on Haggai 2 :7
And the Desire of all nations shall come - The present Hebrew text is as follows: ובאו חמדת כל הגוים. This is a difficult place if understood of a person: but חמדת chemdath, desire, cannot well agree with באו bau, they shall come. It is true that some learned men suppose that חמדות chemdoth, desirable things, may have been the original reading: but this is supported by no MS., nor is באו found in the singular number in any. It is generally understood of the desirable or valuable things which the different nations should bring into the temple; and it is certain that many rich presents were brought into this temple. All are puzzled with it. But the principal difficulty lies in the verb ובאו ubau, they shall come. If we found ובאה חמדת ubaa chemdath in the singular, then it would read as in our text, And the Desire of all nations shall come: but no such reading appears in any MS.; nor is it fairly acknowledged, except by the Vulgate, which reads, Et veniet desideratus cunctis gentibus, "And that which is desired," or the desired Person, "shall come to all nations." In Haggai 2:7 God says he will shake or stir up all nations; that these nations shall bring their desirable things; that the house shall be filled with God's glory; that the silver and gold, which these nations are represented as bringing by way of gifts, are the Lord's; and that the glory of this latter house shall exceed the former. Bp. Chandler labors to vindicate the present translation; but he makes rash assertions, and is abandoned by the Hebrew text. The בא ba, to come, is often used in the sense of bring, and that חמדת chemdath, desire, may be considered as the plural for חמדות, having the point holem instead of the ו vau, and thus mean desirable things, will not be denied by those who are acquainted with the genius and construction of the Hebrew language. Bp. Chandler thinks that בא, he came, cannot be used of things, but of persons only. Here he is widely mistaken, for it is used of days perpetually; and of the ark, 2 Samuel 6:9; and of mounts coming against Jerusalem, Jeremiah 32:24; and of trees coming to adorn the temple, Isaiah 60:13; and of silver and gold coming into the temple, Joshua 6:19; and Jeremiah 6:20, Why doth incense come to me? See Abp. Secker's notes. I cannot see how the words can apply to Jesus Christ, even if the construction were less embarrassed than it is; because I cannot see how he could be called The Desire of All Nations.
The whole seems to be a metaphorical description of the Church of Christ, and of his filling it with all the excellences of the Gentile world, when the fullness of the Gentiles shall be brought in.
on Haggai 2 :7
And the desire of all nations shall come - The words can only mean this, the central longing of all nations
He whom they longed for, either through the knowledge of Him spread by the Jews in their dispersion, or mutely by the aching craving of the human heart, longing for the restoration from its decay. "The earnest expectation of the creature" did not begin with the Coming of Christ, nor was it limited to those, who actually came to Him Romans 8:19-22. "The whole creation," Paul saith, "groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." It was enslaved, and the better self longed to be free; every motion of grace in the multitudinous heart of man was a longing for its Deliverer; every weariness of what it was, every fleeting vision of what was better, every sigh from out of its manifold ills, were notes of the one varied cry, "Come and help us." Man's heart, formed in the image of God, could not but ache to be reformed by and for Him, though "an unknown God," who should reform it.
This longing increased as the time drew near, when Christ should come. The Roman biographer attests the existence of this expectation, not among the Jews only, but in the East ; this was quickened doubtless among the pagan by the Jewish Sibylline book, in that, amid the expectations of one sent from heaven, who should found a kingdom of righteousness, which the writer drew from the Hebrew prophets, he inserted denunciations of temporal vengeance upon the Romans, which Easterns would share. Still, although written 170 years before our Lord came , it had not apparently much effect until the time, when, from the prophecies of Daniel it was clear, that He must shortly come . Yet the attempt of the Jewish and pagan historian to wrest it to Vespasian, shows how great must have been the influence of the expectation, which they attempted to turn aside.
The Jews, who rejected our Lord whom Haggai predicted, still were convinced that the prediction must be fulfilled before the destruction of the second temple. The impulse did not cease even after its destruction. R. Akiba, whom they accounted "the first oracle of his time, the first and greatest guardian of the tradition and old law," of whom they said, that "God revealed to him things unknown to Moses," was induced by this prophecy to acknowledge the impostor Bar-cochab, to the destruction of himself and of the most eminent of his time; fulfilling our Lord's words John 5:43, "I am come in My fathers name, and ye receive Me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive."
Akiba, following the traditional meaning of the great prophecy which rivetted his own eyes, paraphrased the words, "Yet a little, a little of the kingdom, will I give to Israel upon the destruction of the first house, and after the kingdom, lo! I will shake heaven, and after that will come the Messiah."
Since the words can only mean "the Desire of all nations," he or that which all nations long for, the construction of the words does not affect the meaning. Herod doubtless thought to advance his own claims on the Jewish people by his material adorning of the temple; yet, although mankind do covet gold and silver, few could seriously think that, while a pagan immoral but observant poet could speak of "gold undiscovered and so better placed," or our own of the "pale and common drudge 'Tween man and man," a Hebrew prophet could recognize gold and silver as "the desire of all nations." Rabbi Akiba and Jerome's Jewish teachers, after our Lord came, felt no difficulty in understanding it of a person. We cannot in English express the delicacy of the phrase, whereby manifoldness is combined in unity, the Object of desire containing in itself many objects of desire.
