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Haggai 2:20-23

Context
Zerubbabel the Chosen One

2:20 Then the Lord spoke again to Haggai 1  on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 2  2:21 Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah: ‘I am ready 3  to shake the sky 4  and the earth. 2:22 I will overthrow royal thrones and shatter the might of earthly kingdoms. 5  I will overthrow chariots and those who ride them, and horses and their riders will fall as people kill one another. 6  2:23 On that day,’ 7  says the Lord who rules over all, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant,’ 8  says the Lord, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring, 9  for I have chosen you,’ says the Lord who rules over all.” 10 

1 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.

2 sn Again, the twenty-fourth day of the month was Kislev 24 or December 18, 520 b.c. See v. 10.

3 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.

4 tn See the note on the word “sky” in 2:6. Most English translations render the Hebrew term as “heavens” here.

5 tn Heb “the kingdoms of the nations.” Cf. KJV “the kingdoms of the heathen”; NIV, NLT “foreign kingdoms.”

6 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.”

7 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).

8 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).

9 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.

10 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.



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