Haggai 2:5
According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) According to the word.—Better, with the word. The clause is connected with the closing words of Haggai 2:4. Jehovah is present with them, and so is His Promise made by solemn covenant in the days of old.

So my spirit.—Better, and my spirit. Besides such promises of God’s abiding favour as Exodus 29:45-46, they have among them the abiding presence of His Holy Spirit. Having these, let them not be afraid. The evidence of the Divine Presence was the mission of inspired prophets, such as Haggai and Zechariah, and the Targum and the Rabbis are perhaps right in referring the words “and my spirit” exclusively to the “spirit of prophecy.” It may be noticed that the later Jews held that the Holy Spirit left the Church after the deaths of Zechariah and Malachi.

2:1-9 Those who are hearty in the Lord's service shall receive encouragement to proceed. But they could not build such a temple then, as Solomon built. Though our gracious God is pleased if we do as well as we can in his service, yet our proud hearts will scarcely let us be pleased, unless we do as well as others, whose abilities are far beyond ours. Encouragement is given the Jews to go on in the work notwithstanding. They have God with them, his Spirit and his special presence. Though he chastens their transgressions, his faithfulness does not fail. The Spirit still remained among them. And they shall have the Messiah among them shortly; He that should come. Convulsions and changes would take place in the Jewish church and state, but first should come great revolutions and commotions among the nations. He shall come, as the Desire of all nations; desirable to all nations, for in him shall all the earth be blessed with the best of blessings; long expected and desired by all believers. The house they were building should be filled with glory, very far beyond Solomon's temple. This house shall be filled with glory of another nature. If we have silver and gold, we must serve and honour God with it, for the property is his. If we have not silver and gold, we must honour him with such as we have, and he will accept us. Let them be comforted that the glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, in what would be beyond all the glories of the first house, the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord of glory, personally, and in human nature. Nothing but the presence of the Son of God, in human form and nature, could fulfil this. Jesus is the Christ, is He that should come, and we are to look for no other. This prophecy alone is enough to silence the Jews, and condemn their obstinate rejection of Him, concerning whom all their prophets spake. If God be with us, peace is with us. But the Jews under the latter temple had much trouble; but this promise is fulfilled in that spiritual peace which Jesus Christ has by his blood purchased for all believers. All changes shall make way for Christ to be desired and valued by all nations. And the Jews shall have their eyes opened to behold how precious He is, whom they have hitherto rejected.The words which I covenanted - The words stand more forcibly, because abruptly.

It is an exclamation which cannot be forced into any grammatical relation with the preceding. The more exact idiom would have been "Remember," "take to heart." But the prophet points to it the more energetically, because he casts it, as it were, into the midst, not bound up with any one verb. This would be the rather done in speaking to the people, as David to his followers (1 Samuel 30:23, which Ewald compares, Lehrb. n. 329. a. p. 811, ed. 8. and in his Die Proph. iii. 183. Only he, not very intelligibly, makes it a sort of oath, By the word, By that which the Lord hath given us. But he suggests the like broken sentence Zechariah 7.7), "That which the Lord hath given us and hath preserved us and given the company against us into our hands!" i. e., "Would you deal thus with it?" The abrupt form rejects it as shocking. So here, "The word which I covenanted with you," i. e. this, "I will be with you," was the central all-containing promise, to which God pledged Himself when He brought them out of Egypt. He speaks to them as being one with those who came up out of Egypt, as if they were the very persons. The Church, ever varying in the individuals of whom it is composed, is, throughout all ages, in God's sight, one; His promises to the fathers are made to the children in them. So the Psalmist says, "There" (at the dividing of the Red Sea and the Jordan) "do we rejoice in Him," as if present there; and our Lord promises to the Apostles, Matthew 28:20. "I am with you always even to the end of the world," by an ever-present presence with them and His Church founded by them in Him.

My Spirit abideth among you, - as the Psalmist says Psalm 102:27, "they (the heavens) perish and Thou abidest" Psalm 33:11, "The counsel of the Lord standeth forever" Psalm 111:3, "His righteousness endureth forever." The Spirit of God is God the Holy Spirit, with His manifold gifts. Where He is, is all good. As the soul is in the body, so God the Holy Spirit is in the Church, Himself its life, and bestowing on all and each every good gift, as each and all have need. As Paul says of the Church of Christ 1 Corinthians 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:11, "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God, who worketh all in all. All these worketh one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will." But above and beyond all gifts He is present as the Spirit of holiness and love, making the Church and those in whom He individually dwells, acceptable to God. Special applications, such as "the Spirit of wisdom and might;" a spirit such as He gave to Moses to judge His people; the spirit of prophecy; or the spirit given to Bezaleel and Aholiab for the work of the sanctuary - these recognize in detail the one great truth, that all good, all wisdom, from least to greatest, comes from God the Holy Spirit; though one by one they would exclude more truth than they each contain.

