J. N. Darby.
This letter appeared in the "Investigator," No. 9, vol. 2, page 334, April 1833. Ed.
To the Editor of The Investigator.
I do not pretend to an adequate knowledge of Hebrew for a criticism dependent on the language. It appears to me, however, that interpreters have hindered their apprehension of the general force of the passage in Haggai, by confining themselves to the English translation, valuable as it may generally be. The passage does not apparently contemplate two houses at all, but negatives the idea very carefully. The spirit of the prophecy is contained in this: "According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not." The fact of two houses of course was before them; so it has been before us. God in the exercise of His love obliterates this idea (which we have rekindled), and will allow only of a different state of the same house, and that was one of far greater glory. "Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory?"
Then the Lord says (after the verse above quoted, stating His continuance with them), "Thus saith Jehovah; Yet it is a little while," etc., and He will shake all that whose apparent stability has been against the people of His love, and "I will fill this house with glory: great shall be the glory of this house, the latter than the former": or, simply, "the latter glory of this house [looked at in its unity] shall be greater than the former."
Such seems the idea and the construction of the passage. I find the Septuagint follows it. The thought of God's mind seems to run through this construction, and to be borne upon the plain terms of the passage itself, and to be fully given by it only.
As to the other part of the passage I confess the difficulty. But it is clear to me, that it is much more abstract in intention than is generally supposed. It is not Christ shall become the desire of the Jews, nor merely the gold and silver after which the nations of the world should seek; but that that on which the heart of the Gentiles would be set should be not among them (to wit, the power and the glory), but in those that were broken and despised — God's house now among them, in its power attracting round itself all the honour and glory of the nations whose rebellious stability and consistency had been shaken to pieces.
3 You are aware probably of the view of Parkhurst; and that, if I remember rightly, some manuscripts insert the Cholem.
I am, Sir, yours faithfully, J. N. D.