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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Haggai 2

 

 

Verse 1

Haggai 2:1 In the seventh [month], in the one and twentieth [day] of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying,

Ver. 1. In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month] This is the preface to the fourth sermon, as some reckon it; noting the exact time when it was delivered. {See Trapp on "Haggai 1:1"} {See Trapp on "Haggai 1:15"}

Came the word of the Lord] This he often inculcateth, to set forth the truth of his calling, and validity of his commission. {See Trapp on "Haggai 1:5"}

By the prophet Haggai] Heb. by the hand of the prophet. {See Trapp on "Haggai 1:1"}


Verse 2

Haggai 2:2 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,

Ver. 2. Speak now to Zerubbabel, &c.] The better to hearten them on in the work, the prophet is sent again to them, with a like message as before. Note here, 1. That there are none so forward for God and his work but may stand in need of continual quickening; there being more snares and backbiting earth than there are stars in heaven; and the good gift of God having so much need of righting up; for, like a dull sea coal fire, if it be not now and then blown or stirred up, though there be no want of fuel, yet will of itself at length die and go out. Besides that, every inch, every artery of our bodies, if it could, would swell with hellish venom to the size of the largest giant, that it might make resistance to the work of God’s sanctifying Spirit. Let us, therefore, consider one another, and study every man his brother’s case, to stir up, or whet on, to love and good works, Hebrews 10:24. God will not forget this our labour of love, but abundantly both regard and reward it, Malachi 3:16. See the notes there. 2. That continual preaching makes men continue in well doing. Therefore it was that Barnabas was sent to Antioch, Acts 11:22-23, who, when he came and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. And hence also it was that Paul and Barnabas, [Acts 14:21] returned again to Lystra and to Iconium and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and ordaining preachers everywhere for that very purpose, for the increase of their knowledge, for the strengthening of their faith, for the help of their memories, and for the quickening of their affections. Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi sed saepe cadendo. God’s tender plants need be often watered that they may spring and sprout, Plantas tenellas frequentius adaquare proderit (Primas.).

And to the residue of the people] Non enim sacris Eleusiniis, quae in vulgus apargi nefas erat similia sunt oracula Dei, saith an interpreter here. God’s oracles are not to be hidden from the common sort, as Sibylla’s were, and as the Popish doctors hold, lest men should be made heretics thereby, that is, right believers. It is heresy, saith one of them, to read the Scriptures. It was the invention of the devil, saith another. A husbandman, reading the Scriptures, was possessed, saith a third. It is not needful for the common sort to know more of God’s mind than the Articles of the Creed, saith Aquinas, Bellarmine, &c. John Barclay, in his Parenesis, excusing the Church of Rome for taking away the Scriptures from the common people, saith thus, Sed de his quoque providit Ecclesia concionibus, in quibus Evangelia referuntur, &c.: But for this the Church hath made sufficient provision by appointing sermons to be made upon the Gospels for the day, and by permitting books of devotion wherein much use is made of the Holy Scriptures. And for the historical part of the Old Testament, saith he, men may read Josephus’s Antiquities, where it is set down more plainly and plentifully than in the Bible, &c. But I am weary of raking in this foul channel.


Verse 3

Haggai 2:3 Who [is] left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? [is it] not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?

Ver. 3. Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory?] Some such there were among them (as is here implied), and these must needs be very old, one hundred and twenty, at least, some say more. Zerubbabel might well be one of these; for he was a chieftain in the first year of Cyrus, Ezra 2:2. And Jehoshua, the high priest, might be another; for he came out of Babylon with Zerubbabel at the same time, Ezra 3:2. We see by experience that men’s lives are daily shortened. Natural reasons whereof may be these. 1. Untimely marriages. 2. Filling our bodies with variety of foods, and so digging our own graves with our own teeth. 3. Much ease and delicacy. The supernatural reason may be that so the world may sooner come to an end. God maketh haste to have the number of his elect fulfilled, and therefore dispatcheth away the generations, shorteneth life for his elect’s sake, fetcheth home his pilgrims, makes their days few, though evil, [Genesis 47:9] takes them away from the evil to come, &c., death being to them aerumnarum requies rest from all toils, (as Chaucer’s motto was), yea, ianua vitae, porta coeli, the door of life, the gate to heaven, the daybreak of eternal brightness.

And how do ye see it now?] It is a part of old men’s prudence rightly to compare things long since past with things present, and so to conjecture at things to come. Thus the prudent person, by discourse of reason, foreseeth an evil and hideth himself, when the young fool passeth on and is punished.

Is it not in your eyes] That is, in your thoughts; for God taketh notice of the inward workings of the heart, 1 Samuel 16:7, Psalms 139:2, 1 Kings 8:39. For he made the heart, and must therefore know all that is in it; as a watchmaker knows all the wheels and motions of the watch. He also will bring every secret thing into judgment, Ecclesiastes 12:14. Therefore thought is not free (as foolish folk dote), either from the notice of his eye (he had soon found out these Jews, when they did but despise the day of small things in their hearts, Zechariah 4:10), or from the censure of his mouth, Hebrews 4:12-13, Romans 7:14 (the law is spiritual and meets with involuntary motions to sin, Haggai 2:7), or, lastly, from the stroke of his hand, which is a mighty hand, 1 Peter 5:6, and falls very heavy, Deuteronomy 29:19, even for a root of bitterness, as it is there, for vain thoughts, Jeremiah 4:14; how much more for mischievous, murderous, covetous, vain-glorious, and adulterous thoughts, &c. It were good, therefore, to write upon walls and windows (yea, would it were written upon the tables of our hearts) that short motto, which as short as it is, yet our memories are shorter, Cave, Deus videt, Take heed, God looks on; for he is omnipresent and omniscient.

Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?] A mere non-entity or nullity? not fit to be named in the same day with the former temple? For, first, Cyrus appointed the full proportion of this second house, the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits, Ezra 6:3, which was but one-half so large as Solomon’s temple. Herod indeed, to curry favour with the Jews (which yet would never be), built upon Solomen’s foundation, and bestowed a great deal of cost, if we may believe Josephus. But so could not these Jews do, that returned from Babylon; for they were (secondly) but few, and those also poor, and, though helped both by Cyrus and Darius, yet they were glad to build the temple of common stone, and unpolished, nothing like those precious carved stones wherewith Solomon built, 1 Kings 6:36. Thirdly, God hereby would draw their minds from the legal ceremonies and services; the Sun of Righteousness being now ready to arise upon them, the Dayspring from on high to visit them. Howbeit, because they could not have so glorious a temple as the former, they slighted it in their thoughts, and would have neglected it. Learn hence, That men naturally account as nothing of God’s service, if not accompanied with outward pomp and splendour. The Israelites in the wilderness would needs have a calf (as the Egyptians had) made of their jewels and ear-rings. Jeroboam would have two, and those of gold. Nebuchadnezzar dedicated a golden image with all manner of music, Daniel 3:1-7 The people wept when the foundation of this temple was laid, Ezra 3:12, because nothing so magnificent as the former. And the Papists explode our religion in comparison of theirs, because nothing so pompous and plausible to the rude people, whom they deceive with apish toys and trinkets, shows and pageants. In their petition to King James they pleaded for their religion, that it was more pleasing than ours, and more agreeable to nature. John Hunt, a Roman Catholic, in his humble appeal to King James, thus blasphemeth: The God of the Protestants is worse than Pan, god of the clowns, which can endure no ceremonies nor good manners at all. Many, like children, like that book best that hath most babies in it; neither will they eat their milk but in a golden dish. This proceeds from a blind understanding and carnal affection. The Church in its infancy was enticed with shows and shadows; but now God requires a reasonable service, he calls for spirit and truth.


