“For thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Once more, in a short time it comes to pass, I shake heaven and earth, and the sea, and the dry. Hag 2:7. And I shake all nations, and the costly of all nations will come, and I shall fill this house with glory, saith Jehovah of hosts. Hag 2:8. Mine is the silver, and mine the gold, is the saying of Jehovah of hosts. Hag 2:9. The last glory of this house will be greater than the first, saith Jehovah of hosts; and in this place shall I give peace, is the saying of Jehovah of hosts.” Different explanations have been given of the definition of the time עוֹד אַחַת מְעַט הִיא. Luther, Calvin, and others, down to Ewald and Hengstenberg, follow the Chaldee and Vulgate, and either take achath in the sense of the indefinite article or as a numeral, “adhuc unum modicum est,” or “it is yet a little thither.” But if achath belonged to מְעַט as a numeral adjective, either in the one sense or the other, according to the arrangement adopted without exception in Hebrew (for 'echâd is not an adjective in Dan 8:13), it could not stand before מְעַט, but must be placed after it. The difference of gender also precludes this combination, inasmuch as מְעַט is not construed as a feminine in a single passage. We must therefore take מְעַט הִיא as forming an independent clause of itself, i.e., as a more precise definition of עוֹד אַחַת. But 'achath does not mean one = one time, or a short space of time (Burk, Hitzig, Hofmann); nor does it acquire this meaning from the clause מְעַט הִיא; nor can it be sustained by arbitrarily supplying עֵת. 'Achath is used as a neuter in the sense of “once,” as in Exo 30:10; 2Ki 6:10; Job 40:5 (cf. Ewald, §269, b). מְעַט הִיא , a little, i.e., a short time is it, equivalent to “soon,” in a short time will it occur (cf. Hos 8:10; Psa 37:10). The lxx have rendered it correctly ἔτι ἅπαξ, only they have left out מְעַט הִיא. The words, “once more and indeed in a short time I shake,” etc., have not the meaning which Koehl. attaches to the correct rendering, viz., “Once, and only once, will Jehovah henceforth shake heaven and earth,” in which the עוֹד standing at the head is both moved from its place, and taken, not in the sense of repetition or of continuance from the present to the future, but simply in the sense of an allusion to the future; in other words, it is completely deprived of its true meaning. For עוֹד never loses its primary sense of repetition or return any more than the German noch (still or yet), so as to denote an occurrence in the future without any allusion whatever to an event that has already happened or is in existence still, not even in 2Sa 19:36 and 2Ch 17:6, with which Koehler endeavours to support his views, without observing that in these passages עוֹד is used in a very different sense, signifying in 2 Sam. praeterea, and in 2 Chronicles “moreover.” In the verse before us it is used with reference to the previous shaking of the world at the descent of Jehovah upon Sinai to establish the covenant with Israel, to which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews has quite correctly taken it as referring (Heb 12:26).
On the other hand, the objection offered by Koehler, that that shaking did not extend beyond Sinai and the Sinaitic region, either according to the historical account in Exo 19:16-18, or the poetical descriptions in Jdg 5:4-5, and Psa 68:8-9, is incorrect. For not only in the two poetical descriptions referred to, but also in Hab 3:6, the manifestation of God upon Sinai is represented as a trembling or shaking of the earth, whereby the powers of the heaven were set in motion, and the heavens dropped down water. The approaching shaking of the world will be much more violent; it will affect the heaven and the earth in all their parts, the sea and the solid ground, and also the nations. Then will the condition of the whole of the visible creation and of the whole of the world of nations be altered. The shaking of the heaven and the earth, i.e., of the universe, is closely connected with the shaking of all nations. It is not merely a figurative representation of symbol, however, of great political agitations, but is quite as real as the shaking of the nations, and not merely follows this and is caused by it, but also precedes it and goes side by side with it, and only in its completion does it form the conclusion to the whole of the shaking of the world. For earthquakes and movements of the powers of heaven are heralds and attendants of the coming of the Lord to judgment upon the whole earth, through which not only the outward form of the existing world is altered, but the present world itself will finally be reduced to ruins (Isa 24:18-20), and out of the world thus perishing there are to be created a new heaven and a new earth (Isa 65:17; Isa 66:22; 2Pe 3:10-13). But if the shaking of heaven and earth effects a violent breaking up of the existing condition of the universe, the shaking of all nations can only be one by which an end is put to the existing condition of the world of nations, by means of great political convulsions, and indeed, according to the explanation given in Hag 2:22, by the Lord's overthrowing the throne of the kingdoms, annihilating their power, and destroying their materials of war, so that one falls by the sword of the other, that is to say, by wars and revolutions, by which the might of the heathen world is broken and annihilated. It follows from this, that the shaking of the heathen is not to be interpreted spiritually, either as denoting “the marvellous, supernatural, and violent impulse by which God impels His elect to betake themselves to the fold of Christ” (Calvin), or “the movement to be produced among the nations through the preaching of the gospel, with the co-operation of the Holy Spirit.” The impulse given by the preaching of the gospel and the operation of the Holy Spirit to such souls among the nations as desire salvation, to seek salvation from the living God, is only the fruit of the shaking of the heathen world, and is not to be identified with it; for the coming of the chemdth kol-haggōyı̄m is defined by וּבָאוּ with the Vav consec. as a consequence of the shaking of the nations.
