Peter R. Ackroyd writes: "The structure of the book shows lose links with Zechariah 1-8: the dates (Hag. 1:1, [15a]; 1:15b-2:1; 2:10, , 20) are similar to those in Zechariah. The chronological references (except those bracketed in the foregoing list) provide a framework to the oracles and the two small narratives in 1:12-14 and 2:11-14. In their style, these dates resemble elements in the Priestly work and in Chronicles, which suggests that in their present form they may be of later, editorial, origin. The links between the two prophetic collections suggest that this part of the 'book of the twelve prophets' (see Introduction to the Prophetic Books) was shaped by one particular group in the postexilic period." (Harper's Bible Commentary, p. 745)
Carroll Stuhlmueller writes: "The first prophet of post-exilic Israel, Haggai, was truly a 'minor Prophet,' with a meagerness of words and crabbed style. His four oracles are dated very clearly between August-September and November-December, 520, the second year of the reign of Darius I Hystaspis (521-486). Darius had seized the throne amidst confusion, intrigue, and revolt. His predecessor, Cambyses, had committed suicide when, returning from an Egyptian campaign, he learned that an upstart named Gaumata had declared himself king. Darius, of the royal family, fought for two years, not only to remove Gaumata but also to suppress uprisings across the sprawling empire. The Jews may have been maltreated by their Persian masters at this time of panic and fear. The prophecy echoes this rumble of world events (2:6-7,21-22)." (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 387)
Jay G. Williams writes: "In many respects, Haggai is not a very attractive prophet, for his message seems prosaic and highly limited. Gone are the vigorous denunciations of the earlier prophets; gone are their idyllic hopes. When Haggai does speak glowingly of the future he speaks words which obviously were not fulfilled. Still, one must remember that Haggai spoke to a disheartened people who scarcely needed another word of woe. Haggai's very concrete messages at least gave the people something to hang on to as they sought desperately to reestablish themselves in the land of their fathers." (Understanding the Old Testament, p. 256)
Ralph L. Smith writes: "Haggai has been criticized by some for being concerned almost entirely with the construction of a building. Amos and Isaiah had criticized the perfunctory offering of sacrifices as unacceptable to Yahweh, and Micah and Jeremiah had predicted the destruction of the temple. Now Haggai believes that the temple must be restored before Yahweh's blessings can come in. Why? Because Ezekiel had drawn the blueprint for the future kingdom of God. It would be a nationalistic, political kingdom of all the tribes of Israel with a temple at its center in Jerusalem. Haggai's understanding was colored by his times and circumstances. He could not imagine the kingdom of Yahweh without a temple and the twelve tribes of Israel. He knew that Yahweh was not pleased with the present circumstances (1:8-9; 2:17). He believed that the temple must be rebuilt so the glory of the Lord might return and dwell with his people. Any person who longs for the presence of the Lord is a good man. It is granted that Haggai did not preach repentance, although Haggai recognized that there had to be a change in the people's attitude before they responded to Haggai's call. Haggai could be accused of provincialism and materialism in his announcement that the treasures of the nations would be brought into the temple. But Haggai was looking for the eschaton in his day. He believed that Yahweh was sovereign over nature and history and that he was going to do something on a grand scale. He was going to shake the heavens and the earth and the rule of Yahweh would come in. That rule would be centered in Jerusalem, and Zerubbabel would be Yahweh's signet ring." (Micah-Malachi, p. 149)
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