Haggai 2:18
Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD's temple was laid, consider it.
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(18) Even from the day.—Better, even to the day. The rendering of the Authorised Version makes the passage quite unintelligible, for in no sense can the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month coincide with the day “that the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid.” The Temple had been founded fifteen years before, in the second month of the second year of Cyrus (Ezra 3:10). The work of building had been carried on intermittently till within two years of the present time. It had then been entirely suspended, and had only been actively taken in hand after Haggai’s address in the sixth month of this year. The force of the passage is sufficiently plain if we render as above. “In order to make the blessings to be announced in Haggai 2:19 appear in strong contrast to the distress pictured in Haggai 2:16-17, the prophet repeats the injunction of Haggai 2:15, but with a larger range of retrospect. The whole period back to the time when the foundation of the Temple was laid in the reign of Cyrus was more or less one of distress on account of the unfaithfulness of the people; for between that time and the present all the efforts that had been made to complete the work were spasmodic and feeble” (McCurdy). The rendering “even to the day” is quite allowable, though the construction is certainly rare.

Haggai 2:18-19. Consider now, from this day and upward — That is, forward. In the 15th verse the prophet exhorted them to reflect upon the calamities they had suffered, from the time the rebuilding of the temple was intermitted. Now he bids them look forward, from the day the building was recommenced, (see Haggai 1:15,) and they would find a visible change in their affairs for the better. Even from the day that the foundation was laid, &c. — The prophet expresses the carrying on of the building as if it were laying the foundation anew, because the work had been so long interrupted; (compare Zechariah 8:9;) but yet there is no doubt to be made that they built upon the same foundation which had been laid some years before, of which we have an account Ezra 3:8, and did not lay a new foundation. Is the seed yet in the barn — Is the harvest already laid up in the barn? or any fruits of the earth gathered in? No, certainly: for this is but the ninth month, (answering to our November,) when no judgment can be formed what will be the increase of the year following; yet, from this time, I promise you the blessing of a fruitful year, as an encouragement to you to carry on the building. Yea, as yet the vine and the fig-tree hath not brought forth — No sign yet appears what vintage you shall have, what store of wine, oil, figs, and pomegranates; yet by the word of God I tell you, you shall be blessed in them all, and have a large produce.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.From the day that the foundation of the Lord's house - Zechariah, in a passage corresponding to this, uses the same words Zechariah 8:9, "the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built," not of the first foundation, but of the work as resumed in obedience to the words by "the mouth of the prophets," Haggai and himself, which, Ezra also says, was Ezra 4:24; Ezra 5:1. "in the second year of Darius." But that work was resumed, not now at the time of this prophecy, but three months before, on the 24th of the sixth month. Since then the word translated here, from, is in no case used of the present time, Haggai gives two dates, the resumption of the work, as marked in these words, and the, actual present. He would then say, that even in these last months, since they had begun the work, there were as yet no signs for the better. There was yet no "seed in the barn," the harvest having been blighted and the fruit-trees stripped by the hail before the close of the sixth month, when they resumed the work. Yet though there were as yet no signs of change, no earnest that the promise should be fulfilled, God pledges His word, "from this day I will bless you."

Thenceforth, from their obedience, God would give them those fruits of the earth, which in His Providence had been, during their negligence, withheld. "God," said Paul and Barnabas, Acts 14:17. "left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."

All the Old and New Testament, the Law, the prophets and the Psalms, the Apostles and our Lord Himself, bear witness to the Providence of God who makes His natural laws serve to the moral discipline of His creature, man. The physical theory, which presupposes that God so fixed the laws of His creation, as to leave no room for Himself to vary them, would, if ever so true, only come to this, that Almighty God knowing absolutely (as He must know) the actions of His creatures (in what way soever this is reconcilable with our free-agency, of which we are conscious), framed the laws of His physical creation, so that plenty or famine, healthiness of our cattle or of the fruits of the earth or their sickness, should coincide with the good or evil conduct of man, with his prayers or his neglect of prayer. The reward or chastisement alike come to man, whether they be theresult of God's will, acting apart from any system which He has created, or in it and through it.

It is alike His Providential agency, whether He have established any such system with all its minute variations, or whether these variations are the immediate result of His sovereign will. If He has instituted any physical system, so that the rain, hail, and its proportions, size, destructiveness, should come in a regulated irregularity, as fixed in all eternity as the revolutions of the heavenly bodies or the courses of the comets, then we come only to a more intricate perfection of His creation, that in all eternity He framed those laws in an exact conformity to the perfectly foreseen actions of men good and evil, and to their prayers also: that He, knowing certainly whether the creature, which He has framed to have its bliss in depending on Him, would or would not cry unto Him, framed those physical laws in conformity therewith; so that the supply of what is necessary for our wants or its withholding shall be in all time inworked into the system of our probation. Only, not to keep God out of His own world, we must remember that other truth, that, whether God act in any such system or no, He Hebrews 1:3. "upholdeth all things by the word of His power" by an everpresent working; so that it is He who at each moment doth what is done, doth and maintains in existence all which He has created in the exact order and variations of their being. Psalm 148:8. "Fire and hail, snow and vapor, stormy wind fulfilling His word," are as immediate results of His Divine Agency, in whatever way it pleaseth Him to act, and are the expression of His will.

18. Resumed from Hag 2:15 after Hag 2:16, 17, that the blessing in Hag 2:19 may stand in the more marked contrast with the curse in Hag 2:16, 17. Affliction will harden the heart, if not referred to God as its author [Moore].

even from the day that the foundation of … temple was laid—The first foundation beneath the earth had been long ago laid in the second year of Cyrus, 535 B.C. (Ezr 3:10, 11); the foundation now laid was the secondary one, which, above the earth, was laid on the previous work [Tirinus]. Or, translate, "From this day on which the temple is being begun," namely, on the foundations long ago laid [Grotius]. Maurer translates, "Consider … from the four and twentieth day … to (the time which has elapsed) from the day on which the foundation … was laid." The Hebrew supports English Version.

