1. second year of Darius--Hystaspes, the king of Medo-Persia, the
second of the world empires, Babylon having been overthrown by the
Persian Cyrus. The Jews having no king of their own, dated by the reign
of the world kings to whom they were subject. Darius was a common name
of the Persian kings, as Pharaoh of those of Egypt, and Cæsar of those
of Rome. The name in the cuneiform inscriptions at Persepolis is written
Daryawus, from the root Darh, "to preserve," the Conservator
HERODOTUS [6.98] explains it Coercer. Often opposite
attributes are assigned to the same god; in which light the Persians
viewed their king.
harmonizes with Haggai in making this year the date of the resumption
of the building.
sixth month--of the Hebrew year, not of Darius' reign (compare
Zec 1:7; 7:1, 3; 8:19).
Two months later ("the eighth month,"
Zechariah began to prophesy, seconding Haggai.
JEHOVAH: God's covenant title, implying His
unchangeableness, the guarantee of His faithfulness in keeping His
promises to His people.
by Haggai--Hebrew, "in the hand of Haggai"; God being the real
speaker, His prophet but the instrument (compare
Zerubbabel--called also Shesh-bazzar in
Ezr 1:8; 5:14, 16,
where the same work is attributed to Shesh-bazzar that in
is attributed to Zerubbabel. Shesh-bazzar is probably his
Chaldean name; as Belteshazzar was that of Daniel. Zerubbabel,
his Hebrew name, means "one born in Babylon."
son of Shealtiel--or Salathiel. But
1Ch 3:17, 19
makes Pedaiah his father. Probably he was adopted by his uncle
Salathiel, or Shealtiel, at the death of his father (compare
governor of Judah--to which office Cyrus had appointed him. The
Hebrew Pechah is akin to the original of the modern Turkish Pasha; one ruling a region of the Persian empire of less extent than that under
so the son of Nun in
one of those carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar. Haggai addresses the
civil and the religious representatives of the people, so as to have
them as his associates in giving God's commands; thus priest, prophet,
and ruler jointly testify in God's name.
2. the Lord of hosts--Jehovah, Lord of the powers of heaven and earth,
and therefore requiring implicit obedience.
This people--"This" sluggish and selfish "people." He does not say,
My people, since they had neglected the service of God.
The time--the proper time for building the temple. Two out of the
seventy predicted years of captivity (dating from the destruction of the
temple, 558 B.C.,
were yet unexpired; this they make their plea for delay [HENDERSON]. The seventy years of captivity were completed
long ago in the first year of Cyrus, 536 B.C.
dating from 606 B.C., Jehoiakim's captivity
The seventy years to the completion of the temple
were completed this very year, the second of Darius [VATABLUS]. Ingenious in excuses, they pretended that the
interruption in the work caused by their enemies proved it was not
yet the proper time; whereas their real motive was selfish dislike
of the trouble, expense, and danger from enemies. "God," say they,
"hath interposed many difficulties to punish our rash haste" [CALVIN]. Smerdis' interdict was no longer in force, now
that Darius the rightful king was on the throne; therefore they had no
real excuse for not beginning at once to build. AUBERLEN denies that by "Artaxerxes" in
is meant Smerdis. Whether Smerdis or Artaxerxes Longimanus be meant,
the interdict referred only to the rebuilding of the city, which
the Persian kings feared might, if rebuilt, cause them trouble to
subdue; not to the rebuilding of the temple. But the Jews were
easily turned aside from the work. Spiritually, like the Jews, men do
not say they will never be religious, but, It is not time yet. So the
great work of life is left undone.
4. Is it time--It is not time
ye say, to build Jehovah's house; yet how is it that ye make it a fit
time not only to build, but to "dwell" at ease in your own
you, O ye--rather, for "you, you"; the repetition marking the shameful
contrast between their concern for themselves, and their unconcern
for God [MAURER]. Compare a similar repetition in
ceiled--rather, "wainscoted," or "paneled," referring to the walls as
well as the ceilings; furnished not only with comfort but luxury, in sad
contrast to God's house not merely unadorned, but the very walls not
raised above the foundations. How different David's feelings
5. Consider your ways--literally, "Set your heart" on your ways. The
plural implies, Consider both what ye have done (actively,
and what ye have suffered (passively) [JEROME].
Ponder earnestly whether ye have gained by seeking self at the
sacrifice of God.
