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Babylon had been overthrown by the Persians, and King Cyrus of Persia had given the Israelites freedom to return to their land nineteen years earlier. Although many stayed in Babylon because of the lives they had established for themselves there, many returned to Jerusalem to reestablish homes and businesses. Haggai ministered to those returnees who, despite their labor, were suffering from crop failure. Haggai encouraged the restored people that their future was indeed bright, but advised them to set God's work in order before they attended any further to their own. Following Haggai's instructions, the people set out to rebuild the temple.
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