Haggai 1:11
And I called for a drought on the land, and on the mountains, and on the corn, and on the new wine, and on the oil, and on that which the ground brings forth, and on men, and on cattle, and on all the labor of the hands.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) And I called for a drought upon.—Better, And I invoked a desolation upon. Similarly in 2Kings 8:1, Elisha announces to the Shunammite. “The Lord hath called a famine, and it shall also come upon the land seven years.”

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.And I called for a drought upon the land - God called to the people and they would not hear. It is His ever-repeated complaint to them. "I called unto you, and ye would not hear." He called to His inanimate creatures to punish them, and "they" obeyed. So Elisha tells the woman, whose son he had restored to life, 2 Kings 8:1. "The Lord hath called to the famine, and it shall also come to the land seven years."

And upon men, - in that the drought was oppressive to man. The prophet may also allude to the other meaning of the word, "waste," "desolation." They had left the house of the Lord "waste," therefore God called for waste, desolation, upon them.

11. I called—what the "heaven" and "earth," the second causes, were said to do (Hag 1:10), being the visible instruments, Jehovah, in this verse, the invisible first cause, declares to be His doing. He "calls for" famine, &c., as instruments of His wrath (2Ki 8:1; Ps 105:16). The contrast is striking between the prompt obedience of these material agencies, and the slothful disobedience of living men, His people.

drought—Hebrew, Choreb, like in sound to Chareeb, "waste" (Hag 1:4, 9), said of God's house; 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," &c., but also "men" and "cattle," who must perish in the absence of the "corn," &c., lost by the drought.

labour of the hands—all the fruits of lands, gardens, and vineyards, obtained by labor of the hands (De 28:33; Ps 78:46).

This verse is a particular narrative of what was more generally expressed in the former verse, and all things mentioned herein are very plain.

I, your God whom you neglected, called for; commanded or willed, which is call powerful enough to bring together any of his armed soldiers, to punish rebellious and contumacious sinners.

Upon the land; either the whole land, or, in distinction to mountains. the lower grounds and valleys.

Upon the mountains; which in Canaan were fruitful in pasturage, and rich in vines, and olives, and corn; all which, for want of rain, dried up and withered, languished and came to nothing; so the condition of these people was very desolate, a just punishment for a temple desolate by their negligence.

Upon men; the very blood, humours, and constitutions of men were strangely changed hereby, and many diseases afflicted them.

Upon cattle; murrain, leanness, and death among the brute beasts.

Upon all the labour of the hands; whatever man’s industry planted, as trees and plants, were under this curse, and languished, died, and were burnt up. And I called for a drought upon the land,.... Upon the whole land of Judea; as he withheld the dew and rain from falling on it to moisten it, refresh it, and make it fruitful; so he ordered a vehement heat to dry and parch it; and directed the rays of the sun to strike with great force upon it, and cause the fruits of it to wither; and which is done by a word of his; when he calls, every creature obeys. There is an elegant play on words, which shows the justness of such a proceeding, that it was according to the law of retaliation; they suffered the house of God to lie "waste", and therefore he calls for a "wasting" drought, to come upon their land:

and upon the mountains; where herbage grew, and herds of cattle and flocks of sheep were fed; but now the grass through the drought was withered away, and so no pasturage for them, and in course must perish:

and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil; that is, upon the grain fields, and upon the vines and olive trees; so that they produced but very little grain, wine, and oil, and that not very good, and which was not satisfying and refreshing; at least there were not enough for their support and comfort: now these three things were the principal necessaries of life in the country of Judea, and therefore a scarcity of them was very distressing:

and upon that which the ground bringeth forth; whatever else not mentioned the earth produced, as figs, pomegranates, and other fruit:

and upon men, and upon cattle; who not only suffered in this drought, by the above said things it came upon; but by diseases it produced upon them, as the pestilence and fever among men, and murrain upon the cattle:

and upon all the labour of the hands: of men; whatsoever fields and gardens, trees and plants of every kind, that were set and cultivated by them. Of this drought, and the famine that came upon it, we nowhere else read; but there is no doubt to be made of it.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. a drought] The Jewish commentators have observed a paronomasia or play on words, as between the fault and the punishment. My house is “waste” (charçb, ver. 4, 9), through your neglect, and your punishment shall be a “drought” (choreb). “Quasi dicat; quia aedem meam vastam relinquitis, ego quoque in omnia vestra vastitatem immittam.” Rosenm.

