Haggai 1:10
Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
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(10) Over you.—Better, on your account.Scil., because of the neglect of God’s House, mentioned in Haggai 1:9.

1:1-11 Observe the sin of the Jews, after their return from captivity in Babylon. Those employed for God may be driven from their work by a storm, yet they must go back to it. They did not say that they would not build a temple, but, Not yet. Thus men do not say they will never repent and reform, and be religious, but, Not yet. And so the great business we were sent into the world to do, is not done. There is a proneness in us to think wrongly of discouragements in our duty, as if they were a discharge from our duty, when they are only for the trial of our courage and faith. They neglected the building of God's house, that they might have more time and money for worldly affairs. That the punishment might answer to the sin, the poverty they thought to prevent by not building the temple, God brought upon them for not building it. Many good works have been intended, but not done, because men supposed the proper time was not come. Thus believers let slip opportunities of usefulness, and sinners delay the concerns of their souls, till too late. If we labour only for the meat that perishes, as the Jews here, we are in danger of losing our labour; but we are sure it shall not be in vain in the Lord, if we labour for the meat which lasts to eternal life. If we would have the comfort and continuance of temporal enjoyments, we must have God as our Friend. See also Lu 12:33. When God crosses our temporal affairs, and we meet with trouble and disappointment, we shall find the cause is, that the work we have to do for God and our own souls is left undone, and we seek our own things more than the things of Christ. How many, who plead that they cannot afford to give to pious or charitable designs, often lavish ten times as much in needless expenses on their houses and themselves! But those are strangers to their own interests, who are full of care to adorn and enrich their own houses, while God's temple in their hearts lies waste. It is the great concern of every one, to apply to the necessary duty of self-examination and communion with our own hearts concerning our spiritual state. Sin is what we must answer for; duty is what we must do. But many are quick-sighted to pry into other people's ways, who are careless of their own. If any duty has been neglected, that is no reason why it should still be so. Whatever God will take pleasure in when done, we ought to take pleasure in doing. Let those who have put off their return to God, return with all their heart, while there is time.Therefore, for you, - on your account; (As in Psalm 44:43.) for your sins, (Jon.) He points out the moral cause of the drought, whereas men think of this or that cause of the variations of the seasons, and we, e. g., take into our mouths Scriptural words, as "murrain of cattle," and the like, and think of nothing less than why it was sent, or who sent it. Haggai directs the mind to the higher Cause, that as they withheld their service from God, so, on their account and by His will, His creatures withheld their service from them. 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). Therefore; for your great intolerable neglect of God, his house and worship.

The heaven, Heb. heavens. is stayed; shut up, sealed, prohibited; God, whose they are, hath forbidden them, they drop not one pearl of dew; and the earth must be barren, when dry without the fructifying influences of heaven.

Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew,.... Or, "therefore over", or "upon you" (a); where should be a stop; that is, because, of your neglect of the house of God; therefore upon you, and upon you only, and not upon other nations, the heaven is restrained from letting down the dew: or, "therefore I am against you" (b); for the above reason, and which the following things show; and sad it is to have God to be an enemy, and against a people! or, "for your sake"; so the Syriac version, to which sense is the Targum,

"therefore for your sins;''

and so Jarchi, "the heaven is stayed from dew"; none descends from it; the Lord, who has the ordering of it, will not suffer it: to have the dew fall upon the earth in the night season is a great blessing; it makes the earth fruitful, revives the corn, plants, and herbs, and causes them to flourish and increase; and to have it restrained is a judgment:

and the earth is stayed from her fruit; from bringing forth its increase, which is the consequence of the dew being withheld.

(a) "propterea super vos", Varenius, Reinbeck, Burkius. (b) "Idcirco contra vos", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
10. the heaven over you, &c.] Lit. upon you are stayed the heavens. Some understand by “upon” or “against” you, “on your account,” on account of, or in punishment of your sins (for your sake, R. V. text). But there would be something of tautology in this, because the same thing has been said in the first word of the verse, “therefore” (on account of what has been mentioned in the preceding verses) has this judgment come upon you. It is better therefore to take it, as in A. V., and R. V. margin, “the heaven over you.” Compare the terms in which the judgment had been threatened by Moses, “thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass,” Deuteronomy 28:23.

from dew] not rain only, but even dew had been withholden. “Coeli non solum pluviam non dederunt, sed ne rorem quidem, quo arentes agri saltem humore modico temperarentur.” Hieron. We must not forget how copious, and therefore how important to the husbandman, especially in the absence of rain, was the dew in Palestine. “In a latitude so high as ours, and which yet has a mean temperature higher than its degrees should give it, the chill of the night serves only to shed fog or mist upon the lower stratum of air; but in warmer climates—and in no country is it more so than in Syria—the vast burden of the watery element, which the fervour of day has raised aloft, becomes, quickly after sunset, a prodigious dew, breaking down upon the earth, as a mighty yet noiseless deluge.” Isaac Taylor, Spirit of Heb. Poetry, c. IV. pp. 85, 86.