Verse 4

Haggai 2:4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I [am] with you, saith the LORD of hosts:

Ver. 4. Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, &c.] Here he exhorteth all ranks, first, to good affection, Be strong, or of a good courage; secondly, to good action, work, or, Be doing; for affection without action is like Rachel, beautiful, but barren. Be strong, so as to prevail and carry on the service, all discouragemeats notwithstanding ( Charach unde ισχυειν, valeo. Sept. vertunt. υπερκρατειν υπερισχυειν). Those that will serve God in the maintenance of good causes must be courageous and resolute, 1 Corinthians 16:13; for otherwise they shall never be able to withstand the opposition that will be made either from carnal reason within, or the world and devil without, for want of this spiritual mettle, this supernatural strength, this "spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind," 2 Timothy 1:7; opposed to the spirit of fear, that cowardly passion that unmans us, and expectorateth and exposeth us to sundry both sins and snares; when he that trusteth in the Lord shall be safe, Proverbs 29:25. Here, then, that we falter not, budge not, betray not the cause of God, nor come under his heavy displeasure, who equally hateth the timorous and the treacherous; let us, 1. Be armed with true faith; for Fides tamen non formidat, faith quelleth and killeth distrustful fear. 2. Get the heart fraught with the true fear of God; for as one fire, so one fear, drives out another, Matthew 10:28, 1 Peter 3:13-14 3. Get and keep a clearing, cheering conscience; for that feareth no colours, as we see in St Paul, Athanasius, Luther, Latimer, and other holy martyrs and confessors. 4. Think on God’s presence, as here, Be strong and be doing, for I am with you. Though David walk through the vale of the shadow of death, that is, of death in its most hideous and horrid representations, he will not fear; for what reason? "thou art with me," saith he, Psalms 23:3-4. Dogs and other creatures will fight stoutly in their master’s presence. 5. Consider your high and heavenly calling, and say, Shall such a man as I flee? &c. Either change thy name or be valiant, saith Alexander to a soldier of his that was of his own name, but a coward, Et Turnum fugientem haec terra videbit? (Virg.). Lastly, look up, as St Stephen did, to the recompense of reward, steal a look from glory, as Moses, Hebrews 11:26, help yourselves over the difficulty of suffering together with Christ, by considering the happiness of reigning together. Thus, be of good courage, or deal courageously, and God shall be with the good, as Jehoshaphat told his judges when to go their circuit, 2 Chronicles 19:11.

And work] Good affections must end in good actions, else they are scarcely found, but much to be suspected. Good wishes (and no more) may be found in hell’s mouth, Numbers 23:10. Orpah had good affections, but they came to nothing, Ruth 1:14. God must be entreated to fix our quicksilver, to ballast our lightness, to work in us both to will and to do, that it may be said of us, as of those Corinthians, that as there was in them a readiness to will, so there followed the performance also, 2 Corinthians 8:12. Desire and zeal are set together, 2 Corinthians 7:11; desire after the sincere milk, and growth in grace, 1 Peter 2:2. John Baptist’s hearers so desired after heaven that they offered violence to it, Matthew 11:12. True affections are the breathings of a broken heart, Acts 2:37, Romans 7:23. But the desires of the slothful kill him, Proverbs 21:25. Virtutem exoptat contabescitque relicta (Pers.), Good affections are ill bestowed upon the sluggard, since they boil not up to the full heat and height of resolution for God, or, at least, of execution of his will. The sails of a ship are not ordained that she should lie always at road, but launch out into the deep. God likes not qualmy Christians, good by fits, as Saul seemed to be, when David’s innocence triumphed in his conscience, or as Ephraim, whose duties were dough-baked, and whose goodness was as the morning dew, &c. "Be ye stedfast and unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." Stick not at any part of it; difficulty doth but whet on heroic spirits, as a bowl that runs downhill is not slugged, but quickened, by a rub in the way. If this be to be vile, I will be yet more vile, 2 Samuel 6:22 "Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain," Zechariah 4:7 "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness," 2 Corinthians 12:9.

For I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts] By a twofold presence: 1. Of help and assistance; 2. Of love and acceptance. Of the first see Haggai 1:13. {See Trapp on "Haggai 1:13"} The second seems here intended. The Jews were poor, yet God assureth them they had his love. So had the Church of Smyrna, Revelation 2:9, I know thy poverty, but that is nothing, thou art rich, rich in reversion, rich in bills and bonds; yea, rich in possession, or, All is theirs, they hold all in capite: they have, 1. plenty; 2. propriety in things of greatest price; for they have God all-sufficient for their portion, for their protection. "I am with you," saith he, and that is enough, that is able to counterpoise any defect whatsoever, as we see in David often, but especially at the sack of Ziklag; where, when he had lost all, and his life also was in suspense, the text saith, he comforted or "encouraged himself in the Lord his God," 1 Samuel 30:6; whereas Saul in like case goes first to the witch, and then to the sword’s point. A godly man, if any occasion of discontent befall him, retires himself into his counting-house, and there tells over his spiritual treasure; he runs to his cordials, he reviews his white stone, Revelation 2:17, his new name ("better than that of sons and of daughters," Isaiah 56:5), he hath meat to eat that the world knoweth not of, the stranger meddleth not with his joy. Virtus lecythos habet in malis. Tua praesentia, Domine, Laurentio ipsam craticulam dulcem fecit, saith a father, Thy presence, O Lord, made the very gridiron sweet to the martyr Laurence. It made the fiery furnace a gallery of pleasure to the three worthies, the lions’ den a house of defence to Daniel, the whale’s belly a lodging chamber to Jonah, Egypt a harbour, a sanctuary, to the child Jesus, &c. He goes with his into the fire and water, as a tender father goeth with his child to the surgeon. "Nevertheless," saith David, "I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory," Psalms 73:23-24. Again, "I am with you"; that is, I will accept your worships, though in this meaner temple. If God may have the substance of worship, he stands not much upon the circumstance. The sick may pray upon their beds, the persecuted in chambers, Acts 1:12-14, yea, "in dens and caves of the earth," Hebrews 11:38. The Church, in Queen Mary’s days, met and prayed often together in a cellar in Bow church yard. It was one of the laws of the twelve tables in Rome, Ad divos adeunto caste, pietatem adhibento, opes amovento. The upright shall approach to the gods, they shall summon the righteous, they shall put away their deeds. "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire" (viz. in comparison of obedience, 1 Samuel 15:22), but, as a better thing, "mine ears hast thou opened," Psalms 40:6. Hypocrites by cold ceremonies think to appease God; they observe the circumstance, neglect the substance; they stick in the bark of rebellion, gnabble on the shell, offer the skin, keep back the flesh, serve God with shows; and shall be served accordingly.


Verse 5

Haggai 2:5 [According to] the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.

