Haggai 1

 

בִּשְׁנַת שְׁתַּיִם לְדָרְיָוֶשׁ הַמֶּלֶךְ בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשִּׁשִּׁי בְּיֹום אֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הָיָה דְבַר־יְהוָה בְּיַד־חַגַּי הַנָּבִיא   1:1        אֶל־זְרֻבָּבֶל בֶּן־שְׁאַלְתִּיאֵל פַּחַת יְהוּדָה וְאֶל־יְהֹושֻׁעַ בֶּן־יְהֹוצָדָק הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדֹול לֵאמֹר׃

Hagg. 1:1   In the second year for Darius, the king, in the sixth month, in the month's first day the word of the Lord occurred by the hand of Haggai, the prophet, to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,

                                                                                        [Return to Zech. 1:1]              [Return to Zech. 3:1]

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות לֵאמֹר הָעָם הַזֶּה אָמְרוּ לֹא עֶת־בֹּא עֶת־בֵּית יְהוָה לְהִבָּנֹות׃   1:2

Hagg. 1:2   Thus speaks the Lord of hosts saying, “This people say, ‘The time has not come, the time for the rebuilding of the house of the Lord.’”

Darius ascended the throne of Persia in the year 521 BCE.  So the timing of this chapter was during the year 520 BCE, 66 years after the fall of Jerusalem.  Seventeen years earlier, in the year 538 BCE King Cyrus of Persia had issued a proclamation allowing the Jews in his empire to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.  The sixth month is the modern Fall month of Elul, and the first day of the month meant the observance of the new moon would be in progress.  The second-person pronouns appearing in most of the rest of the verses in this chapter are also plural.

וַיְהִי דְּבַר־יְהוָה בְּיַד־חַגַּי הַנָּבִיא לֵאמֹר׃   1:3

Hagg. 1:3   Then came the word of the Lord by the hand of Haggai, the prophet, saying,

הַעֵת לָכֶם אַתֶּם לָשֶׁבֶת בְּבָתֵּיכֶם סְפוּנִים וְהַבַּיִת הַזֶּה חָרֵב׃   1:4

Hagg. 1:4   “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your enclosed houses, yet this house is abandoned?”

Presumably, this house is the Temple, which was being rebuilt, but very slowly at the time.

וְעַתָּה כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות שִׂימוּ לְבַבְכֶם עַל־דַּרְכֵיכֶם׃   1:5

Hagg. 1:5   Now then, thus says the Lord of hosts:

                      “Direct your mind to your ways!”

זְרַעְתֶּם הַרְבֵּה וְהָבֵא מְעָט אָכֹול וְאֵין־לְשָׂבְעָה שָׁתֹו וְאֵין־לְשָׁכְרָה לָבֹושׁ וְאֵין־לְחֹם לֹו וְהַמִּשְׂתַּכֵּר   1:6 מִשְׂתַּכֵּר אֶל־צְרֹור נָקוּב׃

Hagg. 1:6   “You sow much, yet bringing in little,

                              eating without being satisfied,

                     drinking but not being intoxicated,

                              being clothed but not for its warmth,

                     and the wage-earner is earning wages

                              for a pierced bag.”

Although all the second-person pronouns and verbs in this verse after the first one are singular, the first pronoun, you, is plural.  The only reasonable understanding for this shift in number is that the prophet is addressing the individuals of the community in the first pronoun, and then addressing the community in general for the remainder of the verse.  To me, Haggai seems to be saying that you individuals are sowing much, but the community profits little from it and its other activities.

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות שִׂימוּ לְבַבְכֶם עַל־דַּרְכֵיכֶם׃   1:7

Hagg. 1:7   Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Direct your heart to your ways!”

עֲלוּ הָהָר וַהֲבֵאתֶם עֵץ וּבְנוּ הַבָּיִת וְאֶרְצֶה־בֹּו (וְאֶכָּבֵד) [וְאֶכָּבְדָה] אָמַר יְהוָה׃   1:8

Hagg. 1:8   “Ascend the hill and bring wood, and rebuild the house; and I will be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the Lord.

The word in the parentheses is assumed to be misspelled.  Why?  Because the sages thought it should be cohortative in mood, meaning it is insistent, a consequence, imploring, or a variety of other inapplicable possibilities.  I see no reason why this should be assumed for this word, so I don’t accept the error.  I say disregard the “correct” word in the brackets.

