Ye looked for much, and, lo, [it came] to little
They looked for a large harvest, and very promising it was for a while; but in the end it came to little; it was a very small crop, very little was reaped and gathered in: or, "in looking", ye looked "to increase" F24; your substance; had raised expectations of making themselves and families by their agriculture, and by their plantations of vines and olives, and by their trade and merchandise; and it dwindled away, and came to little or nothing; their riches, instead of being increased, were diminished: and when ye brought [it] home, I did blow upon it;
when they brought into their barns or houses the produce of their land, labour, and merchandise, which was but little, the Lord blew a blast upon that little, and brought rottenness and worms into it, as Jarchi; so that it was not a blessing to them, but a curse. So the Targum interprets it,
``behold, I sent a curse upon it:''or, "I blew it away" F25; as any light thing, straw or stubble, or thistle down, are blown away with a wind; so easily can the Lord, and sometimes he does, strip men of that little substance they have; riches by his orders make themselves wings, and flee away; or he, by one providence or another, blows them away like chaff before the wind: Why? saith the Lord of hosts;
what was the cause and reason of this? which question is put, not on his own account, who full well knew it; but for their sakes, to whom he speaks, that they might be made sensible of it; and in order to that to introduce what follows, which is an answer to the question: because of mine house that [is] waste;
which they suffered to lie waste, and did not concern themselves about the rebuilding of it: this the Lord resented, and for this reason blasted all their labours: and ye run every man unto his own house;
were very eager, earnest, and diligent, in building, beautifying, and adorning their own houses; taking care of their own domestic affairs; sparing no cost nor pains to promote their own secular interest; running in all haste to do any thing and everything to increase their worldly substance; but sat still, were idle and slothful, careless and negligent, about the house of God and the affairs of it.
F24 (hbrh la) "ad rem augendam", Grotius.
F25 (wb ytxpn) "exsufflo illud", Vatablus; "efflo illud", Junius & Tremellius; "difflo", Piscator; "difflavi", Drusius, Cocceius.