Haggai Begins Temple Building
1In the second year of Darius the king [of Persia], on the first day of the sixth month (Aug 29, 520 b.c.), the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, 2“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘These people say, “The time has not come that the Lord’s house (temple) should be rebuilt.” ’ ” 3Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4“Is it time for you yourselves to live in your [expensive] paneled houses while this house [of the Lord] lies in ruins?” 5Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways and thoughtfully reflect on your conduct! 6You have planted much, but you harvest little; you eat, but you do not have enough; you drink, but you do not have enough to be intoxicated; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns wages earns them just to put them in a bag with holes in it [because God has withheld His blessing].”
7Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways and thoughtfully reflect on your conduct! 8Go up to the hill country, bring lumber and rebuild My house (temple), that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the Lord [accepting it as done for My glory]. 9“You look for much [harvest], but it comes to little; and even when you bring that home, I blow it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My house, which lies in ruins while each of you runs to his own house [eager to enjoy it]. 10Therefore, because of you [that is, your sin and disobedience] the heavens withhold the dew and the earth withholds its produce. 11I called for a drought on the land and the hill country, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on what the ground produces, on men, on cattle, and on all the labor of your hands.”
12Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people [who had returned from exile], listened carefully and obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, since the Lord their God had sent him. And the people [reverently] feared the Lord. 13Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, spoke the Lord’s message to the people saying, “ ‘I am with you,’ declares the Lord.” 14So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, 15on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month (Sept 21, 520 b.c.) in the second year of Darius the king.