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Haggai 2:2-15

Context
2:2 “Ask the following questions to 1  Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, 2  and the remnant of the people: 2:3 ‘Who among you survivors saw the former splendor of this temple? 3  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 4  all you citizens of the land,’ 5  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 6  even now testifies to you.’ 7  2:6 Moreover, the Lord who rules over all says: ‘In just a little while 8  I will once again shake the sky 9  and the earth, the sea and the dry ground. 2:7 I will also shake up all the nations, and they 10  will offer their treasures; 11  then I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord who rules over all. 2:8 ‘The silver and gold will be mine,’ says the Lord who rules over all. 2:9 ‘The future splendor of this temple will be greater than that of former times,’ 12  the Lord who rules over all declares, ‘and in this place I will give peace.’” 13 

The Promised Blessing

2:10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of Darius’ second year, 14  the Lord spoke again to the prophet Haggai: 15  2:11 “The Lord who rules over all says, ‘Ask the priests about the law. 16  2:12 If someone carries holy meat in a fold of his garment and that fold touches bread, a boiled dish, wine, olive oil, or any other food, will that item become holy?’” 17  The priests answered, “It will not.” 2:13 Then Haggai asked, “If a person who is ritually unclean because of touching a dead body 18  comes in contact with one of these items, will it become unclean?” The priests answered, “It will be unclean.”

2:14 Then Haggai responded, “‘The people of this nation are unclean in my sight,’ 19  says the Lord. ‘And so is all their effort; everything they offer is also unclean. 20  2:15 Now therefore reflect carefully on the recent past, 21  before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple. 22 

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

2 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.

3 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).

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

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

6 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.

7 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.

8 tc The difficult MT reading עוֹד אַחַת מְעַט הִיא (’odakhat mÿat hi’, “yet once, it is little”; cf. NAB “One moment yet, a little while”) appears as “yet once” in the LXX, omitting the last two Hebrew words. However, the point being made is that the anticipated action is imminent; thus the repetition provides emphasis.

9 tn Or “the heavens.” The same Hebrew word, שָׁמַיִם (shamayim), may be translated “sky” or “heavens” depending on the context. Although many English versions translate the term as “heavens” here, the other three elements present in this context (earth, sea, dry ground) suggest “sky” is in view.

10 tn Heb “all the nations.”

11 tn Though the subject here is singular (חֶמְדַּה, khemdah; “desire”), the preceding plural predicate mandates a collective subject, “desired (things)” or, better, an emendation to a plural form, חֲמֻדֹת (khamudot, “desirable [things],” hence “treasures”). Cf. ASV “the precious things”; NASB “the wealth”; NRSV “the treasure.” In the OT context this has no direct reference to the coming of the Messiah.

12 tn Heb “greater will be the latter splendor of this house than the former”; NAB “greater will be the future glory.”

13 tn In the Hebrew text there is an implicit play on words in the clause “in this place [i.e., Jerusalem] I will give peace”: in יְרוּשָׁלַיִם (yÿrushalayim) there will be שָׁלוֹם (shalom).

14 sn The twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of Darius’ second year was Kislev 24 or December 18, 520 b.c.

15 tn Heb “the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet, saying.” This Hebrew expression is slightly different from the one in 1:1, 3; 2:1.

16 tn Heb “Ask the priests a torah, saying”; KJV “concerning the law”; NAB “for a decision”; NCV “for a teaching”; NRSV “for a ruling.”

17 sn This is probably not an appeal to the Torah (i.e., the Pentateuch) as such but to a priestly ruling (known in postbiblical Judaism as a pÿsaq din). There is, however, a Mosaic law that provides the basis for the priestly ruling (Lev 6:27).

18 tn Heb “unclean of a person,” a euphemism for “unclean because of a dead person”; see Lev 21:11; Num 6:6. Cf. NAB “unclean from contact with a corpse.”

19 tn Heb “so this people, and so this nation before me.” In this context “people” and “nation” refer to the same set of individuals; the repetition is emphatic. Cf. CEV “this entire nation.”

20 sn The point here is that the Jews cannot be made holy by unholy fellowship with their pagan neighbors; instead, they and their worship will become corrupted by such associations.

21 tn Heb “and now set your heart from this day and upward.” The juxtaposition of מָעְלָה (malah, “upward”) with the following מִטֶּרֶם (mitterem, “before”) demands a look to the past. Cf. ASV “consider from this day and backward.”

22 sn Before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple is best taken as referring to the laying of the present temple’s foundation, sixteen years earlier (536 b.c.; see Ezra 3:8). Cf. NCV “before you started laying stones”; TEV “before you started to rebuild”; NLT “before you began to lay (started laying CEV) the foundation.”



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