|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:10-19 Many spoiled this good work, by going about it with unholy hearts and hands, and were likely to gain no advantage by it. The sum of these two rules of the law is, that sin is more easily learned from others than holiness. The impurity of their hearts and lives shall make the work of their hands, and all their offerings, unclean before God. The case is the same with us. When employed in any good work, we should watch over ourselves, lest we render it unclean by our corruptions. When we begin to make conscience of duty to God, we may expect his blessing; and whoso is wise will understand the loving-kindness of the Lord. God will curse the blessings of the wicked, and make bitter the prosperity of the careless; but he will sweeten the cup of affliction to those who diligently serve him.
Verse 16. - Since those days were. The word "days" is supplied. Revised Version, "through all that time," viz. the fourteen years spoken of in ver. 15. Septuagint, τίνες η΅τε, "what ye were;" the Vulgate omits the words. When one came to an heap of twenty measures. The word "measures" is not in the Hebrew: it is supplied by the LXX., σάτα (equivalent to scabs), and by Jerome, modiorum. But the particular measure is of no importance; it is the proportion only on which stress is laid. The prophet particuiarizes the general statements of Haggai 1:6, 9. The "heap" is the collection of sheaves (Ruth 3:7). This when threshed yielded only half that they had expected. There were (in fact) but ten; καὶ ἐγένετο κριθῆς δέκα σάτα, "and there were ten measures of barley." The press fat; the wine fat, the vat into which flowed the juice forced from the grapes when trodden out by the feet in the press. A full account of this will be found in the 'Dict. of the Bible,' arts. "Wine press" and "Wine." Fifty vessels out of the press. The Hebrew is "fifty purah." The word purah is used in Isaiah 63:3 to signify the press itself, hence the Authorized Version so translates it here, inserting "out of," and supplying "vessels," as "measures" above; but it probably here denotes a liquid measure in which the wine was drown. LXX., μετρητάς (equivalent to Hebrew baths). Jerome, lagenas; and in his commentary, amphoras. They came and examined the grapes and expected fifty purahs, "press measures," but they did not get even half that they had hoped. There were but twenty. Knabenbauer suggests that the meaning may be - looking at the crop of grapes, they expected to draw out, i.e. empty (chasaph), the press fifty times, but were egregiously deceived.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Since those days were,.... From the time the foundation of the temple was laid, unto the time they began to work again, which was a space of about fifteen or sixteen years:
when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten; when the husbandman having gathered in his corn, and who was generally a good judge of what it would yield, came to a heap of it on his corn floor, either of sheaves not threshed, or grain not winnowed, and expected it would have produced at least twenty measures, seahs, or bushels; afterward it was threshed and winnowed, to his great disappointment he had but ten out of it; there were so much straw and chaff, and so little grain; or when he came to a heap of grain, wheat, or barley, in his granary, where he thought he should have twenty bushels of it; but when he had measured it, proved but ten; being either stolen by thieves, or eaten by vermin; rather the latter:
when one came to the wine vat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty; by the quantity of grapes which he put into the press to tread and squeeze, he expected to have had fifty measures, or baths, or hogsheads of wine; but, instead of that, had but twenty; the bunches were so thin, or the berries so bad: there was a greater decrease and deficiency in the wine than in the grain.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. Since those days were—from the time that those days of your neglect of the temple work have been.
when one came to an heap of twenty measures—that is, to a heap which he had expected would be one of twenty measures, there were but ten.
fifty vessels out of the press—As the Septuagint translates "measure," and Vulgate "a flagon," and as we should rather expect vat than press. Maurer translates (omitting vessels, which is not in the original), "purahs," or "wine-measures."
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