Thought from Today's Old Testament Passage:
Haggai begins his book by saying, "In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month." Hystaspes (the Darius mentioned here) began to reign in 521 b.c., making the second year of his reign about 520 b.c. "The second year of Darius" enables the historian to pinpoint the time of this prophet in profane history. It is interesting to note that the post-Captivity prophets begin to date their prophecies according to the reign of gentile rulers. Those prophets who prophesied before the Captivity always tied the dates of their writings into the reign of either a king of Israel or a king of Judah or both. After the Captivity, since there was no king in either the northern or the southern kingdom, Haggai dates his prophecy according to a gentile king. The Lord Jesus said, "… Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). In Haggai's day the "times of the Gentiles" had already begun (in fact, it began with the captivity of Judah under Nebuchadnezzar). Since that time Jerusalem has been under gentile domination, and Haggai dates his prophecy accordingly.
The theme of Haggai is the temple. The reconstruction and refurbishing of the temple were the supreme passion of this prophet. He not only rebuked the people for their delay in rebuilding the temple, but he also encouraged them and helped them in this enterprise.
J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, © 1981 by J. Vernon McGee.