Ver. 5. According to the word] Or, as Tremellius hath it better, Cum VERBO quo pepigeram vobiscum, With the WORD, in and for whom I covenanted with you, &c. So my Spirit remaineth among you. And so it is a gracious promise that the whole Trinity will be with them. The particle eth seemeth put for gnayim; and the article he is emphatic, showing that by Word is meant the second person, often called the Word both in the Old Testament, 2 Samuel 7:21 cf. 1 Chronicles 17:19, and in the New, Luke 1:1-80 : 2 John 1:1, 1 John 5:7. The Chaldee seemeth to favour this interpretation, for he rendereth it, My word shall be your help. Jerome, Albertus, Nyssen, and Haymo dissent not. Haggai, and other prophets and patriarchs of old, did well understand the mystery of the sacred Trinity. {See Trapp on "Genesis 1:1"} Elihu speaks of the Almighty his makers, Job 35:10. Solomon the same, Ecclesiastes 12:1, Song of Solomon 1:11, which Jarchi interpreteth of the Trinity. Isaiah hath his Trisagion, or, "Holy, holy, holy," Isaiah 6:3 In Isaiah 42:5 "Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and they that stretched them out." So Deuteronomy 6:4, when Moses beginneth to rehearse the law, and to explain it, the first thing he teacheth them is the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one." Three words answering the three persons; and the middle word, "our God," deciphering fitly the second, who assumed our nature, as is well observed by Galatinus. Others observe that the last letters in the original, both in the word "hear" and in the word "one," are bigger than ordinary; as calling for utmost heed and attention. The old Rabbis were no strangers to this tremendous mystery (as appeareth by R. Solomen’s note on Song of Solomon 1:11 "We will make," &c.), though their posterity desperately deny it. The Greek Church was not as sound in this fundamental point; therefore their chief city, Constantinople, was taken from them by the Turks (as Estius observeth) on Whitsunday, or (as others) on Trinity Sunday; which day (saith our chronicler) the Black Prince was used every year to celebrate with the greatest honour that might be, in due veneration of so divine a mystery. Now, Christ is here and elsewhere called The Word, either because he is so often promised in the word, or else because by him God’s will was manifested and revealed to men, and that either mediately, in the prophets, whence Peter, martyr, thinketh that phrase came, Then came the word of the Lord, that is, Christ; or, immediately, himself, Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 2:3.

That I covenanted with you] Or, in whom I covenanted, and whence Christ is called the angel of the covenant, Malachi 3:1. Christ, then, was a Saviour to those of the Old Testament also, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," Revelation 13:8. Christ undertook to pay his people’s debt in the fulness of time; and hereby they were saved. A man may let a prisoner loose now upon a promise to pay the debt a year after. See Hebrews 9:15, and take notice of the unity of the faith in both Testaments; they of old saw Christ afar off in the promises, they greeted him ( ασπασαμενοι), and were regreeted by him, Hebrews 11:13

When ye came out of Egypt] Ye, that is, your ancestors. Things done by the parents may be said to be done by the children; because of the near conjunction that is between them. Hence Levi is said to pay tithes in Abraham, Hebrews 7:9, and Adam’s sin is imputed to us all.

So my spirit remaineth among you] Not the substance, but the gifts of the Spirit; not the tree, but the fruits. Those whom God receiveth into the covenant of grace he endues them with the spirit of grace. See Romans 8:9; Romans 8:11. How else should they be able to perform their part of the covenant, since we cannot so much as suspirare unless he do first inspirare, breathe out a sigh for sin till he breathe it in to us by his Spirit? Hereby, then, we may know whether or not we are in covenant with God (the devil will be sure to sweep all that are not), sc. if his Spirit remain in us, Jeremiah 31:33, working illumination, 1 Corinthians 2:14-15, mortification, Romans 8:13, motion, Romans 8:14, gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:7-8, &c., fruits, Galatians 5:22-23, strength, Isaiah 11:2, courage, as here.

Fear ye not] Cur timer hominem homo, in sinu Dei positus (Aug.)? Why should such fear man who have God in Christ by his Spirit standing with them and for them? The righteous may be bold as a lion; he hath the peace of God within him and the power of God without him, and so goes ever under a double guard; what need he fear? It is said of Achilles that he was Styge armatus, and therefore could not be wounded. But he that is in covenant with God is Deo, Christo, Spiritu Saneto armatus, and may therefore be fearless of any creature.


Verse 6

Haggai 2:6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it [is] a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry [land];

Ver. 6. For thus saith the Lord of hosts] i.e. The three persons in Trinity, as appeareth by the note on the former verse. Howbeit, the author to the Hebrews, Hebrews 12:25-26, applieth the words to Christ; whence observe that Christ is Lord of hosts and God Almighty; even the same second person that is called haddabhar, the Word, in the former verse, is very God. John 1:3 cf. Colossians 1:14; Colossians 1:16, John 1:9 cf. John 8:12, John 1:11 cf. Acts 3:13-15. See those coherencies of sentences, John 9:3-4; John 11:4; John 12:39-40, besides the apostle’s argument, Hebrews 1:4. That one Gospel written by St John, who was therefore called the Divine, by an excellency (as afterwards Nazianzen also was), because he doth professedly assert and vindicate the Divinity of Christ (ever strongly impugned by the devil and his agents, those odious apostates and heretics ancient and modern; and no wonder, for it is the rock, Matthew 16:18), setting him forth, 1. As co-essential to the Father, his only begotten Son, John 1:14. One with the Father in essence and power, John 10:30; John 10:38; John 14:23 2. As having the incommunicable names and attributes of God, John 8:58; John 20:28. Eternity, John 1:1; John 17:5, infiniteness, John 3:18, omniscience, John 2:24; John 21:22 3. As doing the works of God, such as are creation, John 1:3, conservation, John 5:17, miracles, &c. 4. As taking to himself divine worship, John 9:38; John 20:28; John 14:1. This truth men must hold fast as their lives, and be rooted in it; getting strong reasons for what they believe. The second ground wanted depth of earth; the seed was good and the earth was good, but there was not enough of it; therefore the heat of the sun scorched it up. Christ is here called the Lord of hosts, and the Lord of glory, Isaiah 6:1 cf. John 12:41, James 2:1.

Yet once, it is a little while, &c.] Adhuc unum pusillum. This little little while, this inch of time, was the better part of 500 years, viz. till Christ came in the flesh, Hebrews 12:26, the Jewish doctors say no less. A long time to us is but a little while to God. A thousand years is but as one day to the Ancient of days. His prophets also, being lifted up in spirit to the consideration of eternity, count and call all times (as indeed they are in comparison) moments, and points of time: Punctum est quod vivimus, et puncto minus, could the poet say. What is that to the infinite? said a certain nobleman of this land to one, discoursing of an incident matter very considerable, but was taken off with this quick interrogation. So say we to ourselves, when under any affliction, we begin to think long of God’s coming to deliver us. What is this to eternity of extremity, which yet we have deserved? Tantillum, tantillum, adhuc pusillum. Yet a very little while and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry; as in the interim, the just must live by faith, Hebrews 10:37. God’s help seems long, because we are short. We are short-breathed, short-sighted, apt to antedate the promises, in regard of the accomplishment. We also often find it more easy to bear evil than to wait till the promised good be enjoyed. Those believing Hebrews found by experience that the spoiling of their goods exercised their patience; but staying God’s leisure for the good things he had promised them required more than ordinary patience, or tarriance Hebrews 10:36. Take we heed of prescribing to the Almighty, of limiting the Holy One of Israel, of setting him a time, with those Bethulians.

