The name of the prophet signifies "The Festal One," from Hag, "a feast," "sacrifice," "solemnity," and thus a gathering together to meet with, and rejoice before Yahweh (cp. Isa. 30:29).
It had particular reference to the Passover which was recognised as the feast, and was a solemn gathering to celebrate the deliverance from the captivity in Egypt, and to rejoice before Yahweh.
Haggai's name indicated his mission. He was appointed of God to call the people together to remind them of their deliverance from Babylon, to impress upon them their privileged position, and to remind them of their personal responsibilities.
Fourteen years had passed since the decree of Cyrus had invited the people to return to the land, and rebuild the Temple, but a succession of frustrating difficulties plus bitter and unremitting opposition had caused the work to lapse, and apathy now held the people in its grip.
Haggai's message was designed to rouse them into activity once again (Ezra 4: 23-24; 5:1-3).
The Christadelphian Expositor
1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of Yahweh by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,
2 Thus speaketh Yahweh Tz'vaoth, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that Yahweh's house should be built.
3 Then came the word of Yahweh by Haggai the prophet, saying,
4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?
Men work one way; the children of God another.
God's opinion of the ways of men is clearly and abundantly recorded. This record they "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest." They eschew the selfishness rebuked by Haggai, who was commanded by the Spirit to say to the men of Israel,
There is no stone-and-mortar house of God to attend to; but there is another house -- the house of God, the pillar and ground of the truth, whose condition is that of wasteness, and to which we are called to attend in priority to our own affairs.
If we are of God, we feel not at liberty to do as the men of Israel did, and as the world around does, to look after their own affairs, and see ourselves comfortably established without regard to the desolate state of the house of God. While God is a pilgrim in the earth, His sons are not content to be dwellers in the tents of sin. While Jerusalem and her children are in affliction, they aim not to seek their ease.
They have a heart to feel for the downtrodden house of Christ, and on its upbuilding their best exertions are bestowed. They give not to the Lord the refuse, the fag end, the superfluity. They have noticed the lesson of Mal. 1:6-14:
"A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if, then, I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith Yahweh Tz'vaoth, unto you, 0 priests, that despise my name. Ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of Yahweh is contemptible.
If ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith Yahweh Tz'vaoth ... Cursed be the deceiver, that hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto Yahweh a corrupt thing. For I am a great King, saith Yahweh Tz'vaoth, and my name is dreadful among the heathen."
These principles apply in the truth. Wise men will have them in remembrance, honouring the Lord with their substance; sowing bountifully, that they may reap bountifully; that in the day about to dawn, they may not be of those who will be rejected for a faithless use of the "few things" now entrusted to their care.
Seasons 1: 48.
5 Now therefore thus saith Yahweh Tz'vaoth; Consider your ways.
A man cannot estimate his life without looking before and behind. He must remember that he sprang from babyhood, and that he is going on to the decay of old age. He will then be reasonable, and humble and wise.
6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
7 Thus saith Yahweh Tz'vaoth; Consider your ways.
8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith Yahweh.
9 Ye looked for much, and, lo it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith Yahweh Tz'vaoth. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.
12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of Yahweh their Elohim, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as Yahweh their Elohim had sent him, and the people did fear before Yahweh.
13 Then spake Haggai Yahweh's messenger in Yahweh's message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith Yahweh.
14 And Yahweh stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of Yahweh Tz'vaoth, their Elohim,
15 In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king