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Haggai 1:2-9

Context
The Indifference of the People

1:2 The Lord who rules over all 1  says this: “These people have said, ‘The time for rebuilding the Lord’s temple has not yet come.’” 2  1:3 So the Lord spoke through the prophet Haggai as follows: 3  1:4 “Is it right for you to live in richly paneled houses 4  while my temple is in ruins? 5  1:5 Here then is what the Lord who rules over all says: ‘Think carefully about what you are doing. 6  1:6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but are never filled. You drink, but are still thirsty. You put on clothes, but are not warm. Those who earn wages end up with holes in their money bags.’” 7 

The Instruction of the People

1:7 “Moreover, the Lord who rules over all says: ‘Pay close attention to these things also. 8  1:8 Go up to the hill country and bring back timber to build 9  the temple. 10  Then I will be pleased and honored,’ 11  says the Lord. 1:9 ‘You expected a large harvest, but instead 12  there was little, and when you brought it home it disappeared right away. 13  Why?’ asks the Lord who rules over all. ‘Because my temple remains in ruins, thanks to each of you favoring his own house! 14 

1 sn The epithet Lord who rules over all occurs frequently as a divine title throughout Haggai (see 1:5, 7, 9, 14; 2:4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 23). This name (יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, yÿhvah tsÿvaot), traditionally translated “Lord of hosts” (so KJV, NAB, NASB; cf. NIV, NLT “Lord Almighty”; NCV, CEV “Lord All-Powerful”), emphasizes the majestic sovereignty of the Lord, an especially important concept in the postexilic world of great human empires and rulers. For a thorough study of the divine title, see T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 123-57.

2 tn Heb “the time has not come, the time for the house of the Lord to be built” (similar KJV). A number of English versions refer to “rebuilding” (so NAB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, NLT) since the reconstruction of Solomon’s temple is actually in view.

3 tn Heb “and the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, saying.” Cf. the similar expression in v. 1 and the note there.

4 sn Richly paneled houses. Paneling is otherwise known in the OT only in connection with the temple (1 Kgs 6:9) and the royal palace (2 Kgs 7:3, 7). It implies decoration and luxury (cf. NCV “fancy houses”; TEV “well-built houses”; NLT “luxurious houses”). The impropriety of the people living in such lavish accommodations while the temple lay unfinished is striking.

5 tn Heb “Is it time for you, [yes] you, to live in paneled houses, while this house is in ruins”; NASB “lies desolate”; NIV “remains a ruin.”

6 tn Heb “Set your heart upon your ways” (see 2:15, 18); traditionally “Consider your ways” (so KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB).

7 tn Some translate “pockets” (so NLT) but the Hebrew word צְרוֹר (tsÿror) refers to a bag, pouch, or purse of money (BDB 865 s.v. צְרוֹר; HALOT 1054 s.v. צְרוֹר 1). Because coinage had been invented by the Persians and was thus in use in Haggai’s day, this likely is a money bag or purse rather than pouches or pockets in the clothing. Since in contemporary English “purse” (so NASB, NIV, NCV) could be understood as a handbag, the present translation uses “money bags.”

8 tn Heb “Set your heart upon your ways”; see v. 5.

9 tn Heb “and build the house” (so NIV, NRSV), with “house” referring specifically to the temple here.

10 sn The temple was built primarily of stone, so the timber here refers to interior paneling (see v. 4) and perhaps to scaffolding (see Ezra 5:8; 6:4).

11 tn The Hebrew verb אֶכָּבְדָ (’ekkavda) appears to be a defectively written cohortative (“that I may be glorified”). The cohortatives (note that the preceding אֶרְצֶה, ’ertseh, “I will be pleased,” may also be taken as cohortative) indicate purpose/result (cf. NIV, NRSV “so that”; CEV “so”) following the imperatives of v. 8a (“go up,” “bring back,” “build”).

12 tn Heb “look!” (הִנֵּה, hinneh). The term, an interjection, draws attention to the point being made.

13 tn Heb “I blew it away” (so NRSV, TEV, NLT). The imagery here suggests that human achievements are so fragile and temporal that a mere breath from God can destroy them (see Ezek 22:20, 21; and Isa 40:7 with נָשַׁב, nashav).

14 tn Heb “and each of you runs to his own house”; NIV “is busy with”; TEV “is busy working on”; NCV “work hard for.”



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