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THE word of the Lord that came to Micheas the Morasthite, in the days of Joathan, Achaz, and Ezechias, kings of Juda: which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

THE PROPHECY OF MICHEAS.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

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.




2 Hear, all ye 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.

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.



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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.

Ver. 3.  Earth, to subdue the rebels.  Amos iv. 13.  Hab. iii. 3.  C.



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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.

Ver. 4.  Melted.  Sept. "moved."  H.

 

--- Cleft, as it was to swallow up Core, (Num. xvi. 31.) with the greatest ease.


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 Juda? are they not Jerusalem?

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.




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.

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.




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.

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.


8 Therefore will I lament and howl: I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and a mourning like the ostriches.

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.


9 Because her wound is desperate, because it is come even to Juda, it hath touched the gate of my people even to Jerusalem.

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.




10 Declare ye it not in Geth, weep ye not with tears: in the house of Dust sprinkle yourselves with dust.

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.




11 And pass away, O thou that dwellest in the Beautiful place, covered with thy shame: she went not forth that dwelleth in the confines: the House adjoining shall receive mourning from you, which stood by herself.

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.


12 For she is become weak unto good that dwelleth in bitterness: for evil is come down from the Lord into the gate of Jerusalem.

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.




13 A tumult of chariots hath astonished the inhabitants of Lachis: it is the beginning of sin to the daughter of Sion, for in thee were found the crimes of Israel.

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.




14 Therefore shall she send messengers to the inheritance of Geth: the houses of lying to deceive the kings of Israel.

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.




15 Yet will I bring an heir to thee that dwellest in Maresa: even to Odollam shall the glory of Israel come.

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.




16 Make thee bald, and be polled for thy delicate children: enlarge thy baldness as the eagle: for they are carried into captivity from thee.

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.


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