Verse 10. - Over you. This would be a reference to Deuteronomy 28:23. But the preposition is probably not local, but means rather, "on your account," i.e. on account of your sin, as Psalm 44:22. This is not tautological after the preceding "therefore," but more closely defines and explains the illative. Is stayed from dew; hath stayed itself from dew; withholds not only rain, but even dew (comp. Zechariah 8:12). On the importance of dew in the climate of Palestine, see note on Micah 5:7. The dews generally are remarkably heavy, and in the summer months take the place of rain. Dr. Thomson speaks of the dew rolling in the morning off his tent like rain ('Land and the Book,' p. 491). The earth is stayed from her fruit; hath stayed her fruit; according to the threat (Deuteronomy 11:17). Haggai 1:10"Ye looked out for much, and behold (it came) to little; and ye brought it home, and I blew into it. Why? is the saying of Jehovah of hosts. Because of my house, that it lies waste, whereas ye run every man for his house. Haggai 1:10. Therefore the heaven has withheld its dew on your account, that no dew fell, and the earth has withheld her produce. Haggai 1:11. And I called drought upon the earth, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon everything that the ground produces, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands." The meaning of Haggai 1:9 is evident from the context. The inf. abs. pânōh stands in an address full of emotion in the place of the perfect, and, as the following clause shows, for the second person plural. Ye have turned yourselves, fixed your eye upon much, i.e., upon a rich harvest, והנּה־למעט, and behold the desired much turned to little. Ye brought into the house, ye fetched home what was reaped, and I blew into it, i.e., I caused it to fly away, like chaff before the wind, so that there was soon none of it left. Here is a double curse, therefore, as in Haggai 1:6 : instead of much, but little was reaped, and the little that was brought home melted away without doing any good. To this exposition of the curse the prophet appends the question יען מה, why, sc. has this taken place? that he may impress the cause with the greater emphasis upon their hardened minds. For the same reason he inserts once more, between the question and the answer, the words "is the saying of Jehovah of hosts," that the answer may not be mistaken for a subjective view, but laid to heart as a declaration of the God who rules the world. The choice of the form מה for מה was probably occasioned by the guttural ע in the יען, which is closely connected with it, just as the analogous use of על־מה instead of על־מה in Isaiah 1:5; Psalm 10:13, and Jeremiah 16:10, where it is not followed by a word commencing with ע as in Deuteronomy 29:23; 1 Kings 9:8; Jeremiah 22:8. The former have not been taken into account at all by Ewald in his elaborate Lehrbuch (cf. 182, b). In the answer given by God, "because of my house" (ya‛an bēthı̄) is placed first for the sake of emphasis, and the more precise explanation follows. אשׁר הוּא, "because it," not "that which." ואתּם וגו is a circumstantial clause. לביתו ... רצים, not "every one runs to his house," but "runs for his house," ל denoting the object of the running, as in Isaiah 59:7 and Proverbs 1:16. "When the house of Jehovah was in question, they did not move from the spot; but if it concerned their own house, they ran" (Koehler). In Haggai 1:10 and Haggai 1:11, the curse with which God punished the neglect of His house is still further depicted, with an evident play upon the punishment with which transgressors are threatened in the law (Leviticus 26:19-20; Deuteronomy 11:17 and Deuteronomy 28:23-24). עליכם is not a dat. incomm. (Hitzig), which is never expressed by על; but על is used either in a causal sense, "on your account" (Chald.), or in a local sense, "over you," after the analogy of Deuteronomy 28:23, שׁמיך אשׁר על ראשׁך, in the sense of "the heaven over you will withold" (Ros., Koehl.). It is impossible to decide with certainty between these two. The objection to the first, that "on your account" would be superfluous after על־כּן, has no more force than that raised by Hitzig against the second, viz., that super would be מעל. There is no tautology in the first explanation, but the עליכם, written emphatically at the commencement, gives greater intensity to the threat: "on account of you," you who only care for your own houses, the heaven witholds the dew. And with the other explanation, מעל would only be required in case עליכם were regarded as the object, upon which the dew ought to fall down from above. כּלא, not "to shut itself up," but in a transitive sense, with the derivative meaning to withhold or keep back; and mittâl, not partitively "of the dew," equivalent to "a portion of it," but min in a privative sense, "away from," i.e., so that no dew falls; for it is inadmissible to take mittâl as the object, "to hold back along with the dew," after the analogy of Numbers 24:11 (Hitzig), inasmuch as the accusative of the person is wanting, and in the parallel clause כּלא is construed with the accus. rei. ואקרא in Haggai 1:11 is still dependent upon על־כּן. The word chōrebh, in the sense of drought, applies strictly speaking only to the land and the fruits of the ground, but it is also transferred to men and beasts, inasmuch as drought, when it comes upon all vegetation, affects men and beasts as well; and in this clause it may be taken in the general sense of devastation. The word is carefully chosen, to express the idea of the lex talionis. Because the Jews left the house of God chârēbh, they were punished with chōrebh. The last words are comprehensive: "all the labour of the hands" had reference to the cultivation of the soil and the preparation of the necessities of life.
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