Haggi Chapter 1 Study



 By Al   AW_7


In this chapter, after the preamble of the prophecy, we have, I. A reproof of the people of the Jews for their slothfulness in building the temple, which had provoked God to contend with them by the judgment of famine and scarcity, with an exhortation to them to resume that good work and to prosecute it in good earnest (v. 1Ė11). II. The good success of this sermon, appearing in the peopleís return and close application to that work, wherein the prophet, in Godís name, animated and encouraged them, assuring them that God was with them (v. 12Ė15).


The captivity in Babylon gave a very remarkable turn to the affairs of the Jewish church both in history and prophecy. It is made a signal in our Saviorís genealogy, Mat 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David [are] fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon [are] fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ [are] fourteen generations. 



 Nine of the twelve minor prophets, whose oracles we have been consulting, lived and preached before that captivity, and most of them had an eye to it in their prophecies, foretelling it as the just punishment of Jerusalemís wickedness. But the last three (in whom the Spirit of prophecy took its period, until it revived in Christís forerunner) lived and preached after the return out of captivity, not immediately upon it, but some time after. Haggai and Zechariah appeared much about the same time, eighteen years after the return, when the building of the temple was both retarded by its enemies and neglected by its friends. Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them (so we read Ezra 5:1),


Ezr 5:1 Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that [were] in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, [even] unto them. 



 Ezr 5:2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which [is] at Jerusalem: and with them [were] the prophets of God helping them. 



To reprove them for their remissness, and to encourage them to revive that good work when it had stood still for some time, and to go on with it vigorously, notwithstanding the opposition they met with in it. Haggai began two months before Zechariah, who was raised up to second him, that out of the mouth of two witnesses the word might be established. But Zechariah continued longer at the work; for all Haggaiís prophecies that are recorded were delivered within four months, in the second year of Darius, between the beginning of the sixth month and the end of the ninth. But we have Zechariahís prophecies dated above two years after, Zec. 7:1. Some have the honor to lead, others to last, in the work of God. The Jews ascribe to these two prophets the honor of being members of the great synagogue (as they call it), which was formed after the return out of captivity; we think it more certain, and it was their honor, and a much greater honor, that they prophesied of Christ. Haggai spoke of him as the glory of the latter house, and Zechariah as the man, the branch. In them the light of that morning star shone more brightly than in the foregoing prophecies, as they lived nearer the time of the rising of the Sun of righteousness, and now began to see his day approaching. The Septuagint makes Haggai and Zechariah to be the penmen of Ps. 138 and Ps. 146, 147, and 148.





Hag 1:1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,



 Zerubbabel--called also Shesh-bazzar in Ezr 1:8 5:14, 16, where the same work is attributed to Shesh-bazzar that in Ezr 3:8 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."



Hag 1:2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built.


What the sin of the Jews was at this time, v. 2. As soon as they came up out of captivity they set up an altar for sacrifice, and within a year after laid the foundations of a temple. They then seemed very forward in it, and it was likely enough that the work would be done suddenly; but, being served with a prohibition some time after from the Persian court, and charged not to go on with it, they not only yielded to the force, when they were actually under it, which might be excused, but afterwards, when the violence of the opposition had abated, they continued very indifferent to it, had no spirit nor courage to set about it again, but seemed glad that they had a pretence to let it stand still. Though those who are employed for God may be driven off from their work by a storm, yet they must return to it as soon as the storm is over.


These Jews did not do so, but continued loitering until they were afresh reminded of their duty.  And that which they suggested one to another was, The time has not come, the time that the Lordís house should be built; that is, 1. "Our time has not come for the doing of it, because we have not yet recovered, after our captivity; our losses are not repaired, nor have we yet got before-hand in the world. It is too great an undertaking for new beginners in the world, as we are; let us first get our own houses up, before we talk of building churches, and in the mean time let a bare altar serve us, as it did our father Abraham.íí They did not say that they would not build a temple at all, but, "Not yet; it is all in good time.


The Lord of hosts--Jehovah, Lord of the powers of heaven and earth, and therefore requiring implicit obedience.


