Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Over you.—Better, on your account.—Scil., because of the neglect of God’s House, mentioned in Haggai 1:9.Psalm 44:43.) for your sins, (Jon.) He points out the moral cause of the drought, whereas men think of this or that cause of the variations of the seasons, and we, e. g., take into our mouths Scriptural words, as "murrain of cattle," and the like, and think of nothing less than why it was sent, or who sent it. Haggai directs the mind to the higher Cause, that as they withheld their service from God, so, on their account and by His will, His creatures withheld their service from them. Therefore; for your great intolerable neglect of God, his house and worship.
The heaven, Heb. heavens. is stayed; shut up, sealed, prohibited; God, whose they are, hath forbidden them, they drop not one pearl of dew; and the earth must be barren, when dry without the fructifying influences of heaven.
"therefore for your sins;''
and so Jarchi, "the heaven is stayed from dew"; none descends from it; the Lord, who has the ordering of it, will not suffer it: to have the dew fall upon the earth in the night season is a great blessing; it makes the earth fruitful, revives the corn, plants, and herbs, and causes them to flourish and increase; and to have it restrained is a judgment:
and the earth is stayed from her fruit; from bringing forth its increase, which is the consequence of the dew being withheld.Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. the heaven over you, &c.] Lit. upon you are stayed the heavens. Some understand by “upon” or “against” you, “on your account,” on account of, or in punishment of your sins (for your sake, R. V. text). But there would be something of tautology in this, because the same thing has been said in the first word of the verse, “therefore” (on account of what has been mentioned in the preceding verses) has this judgment come upon you. It is better therefore to take it, as in A. V., and R. V. margin, “the heaven over you.” Compare the terms in which the judgment had been threatened by Moses, “thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass,” Deuteronomy 28:23.
from dew] not rain only, but even dew had been withholden. “Coeli non solum pluviam non dederunt, sed ne rorem quidem, quo arentes agri saltem humore modico temperarentur.” Hieron. We must not forget how copious, and therefore how important to the husbandman, especially in the absence of rain, was the dew in Palestine. “In a latitude so high as ours, and which yet has a mean temperature higher than its degrees should give it, the chill of the night serves only to shed fog or mist upon the lower stratum of air; but in warmer climates—and in no country is it more so than in Syria—the vast burden of the watery element, which the fervour of day has raised aloft, becomes, quickly after sunset, a prodigious dew, breaking down upon the earth, as a mighty yet noiseless deluge.” Isaac Taylor, Spirit of Heb. Poetry, c. IV. pp. 85, 86.Verse 10. - Over you. This would be a reference to Deuteronomy 28:23. But the preposition is probably not local, but means rather, "on your account," i.e. on account of your sin, as Psalm 44:22. This is not tautological after the preceding "therefore," but more closely defines and explains the illative. Is stayed from dew; hath stayed itself from dew; withholds not only rain, but even dew (comp. Zechariah 8:12). On the importance of dew in the climate of Palestine, see note on Micah 5:7. The dews generally are remarkably heavy, and in the summer months take the place of rain. Dr. Thomson speaks of the dew rolling in the morning off his tent like rain ('Land and the Book,' p. 491). The earth is stayed from her fruit; hath stayed her fruit; according to the threat (Deuteronomy 11:17). Nahum 2:1 the prophecy turns to Nineveh. Nahum 2:1. "A dasher in pieces comes against thee. Keep thy fortress! Look out upon the way, fortify the loins, exert thy strength greatly! Nahum 2:2. For Jehovah returneth to the eminence of Jacob as to the eminence of Israel; for plunderers have plundered them, and their vines have they thrown to the ground." על־פּניך cannot be addressed to Judah, as in Nahum 1:15 (Chald., Rashi, etc.). It cannot indeed be objected that in Nahum 1:15 the destruction of Asshur has already been announced, since the prophet might nevertheless have returned to the time when Asshur had made war upon Judah, in order to depict its ruin with greater precision. But such an assumption does not agree with the second clause of the verse as compared with Nahum 2:2, and still less with the description of the approaching enemy which follows in Nahum 2:3, since this is unquestionably, according to Nahum 2:5, the power advancing against Nineveh, and destroying that city. We must therefore assume that we have here a sudden change in the person addressed, as in Nahum 1:11 and Nahum 1:12, Nahum 1:13 and Nahum 1:14. The enemy is called מפיץ, "a dasher in pieces;" not a war-hammer (cf. Proverbs 25:18), because עלה, the standing expression for the advance of a hostile army, does not agree with this. על־פּניך, against thy face, i.e., pitching his tent opposite to the city (there is no good reason for altering the suffix into פּניך, as Ewald and Hitzig propose). Against this enemy Nineveh is to bring all possible power of resistance. This is not irony, but simply a poetical turn given to the thought, that Nineveh will not be able to repulse this enemy any more. The inf. abs. nâtsōr stands emphatically for the imperative, as is frequently the case, and is continued in the imperative. Metsūrâh is the enclosure of a city, hence the wall or fortification. צפּה־דרך, looking watchfully upon the way by which the enemy comes, to repulse it or prevent it from entering the city. הזּק מ, make the loins strong, i.e., equip thyself with strength, the loins being the seat of strength. The last clause expresses the same thought, and is merely added to strengthen the meaning. The explanatory kı̄ in Nahum 2:2 (3) does not follow upon Nahum 2:1 in the sense of "summon up all thy strength, for it is God in whose strength the enemy fights" (Strauss), but to Nahum 2:1 or Nahum 1:15. The train of thought is the following: Asshur will be utterly destroyed by the enemy advancing against Nineveh, for Jehovah will re-establish the glory of Israel, which Asshur has destroyed. שׁב (perf. proph.) has not the force of the hiphil, reducere, restituere, either here or in Psalm 85:5 and Isaiah 52:8, and other passages, where the modern lexicons give it, but means to turn round, or return to a person, and is construed with the accusative, as in Numbers 10:36; Exodus 4:20, and Genesis 50:14, although in actual fact the return of Jehovah to the eminence of Jacob involves its restoration. גּאון יעקב, that of which Jacob is proud, i.e., the eminence and greatness or glory accruing to Israel by virtue of its election to be the nation of God, which the enemy into whose power it had been given up on account of its rebellion against God had taken away (see at Amos 6:8). Jacob does not stand for Judah, nor Israel for the ten tribes, for Nahum never refers to the ten tribes in distinction from Judah; and Obadiah 1:18, where Jacob is distinguished from the house of Joseph, is of a totally different character. Both names stand here for the whole of Israel (of the twelve tribes), and, as Cyril has shown, the distinction is this: Jacob is the natural name which the people inherited from their forefather, and Israel the spiritual name which they had received from God. Strauss gives the meaning correctly thus: Jehovah will so return to the eminence of His people, who are named after Jacob, that this eminence shall become the eminence of Israel, i.e., of the people of God; in other words, He will exalt the nation once more to the lofty eminence of its divine calling (כּ used in the same manner as in 1 Samuel 25:36). This will He do, because plunderers have plundered (bâqaq, evacuare) them (the Israelites), and destroyed their vines, cast them to the ground; that He may avenge the reproach cast upon His people. The plunderers are the heathen nations, especially the Assyrians. The vines are the Israelites; Israel as a people or kingdom is the vineyard (Isaiah 5:1; Jeremiah 12:10; Psalm 80:9.); the vines are the families, and the branches (zemōrı̄m from zemōrâh) the members.
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