Never *Give Up!
An EasyEnglish Translation and Commentary (1200 word vocabulary) on the Book of Haggai
Translators could also find the translated Bible text useful, as the writer translated from the Hebrew text.
Words in boxes are notes on the text.
This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
The words in brackets ( ) are not in the Hebrew Bible. But we hope that they will help you to understand the other words better.
v1 Darius was the king of Iran. (This was 520 years before Jesus came to earth.) On 29 August the *LORD spoke to Haggai. Haggai was a *prophet. The *LORD said, ‘Tell this to Zerubbabel and Joshua.’ Zerubbabel was the leader of Judah. He was the son of Shealtiel. Joshua was the *High Priest. He was the son of Jehozadak.
v2 The *LORD of everything says, ‘Everybody says that it is not time to build the house of the *LORD.’ v3 The word of the *LORD came by the *prophet Haggai. He said, v4 ‘You are living in good houses, but the house (of the *LORD) is a *ruin.’ v5 The *LORD of everything says, ‘Think again about what you are doing. v6 You planted many seeds, but not much grew. There is not enough to eat. There is not enough to drink. Your clothes do not keep you warm. Your money bag is like something full of holes.’ v7 The *LORD of everything says: ‘Think again about what you are doing.
v8 Go to the mountains and bring back wood. Build my house. It will make me happy. It will give me *glory.’ This is what the *LORD says. v9 ‘You looked for a lot, but you saw little. When you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ This is what the *LORD of everything answers: ‘Because my house is a *ruin, while you work (to mend) your houses.
v10 So, there is no rain from the skies and there is no fruit from the earth. v11 I sent the *drought on the fields and mountains. I sent the *drought on the *corn and on the new *wine. I sent the *drought on the *oil and on the fruit of the earth. Also on men and *cattle and the work that men do.’
v12 Then all these people obeyed the voice of the *LORD their God:
· Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel
· Joshua the *High Priest, the son of Jehozadak
· all the *remnant of the people.
They obeyed the message of the *prophet Haggai. This was because the *LORD had sent Haggai. The people were afraid of the *LORD. v13 Haggai was the *messenger of the *LORD. He spoke the message of the *LORD. Haggai told the people, ‘The *LORD says, “I am with you.” ’
v14 So this was how the *LORD *stirred up Zerubbabel. He was the leader of Judah and the son of Shealtiel. The *LORD also *stirred up Joshua. He was the *High Priest and the son of Jehozadak. The *LORD also *stirred up all the *remnant of the people. They all came and they worked in the house of the *LORD. He is the *LORD of everything. He was their God. v15 This was on 21 September. Darius was in his second year as king.
v1 On 17 October the *LORD spoke to Haggai the *prophet. He said, v2 ‘Speak now to:
· Zerubbabel; he is leader of Judah and son of Shealtiel
· Joshua; he is the *High Priest and the son of Jehozadak
· the *remnant of the people also.
Say this to them. v3 Some of you remember this house in its first *glory. (I know) how you see it now. You say, “It is not as good.” ’ v4 But the *LORD says, ‘Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Joshua, the *High Priest and son of Jehozadak. Everybody must be strong.’ The *LORD says: ‘Work, because I am with you. v5 My *spirit is still with you. Do not be afraid. This is what we agreed when you came out of Egypt.’
v6 The *LORD of everything says, ‘Soon I will *shake the skies and the earth. I will *shake the sea and the dry land. v7 I will *shake all the *nations. Everything that I love will come. It will come from all the *nations. My house will fill with *glory.’ The *LORD of everything says this. v8 ‘The *silver is mine and the gold is mine’, says the *LORD of everything. v9 ‘You are building me a house. The *glory of it will be great. It will be greater than the *glory of the old house.’ This is what the *LORD of everything says. ‘In this place I will give *peace’, says the *LORD of everything.
v10 On 18 December Darius was in his second year as king. The *LORD spoke to Haggai the *prophet. He said, v11 ‘The *LORD of everything says, “Ask the *priests this. v12 If somebody:
· has *holy food for God in his bag
· then he touches bread, meat, *wine, *oil or any other food
· will the bread, meat, *wine or *oil become *holy?” ’
The *priests answered, ‘No’. v13 Then Haggai said, ‘What happens if he touches a dead body? If he (then) touches something else, will that become *unholy?’ The *priests said ‘Yes’.
