Then answered Haggai, and said
To the priests, and before the people; and made an application of these things to them, which was the thing in view in putting the questions: So [is] this people, and so [is] this nation before me, saith the
not only those people that were present and at work at the temple, but those that were absent, even the whole body of the people; who, though they were pure in their own eyes, yet were not so before the Lord; who knew their hearts, and the spring of all their actions; what were their ends and views in all they did: as a garment carrying in it holy flesh could not sanctify other things touched by it that were common and profane, but left them as they were; so their ritual devotions, and externally holy actions, did not and could not sanctify their impure hearts, but left them as unclean as before; nor did they sanctify their common mercies, their bread, pottage, wine, and oil: and, on the other hand, as an impure person made everything impure he touched; so they, being impure in heart, all their actions, even their religious ones, were impure also, as follows: and so [is] every work of their hands; and that which they offer
there [is] unclean;
pointing at the altar, which they had built, and offered sacrifice on ever since they came out of Babylon, though the temple was not yet built, ( Ezra 3:3-6 ) but all their outward religious services, and all the sacrifices they offered up, were in the Lord's account impure and abominable, as well as themselves; coming from an unsanctified heart, and offered up with unclean hands, and without repentance towards God, and faith in Christ; and living in other respects in disobedience to God, and especially while they neglected the building of the temple; satisfying themselves with offering sacrifices on the altar, when the house of God lay desolate; which is the principal thing respected, as appears by what follows.