The Builders Encouraged
1On the twenty-first day of the [a]seventh month (Oct 17, 520 b.c., the second year of Darius king of Persia), the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai, saying, 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying, 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this [b]house (temple) in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? 4 But now be courageous, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘be courageous also, Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and be courageous, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made with you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit stands [firm and immovable] and continues with you; do not fear!’ 6 For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more, in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the desirable and precious things of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory and splendor,’ says the Lord of hosts. 8 ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 9 ‘The latter [c]glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I shall give [the ultimate] peace and prosperity,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”
10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month (Dec 18, 520 b.c.), in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet, saying, 11 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Ask the priests for a ruling: 12 If a man carries meat that is holy [because it has been offered in sacrifice to God] in the fold of his garment, and he touches bread, or cooked food, or wine, or oil, or any [kind of] food with this fold, does what he touches become holy [dedicated exclusively to God’s service]?’” And the priests answered, “No!” [[d]Holiness is not transferrable.] 13 Then Haggai said, “If one who is [ceremonially] unclean because of [contact with] a corpse touches any of these [articles of food], will it be unclean?” And the priests answered, “It will be unclean.” [Ceremonial uncleanness, like sin, is infectious.] 14 Then Haggai answered, “‘So is this people. And so is this nation before Me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there [on the altar] is unclean [because they who offer it are unclean]. 15 But now, do consider [what will happen] from this day forward: before one stone was placed on another in the temple of the Lord, 16 from that time when one came to a grain heap expecting twenty measures, there would be only ten; and when one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty measures, there would be only twenty. 17 I struck you and the work of your hands with scorching wind, mildew, and hail; yet you did not come back to Me,’ declares the Lord. 18 ‘Do consider from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month; from the day when the temple of the Lord was founded, consider: 19 Is the seed still in the barn? As to the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree—they have not produced. Yet from this day on I will bless you [in the harvest of your crops].’”
20 And again the word of the Lord came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month (Dec 18, 520 b.c.), saying, 21 “Speak to [e]Zerubbabel governor of Judah, saying, ‘I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will [in the distant future] overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the [ungodly] nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and those who ride in them, and the horses and their riders will go down, every one by the sword of his brother [annihilating one another]. 23 On that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, My servant,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you [through the Messiah, your descendant] like a [f]signet ring, for I have chosen you [as the one with whom to renew My covenant to David’s line],’” declares the Lord of hosts.