v14 Then Haggai said, ‘This country and this *nation were like that to me, says the *LORD. Also everything that their hands made was like that. What they offer is not *holy. v15 Now, think again about this. Think, before you build one stone on another in the *temple of the *LORD. v16 When you came for 20 (buckets of *corn) there were only 10. And when you came for 50 (buckets) of *wine there were only 20. v17 I hit you with *blight, *mildew and *hail. I did this to all your work, but you did not turn to me. This is what the *LORD says. v18 Think about what you are doing. Think from today, 18 December, to the future. Today we put down the *foundation of the *temple of the *LORD. Think about it. v19 The *corn is not in the *barn. The *grapes, *figs, *pomegranates and the *olives have not given fruit. But from today I will be good to you.’
v20 Again on 18 December the *LORD spoke to Haggai. He said, v21 ‘Tell Zerubbabel the leader of Judah, I will *shake the skies and the earth. v22 I will knock down the kings of the earth. I will destroy the strong *kingdoms of the world. I will destroy their arms and those that use them. Their soldiers will fall from their horses. They will fight each other. v23 In that day, says the *LORD of everything, I will make my servant like a special finger ring. My servant is Zerubbabel. He is the son of Shealtiel. The *LORD of everything says, “I chose you.” ’
Learn to know when God is speaking to you. He does this:
· when we read the Bible
· when we pray
· when we are with other Christians.
We do not hear a voice. Instead, an idea comes into our minds. We must always check that the idea is not a bad one. If it is against what the Bible tells us, it is a bad idea. Then we must ask God for help. Then we must obey God. Usually we must wait for the right time to obey God.
altar ~ a special table in a *temple.
B.C. ~ 50 B.C. means the year that was 50 years before Jesus came, and so on.
barn ~ building where farmers keep their fruit and animal food.
blight ~ something that makes plants ill.
cattle ~ cows, sheep and goats.
corn ~ a food plant that we make bread from.
crops ~ plants for food.
drought ~ no rain for a long time.
fig ~ a fruit.
foundation ~ the hard ground that people build houses on.
give up ~ to stop doing something good.
glory ~ something that shines very much and is very beautiful.
grape ~ a fruit.
hail ~ rain made from ice.
High Priest ~ the leader of the *priests.
holy ~ very, very good; only God is really holy.
inflation ~ when things cost more and more.
Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
kingdom ~ the land that a king rules.
LORD ~ a special name for God: only his people use it. Really, it is the covenant name for God. A covenant is when two or more people agree together. Here, God and his people agree. LORD translates Yahweh or Jehovah in the language called Hebrew. It is not the same as Lord, which means someone with authority. Lord can be another name for God.
messenger ~ someone that brings a message.
mildew ~ something that makes plants ill.
nation ~ leaders and all the people in one country.
oil ~ not oil for cars, but a food made from *olives.
olive ~ a fruit.
peace ~ when there is no war and we do not fight anyone.
pomegranate ~ a fruit.
priests ~ servants of God in his house or *temple.
prophecy ~ the message that a *prophet brings.
prophet ~ someone that speaks for God; sometimes a prophet says what will happen in the future.
remnant ~ a little bit that is left over (here it means a few *Jews that still loved God).
ruin ~ something that people have knocked; they have broken or destroyed it.
shake ~ move something from one side to another many times and very fast.
silver ~ a beautiful metal of great value.
spirit ~ the part of us that still lives when our body dies. (The *Holy Spirit is another name for God, like *LORD and Lord; here ‘my spirit’ is a name for God.)
stirred up ~ here it means ‘caused somebody to do something’; usually it means ‘mixed’.
temple ~ here, the house of God in Jerusalem. (The *Jews had several other temples.)
unholy ~ the opposite of *holy.
wine ~ a drink with alcohol in it; people make it from *grapes.
Kohlenberger ~ Hebrew-English Old Testament ~ Zondervan 1987
Brenton ~ Septuagint ~ Hendrickson 1995
Ellicott ~ Bible Commentary for English Readers in 6 volumes ~ Cassell
Fausset ~ Critical and Experimental Commentary in 6 volumes ~ Collins 1866
Lukyn Williams ~ The Minor Prophets Unfolded ~ SPCK 1920
Eaton ~ The Torch Bible Commentary ~ SCM 1961
Baldwin ~ Tyndale OT Commentary ~ IVP 1972
Mitchell-Smith-Brewer ~ International Critical Commentary ~ 1912 Edn T & T Clark
Oxford Bible Atlas, 3rd Edn ~ OUP 1995
Bibles ~ A large number of translations, including KJV, RV, RSV, NEB, GNB, NIV, NRSV, JB, RJB, LB, RLB, BFTD, TP and REB
© 1997-2007, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)
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2014-10-08 Changed “Zecharaiah” to “Zechariah” in “The Story of Haggai” paragraph 2 – Mike Baker