Yet they are saying itís not time to build the Lords house.


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., 2Ki 25:9 ) were yet unexpired; this they make their plea for delay.  


 Ezr 4:23 Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter [was] read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.


Ezr 4:24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which [is] at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.


Ezr 5:1 Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that [were] in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, [even] unto them.


Ezr 5:2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which [is] at Jerusalem: and with them [were] the prophets of God helping them.


Neh 4:10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and [there is] much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.


Hag 1:3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,   



Hag 1:4 [Is it] time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house [lie] waste?


 Is it time--It is not time ( Hag 1:2 ), 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 houses?


 Ceiled--meaning their houses are "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 (2Sa 7:2)!


2Sa 7:1 And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies; 



 2Sa 7:2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. 



 2Sa 7:3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that [is] in thine heart; for the LORD [is] with thee. 



 2Sa 7:4 And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, 



 2Sa 7:5 Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? 



 2Sa 7:6 Whereas I have not dwelt in [any] house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. 



 2Sa 7:7 In all [the places] wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar? 



 2Sa 7:8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: 



 2Sa 7:9 And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great [men] that [are] in the earth. 



 2Sa 7:10 Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, 



 2Sa 7:11 And as since the time that I commanded judges [to be] over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. 



 2Sa 7:12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 



 2Sa 7:13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 



 2Sa 7:14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 



 2Sa 7:15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took [it] from Saul, whom I put away before thee. 



 2Sa 7:16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. 



 2Sa 7:17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David. 


Hag 1:5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.


Consider your ways--literally, "Set your heart" on your ways. The plural implies, Consider both what ye have done (actively, Lam 3:40) and what ye have suffered (passively)



Hag 1:6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages [to put it] into a bag with holes.


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 (Pro 13:7 11:24 Mat 6:33). Instead of cheating God, they had been only cheating themselves.


Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 


Pro 13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet [hath] nothing: [there is] that maketh himself poor, yet [hath] great riches.


Pro 11:24 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and [there is] that withholdeth more than is meet, but [it tendeth] to poverty. 


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" Careful consideration of God's dealings with us will indicate God's will regarding us. The events of life are the ways in which God records His feelings towards us.


Luk 12:33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 



 Luk 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 


Spiritually, the "bags that wax not old, the treasure in heaven that faileth notĒ.  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 holes. That ever happen to anyone?


 What the judgments of God were by which they were punished for this neglect, v. 6, 9Ė11. They neglected the building of Godís house, and put that off, that they might have time and money for their secular affairs. They desired to be excused from such an expensive piece of work under this pretence, that they must provide for their families; their children must have meat and portions too, and, until they have got before-hand in the world, they cannot think of rebuilding the temple. Now, that the punishment might answer to the sin, God by his providence kept them still behind-hand, and that poverty which they thought to prevent by not building the temple God brought upon them for not building it. They were sensible of the smart of the judgment, and every one complained of the unseasonable weather, the great losses they sustained in their corn and cattle, and the decay of trade; but they were not sensible of the cause of the judgment, and the ground of Godís controversy with them. They did not, or would not, see and own that it was for their putting off the building of the temple that they lay under these manifest tokens of Godís displeasure; and therefore God here gives them notice that this is that for which he contended with them. Note, We need the help of Godís prophets and ministers to expound to us, not only the judgments of Godís mouth, but the judgments of his hands, that we may understand his mind and meaning in his rod as well as in his word, to discover to us not only wherein we have offended God, but wherein God shows himself offended at us. Let us observe,

How God contended with them. He did not send them into captivity again, nor bring a foreign enemy upon them, as they deserved, but took the correcting of them into his own hands; for his mercies are great. He that gives seed to the sower denied his blessing upon the seed sown, and then it never prospered; they had nothing, or next to nothing, from it. They sowed much kept a great deal of ground in tillage, which, they might expect, would turn to a better advantage than usual, because their land had long lain fallow and had enjoyed its Sabbaths. Having sown much, they looked for much from it, enough to spend and enough to spare too; but they were disappointed: They bring in little, very little when they have made the utmost of it, it comes to little

Hag 1:7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 


Hag 1:8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.


