The Glory to Come
1 On the twenty-first day of the seventh month,#tn Heb “In the seventh [month], on the twenty-first day of the month.”sn The seventh month was the month Tishri, according to the modern (Julian) calendar October 17, 520 b.c. The twenty-first day of Tishri marked the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Num 29:32-34). It also coincided with the date 440 years earlier (960 b.c.) when Solomon finished building his temple (1 Kgs 6:38; 8:2). the Lord spoke again through the prophet Haggai:#tc Heb “the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, saying.” The MT has בְּיַד (bÿyad, “by the hand of” = “through” [so NAB, NIV, NLT] as in 1:1, 3); the Murabba’at Dead Sea text reads אֶל (’el, “to”), perhaps because the following command is given to the prophet. 2 “Ask the following questions to#tn Heb “say to”; NAB “Tell this to.” Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak,#tn Many English versions have “Joshua (the) son of Jehozadak the high priest,” but this is subject to misunderstanding. See the note on the name “Jehozadak” at the end of v. 1. and the remnant of the people: 3 ‘Who among you survivors saw the former splendor of this temple?#tn Heb “this house in its earlier splendor”; NAB, NIV, NRSV “in its former glory.”sn Solomon’s temple was demolished in 586 b.c., 66 years prior to Haggai’s time. There surely would have been some older people who remembered the former splendor of that magnificent structure and who lamented the contrast to the small, unimpressive temple they were building (see Ezra 3:8-13). How does it look to you now? Isn’t it nothing by comparison? 4 Even so, take heart, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord. ‘Take heart, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and#tn Heb “and take heart.” Although emphatic, the repetition of the verb is redundant in contemporary English style and has been left untranslated. all you citizens of the land,’#tn Heb “the people of the land” (עַם הָאָרֶץ, ’am ha’arets); this is a technical term referring to free citizens as opposed to slaves. says the Lord, ‘and begin to work. For I am with you,’ says the Lord who rules over all. 5 ‘Do not fear, because I made a promise to your ancestors when they left Egypt, and my spirit#sn My spirit. It is theologically anachronistic to understand “spirit” here in the NT sense as a reference to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity; nevertheless during this postexilic period the conceptual groundwork was being laid for the doctrine of the Holy Spirit later revealed in the NT. even now testifies to you.’#tc The MT of v. 5 reads “with the word which I cut with you when you went out from Egypt and my spirit [which] stands in your midst, do not fear.” BHS proposes emending “with the word” to זֹאת הַבְּרִית (zo’t habbÿrit, “this is the covenant”) at the beginning of the verse. The proposed emendation makes excellent sense and is expected with the verb כָּרַת (karat, “cut” or “make” a covenant), but it has no textual support. Most English versions (including the present translation) therefore follow the MT here. 6 Moreover, the Lord who rules over all says: ‘In just a little while#tc The difficult MT reading עוֹד אַחַת מְעַט הִיא (’od ’akhat mÿ’at hi’, “yet once, it is little”; cf. NAB “One moment yet, a little while”) appears as “yet once” in the LXX, omitting the last two Hebrew words. However, the point being made is that the anticipated action is imminent; thus the repetition provides emphasis. I will once again shake the sky#tn Or “the heavens.” The same Hebrew word, שָׁמַיִם (shamayim), may be translated “sky” or “heavens” depending on the context. Although many English versions translate the term as “heavens” here, the other three elements present in this context (earth, sea, dry ground) suggest “sky” is in view. and the earth, the sea and the dry ground. 7 I will also shake up all the nations, and they#tn Heb “all the nations.” will offer their treasures;#tn Though the subject here is singular (חֶמְדַּה, khemdah; “desire”), the preceding plural predicate mandates a collective subject, “desired (things)” or, better, an emendation to a plural form, חֲמֻדֹת (khamudot, “desirable [things],” hence “treasures”). Cf. ASV “the precious things”; NASB “the wealth”; NRSV “the treasure.” In the OT context this has no direct reference to the coming of the Messiah. then I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord who rules over all. 8 ‘The silver and gold will be mine,’ says the Lord who rules over all. 9 ‘The future splendor of this temple will be greater than that of former times,’#tn Heb “greater will be the latter splendor of this house than the former”; NAB “greater will be the future glory.” the Lord who rules over all declares, ‘and in this place I will give peace.’”#tn In the Hebrew text there is an implicit play on words in the clause “in this place [i.e., Jerusalem] I will give peace”: in יְרוּשָׁלַיִם (yÿrushalayim) there will be שָׁלוֹם (shalom).
The Promised Blessing
10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of Darius’ second year,#sn The twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of Darius’ second year was Kislev 24 or December 18, 520 b.c. the Lord spoke again to the prophet Haggai:#tn Heb “the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet, saying.” This Hebrew expression is slightly different from the one in 1:1, 3; 2:1. 11 “The Lord who rules over all says, ‘Ask the priests about the law.#tn Heb “Ask the priests a torah, saying”; KJV “concerning the law”; NAB “for a decision”; NCV “for a teaching”; NRSV “for a ruling.” 12 If someone carries holy meat in a fold of his garment and that fold touches bread, a boiled dish, wine, olive oil, or any other food, will that item become holy?’”#sn This is probably not an appeal to the Torah (i.e., the Pentateuch) as such but to a priestly ruling (known in postbiblical Judaism as a pÿsaq din). There is, however, a Mosaic law that provides the basis for the priestly ruling (Lev 6:27). The priests answered, “It will not.” 13 Then Haggai asked, “If a person who is ritually unclean because of touching a dead body#tn Heb “unclean of a person,” a euphemism for “unclean because of a dead person”; see Lev 21:11; Num 6:6. Cf. NAB “unclean from contact with a corpse.” comes in contact with one of these items, will it become unclean?” The priests answered, “It will be unclean.”
