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Haggai 2:1-5

Context
The Glory to Come

2:1 On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, 1  the Lord spoke again through the prophet Haggai: 2  2:2 “Ask the following questions to 3  Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, 4  and the remnant of the people: 2:3 ‘Who among you survivors saw the former splendor of this temple? 5  How does it look to you now? Isn’t it nothing by comparison? 2:4 Even so, take heart, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord. ‘Take heart, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and 6  all you citizens of the land,’ 7  says the Lord, ‘and begin to work. For I am with you,’ says the Lord who rules over all. 2:5 ‘Do not fear, because I made a promise to your ancestors when they left Egypt, and my spirit 8  even now testifies to you.’ 9 

1 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).

2 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.

3 tn Heb “say to”; NAB “Tell this to.”

4 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.

5 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).

6 tn Heb “and take heart.” Although emphatic, the repetition of the verb is redundant in contemporary English style and has been left untranslated.

7 tn Heb “the people of the land” (עַם הָאָרֶץ, ’am haarets); this is a technical term referring to free citizens as opposed to slaves.

8 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.

9 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 (zot 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.



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