Haggai 2:15
And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) From this day and upwardi.e., backward.

Before a stone was laid . . .—Alluding to the recent resumption of building, not to the laying of the foundations fifteen years previously.

Haggai 2:15-17. And now, consider from this day, &c. — Reflect on what has happened to you, from the time that a stop was put to the building of the temple, after the first foundation of it was laid, till you began again to rebuild it. And upward — Or, forward. He had bid them look back, Haggai 1:5; Haggai 1:7; now he bids them look forward. Since those days — All the time the temple lay neglected. When one came to a heap — Namely, of corn, which seemed likely to produce twenty measures; there were but ten — Only half the quantity expected was found to be produced, through the poverty of the ear. The verse, it must be observed, according to the present rendering, is very elliptical; but if the first clause be explained by the second, which it ought to be, the sense will clearly appear to be this: When one came to a heap for twenty measures; that is, when a person came to a heap of corn on his floor, either of sheaves unthrashed, or of corn unwinnowed, and expected that it would have produced twenty measures after it was thrashed and winnowed, to his great disappointment he had but ten out of it. Such also was the case of those who came to draw out fifty measures of wine from the wine-press. I smote you with blasting —

Burning and scorching winds; and with hail — Which even in cold countries many times destroys corn, fruits, and trees, by its violence; but in those hot countries does it much oftener. In all the labours of your hands — In all that you sowed or planted; yet ye turned not to me — Ye did not lay my judgments to heart, nor consider that they were inflicted for your sin, in neglecting to rebuild my temple, and restore my worship in it.

2:10-19 Many spoiled this good work, by going about it with unholy hearts and hands, and were likely to gain no advantage by it. The sum of these two rules of the law is, that sin is more easily learned from others than holiness. The impurity of their hearts and lives shall make the work of their hands, and all their offerings, unclean before God. The case is the same with us. When employed in any good work, we should watch over ourselves, lest we render it unclean by our corruptions. When we begin to make conscience of duty to God, we may expect his blessing; and whoso is wise will understand the loving-kindness of the Lord. God will curse the blessings of the wicked, and make bitter the prosperity of the careless; but he will sweeten the cup of affliction to those who diligently serve him.And now, I pray you - Observe his tenderness, in drawing their attention to it , "Consider from this day and upward." He bids them look backward, "from before a stone was laid upon a stone," i. e., from the last moment of their neglect in building the house of God; "from since those days were," or from the time backward "when those things were," (resuming, in the word, "from-their-being" , the date which he had just given, namely, the beginning of their resuming the building backward, during all those years of neglect) "one came to a heap of twenty measures." The precise measure is not mentioned: the force of the appeal lay in the proportion: the heap of grain which, usually, would yield twenty, (whether bushels or seahs or any other measure, for the heap itself being of no defined size, neither could the quantity expected from it be defined) there were ten only; "one came to the pressvat to draw out fifty" vessels out of the press, or perhaps fifty poorah, i. e., the ordinary quantity drawn out at one time from the press, there were, or it bad become twenty, two-fifths only of what they looked for and ordinarily obtained. The dried grapes yielded so little. 15. consider—literally, "lay it to heart." Ponder earnestly, retracing the past "upward" (that is, backward), comparing what evils heretofore befell you before ye set about this work, with the present time when you have again commenced it, and when in consequence I now engage to "bless you." Hence ye may perceive the evils of disobedience and the blessing of obedience. And now; furthermore consider.

I pray you: he affectionately entreats them to observe.

From this day; this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, Haggai 2:10. And upward, through past years; trace year after year, and your successes and disappointments in them, observe all years past before you would set upon the rebuilding of the temple after you had intermitted it; some years passed, ten, or fifteen, or twenty, or forty, (or more say some,) between your surceasing from the work and beginning to rebuild.

Before a stone was laid upon a stone; the prophet meaneth either before they began to lay one stone upon another in the foundation laid in Cyrus’s time, or before they began to lay the foundation of the walls of the courts and outward edifices.

In the temple; either strictly taken for the house of God, or more largely for the rest of the buildings about the house: this tacitly reproves their sloth; it was the temple they neglected, which they did long for in Babylon.

Of the Lord; so much the greater their sin, for that it was the Lord’s temple was slighted.

And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward,.... This being their case, and they so polluted with sin, particularly through their neglect of building the temple; they are most earnestly and importunately entreated to "lay" it "to their hearts", to ponder it in their minds, and thoroughly consider how it had fared with them from this twenty fourth day of the ninth month, in which the prophet was sent unto them to encourage them in their work, and upwards or backwards, for some years past: even

from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the Lord: the foundation of the temple was laid quickly after the Jews returned from Babylon, upon the proclamation of Cyrus, Ezra 3:10 but, through difficulties and discouragements they met with, they desisted from the work, and went no further; a stone was not laid upon it; or, as the Targum, a row, or course upon course, until this time: and now all the intermediate space of time between the first laying the foundation of the temple, and their present going to work upon it, the prophet would have them take particular notice of; how it had been with them, as to their outward circumstances; whereby it would appear, they had sinned, and the Lord had been offended with them.

And now, I pray you, consider from this {h} day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD:

(h) Consider how God plagued you with famine before you began to build the temple.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. The A.V. is a little obscure. The verse may be rendered more clearly thus:

And now consider, I pray yon, from this day (the 24th day of the ninth month, on which the prophet was speaking, ver. 10–18) and upward (that is backward), from (the time when) not yet stone was laid upon stone in the temple of the Lord.