פָּנֹה אֶל־הַרְבֵּה וְהִנֵּה לִמְעָט וַהֲבֵאתֶם הַבַּיִת וְנָפַחְתִּי בֹו יַעַן מֶה נְאֻם יְהוָה צְבָאֹות יַעַן בֵּיתִי   1:9              אֲשֶׁר־הוּא חָרֵב וְאַתֶּם רָצִים אִישׁ לְבֵיתֹו׃

Hagg. 1:9   “Looking to much, but lo, too little; and you would bring home, and I could blow on it.  For what reason,” declares the Lord of hosts?  “Because of My house, that it is desolate, while you are scurrying, each to his own house.”

The meaning of the first statement in this verse?  I expect that what the community brings home (of the harvest or of building materials?) the Lord can easily blow on to make it disappear, it is so little.  Of additional interest, it seems that this verse should have followed v. 1:6, continuing the thought developed there.  The intervening two verses seem to be an interjection which could more smoothly have followed after v. 1:11.

עַל־כֵּן עֲלֵיכֶם כָּלְאוּ שָׁמַיִם מִטָּל וְהָאָרֶץ כָּלְאָה יְבוּלָהּ׃   1:10

Hagg. 1:10   “For this the skies over you hold back, so there is no dew, and the earth restrains its produce.”

וָאֶקְרָא חֹרֶב עַל־הָאָרֶץ וְעַל־הֶהָרִים וְעַל־הַדָּגָן וְעַל־הַתִּירֹושׁ וְעַל־הַיִּצְהָר וְעַל אֲשֶׁר תֹּוצִיא הָאֲדָמָה   1:11 וְעַל־הָאָדָם וְעַל־הַבְּהֵמָה וְעַל כָּל־יְגִיעַ כַּפָּיִם׃

Hagg. 1:11   “But I have called for a drought upon the land and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the wine, and upon the oil, and upon whatever the ground would bring forth, and upon humankind and upon beast, and upon all toil of hands.”

וַיִּשְׁמַע זְרֻבָּבֶל בֶּן־שַׁלְתִּיאֵל וִיהֹושֻׁעַ בֶּן־יְהֹוצָדָק הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדֹול וְכֹל שְׁאֵרִית הָעָם בְּקֹול יְהוָה   1:12            אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וְעַל־דִּבְרֵי חַגַּי הַנָּבִיא כַּאֲשֶׁר שְׁלָחֹו יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם מִפְּנֵי יְהוָה׃

Hagg. 1:12   And Zarubbabel son of Shealtiel listened, along with Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all the remnant of the people, to the voice of the Lord, their God, and according to the words of Haggai, the priest, as the Lord, their God, had sent it, and the people were afraid before the Lord.

וַיֹּאמֶר חַגַּי מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה בְּמַלְאֲכוּת יְהוָה לָעָם לֵאמֹר אֲנִי אִתְּכֶם נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   1:13

Hagg. 1:13   Then Haggai, messenger of the Lord, spoke with the message of the Lord, to the people saying, “I am with you,” declares the Lord.

וַיָּעַר יְהוָה אֶת־רוּחַ זְרֻבָּבֶל בֶּן־שַׁלְתִּיאֵל פַּחַת יְהוּדָה וְאֶת־רוּחַ יְהֹושֻׁעַ בֶּן־יְהֹוצָדָק הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדֹול   1:14        וְאֶת־רוּחַ כֹּל שְׁאֵרִית הָעָם וַיָּבֹאוּ וַיַּעֲשׂוּ מְלָאכָה בְּבֵית־יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵיהֶם׃

Hagg. 1:14   And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people, and they came and performed work on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God,

בְּיֹום עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה לַחֹדֶשׁ בַּשִּׁשִּׁי בִּשְׁנַת שְׁתַּיִם לְדָרְיָוֶשׁ הַמֶּלֶךְ׃   1:15

Hagg. 1:15   in the twenty-fourth day in the sixth month, in the second year for Darius, the king.

As we can see by comparing this verse with v. 1:1, the events of this chapter occurred over a period of 23 days.  The people of Jerusalem and their governor and high priest were inspired (and frightened) by the Lord’s words by the hand of Haggai.  They resumed the rebuilding of the Temple, which had been stalled.

 

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