Micah (Ch 1-2)

The Prophecy of Micah, the word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of kings, as Jehoram, Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah and Uzziah. He is thought to have prophesied thirty or forty years, which places him in the years 713 to 750 BC; thus contemporary with Isaiah, Hosea and Amos but had started earlier.

Micah 1

1 The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. — in the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah; Micah is thought to have prophesied about sixteen years in Jotham’s time, as many under Ahaz and fourteen under Hezekiah;

— by which it appears that he was contemporary with Isaiah, Hosea and Amos though they began to prophesy somewhat sooner than he even in the days of Uzziah; very probably he conversed with these prophets especially Isaiah with whom he agrees in many things; his style is like his and sometimes uses the same phrases: he, being of the tribe of Judah only mentions the kings of that nation most known to him; though he prophesied against Israel and in the days of Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah and Hoshea; 

— which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem; in the vision of prophecy, Samaria was the metropolis of the ten tribes of Israel and is put for them all, as Jerusalem was of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and is put for them Samaria is mentioned first because it was the head of the greatest body of tribes; and as it was the first in transgression it was the first to face judgement.

Hear, all ye people! Hearken, O earth, and all that is therein! And let the Lord God be a witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple. — hear, all ye people… Or “the people, all of them” all the nations of the world, not just the nations of Israel or only from several tribes of Judah;

— hearken, O earth, and all that therein is; or “its fullness” the land of Israel and Judah and the whole earth and all the inhabitants of it; reinforcing what was said above;

— and let the Lord God be witness against you; or “in you” the Word of the Lord as the Targum says; let him who is the omniscient God, who knows all hearts, thoughts, words and actions, let him bear witness in your consciences that what I am about to say is truth, and comes from him; and if you disregard it and repent not let him be a witness against you and for me that I have prophesied in his name; and warned you of your danger,

— the Lord from his holy temple, from heaven, the habitation of his holiness, whose voice speaking from thence should be hearkened to; who from thence beholds all the actions of men and from whence his wrath is revealed against their sins and he gives visible tokens of his displeasure; and especially when he seems to come forth from thence in some remarkable instances of his power and providence.

For behold, the Lord cometh forth out of His place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. — for, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place… out of heaven, the place of the house of his Shekinah or Majesty as the Targum says; where his throne is prepared, where he keeps his court and displays his glory; from whence he removes not by local motion since he is everywhere but by some manifest exertion of his power, either on the behalf of his people or in taking vengeance on his and their enemies;

— and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth; which are his footstool; Samaria and Jerusalem, built on mountains and all other high towers and fortified places together with men of high looks and haughty countenances who exalt themselves like mountains and swell with pride: these the Lord can easily subdue and humble, bring low and tread down like the mire of the street; perhaps there may be an allusion to the high places where idols were worshipped; and which were the cause of the Lord’s wrath and vengeance and of his coming forth in this unusual way in his providences.

And the mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as waters that are poured down a steep place. — and the mountains shall be molten under Him, dissolving before His almighty power, and the valleys shall be cleft, cleaving asunder before His majesty as wax before the fire and as the waters that are poured down a steep place, tearing down the abysses and causing a general dissolution of the entire surface of the earth.

For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? And what are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem? — for the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel… all this evil, all these calamities and judgements, signified by the above metaphorical phrases; these did not come by chance nor without reason; but were or would be inflicted according to the judgement of God, upon the people of Israel and Judah for their manifold sins and transgressions especially their lies and idolatries;

— is it not Samaria? the wickedness of Samaria, the calf of Samaria? as in Hosea 7:1; that is, the worship of the calf of Samaria; is not that idolatry the transgression of Jacob or which the ten tribes have given into? Or the altering of the Sacred Calendar? where they shifted the feast days a month later? that is; are these not enough reasons for all this wrath to come upon them: or “who is the transgression of Jacob?” who is the spring and source of it; the cause, author and encourager of it? are they not the kings that have reigned in Samaria from the times of Omri with their nobles, princes and great men, who, by their edicts influence and example have encouraged the worship of the golden calves? they are the original root and motive of it and to them it must be ascribed; they caused the people to sin: or as the Targum says “where have they of the house of Jacob sinned? is it not in Samaria?” verily it is and from thence, the metropolis of the nation, the sin has spread itself all over it:

