The prophet explains these words in Hag 2:15-19 by representing the failure of the crops, and the curse that has hitherto prevailed, as a punishment from God for having been wanting in faithfulness to the Lord (Hag 2:15-17), and promises that from that time forward the blessing of God shall rest upon them again (Hag 2:18, Hag 2:19). Hag 2:15. “And now, direct your heart from this day and onward, before stone was laid to stone at the temple of Jehovah. Hag 2:16. Before this was, did one come to the heap of sheaves of twenty-(in measure), there were ten: did he come to the vat to draw fifty buckets, there were twenty. Hag 2:17. I have smitten you with blasting, and with mildew, and with hail, all the work of your hands; and not one of you (turned) to me, is the saying of Jehovah.” The object to which they are to direct their heart, i.e., to give heed, is not to be supplied from Hag 1:5, Hag 1:7, “to your ways” (Ros. and others), but is contained substantially in Hag 2:16 and Hag 2:17, and is first of all indicated in the words “from this day,” etc. They are to notice what has taken place from this day onwards. נָמַעְלָה, lit., upwards, then further on. Here it is used not in the sense of forwards into the future, but, as the explanatory clause which follows (from before, etc.) clearly shows, in that of backwards into the past. Mitterem, literally “from the not yet of the laying ... onwards,” i.e., onwards from the time when stone was laid upon stone at the temple; in other words, when the building of the temple was resumed, backwards into the past; in reality, therefore, the time before the resuming of the building of the temple: for min and mitterem cannot be taken in any other sense than in the parallel מִיּוֹם which precedes it, and מִהְיוֹתָם which follows in Hag 2:16. The objection which Koehler raises to this cannot be sustained. מִהְיוֹתָם, from their existence (backwards). Most of the modern commentators take the suffix as referring to a noun, yâmı̄m (days), to be supplied from Hag 2:15; but it appears much simpler to take it as a neuter, as Mark and others do, in the sense of “before these things were or were done, viz., this day, and this work of laying stone upon stone,” etc. The meaning is not doubtful, viz., looking backwards from the time when the building of the temple was resumed, in other words, before the point of time. בָּא commences a new sentence, in which facts that they had experienced are cited, the verb בָּא being used conditionally, and forming the protasis, the apodosis to which is given in וְהָיְתָה. If one came to a heap of sheaves of twenty measures (se'âh is probably to be supplied: lxx σάτα), they became ten. A heap of sheaves (‛ărēmâh as in Rth 3:7), from which they promised themselves twenty measures, yielded, when threshed, no more than ten, i.e., only the half of what they expected. They experienced just the same at the pressing of the grapes. Instead of fifty buckets, which they expected, they obtained only twenty. Yeqebh was the vat into which the juice flowed when pressed out of the grapes. Châsaph, lit., to lay bare, here to draw out, as in Isa 30:14; and pūrâh, in Isa 63:3, the pressing-trough, here a measure, probably the measure which was generally obtained from one filling of the wine-press with grapes (lxx μετρητής). Hag 2:17 gives the reason why so small a result was yielded by the threshing-floor and wine-press. Jehovah smote you with blasting and mildew. These words are a reminiscence of Amo 4:9, to which passage the last words of the verse also refer. To the disease of the corn there is also added the hail which smote the vines, as in Psa 78:47. 'Eth kol-ma‛ăsēh, all the labour of the hands, i.e., all that they had cultivated with great toil, is a second accusative, “which mentions the portion smitten” (Hitzig). The perfectly unusual construction אֵין־אֶתְכֶם אֵלַי does not stand for אֵין בָּכֶם א, non fuit in vobis qui (Vulg.), nor is אֶתֵכֶם used for אִתֶּכֶם, “with you;” but אֵין־אֶתְכֶם either stands for אֵינְכֶם, the suffix which was taken as a verbal suffix used as an accusative being resolved into the accusative (cf. Ewald, §262, d); or it is the accusative used in the place of the subject, that is to say, אֵת is to be taken in the sense of “as regards,” quoad (Ewald, §277, p. 683): “as far as you are concerned, there was not (one) turning himself to me.” אֵלַי, to me, sc. turning himself or being converted; though there is no necessity to supply שָׁבִים, as the idea is implied in the word אֶל, as in Hos 3:3 and 2Ki 6:11.