Haggai 1:1
In the second year of the reign of Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came through Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, stating
The IntroductionS.D. Hillman Haggai 1:1
Duty RevealedHomilistHaggai 1:1-2
Duty RevealedD. Thomas Haggai 1:1, 2

The Bible student, with a view to the clear understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures, should fix in his mind the order of the prophetical writings. These books of prophecy may appropriately be arranged under three heads.

1. Those which stand related to the Assyrian period, including the books of Jonah, Joel, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, and Nahum.

2. Those connected with the Babylonian period, including Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Obadiah.

3. Those associated with the return from the exile: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. The introduction of this brief prophecy by Haggai suggests to us -

I. THE CHANGES MARKED BY THE REVOLVING WHEEL OF TIME. We are able, through this opening verse, to fix the exact date of this prophecy. It was "in the second year of Darius the king" that Haggai fulfilled this special mission, i.e. B.C. 521. Hence upwards of a century had passed away since Zephaniah had declared so faithfully the terrible Divine judgments which should overtake the nation on account of its guilt. His words had proved strictly true, and had been very literally and completely fulfilled. The land had been rendered utterly desolate; its cities had been entirely destroyed; its temple reduced to a heap of ruins; and its people carried away into exile. No King of Judah was referred to by Haggai in commencing his book, for the simple reason that the throne had fallen, and he had to recognize the authority of a Persian sovereign, and to speak of his favoured land as a province of a foreign power (ver. 1). The dispersion, however, had in a measure been followed by the regathering. Zephaniah had prophesied respecting the return of "a remnant," and his prophecy had, in a sense, now been fulfilled, for Cyrus permitted the Jews to colonize their own land, and a number had availed themselves of this permission, and had now spent some years in the bad given to their fathers, seeking to repair the waste and desolation which the march of events and the lapse of time had wrought.

II. THE WILL OF GOD AS COMMUNICATED THROUGH HUMAN INSTRUMENTALITY. The returned exiles commenced well. Their first concern had reference to the rebuilding of the house of the Lord, and with all possible speed they laid the foundation of the second temple. They were, however, weak and poor; they laboured amidst untold difficulties and discouragements, and it is not surprising that, their hearts becoming downcast and depressed, their ardour declined and their zeal languished. They needed stimulus; they required some message from the Lord their God declarative of his will and purpose; and this need was supplied, for they heard "a voice from heaven" speaking unto them through Haggai and Zechariah (Haggai 1:1, 2; Zechariah 1:1). In every age God has communicated his will and intention through the instrumentality of man. He has made holy men, full of human sympathies, the medium of Communicating his purposes. His agents in this instance, as ever, were admirably chosen. Haggai was advanced in life; he had probably seen the former temple; he was a link connecting the old with the new, and brought to bear upon the difficulties of the times a ripened and matured experience; whilst Zechariah was young, and with all the enthusiasm and warmth of youth. They worked together in perfect harmony and for the common good, their prophecies being at times admirably interwoven. There are two elements in the Bible - the Divine and the human. God speaks to us in every page, and he does so all the more emphatically, in that he addresses us through men who possessed throbbing hearts and who passed through experiences like our own.

III. THE RAISING UP IN THE ORDER OF PROVIDENCE OF EFFICIENT LEADERS TO DIRECT GREAT MOVEMENTS. "The word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, Governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josadech, the high priest (ver. 1). Zerubbabel, of royal descent from David, and Joshua, who was in the priestly line, had secured the confidence and esteem of the Jewish community in the land of captivity; and the former had won the regard of Cyrus, the Persian monarch; so that when the time for the return came, leaders, esteemed alike by the Jews and their foreign rulers, were prepared to guide the movement and to carry it through successfully. God's work shall never fail through lack of suitable agents to do his bidding, but he will raise up a bright succession of leal-hearted men to carry on his cause, until the ruin and desolation wrought by sin has been completely repaired, and the topstone of the temple of redeemed humanity be brought forth" amidst rapturous praise. - S.D.H.

Came the Word of the Lord by Haggai.
The grail subject of the whole chapter is duty. Duty revealed, duty postponed, duty vindicated These two verses direct us to the revelation of duty. Here we have —(1) The time of its revelation. Every duty has its time, every true work has its hour.(2) The organ of its revelation. "Came the Word of the Lord by Haggai."(3) The order of its revelation Haggai had to deliver the message to men nearest to him, with whom he was most identified, and the men too who had the most power in influencing others.

