Three months later (Hag 2:10-2:10)

“On the twenty-fourth day

Of the ninth month,

In the second year

Of King Darius,

The word of Yahweh

Came by the prophet Haggai.”

There was another oracle of Yahweh to Haggai, 3 months after the last oracle on the 24th of the month in the 2nd year of King Darius of Persia, in 520 BCE.

Title (Hag 1:1-1:1)

“In the second year

Of King Darius,

In the sixth month,

On the first day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came by the prophet Haggai,

To Zerubbabel,

The son of Shealtiel,

Governor of Judah.

It also came

To Joshua,

The son of Jehozadak,

The high priest.”

There is a precise date to this prophetic happening, August, 520 BCE, the second year of the great King Darius of Persia (522-486 BCE).  During his reign, he ruled over nearly ½ of the known world, over 50,000,000 people.  The word of Yahweh came through the prophet Haggai, although there is no mention of his family.  Perhaps he was one of those returning from the exile in Babylon.  In the Book of Ezra, chapter 5, Haggai and Zechariah were explicitly mentioned as prophets.  There was also a eunuch servant Haggai in the Book of Esther, but there seems to be no connection to this Haggai.  This Haggai was to prophesize to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, who was the grandson of one of the last kings of Judah, King Jehoiachin (598 BCE).  Thus, he could be in the Davidic line.  He probably died sometime around 520 BCE, sometime around the events described here.  King Cyrus had appointed Zerubbabel to be the Governor of Judah in 538 BCE, when he was among the first exiles sent back to Jerusalem.  Joshua, the son of Jehozadak was the high priest in Jerusalem from 515-490 BCE.

The Babylonian god Bel (Dan 14:3-14:4)

“Now the Babylonians

Had an idol

Called Bel.

Every day,

They provided for it

Twelve bushels

Of choice flour,

Forty sheep,

Six measures

Of wine.

The king revered it.

He went every day

To worship it.

But Daniel worshiped

His own God.”

This god Bel was Bel Marduk, the great god of the Babylonians, mentioned by Jeremiah and Isaiah. Every day, the people provided this idol 12 bushels of choice flour, 40 sheep, and 6 measures or about 50 gallons of wine. The king Cyrus revered Bel, as he worshipped this god on a daily basis. Bel may have been popular in Persia also. However, Daniel worshipped his own God, but there is no indication where he did this.

The explanation (Dan 10:20-10:21)

“Then he said.

‘Do you know

Why I have come to you?

Now I must return

To fight

Against the prince of Persia.

When I am

Through with him,

The prince of Greece

Will come.

But I will tell you

What is inscribed

In the book of truth.

There is no one

Who contends

Against these,

Except Michael,

Your prince.’”

Then this angel told Daniel why he was there. He had come to fight against the prince of Persia. However, he had to go to fight against the prince of Greece, after he had finished with the prince of Persia. Nevertheless, this angel was going to tell Daniel what was written in the book of truth. No one could contend with these great empires in Persia and Greece except for him and the prince Michael, the archangel Michael. Thus, this chapter ends with no real solution to the situation.

Gabriel explains the vision (Dan 8:19-8:22)

“Gabriel said.

‘Listen!

I will tell you

What will take place later

In the period

Of wrath!

It refers

To the appointed time

Of the end.

As for the ram

That you saw

With the two horns,

These are the kings

Of Media and Persia.

The male goat is

The king of Greece.

The great horn

Between its eyes

Is the first king.

As for the horn

That was broken,

In place of which

Four others arose,

Four kingdoms

Shall arise

From his nation,

But not with his power.’”

Gabriel told Daniel to listen to what he was going to tell him. This all would take place at a later appointed end time, when the wrath of God would be displayed. Then he went into details about the vision. The ram with the two horns represented Media and Persia. The male goat was the king of Greece. His broken horn represented the 4 people who took over after the death of Alexander the Great, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, the successors of Alexander. However, these 4 kingdoms would not be as strong as the first kingdom of Greece under Alexander.

The third beast (Dan 7:6-7:6)

“After this,

As I watched,

Another beast appeared,

Like a leopard.

This beast had

Four wings

Of a bird

On its back.

It had four heads.

Dominion

Was given to it.”

As Daniel watched, using the first-person singular, the third beast came up out of the water. This beast looked like a leopard with 4 bird wings on its back. However, it also had 4 heads, without an explanation of what kind of heads. This leopard-like beast had dominion and power given to it, probably a reference to Persia.

Daniel prospered (Dan 6:28-6:28)

“Thus,

Daniel prospered

During the reign of Darius,

As well as the reign of Cyrus

Of Persia.”

Cyrus (559-530 BCE) clearly was a historical figure from Persia, who took over Babylon in 539 BCE. Darius I (522-486 BCE) actually came later. However, Daniel prospered under them both, just as he had under the Babylonian kings, much like Joseph under the Egyptian Pharaohs.