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Chapter 1

It is time to build the temple

1-2 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 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.) 3 So Haggai, the prophet, told Zerubbabel and Joshua what the LORD had said.

4 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. 5 But think about what has happened to you. 6 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. 7 Think about what has happened to you!

8 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. 9 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. 10 That is why your fields are dry. That is why your plants do not grow. 11 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.’

1:11Verse 1 tells us when Haggai spoke his message. Darius ruled as king over Persia and over many other countries. Judah was one of those countries. It was where the Jews lived. It was their own country, but they were very poor. The LORD said that they had forgotten him. And that was why this was happening. They had chosen to build their own houses. They should have built his temple. He said that they must now build his temple.

The people obey the LORD

12 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. 13 Haggai was the LORD's prophet. This was Haggai's message from the LORD: ‘ “I am with you”, says the LORD.’ 14 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. 15 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.

1:15The people heard what the LORD had said to Haggai. And then they were afraid. But the LORD put in their minds the thought that they should obey him. So they started to build his temple again.