— and what are the high places of Judah? or “who are they?” who have been the makers; who have set them up and encouraged these idolatrous worship? are they not Jerusalem? are they not the king, the princes and priests that dwell at Jerusalem? certainly they are; such as Ahaz and others in whose times this prophet lived; see II Kings 16:4; or as the Targum says, “where did they of the house of Judah commit sin? was it not in Jerusalem?” truly it was and even in the temple; here Ahaz built an altar like that at Damascus and sacrificed on it and spoiled the templev and several of the vessels in it, II Kings 16:10.

“Therefore I will make Samaria as a heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard; and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will uncover the foundations thereof. — therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, as ruins that fall into dust and finally become a part of the soil and as plantings of a vineyard, that is, places where vineyards may be planted; 

— and I will pour down the stones thereof, those which King Omri had used in building the city, into the valley, and I will discover, lay bare, the foundations thereof, destroying it to the very ground.

And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate; for she gathered it from the hire of a harlot, and they shall return to the hire of a harlot.” — and all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces and all the hires thereof, namely, those of spiritual harlotry, the consecrated offerings placed on the idol altars, shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate, making them a wilderness; 

— for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, by her spiritual adultery, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot, for the rich treasures were taken away by the enemies and devoted to their own idols. The vanity of false worship also in this respect seems rarely to strike the consciousness of idolaters.

Therefore I will wail and howl; I will go stripped and naked; I will make a wailing like the dragons and mourning as the owls. — therefore, on account of the calamity which would strike Samaria and Judah, I, Micah, will wail and howl, in a most bitter and mournful cry, I will rent my garments, will go stripped and naked as Isaiah did, Isaiah 20:3; he went about like a madman, one disturbed in his mind, bereft of his senses because of the desolation coming upon Israel; so the Targum says, “for this they shall wail and howl, and go naked among the spoilers;”

— I will make a wailing like the dragons like the jackals of the desert, and mourning as the owls like ostriches crying in pain.

For her wound is incurable; for it has come unto Judah; he has come unto the gate of My people, even to Jerusalem. — for her wound is incurable… Or her “stroke is desperate” the ruin of Samaria and the ten tribes are inevitable; the decree being gone forth and they hardened in their sins and continuing in their impenitence; and their destructions are irrevocable; till the time comes that all Israel shall be saved; “she is grievously sick of her wounds” just ready to die upon the brink of ruin and no hope of saving her; this is the cause and reason of the above lamentation of the prophet, and increased his grief and sorrow;

— for it is come unto Judah; the calamity has reached the land of Judah; it stopped not with Israel or the ten tribes but spread itself into the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin; for the Assyrian army, having taken Samaria and carried Israel captive in a short time, about seven or eight years, invaded Judea and took the fenced cities of Judah in Hezekiah’s time in which Micah prophesied;

— he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem; Sennacherib, king of Assyria, having taken the fenced cities came up to the very gates of Jerusalem and besieged it where the courts of judicature were kept and the people resorted to, to have justice done them; and Micah, being of the tribe of Judah calls them his people and was the more affected with their distress.

10 Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all; in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust. — declare ye it not in Gath, one of the chief cities of the Philistines, weep ye not at all lest the message cause these enemies to rejoice; in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust, literally “in Beth-leaphra I wallow in the dust,” for such scattering of dust was a sign of deep grief. Throughout this paragraph the prophet in the Hebrew uses puns, for Gath means “announcement” and Ophra “dust-house.”

11 Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Shaphir, having thy shame naked. The inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive from you his standing.

