In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,
Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built.
Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?
Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider ° your ways.
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.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider ° your ways.
Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.
Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.
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.
Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.
And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,
In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
 

Introduction to Haggai

Haggai was, chronologically, the first of the three post-exilic prophets, the others being his contemporaries Zechariah, and then later, the last Old Testament prophet, Malachi. Haggai was called by God to rebuke and then encourage the Jews in connection with their divine commission to rebuild the temple. The circumstances are outlined in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Little is known of Haggai personally, except that he identified himself as a prophet some five times (Haggai 1:1,3,12; 2:1,10), the only one of the writing prophets to do so except for Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1:1). His ministry lasted only a few months, but was successful in accomplishing the purpose of activating the people to work. Note references to his ministry in Ezra 5:1 and 6:14.

It is interesting to note that, while there are five books in the Bible with only one chapter, and seven with three chapters, Haggai is the only book with two chapters.

It is possible that Haggai was very old at the time when he wrote his prophecy, and that he was one of the few returnees who had seen the original temple in all its glory (Haggai 2:3; Ezra 3:12,13). If so, this would account, at least in part, for both the urgency of his message and the brevity of his ministry.

1:1 Darius the king. “Darius the king” was Darius Hystaspes, who ruled the Persian empire from 521 to 486 B.C., also known as “Darius the Great.”

1:1 by Haggai. Haggai preceded Zechariah and then Malachi as the three post-exilic prophets, ministering to the returning Jews who rebuilt Jerusalem and its temple. Both Haggai and his younger contemporary, Zechariah, are mentioned in Ezra 5:1 and 6:14. Haggai was probably very old when he wrote his short book—the shortest Old Testament book except Obadiah—and the only two-chapter book in the Bible.

1:1 Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel the governor had led the first contingent of returning exiles from Babylon, following the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1:2; 2:2). Here, he is called “the son of Shealtiel (or Salathiel),” whereas I Chronicles 3:17-19 indicates that Salathiel was his uncle, with Pedaiah his father. A possible explanation is that Salathiel became his “foster father,” as it were, after Pedaiah died. Another possibility is that, through a Levirate marriage (as described in Deuteronomy 25:5,6), Shealtiel died without a son, and Pedaiah married his widow, giving their first-born son the name of Shealtiel as his legal father.

1:2 time is not come. The temple had been started soon after the edict of Cyrus in 536 B.C., but opposition in the land and other problems had discouraged the people and they soon quit building, with the temple still very incomplete (Ezra 4:24). This was the occasion for Haggai’s prophecy. Darius also renewed Cyrus’ authorization (Ezra 6:1-14) to continue the work, and the temple project was soon resumed and finally finished.

1:4 cieled house. The “cieled” houses were paneled with fine woods normally found only in palaces.

1:5 Consider your ways. This is the first of five admonitions in Haggai’s brief prophecy to “consider” what they were doing (Haggai 1:5,7; 2:15,18).

1:13 The LORD’s messenger. Haggai’s message did, indeed, stir Zerubbabel and Joshua (the political and spiritual leaders of the people), as well as all the people, to work again on the Lord’s house, and then the Lord blessed them again. The younger prophet Zechariah also was preaching a similar message (Zechariah 1:1-6; 4:8-9; 9:9-17).


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