From The Work of God's Children
THE PROPHECY OF MICAH
Micah, of Morasti, a little town in the tribe of JUDA, was contemporary with the prophet ISAIAH: whom he resembles both in his spirit and his style. He is different from the prophet MICHEAS mentioned in the third book of Kings, chap. 22. For that MICHEAS lived in the days of king ACHAB, one hundred and fifty years before the time of EZECHIAS, under whom this Micah prophesied.
Micah Chapter 1
Samaria for her sins shall be destroyed by the Assyrians; they shall also invade Judah and Jerusalem.
1:1. The word of the Lord, that came to Micah, the Morasthite, in the days of Joathan, Achaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah: which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
1:2. Hear, all you people, and let the earth give ear, and all that is therein, and let the Lord God be a witness to you, the Lord from his holy temple.
1:3. For behold the Lord will come forth out of his place: and he will come down, and will tread upon the high places of the earth.
1:4. And the mountains shall be melted under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as waters that run down a steep place.
1:5. For the wickedness of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the wickedness of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem?
1:6. And I will make Samaria as a heap of stones in the field when a vineyard is planted, and I will bring down the stones thereof into the valley, and will lay her foundations bare.
1:7. And all her graven things shall be cut in pieces, and all her wages shall be burnt with fire, and I will bring to destruction all her idols, for they were gathered together of the hire of a harlot, and unto the hire of a harlot they shall return.
Her wages. . .That is, her donaries or presents offered to her idols: or the hire of all her traffic and labor.--Ibid. Of the hire of a sinful woman, etc. . .They were gathered together by one idolatrous city, viz., Samaria: and they shall be carried away to another idolatrous city, viz., Nineveh.
1:8. Therefore will I lament and howl; I will have my shame exposed: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and a mourning like the ostriches.
1:9. Because her wound is desperate, because it has come even to Judah, it has touched the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.
It has touched the gate, etc. . .That is, the destruction of Samaria shall be followed by the invasion of my people of Judah, and the Assyrians shall come and lay all waste even to the confines of Jerusalem.
1:10. Do not declare it in Geth, do not weep with tears: in the house of Dust sprinkle yourselves with dust.
Do not declare it in Geth. . .Viz., amongst the Philistines, lest they rejoice at your calamity.--Ibid. Do not weep, etc. . .Keep in your tears, that you may not give your enemies an occasion of insulting over you; but in your own houses, or in your house of dust, your earthly habitation, sprinkle yourselves with dust, and put on the habit of penitents. Some take the house of dust (in Hebrew, Aphrah) to be the proper name of a city.
1:11. And pass away, O you that dwell in the beautiful place, covered with your shame: she that dwells in the confines did not go forth; the house adjoining shall receive mourning from you, which stood by herself.
You that dwell in the Beautiful place, viz., in Samaria. In the Hebrew the Beautiful place is expressed by the word Sapir, which some take for the proper name of a city.--Ibid. She that dwells, etc. . .that is, they that dwelt in the confines came not forth, but kept themselves within, for fear.--Ibid. The house adjoining, etc. . .Viz., Judea and Jerusalem, neighbors to Samaria, and partners in her sins, shall share also in her mourning and calamity; though they have pretended to stand by themselves, trusting in their strength.
1:12. For she that dwells in bitterness has become weak unto good, for evil has come down from the Lord into the gate of Jerusalem.
She that dwells, etc. . .Jerusalem has become weak unto any good; because she dwells in the bitterness of sin.
1:13. A tumult of chariots has astonished the inhabitants of Lachis; it is the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion for in thee were found the crimes of Israel.
It is the beginning, etc. . .That is, Lachis was the first city of Judah that learned from Samaria the worship of idols, and communicated it to Jerusalem.
1:14. Therefore shall she send messengers to the inheritance of Geth: the houses of lying to deceive the kings of Israel.
Therefore shall she send, etc. . .Lachis shall send to Geth for help: but in vain: for Geth, instead of helping, shall be found to be a house of lying and deceit to Israel.
1:15. Yet I will bring an heir to you that dwell in Maresa: even to Odollam shall the glory of Israel come.
An heir, etc. . .Maresa (which was the name of a city of Juda) signifies inheritance: but here God by his prophet tells the Jews, that he will bring them an heir to take possession of their inheritance: and that the glory of Israel shall be obliged to give place, and to retire even to Odollam, a city in the extremity of their dominions. And therefore he exhorts them to penance in the following verse.
1:16. Make you bald, and be polled for your delicate children; enlarge your baldness as the eagle, for they are carried into captivity from you.
