Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Jonah.djvu/57

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HAGGAI AND HIS PROPHECIES.


§ I. THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF THE PROPHET.


The prophet Haggai is known only through his book. True, he is mentioned with Zechariah in Ezr. 51 and 614, but the statements there found are so clearly based on the book attributed to him that they are of no value except to show that a writer about the beginning of the third century B.C. believed him to have been a historical character. Nor is there any direct information in the book of Haggai with reference to the origin or personal history of its author. In most other cases the name of the prophet's father is given (Is. 11), or that of the place of his birth or residence (Am. 11), or both (Je. 11); but here both are omitted. This fact, together with the further circumstance that the Hebrew word ḥaggay[1] may mean my feasts, gives some plausibility to the hypothesis[2] that this book, like that of Malachi, was originally an anonymous work, and that the name Haggai, more correctly, Haggay, was given to it because the prophecies it contained were all dated on feast-days. The name Haggai, however, differs from Malachi in that, as will be shown in the comments, it can be referred to a numerous class having the same form. Moreover, while it is true that the first of the prophecies attributed to Haggai was delivered on the first of the month, and the second on the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles,[3] there is, as André himself admits, no evidence that the twenty-fourth of the ninth was ever celebrated as a festival by the Hebrews. There is, therefore, as good ground for accepting the historical reality of Haggai as that, for example, of Habakkuk.

There was current among the early Christians a more or less

  1. חַגַי
  2. André, 8.
  3. In the earliest references to this feast it is not dated, but from the time of Ezechiel onward it began on the fifteenth of the seventh month. Cf. Ez. 4525; Lv. 2333; EB., art. Feasts, § 11; Nowack, Arch., ii, 180.
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