for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth; this is repeated from the preceding verse Zephaniah 3:19, for the confirmation of it; and in connection with the following clause, to show when it will be:
when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord; or "captivities" (x); meaning not the several captivities of the kings of Judah in Babylon, as of Manasseh, Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah; but the two fold captivity of this people, literal and spiritual; their present outward exile from their own land, captivity and dispersion among the nations; and their spiritual captivity or bondage, to sin, Satan, the law, and the traditions of their elders; from both which they will be delivered at one and the same time; and which will be notorious and manifest; what their eyes will see with pleasure and admiration; and which may he depended upon will be done, since the Lord has said it, whose purposes, promises, and prophecies, never fail of their accomplishment: he is God omniscient and knows with certainty what will be done; he is God omnipotent, and can and will do whatever he has determined, promised, or said should be done.
(x) "captivitates vestras", Pagninus, Montanus, Calvin, Drusius.
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 Haggai 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 Haggai 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, Ezra 4:24 and from a quotation out of Haggai 2:7, by the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, Hebrews 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 Psalm 112:1. 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) "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, Haggai 1:1. It begins with a charge against that people; saying the time to build the house of the Lord was not come, Haggai 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, Haggai 1:3. 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, Haggai 1:5 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, Haggai 1:10. 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, Haggai 1:12.
in the sixth month; the month Elul, answering, to part of August, and part of September; which was the sixth, reckoning from the month Nisan:
in the first day of the month; which was the feast of the new moon:
came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet; or, "by the hand of Haggai" (m); by his means; he was the instrument by whom the Lord delivered his word; the word was not the prophet's, but the Lord's; and this is observed, to give weight and authority to it:
unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel: the same who is called Salathiel, Matthew 1:12 according to Kimchi and Ben Melech, he was the grandson of Salathiel; though rather Salathiel seems to be his uncle, he being the son of Pedaiah his brother, 1 Chronicles 3:17 however, he was his heir and successor in the government, and so called his son; See Gill on Matthew 1:12,
governor of Judah; not king; for the country was under the dominion of the king of Persia, and Zerubbabel was a deputy governor under him; so the apocryphal Ezra calls him governor of Judea,
"And also he commanded that Sisinnes the governor of Syria and Phenice, and Sathrabuzanes, and their companions, and those which were appointed rulers in Syria and Phenice, should be careful not to meddle with the place, but suffer Zorobabel, the servant of the Lord, and governor of Judea, and the elders of the Jews, to build the house of the Lord in that place.'' (1 Esdras 6:27)
and, according to Josephus (n), he was made governor of the captive Jews, when in Babylon, being in great favour with the king of Babylon; and, with two more, were his body guards; and he was continued governor by the Persians, when the Jews returned to their land:
and to Joshua the son of Josedech the high priest; who is called Jeshua, and his father Jozadak, Ezra 3:2 his father was carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar, 1 Chronicles 6:15 now, to these two principal persons in the commonwealth of Judea was the word of the Lord sent by the prophet; the one having the chief power in civil things, and the other in things ecclesiastical; and both had an influence upon the people; but very probably were dilatory in the work of building the temple; and therefore have a message sent to them, to stir them up to this service:
saying: as follows:
(i) Antiqu. l. 11. c. 3. sect. 1. and c. 4. sect. 5, 7. (k) Thalia, sive l. 3. c. 84, 85, 86. (l) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 11. c. 3. sect. 1. and c. 4. sect. 5, 7.) (m) "in manu Aggaei", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius. (n) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 11. c. 3. sect. 1. and c. 4. sect. 5, 7.)
saying, This people say; repeating the words of the people of the Jews to Zerubbabel and Joshua, that they might observe them, and the wickedness and ingratitude in them. "This people", lately brought out of the captivity of Babylon, and loaded with various blessings and benefits; and not a few of them, but the generality of them, the body of them, expressed themselves after this manner, when pressed to build the temple:
The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built; suggesting that the seventy years of Jerusalem and the temple lying in ruins, reckoning from the destruction of them in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, were not yet fulfilled; or rather intimating that it was not the time in Providence, since they had been forbid and hindered in former reigns from going on with the work; or, since it had been a time of famine and distress with them, it was not a time fit and convenient to carry on such a service; and though they did not lay aside all thoughts of it, yet they judged it right and proper to defer it to a more convenient time, when they were better settled, and in a better capacity to engage in it.
