This message was given by Haggai to Zerubbabel eighteen years after Cyrus issued the decree that sent the Jews back to Jerusalem from their captivity in Babylon. This first flux of Jews returned with much enthusiasm but their enthusiasm was for themselves. They built houses and set things up nicely for themselves, but failed to get around to building a new temple for the Lord. God was displeased with that.
1:3-11 God rebukes them quite strongly. “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little….You earn wages only to put them I a purse with holes in it.” 12-14 the people repented and the Lord send word back to them, “I am with you.” Then he stirred their hearts to get the job done.
Chapter 2: The Lord says to the people that He knows this temple doesn’t look like much compared to the former one (Solomon’s temple, dazzling in its beauty), but he promised “I am going to be with you in this temple.” They were not to fear because the Lord was going to fill this house with his glory. “The glory of the present house will be greater than the glory of the former house. And in this place I will grant peace.”
10-19 I have tried research on these verses. It gets me no place. God does end that section with a promise. “From this day I will bless you.” I understand that; I imagine those Jews did to. The part I don’t understand was also probably something they understood. Perhaps referring to traditions or sayings of that day. What I know is that they changed their ways, built the temple, and that obedience changed God’s punishment to his blessings.
20 to the end – God’s special pleasure toward, and his promise to, Zerubbabel. The promise was that Zerubbabel would be “like God’s signet ring,” meaning he would have authority of God. I do not know how that worked out in Zerubbabel’s future. It would certainly be a mark of honor.
NOTE: This temple was quite plain in its beginnings but it was made over by King Herod and became known as Herod’s temple. The temple was in use in Jesus’s day. Jesus would have gone there for Passover.