On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month,1 in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai:
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Ask the priests2 what the law says:
If a person carries consecrated meat3 in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become consecrated?4' " The priests answered, "No."
Then Haggai said, "If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?" "Yes," the priests replied, "it becomes defiled.5"
Then Haggai said, " 'So it is with this people6 and this nation in my sight,' declares the LORD. 'Whatever they do and whatever they offer7 there is defiled.
" 'Now give careful thought8 to this from this day ona--consider how things were before one stone was laid9 on another in the LORD's temple.1016
When anyone came to a heap11 of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat12 to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty.1317
I struck all the work of your hands14 with blight,15 mildew and hail,16 yet you did not turn17 to me,' declares the LORD.1818
'From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought19 to the day when the foundation20 of the LORD's temple was laid. Give careful thought:
Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate21 and the olive tree have not borne fruit.22 " 'From this day on I will bless23 you.' "