Haggai 2:19
Is the seed yet in the barn? yes, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, has not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.
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(19) Is the seed yet in the barn?—i.e., There is no grain as yet in the barn, the harvest having been blighted in the last season. The term rendered in the Authorised Version “seed” does not imply grain for sowing, but grain for provision. The fruit harvest was as defective as that of cereals, having been cut off by the hail. (See Haggai 2:17.) The prospect was thus one of deepest gloom. But human helplessness is God’s opportunity. He pledges His word even at this crisis by the mouth of Haggai, “From this day I will bless.”

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.

19. Is the seed yet in the barn?—implying, It is not. It has been already sown this month, and there are no more signs of its bearing a good crop, much less of its being safely stored in the barn, than there were in the past season, when there was such a failure; yet I promise to you from this day (emphatically marking by the repetition the connection of the blessing with the day of their obedience) a blessing in an abundant harvest. So also the vine, &c., which heretofore have borne little or nothing, shall be blessed with productiveness. Thus it will be made evident that the blessing is due to Me, not to nature. We may trust God's promise to bless us, though we see no visible sign of its fulfilment (Hab 2:3). Your seed for the next harvest is yet in your barns, unsown, and no one can make any conjecture yet, whether next year’s increase shall be great and blessed, or whether it shall be blasted and little; I do not speak, saith Haggai, on conjecture, but in the name of the Lord foretell and promise you, that it shall be a plentiful harvest to you. Nor have your fruit trees yet put forth, no sign yet appears what vintage you shall have, what store of wine, oil, figs, and pomegranates, which are your choice and rich fruits; but in the word of God I tell you, you shall be blessed in them all, and have a large produce, a joyful vintage.

From this day: see Haggai 2:10,15.

I will bless you, in all your labour; as before you were blasted in all because you neglected, so now you shall be blessed in all because you diligently build, the temple of the Lord. Is the seed yet in the barn?.... The seed for sowing the land, in order for the next harvest: this is by some answered in the affirmative, it was in the barn, it was not yet sown; this being the ninth month, the month Chisleu, which answers to part of our November; rather it should be in the negative, no, it was just sown; and therefore no conjecture could be made, whether it would be a good harvest, or not; yet the prophet, in the name of the Lord, promises them a good one so long before hand: for the month Chisleu, which was the ninth month, was the last for sowing, and even the first half of that; for so say (r) the Jews,

"half Tisri, all Marchesvan, and half Chisleu, is seed time;''

so that this being that month, seed time must have been just over; and the sense, is there any seed in the barn? no, it is sown; and so, is there any remaining in the granary for the support of families until the next harvest? they knew there were none, or very little: and yet the Lord promises to bless them, so that they should have enough:

yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth; their various fruits; this not being the time of their bearing fruit, for it was winter time; and it could not be said what they would bring forth in their season so long before hand; yet it is suggested by the prophet that they would be very fruitful; which were the principal fruit trees the land of Israel abounded with, Deuteronomy 8:8 and on which their comfortable subsistence depended. Kimchi observes, that it may be wondered at that the olive tree should be mentioned, because the time of its bearing fruit were the months of Marchesvan and Chisleu; but perhaps the time of its bearing fruit was delayed (as he says) because of the curse upon it:

from this day will I bless you; with plenty of all good things, in their fields and gardens, in their vineyards and olive yards; so that a difference between former and present times, and those to come, would easily be discerned, and the reasons of it.

(r) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 106. 2.

Is the {l} seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.

(l) He exhorts them to have patience, and to remain until the harvest came, and then they would see God's blessings.

19. Is the seed yet in the barn?] i.e. Is it any longer in the barn? Is it not all exhausted and used up? The meagre yield of the blighted corn was soon consumed and the granary left empty. Some have thought that by “the seed” is here meant what would be required to sow the land for another year, and that the dearth and distress are heightened by the fact that there is not even corn enough left to sow. But as the word is frequently used, not of seed corn, but of produce (e.g. 1 Samuel 8:15; Isaiah 23:3; Job 39:12), and as the remainder of the verse refers to produce, it is better taken in that sense here.

yea, as yet] There is no reason to depart from the usual meaning of the Hebrew word here rendered “as yet,” viz. “unto,” or “as regards,” “And unto or as regards (extending our notice from the corn to) the vine, etc. it (i.e. each one of these trees) hath not brought forth (fruit).” It would then best accord with the English idiom to leave the word untranslated, as in R. V. The rendering of A. V. is however thought by some to be supported by Job 1:18; 1 Samuel 14:19.

from this day will I bless you] It might be asked, why not from the day three months earlier than this (ch. Haggai 1:14-15), when they first resumed the building of the temple? It has been suggested in explanation that up to this time, though they had indeed begun again to build, they had been slack and remiss in their efforts, but that from this day, instigated by this fresh appeal of Haggai, they had taken a new departure of zeal and earnestness, and that consequently from this day the blessing was to begin. But there is no proof whatever that this was so, and it is therefore better to suppose that up to this day the effects of the failure of the last harvest were still apparent, and no outward change had yet taken place in their prospects. “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.” Pusey.Verse 19. - Is the seed yet in the barn? Is there any of your poor crop still left in your granaries? Is it not already expended? "The seed" is here the produce of the seed, the grain (1 Samuel 8:15; Job 39:12). The corn crop is mentioned first, then the fruit harvest. The Vulgate has, Numquid jam semen in germine est? Has the seed begun to grow? Is there any sign of abundance? Yet the harvest shall be prolific. But there is no doubt that megurah means "barn," not "sprout." LXX., Αἰ ἐπιγνωσθήσεται ἐπὶ τῆς ἅλω, "If it shall be known upon the threshing floor." Jerome must have read γῆς for τῆς, as he renders, "Si ultra cognoscetur super terram area." He expounds it thus: So abundant shall be the produce that the threshing floor shall not recognize its own corn. or that the threshers shall be forced to join floor to floor to make room for all the grain, "et arearnm separatio nesciatur in terra" Yea, as yet; καὶ εἰ ἔτι (Septuagint); et adhuc (Vulgate); as Judges 3:26; Job 1:18. Others translate, "as regards." Though there was no sign of leaf or fruit on the trees, nothing by which one could judge of the future produce, yet the prophet predicts an abundant crop, dating from the people's obedience (Leviticus 26:3, etc.; Deuteronomy 28:2, etc.). From this day will I bless you. "This day" is the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month (ver. 10). From now the improvement in the season should begin and make itself evident. "Bless" is a term often used for sending fruitful seasons (Deuteronomy 28:8; Malachi 3:10). 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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