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IN the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Aggeus the prophet, to Zorobabel the son of Salathiel, governor of Juda, and to Jesus the son of Josedec the high priest, saying:

Ver. 1.  Darius Hystaspes.  C.

 

--- When the Jews had no king, the prophets dated from the reign of the monarch on whom they were dependent.  Theod.

 

--- Sixth; Elul, the last of the civil year, corresponding with our September.  The harvest had been bad, and Aggeus assigns the reason.  C.

 

--- Governor.  Lit. "duke," or captain.  Sept. "of the tribe of Juda."  H.

 

--- He descended from the kings of Juda, and was now chief governor by leave of Darius.  W.

 

--- Yet Cyrus had appointed Sarasar, (1 Esd. i. 8.) who perhaps, after the death of Cambyses, fled; Zorobabel and Jesus are designated judges, and a crown is made for them.  C. ii. 24.  Zac. iii. and vi. 11.  Still Thartanai, governor beyond the Euphrates, took cognizance of the Jewish affairs.  1 Esd. v. 3.  The prince of Juda was therefore under him.  Zorobabel was son or grandson of Salathiel, (1 Par. iii. 17.) or was adopted by him, being born of Phadaia.  C.

 

--- Josedec, who was led into captivity.  1 Par. vi. 15.


THE PROPHECY OF AGGEUS.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

Aggeus was one of those that returned from the captivity of Babylon, in the first year of the reign of king Cyrus.  He was sent by the Lord in the second year of the reign of Darius, the son of Hystaspes, to exhort Zorobabel, the prince of Juda, and Jesus, the high priest, to the building of the temple; which they had begun, but left off again through opposition of the Samaritans.  In consequence of this exhortation, they proceeded in the building, and finished the temple.  And the prophet was commissioned by the Lord to assure them that this second temple should be more glorious than the former, because the Messias should honour it with his presence; signifying, withal, how much the Church of the new testament should excel that of the old testament.  Ch.

 

--- The glory of the Catholic Church hence appears.  W.

 

--- We know little of the life of Aggeus.  It is thought that he was born in captivity.  C.

 

--- He came into Judea eighteen years after its termination, (W.) in the second year of Hystaspes, when the seventy years of the temple's desolation ended.  Zac. i. 12. and 1 Esd. v.  The people had courage to obey the word of the prophets rather than the king's edict.  Aggeus means feasting, (S. Jer.) or pleasant.  He brings joyful tidings, after rebuking the people for preferring their own convenience before the house of God.  H.



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2 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, saying: This people saith: The time is not yet come for building the house of the Lord.

Ver. 2.  Yet come.  God's service must be restored without delay, and manners reformed; as otherwise many will be lost eternally.  W.

 

--- The Jews refrained from commencing the temple till the time marked out by Jeremias, xxv. 11.  Zac. i. 7.  C.

 

--- From the beginning of the last siege sixty-nine years had elapsed.  Usher, A. 3485.

 

--- Others, reflecting on the obstacles placed by Cyrus and Cambyses, thought it was not yet time to work at the temple: but these were only pretexts.  The kingdom was now held by another family, and the former decrees abolished.  Fear of labour, therefore, was the only impediment.


3 And the word of the Lord came by the hand of Aggeus the prophet, saying: 4 Is it time for you to dwell in ceiled houses, and this house lie desolate?

Ver. 4.  Ceiled: superbly adorned.  Heb. "covered."  You are not content with what is merely necessary, while the temple lies in ruins.  C.


5 And now thus saith the Lord of hosts: Set your hearts to consider your ways.

Ver. 5.  Ways.  Sound the real motives of your neglect.  H.

 

--- See if your misfortunes do not originate in this cause, and if God does not require you to build the temple.  v. 9.  C.


6 You have sowed much, and brought in little: you have eaten, but have not had enough: you have drunk, but have not been filled with drink: you have clothed yourselves, but have not been warmed: and he that hath earned wages, put them into a bag with holes.

Ver. 6.  Filled.  Lit. "inebriated," (H.) so as to become cheerful.  S. Jer.



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7 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Set Your hearts upon your ways: 8 Go up to the mountain, bring timber, and build the house: and it shall be acceptable to me, and I shall be glorified, saith the Lord.

Ver. 8.  The mountain Libanus.  Wood had been purchased before, but had been used for other purposes.  1 Esd. iii. 7.  Now the people went to procure more.  The following year Darius confirmed the decree of Cyrus, which was a change plainly effected by Providence.  C.


9 You have looked for more, and behold it became less, and you brought it home, and I blowed it away: why, saith the Lord of hosts? because my house is desolate, and you make haste every man to his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens over you were stayed from giving dew, and the earth was hindered from yielding her fruits: 11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the wine, and upon the oil, and upon all that the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon beasts, and upon all the labour of the hands.

Ver. 11.  Drought.  Heb. choreb, (H.) is rendered the sword, by the Sept. and may best signify "a burning wind," according to the different pronunciation.  S. Jer.

 

--- This was not then determined by the vowel points (C.) of the Masora.  Soph. ii. 14.  H.


12 Then Zorobabel the son of Salathiel, and Jesus the son of Josedec the high priest, and all the remnant of the people hearkened to the voice of the Lord their God, and to the words of Aggeus the prophet, as the Lord their God sent him to them: and the people feared before the Lord. 13 And Aggeus the messenger of the Lord, as one of the messengers of the Lord, spoke, saying to the people: I am with you, saith the Lord.

Ver. 13.  Messenger.  To excite the people's attention, Aggeus declares that he is sent by God, (W.) like the prophets of old.  Some Jews have asserted (C.) that he, Malachias, the Baptist, and Jacob, were angels incarnate.  But let us leave (S. Jer.) these learned dreams.  C.

 

--- They have no better foundation than the ambiguity of malac, which signifies "an angel, or a messenger."  H.

 

--- With you.  This is often repeated, to encourage the dejected people.  M.


14 And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zorobabel the son of Salathiel governor of Juda, and the spirit of Jesus the son of Josedec the high priest, and the spirit of all the rest of the people: and they went in, and did the work in the house of the Lord of hosts their God.

Ver. 14.  Work.  Sept. "works."  H.

 

--- They prepared materials, and began the temple on the 24th of the ninth month.  C. ii. 16. 19.  M.



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