He encourages the people to the work, by promise of greater glory to the second temple than was in the first, 1-9. In the type of holy things and unclean he shows their sins hindered the work, 10-19. God's promise to Zerubbabel, 20-23.
1 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, 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 Josedech the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying, 3 'Who is left among you who saw this house in her first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not in your eyes as nothing in comparison? 4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel,' says the LORD. 'Be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,' says the LORD. 'Work, for I am with you,' says the LORD of hosts. 5 'According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.' 6 For thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the dry land, 7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come. And I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD of hosts. 8 'The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' says the LORD of hosts. 9 'The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former,' says the LORD of hosts. 'And in this place I will give peace,' says the LORD of hosts."
10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Ask the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 "If someone bears holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt touches bread, pottage, wine, oil, or any food, shall it be holy?"'" And the priests answered and said, "No." 13 Then Haggai said, "If someone who is unclean by a dead body touches any of these, shall it be unclean?" And the priests answered and said, "It shall be unclean." 14 Then Haggai answered, and said, "'So is this people and so is this nation before me,' says the LORD, 'and so is every work of their hands. And that which they offer there is unclean. 15 And now, I pray you, consider from this day onward, before stone was laid upon stone in the temple of the LORD. 16 Since those days were, when someone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten. When someone came to the press-vat to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. 17 I smote you with blasting, with mildew, and with hail in all the labors of your hands, yet you did not turn to me,' says the LORD. 18 'Consider now from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD'S temple was laid, consider it. 19 Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed, the vine, the fig-tree, the pomegranate, and the olive-tree have not brought forth. From this day I will bless you.'"
20 And again the word of the LORD came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, 21 "Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, 'I will shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen. I will overthrow the chariots and those who ride in them, and the horses and their riders shall come down, each by the sword of his brother. 23 In that day,' says the LORD of hosts, 'I will take you, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel,' says the LORD, 'and will make you as a signet, for I have chosen you,' says the LORD of hosts."
Matthew Henry Commentary - Haggai, Chapter 2[➚]
This chapter contains three sermons or prophecies, delivered by the prophet to the people of the Jews. The design of the first is to encourage them to go on with the building of the temple, though it might seem to come greatly short of the former temple, as to its outward form and splendor. The time of the prophecy (verse 1), an order to deliver it to the governor, high priest, and all the people (verse 2). A question is put concerning the difference between this temple and the former; between which it is suggested there was no comparison; which is assented to by silence (verse 3), nevertheless, the prince, priest, and people, are exhorted to go on strenuously in the work of building; encouraged with a promise of the presence of the Lord of hosts, and of his Word, in whom he covenanted with them at their coming out of Egypt, and of the blessed Spirit, and his continuance with them (verses 4-5), and, the more to remove their fears and faintings, it is declared that in a very short time a most wonderful thing should be done in the world, which would affect all the nations of the earth; for that illustrious Person would come, whom all nations do or should desire; and, not only come into the world, but into that temple they were building, and give it a greater glory than the former; indeed, a greater glory than if all the gold and silver in the world were laid out upon it, or brought into it; which being all the Lord's, could have been easily done by him; but he would give in it something infinitely greater than that, even the Prince of peace, with all the blessings of it (verses 6-9). Then follows the second sermon or prophecy, the time of which is observed (verse 10), and it is introduced with some questions concerning ceremonial uncleanness, by an unclean person's touching holy flesh with the skirt of his garment; and other things, which is confirmed by the answer of the priests (verses 11-13), the application of which is made to the people of the Jews, who were similarly unclean; they, their works, and their sacrifices (verse 14), and these are directed to consider, that, during the time they had neglected to build the temple, they were attended with scarcity of provisions; their fields and vineyards being blasted with mildew or destroyed by hail, and their labors proved unsuccessful (verses 15-17), but now, since they had begun the work of building, it is promised they should be blessed with everything, though they had nothing in store, and everything was unpromising to them; which is designed to encourage them to go on cheerfully in their begun work (verses 18-19). The chapter is concluded with the last discourse or prophecy, the date of which is given (verse 20), an instruction to deliver it to Zerubbabel (verse 21), foretelling the destruction of the kingdoms of the heathen; and the setting up of the kingdom of the Messiah, of whom Zerubbabel was a type, precious and honorable in the sight of God (verses 22-23).