On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth [month], in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet:
"This is what the Lord of Hosts says: Ask the priests for a ruling.a12
If a man is carrying consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and with his fold touches bread, stew, wine, oil, or any other food, does it become holy?"b The priests answered, "No."
Then Haggai asked, "If someone defiled by [contact with] a corpse touches any of these, does it become defiled?"c The priests answered, "It becomes defiled."
Then Haggai replied, "So is this people, and so is this nation before Me"-the Lord's declaration. "And so is every work of their hands; even what they offer there is defiled.
"Now, reflect back from this day: Before one stone was placed on another in the Lord's temple,
what state were you in?d When someone came to a [grain] heap of 20 measures, it [only] amounted to 10; when one came to the winepress to dip 50 measures from the vat, it [only] amounted to 20.
I struck you-all the work of your hands-with blight, mildew,e and hail,f but you didn't turn to Me"-the Lord's declaration.
"Consider carefully from this day forward; from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid; consider it carefully.
Is there still seed left in the granary? The vine, the fig, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yet produced. But from this day on I will bless you."g