And I will shake the heavens] Not the earth only, as at the giving of the law (to purchase reverence to the law-giver), but the heavens also; viz. by the powerful preaching of the gospel, whereby Satan was seen falling from heaven, Luke 10:18, that is, from men’s hearts; and the saints set together in heavenly places, or privileges in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:6. For he that hath the Son hath life, 1 John 5:10, he hath heaven beforehand. 1. In pretio. In price. 2. In promisso. On Promise. 3. In primitiis. In the firstfruits. Here, then, the prophet encourageth these builders; telling them that under this second temple, how mean soever it seemed, he would first send Christ (called the desire of all nations, Haggai 2:7, and peace, Haggai 2:9 cf. Ephesians 2:14) to grace it with his presence. Secondly, he would cause the gospel to be preached in a pompous and powerful manner. "I will shake," &c. Shake them, to settle them, not to ruin them, but to refine them, shake their hearts with sense of sin and fear of wrath, that they may truly seek Christ. "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ," John 1:17. And the end of this universal shake was to show, saith Chrysostom, that the old law was to be changed into the new, Moses into Messiah, the prophets into evangelists, Judaism and Gentilism into Christianism. When Christ was born we know how Herod was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him, Matthew 2:3. What a choir of angels was heard in the air at Bethlehem, and what wondering there was at those things which were told them by the shepherds, Luke 2:18. Eusebius tells of three suns seen in heaven not long before his birth. Orosius tells of many more prodigies. The Psalmist, foretelling our Saviour’s coming in the flesh, breaks out into this joyful exclamation; "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad: let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood reioice before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with truth," Psalms 96:11-13; Psalms 98:7-9. This, I know, is by some (but not so properly) understood of Christ’s second coming to judgment. And both Augustine and Rupertus construe this text also the same way. But the whole stream of interpreters, old and new, carry it against them; and some of them tell us of various strange and stupendous commotions that occured even according to the letter, in heaven, earth, and sea, about the time of Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and soon after his ascension, when he rode about the world upon his white horse, the apostles and their successors, Psalms 45:4; with a crown upon his head, as King of his Church, and a bow in his hand, the doctrine of the gospel, whereby the people fall under him, "and he went forth conquering, and to conquer," Revelation 6:2.


Verse 7

Haggai 2:7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.

Ver. 7. And I will shake all nations] First, by the civil wars between the Triumviri, not long before Christ’s incarnation. Secondly, by the general tax, Luke 2:3, when all went to be taxed every one into his own city. Thirdly, by the preaching and miracles of Christ and his apostles, whereby the nations were shaken out of their sinful condition, and brought to the obedience of faith by effectual conversion. Thus a Lapide. "I will shake all nations" with wonder at so great a mystery, with joy and with newness of life, saith Sa. The gospel (saith Forbes on Revelation 14:6) hath three degrees of operation in the hearts of men. First, it falleth to men’s ears as the sound of many waters, a confused sound, which commonly bringeth neither terror nor joy; but yet a wondering and acknowledgment of a strange force, and more than human power, Mark 1:22-23, Luke 4:32, John 7:46. This may be in the reprobate, Acts 13:41. The second effect is the voice of thunder, which brings not only wonder, but fear. This may also be in a reprobate, as Felix. The third effect, proper to the elect, is the sound of harping; while the gospel not only ravisheth with admiration, and shaketh the conscience with terror, but also filleth it with sweet peace and joy. Certain it is, that the gospel maketh a stir where it cometh, and brings an earthquake to men’s souls, as it did to the jailer’s, Acts 16:26-27, and Peter’s converts, Acts 2:37 And this partly through the frowardness of our affections, and partly through the malice of Satan, fearing the ruin of his kingdom. For, as for the gospel, this effect follows it, by accident. See Matthew 10:34-35, {See Trapp on "Matthew 10:34"} {See Trapp on "Matthew 10:35"} See also Luke 12:49. It is by accident to the sun that it maketh the dunghill stink. It is by accident to the sea that it maketh the passenger sick; the ill humours in his stomach disease him. So here.

And the desire of all nations shall come] That is, Christ, for so the apostle expoundeth it, Hebrews 12:25-26. And the Church saith of him, Totus ipse desideria, Song of Solomon 5:16, he is all over desirable ( Valete mea desideria. Goodbye my love, Cic. xiv. 2, ad Uxorem et Filiam to wives and daughters). And again, Isaiah 26:9 "With my soul have I desired thee in the night: yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early." "And unto Shiloh shall the gathering of the people be," saith Jacob, Genesis 49:10, as unto the standard bearer, Song of Solomon 5:10, the carcase, Matthew 24:28, as the doves scour to their columbaries, Isaiah 60:8. When I am lifted up, saith he, I will draw all men after me, John 12:32, that is, all mine elect; these will follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, as the hop and heliotrope (a) do the sun. And because the nations had not heard of Christ till he came in the flesh, and this coming of the desire of all nations seems to follow presently upon the preaching of the gospel, therefore Junius renders it Desiderati, the desirable ones of all nations, and interprets it, of the elect (the Septuagint also say the same, of οι εκλεκτοι των εθνων), who should come to the second temple in a spiritual sense, worshipping the same God that these good Jews did, and should come with strength of affection (as the Hebrew importeth), should make hard shift to come, Isaiah 66:20 "They shall bring your brethren as an offering to the Lord, upon horses, in chariots, and in litters," that is, though sick, weakly, and unfit for travel, yet rather in litters than not at all. Neither shall they come empty handed, but with all their desirable things (so some render this text), colligent omnes suos thesauros, saith Calvin, they shall come with strong affections, with liberal contributions, as Acts 4:34, and as Tyrus, who, when once converted, leaves hoarding and heaping up wealth (as formerly), and finds another manner of employment for it, namely, to uphold God’s worship, and to feed and clothe his saints, Isaiah 23:18.

And I will fill this house with glory] This rebuilding temple shall be honoured with Christ’s bodily presence (Diodati); and the spiritual temple, which is the Church, shall be honoured by my presence in spirit, the abundance of my graces, the light of my word, and power of my spirit, who shall rest upon my people as a spirit of glory when the world loadeth them with greatest ignominy, 1 Peter 4:14, rest upon them by a blessed Shechinah.


Verse 8

Haggai 2:8 The silver [is] mine, and the gold [is] mine, saith the LORD of hosts.

