The importance of Zerubbabel (Hag 2:21-2:23)

“‘Speak to Zerubbabel,

The governor of Judah,

Saying.

‘I am about

To shake the heavens.

I am about

To shake the earth.

I am about

To overthrow

The throne of kingdoms.

I am about

To destroy

The strength

Of the kingdoms

Of the nations.

I am about

To overthrow

The chariots,

With their riders.

The horses,

With their riders,

Shall also fall.

Everyone shall fall

By the sword of a comrade.’

‘On that day,’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will take you,

O Zerubbabel,

My servant,

The son of Shealtiel.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will make you

Like a signet ring.

I have chosen you!’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh said that Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, would have a special role in the new kingdom of Israel.  Yahweh was going to shake up heaven and earth.  He was going to overthrow all the kingdoms and countries on the earth.  All the chariots, with their riders, as well as the cavalry with their horses would all fall.  Zerubbabel, the servant of Yahweh, would have a signet ring because Yahweh had chosen him.  His grandfather would have been a king as part of the Davidic lineage

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Zerubbabel (Sir 49:11-49:11)

“How shall

We magnify Zerubbabel?

He was

Like a signet ring        

On the right hand.”

Zerubbabel was the governor of Judah appointed by the Persian King Darius I, thus ending the Babylonian captivity, sometime between 538-520 BCE. He was the grandson of one of the last kings of Judah, King Jehoiachin. In this new role, he was actually an official governor in the Persian state for the area of Judah, but he was born and raised in Babylon. He along with Jeshua began to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. There is some confusion with the name of Sheshbazzar, who either was his uncle or another name for him. Some hold that Sheshbazzar was appointed by King Cyrus as the governor of Judah in 538 BCE. Then King Darius I named Zerubbabel. Both are mentioned in the Book of Ezra, chapter 2. Zerubbabel was also mentioned by the Minor Prophets, Haggai and Zechariah. Finally, there is the idea of the signet ring. Does it apply to temporal power or the restored power of Yahweh? Interesting enough, Sirach does not mention Ezra at all among his famous men.