The final oracle of Haggai is often viewed as royalist in orientation, with the prophet promoting Zerubbabel as a royal (or even messianic) figure. This study seeks to dispute the majority view. Neither the election terms used nor the metaphor of the “seal” assign a royal identity to him. The focus is on the dual leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua. Nowhere in the prophecy is Zerubbabel identified unequivocally as a Davidide. The temple orientation and the highlighting of divine action show that the establishment of God’s kingdom is in view, not the promotion of Zerubbabel as God’s vice-regent.
That intertextuality has come into vogue in Hebrew Bible scholarship is hardly surprising given some general trends in the field. In fact, the reconstruction of redactional activity and 'Fortschreibung' as well as inner-biblical interpretation are heavily dependent on the perception of intertextual relationships. But therein lies the problem. Has the perceived relationship indeed been established by the author of one of the biblical texts in question (aesthetics of production), or does it merely lie in the eye of the beholder (aesthetics of reception)? Two competing claims regarding an intertextual relationship of Joshua 2 are singled out for discussion.