The Book of Haggai and the Rebuilding of the Temple in the Early Persian Period
It is more likely that any work that might have begun on the temple came to a halt because of problems within the community. This is suggested by the fact that the books of Haggai and Zechariah both assume that the people of Yehud, not outsiders, are to blame for not rebuilding the temple. The reasons for the slow progress on the temple are never directly stated in these books, but we can surmise what at least some of the obstacles to reconstruction may have been on the basis of what we know of the economic, social, political, and religious role of temples in the ancient Near East.
See Also: Disputed Temple: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Book of Haggai (Fortress Press, 2017).
By John Robert Barker, OFM
Catholic Theological Union
Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.