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.



Hag 1:9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, [it came] to little; and when ye brought [it] home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that [is] waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.


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.

      ďWhen ye brought it home, I did blow upon itĒ--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 blighted corn.

Ye run--expressing the keenness of everyone of them in pursuing their own selfish interests. Compare "run," Psa 119:32 Pro 1:16, contrasted with their apathy about God's house.

 Hag 1:10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed [from] her fruit.


The heaven over you is stayed from dew; he that has the key of the clouds in his hands shut them up, and withheld the rain when the ground called for it, the former or the latter rain, and then of course the earth is stayed from her fruit; for, if the heaven be as brass, the earth is as iron. The corn perhaps came up very well, and promised a very plentiful crop, but, for want of the dews at earing-time, it never filled, but was parched with the heat of the sun and withered away. The restored captives, who had long been kept bare in Babylon, thought they should never want when they had got their own land in possession again and had that at command. But what the better are they for it, unless they had the clouds at command too? God will make us sensible of our necessary and constant dependence upon him, throughout all the links in the chain of second causes, from first to last; so that we can at no time say, "Now we have no further occasion for God and his providence.


Jer 2:12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. 



 Jer 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. 



Hag 1:11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon [that] which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.


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," but also "men" and "cattle," who must perish in the absence of the "cornlost by the drought.


 I called for a drought upon the land, ordered the weather to be extremely hot, and then the fruits of the earth were burnt up. See how every creature is that to us which God makes it to be, either comfortable or afflictive, serving us or incommoding us. Nothing among the inferior creatures is so necessary and beneficial to the world as the heat of the sun; it is that which puts life into the plants and renews the face of the earth at spring. And yet, if that go into an extreme, it undoes all again. Our Creator is our best friend; but, if we make him our enemy, we make the best friends we have among the creatures our enemies too. This drought God called for, and it came at the call; as the winds and the waves, so the rays of the sun, obey him. It was universal, and the ill effects of it were general; it was a drought upon the mountains, which, lying high, were first affected with it. The mountains were their pasture-grounds, and used to be covered over with flocks, but now there was no grass for them. It was upon the corn, the new wine, and the oil; all failed through the extremity of the hot weather, even all that the ground brought forth; it all withered.


Nay, it had a bad influence upon men; the hot weather enfeebled some, and made them weary and faint, and spent their spirits; it inflamed others, and put them into fevers. It should seem, it brought diseases upon cattle too. In short, it spoiled all the labour of their hands, which they hoped to eat of and maintain their families by.



Hag 1:12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.


 Remnant of the people--all those who have returned from the exile (Zec 8:6 ).



Zec 8:6 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts.  


 As . . . God sent him--according to all that Jehovah had enjoined him to speak. But as it is not till Hag 1:14 after Haggai's second message (Hag 1:13) that the people actually obeyed, 



 Hag 1:13 Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I [am] with you, saith the LORD.


 I am with youó(Mat 28:20). 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 (Rom 8:31). 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


Hag 1:14 And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,


Came and did work--collected the wood and stones and other materials (compare Hag 1:8) 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 (Hag 2:18 )


He excited them to their duty, and put it into their hearts to go about it. Note, Then the word of God has its success when God by his grace stirs up our spirits to comply with it; and without that grace we should remain stupid and utterly averse to every thing that is good. It is in the day of a divine power that we are made willing. (2.) He encouraged them in their duty, and with those encouragements enlarged their hearts, Ps. 119:32. When they heard the word they feared; but, lest they should sink under the weight of that fear, God stirred them up, and made them cheerful and bold to encounter the difficulties they might meet with. Note, When God has work to do, he will either find or make men fit to do it, and stir them up to it.

They applied to their work with all possible vigour: They came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts their God. Every one, according as his capacity or ability was, lent a hand, some way or other, to further that good work; and this they did with an eye to God as the Lord of hosts, and as their God, the God of Israel.


 Hag 1:15 In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.


Twenty-three days after the first message of Haggai (Hag 1:1).