to do;'
or again, 'Consider your ways, consider, consider, consider'
(1:5, 7;2:15, 18). It is the Hebrew phrase for the endeavour,
characteristic of the gifted seers of all times, to compel their
hearers to turn the inside of their hearts outwards to their own
view, to take the mask from off their consciences, to 'see life
steadily, and to see it wholly.'", Stanley's Jewish Church. (See
SIGNET T0003426.)