On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the LORD spoke his word through the prophet Haggai. He said,
"Now, speak to Zerubbabel (who is the son of Shealtiel and is governor of Judah), the chief priest Joshua (who is the son of Jehozadak), and the faithful few who returned from Babylon.
Ask them, 'Is there anyone among the faithful few who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Doesn't it seem like nothing to you?'
"But now, Zerubbabel, be strong," declares the LORD. "Chief Priest Joshua (son of Jehozadak), be strong. Everyone in the land, be strong," declares the LORD. "Work, because I am with you," declares the LORD of Armies.
"This is the promise I made to you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains with you. Don't be afraid.
"This is what the LORD of Armies says: Once again, in a little while, I am going to shake the sky and the earth, the sea and the dry land.
I will shake all the nations, and the one whom all the nations desire will come. Then I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of Armies.
The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of Armies.
This new house will be more glorious than the former, declares the LORD of Armies. And in this place I will give [them] peace, declares the LORD of Armies."
On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month in Darius' second year as king, the LORD spoke his word to the prophet Haggai. He said,
"This is what the LORD of Armies says: Ask the priests for a decision.
Suppose a person carries meat set aside for a holy purpose and he folds it up in his clothes. If his clothes touch bread, boiled food, wine, oil, or any kind of food, does that make the food holy?" The priests answered, "No."
Haggai asked, "Suppose a person becomes unclean by touching a corpse. If he touches any of these things, does that make them unclean?" The priests answered, "That makes them unclean."
Then Haggai answered, "In the same way, I have decided that these people are unclean, and so is this nation, declares the LORD. So is everything they do. Whatever offering they bring is unclean.
"And from now on, carefully consider this. Consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the temple of the LORD.
When anyone came to a pile of grain [to get] 20 measures, there would be only 10. And when anyone came to a wine vat to draw out 50 measures, there would be only 20 in it.
I infested all your work with blight and mildew and struck it with hail. But you didn't come back to me, declares the LORD.
Carefully consider from now on, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day when the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. Carefully consider:
Is there any seed left in the barn? The vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree still haven't produced. But from now on I will bless you."
The LORD spoke his word to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month. He said,
"Say to Zerubbabel (governor of Judah), 'I am going to shake the heavens and the earth.
I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of nations. I will overthrow chariots and their riders, and the horses will fall along with their riders. They will kill one another with swords.
On that day, declares the LORD of Armies, I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel (son of Shealtiel), declares the LORD. I will make you like a signet ring, because I have chosen you, declares the LORD of Armies.'"