12 For the inhabitant of Maroth waited anxiously for good, but evil came down from the Lord unto the gate of Jerusalem. — for the inhabitants of Maroth (bitterness). waited carefully for good, being anxiously and bitterly concerned about it, writhing in grief and pain on account of her lost prosperity; but evil came down from the Lord unto the gate of Jerusalem. But while all these towns were in the neighborhood of Jerusalem the prophet next shows that the punishment would not be confined to the immediate neighborhood of the capital.

13 O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast (she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion), for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee. — O thou inhabitant of Lachish, a fortified city in the plain toward the southwest, bind the chariot to the swift beast, to the fastest horses, namely, to escape the impending punishment; she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion, for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee, she was the first city of Judah to introduce the idol-worship of the northern kingdom.

14 Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath; the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel. — therefore shalt thou give presents to Moresheth-gath (the betrothed of Gath), the daughter of Zion being obliged to dismiss or release this city to the enemy, like the gift of a marriage portion; 

— the houses of Achzib (deception). shall be a lie to the kings of Israel, a deceitful brook which offers no refreshment to the thirsty wanderer; just so the city would slip from the grasp of the kings of Judah (the southern kingdom being meant in this instance) so that it would no longer be in their possession.

15 Yet I will bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam, the glory of Israel. — yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah (town of inheritance), for Israel had been the heir obtaining it from the Canaanites and the enemy would now be the heir receiving it from the people of Judah; 

— he shall come unto Adullam, the glory of Israel, rather “even unto Adullam will the nobility of Israel come,” to hide themselves in the cave in which David once sought refuge from Saul 1 Samuel 22:1.

16 Make thyself bald, and shear thy beard because of thy pleasant children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle, for they are gone into captivity from thee. — make thee bald, Zion as the mother of the nation being addressed, and poll thee, shearing her head, for thy delicate children in deep grief and sorrowful lamentation; 

— enlarge thy baldness as the eagle, the griffin vulture of the Orient, the entire forepart of whose head is without feathers; for they are gone into captivity from thee. The entire chapter is a powerful and vivid description of the overthrow of the land by the armies of the invaders, which would be sent to punish the transgression of Judah.

Micah 2

1 Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! When the morning is light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand. — woe to them that devise iniquity… which were premeditated and done deliberately; any kind of iniquity, idolatry or worshipping of idols for the word is used sometimes for an idol, or the sin of uncleanness on which the thoughts too often dwell in the night; or coveting of neighbours’ goods and oppressing the poor, sins which are instanced in Micah 2:2; and every thing that is vain, foolish, wicked and in the issue brings trouble and distress: now a woe is denounced against such that think on such things and please themselves with them in their imaginations and contrive ways and means to commit them;

— and work evil upon their beds; when the senses being less engaged the thoughts are more free; but should not be employed about evil, but either in meditating on the divine goodness and praising the Lord for his mercies; or in examining a man’s heart, state, case and mourning over his sins and applying to God for the remission of them; but, instead of this the persons here threatened are said to “work evil on their beds” when they should be asleep and at rest or engaged in the above things; that is, they plot and contrive how to accomplish the evil they meditate; they determine upon doing it and are as sure of effecting it as if it was actually done; and do act it over in their own minds as if it was real; Psalms 36:4;

— when the morning is light, they practise it; they wish and wait for the morning light and as soon as it appears they rise and instead of blessing God for the mercies of the night and going about their lawful business they endeavour to put in practice with all rigour and diligence and as expeditiously as they can, what they have projected and schemed in the night season;

They covet fields and take them by violence, and houses, and take them away. So they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. — and they covet fields and take them by violence… the fields of their poor neighbours which lie near them and convenient for them; they wish they were theirs and they contrive ways and means to get them into their possession; and if they cannot get them by fair means, if they cannot persuade them to sell them or at their price they will either use some crafty method to get them from them or they will take them away by force and violence; as Ahab got Naboth’s vineyard from him;

— and houses and take them away; they covet the houses of their neighbours also and take the same course to get them out of their hands and add them to their own estates;

— so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage; not only dispossess him of his house to dwell in but of his paternal inheritance, what he received from his ancestors and should have transmitted to his posterity being unalienable; and so distressed a man and his family for the present and his posterity after him; which seems to be designed to make it agree with the story of Ahab, 1 Kings 21:13.

