Haggai 1 Benson Commentary
Haggai 1
Benson Commentary
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,
Haggai 1:1. In the second year of Darius — Namely, the son of Hystaspes, king of Persia. Blair places the second year of his reign five hundred and twenty years before Christ. In the sixth month, in the first day of the month — Therefore, about two months before Zechariah received a similar commission, for the word of God came to him in the eighth month of the same year: see Zechariah 1:1. These two prophets were sent to the Jews chiefly, it seems, to exhort them to go on with the rebuilding the temple. And the historical book of Ezra records, chap. 5., that the rebuilding of the temple was resumed and carried on again through the exhortations and encouragements of these prophets. Unto Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel — And grandson of Jeconiah, who was carried captive to Babylon: see the margin. It is likely that Zerubbabel was regarded with as much respect by the Jews as if he had been their king, being of the royal family of David; but they did not give him the title of king, or invest him with the splendour of royal dignity, for fear of giving offence to the Persian kings, under whose protection they lived, and upon whom they were in a great measure dependant. And to Joshua the son of Josedech — Son of Seraiah, who was high-priest when Jerusalem was taken, and who was slain at Riblah: see 1 Chronicles 6:14; 2 Kings 25:18-21. Haggai seems to have addressed Zerubbabel and Joshua probably in the hearing of the people: see Haggai 1:12.

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.
Haggai 1:2-4. This people say, The time is not come, &c. — They had no just cause for saying this; but their own private concerns and conveniences (as appears from what follows) employed all their thoughts, and they preferred them to the rebuilding of the temple. Then — When the people were thus sluggish, made excuses, and delayed the work; came the word of the Lord to Haggai — To reprove them for their neglect, and excite them to their duty. Is it time for you, &c. — You think it full time to build your own houses: you judge it seasonable enough to lay out much cost on adorning them; what pretence then can you make, that it is not seasonable to build my house? Ought not that first to be set about, and the ornamenting of your own houses to be left till afterward? The reproof here given seems to allude to the different spirit with which David was actuated, Psalms 132., who vowed that he would not come into the tabernacle of his house, &c., until he found out a place for the Lord. It certainly argues a contempt of God, when men give the preference to themselves before him, or think no cost or grandeur is too much for themselves, but the meanest accommodation good enough for the service of God. It is true an humble and devout mind is the only temple which God delights to dwell in; and he dwells not in, nor regards, temples made with hands; but yet, for the public solemnization of his worship, and as an outward testimony of men’s respect toward him, it is proper that places should be erected for, and appropriated to his worship; which places ought not to be neglected, but made as decent and becoming the design of their erection as the circumstances of things will admit of.

Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?
Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
Haggai 1:5-6. Therefore consider your ways — Reflect seriously upon this affair, whether it is consistent with the reason of things, or whether you have even promoted your own happiness by it as you thought to do. Ye have sown much, and bring in little — Namely, into your barns. Ye eat, but ye have not enough — To satisfy your hunger; ye drink, but ye are not filled — Ye have not wine enough for your support. Ye clothe you, but there is none warm — Ye have not been able to get sufficient clothing to keep yourselves warm. And he that earneth wages, &c. — And whatever you gain by your labour, it is very quickly required for your necessary expenses, every thing being at a very dear rate. This has been the case with you, and this has arisen from your neglect of rebuilding God’s temple; for as you have neglected him, so hath he withdrawn his blessing from you; the consequence of which has been, that nothing has prospered with you.

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.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
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.
Haggai 1:8-11. Go up to the mountain — Go to any of the forests upon the mountains: see Nehemiah 2:8 : and cut down timber to carry on the building; or go to the mountain of Moriah, which I have chosen to build my temple upon it; and I will take pleasure in it — I will accept your offerings, and hear your prayers. And I will be glorified — Will show my majesty, and account myself glorified by you also. Ye looked for much and lo, it came to little — It did not answer the expectation you had formed. When ye brought it home, I did blow upon it — I blasted it; or, blowed it away: when you brought your gains home, I caused them to be soon scattered again, or expended. The dearth with which God punished them for their neglect of rebuilding the temple, made all the necessaries of life so dear, that whatever gains they got were quickly expended. Why? saith the Lord, &c. — For what reason have ye been visited with this calamity? Because of my house that is waste — All this evil is come upon you for your ungodly neglect of my house, leaving it waste. And ye run every man to his own house — You with eagerness carry on your own particular buildings, and mind only your own private affairs, and you take no manner of care about those things which concern my worship. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew — I have punished you with great drought, wherein the dew itself has ceased to fall: see 1 Kings 17:1. And the earth is stayed from her fruit — From bringing forth those fruits which otherwise it would have produced. And I called for a drought — I caused a dearth of every thing in the land, or a general barrenness to take place. And upon the mountains — Upon the hills, where your cattle and flocks used to feed, and to find sufficient nourishment; upon the new wine, and upon the oil —

Upon your vineyards and olive-yards; and upon men, and upon cattle — I made both men and cattle unfruitful. Or the meaning is, their very constitutions were changed, and many diseases afflicted them.

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.
Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
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.
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.
Haggai 1:12-13. Then Zerubbabel, &c., obeyed the voice of the Lord — Compare Ezra 5:1-2; where see the notes. Then spake Haggai the Lord’s messenger — Or prophet; in the Lord’s message — That is, who spake what follows, not in his own name, but in the name of God, saying, I am with you, saith the Lord — To afford you all the help you need, and to give success to your undertaking.

Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.
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,
In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

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