Build God’s Special Building Now
An EasyEnglish Bible Version with Notes (1200 word vocabulary) on the Book of Haggai
Words in boxes are comments on the text.
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The word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
v1-2 Darius was a king. He was the king of a country called Persia. He had been king for 1 year and 5 months. On the first day of the next month, the *Lord *Almighty spoke to Haggai. (Haggai was a *prophet of the *Lord.) This is what the *Lord said. ‘Everyone says that this is not the right time to build a *temple for me.’ The *Lord told Haggai that he must speak to the ruler of Judah and to the *high *priest. The ruler was called Zerubbabel. (His father was called Shealtiel.) The *high priest was called Joshua. (His father was called Jehozadak.) v3 So Haggai, the *prophet, told Zerubbabel and Joshua what the *Lord had said.
v4 This was the *Lord’s message. ‘You seem to think that it is right for you to live in expensive houses. But you still have not built my *temple. v5 But think about what has happened to you. v6 You plant seeds but not many plants grow. You never have enough food to eat. You drink but you are still *thirsty. You put on clothes but your clothes do not keep you warm. And the money that you get for all your work is not enough. It is like when you put your money into pockets with holes in them. v7 Think about what has happened to you!
v8 And now, get wood from the hills to build my *temple again. I want to look at my *temple with pleasure. I want people to *worship me there. v9 You thought that many food plants would grow in your fields. But only a few plants grew and that disappointed you. And when you brought your food to your home, I destroyed it. You may ask why I have done this. I did it because your first thought was to build your own houses. But your first thought should have been to build my *temple again. And you have not done anything about that. v10 That is why your fields are dry. That is why your plants do not grow. v11 I have stopped the rains so that nothing will grow. Your plants will not grow. Your cows will not have enough grass to eat. Your *vines and your *olive trees will have only a little fruit. No young animals will be born. And you will not have any children. For all your work, you will get nothing.’
v12 Some years before this, the people had returned to live in their own country. Zerubbabel and Joshua had returned with them. (Zerubbabel was Shealtiel’s son. Joshua was the *high priest and he was Jehozadak’s son.) Now everyone heard the message that Haggai brought to them from the *Lord. They were afraid because of what Haggai told them. And they all decided to obey the *Lord their God and to *worship him. v13 Haggai was the *Lord’s *prophet. This was Haggai’s message from the *Lord: ‘ “I am with you”, says the *Lord.’ v14 So the *Lord changed what Zerubbabel and Joshua and the people thought. Soon, all the people wanted to build the *temple for the *Lord. Zerubbabel and Joshua, too, wanted to build the *temple. (Zerubbabel was the ruler of Judah and he was Shealtiel’s son. Joshua was the *high priest and he was Jehozadak’s son.) They all came and they worked at the *temple of the *Lord *Almighty, their God. v15 And so the work began on the 24th day of that same month. Darius had been king for more than 1 year and 5 months.
v1 On the 21st day of the next month, the *Lord spoke to Haggai, the *prophet. v2 The *Lord told Haggai that he must speak to Zerubbabel and to Joshua. (Zerubbabel was Shealtiel’s son and he was the ruler of Judah. Joshua was the *high priest and he was Jehozadak’s son.) The *Lord also told Haggai that he must speak to all the people. This was the message that the *Lord sent:
v3 ‘Some of the people will remember that my *temple was once very beautiful. You think that it is really not beautiful now. v4 But now, be strong and brave, Zerubbabel! And be strong and brave, Joshua, *high priest, son of Jehozadak! And be strong and brave, all you people in this country, and work! Work because I am with you’, says the *Lord *Almighty. v5 ‘A long time ago, my people returned to their own country from Egypt. I promised them then that I would be with them. And I was with them. I will be with you, too. So, do not be afraid. And do not think that the work will be too difficult for you. My Spirit will stay here among you.
v6 Soon, people will see that I am a powerful God. Soon, I will cause the skies and the earth to move. I will cause the sea and the land to move. v7 I will cause people in many countries to be afraid. They will come to your country and they will bring with them valuable gifts. And I will make my *temple beautiful’, says the *Lord *Almighty. v8 ‘All the *silver and gold in the world is mine’, says the *Lord *Almighty. v9 ‘I promise that this new *temple will be more beautiful than the old *temple. People will see my *temple. And then they will know that I am a great God. I will also make this city a place where there is *peace’, says the *Lord *Almighty.
