Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO HAGGAI\\

This part of sacred Scripture is in some Hebrew copies called "Sepher
Haggai", the Book, of Haggai; in the Vulgate Latin version, the
Prophecy of Haggai; and, in the Syriac and Arabic versions, the
Prophecy of the Prophet Haggai. His name comes from a word {a} which
signifies to keep a feast; and, according to Jerom {b}, signifies
festival or merry; according to Hillerus {c}, the feasts of the Lord;
and, according to Cocceius {d}, my feasts: and the issue of his
prophecy answered to his name; by which the people were encouraged to
build the temple, whereby the feasts of the Lord were restored and
observed; and a particular feast appointed for the dedication of the
temple. The notion entertained by some, that he was not a man, but an
angel, founded on \\#Hag 1:13\\, deserves no regard; since the
character there given of him respects not his nature, but his office.
Indeed no account is given of his parentage; very probably he was born
in Babylon; and, according to Pseudo-Epiphanius {e} and Isidore {f}, he
came from thence a youth to Jerusalem, at the return of the Jews from
their captivity. The time of his prophecy is fixed in \\#Hag 1:1\\ to
the second year of Darius, that is, Hystaspis; which, according to
Bishop Usher, was in A. M. 3485 or 519 B.C.; and in the sixty fifth
Olympiad; about 520 B.C.; and about seventeen or eighteen years after
the proclamation of Cyrus for the Jews to return to their own land.
Jerom says this was in the twenty seventh year of Tarquinius Superbus,
the last of the Roman kings. Haggai was the first of the three prophets,
that prophesied after their return; and all his prophecies were within
the space of four months, and have their dates variously put to them. Of
the authority of this prophecy of Haggai there is no room to question;
not only because of the internal evidence of it, but from the testimony of
Ezra, \\#Ezr 4:24 5:1,2 6:14\\ and from a quotation out of \\#Hag 2:7,8\\,
by the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, \\#Heb 12:26\\. The general
design of this book is to reprove the Jews for their negligence in building
the temple, after they had liberty granted them by Cyrus to do it, and to
encourage them in this work; which he does by the promise of the
Messiah, who should come into it, and give it a greater glory than the
first temple had. The name of this prophet is wrongly prefixed, with
others, to several of the psalms, especially those, called the
Hallelujah psalms, in the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and
Ethiopic versions, as \\#Ps 112:1 138:1 146:1 147:1 148:1\\. Where he died
is not certain; very probably in Jerusalem; where, according to
Pseudo-Epiphanius and Isidore {g}, he was buried, by the monuments of
the priests; but, according to the Cippi Hebraici {h}, he was buried in
a large cave, in the declivity of the mount of Olives.

{a} \^ggx\^ "festum celebravit", Buxtorf.
{b} Comment. in c. i. 1. So Stockius, p. 306.
{c} Onomast. Sacr. p. 262, 779.
{d} Comment. in c. i. 1.
{e} De Prophet. Vita & Interitu, c. 20.
{f} De Vita & Morte Sanct. c. 49.
{g} Ut supra. (De Vita & Morte Sanct. c. 49.)
{h} Ed. Hottinger, p. 27.

\\INTRODUCTION TO HAGGAI 1\\

This chapter contains the first sermon of the Prophet Haggai to the
people of the Jews, directed to Zerubbabel the governor, and Joshua the
high priest; the date of which is fixed, \\#Hag 1:1\\. It begins with a
charge against that people; saying the time to build the house of the
Lord was not come, \\#Hag 1:2\\ which is refuted by the prophet;
arguing, that, if the time to panel their dwelling houses was come, then
much more the time to build the Lord's house, \\#Hag 1:3,4\\. They are
urged to consider how unsuccessful they had been in their civil
employments and labours, which was owing to their neglect of building
the temple; wherefore, if they consulted their own good, and the glory
of God, the best way was to set about it in all haste, and with
diligence, \\#Hag 1:5-9\\ yea, even the famine, which they had been
afflicted with for some time, and which affected both man and beast,
sprung from the same cause, \\#Hag 1:10,11\\. This discourse had such
an effect upon the governor, high priest, and people, that they
immediately rose up, and went about the work they were exhorted to;
upon which the prophet, by a special message from the Lord, promises
his presence with them, \\#Hag 1:12-15\\.