Haggai 1:5
Now therefore thus said the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Consider your ways.—A common expression in this prophet. The results of their conduct are set forth in Haggai 1:6 : they are left to infer from these what its nature has been.

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with you, and this has arisen from your neglect of rebuilding God’s temple; for as you have neglected him, so hath he withdrawn his blessing from you; the consequence of which has been, that nothing has prospered with you.1:1-11 Observe the sin of the Jews, after their return from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 now, thus saith the Lord of hosts; "Consider," (literally "set your heart upon) your ways," what they had been doing, what they were doing, and what those doings had led to, and would lead to. This is ever present to the mind of the prophets, as speaking God's words, that our acts are not only "ways" in which we go, each day of life being a continuance of the day before; but that they are ways which lead, somewhere in God's Providence and His justice; to some end of the "way," good or bad. So God says by Jeremiah Jer 21:8. "I set before you the way of life and the way of death;" and David Psalm 16:11, "Thou wilt show me the path of life," where it follows, "In Thy presence is the fullness of joy and at Thy Right Hand there are pleasures forevermore;" and Solomon Proverbs 6:23, "Reproofs of instruction are the way of life;" and, he is in Proverbs 10:17, "the way of life who keepeth instruction; and he who forsaketh rebuke, erreth;" and Proverbs 15:24, "The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath;" and of the adulterous woman, Proverbs 7:27. "Her house are the ways of hell, going down to the chambers of death" and Proverbs 5:5-6, "her feet go down unto death; her steps take hold on hell; lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life." Again, Proverbs 14:12; Proverbs 16:25. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, and the end thereof are the ways of death;" and contrariwise Proverbs 4:18, "The path of the righteous is a shining light, shining more and more until the mid-day" Proverbs 2:13. "The ways of darkness" are the ways which end in darkness; and when Isaiah says Isaiah 59:8, "The way of peace hast thou not known," he adds, "whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace." They who choose not peace for their way, shall not find peace in and for their end.

On these your ways, Haggai says, "set your hearts," not thinking of them lightly, nor giving a passing thought to them, but fixing your minds upon them; as God says to Satan Job 1:8, "Hast thou set thy heart on My servant Job?" and God is said to set His eye or His face upon man for good Jeremiah 24:6; or for evil Jeremiah 21:10, He speaks also, not of setting the mind, applying the understanding, giving the thoughts, but of "setting the heart," as the seat of the affections. It is not a dry weighing of the temporal results of their ways, but a loving dwelling upon them, for repentance without love is but the gnawing of remorse.

Set your heart on your ways; - i. e., your affections, thoughts, works, so as to be circumspect in all things; as the apostle Paul says 1 Timothy 5:21, "Do nothing without forethought," i. e., without previous judgment of reason; and Solomon Proverbs 4:25, "Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee;" and the son of Sirach, "Son, do nothing without counsel and when thou hast done it thou wilt not repent." For since, according to a probable proposition, nothing in human acts is indifferent, i. e., involving neither good nor ill deserts, they who do not thus set their hearts upon their ways, do they not daily incur almost countless sins, in thought, word, desire, deed, yea and by omission of duties? Such are all fearless persons who heed not to fulfill what is written Proverbs 4:23, 'Keep your heart with all watchfulness. '"

"He "sows much" to his own heart, but "brings in little," who by reading and hearing knows much of the heavenly commands, but by negligence in deeds bears little fruit. "He eats and is not satisfied," who, hearing the words of God, coveteth the gains or glory of the world. Well is he said not to be "satisfied," who eateth one thing, hungereth after another. He drinks and is not inebriated, who inclineth his ear to the voice of preaching, but changeth not his mind. For through inebriation the mind of those who drink is changed. He then who is devoted to the knowledge of God's word, yet still desireth to gain the things of the world, drinks and is not inebriated. For were he inebriated, no doubt he would have changed his mind and no longer seek earthly things, or love the vain and passing things which he had loved. For the Psalmist says of the elect Psalm 36:8, "they shall be inebriated with the richness of Thy house," because they shall be filled with such love of Almighty God, that, their mind being changed, they seem to be strangers to themselves, fulfilling what is written Matthew 16:24, 'If any will come after Me, let him deny himself. '"

5. Consider your ways—literally, "Set your heart" on your ways. The plural implies, Consider both what ye have done (actively, La 3:40) and what ye have suffered (passively) [Jerome]. Ponder earnestly whether ye have gained by seeking self at the sacrifice of God. Now therefore; or,

And now, or, But now, Heb.; it is time for you to consider, to set your heart to that I propose.

Thus saith the Lord of hosts; the great God speaks, hearken therefore.

Consider your ways; ponder well the course you have taken and the success of it, what you have designed, how you have succeeded, what care, and what disappointment, what labour, and how fruitless your labour hath been; consider how you have carried it toward God, and how God hath carried it toward you. Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... The Lord God omniscient and omnipotent, that saw all their actions, and could punish for them; since they were so careful of their own houses, and adorning them, and so careless of his house; he would have them now sit down, and seriously think of these things, and of what he should further observe unto them:

Consider your ways; their sinful ways, and repent of them, and forsake them, particularly their ingratitude before observed; and their civil ways, their common ways of life; their labour, work, and business, they were continually employed in; and observe the event of them; what success they had, what these issued in; whether there were not some visible tokens of the divine displeasure on them, which rendered all their attempts to support and enrich themselves and families vain, and of no effect: and they would do well to consider to what all this was to be imputed; whether it was not chiefly owing to this, their neglect of the house of God; and this he would have considered, not in a slight cursory way; but with great earnestness, diligence, and application of mind: "put", or "set your hearts upon your ways" (p); so it may be literally rendered.

