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  • ADAM CLARKE'S BIBLE COMMENTARY -
    HAGGAI 1

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    THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET Haggai

    Chronological Notes relative to this book

    - Year from the Creation, according to Archbishop Usher, 3484.
    - Year of the Julian Period, 4194.
    - Year since the flood, 1828.
    - Year from the vocation of Abram, 1301.
    - Year since the first celebration of the Olympic games in Elis by the Idaei Dactyli, 934.
    - Year since the foundation of the monarchy of the Israelites by the Divine appointment of Saul to the regal dignity, 576.
    - Year from the foundation of the temple, 492.
    - Year from the division of Solomon's monarchy into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, 456.
    - Year since the re-establishment of the Olympic games at Elis by Lycurgus, Iphitus, and Cleosthenes, 365.
    - Year since the conquest of Coroebus at Olympia, usually called the first Olympiad, 257.
    - First year of the sixty-fifth Olympiad.
    - Year from the building of Rome, according to the Varronian or generally received computation, 234.
    - Year from the building of Rome, according to Cato and the Fasti Consulares, 233.
    - Year from the building of Rome, according to Polybius the historian, 232.
    - Year from the building of Rome, according to Fabius Pictor, 228.
    - Year of the era of Nabonassar, 228.
    - Year since the destruction of the kingdom of Israel by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, 202.
    - Year since the destruction of the kingdom of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, 68.
    - Year since the destruction of the Chaldean empire by the Persians, 18.
    - Year before the birth of Christ, 516.
    - Year before the vulgar era of Christ's nativity, 520.
    - Cycle of the Sun, 22.
    - Cycle of the Moon, 14.
    - Second year of Darius I., king of Persia.
    - Twenty- eighth year of Amyntas, king of Macedon.
    - Seventh year of Demaratus, king of Lacedaemon, of the family of the Proclidae.
    - Eleventh year of Cleomenes, king of Lacedaemon, of the family of the Eurysthenidae.
    - Fifteenth year of Tarquinius Superbus, the last king of the Romans.
    - This was about twelve years before the abolition of the regal government of the Romans by the expulsion of the Tarquins.
    - Confucius, the celebrated Chinese philosopher, is supposed to have flourished about this time.

    CHAPTER I

    The prophet reproves the people, and particularly their ruler and high priest, for negligence and delay in rebuilding the temple; and tells them that their neglect was the cause of their having been visited with unfruitful seasons, and other marks of the Divine displeasure, 1-11. He encourages them to set about the work, and on their doing so, promises that God will be with them, 12-15. We know nothing of the parentage of Haggai. He was probably born in Babylon during the captivity, and appears to have been the first prophet sent to the Jews after their return to their own land. He was sent particularly to encourage the Jews to proceed with the building of the temple, which had been interrupted for about fourteen years. Cyrus, who had published an edict empowering the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their city and temple, revoked this edict in the second year of his reign, through the evil advice of his courtiers and other enemies of the Jews. After his death Cambyses renewed the prohibition, but after the death of Cambyses, Darius, the son of Hystaspes, renewed the permission; and Haggai was sent to encourage his countrymen to proceed with the work. Darius came to the throne about the year B.C. 521, and published his edict of permission for the Jews to rebuild the city and temple in the second year of his reign, which was the sixteenth of their return from Babylon.

    NOTES ON CHAP. I

    Verse 1. "In the sixth month" - Called Elul by the Hebrews. It was the sixth month of the ecclesiastical year, and the last of the civil year, and answered to a part of our September.

    "ZerubbHebel the son of Shealtiel" - Who was son of Jeconiah, king of Judah, and of the family of David, and exercised the post of a governor among the people, but not over them, for both he and they were under the Persian government; but they were permitted to have ZerubbHebel for their own governor, and Joshua for their high priest; and these regulated all matters relative to their peculiar political and ecclesiastical government.

    But it appears from Ezra, v. 3, that Tatnai, the governor on this side the river, had them under his cognizance. None of their own governors was absolute. The Persians permitted them to live under their own laws and civil regulations; but they always considered them as a colony, over which they had a continual superintendence.

    "Joshua the son of Josedech" - And son of Seraiah, who was high priest in the time of Zedekiah, and was carried into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, 1 Chron. vi. 15. But Seraiah was slain at Riblah, by order of Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Kings xxv. 18- 21.

    Verse 2. "The time is not come" - They thought that the seventy years spoken of by Jeremiah were not yet completed, and it would be useless to attempt to rebuild until that period had arrived. But Abp. Usher has shown that from the commencement of the last siege of Jerusalem unto this time, precisely sixty-nine years had been completed.

    Verse 4. "Is it time for you" - If the time be not come to rebuild the temple, it cannot be come for you to build yourselves comfortable houses: but ye are rebuilding your houses; why then do ye not rebuild the house of the Lord? The foundation of the temple had been laid fourteen years before, and some considerable progress made in the building; and it had been lying waste in that unfinished state to the present time.

    Verse 5. "Consider your ways" - Is it fit that you should be building yourselves elegant houses, and neglect a place for the worship of that God who has restored you from captivity?

    Verse 6. "Ye have sown much" - God will not bless you in any labour of your hands, unless you rebuild his temple and restore his worship. This verse contains a series of proverbs, no less than five in the compass of a few lines.

    Verse 8. "Go up to the mountain, and bring wood" - Go to Lebanon, and get timber. In the second year of the return from the captivity, they had procured cedar trees from Lebanon, and brought them to Joppa, and had hired masons and carpenters from the Tyrians and Sidonians; but that labour had been nearly lost by the long suspension of the building. Ezra iii. 7.

    Verse 9. "Ye looked for much" - Ye made great pretensions at first; but they are come to nothing. Ye did a little in the beginning; but so scantily and unwillingly that I could not but reject it.

    "Ye run every man unto his own house." - To rebuild and adorn it; and God's house is neglected!

    Verse 10. "Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew" - It appears from the following verse that God had sent a drought upon the land, which threatened them with scarcity and famine.

    Verse 12. "Then ZerubbHebel" - The threatening of Haggai had its proper effect.
    - The civil governor, the high priest, and the whole of the people, united together to do the work. When the authority of God is acknowledged, his words will be carefully obeyed.

    Verse 13. "Then spake Haggai" - He was the Lord's messenger, and he came with the Lord's message, and consequently he came with authority.

    He is called hwhy Żalm malach Yehovah, the angel of Jehovah, just as the pastors of the seven Asiatic churches are called ANGELS of the Churches, Rev. i. 2.

    "I am with you, saith the Lord." - Here was high encouragement. What may not a man do when God is his helper?

    Verse 14. "And the Lord stirred up the spirit" - It is not only necessary that the judgment should be enlightened, but the soul must be invigorated by the Spirit of God, before any good work can be effectually done.

    Verse 15. "In the four and twentieth day" - Haggai received his commission on the first day of this month and by the twenty- fourth day he had so completely succeeded that he had the satisfaction to see the whole people engaged heartily in the Lord's work; they left their own houses to build that of the Lord. Here was a faithful reprover, and he found obedient ears; and the Lord's work was done, for the people had a mind to work.

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