May 3, 2011

Minor Prophets LXXXII: Post-Exilic Dating-August 29th, 520 B.C.

Haggai 1:1 “In the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month…”.

Darius I the king (circa 520 B.C.). A characteristic of post-exilic biblical writings is their strict and precise attention to chronological matters. Doubters of Biblical accuracy beware. The dating corresponds nearly identically to archeological evidences. Please take note all you apologetic aficionados. This is the superscription portion of Haggai. Like other prophetic books Haggai begins with a notation that anchors the ministry of the prophet in history. As was the case in most dating in the Bible it was done in terms of a king’s reign. Because of this and the fact this is a post-exilic superscription it easy to get an exact time when Haggai’s ministry occurred or when characters within this book had their day in the light of history. Due to the diligent time keeping of these writers and to recovery of ancient chronological data it is possible to assign precise dates to events in post-exilic Judah. In the post-exilic calendar adopted from the Babylonian system that begins the new year in Spring, this date “the first day of the sixth month” would’ve placed this day on the first of Elul or Elul 1st. This month corresponds to our months of August / September. So the first day of the month in Elul was August 29, 520 B.C. Since it was the day of the new moon it would’ve been a festival day in Jerusalem.

Longman, Tremper, and David E. Garland. "Rebuilding The Temple." The Expositor's Bible Commentary: Daniel-Malachi . Rev. ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 20062010. 707. Print.

Lindsey, F. Duane . "Haggai: Introduction ." The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition Of The Scriptures. Ed John Walvoord & Roy Zuck. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1985. 1537. Print.

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