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To: All

From: Haggai 1:1-8

Rebuilding of the temple


[1] In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of
the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the
son of She-alti-el, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the
high priest, [2] “Thus says the Lord of hosts: This people say the time has not
yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” [3] Then the word of the Lord came
by Haggai the prophet, [4] “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your pa-
neled houses, while this house lies in ruins? [5] Now therefore thus says the
Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared. [6] You have sown much, and har-
vested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have
your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages
earns wages to put them into a bag with holes.

[7] “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared. [8] Go up to the
hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that
I may appear in my glory, says the Lord.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

1:1. The text appears to be following the Persian calendar, which was based on
the lunar month, with regular adjustments to keep it in line with the solar year.
The date mentioned here would be 29 April 520 BC. References to dates in
Haggai can be checked against dates found in Chronicles, Ezra and Zechariah.

The prophecy is addressed to Zerubbabel and Joshua, the two senior admini-
strators, civil and religious (cf. Ezra 3:2, 8; 4:2, 3). Zerubbabel was a grandson
of Jehoiachin, the king exiled to Babylon (cf. 1 Chron 3:16-19). St Matthew (cf.
Mt 1:12-13) includes him among the ancestors of Jesus.

1:2-15. The first oracle includes the message communicated by Haggai (vv. 2-
11) and the positive response of his audience (vv. 12-15). The words of the pro-
phet are addressed to the leaders of the people mentioned in 1:1 and also to the
“remnant” of the people (v. 14). In his oracle, the prophet plays with three ideas
— “the time”, the “house” and an invitation to “consider”. The whole line of argu-
ment is based on what the people are saying: “the time has not come to rebuild
the house of the Lord” (v. 2). The prophet pokes fun at their saying this, given
that the time has come for them to build comfortable houses for themselves and
leave the temple rebuilding for later (the “House” of the Lord: vv. 2, 4, 8, 9). There-
fore, he twice (vv. 5, 9) invites them to consider the matter; they will find that they
have worked a lot but nothing has come of it (vv. 6, 9). This leads to the conclu-
sion of the message: the earth withholds its produce because the people have
shown such distrust in God; he is the Lord of nature; he can make the land fruit-
ful — or barren.

This rallying of the people to get them to rebuild the temple may seem a minor
matter compared with the high moral tone found in the prophetical books gene-
rally. However, it derives from a profound faith: the people, whom God “created”,
will never have a proper sense of their identity unless they can see God in their
midst. This idea comes across clearly in the middle of the oracle: “build the
house . . . that I may take pleasure in it and that I may appear in my glory” (v.
8). This should be read in the context of other biblical passages that assert how
good God is to reach down to his people: “For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has
desired it for his habitation: ‘This is my resting place for ever’” (Ps 132:13-14). A
logical consequence of this is that God should be offered the best that we can
give him, and that offering should also be seen in the beauty of church decoration,
for the arts, “by their very nature, are oriented towards the infinite beauty of God
which they attempt in some way to portray by the work of human hands; they
achieve their purpose of redounding to God’s praise and glory in proportion as
they are directed the more exclusively to the single aim of turning men’s minds
devoutly toward God” (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 122).

Verses 12-15 report the people’s response. The text describes an interesting
chain of events: Haggai’s listeners “obeyed” the oracle and were filled with fear
of the Lord (v. 12); God then hastens to comfort them, assuring them, as he al-
ways did the leaders of Israel, “I am with you” (v. 13; Gen 26:3; 31:3; Ex 4:12;
Josh 1:5; etc.); and he encourages them to set out to work with a will (v. 14).
Twenty-four days have passed (v. 15; cf. v 1) since Haggai first addressed them,
but the Lord has achieved his objective. Drawing on her great experience of
friendship with God, St Teresa of Avila said something that would fit in here:
“Since he does not want to force our will, he takes whatever he is given; but he
does not give everything of himself until he sees that we have given everything
of ourselves to him” (Way of Perfection, 48, 4).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


3 posted on 09/21/2011 10:28:44 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 9:7-9

Herod’s Opinion of Jesus


[7] Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done, and he was perplexed,
because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, [8] by
some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had
risen. [9] Herod said, “John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such
things?” And he sought to see Him.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

7-9. Except for the Sadducees, all Jews believed in the resurrection of the dead,
as revealed by God in Sacred Scripture (cf. Ezekiel 37:10; Daniel 12:2 and 2
Maccabees 7:9). It was also commonly believed by Jews at the time that Elijah
or some other prophet had to appear again (Deuteronomy 19:15). This may have
been why Herod began to think that perhaps John had come back to life (Mat-
thew 14:1-2 and Mark 6:14-16), particularly since Jesus worked miracles and
people thought this power was the prerogative of those who had risen from the
dead. And yet he was aware that Christ was working miracles even before John
died (cf. John 2:23); therefore, at first, he was disconcerted. Later, as the fame
of Christ’s miracles spread, to have some sort of adequate explanation he deci-
ded, as the other Gospels tell us, that John must indeed have risen.

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 09/21/2011 10:30:00 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies ]

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