Hag'gai (Heb. Chaggay', חִגִּי, festive; Sept. and Joseph. Α᾿γγἃ ιος; Jerome and Vulg. Aggaeus or Hagaeus), the tenth in order of the twelve minor prophets, and the first of the three who, after the return of the Jews from the Babylonian exile, prophesied in Palestine. Of the place and year of his birth, his descent, and the leading incidents of his life, nothing is known which can be relied on (see Oehler, in Herzog's Encyk. 5, 471 sq.). The more fabulous traditions of Jewish writers, who pass him for all assessor of the Synagogea Magna, and enlarge on his literary avocations, have been collected by Carpzov (Introductio in V. T. 3,426). Some interpreters, indeed, taking in its literal sense the expression מִלאִך יהוָֹה (malak Yehovah) in 1:13, have imagined that he was an angel in human shape (Jerome, Comm. ad loc.). Some ancient writers assert that he was born in Babylon, and while yet a young mall came to Jerusalem, when Cyrus, in the year B.C. 536, allowed the Jews to return to their country (2Ch 34:23; Ezr 1:1); the new colony consisting chiefly of people belonging to the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, with a few from other tribes. According to the same tradition, he was buried with honor near the sepulchers of the priests (Isidor. Hispal. c. 49; Pseudo Dorotheus, in Chronicles Pasch. 151, d). It has hence been conjectured that he was of priestly rank. Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, according to the Jewish writers, were the men who were with Daniel when he saw the vision related in Daniel 10, and were after the captivity members of the Great Synagogue, which consisted of 120 elders (Cozri, 3, 65). The Seder Olam Zuta places their death in the 52nd year of the Medes and Persians, while the extravagance of another tradition makes Haggai survive till the entry of Alexander the Great into Jerusalem, and even till the time of our Savior (Carpzov, Introd.). In the Roman martyrology Hosea and Haggai are joined in the catalogue of saints (Acta Sanctor. 4 Julii). SEE EZRA.
This much appears from Haggai's prophecies (Hag 1:1, etc.), that he flourished during the reign of the Persian monarch Darius Hystaspis, who ascended the throne B.C. 521. It is probable that he was one of the exiles who returned with Zerubbabel and Jeshua: and Elwald (die Proph. d. AIt. B.) is even tempted to infer from Hag 2:3, that he may have been one of the few survivors who had seen the first Temple in its splendor (Bleek, Einleit. p. 549). The rebuilding of the Temple, which was commenced in the reign of Cyrus (B.C. 535), was suspended during the reigns of his successors, Cambyses and Pseudo-Smerdis, in consequence of the determined hostility of the Samaritans. — On the accession of Darius Hystaspis (B.C. 521), the prophets Haggai and Zechariah urged the renewal of the undertaking, and obtained the permission and assistance of the king (Ezr 5:1; Ezr 6:14; Josephus, Ant. 11, 4). Animated by the high courage (magni spiritus, Jerome) of these devoted men, the people prosecuted the work with vigor, and the Temple was completed and dedicated in the sixth year of Darius (B.C. 516). SEE TEMPLE.
The names of Haggai and Zechariah are associated in the Sept. in the titles of Ps 137; Ps 145-148 in the Vulgate in those of Ps 111; Ps 145; and in the Peshito Syriac in those of Ps 125; Ps 126; Ps 145; Ps 1:6-140:1; Ps 147; Ps 148. It may be that tradition assigned to these prophets the arrangement of the above-mentioned psalms for use in the Temple service, just as Ps 64:1; in the Vulgate attributed to Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and the name of the former is inscribed at the head of Psalm 136 in the Sept. According to Pseudo-Epiphanius (De Vitis Proph.), Haggai was the first who chanted the Hallelujah in the second Temple: '; wherefore," he adds, "we say 'Hallelujah, which is the hymn (of Haggai and Zechariah "Haggai is mentioned in the Apocrypha as AGGEUS, in 1 Esdr. 6:1; 7:3; 2 Esdr. 1, 40; and is alluded to in Ecclus. 49:11 (comp. Hag 2:23), and Heb 12:26 (Hag 2:6). SEE ZECHARIAH.