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Bible Study, The Minor Prophets: Haggai

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Posted on CCPC's website 2022

The Minor Prophets Study Index page.

      This is a long term, in depth, wide focus study of the Minor Prophets, drawing as much from the history of their times as possible, as well as looking at the original language of the prophet.
      We open Haggai with:
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
Chapter 2 : 6 and 7

      This minor prophet is unique in that we have a pedigree, a calendar that covers a few months in about 520 BC, and a good, if somewhat general, location. He is also mentioned by name and occupation in Ezra 5 and 6.
      The core of the book is the rebuilding of the temple, and, while they're at it, the rest of Jerusalem, as well as the country. Some of his prophecies, as we will see, were very specific and were quite probably fulfilled in his lifetime, others were for the future, and some were both. We'll sort that out as we go.
      Another thing that some may find of interest, he uses the word YHWH a lot, even for a prophet. In the first section, he averages at least once per verse.
      Believe it or not there is another Haggai (the name means 'holy day' or 'festival'), in this case spelled Hegai, in the OT, see Esther 2.

Chapter 1

      The text specifies the second year of King Darius. Making the book written in about 520 BC. Even when dealing with known kings of Persia, with well documented records, there is still some 'wiggle room' on the dates.
      It goes on to specify first day of the “has sis si” (sixth) month, Lunar Month that is, which, depending on how you break the modern calendar, could be either July or August, the word of YHWH came to Haggai son of.... etc, saying to "Zerubbabel" governor (see Ezra 2), and company...
      The one thing that all of this “who's who” does is establish that there was an operating government and religious system in Jerusalem at the time, even if it were under a foreign king. That is important.

      Thus says YHWH of hosts, “ha 'am” (the people) say “lo 'et bo” (not time come) “'et” (time) “bet” (house) YHWH to “le·hib·ba·no·wt” (built)
      History has repeated itself. See 2 Samuel 2.

      a bit of repetition, then:

      “ha 'et” (is it time) for you to “la se bet” (abide / dwell) in “be·bat·te·kem” (house) “se pu nim” (covered / paneled (with wood)), “we hab ba yit” (temple) “ha reb” (desolate / ruins)

      Therefore, says YHWH, “si mu” (set / make) “le bab kem” (inner thoughts / mind (THINK!) your “dar ke kem” (way / path / road).

      Paraphrase: You work a lot, for nothing.
      it even ends with them putting their money in a bag with a hole in it.

      See verse 5.
      The repetition is to make his point.

      The instructions are somewhat vague, but the intent is clear. We join the verse already in progress:
      ... “we 'er seh bow” (accept / find favorable / delight 'in it') “we·’ek·ka·be·dah” (honored / glorified), says YHWH.
      God told Noah to build a boat. God told David to build as well.

      We revisit the theme of verse 6. And the reason is because God's house is in ruins while they live in their own.

10 and 11
      Paraphrase and discussion:The “mit tal” (night mist / dew) is withheld, there's a drought, causing a famine.
      While not directly idolatry, the people have let their own comfort and interest come before their responsibility to GOD.

      “way yis ma'” ('and' heard and obeyed) 'the people'.....
      The list includes the governor and the high priest from verse 1, and the people did

      We're told once again who is speaking and what he's saying. The word here for 'messenger' "mal'ak" meaning 'prophet', is the same root word used meaning 'angel', remember that when we get to Malachi!

      “way·ya·‘ar” (and roused) YHWH the “ru ah” (spirit) of...
      the usual suspects from verse 1
      ... and the people “yi re 'u” (had reverence) for the Lord their God.

      Time and date check for the previous message.

Chapter 2
1 and 2

      This date is just after the last. And there's no change to the cast including the 'remnant of the people'.

      “mi ba kem” (who among you) “han nis 'ar” (remain / 'are' left) who saw the temple “bik·bo·w·dow” (in splendor / its glory) “ha·ri·so·wn” (first / former)? and how do you see it now? “ha lo w” (not) “ka mo hu” (like / compared) “ke 'a yin” (there is no / nothing) “ka mo hu” (like it / 'to compare it to') “be 'e ne kem” ('in your' eyes / 'that you've seen')

      now “ha zaq” (be strong / strengthened) ... see the list above... says YHWH, and “wa 'a su” (do / make / accomplish / work), for I am with you says YHWH of Hosts.

      It mentions the Covenant from the Exodus, then says:
      “we ru hi” (My Spirit) “'o me det” (stands / stationed) “be to wk kem” (among / with you) not “ti ra 'u” (be afraid / fear)

      for thus says YHWH of Hosts 'in a little while' I “mar 'is” (shake / quake) heaven, earth, sea

      and I will shake “kal” (every / all) “hag·go·w·yim” (peoples / nation (especially foreign)), “u bah 'u” (brought / bring) to “hem dat” “kal” “hag·go·w·yim” ....

a pause to examine a phrase
      This is the most famous phrase from Haggai, and perhaps top five for all the Minor Prophets.
      “The Desire of All Nations” is only used here, but is implied elsewhere, see Genesis 12 and 22 : 18, and is a clear indication that GOD, including the promised Messiah, will reside in the Temple. See Revelation 21 : 24 and related.
      What is clear from the other Minor Prophets, and others in the Bible, is that not everybody will welcome this, but, as we've seen here, some will, both Jews and Gentiles, and that is all that matters.
end pause
      ... “u mil le ti” (fill / make full) this temple with “ka bo wd” (glory (includes 'honor')), says YHWH of Hosts

      The translations have this one golden.
            all puns at no extra charge

      discussion: this verse indicates that this “ha·’a·ha·ro·wn” (last / coming behind) temple will have a greater glory than the former. It is talking about a much later temple, the one from Revelation, that will outshine all its predecessors. It does. The verse continues, and proves that idea true:
      .... and in this place “'et ten” (give / put) “sal o wm” (peace)

      Another date from another Lunar month, which means it doesn't fit neatly into our calendar.