(p) "ponite corda vestra", V. L.; "ponite cor vestrum", Burkius.

Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. Consider] Lit. set your heart upon, consider both their nature and (as what follows shews) their consequences; both what they are and to what they lead. The expression consider, set your heart, is used by Haggai no fewer than four times in this short book, Haggai 1:5; Haggai 1:7, Haggai 2:15; Haggai 2:18.Verse 5. - Consider; literally, set your heart upon (so ver. 7; Haggai 2:15, 18). Your ways. What ye have done, what ye have suffered, your present projects, and the consequences thereof. The power of Nineveh will be destroyed, to break the yoke laid upon Judah. Nahum 1:12. "Thus saith Jehovah, Though they be unconsumed, and therefore numerous, yet are they thus mowed down, and have passed away. I have bowed thee down, I will bow thee down no more. Nahum 1:13. And now shall I break his yoke from off thee, and break thy fetters in pieces. Nahum 1:14. And Jehovah hath given commandment concerning thee, no more of thy name will be sown: from the house of thy God I cut off graven image and molten work: I prepare thy grave; for thou art found light." To confirm the threat expressed in Nahum 1:8-11, Nahum explains the divine purpose more fully. Jehovah hath spoken: the completeness and strength of her army will be of no help to Nineveh. It is mowed down, because Judah is to be delivered from its oppressor. The words שׁלמים to ועבר refer to the enemy, the warlike hosts of Nineveh, which are to be destroyed notwithstanding their great and full number. Shâlēm, integer, with strength undiminished, both outwardly and inwardly, i.e., both numerous and strong. וכן רבּים, and so, i.e., of such a nature, just because they are of full number, or numerous. וכן נגוזּוּ, and so, i.e., although of such a nature, they will nevertheless be mowed down. גּזז, taken from the mowing of the meadows, is a figure denoting complete destruction. ועבר is not impersonal, actum est, sc. de iis, but signifies it is away, or has vanished. The singular is used with special emphasis, the numerous army being all embraced in the unity of one man: "he paints the whole people as vanishing away, just as if one little man were carried off" (Strauss). With וענּתך the address turns to Judah. The words are not applicable to the Assyrians, to whom Abarbanel, Grotius, Ewald, and Hitzig refer this clause; for Asshur is not only bowed down or chastened, but utterly destroyed. ענּתך refers to the oppression which Judah had suffered from the Assyrians in the time of Ahaz and Hezekiah. This shall not be repeated, as has already been promised in Nahum 1:9. For now will the Lord break the yoke which this enemy has laid upon Judah. ועתּה, but now, is attached adversatively to ענּתך. The suffix to מטהוּ refers to the enemy, which has its seat in Nineveh. For the figure of the yoke, cf. Leviticus 26:13; Jeremiah 27:2; Jeremiah 28:10; Ezekiel 34:27, etc.; and for the fact itself, Isaiah 10:27. The words do not refer to the people of the ten tribes, who were pining like slaves in exile (Hitzig); for Nahum makes no allusion to them at all, but to Judah (cf. Nahum 1:15), upon whom the Assyrians had laid the yoke of tribute from the time of Ahaz. This was first of all shaken off in the reign of Hezekiah, through the overthrow of Sennacherib; but it was not yet completely broken, so long as there was a possibility that Assyria might rise again with new power, as in fact it did in the reign of Manasseh, when Assyrian generals invaded Judah and carried off this king to Babylon (2 Chronicles 33:11). It was only broken when the Assyrian power was overthrown through the conquest and destruction of Nineveh. This view, which is required by the futures 'eshbōr and 'ănattēq, is confirmed by Nahum 1:14, for there the utter extermination of Assyria is clearly expressed. Vetsivvâh is not a perfect with Vav rel.; but the Vav is a simple copula: "and ( equals for) Jehovah has commanded." The perfect refers to the divine purpose, which has already been formed, even though its execution is still in the future. This purpose runs thus: "Of thy seed shall no more be sown, i.e., thou wilt have no more descendants" ("the people and name are to become extinct," Strauss; cf. Isaiah 14:20). It is not the king of Assyria who is here addressed, but the Assyrian power personified as a single man, as we may see from what follows, according to which the idols are to be rooted out along with the seed from the house of God, i.e., out of the idol temples (cf. Isaiah 37:38; Isaiah 44:13). Pesel and massēkhâh are combined, as in Deuteronomy 27:15, to denote every kind of idolatrous image. For the idolatry of Assyria, see Layard's Nineveh and its Remains, ii. p. 439ff. אשׂים קברך cannot mean, "I make the temple of thy god into a grave," although this meaning has already been expressed in the Chaldee and Syriac; and the Masoretic accentuation, which connects the words with what precedes, is also founded upon this view. If an object had to be supplied to אשׂים from the context, it must be pesel ūmassēkhâh; but there would be no sense in "I make thine idol into a grave." There is no other course left, therefore, than to take קברך as the nearest and only object to אשׂים, "I lay, i.e., prepare thy grave," כּי קלּות, because, when weighed according to thy moral worth (Job 31:6), thou hast been found light (cf. Daniel 5:27). Hence the widespread opinion, that the murder of Sennacherib (Isaiah 37:38; 2 Kings 19:37) is predicted here, must be rejected as erroneous and irreconcilable with the words, and not even so far correct as that Nahum makes any allusion to that event. He simply announces the utter destruction of the Assyrian power, together with its idolatry, upon which that power rested. Jehovah has prepared a grave for the people and their idols, because they have been found light when weighed in the balances of righteousness.
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