Therefore thus saith the Lord: “Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks, neither shall ye go haughtily; for this time is evil. — therefore thus saith the Lord, behold, against this family do I devise an evil… because of those evils of covetousness, oppression and injustice, secretly devised and deliberately committed; the Lord who neither slumbers nor sleeps, declares and would have it observed that he had devised an evil of punishment against the whole nation of Israel, the ten tribes particularly, among whom these sins greatly prevailed; even an invasion of their land by the Assyrians and the carrying of them captive from it into foreign regions;

— from which ye shall not remove your necks; that is, they should not be able to deliver themselves from it; they would not be able to stop the enemy in his progress, having entered their land; nor oblige him to break up the siege of their city before which he would sit and there continue till he had taken it; and being carried captive by him they would never be able to free themselves from the yoke of bondage put upon them and under which they remain unto this day. The allusion is to beasts slipping their necks out of the collar or yoke put upon them: these sons of Belial had broke off the yoke of God’s commandments and now he will put another yoke upon them; they shall never be able to cast off until the time of the restitution of all things when all Israel shall be saved;

— neither shall ye go haughtily; as they now did in an erect posture with necks stretched out and heads lifted up high and looking upon others with scorn and contempt; but hereafter it should be otherwise, their heads would hang down, their countenances be dejected and their backs bowed with the burdens upon them: for this time is evil; very calamitous, afflictive and distressing; and so not a time for pride and haughtiness but for dejection and humiliation.

In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation and say, ‘We are utterly despoiled; He hath changed the portion of my people. How hath He removed it from me! Turning away, He hath divided our fields.’” — in that day shall one take up a parable against you… making use of your name as a byword, a proverb, a taunt and a jeer; mocking at your calamities and miseries: or “concerning you” take up and deliver out a narrative of your troubles in figurative and parabolical expressions;

— and lament with a doleful lamentation for the mocking song of the enemies would be a mournful dirge in the mouths of the children of Israel and say, “We will be utterly spoiled” losing everything we have; or We be utterly spoiled, completely destroyed! He hath changed the portion of my people, Yehovah Himself permitting one of the nations, an enemy from the South, to take possession of it; (for a more comprehensive and a parallel Ezekiel 20-21 scene is added at the end)

— how hath He removed it from me! so that it was no longer in Israel’s possession. Turning away, He hath divided our fields, dealing out the portions to the invaders.

Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the Lord. — therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the Lord, to cast a measuring-line on a lot of ground in the assembly of Yehovah, for the possessions of the children of Israel belonged to them only as long as they remained faithful to the God of the covenant and would be taken away when they became unfaithful.

“Prophesy ye not,” say they to them that prophesy: “They shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not suffer shame.” — prophesy not, say they to them that prophesy, literally, “Drop not,” or “drivel (senseless talk or writing; nonsense) not, they drivel,” almost like the American slang (balderdash), “Dry up! they drivel,” in speaking to the true prophets in a silly fashion. They shall not prophesy to them that they shall not take shame, that is: If the prophecy which the apostate Jews regarded as drivel would not continue then there would be no chance for them to escape the shame which would come upon the entire nation by the conquest of the enemies. The unbelievers to this day refuse to realize that the very preaching which they consider drivel and rot is the one means of saving them from the impending Judgement.

