Those who returned from Babylonian exile laid the foundation for the first temple in the second month of the second year after their return – about 534 B.C. But opposition to the temple by Judah’s neighbors brought construction to an end for thirteen years.
Clearly, God grew impatient, and so he sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to urge the people to get on with the reconstruction.
The temple was completed four years later due to the faithful work of Zerubbabel (among others), the governor of Judah. Zerubbabel was a descendant of David, specifically in the line of Jehoiachin (see the genealogy in Matthew 1).
This is important for the point made at the end of Haggai 2. Jehoiachin was such a horrible king that God said: “As surely as I live,” declares the LORD, “even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. I will hand you over to those who seek your life, those you fear–to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to the Babylonians. I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. You will never come back to the land you long to return to. . . . Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.”
And yet, at the end of Haggai, God says to Jehoiachin’s descendant, “I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you.”
Did God change his mind?
It would appear so. The judgments of God are often changeable. When a condemned people repent and return to God, their predetermined future can be changed. God doesn’t seek to destroy, He seeks to save. As long as there is time and breath, our destiny can be changed.