5. According to the word that—literally, "(I am with you) the word (or thing) which I covenanted"; that is, I am with you as I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt (Ex 19:5, 6; 34:10, 11). The covenant promise of God to the elect people at Sinai is an additional motive for their persevering. The Hebrew for to "covenant" is literally "to cut," alluding to the sacrificial victims cut in ratification of a covenant.

so—or, "and."

my Spirit remaineth among you—to strengthen you for the work (Hag 1:14; Zec 4:6). The inspiration of Haggai and Zechariah at this time was a specimen of the presence of God's Spirit remaining still with His people, as He had been with Moses and Israel of old (Ezr 5:1; Isa 63:11).

The word; either the word of promise to give them his presence, and to carry them through all opposition, or, the Word, the Son of God, promised to them and us; so it refers to Christ, in whom all the promises are yea and amen.

That I covenanted with you; in solemnest manner reduced to the form and model of a covenant, that it might be sure and firm to you, as to your fathers, in whose time I made this covenant, and with you in them.

When ye came out of Egypt; when I brought you out of Egypt, the house of bondage.

My spirit, of strength and courage, of wisdom and understanding, of zeal and fervency, to carry you through this work, remaineth among you; still doth dwell in you, shall be continued to you, and give direction and success.

Fear ye not; let no discouraging surmises settle in your mind or weaken your hands. There were as many improbabilities lay in bar to your getting out of Egypt, yet my word, covenant, and Spirit overcame all; fear not therefore, I am the same, and with you, as with your father’s.

According to the Word that I covenanted with you, when ye came out of Egypt,.... Or rather, "with the Word, in or with whom I covenanted" (g), &c. as some render it; that is, Christ, the essential Word, who was promised to the people of Israel at that time, Deuteronomy 18:15 and in whom all the promises are, and the covenant of grace itself; and which covenant was indeed made with him from eternity, but was made manifest, or more clearly manifest, to the Jewish ancestors, when they came out of Egypt: now it is here promised, for the encouragement of the Jews to go in the work of the Lord in building the temple, that this divine Word should be with them also, to counsel, assist, strengthen, and protect them; even he who went before their fathers in the wilderness in a pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by night; the Angel of God's presence, that redeemed, saved, and carried them all the days of old; the Word that was in the beginning with God, and was God; and by whom all things were created at first; and who would, as since he has, become flesh, and dwell among them, and appear in this very temple they were now building; and who will be with all his churches, ministers, and people, unto the end of the world:

so my Spirit remaineth among you: or rather, "and", or "also, my Spirit standeth", continueth "in the midst of you" (h); not only Jehovah the Father, and his divine Logos or Word, were with them; but his Spirit also, his Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Trinity, of which these words are a proof; the same Spirit which was in Moses and others in his time, for the building of the tabernacle, is now promised unto, and should continue with, the builders of this temple; as a Spirit of wisdom and counsel to direct them, and as a Spirit of might and power to strengthen and assist them: and so he is, and will be, in the churches of Christ, and in the midst of his people, to assist the ministers of the word in preaching, the people in hearing, praying, and praising; to carry on his own work in them; to be the Comforter of them, and the seal, earnest, and pledge of their future glory; nor does he, nor ever will he, depart from them; see Isaiah 59:21,

fear ye not: succeeding in the work, and finishing it; nor be dismayed at what the ancient people had said; nor be afraid of enemies, who did all they could to hinder and discourage them from going on with their work; and indeed there is no reason to fear, let the service be what it will the Lord employs his people in; if he, Father, Son, and Spirit, are with them; see Isaiah 41:10.

(g) "cum verbo quo pepigeram", Junius & Tremellius; "cum verbo illo quo pepigi", Varenius; approved of by Reinbeck, Append. Doctrin. de Accent. p. 76, 77. (h) "et Spiritus meus stat in medio vestri", Pagninus, Cocceius; "stana", Montanus; "Spiritus quoque meus stabit in medio vestrum", Vatablus.

