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by Joseph Benson
THE BOOK OF HAGGAI.
THE nine preceding minor prophets preached before the captivity; but the last three some time after it. Haggai was the first that was sent to the Jews, after their return to their own land. It is thought that he was born in Chaldea, and that he came from thence into Judea with Zerubbabel. He began his public work of prophesying and preaching in the sixth month of the second year of Darius Hystaspes, about seventeen years after the return of the captives. He, together with Zechariah, who, about two months after, was raised up to second him, mightily excited and encouraged the Jews to resume and proceed with the work of rebuilding the temple, which they had intermitted for fifteen or sixteen years. He remonstrated how improper it was for them to let the temple lie in ruins, while their own houses were finished and elegantly adorned; and that their neglect of God’s house and honour had provoked him to blast their outward enjoyments. To stir them up to use greater diligence in this work, he assured them from God, that, after terrible convulsions of the nations, the Messiah should appear in the flesh, should teach in the courts of this latter temple, and thereby render it more glorious than the first. It appears that all Haggai’s prophecies, that are recorded, were delivered in the second year of Darius, and within the space of four months. Zechariah, however, prophesied longer, for we have prophecies delivered by him which were dated two years after. The Jews ascribed to these two prophets the honour of being members of the great synagogue, as they call it, which was formed after the return from captivity. But it is more certain, and doubtless it was much more to their honour, that they both prophesied of Christ. Haggai spoke of him, as has just been observed, as the glory of the latter house; and Zechariah, as the man, the Branch, that should build the spiritual temple of the Lord, should bear the glory, should sit and rule upon his throne, and be a priest upon his throne. In and by these two prophets, and Malachi, who succeeded them, the light of the morning-star shone more bright than in and by the foregoing minor prophets, as they lived nearer the time of the rising of the Sun of righteousness, and saw more clearly than their predecessors had done his day approaching. The LXX. make Haggai and Zechariah to be the penmen of Psalms 128., 146., and the two following.
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18