Oh thou that art named the house of Jacob: Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? Are these His doings? Do not My words do good to him that walketh uprightly? — O thou that art named the house of Jacob; but dost not act suitably to the piety of thy father Jacob and therefore though thou art in name, yet not in truth the genuine seed of Jacob;

— is the Spirit of the Lord straitened. Is God’s hand shortened? are his power, wisdom and kindness less now than formerly? are these his doings; are these severe proceedings the doings your God delights in? are the judgements he brings upon you the genuine effects of his power and goodness? and not rather such acts as your sins do in a manner constrain him to exercise? Thus punishments are called his strange work, Isaiah 28:21;

— do not my words do good to him, that walketh uprightly? Certainly, both God’s laws and the words delivered by his prophets would do you great and lasting good if you would obey them.

“Even of late My people have risen up as an enemy; ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by trustingly as men returning from war. — even of late, in fact, yesterday, My people is risen up as an enemy, taking an open stand against Yehovah; and this hostility is openly shown;

— ye pull off the robe with the garment, stripping off the mantle or upper garment from them that pass by securely, considering themselves safe from robbery and violence, as men averse from war, that is, from peaceable people, such as seek no quarrel with any one.

The women of My people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away My glory for ever. — the women of My people, the unprotected widows have ye cast out from their pleasant houses, the houses of their delight to which they were attached by the memory of their wedded love; 

— from their children have ye taken away My glory, the ornament or gift which He has given them forever, namely, by depriving them of their dress and of their rightful property. Cf Exodus 22:25.

10 Arise ye and depart, for this is not your rest; because it is polluted it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction. — arise ye and depart! into the exile which the enemies would force upon them; for this is not your rest, they would not be permitted to remain in Canaan; because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction, or “on account of the corruption which brings a most powerful destruction.” Such prophecies, setting forth the depth of the nation’s corruption are of course very unwelcome to the wicked leaders.

11 If a man walking in the spirit of falsehood lieth, saying, ‘I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink,’ he shall even be the prophet of this people! — if a man walking in the spirit and falsehood, in vanity and falsehood, namely, in preaching his own ideas, do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink, that is, of the enjoyment of this present life, 

— he shall even be the prophet of this people, possessing “itching ears” referring to: tell me what we want to hear, even if there are little lies, sweet little lies, that they will all go to a place of safety, they would meet with the approval of their leaders for a time of final training, and those who desired a cover for their lives of luxury and dissipation (kill the righteous and the wicked – more at the end).

12 “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold; and they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men. — I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee all those whom He intended as members of His congregation; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel, collecting the believers from all the nations of the earth;

— I will put them together in one fold, John 10:16, as the sheep of Bozrah, the rich meadowland east of Jordan as the flock in the midst of the fold, secure from the attack of the enemies. They shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men, surging with their great numbers.

13 The Breaker has come up before them; they have broken forth and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it; and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord at the head of them.” — the breaker is come up before them, rather “There will go up before them He that breaketh through,” their powerful Champion; they have broken up, rather “they break up,”

— and have passed through the gate, passing into the gate of the Lord’s kingdom, and are gone out by it, having free access to the throne of mercy; and their King, the Messiah Himself, shall pass before them and the Lord on the head of them, leading them through all the vicissitudes of this life to the promised life of eternity. While men are clamoring for a kingdom which will suit their fleshly lusts and desires, all true shepherds will continue to proclaim sin and repentance.

~~~

More about an enemy – to kill the righteous and the wicked – from South to North

Ezekiel 20:45 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

46 “Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the southland.

47 And say to the forest of the south: ‘Hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee and every dry tree. The flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.

48 And all flesh shall see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.’”

49 Then said I, “Ah, Lord God! They say of me, ‘Doth he not speak parables?’”

Ezekiel 21:1 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

2 “Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel;

3 and say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus saith the Lord: Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth My sword out of his sheath and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.

4 Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall My sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north,

5 that all flesh may know that I, the Lord, have drawn forth My sword out of his sheath. It shall not return any more.

Q: how would such scenarios be played out?

~ by Joel Huan on December 8, 2021.

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