2:11–14 This portion of Haggai’s third sermon, emphasizing the extensive defilement of the people and their efforts, builds on an object lesson taken from the Mosaic ceremonial law. The questions directed to the priests show that while ceremonial holiness is not transferable (v. 12), ceremonial defilement is (v. 13). Haggai then applies the lesson of the preceding questions to his hearers (v. 14). They defiled the work of the temple and their offerings because their estrangement from God was deeper than they realized. The mere presence of a rebuilt temple would not render them holy as a people (cf. Jer. 7:3–7); God demands genuine change of heart and life, not mere outward conformity.