I. DUTY IS THE BURDEN OF DIVINE REVELATION. The great purpose of Haggai's mission was, in the name of God, to urge his countrymen to the fulfilment of a work which was morally incumbent on them, namely, the rebuilding of the temple, What was the burden of Haggai's mission is in truth the burden of the whole Divine revelation — duty. It contains, it is true, histories of facts, effusions of poetry, discussions of doctrine; but the grand all-pervading substance of the whole is duty; its grand voice is not merely to believe and feel, but to do; it regards faith and feeling as worthless unless taken up and embodied in the right act. It presents the rule of duty, it supplies the helps to duty, it urges the motives to duty. This fact shows two things —

1. That the Bible studies the real well-being of man. Not an assemblage of beliefs and emotions, but an assemblage of acts and habits. The fact shows —

2. That unpractised religion is spurious.

II. DUTY IS INCREASED BY SOCIAL ELEVATION. This is implied in the circumstance that Haggai went directly with the message from God to the most influential men in the state, to "Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest." This fact serves two purposes.

1. To supply a warning to men in great places.

2. A lesson to ministers. Let the ambassadors of heaven carry their messages first, if possible, to men in authority.


Darius, Haggai, Jehozadak, Josedech, Joshua, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel
Darius, Governor, Haggai, Jehozadak, Joshua, Judah, Month, Priest, Prophet, Shealtiel, Sixth, Zerubbabel
1. The time when Haggai prophesied.
2. He reproves the people for neglecting the building of the house.
7. He incites them to the building.
12. He promises them, being forward, God's assistance.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Haggai 1:1

     1690   word of God
     4951   month
     5327   governors
     5489   rank

Haggai 1:1-15

     5508   ruins

Vain Toil
'Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.'--HAGGAI i. 6 A large emigration had taken place from the land of captivity to Jerusalem. The great purpose which the returning exiles had in view was the rebuilding of the Temple, as the centre-point of the restored nation. With true heroism, and much noble and unselfish
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Lost Earnings
He that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.' (Haggai i. 6.) In our Holiness Meetings we often speak of Full Salvation as a blessing to be obtained, and also a blessing to be retained; but I want now to turn the truth the other way round, and speak about 'losing the blessing'. These words of Haggai about the man who lost his earnings through a faulty bag will serve me as a text, and are very significant. As a figure of speech, the words are well understood. From the boy
T. H. Howard—Standards of Life and Service

The Abiding of the Spirit the Glory of the Church
By the mouth of His servant Haggai stern rebukes were uttered, and the whole people were aroused. We read in verse twelve of the first chapter, "Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the Lord." All hands were put to the work; course after course of stone began to rise; and
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886

The Last Days of the Old Eastern World
The Median wars--The last native dynasties of Egypt--The Eastern world on the eve of the Macedonian conquest. [Drawn by Boudier, from one of the sarcophagi of Sidon, now in the Museum of St. Irene. The vignette, which is by Faucher-Gudin, represents the sitting cyno-cephalus of Nectanebo I., now in the Egyptian Museum at the Vatican.] Darius appears to have formed this project of conquest immediately after his first victories, when his initial attempts to institute satrapies had taught him not
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 9

How those are to be Admonished who Desire not the Things of Others, but Keep their Own; and those who Give of their Own, yet Seize
(Admonition 22.) Differently to be admonished are those who neither desire what belongs to others nor bestow what is their own, and those who give of what they have, and yet desist not from seizing on what belongs to others. Those who neither desire what belongs to others nor bestow what is their own are to be admonished to consider carefully that the earth out of which they are taken is common to all men, and therefore brings forth nourishment for all in common. Vainly, then, do those suppose
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Appendix ii. Philo of Alexandria and Rabbinic Theology.
(Ad. vol. i. p. 42, note 4.) In comparing the allegorical Canons of Philo with those of Jewish traditionalism, we think first of all of the seven exegetical canons which are ascribed to Hillel. These bear chiefly the character of logical deductions, and as such were largely applied in the Halakhah. These seven canons were next expanded by R. Ishmael (in the first century) into thirteen, by the analysis of one of them (the 5th) into six, and the addition of this sound exegetical rule, that where two
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The post-exilic age sharply distinguished itself from the pre-exilic (Zech. i. 4), and nowhere is the difference more obvious than in prophecy. Post-exilic prophecy has little of the literary or moral power of earlier prophecy, but it would be very easy to do less than justice to Haggai. His prophecy is very short; into two chapters is condensed a summary, probably not even in his own words, of no less than four addresses. Meagre as they may seem to us, they produced a great effect on those who heard
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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