Micah Chapter 2
The Israelites by their crying injustices provoke God to punish them. He shall at last restore Jacob.
2:1. Woe to you that devise that which is unprofitable, and work evil in your beds; in the morning light they execute it, because their hand is against God.
2:2. And they have coveted fields, and taken them by violence, and houses they have forcibly taken away, and oppressed a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.
2:3. Therefore thus says the Lord: Behold I devise an evil against this family, from which you shall not withdraw your necks, and you shall not walk haughtily, for this is a very evil time.
2:4. In that day a parable shall be taken up upon you, and a song shall be sung with melody by them that say: "We are laid waste and spoiled; the portion of my people is changed; how shall he depart from me, whereas he that will divide our land is returning?"
How shall he depart, etc. . .How do you pretend to say that the Assyrian is departing; when indeed he is coming to divide our lands among his subjects?
2:5. Therefore you shall have none that shall cast the cord of a lot in the assembly of the Lord.
You shall have none, etc. . .You shall no longer have any lot or inheritance in the land of the people of the Lord.
2:6. Do not speak, saying: It shall not drop upon these, confusion shall not take them.
It shall not drop, etc. . .That is, the prophecy shall not come upon these. Such were the sentiments of the people that were unwilling to believe the threats of the prophets.
2:7. The house of Jacob says: Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened or are these His thoughts? Are not my words good to him that walks uprightly?
2:8. But my people, on the contrary, are risen up as an enemy: you have taken away the cloak off from the coat: and them that passed harmless you have turned to war.
You have taken away, etc. . .You have even stripped people of their necessary garments: and have treated such as were innocently passing on the way, as if they were at war with you.
2:9. You have cast out the women of my people from their houses, in which they took delight: you have taken my praise forever from their children.
You have cast out, etc. . .either by depriving them of their houses: or, by your crimes, given occasion to their being carried away captives, and their children, by that means, never learning to praise the Lord.
2:10. Arise and depart, for there is no rest here for you. For that uncleanness of the land, it shall be corrupted with a grievous corruption.
2:11. Would God I were not a man that had the spirit, and that I rather spoke a lie: I will let drop to you of wine, and of drunkenness: and it shall be this people upon whom it shall drop.
Would God, etc. . .The prophet could have wished, out of his love to his people, that he might be deceived in denouncing to them these evils that were to fall upon them: but by conforming himself to the will of God, he declares to them, that he is sent to prophesy, literally to let drop upon them, the wine of God's indignation, with which they should be made drunk; that is, stupified and cast down.
2:12. I will assemble and gather together all of you, O Jacob: I will bring together the remnant of Israel, I will put them together as a flock in the fold, as sheep in the midst of the sheepcotes, they shall make a tumult by reason of the multitude of men.
2:13. For he shall go up that shall open the way before them; they shall divide and pass through the gate, and shall come in by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord at the head of them.
Micah Chapter 3
For the sins of the rich oppressing the poor, of false prophets flattering for lucre, and of judges perverting justice, Jerusalem and the temple shall be destroyed.
3:1. And I said, Hear, O you princes of Jacob, and you chiefs of the house of Israel: Is it not your part to know judgment,
3:2. You that hate good, and love evil: that violently pluck off their skins from them and their flesh from their bones?
3:3. Who have eaten the flesh of my people, and have flayed their skin off them: and have broken, and chopped their bones as for the kettle, and as flesh in the midst of the pot.
3:4. Then shall they cry to the Lord, and he will not hear them: and he will hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved wickedly in their devices.
3:5. Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err: that bite with their teeth, and preach peace: and if a man give not something into their mouth, they prepare war against him.
3:6. Therefore night shall be to you instead of vision, and darkness to you instead of divination: and the sun shall go down upon the prophets, and the day shall be darkened over them.
3:7. And they shall be confounded that see visions, and the diviners shall be confounded: and they shall all cover their faces, because there is no answer of God.
3:8. But yet I am filled with the strength of the spirit of the Lord, with judgment and power: to declare unto Jacob his wickedness and to Israel his sin.
3:9. Hear this, you princes of the house of Jacob, and you judges of the house of Israel: you that abhor judgment and pervert all that is right.
3:10. You that build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
3:11. Her princes have judged for bribes: and her priests have taught for hire, and her prophets divined for money: and they leaned upon the Lord, saying, "Is the Lord not in the midst of us? no evil shall come among us."
3:12. Therefore because of you, Zion shall be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall be as a heap of stones, and the mountain of the temple as the high places of the forests.
Micah Chapter 4
The glory of the church of Christ, by the conversion of the Gentiles. The Jews shall be carried captives to Babylon, and be delivered again.