According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. According to the word] The words “according to” are wanting in the Hebrew, but are properly supplied in A. V. and R. V. It has been proposed to regard the last clause of ver. 4 as parenthetical, and make the beginning of this verse grammatically dependent on the word “do” in ver. 4. It would then read: “Be strong and do (for I am with you, saith the Lord of Hosts) the word that I covenanted with you,” &c. But such a construction is harsh and the meaning elicited unsatisfactory. The first clause of ver. 5 is thrown out in the abrupt forcible style of Haggai, and gives the ground both of the foregoing and of the following assurance. The ancient covenant with their fathers is as it were called up before them as a witness to the truth of the present promises: “I am with you saith the Lord of Hosts—(‘see,’ ‘remember,’ or ‘there stands’) the word which I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt!—and my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.” The student of the Greek Testament will be reminded of a somewhat similar construction in St Peter’s address to Cornelius and his company, (τὸν λόγον, κ.τ.λ. Acts 10:36).

so my spirit remaineth] Or, and my spirit abode, R. V. Comp. Isaiah 63:11; Zechariah 4:6.

Verse 5. - According to the word that I covenanted. The Hebrew is simply, "the word that I," etc. Hence some have connected it with the verb "do" in the preceding verse, the intervening words being parenthetical. But there is intended no injunction respecting the observation of the old covenant, but a consolatory message under present despondency. Others take it with the verb that fallows: "the word and my Spirit remain among you." but it is best to leave the clause in the abrupt fashion in which it is introduced: "(Here is, here stands) the word that I covenanted with you." If anything is supplied, we might insert, "I will confirm." The promise of present help is confirmed by the remembrance of God's former covenant with Israel, that they should be his peculiar people and possess the right of access to him and a claim on his help (Exodus 19:5, 6; Exodus 29:45, 46; Deuteronomy 7:6; Jeremiah 7:23). This clause is entirely omitted by the Septuagint. So my Spirit remaineth among you; Revised Version, and my Spirit abode among you. But the clause refers to God's presence among them now, which was shown by the revelations made to the prophets, as Haggai and Zechariah, and which exhibits itself in his providential ordering of events, the removal of obstacles, the furthering of the good work. Wordsworth notes that "Christ was with the ancient Church in the wilderness (see 1 Corinthians 10:9; Hebrews 11:26); and now, when the eternal Word became incarnate, and when the Holy Spirit was sent to be in the midst of God's faithful people, then this prophecy was fulfilled. Fear ye not. If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31; and comp. Zechariah 4:6). Haggai 2:5"Who is left among you, that saw this house in its former glory? and how do ye see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? Haggai 2:4. And now be comforted, Zerubbabel, is the saying of Jehovah; and be comforted, Joshua son of Jozadak, thou high priest; and be comforted all the people of the land, is the saying of Jehovah, and work: for I am with you, is the saying of Jehovah of hosts. Haggai 2:5. The word that I concluded with you at your coming out of Egypt, and my Spirit, stand in the midst of you; fear ye not." The prophet, admitting the poverty of the new building in comparison with the former one, exhorts them to continue the work in comfort, and promises them that the Lord will be with them, and fulfil His covenant promises. The question in Haggai 2:3 is addressed to the old men, who had seen Solomon's temple in all its glory. There might be many such men still living, as it was only sixty-seven or sixty-eight years since the destruction of the first temple. הנּשׁאר is the predicate to the subject מי, and has the article because it is defined by the reflex action of the relative clause which follows (compare Ewald, 277, a). The second question, וּמה אתּם וגו, et qualem videtis, In what condition do ye see it now? is appended to the last clause of the first question: the house which ye saw in its former glory. There then follows with הלוא, in the form of a lively assurance, the statement of the difference between the two buildings. כּמהוּ כּאין, which has been interpreted in very different ways, may be explained from the double use of the כ in comparisons, which is common in Hebrew, and which answers to our as - so: here, however, it is used in the same way as in Genesis 18:25 and Genesis 44:18; that is to say, the object to be compared is mentioned first, and the object with which the comparison is instituted is mentioned afterwards, in this sense, "so is it, as having no existence," in which case we should either leave out the first particle of comparison, or if it were expressed, should have to reverse the order of the words: "as not existing (nothing), so is it in your eyes." Koehler gives this correct explanation; whereas if כּמהוּ be explained according to Joel 2:2, its equal, or such an one, we get the unsuitable thought, that it is not the temple itself, but something like the temple, that is compared to nothing. Even in Genesis 44:18, to which Ewald very properly refers as containing a perfectly equivalent phrase, it is not a man equal to Joseph, but Joseph himself, who is compared to Pharaoh, and described as being equal to him. Nevertheless they are not to let their courage fail, but to be comforted and to work. Châzaq, to be inwardly strong, i.e., to be comforted, 'Ash, to work or procure, as in Ruth 2:19 and Proverbs 31:13, in actual fact, to continue the work of building bravely, without there being any necessity to supply מלאכה from Haggai 1:14. For Jehovah will be with them (cf. Haggai 1:13).

