Haggai 1

1 In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest:
2 Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord's house.
3 Then the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai, saying:
4 Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?
5 Now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared.
6 You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and you that earn wages earn wages to put them into a bag with holes.
7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared.
8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord.
9 You have looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the Lord of hosts. Because my house lies in ruins, while all of you hurry off to your own houses.
10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce.
11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the soil produces, on human beings and animals, and on all their labors.
12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of the prophet Haggai, as the Lord their God had sent him; and the people feared the Lord.
13 Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord's message, saying, I am with you, says the Lord.
14 And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God,
15 on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month.

Haggai 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

After the return from captivity, Haggai was sent to encourage the people to rebuild the temple, and to reprove their neglect. To encourage their undertaking, the people are assured that the glory of the second temple shall far exceed that of the first, by the appearing therein of Christ, the Desire of all nations.

Haggai reproves the Jews for neglecting the temple. (1-11) He promises God's assistance to them. (12-15)

Verses 1-11 Observe the sin of the Jews, after their return from captivity in Babylon. Those employed for God may be driven from their work by a storm, yet they must go back to it. They did not say that they would not build a temple, but, Not yet. Thus men do not say they will never repent and reform, and be religious, but, Not yet. And so the great business we were sent into the world to do, is not done. There is a proneness in us to think wrongly of discouragements in our duty, as if they were a discharge from our duty, when they are only for the trial of our courage and faith. They neglected the building of God's house, that they might have more time and money for worldly affairs. That the punishment might answer to the sin, the poverty they thought to prevent by not building the temple, God brought upon them for not building it. Many good works have been intended, but not done, because men supposed the proper time was not come. Thus believers let slip opportunities of usefulness, and sinners delay the concerns of their souls, till too late. If we labour only for the meat that perishes, as the Jews here, we are in danger of losing our labour; but we are sure it shall not be in vain in the Lord, if we labour for the meat which lasts to eternal life. If we would have the comfort and continuance of temporal enjoyments, we must have God as our Friend. See also ( Luke 12:33 ) . When God crosses our temporal affairs, and we meet with trouble and disappointment, we shall find the cause is, that the work we have to do for God and our own souls is left undone, and we seek our own things more than the things of Christ. How many, who plead that they cannot afford to give to pious or charitable designs, often lavish ten times as much in needless expenses on their houses and themselves! But those are strangers to their own interests, who are full of care to adorn and enrich their own houses, while God's temple in their hearts lies waste. It is the great concern of every one, to apply to the necessary duty of self-examination and communion with our own hearts concerning our spiritual state. Sin is what we must answer for; duty is what we must do. But many are quick-sighted to pry into other people's ways, who are careless of their own. If any duty has been neglected, that is no reason why it should still be so. Whatever God will take pleasure in when done, we ought to take pleasure in doing. Let those who have put off their return to God, return with all their heart, while there is time.

Verses 12-15 The people returned to God in the way of duty. In attending to God's ministers, we must have respect to him that sent them. The word of the Lord has success, when by his grace he stirs up our spirits to comply with it. It is in the day of Divine power we are made willing. When God has work to be done, he will either find or make men fit to do it. Every one helped, as his ability was; and this they did with a regard to the Lord as their God. Those who have lost time, need to redeem time; and the longer we have loitered in folly, the more haste we should make. God met them in a way of mercy. Those who work for him, have him with them; and if he be for us, who can be against us? This should stir us up to be diligent.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO HAGGAI

This part of sacred Scripture is in some Hebrew copies called "Sepher Haggai", the Book, of Haggai; in the Vulgate Latin version, the Prophecy of Haggai; and, in the Syriac and Arabic versions, the Prophecy of the Prophet Haggai. His name comes from a word {a} which signifies to keep a feast; and, according to Jerom {b}, signifies festival or merry; according to Hillerus {c}, the feasts of the Lord; and, according to Cocceius {d}, my feasts: and the issue of his prophecy answered to his name; by which the people were encouraged to build the temple, whereby the feasts of the Lord were restored and observed; and a particular feast appointed for the dedication of the temple. The notion entertained by some, that he was not a man, but an angel, founded on Hag 1:13, deserves no regard; since the character there given of him respects not his nature, but his office. Indeed no account is given of his parentage; very probably he was born in Babylon; and, according to Pseudo-Epiphanius {e} and Isidore {f}, he came from thence a youth to Jerusalem, at the return of the Jews from their captivity. The time of his prophecy is fixed in Hag 1:1 to the second year of Darius, that is, Hystaspis; which, according to Bishop Usher, was in A. M. 3485 or 519 B.C.; and in the sixty fifth Olympiad; about 520 B.C.; and about seventeen or eighteen years after the proclamation of Cyrus for the Jews to return to their own land. Jerom says this was in the twenty seventh year of Tarquinius Superbus, the last of the Roman kings. Haggai was the first of the three prophets, that prophesied after their return; and all his prophecies were within the space of four months, and have their dates variously put to them. Of the authority of this prophecy of Haggai there is no room to question; not only because of the internal evidence of it, but from the testimony of Ezra, \Ezr 4:24 5:1,2 6:14\ and from a quotation out of Hag 2:7,8, by the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 12:26. The general design of this book is to reprove the Jews for their negligence in building the temple, after they had liberty granted them by Cyrus to do it, and to encourage them in this work; which he does by the promise of the Messiah, who should come into it, and give it a greater glory than the first temple had. The name of this prophet is wrongly prefixed, with others, to several of the psalms, especially those, called the Hallelujah psalms, in the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, as \Ps 112:1 138:1 146:1 147:1 148:1\. Where he died is not certain; very probably in Jerusalem; where, according to Pseudo-Epiphanius and Isidore {g}, he was buried, by the monuments of the priests; but, according to the Cippi Hebraici {h}, he was buried in a large cave, in the declivity of the mount of Olives.

{a} ggx "festum celebravit", Buxtorf. {b} Comment. in c. i. 1. So Stockius, p. 306. {c} Onomast. Sacr. p. 262, 779. {d} Comment. in c. i. 1. {e} De Prophet. Vita & Interitu, c. 20. {f} De Vita & Morte Sanct. c. 49. {g} Ut supra. (De Vita & Morte Sanct. c. 49.) {h} Ed. Hottinger, p. 27.

\\INTRODUCTION TO HAGGAI 1\\

This chapter contains the first sermon of the Prophet Haggai to the people of the Jews, directed to Zerubbabel the governor, and Joshua the high priest; the date of which is fixed, Hag 1:1. It begins with a charge against that people; saying the time to build the house of the Lord was not come, Hag 1:2 which is refuted by the prophet; arguing, that, if the time to panel their dwelling houses was come, then much more the time to build the Lord's house, Hag 1:3,4. They are urged to consider how unsuccessful they had been in their civil employments and labours, which was owing to their neglect of building the temple; wherefore, if they consulted their own good, and the glory of God, the best way was to set about it in all haste, and with diligence, Hag 1:5-9 yea, even the famine, which they had been afflicted with for some time, and which affected both man and beast, sprung from the same cause, Hag 1:10,11. This discourse had such an effect upon the governor, high priest, and people, that they immediately rose up, and went about the work they were exhorted to; upon which the prophet, by a special message from the Lord, promises his presence with them, Hag 1:12-15.

Haggai 1 Commentaries