4:1. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared in the top of the mountains, and high above the hills: and people shall flow to it.
4:2. And many nations shall come in haste, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob: and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth out of Zion, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem."
4:3. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into spades: nation shall not take sword against nation: neither shall they learn war anymore.
Neither shall they learn, etc. . .The law of Christ is a law of peace; and all his true subjects, as much as lies in them love and keep peace with all the world.
4:4. And every man shall sit under his vine, and under his fig tree, and there shall be none to make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken.
4:5. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god: but we will walk in the name of the Lord, our God, forever and ever.
4:6. In that day, saith the Lord, I will gather up her that halteth: and her that I had cast out, I will gather up: and her whom I had afflicted.
4:7. And I will make her that halted, a remnant: and her that had been afflicted, a mighty nation: and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion, from this time now and forever.
4:8. And you, O cloudy tower of the flock, of the daughter of Zion, unto you shall it come: yes the first power shall come, the kingdom to the daughter of Jerusalem.
4:9. Now, why art thou drawn together with grief? Hast thou no king in thee, or is thy counselor perished, because sorrow hath taken thee as a woman in labor.
4:10. Be in pain and labor, O daughter of Sion, as a woman that bringeth forth: for now shalt thou go out of the city, and shalt dwell in the country, and shalt come even to Babylon, there thou shalt be delivered: there the Lord will redeem thee out of the hand of thy enemies.
4:11. And now many nations are gathered together against thee, and they say: Let her be stoned: and let our eye look upon Sion.
4:12. But they have not known the thoughts of the Lord, and have not understood his counsel: because he hath gathered them together as the hay of the floor.
4:13. Arise, and tread, O daughter of Sion: for I will make thy horn iron, and thy hoofs I will make brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many peoples, and shalt immolate the spoils of them to the Lord, and their strength to the Lord of the whole earth.
Micah Chapter 5
The birth of Christ in Bethlehem: his reign and spiritual conquests.
5:1. Now you shall be laid waste, O daughter of the robber; they have laid siege against us, with a rod they shall strike the cheek of the judge of Israel.
Daughter of the robber. . .Some understand this of Babylon; which robbed and pillaged the temple of God: others understand it of Jerusalem; by reason of the many oppressions committed there.
5:2. And you Bethlehem Ephrata, are a little one among the thousands of Judah, out of you shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity.
His going forth, etc. . .That is, he who as man shall be born in you, as God was born of his Father from all eternity.
5:3. Therefore will he give them up even till the time wherein she that travails shall bring forth: and the remnant of his brethren shall be converted to the children of Israel.
5:4. And he shall stand, and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the height of the name of the Lord, his God: and they shall be converted, for now shall he be magnified even to the ends of the earth.
5:5. And this man shall be our peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land, and when he shall set his foot in our houses: and we shall raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
5:6. And they shall feed the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod with the spears thereof: and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our borders.
5:7. And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples, as a dew from the Lord, and as drops upon the grass, which does not wait for man, nor tarries for the children of men.
5:8. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, in the midst of many peoples, as a lion among the beasts of the forests, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, when he shall go through, and tread down, and take there is none to deliver.
5:9. Your hand shall be lifted up over your enemies, and all your enemies shall be cut off.
5:10. And it shall come to pass in that day, says the Lord, that I will take away your horses out of the midst of you, and will destroy your chariots.
5:11. And I will destroy the cities of your land, and will throw down all your strongholds, and I will take away the sorceries out of your hand, and there shall be no divinations in you.
5:12. And I will destroy your graven things, and your statues, out of the midst of you: and you shall adore the works of your hands no more.
5:13. And I will pluck up your groves out of the midst of you, and will crush your cities.
5:14. And I will execute vengeance in wrath, and in indignation, among all the nations that have not given ear.
Micah Chapter 6
God expostulates with the Jews for their ingratitude and sins, for which they shall be punished.
6:1. Listen to what the Lord says, "Arise, contend in judgment against the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice."
The mountains, etc. . .That is, the great ones, the princes of the people.
6:2. Let the mountains hear the judgment of the Lord, and the strong foundations of the earth: for the Lord will enter into judgment with his people, and he will plead against Israel.
6:3. O my people, what have I done to you, or in what have I molested you? Answer me.
6:4. For I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and delivered you out of the house of slaves: and I sent before your face Moses, and Aaron, and Miriam.
6:5. O my people, remember, I beseech you, what Balak, the king of Moab, purposed: and what Balaam, the son of Beor, answered him, from Setim to Galgal, that you might know the justice of the Lord.
