Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Haggai
Book: Haggai
Chapter: 1

Haggai reproves the Jews for neglecting the Temple. (1-11) He
promises God's assistance to them. (12-15)

1-11 Observe the Sin of the Jews, after their return from
Captivity in Babylon. Those employed for God may be driven from
their work By a storm, yet they must go back to it. They did not
say that they would not build a Temple, but, Not yet. Thus men
do not say they will never repent and reform, and be religious,
but, Not yet. And So the great business we were sent into the
world to do, is not done. There is a proneness in us to think
wrongly of discouragements in our duty, as if they were a
discharge from our duty, when they are only for the trial of our
courage and Faith. They neglected the Building of God's House,
that they might have more time and Money for worldly affairs.
That the Punishment might answer to the Sin, the poverty they
thought to prevent By not Building the Temple, God brought upon
them for not Building it. Many good Works have been intended,
but not done, because men supposed the proper time was not come.
Thus believers let slip opportunities of usefulness, and sinners
delay the concerns of their souls, till too late. If we labour
only for the meat that perishes, as the Jews here, we are in
danger of losing our labour; but we are sure it shall not be in
vain in the Lord, if we labour for the meat which lasts to
eternal Life. If we would have the comfort and continuance of
temporal enjoyments, we must have God as our Friend. See also

Lu 12:33. When God crosses our temporal affairs, and we meet
with trouble and disappointment, we shall find the cause is,
that the work we have to do for God and our own souls is left
undone, and we seek our own things more than the things of
Christ. How many, who plead that they cannot afford to give to
pious or charitable designs, often lavish ten times as much in
needless expenses On their houses and themselves! But those are
strangers to their own interests, who are full of care to adorn
and enrich their own houses, while God's Temple in their hearts
lies waste. It is the great concern of every one, to apply to
the necessary duty of self-examination and Communion with our
own hearts concerning our spiritual state. Sin is what we must
answer for; duty is what we must do. But many are quick-sighted
to pry into other people's ways, who are careless of their own.
If any duty has been neglected, that is No reason why it should
still be So. Whatever God will take pleasure in when done, we
ought to take pleasure in doing. Let those who have Put off
their return to God, return with all their Heart, while there is

12-15 The people returned to God in the way of duty. In
attending to God's ministers, we must have respect to him that
sent them. The Word of the Lord has success, when By his Grace
he stirs up our spirits to comply with it. It is in the Day of
Divine power we are made willing. When God has work to be done,
he will either find or make men fit to do it. Every one helped,
as his ability was; and this they did with a regard to the Lord
as their God. Those who have lost time, need to redeem time; and
the longer we have loitered in folly, the more haste we should
make. God met them in a way of Mercy. Those who work for him,
have him with them; and if he be for us, who can be against us?
This should stir us up to be diligent.