Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Haggai 2:20 - 2:20

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Haggai 2:20 - 2:20


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Renewal of the Promise of Salvation. - Hag 2:20. On the same day on which the Lord promised to the people the return of the blessings of nature, Haggai received a second revelation, which promised to the community the preservation and care of the Davidic monarchy, represented for the time by Zerubbabel, in the midst of the storms that were about to burst upon the power of the world. Hag 2:21. “Speak to Zerubbabel the governor of Judah thus: I shake the heaven and the earth. Hag 2:22. And I will overthrow the throne of the kingdoms; and destroy the might of the kingdoms of the nations; and will overthrow the war-chariots, and those who ride in them: and horses and their riders shall fall, one by the sword of the other. Hag 2:23. On that day, is the saying of Jehovah of hosts, will I take thee, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant, is the saying of Jehovah, and make thee as a signet-ring: for I have chosen thee, is the saying of Jehovah of hosts.” אֲנִי מַרְעִישׁ does not stand for הִנְנִי מַרְעִישׁ, but the participial clause is to be taken as a circumstantial clause: If I shake heaven and earth, I overthrow (cf. Ewald, §341, c and d). The words point back to the shaking of the world predicted in Hag 2:6, Hag 2:7. When this shaking takes place, then shall the throne of the kingdoms be thrown down, and their might be destroyed. The singular כִּסֵּא is used collectively, or rather distributively: “every throne of the kingdoms.” The throne is the symbol of the monarchy, or of the government (cf. Dan 7:27); not in this sense, however, that “the prophet regarded all the kingdoms of the earth as one combined power in contradistinction to the people of God, or as a single power, as the power of the world, which was sitting as mistress at the time upon the throne of the earth” (Koehler). The plural mamlâkhōth does not agree with this, since every kingdom had both a king and a throne. The continuance of this throne rests upon the strength (chōqez) of the heathen kingdoms, and this again upon their military power, their war-chariots, horses, and riders. These are to be overthrown and fall to the ground, and indeed by one another's swords. One hostile kingdom will destroy another, and in the last conflict the heathen hosts will annihilate one another (compare Eze 38:21; Zec 14:13). At that time, when the dominion of the heathen had thus collapsed, Jehovah would take Zerubbabel and set or make him as a signet-ring. The verb 'eqqach (will I take) simply serves to introduce the following act as one of importance, as for example in Deu 4:20 and 2Ki 14:21. The meaning of the figurative expression, to make Zerubbabel as a signet-ring, is evident from the importance of the signet-ring in the eyes of an oriental, who is accustomed to carry his signet-ring constantly about with him, and to take care of it as a very valuable possession. It is introduced with the same idea in the Son 8:6, “Lay me as a signet-ring upon thy breast, as a signet-ring in thine arms;” and it is in the same sense that Jehovah says of Jehoiachin in Jer 22:24, “Though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim were even a signet-ring upon my right hand, i.e., a possession from which it would be thought impossible that I should separate myself, yet would I tear thee away from thence.” Hence we obtain this thought for our present passage, namely, that on the day on which Jehovah would overthrow the kingdoms of the nations, He would make Zerubbabel like a signet-ring, which is inseparable from its possessor; that is to say, He would give him a position in which he would be and remain inseparably connected with Him (Jehovah), would therefore not cast him off, but take care of him as His valuable possession. This is the explanation given by Koehler (after Calvin, Osiander, and others); and he has also refuted the various explanations that differ from it. But in order clearly to understand the meaning of this promise, we must look at the position which Zerubbabel occupied in the community of Israel on its return from exile. For we may at the outset assume that the promise did not apply to his own particular person, but rather to the official post he held, from the fact that what is here predicted was not to take place till after the overthrow of the throne and might of all the kingdoms of the heathen, and therefore could not take place in Zerubbabel's lifetime, inasmuch as, although the fall of this or the other kingdom might be looked for in the course of one generation, the overthrow of all kingdoms and the coming of all the heathen to fill the temple of the Lord with their possessions (Hag 2:7) certainly could not. Zerubbabel was (Persian) governor in Judah, and had no doubt been selected for this office because he was prince of Judah (Ezr 1:8), and as son of Shealtiel was a descendant of the family of David (see at Hag 1:1). Consequently the sovereignty of David in its existing condition of humiliation, under the sovereignty of the imperial power, was represented and preserved in his appointment as prince and governor of Judah, so that the fulfilment of the divine promise of the eternal perpetuation of the seed of David and his kingdom was then associated with Zerubbabel, and rested upon the preservation of his family. Hence the promise points to the fact, that at the time when Jehovah would overthrow the heathen kingdoms, He would maintain and take good care of the sovereignty of David in the person of Zerubbabel. For Jehovah had chosen Zerubbabel as His servant. With these words the Messianic promise made to David was transferred to Zerubbabel and his family among David's descendants, and would be fulfilled in his person in just the same way as the promise given to David, that God would make him the highest among the kings of the earth (Psa 89:27). The fulfilment culminates in Jesus Christ, the son of David and descendant of Zerubbabel (Mat 1:12; Luk 3:27), in whom Zerubbabel was made the signet-ring of Jehovah. Jesus Christ has raised up the kingdom of His father David again, and of His kingdom there will be no end (Luk 1:32-33). Even though it may appear oppressed and deeply humiliated for the time by the power of the kingdoms of the heathen, it will never be crushed and destroyed, but will break in pieces all these kingdoms, and destroy them, and will itself endure for ever (Dan 2:44; Heb 12:28; 1Co 15:24).