saying; as follows:
and this house lie waste? or, "and shall this house lie waste?" or, "when this house lies waste?" (o) not indeed in its rubbish and ruins, as it was demolished by the Chaldeans, and left; but with a bare foundation, laid some years ago; and ever since neglected; the superstructure not carried on, and much less built up to be fit for service; and therefore might be said with propriety to lie waste and desolate, being unfinished, unfit for use, and no regard had unto it. David was of another mind, 2 Samuel 7:2 and truly religious persons will be more concerned for the house of God than for their own houses.
(o) "et domus ista deserta manebit?" Drusius; "quum domus haec vasta est?" Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "dum domus haec desolata est?" Cocceius.
Consider your ways; their sinful ways, and repent of them, and forsake them, particularly their ingratitude before observed; and their civil ways, their common ways of life; their labour, work, and business, they were continually employed in; and observe the event of them; what success they had, what these issued in; whether there were not some visible tokens of the divine displeasure on them, which rendered all their attempts to support and enrich themselves and families vain, and of no effect: and they would do well to consider to what all this was to be imputed; whether it was not chiefly owing to this, their neglect of the house of God; and this he would have considered, not in a slight cursory way; but with great earnestness, diligence, and application of mind: "put", or "set your hearts upon your ways" (p); so it may be literally rendered.
(p) "ponite corda vestra", V. L.; "ponite cor vestrum", Burkius.
ye eat, but ye have not enough; what the earth did yield, and which they gathered in, they made food of, and ate of it; yet it was not sufficient to satisfy their hunger; or it was not blessed for their nourishment; or they had a canine appetite in judgment given them, so that they were never satisfied: or, it was "not for fulness" (q); they were not filled with it to satisfaction, but still craved more; and yet, it may be, durst not eat more, if they had it, lest they should want the next day:
ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; or, "not to inebriation" (r); it was not sufficient to quench their thirst, much less to make them merry and; cheerful: the vines produced such a small quantity of grapes, and those so little wine, that they had not enough to drink, at least could not drink freely, but sparingly, lest it should be all spent before another vintage came:
ye clothe you, but there is none warm; or, "but" it is "not for heat to him" (s); to anyone; so rigorous the season, so extreme the cold, that his clothes will not keep him warm, even though the climate was, naturally and usually hot:
and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes; or, "pierced through" (t); if a man is hired as a labourer, and gets much wages, and brings it home, and lays it up; or if he trades and merchandises, and has great gains by it, and thinks to amass great riches; yet, what through losses, and the dreariness of provisions, and the many ways he has for the spending of his money, it is as if he put it into a bag full of holes, and it ran through as fast as put into it; signifying hereby that all his pains and labour were in vain.
(q) "ad satietatem", Calvin, De Dieu; "ad saturitatem", Munster. (r) "ad ebrietatem", Tigurine version, Vatablus, Calvin, De Dieu. (s) "et non est ad calorem ei", De Dieu; "sed nemo ita ut sit calor ipsi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "ut calefiat ei", Burkius. (t) "pertusum", V. L. Munster, Tigurine version, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "perforatum", Munster, Varenius.
and bring wood; or, "that ye may bring wood"; from Lebanon, or any other mountain on which wood grew, to Mount Moriah:
and build the house; the temple, whose foundation was already laid, but the superstructure was neglected: now the Lord would have them go on with it immediately, out of hand, with the utmost diligence, alacrity, and vigour; and not desist till the whole building was completed:
and I will take pleasure in it; as a type of Christ, for whose sake he was so desirous of having it built; into which he was to come, and there appear as the promised Saviour. It signifies, moreover, that the Lord would not only take pleasure in the temple built, but in their work in building it; which would be acceptable to him, being according to his mind and will; and that he would take pleasure in, and accept of them, being worshippers therein, when they worshipped him in spirit and in truth in it; and in their services, sacrifices, prayers, and praises, being rightly offered; and that he would forgive their sins, and be propitious to them for his Son's sake, the antitype of the temple:
and I will be glorified, saith the Lord; by his people here, and by the worship and service they should perform: or, "I will show myself glorious" (w); that is, show his glory, causing his Shechinah to dwell here in glory, as the Targum is. The Jews observe, that the letter is wanting in the word here used, which numerically signifies "five"; hence they gather that five things were wanting in the second temple, the ark, the Urim and Thummim, the fire from heaven, the Shechinah, or the divine Majesty, and the Holy Ghost.