See Haggai 2:15. Make you observation from the day when you began to build on the old foundation laid many years ago in the time of Cyrus.

Consider it; let that be the precise day from which you begin your reckoning. By this the prophet excites them to believe and wait, since he doth in the name of the Lord so expressly promise a blessing, and tells them when it shall begin to come unto them, and would have them observe how truly he speaks. Consider now from this day and upward,.... Or forward; for time to come, as the Vulgate Latin version:

from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month; before observed, Haggai 2:10,

even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider it; not from the time it was first laid after their return upon the proclamation of Cyrus, but from the time they began to clear that foundation, and to build upon it; and which having lain so long neglected, the renewal of it is represented as a fresh laying of it: now the prophet, as he had directed them to consider what adversity and calamities had attended them from the time of their neglect unto this time; so he would have them particularly observe what blessings they would enjoy from henceforward; by which it would appear how pleasing it was to the Lord that they had begun and were going on with the building.

Consider now from {k} this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD'S temple was laid, consider it.

(k) From the time they began to build the temple, he promises that God would bless them: and even though the fruit has not yet come forth, yet in the gathering they would have plenty.

18. from this day and upward] The Jews are again exhorted to fix their attention upon the period of time mentioned in ver. 15. It is first described as, from this day and upward, or backward. Then each limit of the period is more clearly defined. “This day” is “the four and twentieth day of the ninth month,” on which this prophecy was uttered, ver. 10. The “upward” or “backward” extends to the other limit from which the reckoning is to be made, viz. “the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid,” i.e. the day when the actual foundation was completed in the year after their return from Babylon. This is made clearer in R. V. by the substitution of, since the day, for even from the day. This period they are again called upon to “consider,” and to note well the dark cloud of adversity that brooded over it.Verses 18, 19. - § 2. On their obedience the blessings of nature shall again be theirs. Verse 18. - Consider now from this day and upward (see note on ver. 15.) For "upward" Jerome has here in futurum, though he translated the same word supra in ver. 15. Such a rendering is allowable, and affords a good sense, the prophet directing the people's attention to the happy prospect in the future announced in ver. 19. But it seems, best to keep to the same interpretation in two passages so closely allied. The prophet bids the people consider the period from the present, the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, when this prophecy was uttered (ver. 10), to the other limit explanatory of the term "upward" or "backward." Even from the day that the foundation, etc.; rather, since the day that, etc. This is obviously the same period as that named in ver. 15, after the foundation was completed, but before "stone was laid upon stone" of the superstructure (comp. Zechariah 8:9). The same, or rather a worse fate than No-amon suffered, is now awaiting Nineveh. Nahum 3:11. "Thou also wilt be drunken, shalt be hidden; thou also wilt seek for a refuge from the enemy. Nahum 3:12. All thy citadels are fig-trees with early figs; if they are shaken, they fall into the mouth of the eater. Nahum 3:13. Behold thy people, women in the midst of thee; the gates of thy land are thrown quite open to thine enemies; fire consumes thy bolts." גּם־אתּ corresponds to גּם־היא in Nahum 3:10 : as she, so also thou. "The fate of No-amon is a prophecy of thine own" (Hitzig). תּשׁכּרי, thou wilt be drunken, viz., from the goblet of divine wrath, as at Obadiah 1:16. תּהי נעלמה might mean, "thou wilt be hiding thyself;" but although this might suit what follows, it does not agree with תּשׁכּרי , since an intoxicated person is not in the habit of hiding himself. Moreover, נעלם always means "hidden," occultus; so that Calvin's interpretation is the correct one: "Thou wilt vanish away as if thou hadst never been; the Hebrews frequently using the expression being hidden for being reduced to nothing." This is favoured by a comparison both with Nahum 1:8 and Nahum 2:12, and also with the parallel passage in Obadiah 1:16, "They will drink, and be as if they had not been." This is carried out still further in what follows: "Thou wilt seek refuge from the enemy," i.e., in this connection, seek it in vain, or without finding it; not, "Thou wilt surely demand salvation from the enemy by surrender" (Strauss), for מאויב does not belong to תּבקשׁי, but to מעוז (cf. Isaiah 25:4). All the fortifications of Nineveh are like fig-trees with early figs (עם in the sense of subordination, as in Sol 4:13), which fall into the mouth of the eater when the trees are shaken. The tertium compar. is the facility with which the castles will be taken and destroyed by the enemy assaulting them (cf. Isaiah 28:4). We must not extend the comparison so far, however, as to take the figs as representing cowardly warriors, as Hitzig does. Even in Nahum 3:13, where the people are compared to women, the point of comparison is not the cowardliness of the warriors, but the weakness and inability to offer any successful resistance into which the nation of the Assyrians, which was at other times so warlike, would be reduced through the force of the divine judgment inflicted upon Nineveh (compare Isaiah 19:16; Jeremiah 50:37; Jeremiah 51:30). לאיביך belongs to what follows, and is placed first, and pointed with zakeph-katon for the sake of emphasis. The gates of the land are the approaches to it, the passes leading into it, which were no doubt provided with castles. Tuch (p. 35) refers to the mountains on the north, which Pliny calls impassable. The bolts of these gates are the castles, through which the approaches were closed. Jeremiah transfers to Babel what is here said of Nineveh (see Jeremiah 51:30).
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