Ver. 8. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts] Whereas the Jews might object that it was not likely the second temple should be more glorious than the first, since they wanted that wealth wherewith Solomon abounded; God answereth in like sort, as once he did Moses, alleging the slowness of his speech, "Who hath made man’s mouth?" Exodus 4:10-11, so here, whose is the silver and the gold? Am not I the true proprietor and chief Lord of all? cannot I furnish you out of my great purse, the earth, and the fulness thereof? Psalms 24:1 ( Terra est marsupium Domini). What is silver and gold but white and red earth, the guts and garbage of the earth, as one phraseth it? things that I have no need of, Psalms 50:13. They lie furthest from heaven; the best of them are in Ophir (perhaps the same with Peru), furthest from the Church. Adam had them in the first paradise, Genesis 2:11-12, in the second you shall not need them, Job 26:2-3, &c. In defect of other, I myself will be your gold, and you shall have plenty of silver, Job 22:25. Christ, girt about the paps (that seat of love) with a golden girdle, shall walk in the midst of his seven golden candlesticks, Revelation 1:12-13, with a golden censer in his hand, perfuming and presenting the prayers of his people upon the golden altar, Revelation 8:3, and measuring that city of pearl, his Church, with a golden reed, Revelation 21:15. Ribera and some others think that God, as of old he had stirred up Cyrus and Darius (both of them heathens) to contribute to the building of the temple, so afterwards he stirred up Herod, a wealthy king, not long before Christ came, to bestow abundance of cost upon the same temple; and that this was here afore prophesied. But I should rather incline to Calvin, who doubteth not but that the devil stirred up Herod to do as he did; that the Jews, doting upon the splendour of that brave structure (the disciples did no less, Matthew 24:1-2), might cease looking for Christ or trusting in him. And who knows (saith be) whether Herod himself might not have such a fetch in his head. Howsoever, the devil was in it, doubtless, to take off their minds from the expectation of Christ’s coming, which was now at hand, by those external pomps; and to withdraw the spirits of the godly from the furniture and gaiety of the spiritual temple. We know how the disciples (who, leavened with the leaven of the Pharisees, dreamt of an earthly kingdom) were taken with the beauty and bravery of Herod’s temple, showing the same to our Saviour, and fondly conceiting that by that goodly sight he might be moved to moderate the severity of that former sentence of his, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate," Matthew 23:38; Matthew 24:1. But his thoughts were not as their thoughts. The bramble reckoned it a great matter to reign over the trees; so did not the vine and olive. The Papists hold that God is delighted with golden and silver vessels in the administration of the eucharist, and offended with the contrary. But the primitive Christians celebrated the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in vessels first of wood, and afterwards of glass. That saying also of Ambrose is well known, Aurum sacramenta non quaerunt, nec auro placent, quae auro non emuntur. It was grown to a proverb soon after Constantine’s time, Once we had golden ministers and wooden vessels, now we have wooden ministers and golden vessels. Religion brought forth wealth; and the mother devoured the daughter.


Verse 9

Haggai 2:9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.

Ver. 9. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former] Because Christ shall appear and preach in it, {as Haggai 2:7} who is the brightness of his Father’s glory, ac consequenter urbis et orbis; any relation to whom heighteneth and ennobleth both places and persons. Bethlehem, though it be the least, [Micah 3:6] is yet not the least among the princes of Judah, [Matthew 2:6] because Christ was born there. The tribe of Naphtali is first reckoned of those by Rachel’s side; because at Capernaum, in this tribe, Christ inhabited, Revelation 7:6, in which respect also this town is said to be lifted up to heaven, Matthew 11:2-3. Benjamin is called the beloved of the Lord, Genesis 42:4, God’s darling (as their father Benjamin was old Jacob’s), because God dwelt between his shoulders, sc. in his temple built upon those two mountains, Moriah and Zion, Deuteronomy 33:12. The glory of that first temple was, that the majesty of God appeared in it, covering itself in a cloud. The glory of this latter house was greater, because therein the same Divine majesty appeared, not covered with a cloud but really incarnated. "For the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," John 1:14. In this flesh of ours, and under this second temple, Christ not only uttered oracles, did miracles, and finished the great work of our redemption, but also laid the foundation of the Christian Church. For the law (that perfect law of liberty, the gospel, James 1:25) came out of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, to all the ends of the earth, Isaiah 2:3, Psalms 110:1. From hence it was that the Lord of glory, whom the blind Jews had crucified, sent out his apostles, those messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ, as they are called, 2 Corinthians 8:23, to gather together unto him those desirable ones his elect, [Haggai 2:7] {See Trapp on "Haggai 2:7"} whom he calleth the glory, Isaiah 46:13, the house of his glory, Isaiah 60:7, a crown of glory, Isaiah 62:3, the throne of glory, Jeremiah 14:21, the ornament of God, Ezekiel 7:20, the beauty of his ornament, and that set in majesty, a royal diadem in the hand of Jehovah, Isaiah 62:3.

And in this place will I give peace] Even the Prince of peace, and with him all things also, Romans 8:32, pacem Pectoris et Temporis, Peace of country and of conscience; this latter especially seemeth here to be meant. For the former (viz. outward peace) was not long enjoyed by these Jews; and their second temple was often spoiled by the enemies, and at length burned and overturned. But the "peace of God that passeth all understanding" is that legacy which the world can neither give nor take from God’s people, John 14:27. And of this inward peace the Septuagint (according to the Roman edition) taketh the text, and so doth Ambrose; Haec est pax super pacem, This is peace above peace. saith he. Christ, as he Was brought from heaven, with that song of peace, Luke 2:14 "On earth peace, good will toward men" (which is the same with that salutation of St Paul, who learned it, belike, of those angels, "Grace be to you, and peace"), so he returned up again with that farewell of peace, John 14:27, and left to the world the doctrine of peace, the gospel of peace, Ephesians 2:17, whose author is the God of peace, 1 Corinthians 14:33, whose ministers are ministers of peace, Romans 10:15, whose followers are the children of peace, Luke 10:6, whose unity is in the bond of peace, Ephesians 4:3, whose duty is the study of peace, Romans 12:18; and whose end is, to enter into peace, to rest in their beds, their souls resting in heaven, their bodies in the grave till the joyful resurrection, even every one walking in his uprightness, Isaiah 57:2, Psalms 37:33.


Verse 10

Haggai 2:10 In the four and twentieth [day] of the ninth [month], in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,

Ver. 10. In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius] This diligence of the prophets in noting and noticing the precise time of God’s hand upon them, should teach us to do the like. {See Trapp on "Haggai 1:1"} The churches in Switzerland kept that day yearly as a holiday whereon the Reformation began among them (Scultet. Annal). Bugenhagius kept a feast every year on that day of the month wherein he and some other divines had finished the Dutch Bible, and called it The feast of the translation of the Bible (Melch. Adam in Vit. Bugenhag.). The University of Heidelberg kept an evangelical jubilee three whole days together, A. D. 1617, on the first of November, in the remembrance of the renowned Reformation of religion begun by Luther just a hundred years before. Hereby God s name shall be sanctified, our faith strengthened, and our good affection both evidenced and excited. By the time here described it appeareth that they had now been three months building, and the prophet meanwhile had given them great encouragement thereunto. But forasmuch as he found that they stuck in the bark, as they say, rested in the work done, thought they should therefore win upon God because they built him a temple, the prophet gives them to understand that there is more required of them than a temple, viz. that therein they worship the Lord purely and holily, in spirit and in truth; that their divine worship be right both quoad fontem et quoad finem, for principle and end of intention; for else they impure all that they touch, and are no whit better, but a great deal the worse for all their performances. This the prophet teacheth them in the two following oracles propounded by way of demand to the priests. How apt are men to lose themselves in a wilderness of duties! to dig for pearls in their own dunghills! to think to oblige God to themselves by their good works! to spin a thread of their own to climb up to heaven by! to rest in their own righteousness! to save themselves by riding on horses! Hosea 14:8. The prophet’s design is here to beat them off from such fond conceits; telling them that the person must be accepted ere the service can be regarded, as Abel’s. "To the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled," saith the apostle, Titus 1:15. Calvin upon this text saith no more; and yet Corn. a Lapide is very angry with him for saying so much. There is in Peter Lombard this golden sentence cited out of Augustine: The whole life of unbelievers is sin: neither is anything good without the chiefest good. This sentence Ambrose Ribera, a Popish expositor, censureth for harsh and cruel ( Crudelis est ills sententia); but doth not God here say the same thing? Certain it is that good actions from bad men displease; as a man may speak good words, but we cannot hear, because of his stinking breath. "The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to the Lord," Proverbs 15:8. Charity is nothing unless it flow out "of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned," 1 Timothy 1:5.


