When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the LORD,
When they — The captives who still continued in Babylon.
The house of God — The temple, which now half built began to be frequented.
Regem-melech — It appears not who these were, but no doubt they were eminent in dignity and piety.
Their men — The train of friends that accompanied them.
To pray — To intreat the Lord for pardon of what was past, acceptance of them at present, and an answer to their enquiry.
 And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?
The prophets — Haggai and Zechariah.
Weep — Fast, in remembrance of the burning of the temple on the tenth day of that month.
Separating myself — From worldly cares and designs.
 Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?
Unto all the people — By their messengers.
And seventh — For the murder of Gedaliah, slain by Ishmael.
Even to me — You pleased yourselves in it, not me; you wept more for the inconveniences of the thing than the sinfulness of it.
 And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?
For yourselves — I was as little minded by you in your fasts, as in your feasts.
 Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?
Hear the words — You needed not have thus enquired, had you heeded the written word.
Prophets — Who have called for repentance, and sincere love to God, and man, and shewed how light, formal services are.
Prosperity — Did such observances preserve Jerusalem in its prosperity? Were they sufficient to save the men that inhabited the south of the plain? Did they do no good when things were all safe and well? And do you imagine they can profit you, now all is in ruins?
 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
Spake — To your fathers.
 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
Imagine evil — Neither think ill of, or with ill to, nor plot evil against one another.
 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.
Pulled away — Withdrew their shoulder from the yoke of the law.
 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
In his spirit — By his holy spirit.
 But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.
They laid the land desolate — By their sins.