v10 Darius had been king for 1 year and 8 months and 23 days. Then the *Lord *Almighty spoke to Haggai the *prophet again. v11 The *Lord *Almighty told Haggai that he must ask the *priests a question about God’s rules. v12 This was the question. ‘A person might be carrying some meat in his clothes. It is meat that he wants to give to God as a *sacrifice. His clothes might touch some food. It might be bread. Or it might be food that he has cooked. It might be *wine or oil. Or it might be some other food. Would the food that his clothes had touched become *holy?’ The *priests replied, ‘No.’
v13 Haggai asked the *priests another question. ‘If you touch a dead person, you become not *holy. You know that. If you then touch any of these foods, would they become not *holy?’ The *priests replied, ‘Yes, they would.’
v14 So Haggai answered, ‘That is how I thought about all the people in this country’, says the *Lord. ‘I was angry about all the things that you had done. I did not accept your *sacrifices. v15 You have now started to build the *Lord’s *temple again. Try to remember what life was like before that. v16 You wanted 20 pots of *grain. But you found that there were only 10 pots. You wanted 50 jars of *wine. But you found that there were only 20 jars. v17 I sent bad weather and I destroyed all your work. And the things that you picked from your fields were not good to eat. So you had to waste them. But you still did not return to me. And you did not say that I was your *Lord. v18 Today, the 24th day of the 9th month, you have started to build my *temple. Now this is what will happen to you: v19 You have not yet picked any seeds or *grapes. You have not yet picked any *figs or *pomegranates. You have not yet picked any *olives. But after today, I will be good to you. So then you will have as much as you need of all these things.’
v20 On the same day, the 24th day of the month, the *Lord spoke to Haggai again. This is what he said. v21 ‘Speak to Zerubbabel, who is the ruler of Judah. Tell him that I will cause the skies and the earth to move. v22 Tell him that I will remove foreign kings. And I will destroy their countries. I will destroy their *chariots. And I will kill the soldiers who ride in them. The soldiers who ride on horses will start to kill each other. And they will kill each other’s horses. v23 But I am the *Lord *Almighty and you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel are my servant. I have chosen you. And so, on that day, I will cause you to be like my special ring. I will keep you safe. And you will rule this country for me’, says the *Lord *Almighty.
almighty ~ more powerful than anyone else; someone who has the power to beat all his enemies; the ruler of everything; all powerful.
chariot ~ a kind of car that soldiers use to fight. Horses pull it.
fig ~ a kind of sweet fruit that grows on a tree.
forgive ~ when someone stops being angry with another person who has done bad things.
grain ~ a hard seed that you can eat; or you can make it into bread.
grape ~ a fruit. People can use them to make a drink that has alcohol in it.
high priest ~ the most important *priest in the *temple.
holy ~ when something is right to use because God is happy about it; all good with nothing bad in it.
Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
Lord ~ a special name for God that his people use. He will do what he has promised them. And he does not change. That is what this name means.
olive ~ a tree with small fruits (or the fruits themselves) that people used to make oil. They burned the oil to give them light. They used it in other ways too.
peace ~ when we and God are friends; or, when there is no war.
pomegranate ~ a bright red fruit like an apple.
priest ~ a man who gave gifts and burned animals as a *sacrifice to God on behalf of the *Jews; a man that God chose to be his servant in the *temple.
prophet ~ someone who tells other people what God wants; or someone who tells other people what God will do.
sacrifice ~ something that people gave to God. It could be food or drink or an animal. Some sacrifices were to give thanks to God. People also made sacrifices so that God would *forgive them.
silver ~ a white metal; it shines and it is very valuable.
temple ~ *Jews went to this special building in Jerusalem to meet and to talk to God.
thirsty ~ a thirsty person wants or needs a drink.
vine ~ a plant that climbs; the fruits are called *grapes.
wine ~ a drink that has alcohol in it; people make it from small, sweet fruit called grapes.
worship ~ to show God that he is great and that we love him very much; to give thanks to God.
Joyce B. Baldwin ~ Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries ~ IVP
Pieter A. Verhoff ~ The Books of Haggai and Malachi ~ The New International Commentary on the Old Testament ~ Eerdmans
The New Bible Commentary Revised ~ IVF
Bible ~ Contemporary English Version, Good News Bible, New International Version, New Living Translation, The Moffat Translation
© 1997-2009, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).
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