6. Nothing has prospered with you while you neglected your duty to
God. The punishment corresponds to the sin. They thought to escape
poverty by not building, but keeping their money to themselves; God
brought it on them for not building
(Pr 13:7; 11:24;
Instead of cheating God, they had been only cheating themselves.
ye clothe . . . but . . . none warm--through insufficiency of clothing;
as ye are unable through poverty from failure of your crops to purchase
sufficient clothing. The verbs are infinitive, implying a
continued state: "Ye have sown, and been bringing in but little;
ye have been eating, but not to being satisfied; ye have
been drinking, but not to being filled; ye have been putting on clothes, but not to being warmed"
[MOORE]. Careful consideration
of God's dealings with us will indicate God's will regarding us. The
events of life are the hieroglyphics in which God records His feelings
towards us, the key to which is found in the Bible
wages . . . put . . . into a bag with
holes--proverbial for labor and money spent profitlessly
Contrast, spiritually, the "bags that wax not old, the treasure in
heaven that faileth not"
Through the high cost of necessaries, those who wrought for a day's
wages parted with them at once, as if they had put them into a bag with
8. Go up to the mountain--Moriah
Rather, generally, the mountains around, now covered with wood, the
growth of the long period of the captivity. So
"Go forth unto the mount," that is, the neighboring hills
wood--Haggai specifies this as being the first necessary; not to
the exclusion of other materials. Stones also were doubtless
needed. That the old walls were not standing, as the Hebrew
interpreters quoted by JEROME state, or the new
walls partly built, appears from
where express mention is made of laying the foundations.
I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified--I will be
propitious to suppliants in it
and shall receive the honor due to Me which has been withheld. In
neglecting the temple, which is the mirror of My presence, ye dishonor
Me [CALVIN]; in its being built, ye shall glorify
9. Ye looked for much--literally, "looked" so as to turn your
eyes "to much." The Hebrew infinitive here expresses
continued looking. Ye hoped to have your store made "much" by
neglecting the temple. The greater was your greediness, the more bitter
your disappointment in being poorer than ever.
when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it--even the little crop
brought into your barns I dissipated. "I did blow upon," that is, I
scattered and caused to perish with My mere breath, as scattered and
mine house . . . his own house--in emphatic antithesis.
ye run--expressing the keenness of everyone of them in pursuing their
own selfish interests. Compare "run,"
contrasted with their apathy about God's house.
10. heaven . . . is stayed from dew--literally, "stays
itself." Thus heaven or the sky is personified; implying that inanimate
nature obeys Jehovah's will; and, shocked at His people's disobedience,
withholds its goods from them (compare
Jer 2:12, 13).
11. I called--what the "heaven" and "earth," the second causes, were
said to do
being the visible instruments, Jehovah, in this verse, the
invisible first cause, declares to be His doing. He "calls for" famine,
&c., as instruments of His wrath
The contrast is striking between the prompt obedience of these material
agencies, and the slothful disobedience of living men, His people.
drought--Hebrew, Choreb, like in sound to Chareeb, "waste"
(Hag 1:4, 9),
said of God's house; implying the correspondence between the sin and
its punishment. Ye have let My house be waste, and I will send
on all that is yours a wasting drought. This would affect not
merely the "corn," &c., but also "men" and "cattle," who must perish in
the absence of the "corn," &c., lost by the drought.
labour of the hands--all the fruits of lands, gardens, and vineyards,
obtained by labor of the hands
12. remnant of the people--all those who have returned from the exile
as . . . God sent him--according to all that Jehovah had enjoined him
to speak. But as it is not till
after Haggai's second message
that the people actually obeyed, MAURER
translates here, "hearkened to the voice of the Lord," and
instead of "as," "because the Lord had sent him." However,
English Version rightly represents their purpose of
obedience as obedience in God's eyes already, though not carried into
13. the Lord's messenger--so the priests
are called (compare
in the Lord's message--by the Lord's authority and commission: on
the Lord's embassage.
I am with you--
On the people showing the mere disposition to obey, even before they
actually set to work, God passes at once from the reproving tone to
that of tenderness. He hastens as it were to forget their former
unfaithfulness, and to assure them, when obedient, that He both is
and will be with them: Hebrew, "I with you!" God's presence
is the best of blessings, for it includes all others. This is the sure
guarantee of their success no matter how many their foes might be
Nothing more inspirits men and rouses them from torpor, than, when
relying on the promises of divine aid, they have a sure hope of a
successful issue [CALVIN].
14. Lord stirred up the spirit of, &c.--God gave them alacrity and
perseverance in the good work, though slothful in themselves. Every good
impulse and revival of religion is the direct work of God by His Spirit.
came and did work--collected the wood and stones and other materials
for the work. Not actually built or "laid the (secondary) foundations"
of the temple, for this was not done till three months after, namely,
the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month
15. four and twentieth day--twenty-three days after the first message