From Setim to Galgal. . .He puts them in mind of the favor he did them, in not suffering them to be quite destroyed by the evil purpose of Balach, and the wicked counsel of Balaam: and then gives them a hint of the wonders he wrought, in order to bring them into the land of Promise, by stopping the course of the Jordan, in their march from Setim to Galgal.
6:6. What shall I offer to the Lord that is worthy? With what shall I kneel before the high God? Shall I offer holocausts to Him, and year old calves?
What shall I offer, etc. . .This is spoken in the person of the people, desiring to be informed what they are to do to please God.
6:7. May the Lord be appeased with thousands of rams, or with many thousands of fat he goats? Shall I give my firstborn for my wickedness, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
6:8. I will show you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Verily to do judgment, and to love mercy, and to walk solicitous with your God.
6:9. The voice of the Lord cries to the city, and salvation shall be to those who fear Your name: listen O you tribes, and who shall approve it?
6:10. As yet there is a fire in the house of the wicked, the treasures of iniquity, and a scant measure full of wrath.
Full of wrath, etc. . .That is, highly provoking in the sight of God.
6:11. Shall I justify wicked balances, and the deceitful weights of the bag?
6:12. By which her rich men were filled with iniquity, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue was deceitful in their mouth.
6:13. And I therefore began to strike you with desolation for your sins.
6:14. You shall eat, but shall not be filled: and your humiliation shall be in the midst of you: and you shall take hold, but shall not save: and those whom you shall save, I will give up to the sword.
6:15. You shall sow, but shall not reap: you shall tread the olives, but shall not be anointed with oil: and the new wine, but shall not drink the wine.
6:16. For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab: and you have walked according their wills, that I should make you a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof a hissing, and you shall bear the reproach of my people.
The statutes of Omri, etc. . .The wicked ways of Omri and Ahab, idolatrous kings.
Micah Chapter 7
The prophet laments, that notwithstanding all his preaching, the generality are still corrupt in their manners: therefore their desolation is at hand: but they shall be restored again and prosper; and all mankind shall be redeemed by Christ.
7:1. Woe is me, for I have become as one that gleans the grapes of the vintage in autumn; there is no cluster to eat, my soul desired the first ripe figs.
7:2. The holy man has perished out of the earth, and there is none upright among men; they all lie in wait for blood, every one hunts his brother to death.
7:3. The evil of their hands they call good; the prince requires, and the judge is for giving: and the great man has uttered the desire of his soul, and they have troubled it.
7:4. He that is best among them, is as a brier, and he that is righteous, as the thorn of the hedge. The day of your inspection, your visitation comes; now shall be their destruction.
7:5. Do not believe a friend, and do not trust in a prince; keep the doors of your mouth from her that sleeps in your bosom.
7:6. For the son dishonors the father, and the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law: and a man's enemies are those of his own household.
7:7. But I will look towards the Lord, I will wait for God, my savior; my God will hear me.
7:8. Do not rejoice over me because I am fallen, my enemy; I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord is my light.
7:9. I will bear the wrath of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him: until He judges my cause, and executes judgement for me; He will bring me forth into the light, and I shall behold His justice.
7:10. And my enemy shall behold, and she shall be covered with shame, who says to me: "Where is the Lord your God?" My eyes shall look down upon her; now shall she be trodden under foot as the mire of the streets.
She shall be covered, etc. . .Viz., Babylon my enemy.
7:11. The day shall come, that your walls may be built up: in that day shall the law be far removed.
The law. . .Viz., of your enemies, who have tyrannized over you.
7:12. In that day they shall come even from Assyria to you, and to the fortified cities: and from the fortified cities even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain.
7:13. And the land shall be made desolate because of the inhabitants thereof, and for the fruit of their devices.
The land, etc. . .Viz., of Babylon.
7:14. Feed your people with your rod, the flock of your inheritance, those who dwell alone in the forest, in the midst of Carmel: they shall feed in Basan and Galaad, according to the days of old.
7:15. According to the days of your coming out of the land of Egypt, I will show him wonders.
7:16. The nations shall see, and shall be confounded at all their strength; they shall put the hand upon the mouth, their ears shall be deaf.
7:17. They shall lick the dust like serpents, as the creeping things of the earth, they shall be disturbed in their houses; they shall dread the Lord, our God, and shall fear you.
7:18. Who is a God like to You, who takes away iniquity, and passes by the sin of the remnant of Your inheritance? He will send His fury in no more, because He delights in mercy.
7:19. He will turn again, and have mercy on us; He will put away our iniquities, and He will cast all our sins into the bottom of the sea.
7:20. You will perform the truth to Jacob, the mercy to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.
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