14 Then Haggai responded, “‘The people of this nation are unclean in my sight,’#tn Heb “so this people, and so this nation before me.” In this context “people” and “nation” refer to the same set of individuals; the repetition is emphatic. Cf. CEV “this entire nation.” says the Lord. ‘And so is all their effort; everything they offer is also unclean.#sn The point here is that the Jews cannot be made holy by unholy fellowship with their pagan neighbors; instead, they and their worship will become corrupted by such associations. 15 Now therefore reflect carefully on the recent past,#tn Heb “and now set your heart from this day and upward.” The juxtaposition of מָעְלָה (ma’lah, “upward”) with the following מִטֶּרֶם (mitterem, “before”) demands a look to the past. Cf. ASV “consider from this day and backward.” before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple.#sn Before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple is best taken as referring to the laying of the present temple’s foundation, sixteen years earlier (536 b.c.; see Ezra 3:8). Cf. NCV “before you started laying stones”; TEV “before you started to rebuild”; NLT “before you began to lay (started laying CEV) the foundation.” 16 From that time#tn Heb “from their being,” idiomatic for “from the time they were then,” or “since the time.” Cf. KJV “Since those days were.” when one came expecting a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten; when one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty measures from it, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the products of your labor#tn Heb “you, all the work of your hands”; NRSV “you and all the products of your toil”; NIV “all the work of your hands.” with blight, disease, and hail, and yet you brought nothing to me,’#tn Heb “and there was not with you.” The context favors the idea that the harvests were so poor that the people took care of only themselves, leaving no offering for the Lord. Cf. KJV and many English versions “yet ye turned not to me,” understanding the phrase to refer to the people’s repentance rather than their failure to bring offerings. says the Lord. 18 ‘Think carefully about the past:#tn Heb “set your heart.” A similar expression occurs in v. 15. from today, the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month,#sn The twenty-fourth day of the ninth month was Kislev 24 or December 18, 520. See v. 10. Here the reference is to “today,” the day the oracle is being delivered. to the day work on the temple of the Lord was resumed,#sn The day work…was resumed. This does not refer to the initial founding of the Jerusalem temple in 536 b.c. but to the renewal of construction three months earlier (see 1:15). This is clear from the situation described in v. 19 which accords with the food scarcities of that time already detailed in Hag 1:10-11. think about it.#tn Heb “set your heart.” A similar expression occurs in v. 15 and at the beginning of this verse. 19 The seed is still in the storehouse, isn’t it? And the vine, fig tree, pomegranate, and olive tree have not produced. Nevertheless, from today on I will bless you.’”
Zerubbabel the Chosen One
20 Then the Lord spoke again to Haggai#tn Heb “and the word of the Lord came a second time to Haggai.” This Hebrew expression is like the one in 2:10 and is slightly different from the one in 1:1, 3; 2:1. on the twenty-fourth day of the month:#sn Again, the twenty-fourth day of the month was Kislev 24 or December 18, 520 b.c. See v. 10. 21 Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah: ‘I am ready#tn The participle here suggests an imminent undertaking of action (cf. NRSV, TEV, NLT “I am about to”). The overall language of the passage is eschatological, but eschatology finds its roots in the present. to shake the sky#tn See the note on the word “sky” in 2:6. Most English translations render the Hebrew term as “heavens” here. and the earth. 22 I will overthrow royal thrones and shatter the might of earthly kingdoms.#tn Heb “the kingdoms of the nations.” Cf. KJV “the kingdoms of the heathen”; NIV, NLT “foreign kingdoms.” I will overthrow chariots and those who ride them, and horses and their riders will fall as people kill one another.#tn Heb “and horses and their riders will go down, a man with a sword his brother”; KJV “every one by the sword of his brother.” 23 On that day,’#sn The expression on that day appears as a technical eschatological term in a number of other OT passages (cf., e.g., Isa 2:11, 17, 20; 3:7, 18; Amos 8:3, 9; Hos 2:18, 21). says the Lord who rules over all, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant,’#sn My servant. The collocation of “servant” and “chosen” bears strong messianic overtones. See the so-called “Servant Songs” and other messianic texts in Isaiah (Isa 41:8; 42:1; 44:4; 49:7). says the Lord, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring,#sn The noun signet ring, used also to describe Jehoiachin (Jer 22:24-30), refers to a ring seal worn by a king or other important person and used as his signature. Zerubbabel was a grandson of King Jehoiachin (1 Chr 3:17-19; Matt 1:12); God once pronounced that none of Jehoiachin’s immediate descendants would rule (Jer 22:24-30), but here he reverses that judgment. Zerubbabel never ascended to such a lofty position of rulership; he is rather a prototype of the Messiah who would sit on David’s throne. for I have chosen you,’ says the Lord who rules over all.”#tn The repetition of the formula “says the Lord who rules over all” in v. 23 emphasizes the solemn and divine nature of the promise.