(u) "in istum montem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (w) "gloriosum me ostendam", Vatablus.
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" (y); 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.
(x) "ad rem augendam", Grotius. (y) "exsufflo illud", Vatablus; "efflo illud", Junius & Tremellius; "difflo", Piscator; "difflavi", Drusius, Cocceius.
"therefore for your sins;''
and so Jarchi, "the heaven is stayed from dew"; none descends from it; the Lord, who has the ordering of it, will not suffer it: to have the dew fall upon the earth in the night season is a great blessing; it makes the earth fruitful, revives the corn, plants, and herbs, and causes them to flourish and increase; and to have it restrained is a judgment:
and the earth is stayed from her fruit; from bringing forth its increase, which is the consequence of the dew being withheld.
(a) "propterea super vos", Varenius, Reinbeck, Burkius. (b) "Idcirco contra vos", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
and upon the mountains; where herbage grew, and herds of cattle and flocks of sheep were fed; but now the grass through the drought was withered away, and so no pasturage for them, and in course must perish:
and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil; that is, upon the grain fields, and upon the vines and olive trees; so that they produced but very little grain, wine, and oil, and that not very good, and which was not satisfying and refreshing; at least there were not enough for their support and comfort: now these three things were the principal necessaries of life in the country of Judea, and therefore a scarcity of them was very distressing:
and upon that which the ground bringeth forth; whatever else not mentioned the earth produced, as figs, pomegranates, and other fruit:
and upon men, and upon cattle; who not only suffered in this drought, by the above said things it came upon; but by diseases it produced upon them, as the pestilence and fever among men, and murrain upon the cattle:
and upon all the labour of the hands: of men; whatsoever fields and gardens, trees and plants of every kind, that were set and cultivated by them. Of this drought, and the famine that came upon it, we nowhere else read; but there is no doubt to be made of it.
with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God; not the two leading men in church and state only; but all the people that came out of the Babylonish captivity, who were but a remnant; a few that were left through various calamities they had been exposed unto; these, one and all, signified how willing and ready they were to do the work of the Lord enjoined them: or, "they heard the voice of the Lord" (c); by the prophet, very attentively and seriously; and received and regarded it, not as the word of men, but as the word of God; and determined to act according to it:
and the words of Haggai the prophet; or, "and for the words of Haggai the prophet" (d); because of them, considering them as coming from the Lord himself:
as the Lord their God had sent him; regarding him as having a mission and commission from the Lord to deliver them to them:
and the people did fear before the Lord; perceiving that he was displeased with them for the neglect of his house; and that this drought upon them was a chastisement and correction for this sin; and fearing lest his wrath should continue, and they should be more severely dealt with, on account of their transgressions.
(c) "et audivit", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Burkius. (d) "idque propter verba Chaggai", Varenius, Reinbeck.
in the Lord's message unto the people; not of his own head, nor out of the pity of his own heart merely; but as a prophet of the Lord, having a fresh message from him to carry a promise to them for their comfort and encouragement:
saying, I am with you, saith the Lord; to pardon their sins; to accept their persons; to remove his rod from them; to assist them in the work of building the temple, they were now willing to engage in; to protect them from their enemies, and to strengthen them to go on with the work till they had finished it; a short promise, but a very full one: it was saying much in a little, and enough to remove all their fears, to scatter all their doubts, and to bear them up, and through all discouragements.
and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God; the governor and high priest came to direct and oversee, encourage and animate the people by their presence and example; and the people to do the several parts of service that belonged to them, according to their genius and employment.