OF THE PROPHECY OF
The captivity of Babylon gave a very remarkable turn to the affairs of the Jewish church, both in history and prophecy. It is made a signal epocha in our Saviour's genealogy, Matth. i. 17. Nine of the twelve minor prophets, whose oracles we have been hitherto consulting, lived and preached before their cap- tivity, and most of them had an eye to it in their prophecies, foretelling it as the just punishment of Jerusalem's wickedness. But tlie three last (in whom the Spirit of prophecy took its period, until it revived in Christ's forerunner) lived and preached after the return out of captivity; not immediately upon it, but some time after. Haggai and Zechariah appeared much about the same time, eighteen years after the return, when the building of the temple was both retarded by its enemies, and neglected by its friends. Then the pro/ihets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, even unto tliem, (so we read Ezra v. 1. ) to reprove them for their remissness, and to encourage them to revive that good work when it had stood still for some time, and to go on with it vigorously, notwithstanding the opposition they met with in it. Haggai began two months before Zechariah, who was raised up to second him, that out of the nioutli of two witnesses the word might be established. But Zechariah continued longer at the work; for all Haggai's prophecies, that are recorded, were delivered witliin four months, in the second year of Darius, between tlie beginning of the sixth month and the end of the ninth. But we have Zechariah's prophecies dated above two years after, Zech. vii. 1. Some have the honour to lead, others to last, in the work of God. The Jews ascribe to these two prophets the honour of being members of the Great Synagogue, (as they call it,) which was formed atter the return out of captivity; we think it more certain, and it was their honour, and a much greater honour, that they prophesied of Christ. Haggai spake of him as the Glory of the latter house, and Zechariah as the Man, the Branch. In them the light of that Morning-Star shone more bright than in the foregoing prophecies, as they lived nearer the time of the rising of the Sun of righteousness, and now began to see his day approaching. The LXX. make Haggai and Zechariah to be the penman of Ps. cxxxviii. and of Ps. cxlvi, cxlvii. and cxlviii.
In this chapter, after the preamble of the prophecy, we have, I. A reproof of the people of the Jews for their dilatoriness and slolhfulness in building the temple, which had provoked God to contend with them by the judgment of famine and scarcity ; with an exhortation to them to resume that good work, and to prosecute it in good earnest, v. I . . 11. II. The good success- of this sermon, appearinjr in the people's return and close appli- cation to that work, wherein the prophet, in God's name, animated and encouraged them, assuring them that God was with them, v. 12 . . 15.
1.IN the second year of Darius the king, Jl in the sixth month, in the first day of Vol IV.— 6 Y the month, came the word of the I ord, oy Haggai the prophet, unto Zerubbabel tlie son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, 2. Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying. This people say. The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built. 3. Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, say- ing, 4. Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?