This is the other limit from which the reckoning is to be made, the time when the foundation of the temple had been laid, but no further progress in building had taken place, no “stone upon stone” had been added. It answers to the clause in ver. 18, “from the time when the temple of the Lord was founded.”

15–19. The great moral lesson of the Book is again inculcated. Let them fix their attention on the long period of their neglect of God and His House; the eighteen years that had intervened, between the laying of the foundation of the Temple and the 24th day of the ninth month of the second year of Darius, on which this prophecy was uttered. Let them lay to heart the fact that it had been throughout a period of distress and dearth, of gloom and darkness. Let them note the bright contrast, the plenty and prosperity, which their return to God and care for His House and worship should immediately introduce. “From this day will I bless you, saith the Lord.”

The period which they are to consider is first described in ver. 15–17, and then again, with a view to impress the lesson, in ver. 18, 19, the limits of time being now more clearly defined, and the promise of blessing introduced.

Verse 15 - The prophet bids the people look backwards, and consider how their neglect had been visited by scanty harvests; their own experience would teach them this lesson. From this day; viz. the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, when this address was delivered (ver. 10; comp. ver. 18). And upward; i.e. backward. He bids them go back in thought fourteen years when they first intermitted building. Before a stone, etc. This does not mean before the building was first begun, but before they began to build on the foundation already laid. Haggai 2:15The prophet explains these words in Haggai 2:15-19 by representing the failure of the crops, and the curse that has hitherto prevailed, as a punishment from God for having been wanting in faithfulness to the Lord (Haggai 2:15-17), and promises that from that time forward the blessing of God shall rest upon them again (Haggai 2:18, Haggai 2:19). Haggai 2:15. "And now, direct your heart from this day and onward, before stone was laid to stone at the temple of Jehovah. Haggai 2:16. Before this was, did one come to the heap of sheaves of twenty-(in measure), there were ten: did he come to the vat to draw fifty buckets, there were twenty. Haggai 2:17. I have smitten you with blasting, and with mildew, and with hail, all the work of your hands; and not one of you (turned) to me, is the saying of Jehovah." The object to which they are to direct their heart, i.e., to give heed, is not to be supplied from Haggai 1:5, Haggai 1:7, "to your ways" (Ros. and others), but is contained substantially in Haggai 2:16 and Haggai 2:17, and is first of all indicated in the words "from this day," etc. They are to notice what has taken place from this day onwards. נמעלה, lit., upwards, then further on. Here it is used not in the sense of forwards into the future, but, as the explanatory clause which follows (from before, etc.) clearly shows, in that of backwards into the past. Mitterem, literally "from the not yet of the laying ... onwards," i.e., onwards from the time when stone was laid upon stone at the temple; in other words, when the building of the temple was resumed, backwards into the past; in reality, therefore, the time before the resuming of the building of the temple: for min and mitterem cannot be taken in any other sense than in the parallel מיּום which precedes it, and מהיותם which follows in Haggai 2:16. The objection which Koehler raises to this cannot be sustained. מהיותם, from their existence (backwards). Most of the modern commentators take the suffix as referring to a noun, yâmı̄m (days), to be supplied from Haggai 2:15; but it appears much simpler to take it as a neuter, as Mark and others do, in the sense of "before these things were or were done, viz., this day, and this work of laying stone upon stone," etc. The meaning is not doubtful, viz., looking backwards from the time when the building of the temple was resumed, in other words, before the point of time. בּא commences a new sentence, in which facts that they had experienced are cited, the verb בּא being used conditionally, and forming the protasis, the apodosis to which is given in והיתה. If one came to a heap of sheaves of twenty measures (se'âh is probably to be supplied: lxx σάτα), they became ten. A heap of sheaves (‛ărēmâh as in Ruth 3:7), from which they promised themselves twenty measures, yielded, when threshed, no more than ten, i.e., only the half of what they expected. They experienced just the same at the pressing of the grapes. Instead of fifty buckets, which they expected, they obtained only twenty. Yeqebh was the vat into which the juice flowed when pressed out of the grapes. Châsaph, lit., to lay bare, here to draw out, as in Isaiah 30:14; and pūrâh, in Isaiah 63:3, the pressing-trough, here a measure, probably the measure which was generally obtained from one filling of the wine-press with grapes (lxx μετρητής). Haggai 2:17 gives the reason why so small a result was yielded by the threshing-floor and wine-press. Jehovah smote you with blasting and mildew. These words are a reminiscence of Amos 4:9, to which passage the last words of the verse also refer. To the disease of the corn there is also added the hail which smote the vines, as in Psalm 78:47. 'Eth kol-ma‛ăsēh, all the labour of the hands, i.e., all that they had cultivated with great toil, is a second accusative, "which mentions the portion smitten" (Hitzig). The perfectly unusual construction אין־אתכם אלי does not stand for אין בּכם א, non fuit in vobis qui (Vulg.), nor is אתכם used for אתּכם, "with you;" but אין־אתכם either stands for אינכם, the suffix which was taken as a verbal suffix used as an accusative being resolved into the accusative (cf. Ewald, 262, d); or it is the accusative used in the place of the subject, that is to say, את is to be taken in the sense of "as regards," quoad (Ewald, 277, p. 683): "as far as you are concerned, there was not (one) turning himself to me." אלי, to me, sc. turning himself or being converted; though there is no necessity to supply שׁבים, as the idea is implied in the word אל, as in Hosea 3:3 and 2 Kings 6:11.
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