Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
They hate the one who reproves in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks the truth. Therefore, because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone,
but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink heir wine.
For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins—you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate. Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time; for it is an evil time. Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said.
But as for me, I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
Penitence and Trust in God
Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I must bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he takes my side and executes judgement for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall see his vindication.
Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
Those who have been saved shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.
He prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.
The Lord is good, a stronghold on a day of trouble; he protects those who take refuge in him,
even in a rushing flood. He will make a full end of his adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness. Why do you plot against the Lord? He will make an end; no adversary will rise up twice.
The Prophet’s Complaint
2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save?
3 Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is at hand; the Lord has prepared a sacrifice,
he has consecrated his guests. And on the day of the Lord’s sacrifice I will punish the officials and the king’s sons and all who dress themselves in foreign attire.
A Rebuke and a Promise
On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai, saying:
Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgements, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.
Corruption of the Priesthood
A son honours his father, and servants their master. If then I am a father, where is the honour due to me? And if I am a master, where is the respect due to me? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. You say, ‘How have we despised your name?’
God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? ‘Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.’ But what is the divine reply to him? ‘I have kept for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.
The Lament over Jerusalem
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’ He said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox for me, “Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed away from Jerusalem.” Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” ’