2:11. In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius the king, the word of the Lord came to Aggeus the prophet, saying:
2:12. Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Ask the priests the law, saying:
2:13. If a man carry sanctified flesh in the skirt of his garment, and touch with his skirt, bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat: shall it be sanctified? And the priests answered, and said: No.
2:14. And Aggeus said: If one that is unclean by occasion of a soul touch any of all these things, shall it be defiled? And the priests answered, and said: It shall be defiled.
By occasion of a soul... That is, by having touched the dead; in which case, according to the prescription of the law, Num. 19.13, 22, a person not only became unclean himself, but made every thing that he touched unclean. The prophet applies all this to the people, whose souls remained unclean by neglecting the temple of God; and therefore were not sanctified by the flesh they offered in sacrifice: but rather defiled their sacrifices by approaching to them in the state of uncleanness.
2:15. And Aggeus answered, and said: So is this people, and so is this nation before my face, saith the Lord, and so is all the work of their hands: and all that they have offered there, shall be defiled.
2:16. And now consider in your hearts, from this day and upward, before there was a stone laid upon a stone in the temple of the Lord.
2:17. When you went to a heap of twenty bushels, and they became ten: and you went into the press, to press out fifty vessels, and they became twenty.
2:18. I struck you with a blasting wind, and all the works of your hand with the mildew and with hail, yet there was none among you that returned to me, saith the Lord.
2:19. Set your hearts from this day, and henceforward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month: from the day that the foundations of the temple of the Lord were laid, and lay it up in your hearts.
2:20. Is the seed as yet sprung up? or hath the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree as yet flourished? from this day I will bless you.
2:21. And the word of the Lord came a second time to Aggeus in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying:
2:22. Speak to Zorobabel the governor of Juda, saying: I will move both heaven and earth.
2:23. And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and will destroy the strength of the kingdom of the Gentiles: and I will overthrow the chariot, and him that rideth therin: and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
2:24. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, I will take thee, O Zorobabel the son of Salathiel, my servant, saith the Lord, and will make thee as a signet, for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts.
O Zorobabel... This promise principally relates to Christ, who was of the race of Zorobabel.
THE PROPHECY OF ZACHARIAS
ZACHARIAS began to prophesy in the same year as Aggeus, and upon the same occasion. His prophecy is full of mysterious figures and promises of blessings, partly relating to the synagogue, and partly to the church of Christ.
Zacharias Chapter 1
The prophet exhorts the people to return to God, and declares his visions, by which he puts them in hopes of better times.
1:1. In the eighth month, in the second year of king Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zacharias the son of Barachias, the son of Addo, the prophet, saying:
1:2. The Lord hath been exceeding angry with your fathers.
1:3. And thou shalt say to them: Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Turn ye to me, saith the Lord of hosts: and I will turn to you, saith the Lord of hosts.
1:4. Be not as your fathers, to whom the former prophets have cried, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Turn ye from your evil ways, and from your wicked thoughts: but they did not give ear, neither did they hearken to me, saith the Lord.
1:5. Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, shall they live always?
1:6. But yet my words, and my ordinances, which I gave in charge to my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers, and they returned, and said: As the Lord of hosts thought to do to us according to our ways, and according to our devices, so he hath done to us.
1:7. In the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month which is called Sabath, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zacharias the son of Barachias, the son of Addo, the prophet, saying:
1:8. I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees, that were in the bottom: and behind him were horses, red, speckled, and white.
A man... An angel in the shape of a man. It was probably Michael, the guardian angel of the church of God.
1:9. And I said: What are these, my lord? and the angel that spoke in me, said to me: I will shew thee what these are:
1:10. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered, and said: These are they, whom the Lord hath sent to walk through the earth.
These are they, etc... The guardian angels of provinces and nations.
1:11. And they answered the angel of the Lord, that stood among the myrtle trees, and said: We have walked through the earth, and behold all the earth is inhabited, and is at rest.
1:12. And the angel of the Lord answered, and said: O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem, and on the cities of Juda, with which thou hast been angry? this is now the seventieth year.
The seventieth year... Viz., from the beginning of the seige of Jerusalem, in the ninth year of king Sedecias, to the second year of king Darius. These seventy years of the desolation of Jerusalem and the cities of Juda, are different from the seventy years of captivity foretold by Jeremias; which began in the fourth year of Joakim, and ended in the first year of king Cyrus.
1:13. And the Lord answered the angel, that spoke in me, good words, comfortable words.
1:14. And the angel that spoke in me, said to me: Cry thou, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts: I am zealous for Jerusalem, and Sion with a great zeal.
1:15. And I am angry with a great anger with the wealthy nations: for I was angry a little, but they helped forward the evil.
1:16. Therefore thus saith the Lord: I will return to Jerusalem in mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts: and the building line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.
1:17. Cry yet, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts: My cities shall yet flow with good things: and the Lord will yet comfort Sion, and he will yet choose Jerusalem.
1:18. And I lifted up my eyes, and saw: and behold four horns.
Four horns... The four horns represent the empires, or kingdoms, that persecute and oppress the kingdom of God.
1:19. And I said to the angel that spoke in me: What are these? And he said to me: These are the horns that have scattered Juda, and Israel, and Jerusalem.
1:20. And the Lord shewed me four smiths.
Four smiths... The four smiths, or carpenters ( for faber may signify either) represent those whom God makes his instruments in bringing to nothing the power of persecutors.
1:21. And I said: What come these to do? and he spoke, saying: These are the horns which have scattered Juda every man apart, and none of them lifted up his head: and these are come to fray them, to cast down the horns of the nations, that have lifted up the horn upon the land of Juda to scatter it.
Zacharias Chapter 2