Haggai 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12-15) The Second Utterance.—The people turn a willing ear to Haggai’s exhortation, and the prophet is now charged to inform them of the return of God’s favour, in the gracious utterance, “I am with you, saith the Lord.”

(12) With all the remnant of.—The word may mean either “the remnant” restored from Babylon, or merely “the remainder” of the people. Similarly in Haggai 1:14; Haggai 2:2.

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. 1:12-15 The people returned to God in the way of duty. In attending to God's ministers, we must have respect to him that sent them. The word of the Lord has success, when by his grace he stirs up our spirits to comply with it. It is in the day of Divine power we are made willing. When God has work to be done, he will either find or make men fit to do it. Every one helped, as his ability was; and this they did with a regard to the Lord as their God. Those who have lost time, need to redeem time; and the longer we have loitered in folly, the more haste we should make. God met them in a way of mercy. Those who work for him, have him with them; and if he be for us, who can be against us? This should stir us up to be diligent.Then Zerubbabel, and all the remnant of the people - , not, "the rest of people" but "the remnant," those who remained over from the captivity, the fragment of the two tribes, which returned to their own land, "hearkened unto the voice of the Lord." This was the beginning of a conversion. In this one thing they began to do, what, all along, in their history, and most in their decay before the captivity they refused to do - obey God's word. So God sums up their history, by Jeremiah, Jeremiah 22:21. "I spake unto thee in thy prosperity, thou saidst, I will not hear. This is thy way from thy youth, that thou hearkenedst not unto My voice." Zephaniah 3:2 still more briefly , "she hearkened not unto (any) voice." Now in reference, it seems, to that account of their disobedience, Haggai says, using the self-same formula , "they hearkened unto the voice of the Lord, "according to the words of Haggai." They obeyed, not vaguely, or partly, but exactly, "according to the words" which the messenger of God spake.

And they feared the Lord - o "Certainly the presence of the Divine Majesty is to be teared with great reverence." "The fear of punishment at times transports the mind to what is better, and the infliction of sorrows harmonizes the mind to the fear of God; and that of the Proverbs comes true, Proverbs 13:13. "He that feareth the Lord shall be recompensed," and Proverbs 19:23 "the fear of the Lord tendeth to life;" and Wisdom (Ecclesiasticus 1:11). "The fear of the Lord is honor and glory, and Proverbs 19:12 the fear of the Lord shall rejoice the heart, and giveth joy and gladness and a long life." See how gently and beseemingly God smites us."

"See how the lovingkindness of God immediately goes along with all changes for the better. For Almighty God changes along with those who will to repent, and promises that He will be with them; which what can equal? For when God is with us, all harm will depart from us, all good come in to us."

12. remnant of the people—all those who have returned from the exile (Zec 8:6).

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, Maurer translates here, "hearkened to the voice of the Lord," and instead of "as," "because the Lord had sent him." However, English Version rightly represents their purpose of obedience as obedience in God's eyes already, though not carried into effect till Hag 1:14.

Then; so soon as they heard this convincing and awakening sermon.

Shealtiel; who is called Salathiel, 1 Chronicles 3:17 Matthew 1:12.

Joshua the son of Josedech: see Haggai 1:1.

The high priest; the twenty-fourth from Aaron, as some reckon, (Alsted. Chron.,) but the first after the captivity.

With all; either none were deaf to the Lord’s reproof and counsel, or else none durst appear so, when the chief rulers in state and church were so forward in obeying the prophet.

The people; the common people, the meaner sort.

Obeyed the voice of the Lord; acknowledged that it was the sovereign Lord who spake, who ought to be obeyed, because he is the Lord.

Their God; and therefore they ought to do his will, that they might receive the blessings which he, as their God, had promised to them. As God made this an argument to obedience, so do these now; We are thy people, thou art our God.

The words of Haggai: this interprets the former, the voice of the Lord was the words of Haggai, he added nothing of his own to them.

As the Lord their God had sent him; according to all for which the Lord had sent and commissioned him, or particularly in all that concerned the speedy building of the temple.

The people did fear before the Lord: this speaks the right religious frame of heart in this people at this time. Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech the high priest,.... Here follows an account of the success of Haggai's prophecy; with what power and efficacy the word of the Lord by him was attended; how it at once reached and affected the hearts of princes and people, and brought them to obedience to the will of God. The governor and high priest are mentioned first, as being the principal persons, and who very probably first declared their sense of their former neglect, and their readiness to do as they were directed; which was setting a good example to the people, and doubtless had some influence upon them:

with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God; not the two leading men in church and state only; but all the people that came out of the Babylonish captivity, who were but a remnant; a few that were left through various calamities they had been exposed unto; these, one and all, signified how willing and ready they were to do the work of the Lord enjoined them: or, "they heard the voice of the Lord" (c); by the prophet, very attentively and seriously; and received and regarded it, not as the word of men, but as the word of God; and determined to act according to it:

and the words of Haggai the prophet; or, "and for the words of Haggai the prophet" (d); because of them, considering them as coming from the Lord himself:

as the Lord their God had sent him; regarding him as having a mission and commission from the Lord to deliver them to them:

and the people did fear before the Lord; perceiving that he was displeased with them for the neglect of his house; and that this drought upon them was a chastisement and correction for this sin; and fearing lest his wrath should continue, and they should be more severely dealt with, on account of their transgressions.

(c) "et audivit", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Burkius. (d) "idque propter verba Chaggai", Varenius, Reinbeck.

Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the {k} 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.

(k) This declares that God was the author of the doctrine, and that Haggai was but the minister, as in Ex 14:31, Jud 7:20, Ac 15:28.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ch. Haggai 1:12-15. The Effects of the Prophecy

12. the remnant of the people] i.e. not the rest or remainder of the people beside Zerubbabel and Joshua, who had been mentioned by name, but “the remnant” in what came to be a technical use of the word, that part of the nation, a remnant only in comparison of the whole, which returned from the captivity in Babylon.

and the words] some would render according to the words, but the A. V. gives a satisfactory sense, and the construction is borne out by Jeremiah 26:5; Jeremiah 35:15.

did fear] The word is used in its usual O. T. sense to denote the spirit of true religion. There was genuine conversion on the part of the people, they yielded, not the unwilling obedience of terror, but the hearty service of godly fear.Verses 12-15, - § 3. The appeal meets with respect and attention, and for a time the people apply themselves diligently to the work. Verse 12. - All the remnant of the people (Haggai 2:2); i.e. the people who had returned from the Captivity, who are technically named "the remnant" is being only a small portion of all Israel (Isaiah 10:21, 22; Zechariah 8:6; Micah 2:12). Others, not so suitably, understand by the expression, all the people beside the chiefs (ver. 14). Obeyed; rather, listened unto. The active obedience is narrated in ver. 14. And the words. The prophet's words are the voice of the Lord; and the people heeded the message which the Lord had commissioned him to give. Did fear. They should that true religion which the Bible calls "the fear of the Lord." They saw their faults, perhaps dreaded some new chastisement, and hastened to obey the prophet's injunction (Ezra 5:1, 2). 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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