      In this section YHWH tells Haggai to talk directly to the priests with questions about the Law. It goes about as you would expect. And can be seen again in the Gospels when the 'teachers of the law', and others, engage with Christ.

      if one carries "be sar" (meat / flesh) "qo des" (sacred / holy (from the sacrifice)) in the fold of his garment (note: the priest's robes did not have pockets or pouches) and he touches with the "bik na pow" (fringe / hem) (a luncheon list) or "kal" (any) "ma 'a kal" (food), "ha·yiq·das" (will it become consecrated / holy)? And the priests answered "no".

      paraphrase: Haggai asks them another question: If someone who is "teme" (person who is ceremonially unclean) because they touched a dead body touch anything on the table, is it then "yit ma" (an unclean object)....
      ....And the priests answered "yit ma" (it is unclean)

      Let's look at this exchange, were the priests actually that ... (must be nice about it) ... what... 'silly'? 'legalistic'? (OK, enough with the 'nice') Idiotic?
      Even the Pharisees and the others in the time of Christ would realize that He was setting them up to look stupid, and then they'd keep their mouths shut, see Matthew 21. These guys didn't.

      Haggai answers, so is this "ha 'am" (people), so is this "hag go w" (nation) "le pa nay" (before Me) says YHWH, so is "kal" (all / every) "ma 'a seh" (deed / act / work) "ye de hem" (their hands) - and what "yaq ri bu" (bring / offer / present) there is "ta me" (unclean)

      The message is that they spend all day 'doing dirt' and then expect GOD to welcome their offering. Again, we need to state the obvious, there were pious and observant Jews in the country, there always have been, and, most likely, always will be. However, as we've seen throughout this study, those were something of an Endangered Species in the upper strata of society, just as they were in the time of Christ.

      Now, "si mu" (make) "na" (please) "le bab kem" (heart and mind) (the phrase would be: 'please really think hard about this') 'from this time on' from before 'stone was laid upon stone' in the temple of YHWH

      the description here is of past days when there was a general shortage of almost everything

      the three things: "bas·sid·da·po·wn" (a desert wind that is essentially a sandblaster), "u·bay·ye·ra·qo·wn" (greenish - yellow mildew), "u·bab·ba·rad" (hail), these are not, usually, lethal, however, they are unpleasant and damaging. The verse continues:
      ... in all ""ma 'a seh" (work / etc) their hands - and yet you did not "'et kem" (untranslatable mark of the accusative case - Strong's Concordance) "'e lay" (toward 'Me') says YHWH

      the 'Think!' sequence from 15 is repeated....
      ... with a 'date check', and the start of the rebuilding of the temple.

      paraphrase: you haven't planted or harvested anything...
      ... but from "hay yo wm" ('this' day) "'a ba rek" ('I will' bless / 'you will be' blessed)

      The Word of YHWH comes with a date check...

      ... speak to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, saying I "mar 'is" (quake / shake) "has sa ma yim" (heaven / sky (visible)) "ha 'a res" (ground / earth)

      "we·ha·pak·ti" ('I will' turn over / change / over throw (yes, the same word from Jonah)) "kis se" (throne / seat of honor) "mam la ko wt" (kingdom / realm) "we his mad ti" (eliminate / destroy) the "ho zeq" (strength / power) of kingdoms and nations, and overthrow their chariots, drivers, horses, and riders, "'is" (man) "be he reb" ('by the' sword) "'a hiw" ('of his' kinsman / brother)

      Verse, then discussion: "bay yo wm" ('in that' day / time) says YHWH of Hosts, "’eq·qa·ha·ka" (take / receive 'you') Zerubbabel "'ab di" (slave / man-servant) says YHWH, "wi sam ti ka" (make / put / appoint) "ka ho w tam" (seal / sign / 'like a signet ring'), for you "bar ha ti" (chosen / selected / etc) says YHWH of Hosts.
      Some of the editors of some of the editions of some of the translations have taken the phrase literally and have a section title saying that the governor is going to be God's Signet Ring.
      We have a question for them: "What does Almighty GOD need with a signet ring?" How many scrolls, official documents, or clay tablets does HE need to make an impression on? Yes, THE SCROLL in Revelation 6 has seals on it, those would be from melted wax with an impression from something like a signet in them, so, maybe, that was Zerubbabel's 'second job' when he got done being governor. But still, the word 'like' is there. It is a simile instead of a metaphor. The governor is LIKE a sign of YHWH, not that he IS a sign of YHWH.
      In either case, it is a good thing that after all those bad kings, they had a good governor, and we should be so faithful.

End Haggai

NOTE: The Bible Study Lesson presented above is posted as a reference document to begin a conversation of the topic. And that's it. Please accept it at such.

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