Prophetic Call to Work on the Temple. 1On the first day of the sixth month in the second year* of Darius the king, the word of the LORD came through Haggai the prophet to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel,a son of Shealtiel, and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak:b 2Thus says the LORD of hosts: This people has said: “Now is not the time to rebuild the house of the LORD.”
5Now thus says the LORD of hosts:
Reflect on your experience!*
6You have sown much, but have brought in little;
you have eaten, but have not been satisfied;d
You have drunk, but have not become intoxicated;
you have clothed yourselves, but have not been warmed;
And the hired worker labors for a bag full of holes.
Reflect on your experience!
8Go up into the hill country;
bring timber, and build the house
that I may be pleased with it,
and that I may be glorified,* says the LORD.
9You expected much, but it came to little;
and what you brought home, I blew away.
Why is this?—oracle of the LORD* of hosts—
Because my house is the one which lies in ruins,
while each of you runs to your own house.
10Therefore, the heavens withheld the dew,
and the earth its yield.
11And I have proclaimed a devastating heat*
upon the land and upon the mountains,
Upon the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil,
upon all that the ground brings forth;
Upon human being and beast alike,
and upon all they produce.
Response of Leaders and People. 12Then Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, and the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak, and all the remnant of the people* obeyed the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, since the LORD their God had sent him; thus the people feared the LORD. 13Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, proclaimed to the people as the message of the LORD: I am with you!—oracle of the LORD.
14And so the LORD stirred up the spirit of the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, and the spirit of the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people,e so that they came to do the work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, 15on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year* of Darius the king.
* [1:1] First day of the sixth month in the second year: August 29, 520 B.C. This is the first of six chronological indicators in Haggai. Darius: Darius I, emperor of Persia from 522 to 486 B.C. Governor: term used for local rulers of provinces in the Persian imperial structure. Zerubbabel: grandson of King Jehoiachin (cf. 2 Kgs 24:8–17).
* [1:4] Your paneled houses…house lies in ruins: the contrast here is between the unfinished Temple and the completed houses of the Judeans.
* [1:5] Reflect on your experience: the prophet exhorts the people to consider the futility of their efforts as a result of their neglecting work on the Temple. The following verses call attention to harsh conditions in Judah after the return from exile and the preoccupation of the people with their personal concerns.
* [1:8] That I may be glorified: for the prophet, the rebuilding of the Temple restores the glory God had lost in the eyes of the nations by the Temple’s destruction.
* [1:9] Oracle of the LORD: a phrase used extensively in prophetic books to indicate divine speech.
* [1:11] Devastating heat: this pronouncement of natural disaster, which functions as a warning to the people for their failure to rebuild the Temple, concludes the opening oracular section of Haggai.
* [1:12] The remnant of the people: here the phrase appears to refer to the prophet’s audience, but the “remnant” theme, though often in different Hebrew terminology, suggesting especially those whom the Lord will call back from exile and re-establish as his people, is important in the prophets (cf. Is 4:3; 37:31–32; Jl 3:5; Mi 4:7; Ob 17) and in the New Testament (cf. Rom 11:1–10).
* [1:15] Twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year: September 21, 520 B.C. The resumption of work on the Temple occurred twenty-three days from the beginning of Haggai’s prophecy. This date formula repeats in reverse order the formula of v. 1, thereby bringing to conclusion chap. 1; it also initiates the next unit in 2:1.