labour] The word here used means properly wearisome labour, toil (Genesis 31:42). It is κόπος rather than ἔργον. Here of course it means the product of labour.Verse 11. - I called for a drought. So Elisha says (2 Kings 8:1) that "the Lord hath called for a famine." There is a play of words in the Hebrew: as they had let the Lord's house lie" waste" (thatch) (vers. 4,9), so the Lord punished them with "drought" (choreb). The Septuagint and Syriac, pointing differently, translate this last word "sword," but this is not suitable for the context, which speaks of the sterility of the land only. The land, in contradistinction to the mountains, is the plain country. Nothing anywhere was spared. All the labour of the hands (Psalm 128:2, etc.). All that they had effected by long and wearisome toil in the cornfield, the vineyard, etc. (comp. Hosea 2:9; Joel 1:10). After assigning this reason for the divine purpose concerning Asshur, the prophet proceeds in Nahum 2:3. to depict the army advancing towards Nineveh, viz., in Nahum 2:3 its appearance, and in Nahum 2:4 the manner in which it sets itself in motion for battle. Nahum 2:3. "The shield of His heroes is made red, the valiant men are clothed in crimson: in the fire of the steel-bosses are the chariots, on the day of His equipment; and the cypresses are swung about. Nahum 2:4. The chariots rave in the streets, they run over one another on the roads; their appearance is like the torches, they run about like lightning." The suffix attached to gibbōrēhū (His heroes) might be taken as referring to mēphı̄ts in Nahum 2:1 (2); but it is more natural to refer it to Jehovah in Nahum 2:2 (3), as having summoned the army against Nineveh (cf. Isaiah 13:3). The shields are reddened, i.e., not radiant (Ewald), but coloured with red, and that not with the blood of enemies who have been slain (Abarbanel and Grotius), but either with red colour with which they are painted, or what is still more probable, with the copper with which they are overlaid: see Josephus, Ant. xiii. 12, 5 (Hitzig). אנשׁי־חיל are not fighting men generally, i.e., soldiers, but brave men, heroes (cf. Judges 3:29; 1 Samuel 31:12; 2 Samuel 11:16, equivalent to benē chayil in 1 Samuel 18:17, etc.). מתלּעים, ἁπ. λεγ., a denom. of תּולע, coccus: clothed in coccus or crimson. The fighting dress of the nations of antiquity was frequently blood-red (see Aeliani, Var. hist. vi. 6).

(Note: Valerius observes on this: "They used Poenic tunics in battle, to disguise and hide the blood of their wounds, not lest the sight of it should fill them with alarm, but lest it should inspire the enemy with confidence.")

The ἁπ. λεγ. pelâdōth is certainly not used for lappı̄dı̄m, torches; but in both Arabic and Syriac paldâh signifies steel (see Ges. Lex.). But pelâdōth are not scythes, which would suggest the idea of scythe-chariots (Michaelis, Ewald, and others); for scythe-chariots were first introduced by Cyrus, and were unknown before his time to the Medes, the Syrians, the Arabians, and also to the ancient Egyptians (see at Joshua 17:16). Pelâdōth probably denotes the steel covering of the chariots, as the Assyrian war-chariots were adorned according to the monuments with ornaments of metal.

(Note: "The chariots of the Assyrians," says Strauss, "as we see them on the monuments, glare with shining things, made either of iron or steel, battle-axes, bows, arrows, and shields, and all kinds of weapons; the horses are also ornamented with crowns and red fringes, and even the poles of the carriages are made resplendent with shining suns and moons: add to these the soldiers in armour riding in the chariots; and it could not but be the case, that when illumined by the rays of the sun above them, they would have all the appearance of flames as they flew hither and thither with great celerity." Compare also the description of the Assyrian war-chariots given by Layard in his Nineveh and its Remains, vol. ii. p. 348.)

The army of the enemy presents the appearance described בּיום הכינו, in the day of his equipment. הכין, to prepare, used of the equipping of an army for an attack or for battle, as in Jeremiah 46:14; Ezekiel 7:14; Ezekiel 38:7. The suffix refers to Jehovah, like that in גּבּוריהוּ; compare Isaiah 13:4, where Jehovah raises an army for war with Babylon. Habberōshı̄m, the cypresses, are no doubt lances or javelins made of cypress-wood (Grotius and others), not magnates (Chald., Kimchi, and others), or viri hastati. הרעלוּ, to be swung, or brandished, in the hands of the warriors equipped for battle. The army advances to the assault (Nahum 2:4), and presses into the suburbs. The chariots rave (go mad) in the streets. התהולל, to behave one's self foolishly, to rave, used here as in Jeremiah 46:9 for mad driving, or driving with insane rapidity (see 2 Kings 9:20). השׁתּקשׁק, hithpalel of שׁקק, to run (Joel 2:9); in the intensive form, to run over one another, i.e., to run in such a way that they appear as though they would run over one another. חוּצות and רחבות are roads and open spaces, not outside the city, but inside (cf. Amos 5:16; Psalm 144:13-14; Proverbs 1:20), and, indeed, as we may see from what follows, in the suburbs surrounding the inner city of citadel. Their appearance (viz., that of the chariots as they drive raving about) is like torches. The feminine suffix to מראיהן can only refer to הרכב, notwithstanding the fact that elsewhere רכב is always construed as a masculine, and that it is so here in the first clauses. For the suffix cannot refer to רחבות (Hoelem. and Strauss), because הרכב is the subject in the following clause as well as in the two previous ones. The best way probably is to take it as a neuter, so that it might refer not to the chariots only, but to everything in and upon the chariots. The appearance of the chariots, as they drove about with the speed of lightning, richly ornamented with bright metal (see on Nahum 2:3), and occupied by warriors in splendid clothes and dazzling armour, might very well be compared to torches and flashing lightning. רצץ, pilel of רוּץ (not poel of רצץ, Judges 10:8), cursitare, used of their driving with lightning-speed.

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