In confirmation of this promise the Lord adds, that the word which He concluded with them on their coming out of Egypt, and His Spirit, will continue among them. "The word" ('eth-haddâbhâr) cannot be either the accusative of the object to the preceding verb ‛ăsū (Haggai 2:4), or to any verb we may choose to supply, or the preposition 'ēth, with, or the accusative of norm or measure (Luther, Calvin, and others). To connect it with ‛ăsū yields no suitable meaning. It is not the word, which they vowed to the Lord, at the conclusion of the covenant, that they are to do now, but the work which they had begun, viz., the building of the temple, they are now to continue. It is perfectly arbitrary to supply the verb zikhrū, remember (Ewald and Hengstenberg), and to understand the prophet as reminding them of the word "fear not" (Exodus 20:17-20). That word, "fear not," with which Moses, not God, infused courage into the people, who were alarmed at the terrible phenomenon with which Jehovah came down upon Sinai, has no such central significance as that Haggai could point to it without further introduction, and say that Jehovah had concluded it with them on their coming out of Egypt. The word which the Lord concluded with Israel when He led it out of Egypt, can only be the promise which established the covenant, to the fulfilment of which God bound Himself in relation to the people, when He led them out of Egypt, namely, the word that He would make Israel into His own property out of all nations (Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 7:6; cf. Jeremiah 7:22-23, and Jeremiah 11:4). It would quite agree with this to take 'ēth as the accusative of the norm, and also to connect it as a preposition, if this could only be shown to be in accordance with the rules of the language. But although the accusative in Hebrew is often used, in the relation of free subordination, "to express more precisely the relation of measure and size, space and time, mode and kind" (cf. Ewald, 204-206), it is impossible to find any example of such an accusative of norm as is here assumed, especially with 'ēth preceding it. But if 'ēth were a preposition instead of אתּכם, we should have עמּכם, inasmuch as the use of את־הדּבר, as a parallel to אתּכם, makes the words clumsy and awkward. The thought which Haggai evidently wishes to express requires that haddâbhâr should stand upon the same line with rūchı̄, so that 'eth-haddâbhâr is actually the subject to ‛ōmedeth, and 'ēth is simply used to connect the new declaration with the preceding one, and to place it in subjection to the one which follows, in the sense of "as regards," quoad (Ewald, 277, d, pp. 683-4), in which case the choice of the accusative in the present instance may either be explained from a kind of attraction (as in the Latin, urbem quam statuo vestra est), as Hitzig supposes, or from the blending together of two constructions, as Koehler maintains; that is to say, Haggai intended to write את־הדּבר ורוּחי העמדתּי, but was induced to alter the proposed construction by the relative clause אשׁר כּרתּי וגו attaching itself to הדּבר. Consequently ‛ōmedeth, as predicate, not only belongs to rūchı̄, but also to haddâbhâr, in the sense of to have continuance and validity; and according to a later usage of the language, עמד is used for קוּם, to stand fast (compare Isaiah 40:8 with Daniel 11:14). The word, that Israel is the property of Jehovah, and Jehovah the God of Israel, still stands in undiminished force; and not only so, but His Spirit also still works in the midst of Israel. Rūăch, in parallelism with the word containing the foundation of the covenant, is neither the spirit of prophecy (Chald., J. D. Mich.), nor the spirit which once filled Bezaleel and his companions (Exodus 31:1., Exodus 36:1.), enabling them to erect the tabernacle in a proper manner, and one well-pleasing to God (Luc., Osiander, and Koehler). Both views are too narrow; rūăch is the divine power which accompanies the word of promise and realizes it in a creative manner, i.e., not merely "the virtue with which God will establish their souls, that they may not be overcome by temptations" (Calvin), but also the power of the Spirit working in the world, which is able to remove all the external obstacles that present themselves to the realization of the divine plan of salvation. This Spirit is still working in Israel ("in the midst of you"); therefore they are not to fear, even if the existing state of things does not correspond to human expectations. The omnipotence of God can and will carry out His word, and glorify His temple. This leads to the further promise in Haggai 2:6-9, which gives the reason for the exhortation, "Fear ye not."

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