Verse 11

Haggai 2:11 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests [concerning] the law, saying,

Ver. 11. Ask now the priest concerning the law] For who should know the law better than the priests? And who so fit to resolve cases of conscience as they? It was their office, Leviticus 10:10-11, Deuteronomy 33:10, Malachi 2:7. See the note there. It was an evil time with God’s people when he was put to complain, "Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent?" Isaiah 42:19. When the prophet was a fool, the spiritual man was mad for the multitude of their iniquity, and the great hatred, Hosea 9:7. Varro upbraided the Roman priests of old with their gross ignorance of many things in point of their own rites and religions; and Cicero brake a jest upon Gaius Popilius, an ignorant lawyer, at Rome. For when Popilius, being called for a witness to some controversy, answered, Nihil se scire, that he knew nothing, Cicero answered, by way of jeer, Paras fortasse te de iure interrogari, You mean (perhaps) that you know nothing in the law, which yet you profess to have skill in. What a shame was it for the Pharisees, who took upon them to be guides of the blind, teachers of babes, &c., Romans 2:19-20, to be found "blind leaders of the blind!" Matthew 15:14 So is it for divines, being asked concerning the law, or will of God, in such and such cases, not to be able to answer discreetly ( νουνεχως), and intelligently, as he did Mark 12:34, as an egregie cordatus homo? distinguished wise man. But so bungler-like, and so far from the purpose, that it may well be seen that "desiring to be teachers of the law, they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm," 1 Timothy 1:7. How like the motion of a puppet, the language of a parrot, is the discourse of such unlearned or uninterested casuists! Every minister of God’s making can truly say, "The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know to time a word to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned," Isaiah 10:4. See 1 Corinthians 12:8, Titus 1:9, Ephesians 3:4; Ephesians 3:7, 1 Corinthians 2:13.


Verse 12

Haggai 2:12 If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No.

Ver. 12. If one bear holy flesh in the skirt, &c.] Problems and parables are notable helps to the bolting out of the truth, and conviction of the gainsayers. For problems see Matthew 13:10-15; Matthew 21:25; Matthew 22:42. For parables see 9:7-15, that of Jotham, of Nathan, 2 Samuel 12:1-4, of the woman of Tekoah, 2 Samuel 14:5-7, of our Saviour concerning the two brethren sent into the vineyard, the wedding of the king’s son, the sower. {See Trapp on "Haggai 2:10"}

And the priests answered and said, No] Roundly and readily; without hacking and hewing, without doubling and dissembling; as those perverse priests, those self-condemned hierophants, (a) Matthew 21:27, that, against their consciences, "answered Jesus and said, We cannot tell." The wit of graceless persons will better serve them to falter and fumble, deny, or devise a thousand shifts to evade and elude the truth, than their malice will suffer them to yield to it, or profess it. This is to detain the truth in unrighteousness, Romans 1:18, as Plato, who had the knowledge of one God, yet he dared not to communicate it to the common people; and as some of the chief champions of Popery, who held justification by faith alone, but refused to say so, lest their Dagon should down, their Diana be despised. Let every spiritual man (but especially ministers) be ready, as to every good work, so to this of comparing spiritual things with spiritual, that he may judge or discern of all things, 1 Corinthians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 2:15, according to the analogy of faith, Romans 12:6, the tenor of the Scriptures, his sure cynosura; and laying up all in his heart, Luke 2:18, he may have a treasure there of new and old, a word of wisdom and a word of knowledge too, 1 Corinthians 12:8, both as a teacher and as a pastor, to bring forth for common benefit.


Verse 13

Haggai 2:13 Then said Haggai, If [one that is] unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.

Ver. 13. If one that is unclean by a dead body] With a ceremonial uncleanness. The Hebrew hath it thus, If one that is unclean in soul, that is, in his whole person, as every wicked man is totus totus pollutus, wholly covered with corruption, a loathsome leper from head to foot, wholly set upon sin, as Exodus 32:22, lying down in wickedness, or in that wicked one, 1 John 5:19, sick of such a disease as the physicians call corruptionem totius substantiae, nay, dead in sins and trespasses, Ephesians 2:1; and can therefore do no better than dead work at best, Hebrews 9:14, such as the living God will not be served with. {See Trapp on "Malachi 3:16"} doct. 4, use 1. He is unclean, unclean, and impureth all that he toucheth, according to that which followeth.


Verse 14

Haggai 2:14 Then answered Haggai, and said, So [is] this people, and so [is] this nation before me, saith the LORD and so [is] every work of their hands; and that which they offer there [is] unclean.

Ver. 14. So is this people, and so is this nation before me] Though pure in their own eyes, Proverbs 30:12, and to the world-ward unrebukeable, as Paul the Pharisees, Philippians 2:14-15, and those self-justiciaries, Luke 16:14-15 "Ye are those that justify yourselves" (and have the world’s good word for you), "but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." Sordet in conspectu iudicis quod fulget in conspectu operantis. Filthy in the sight of the judge who glisten in the sight of their works. Wicked men’s services are but glistering sins ( splendida peccata), they rejoice in a thing of nought, as Amos hath it, Amos 6:13, like as Leah rejoiced in that whereof she had cause to repent, and said, "God hath given me my hire," when she had more cause to say, God, I fear, will give me my hire, my payment, "because I have given my maiden to my husband," Genesis 30:18. But she was in the common error of measuring and judging of things by the success; as if God were not many times angry with men, though they outwardly prosper; or as if there were not here one event to the clean and to the unclean, Ecclesiastes 9:2. Until the day that God shall separate the sheep from the goats, whom for the glory of his name and the good of his people he suffers for present to go one among another, to make his own to stick the faster together and to their principles. Shepherds say that it is wholesome for a flock of sheep to have some goats to feed among them; their bad scent being good medicine for the sheep, to keep them from the shakings. (a) Only let God’s sheep take heed that they contract no corruption by conversing with goats; which is soon done, for sin is catching, and ill company is contagious. Nemo errat sibi ipsi; sed dementiam spargit in proxiruos, saith Seneca, No man errs out of the right way alone, but draws others along. And multos sollicitat societas nefauda, saith Chrysostom, evil company soliciteth many to sin. Virtue is oft overcome by vice, saith Nazianzen, as a little wormwood sooner embittereth a great deal of honey than twice so much honey can sweeten a small deal of wormwood; or as one spoonful of vinegar will soon sour a great deal of sweet milk; but a great deal of milk will not so soon allay one spoonful of vinegar. Remove but one stone, and the whole river will rush downward; but you can hardly stop the stream again with a strong dam. Touch pitch and you shall presently be defiled, but touch soap and you shall not presently be made clean without much rubbing and rinsing. Mezentius the tyrant, Corpora a corporibus iungebat mortua vivis, tied living men to dead carcasses; but the dead did not revive the living, the living rather putrefied by reason of the dead. He that bore consecrated flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt touched bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any food, he made it not thereby holy. But if an unclean person touched any of these he made it unclean. The Donatists abused this text, to prove that baptism was defiled and vacated if administrated by an unregenerate minister; but Augustine again, against Fulgentius the Donatist, vindicateth the text from their false glosses, and asserteth from it the contrary truth. May not clean grain be sowed with foul hands, and grow nevertheless? May not a trumpet be well sounded by an impure breath? And is not the water in baptism, that cleanseth the child, cast afterwards into the draught? saith Gregory, Aqua baptismatis baptizatos ad regnum caelestis mittit, et ipsa postea in cloacam descendit.