To render "the desire of all nations" or "the desires of all nations" alike fail to do this. A great pagan master of language said to his wife, "fare you well, my longings," i. e., I suppose, if he had analyzed his feelings, he meant that she manifoldly met the longings of his heart; she had in herself manifold gifts to content them. So Paul sums up all the truths and gifts of the Gospel, all which God shadowed out in the law and had given us in Christ, under the name of "the good things to come." A pious modern writer speaks of "the unseen desirables of the spiritual world." A psalmist expresses at once the collective, "God's Word" and the "words" contained in it, by an idiom like Haggai's, joining the feminine singular as a collective with the plural verb; "How sweet are Thy word unto my taste," literally "palate."
It is God's word, at once collectively and individually, which was to the Psalmist so sweet. What was true of the whole, was true, one by one, of each part; what was true of each part, was true of the whole. So here, the object of this longing was manifold, but met in one, was concentrated in One, 1 Corinthians 1:30. "in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption." That which the whole world sighed and mourned for, knowingly or unknowingly, light to disperse its darkness, liberty from its spiritual slavery, restoration from its degradation, could not come to us without some one, who should impart it to us.
But if Jesus was "the longed-for of the nations" before He came, by that mute longing of need for that which it wants (as the parched ground thirsteth for the rain how much more afterward! So Micah and Isaiah describe many peoples inviting one another Micah 4:2; Isaiah 2:3. "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths." And in truth He became the "desire of the nations," much more than of the Jews; as, Paul says, (Romans 10:19-20; quoting Deuteronomy 32:21. Isaiah 65:2.) God foretold of old; "Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are not a people: by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold and saith, I was found of them that sought Me not."
So until now and in eternity, "Christ is the longing of all holy souls, who long for nothing else, than to please Him, daily to love Him more, to worship Him better. So John longed for Him; "Come, Lord Jesus Revelation 22:20. So Isaiah Isa 26:8-9, "The desire of our soul is to Thy Name and to the remembrance of Thee: with my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me, will I seek Thee early." So Ignatius, "Let fire, cross, troops of wild beasts, dissections, rendings, scattering of bones, mincing of limbs, grindings of the whole body, ill tortures of the devil come upon me, only may I gain Jesus Christ. - I seek Him Who for us died; I long for Him Who for us rose."
"Hungerest thou and desirest food? Long for Jesus! He is the bread and refreshment of Angels. He is manna, "containing in Him all sweetness and pleasurable delight." Thirstest thou? Long for Jesus! He is the well of "living water," refreshing, so that thou shouldest thirst no more. Art thou sick? Go to Jesus. He is the Saviour, the physician, nay, salvation itself. Art thou dying? Sigh for Jesus! He is "the resurrection and the life." Art thou perplexed? Come to Jesus! He is "the Angel of great counsel." Art thou ignorant and erring? Ask Jesus; He is "the way, the truth and the life." Art thou a sinner? Call on Jesus! For "He shall save His people from their sins." To this end He came into the world: "This is all His fruit, to take away sin." Art thou tempted by pride, gluttony, lust, sloth? Call on Jesus! He is humility, soberness, chastity, love, fervor: "He bare our infirmities, and carried," yea still beareth and carrieth, "our griefs."
Seekest thou beauty? He is "fairer than the children of men." Seekest thou wealth? In Him are "all treasures," yea in Him "the fullness of the Godhead dwelleth." Art thou ambitious of honors? "Glory and riches are in His house." "He is the King of glory." Seekest thou a friend? He hath the greatest love for thee, who for love of thee came down from heaven, toiled, endured the Sweat of Blood, the Cross and Death; He prayed for thee by name in the garden, and poured forth tears of Blood! Seekest thou wisdom? He is the Eternal and Uncreated Wisdom of the Father! Wishest thou for consolation and joy? He is the sweetness of souls, the joy and jubilee of Angels. Wishest thou for righteousness and holiness? He is "the Holy of holies;" He "is everlasting Righteousness," justifying and sanctifying all who believe and hope in Him. Wishest thou for a blissful life? He is "life eternal," the bliss of the saints. Long then for Him, love Him, sigh for Him! In Him thou wilt find all good; out of Him, all evil, all misery. Say then with Francis, 'My Jesus, my love and my all!' O Good Jesus, burst the cataract of Thy love, that its streams, yea seas, may flow down upon us, yea, inebriate and overwhelm us."
And I will fill this house with glory - The glory then was not to be anything, which came from man, but directly from God. It was the received expression of God's manifestation of Himself in the tabernacle Exodus 40:34-35. in Soloman's temple, 1 Kings 8:11; 2 Chronicles 5:14; 2 Chronicles 7:1-12, and of the ideal temple Ezekiel 43:5; Ezekiel 44:4. which Ezekiel saw, after the likeness of that of Solomon, that "the glory of the Lord filled the house." When then of this second temple God uses the self-same words, that He will "fill it with glory," with what other glory should He fill it than His own? In the history it is said, "the glory of the Lord filled the temple;" for there man relates what God did. Here it is God Himself who speaks; so He says not, "the glory of the Lord," but, "I will fill the house with glory," glory which was His to give, which came from Himself. To interpret that glory of anything material, is to do violence to language, to force on words of Scripture an unworthy sense, which they refuse to bear.
The gold upon the walls, even had the second temple been adorned like the first did not fill the temple of Solomon. However richly any building might be overlaid with gold, no one could say that it is filled with it. A building is filled with what it contains; a mint or treasure-house may be filled with gold: the temple of God was "filled," we are told, with "the glory of the Lord." His creatures bring Him such things as they can offer; they bring Isaiah 60:6 "gold and incense;" they Psalm 72:10 "bring presents" and "offer gifts;" they do it, moved by His Spirit, as acceptable to Him. God was never said to give these offerings to Himself.
on Haggai 2 :7