1 On the first day of the sixth month of the second year that Darius was king of Persia, the LORD told Haggai the prophet to speak his message to the governor of Judah and to the high priest. So Haggai told Governor Zerubbabel and High Priest Joshua
2 that the LORD All-Powerful had said to them and to the people: You say this isn't the right time to build a temple for me. But is it right for you to live in expensive houses, while my temple is a pile of ruins? Just look at what's happening.
3 (SEE 1:2)
4 (SEE 1:2)
5 (SEE 1:2)
6 You harvest less than you plant, you never have enough to eat or drink, your clothes don't keep you warm, and your wages are stored in bags full of holes.
7 Think about what I have said!
8 But first, go to the hills and get wood for my temple, so I can take pride in it and be worshiped there.
9 You expected much, but received only a little. And when you brought it home, I made that little disappear. Why have I done this? It's because you hurry off to build your own houses, while my temple is still in ruins.
10 That's also why the dew doesn't fall and your harvest fails.
11 And so, at my command everything will become barren--your farmland and pastures, your vineyards and olive trees, your animals and you yourselves. All your hard work will be for nothing.
12 Zerubbabel and Joshua, together with the others who had returned from exile in Babylonia, obeyed the LORD's message spoken by his prophet Haggai, and they started showing proper respect for the LORD.
13 Haggai then told them that the LORD had promised to be with them.
14 So the LORD God All-Powerful made everyone eager to work on his temple, especially Zerubbabel and Joshua.
15 And the work began on the twenty-fourth day of that same month.
The Contemporary English Version, c1995 by the American Bible
Selected texts provided for use with the Hypertext Bible Commentary