VII In answer to a question concerning fasting, the prophet reproves them for the mismanagement of their fasts, ver. 1-7. Exhorts them to reform their lives, ver. 8-14.
Verse 2. When they - The captives who still continued in Babylon. The house of God - The temple, which now half built began to be frequented. Regem-melech - It appears not who these were, but no doubt they were eminent in dignity and piety. Their men - The train of friends that accompanied them. To pray - To intreat the Lord for pardon of what was past, acceptance of them at present, and an answer to their enquiry.
Verse 3. The prophets - Haggai and Zechariah. Weep - Fast, in remembrance of the burning of the temple on the tenth day of that month. Separating myself - From worldly cares and designs.
Verse 5. Unto all the people - By their messengers. And seventh - For the murder of Gedaliah, slain by Ishmael. Even to me - You pleased yourselves in it, not me; you wept more for the inconveniences of the thing than the sinfulness of it.
Verse 6. For yourselves - I was as little minded by you in your fasts, as in your feasts.
Verse 7. Hear the words - You needed not have thus inquired, had you heeded the written word. Prophets - Who have called for repentance, and sincere love to God, and man, and shewed how light, formal services are. Prosperity - Did such observances preserve Jerusalem in its prosperity? Were they sufficient to save the men that inhabited the south of the plain? Did they do no good when things were all safe and well? And do you imagine they can profit you, now all is in ruins?
Verse 9. Spake - To your fathers.
Verse 10. Imagine evil - Neither think ill of, or with ill to, nor plot evil against one another.
Verse 11. Pulled away - Withdrew their shoulder from the yoke of the law.
Verse 12. In his spirit - By his Holy Spirit.
Verse 14. They laid the land desolate - By their sins.