Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The residue.—See Haggai 1:12, Note.Leviticus 23:34, Leviticus 23:36, Leviticus 23:40-42. and its close. The eighth day was to be a sabbath, with its "holy convocation," but the commemorative feast, the dwelling in booths, in memory of God's bringing them out of Egypt, was to last seven days. The close then of this feast could not but revive their sadness at the glories of their first deliverance by God's "mighly hand and outstretched arm," and their present fewness and poverty. This depression could not but bring with it heavy thoughts about the work, in which they were, in obedience to God, engaged; and that, all the more, since Isaiah and Ezekiel had prophesied of the glories of the Christian Church under the symbol of the temple. This despondency Haggai is sent to relieve, owning plainly the reality of its present grounds, but renewing, on God's part, the pledge of the glories of this second temple, which should be thereafter.
Hag 2:1-9. Second Prophecy. The people, discouraged at the inferiority of this temple to Solomon's, are encouraged nevertheless to persevere, because God is with them, and this house by its connection with Messiah's kingdom shall have a glory far above that of gold and silver.
1. seventh month—of the Hebrew year; in the second year of Darius' reign (Hag 1:1); not quite a month after they had begun the work (Hag 1:15). This prophecy was very shortly before that of Zechariah.Speak now; once again acquaint them with what I now impart for their encouragement.
To Zerubbabel, & c.: see Haggai 1:1,12.
Speak now; once again acquaint them with what I now impart for their encouragement.
To Zerubbabel, & c.: see Haggai 1:1,12. Haggai 1:1. The Septuagint version wrongly renders it "of the tribe of Judah"; in which it is followed by the Arabic version; for, though he was of the tribe of Judah, this does not sufficiently distinguish him; nor does it answer to the word here used, which is expressive of his office and dignity. The Vulgate Latin version, Luther, and Castalio, omit the particle rendered "now", which is very emphatic. The prophet is ordered to go and say what he is bid, directly, immediately, at once, without any delay; the very day before mentioned, yea, at that very instant or moment, the people being now at work, under the eye of their governor; in order to remove an offence, which might discourage them in their work, taken from the meanness of the building, in comparison of the former temple:
and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people; these, besides the two former, even the whole body of the people, the remnant that were come out of the captivity of Babylon:Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 2. - Speak now to Zerubbabel. The message is addressed to the heads of the nation, temporal and spiritual, and to all the people who had returned (see notes on Haggai 1:1 and 12). Nahum 2:8. "And Nineveh like a water-pond all her days. And they flee! Stand ye, O stand! and no one turns round. Nahum 2:9. Take silver as booty, take ye gold! And no end to the furnishing with immense quantity of all kinds of ornamental vessels. Nahum 2:10. Emptying and devastation! and the heart has melted, and trembling of the knees, and labour pain in all loins, and the countenance of every one withdraws its ruddiness." Nineveh is compared to a pool, not merely with reference to the multitude of men who had gathered together there, but, as water is everywhere an element of life, also with reference to the wealth and prosperity which accrued to this imperial city out of the streaming together of so many men and so many different peoples. Compare Jeremiah 51:13, where Babel is addressed as "Thou that dwellest on many waters, art rich in many treasures." מימי היא, since the days that she exists. היא equals אשׁר היא, the relation being indicated by the construct state; מן הוא in Isaiah 18:2 is different. But they flee. The subject to נסים is not the waters, although nūs is applied to water in Psalm 104:7, but, as what follows shows, the masses of men who are represented as water. These flee away without being stopped by the cry "Stand ye" (i.e., remain), or even paying any attention to it. Hiphnâh, lit., "to turn the back" (‛ōreph, Jeremiah 48:39), to flee, but when applied to a person already fleeing, to turn round (cf. Jeremiah 46:5). In Nahum 2:9 the conquerors are summoned to plunder, not by their generals, but by God, who speaks through the prophet. The fact is hereby indicated, "that this does not happen by chance, but because God determines to avenge the injuries inflicted upon His people" (Calvin). With ואין קצה the prophecy passes into a simple description. There is no end lattekhūnâh, to the furnishing with treasures. Tekhūnâh, from kūn, not from tâkhan, lit., the setting up, the erection of a building (Ezekiel 43:11); here the furnishing of Nineveh as the dwelling-place of the rulers of the world, whilst in Job 23:3 it is applied to the place where the throne of God has been established. In כּבד the ל might be thought of as still continuing in force (Ewald, Hitzig), but it answers better to the liveliness of the description to take כּבד as beginning a fresh sentence. כּבד written defectively, as in Genesis 31:1 : glory, equivalent to the great amount of the wealth, as in Genesis (l.c.). Kelē chendâh, gold and silver vessels and jewels, as in Hosea 13:15. That there were immense treasures of the precious metals and of costly vessels treasured up in Nineveh, may be inferred with certainty from the accounts of ancient writers, which border on the fabulous.
(Note: For proofs, see Layard's Nineveh, ii. 415ff., and Movers, Phnizier (iii. 1, pp. 40, 41). After quoting the statements of Ctesias, the latter observes that "these numbers are indeed fabulous; but they have their historical side, inasmuch as in the time of Ctesias the riches of Nineveh were estimated at an infinitely greater amount than the enormous treasures accumulated in the treasuries of the Persian empire. That the latter is quite in accordance with truth, may be inferred from the fact that the conquerors of Nineveh, the Medes and Chaldaeans, of whose immense booty, in the shape of gold, silver, and other treasures, even the prophet Nahum speaks, furnished Ecbatana and Babylon with gold and silver from the booty of Nineveh to an extent unparalleled in all history.")
Of all these treasures nothing was left but desolate emptiness. This is expressed by the combination of three synonymous words. Būqâh and mebhūqâh are substantive formations from būq equals bâqaq, to empty out, and are combined to strengthen the idea, like similar combinations in Zephaniah 1:15; Ezekiel 33:29, and Isaiah 29:2. Mebhullâqâh is a synonymous noun formed from the participle pual, and signifying devastation (cf. Isaiah 24:1, where even bâlaq is combined with bâqaq). In Nahum 2:11 the horror of the vanquished at the total devastation of Nineveh is described, also in short substantive clauses: "melted heart" (nâmēs is a participle), i.e., perfect despondency (see Isaiah 13:7; Joshua 7:5); trembling of the knees, so that from terror men can hardly keep upon their feet (pı̄q for pūq; it only occurs here). Chalchâlâh formed by reduplication from chı̄l: spasmodic pains in all loins, like the labour pains of women in childbirth (cf. Isaiah 21:3). Lastly, the faces of all turning pale (see at Joel 2:6).
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