So is this people, and so is that nation before me, and so is every work of their hands, and that which they offer, &c.] Note the order of the induction. First, themselves were unclean, both people and nation; there was a general defection and defilement ran through all sorts and sexes, as the woof runs through the warp; so that they were all together but one continued web of wickedness, as it were, spun out and made up by the hands of the devil, and the flesh, an evil spinner, and a worse weaver; both root and fruit were nought, as Isaiah 5:4, both head, heart, and foot were out of order, Isaiah 1:5-6, and they are barely and boldly told of it by the prophets. Secondly, the works of their hands were unclean; for not only the praying, but "the plowing of the wicked, is sin," Proverbs 21:4, all their natural and civil actions also are abominable. Whether they plough, or play, or eat, or sleep: corruption is like copperas, (b) which will turn wine or milk into ink; or leaven, which turns a very passover into pollution; or as the sanies of a plague sore, which will render the richest robe infectious. Thirdly, that which they offer there, their sacrifices and all their religious performances, were likewise unclean; not in respect of God, who commanded them; nor of the matter, for they offered clean beasts; but of the manner of offering (which makes or mars the action), and of the men, who were unregenerate, and rested in the work done, and drew near to God with their lips, thinking to put God off with an external worship only; Ludenies cum Deo tanquam pueri cum suis puppis, as Calvin hath it, that is, playing with God, as children do with their babies. The poets declaimed against this foppery, as Persius; and another, Non bene caelestes impia dextra colit.


Verse 15

Haggai 2:15 And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD:

Ver. 15. And now, I pray you, consider] Heb. Lay it upon your heart, as Haggai 1:5; {See Trapp on "Haggai 1:5"} The often repetition of this precept sets forth, 1. The necessity of the duty pressed. 2. Their singular stupidity, that were no more affected with such manifest marks of God’s wrath upon them; no, though he had even snatched the meat out of their mouths, and kept them hunger-starved, which is the way of taming the most untameable creatures.

From this day and upward] To the end that when I shall have blessed you with greater plenty, as Haggai 2:19, ye may recognize your sins, the cause of your calamities, and, remembering (as Jacob did his baculinam paupertatem, Genesis 32:10) your former penury, you may thankfully cry out with that noble Iphicrates; From how hungry to how plentiful an estate am I raised ( εξ οιων εις οια)! Let a profane Demetrius attribute such a change as this to blind fortune, saying, Eυ με εφυσας συ και καταθειν δοκεις. But let all saints sing with holy Hannah, "They that were full have hired themselves out for bread; and they that were hungry ceased. The Lord maketh poor and maketh rich; he bringeth low, and lifteth up," 1 Samuel 2:5; 1 Samuel 2:7.

From before a stone was laid upon a stone] i.e. Before there was any hand set to the work of rebuilding the temple, which was interrupted for many years, after the return from Babylon. See Ezra 3:8; Ezra 5:2.


Verse 16

Haggai 2:16 Since those [days] were, when [one] came to an heap of twenty [measures], there were [but] ten: when [one] came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty [vessels] out of the press, there were [but] twenty.

Ver. 16. Since those days were] Or, as some read it, Antequam essent in eo opere, Before they were about that work, minding God’s house more than their own.

When one came to an heap of twenty measures] That is, where you expected twenty measures (and experienced good husbands can partly guess at harvest how their grain will yield when threshed out) there were but ten. God’s hand was upon your increase, not in the field only, but also in the floor; so that you were defeated and your hopes frustrated; and not in the barn only, but at the winepress too, God hath cut you short. This was that which was long before threatened, but little regarded, Deuteronomy 28:20. Carnal men read the threats of God’s law as they do the old stories of foreign wars, or as they behold the wounds and blood in a picture, or piece of coat of arms, which never makes them smart or fear. This hasteneth their judgment, and shows them ripe for wrath, even then when they think themselves far enough out of the reach of God’s rod.


Verse 17

Haggai 2:17 I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye [turned] not to me, saith the LORD.

Ver. 17. I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail] Pugnis pluvi, colaphis grandinavi, I have followed you close with one judgment upon another; and all to bring you back into mine own bosom; that as ye had run from me by your sins, so ye might return to me by repentance; but, behold, I have lost my labour, and ye have lost the fruit of your sufferings, which indeed is a very great loss, were ye but soundly sensible of it, Perdidistis fructum calamitatis (Aug.). These Jews were sensible of their calamities and disasters abroad and at home, but they did not wisely inquire into the cause thereof; as David did into the cause of the famine that fell out in his days, 2 Samuel 21:1. God had not hitherto "given them a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear," as it is Deuteronomy 29:4. And as Isaiah 9:13 "The people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts." But after their hardness and impenitent heart treasured up wrath, &c., Romans 2:5. They could not but see themselves grievously crossed, and cursed in all the labours of their hands. Neither were they so blind as not to see God in that they suffered. They had learned that out of Psalms 78:47-48; Psalms 29:3, &c. Cicero indeed thought that God minds not mildew, or hail, &c. Nec si uredo aut grando quippiam nocuit, id Iovi animadvertendum fuit: neque enim in regni reges omnia minima curant, &c. As kings take not notice of smaller businesses in their kingdoms, saith he, so neither doth God of these ordinary occurrences. But the Jews (for the generality) had learned better things. And the apostle tells those heathens too, Acts 14:15-17, that God had not left himself without witness among them, in that he did good and gave rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, &c. Cicero himself likewise, another time, could say, Curiosus est et plenus negotii Deus, God taketh care of all, and is full of business. And oh that this truth were as fruitfully improved as it is generally acknowledged! Oh that men would turn at God’s reproof; his real reproofs, his vocal rods, Micah 6:9; and not put him to his old complaint, "Why should ye be smitten any more? Ye revolt more and more," Isaiah 1:5. This we may wish, but God alone can effect. For till he please to thrust his holy hand into men’s bosoms, and pull off the foreskin of their hearts; afflictions (those hammers of his) do but beat cold iron. See Jeremiah 2:30-31; Jeremiah 6:29-30;, Leviticus 26:41. Plectimur a Deo, nec flectimur tamen: corripimur sed non corrigimur (Salvian.). We are put to pain, but to no profit, Jeremiah 12:13, as Ahaz, that stiff stigmatic, 2 Chronicles 28:23, and Ahaziah, who sent a third captain to surprise the prophet, after two before consumed with fire from heaven, 2 Kings 1:13; as if he would despitefully spit in the face of God, and wrestle a fall with the Almighty.


