THE PROPHECY OF MICHEAS.
Micheas, of Morasti, a little town in the tribe of Juda, was cotemporary with the prophet Isaias, whom he resembles both in his spirit and his style. He is different from the prophet Micheas, mentioned in the Third Book of Kings, (C. xxii.) for that Micheas lived in the days of king Achab, one hundred and fifty years before the time of Ezechias, under whom this Micheas prophesied, (Ch.) as he did in the two preceding reigns. H.
--- He addresses both Israel and Juda, and predicts the happiness of the Jews after the captivity, as a figure of what the church should enjoy. C.
--- The Jews shall embrace the faith at last, after the Gentiles. W.
--- We have only a small part of the predictions of Micheas, though he may have written no more. His style is obscure, like that of Osee. C.
--- His name signifies "humility," or "who is like." S. Jer.
Ver. 1. Morasthite, "of Maresa," (Chal. C. i. 14. C.) a village near Eleutheropolis. S. Jer.
--- Kings. They reigned about sixty years. C.
Ver. 2. Witness. Deut. xxxii. Is. i. and vi. The prophet discharges his duty, and will not be blameable, if people die in their sins. Jer. iii. 18. W.
--- This sublime address shews the importance of the subject, and how deep an impression the sins of Israel had made in his breast.
Ver. 3. Earth, to subdue the rebels. Amos iv. 13. Hab. iii. 3. C.
Ver. 4. Melted. Sept. "moved." H.
--- Cleft, as it was to swallow up Core, (Num. xvi. 31.) with the greatest ease.
Ver. 5. Jerusalem. High places were left there under Joathan. 4 K. xv. 35. Achab had introduced the worship of Baal into Samaria, and though the family of Jehu repressed this worship, it gained ground when Micheas appeared. C.
--- This conduct excited God's indignation. H.
--- He came to punish the most guilty. C.
Ver. 6. Heap. Sept. "hut to keep the fruit." Heb. "hillock of the field," (H.) to be cultivated. Grot.
--- Bare, by Salmanasar. 4 K. xvii. 6. It was afterwards rebuilt, (C.) but completely levelled by Hircan. Jos. Ant. xiii. 18.
Ver. 7. Her wages. That is, her donaries or presents offered to her idols; or the hire of all her traffic and labour. Ch.
--- Samaria had trafficked with infidels, and thus grew rich, but imitated their idolatry; (W.) and therefore was ruined, and her citizens and riches H. removed into Assyria. W.
--- Harlot. They were gathered together by one idolatrous city, viz. Samaria: and they shall be carried away to another idolatrous city, viz. Ninive. Ch.
--- The hire of prostitution was not to be received in God's temple, (Deut. xxiii. 18.) which prohibition shews the antiquity of this abominable custom. Bar. vi. 9. S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. iv. 10. C.
Ver. 8. Naked. Ill clothed, (H.) to shew the approaching calamity of the Israelites. Is. xx. M.
--- Sept. and Chal. explain all of the people, (C.) or of Samaria. "Therefore shall she lament and howl, go barefoot and naked, bewail like," &c. H.
--- Dragons, when they are crushed by the elephant. Solin xxxviii. M.
--- Tannim means also (H.) whales, &c. which make a horrible noise.
--- Ostriches, or swans. Is. xiii. 21. Both have a mournful note. C.
Ver. 9. Gate. That is, the destruction of Samaria shall be followed by the invasion of my people of Juda, and the Assyrian shall come and lay all waste even to the confines of Jerusalem. Ch.
--- Juda received the worship of Baal from Israel. It shared in the punishment of that kingdom. The prophet alludes to the ravages of Sennacherib, v. 13. Yet Juda was much afflicted by Razin and Phacee, before that invasion: which caused Achaz to call in the aid of Theglathphalassar. 2 Par. xxviii. and 4 K. xvi. C.
Ver. 10. Geth. Amongst the Philistines, lest they rejoice at your calamity. Ch. 2 K. i. 20. Amos iii. 9. C.
--- Tell not these calamities, which I foresee, among your enemies, lest they rejoice. But lament in your own houses, which shall be filled with dust. S. Jerom prays for the light of the Holy Ghost to understand this passage. W.
--- Weep ye not. Keep in your tears, that you may not give your enemies an occasion of exulting 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 Haphra) to be the proper name of a city. Ch.
--- With tears. Heb. "at all," (Prot. H.) "in Acco," or Ptolemais, (Reland) or Bochim, (H.) a place near Jerusalem. Judg. ii. 1. But no reference to this place, or to "the Enakim," (who appear in some copies of the Sept.) seems to be made.
--- Of dust. Samaria. v. 6. C.
Ver. 11. Place. In Samaria. In the Hebrew, the beautiful place is expressed by the word Shaphir, which some take for the proper name of a city. Ch.
--- It is thought that S. Jerom has given the sense of several proper names, (C.) or this has been done since in the Vulg. by some other. In the edit. of his works, (A.D. 1533) we read, "The dwelling of Saphir passes from you: she hath not come out who inhabits Sennan. The house of Asel shall receive," &c. H.
--- Saphir or Diocesarea was a strong place (Jos. Bel. ii. 37.) of Galilee, where Saanan was also situated. Judg. iv. 11. Haetsel may denote "the vicinity." C.
--- People shall not attempt to comfort their neighbours, being themselves under the greatest alarms. H.
--- Forth. That is, they that dwelt in the confines came not forth, but kept themselves within, for fear.
--- Adjoining, viz. Judea and Jerusalem, neighbours to Samaria, and partners in her sins, shall share also in her mourning and calamity: though they had pretended to stand by themselves, trusting in their strength. Ch.
--- All the inhabitants shall be led into captivity naked. H.
Ver. 12. Weak, &c. Jerusalem is become weak unto any good; because she dwells in the bitterness of sin. Ch.
--- Prot. "the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good." H.
--- We know not of any place called Maroth. Grotius would substitute Ramoth. C.
--- Bitterness. S. Jer. "Maroth." Sym. "provoking to bitterness." They are unable to defend their possessions. H.
Ver. 13. Lachis, when Sennacherib came to besiege it. 4 K. xviii. 13. C.
--- Beginning. That is, Lachis was the first city of Juda that learnt from Samaria the worship of idols, and communicated it to Jerusalem. Ch.
--- This is not very probable. We may translate, "this is the source of sin," or of chastisement; or the imitation of Israel, is the chief of the crimes of Sion. C.
Ver. 14. Send. 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. Ch.
--- Inheritance. Some translate rather "Moreseth (or Morasthi) of Geth, the houses of Acsib," &c. Both these towns were near Geth, and perhaps at this time subject to it. 2 Par. xxviii. 18. Achaz sent to ask for aid against the king of Israel, v. 9. C.
--- Prot. "therefore shalt thou give presents to Moresheth-Gath, the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the," &c. H.
--- There is an allusion between Acsib and a lie, as also between Maresa and an heir, (v. 15. C.) as the terms have those senses. H.
Ver. 15. Heir. 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. Ch.
--- Maresa shall fall a prey to the king of Assyria. Micheas was a native of this town, and he ironically addresses his countrymen. C.
--- Glory. Thus he denotes "the misery" of Israel, which shall be extended to the last town in Juda. W.
--- Heb. means also "burden." Odolla was taken by Sennacherib, (C.) with the other towns around Jerusalem. H.
Ver. 16. Eagle. When it loses its feathers, it becomes languid. Theod.
--- This verse should be joined with the next chapter, which regards the kingdom of Israel. C.