The Importance of Three Judahite Figures in the Book of Haggai: Zerubbabel, Joshua, and Haggai

  • Daniel F. O'Kennedy University of Stellenbosch
Keywords: Haggai, Zerubbabel, Joshua


Three prominent Judahite figures appear in the book of Haggai: the prophet Haggai, the governor Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, and the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak. The many occurrences of their names emphasise that the short book of Haggai gave prominence to these figures, more than any other biblical book. This article poses the following questions: Why do we have so little biographical information about the prophet Haggai, not even the name of his father? What were the different roles ascribed to these figures in the book of Haggai? Did they work together as a team or was there conflict between them? Who was the most prominent figure in the book of Haggai? What happened to these figures after the conclusion of the book? The book of Haggai does not provide definite answers to all these questions and different hypotheses will be discussed. There is also uncertainty about the role of these figures after the occurrences reported in Haggai since the other biblical books do not help us in this regard. However, we can conclude that the author/composer portrays them as central figures in the book and the temple building process. We cannot really say that one figure was more important than the other, but Zerubbabel is presented prominently in the final structure of the book. In his conclusion (2:20–23), Haggai prophesies about an eschatological day when the Davidic kingdom will be restored by means of Zerubbabel, Yahweh’s servant and chosen signet ring.