Verse 18

Haggai 2:18 Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth [month, even] from the day that the foundation of the LORD’S temple was laid, consider [it].

Ver. 18. Consider now from this day and upward] And see how punctually the time of benediction answereth to the time of your conversion; so that you no sooner begin to build, but I begin to bless. It is said of the men of Issachar, that they were in great account with David because they "had understanding of the times," 1 Chronicles 12:32. It is certainly a point of spiritual prudence to consider the times, and to compare things past with present and future. Time is the wisest of all things, said Thales; the best counsellor, said Plutarch. Truth is the daughter of time, saith another philosopher. {See Trapp on "Haggai 2:15"}


Verse 19

Haggai 2:19 Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless [you].

Ver. 19. Is the seed yet in the barn?] Jerome rendereth it, in germine, in the sprouting, or spirting, as they call it, and so far enough from the harvest; and yet farther, if yet in the barn, and not put into the ground. Nevertheless, for your diligence in building God’s house, I assure you, in the word of truth, that you shall have a very great increase, a plentiful harvest.

From this day will I bless you] And it is the blessing of God that maketh rich, as is to be seen in the examples of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. Others, whose godliness was their gain, whose piety was profitable to all things, as having the promises of both lives, 1 Timothy 4:8. Now all that are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham, Galatians 3:9, are heirs of the world with him, Romans 4:13, and so have right to all things in Christ, the heir of all things, 1 Corinthians 3:22, Hebrews 1:2; though these things on earth be detained from them for the present by those men of God’s hand, Psalms 17:14, as Canaan was from Israel by the cursed Amorites, till their sins were full; yet they shall shortly have power over the nations, and (which is better) Christ will give them the morning star, Revelation 2:28; Revelation 22:16, that is, himself, and with himself a cornucopia of spiritual blessings, Ephesians 1:3. The Lord that made heaven and earth will bless them out of Zion, that is, with better blessings than heaven or earth afforded. We read not here of any other blessings but increase of corn, wine, oil, &c., because this people was wholly almost affixed to earthly things. The prophet could not speak wisdom among those that were perfect, 1 Corinthians 2:6. But better things were implied and assured to the godly, as appeareth by the ensuing oracle.


Verse 20

Haggai 2:20 And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth [day] of the month, saying,

Ver. 20. And again, the word of the Lord] Again the same day. Twice a day preaching is no new practice then. This prophet did it; so did our Saviour, Matthew 13:1. So did Chrysostom, as appeareth by his note on 1 Thessalonians 5:17. So did Luther; which, because one Nicholas White commended in him, he was accused of heresy, in the reign of Henry VIII It is not so long since it was held here practical Puritanism. The late arch-prelate being sued unto by a nobleman to prefer a chaplain of his (whom he commended for an able divine, and a twice-a-day preacher), turned away in a great heat, saying, The more fool he.


Verse 21

Haggai 2:21 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;

Ver. 21. Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah] Governors are sure to meet with many difficulties and discouragements (high seats are never but uneasy), and had need therefore of singular consolation, that they may hold on their course, like the sun in the firmament, and show themselves to be of an undaunted resolution. We may well say to governors, as that prophetic Simeon spoke to the pillars which he whipped before the earthquake: Stand fast, for ye shall be shaken.

I will shake the heavens and the earth] sc. By abrogating and abolishing both Jewish ceremonies and heathenish superstitions, Hebrews 12:27. As also by national commotions, and translations of monarchies; the Greeks shall break the power of the Persians, the Romans of the Greeks, the Goths and other barbarous nations of the Romans, Matthew 24:7. But especially, by casting the devil out of the heaven of men s hearts, Luke 10:18, those strongholds wherein he had entrenched himself, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, that the ransomed of the Lord may receive a kingdom, which cannot be moved, Hebrews 12:28, and partake of those new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, 2 Peter 3:13, even that world to come, as these days of the gospel are called, Hebrews 2:5. {See Trapp on "Hebrews 2:6"} {See Trapp on "Hebrews 2:7"}


Verse 22

Haggai 2:22 And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.

Ver. 22. And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms] sc. "By pouring contempt upon princes, and causing them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way," Psalms 107:40 (as he dealt with Darius, the last Persian monarch); "by putting down the mighty from their seat, and exalting them of low degree," Luke 1:52 (as he dealt with Bajazet, the Great Turk, and Tamerlane, the Scythian shepherd); by changing the times and the seasons, removing kings, and setting up others in their stead, Daniel 2:21. All this God will do, and all that follows in the text, viz. destroy the strength of kingdoms, overthrow the chariots and their riders, &c., rather than his Church shall be unhelped or his kingdom of grace hindered. "Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth," Psalms 124:8, and will rather unmake all again than we shall be unrelieved. "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion," Psalms 2:6. Yet, for all the sorrow, for all the malicious machinations and attempts of his enemies to the contrary; who are therehence admonished to be wise for themselves, and to kiss the Son, for he must reign, and all his foes must be his footstool. There is a council in heaven will dash the mould of all contrary councils upon earth. The stone cut out of the mountain without hands (which is Christ the conqueror) will break in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold. And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever, Daniel 2:44-45. So, Daniel 7:21-22; Daniel 7:26-27, after that the prophet had described the greatness and glory of all the four menarchies, at length he comes to speak of a kingdom which is the greatest and mightiest under the whole heaven, and that is the kingdom of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom: and all rulers shall serve and obey him, Daniel 7:27.


Verse 23

Haggai 2:23 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.

Ver. 23. I will take thee, O Zerubbabel] That is, O Christ, of whom Zerubbabel was both a father and a figure, Luke 3:27, Zechariah 4:10 "I will take thee," that is, I will advance and exalt thee. See this expounded and applied by that great apostle, Philippians 2:5-12.

And will make thee as a signet] That is, I will highly esteem thee, inviolably keep thee, and entirely love thee, Song of Solomon 8:6, Jeremiah 22:24, and all my people in thee, and for thee, Isaiah 49:16.

For I have chosen thee] As Isaiah 42:1. Quoniam in te mihi complacui, saith the Chaldee. For in thee I am well pleased, as Matthew 3:17. See the note there.

Saith the Lord of hosts] This is three different times set down in this one verse, for our greater assurance and confirmation of our faith. I shall close up all with that observation of divines, that all the prophets (except Jonah and Nahum) expressly end in some prophecy concerning Christ. He being their mark at which all of them chiefly aimed. Indeed, he is both mark and matter of both Old and New Testament. And therefore if we profit in teaching, hearing, reading, we must have the eye of our mind turned toward Christ, as the faces of the cherubims were toward the mercy-seat. Do this, if ever you will do well.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Haggai 2:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/haggai-2.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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