By chemdath kol-haggōyı̄m most of the earlier orthodox commentators understood the Messiah, after the example of the Vulgate, et veniet desideratus gentibus, and Luther's “consolation of the Gentiles.” But the plural בָּאוּ is hardly reconcilable with this. If, for example, chemdath were the subject of the clause, as most of the commentators assume, we should have the singular וּבָא. For the rule, that in the case of two nouns connected together in the construct state, the verb may take the number of the governed noun, applies only to cases in which the governed noun contains the principal idea, so that there is a constructio ad sensum; whereas in the case before us the leading idea would be formed, not by kol-haggōyı̄m, but by chemdath, desideratus, or consolation, as a designation of the Messiah. Hence Cocc., Mark, and others, have taken chemdath as the accusative of direction: “that they (sc., the nations) may come to the desire of all nations - namely, to Christ.” It cannot be objected to this, as Koehler supposes, that to designate Christ as the desire of all nations would be either erroneous, inasmuch as in the time of Haggai only a very few heathen knew anything about Israel's hope of a Messiah, or perfectly unintelligible to his contemporaries, especially if the meaning of the epithet were that the heathen would love Him at some future time. For the latter remark is at once proved to be untenable by the prophecy of Isaiah and Micah, to the effect that all nations will flow to the mountain of God's house. After such prophecies, the thought that the heathen would one day love the Messiah could not be unintelligible to the contemporaries of our prophet; and there is not the smallest proof of the first assertion. In the year 520 b.c., when the ten tribes had already been scattered among the heathen for 200 years, and the Judaeans for more than seventy years, the Messianic hope of Israel could not be any longer altogether unknown to the nations. It may with much better reason be objected to the former view, that if chemdâh were the accusative of direction, we should expect the preposition 'el in order to avoid ambiguity. But what is decisive against it is the fact, that the coming of the nations to the Messiah would be a thought completely foreign to the context, since the Messiah cannot without further explanation be identified with the temple. Chemdâh signifies desire (2Ch 21:20), then the object of desire, that in which a man finds pleasure and joy, valuables. Chemdath haggōyı̄m is therefore the valuable possessions of the heathen, or according to Hag 2:8 their gold and silver, or their treasures and riches; not the best among the heathen (Theod. Mops., Capp., Hitzig). Hence chemdath cannot be the accusative of direction, since the thought that the heathen come to the treasures of all the heathen furnishes no suitable meaning; but it is the nominative or subject, and is construed as a collective word with the verb in the plural. The thought is the following: That shaking will be followed by this result, or produce this effect, that all the valuable possessions of the heathen will come to fill the temple with glory. Compare Isa 60:5, where the words, “the possessions (riches) of the heathen (chēl gōyı̄m) will come to thee,” i.e., be brought to Jerusalem, express the same thought; also Isa 60:11. With the valuable possessions of the heathen the Lord will glorify His temple, or fill it with kâbhōd. Kâbhōd without the article denotes the glory which the temple will receive through the possessions of the heathen presented there. The majority of the commentators have referred these words to the glorification of the temple through the appearance of Jesus in it, and appeal to Exo 40:34-35; 1Ki 8:10-11; 2Ch 5:13-14, according to which passages the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle and Solomon's temple at their dedication, so that they identify kâbhōd (glory) with kebhōd Yehōvâh (glory of Jehovah) without reserve. But this is impracticable, although the expression kâbhōd is chosen by the prophet with a reference to those events, and the fulfilment of our prophecy did commence with the fact that Jehovah came to His temple in the person of Jesus Christ (Mal 3:1).