Original Research

Haggai’s concern for South Africa: A positive transformation to socio-economic justice as a catalyst for reconciliation

Doniwen Pietersen
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2265 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2265 | © 2021 Doniwen Pietersen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 April 2021 | Published: 08 September 2021

About the author(s)

Doniwen Pietersen, Department of Old and New Testament Studies, Faculty of Religion and Theology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


The book of Haggai presents a community where no poverty exists. If העם הזה [his people] obeyed (Ez 6:14), the Lord promised that שלום [prosperity] would follow (Hg 2:19). This command underscores the benefits of living in a covenant relationship with the Hebrew God who bestows provision and blessings on his followers. Such a concept in the ancient Israelite society is a radical one, given the huge disparities that have existed between the rich and the poor for millennia and persist today. This article will explore the theological theme of obedience to God and obligation to others in maintaining an equitable social fabric. Such a discourse is particularly pertinent to South Africa, which suffers from one of the highest levels of inequality in the world. The article employs hermeneutical and socio-historical methods to compare the ancient Israelite society with that of South Africa. This foreground the idea of a catalyst for reconciliation and nation-building.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article brings theological discourse into discussion with transformational and reconciliation studies, hermeneutic studies, ethical studies as well as practical theology. It also explores the intersections between the texts in the book of Haggai and the context of South Africa with regards to poverty and inequality.


Haggai; South Africa; socio-economic justice; positive transformation; reconciliation


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