Haggai 1:6 (NLT):

You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!

Compared with Good News Translation:

You have planted much grain, but have harvested very little. You have food to eat, but not enough to make you full. You have wine to drink, but not enough to get drunk on! You have clothing, but not enough to keep you warm. And workers cannot earn enough to live on.

Which translation of the second sentence is more accurate? The GNT's version is a little more negative; since drunkenness is a sin - if this version is more accurate what does it denote?


2 Answers 2


The Masoretic Text(from the Hebrew Bible) says,(Hag. 1:6)

You have sown much and you bring in little. You eat without being satiated. You drink without getting your fill. You dress, and it has no warmth. And he who profits, profits into a bundle with holes

Interestingly, Rashi's Commentary says:

and you bring in little: because of the iniquity of the cessation of [the offerings of] the first fruits. You eat without being satiated: because of the iniquity of the cessation of the meal-offerings. You drink without getting your fill: for the taste of wine was taken away because the libations ceased. You dress, and it has no warmth: because of the iniquity of the cessation of wearing the priestly garments.
And he who profits, profits into a bundle with holes: Any profit that you make becomes less and less, like one who puts his money into a cloth bundle with holes.

Both the NLT and GNT are attempts at making the bible more 'readable" to a modern audience, but suffer from departing from the original intent of the language.

The issue is not "thirsty vs drunk", the issue is when God's blessings are removed, what is the outcome?

Rashi's Commentary directly correlates their 'lack' with what God 'lacks' by the Temple not being built. Because the first fruit offerings, the drink offerings, the lack of priests to minister the offerings; the consequences are they are experiencing their own lack. Consequently, the prophets message is to "consider their ways"(vs 7) and bring in the wood to build the house, of which God promises "He will accept"(vs 8), which once they restore to God what is God's, He would consequently restore to them what is theirs.

As a side note, it was never 'acceptable" to become drunk; there are numerous admonitions in Proverbs, as well as throughout the bible. However, if one does not honor God in all things, as Ps. 69:22 says,

Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.

The blessing of God is to eat and drink of the sustenance He provides, but apart from Him gluttony and drunkenness are an outcome.

  • AFAICT the phrase trans from the Masoretic "have your fill" is mostly used in connection with (over?)indulgence with alcohol, and arguably is almost certainly the implication here. While I substantially agree with your exegesis, I think concluding that alcohol is not referenced is disingenuous. My 'modern' paraphrase that communicates this (while being deficient in myriad other ways) would be more along the lines of "you have booze, but barely enough to get buzzed". Oct 1, 2020 at 20:09

As a matter of fact שָׁכְרָה actually does mean “to become drunk”. It is a very common and unambiguous root in Hebrew, with cognates all across Semitic. See for example here: http://biblehub.com/hebrew/7937.htm

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