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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

Micah 7

 

 

Verses 1-20

See Micah 6:1 ff for the passage comments with footnotes.

Chap7. Micah 7:1-6. The Lamentation of the People. As appears from the subjoined transitus, Micah 7:7, and especially Micah 7:8, where the holy common wealth is manifestly thought of as speaking, the speaker here is the prophet, not so much as prophet, but as organ of the ideal person, the true Israel; like Isaiah 59:1 ff; Isaiah 60:1 ff, where the prophet identifies himself with the true Israel, personified throughout Isaiah 40-66. under the name of the Servant of Jehovah. Israel must confess that God, in his bitter complaint ( Micah 6:9 ff.), is just. In the later prophets this view is presented in a still more concrete form, when they personify the true Israel in the angelic character of the maleach (messenger) who represents the people before God, and receives from God the words which He has to communicate through the prophets to the members of the people, his members ( Zechariah 1:12; Zechariah 1:14). Daniel, having shaped this personification of the ideal Israel to the image of a heavenly Son of Prayer of Manasseh, to whom the dominion of the world is assigned ( Daniel 7:13 if, cf. Daniel 7:27), and having given both to this heavenly and to the earthly Israel the name of the Messiah ( Daniel 9:25 f.), furnishes the basis for the New Testament deyelopment, in which Christ appears on the one hand as a name of the people of Israel ( Hebrews 11:26, cf. Hebrews 7:25), then as the Son of Man descended from heaven, and He in whom all the promises given for Israel are combined.—Woe is me! thus begins the lament (cf. Job 10:15), for I am become as a gathering of the harvest, as a gleaning in the vintage. Were these words the words of the prophet, the sense would be obscure, and hence from ancient times the conjecture has been proposed, that the two substantives were to be regarded as participles; like gatherers of the fruit, like gleaners of the vintage. But the pointing by o under Aleph, utterly precludes this view, which has also been rejected by the most exact interpreters, from Ben Izaac down to Hitzig. Caspari: It has happened with me as with one who at the harvest time seeks early figs. But neither does היה mean “it has occurred to me,” for the passage Isaiah 1:9, quoted by Caspari, proves nothing like this, nor does this latter special limitation, the seeking of early figs, lie indicated at all in the general designation קַיִץ ( Amos 8:1); but if figs and grapes are meant at all, the thought that the prophet finds none would be very unsuitably expressed by the harvest, where they find many figs, and by the gleaning of the vintage, where they still find some clusters left. A clear understanding results here only from the position before assumed, that the personified Israel himself speaks through the prophet: I am become like gleanings of the harvest (the plural stands for symmetry with the following plur. tantum, עללת). as gleanings of the vintage, i. e., I am so entirely gleaned that there is no cluster any more to eat; for an early fig, which was particularly relished ( Jeremiah 24:2; Isaiah 28:4), my soul pants.

Micah 7:2. What Israel intends by the clusters, and early figs, which he would so gladly find with him, but which have been snatched away (cf. Isaiah 33:4), appears from this verse; gone is the pious man; (collect, for the pious, חסידים, possessors of the chesed, the grace, who by their conduct show themselves worthy of the grace, and who taken together are the true Israel ( Psalm 16:10)—from the earth, and an upright man is no more to be found. It lies in the nature of prophecy that it should extend its immediate horizon over the whole world. And in fact, when the righteous have already died out of Israel, how should it be with the heathen who have not God’s word? ( Luke 23:31). All lie in wait for blood ( Psalm 10:8 ff.), each for his neighbor they hunt with the net. In the phrase “each for his neighbor,” which has usually a quite general signification : alter alterum, there lies here a special emphasis; those who lie in wait for each other are brethren, creatures of one God, sons of one forefather (Mai. Micah 2:10), and bound by the law to love each the other as himself ( Leviticus 19:18).

Micah 7:3. The first three words form a parallel to the sentence just closed : for evil the hands are stout, and they are not with some Rabbins, Rosen-müller, and Ewald, to be connected with the following. להטיב stands for verbo finito, as Micah 5:1; Proverbs 19:8; 2 Chronicles 11:2, and הטיב in the intrans. sense, to be joyful, glad, spirited (cf. Micah 2:7; Proverbs 15:13; Genesis 4:7); cf. the parallel sentence : their feet run to evil ( Isaiah 49:7). It would be still more suitable to the primary meaning of הטיב as well as to the connection with what follows, to propose as the sense of the phrase : upon evil they look favorably, are friendly to it; but then we should have, instead of כּפים, hands, לב or פּעם, Hitzig: only the evil do they practice well; which is the same as : for the evil alone have they hands, while if anything good is to be done, they have none for it. But this sense does not lie in his translation, which’itself breaks down upon the על. Cocceius (Lex, p304): Super malo sunt manus ad bonum faciendum, i. e, fingunt et plasmant malum, ut bonum videatur. Similarly Umbreit, Keil, Caspari. But this sense הטיב nowhere has. Hence the two last offer ajso the alternative translation, to do it well; which coincides with Hitzig’s. The corruption rests on a compromise of the ruling classes, and so on the worst moral vileness; “the foundations are destroyed” ( Psalm 11:3); the prince demands some deed of violence, דָּם ( Micah 7:2), and the judge for a price from the princes may be bought (or says : For a price !); and the high-born: he speaks out the desire ( Proverbs 10:13; the other sense: “ruin,” destroys the connection) of his soul; and together they extort it; each one gives his part, sothat a עָבוֹת, a dark web of intrigues, a snare for the victim, results.

Micah 7:4. Their good Prayer of Manasseh, i. e., the best among them (Ewald, 313, c), is like a thorn, the most upright worse than a hedge (of. 2 Samuel 23:6). That will all be proved, for in the day of thy seers, in the jom Jehovah, God’s judgment day, which all thy prophets (elsewhere rather partic. Kal צֹפִים, Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 3:17) have so constantly proclaimed, when thy visitation comes (this sentence is likewise a more definite limitation, a second stat. absol. to jam, cf. Psalm 56:4; Psalm 88:2) then wilt thou be ensnared by them. According to the suffix in the previous member, תחיה is not third fem. (then will be her perplexity), but a second masc. in the address to the people, and the sense (cf. Isaiah 22:5) Isaiah, that Zion, in the day of God’s judgment, cannot free herself from the machinations of those seemingly respectable men who are really thorn hedges, but will be caught as a victim (cf. Genesis 22:13; Nahum 1:10.)

Micah 7:5. From that it follows that now what is otherwise a token of the greatest moral decay, in a land, must be practiced of design and for self-defense : trust not in a friend; “he takes no notice of the fact that those to whom he calls are themselves, in the same relations, without love and fidelity” (Caspari), Rely not on the most trusted; from her who lies in thy bosom, thy wife ( Deuteronomy 13:7), keep the doors of thy mouth. “The prophet mentions only the treachery of the wife against her husband, because his discourse is addressed to the men as genus potius; because the wife can much more easily prove treacherous to the husband than vice versa, since the man stands preeminently in relations which allow treachery; and because, finally, the wife is subject to the Prayer of Manasseh, and so in a higher degree pledged to fidelity than he (?)”—Caspari.

Micah 7:6. Friendship and love are no longer securities for confidence, for even the relation of natural piety is lost in an unnatural perversion : the son makes a fool of his father [?] ( Deuteronomy 32:15; Jeremiah 14:21); the daughter stands up as a witness against her mother (קוּם בּ, as Psalm 27:12); the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and the man’s enemies are his servantsביתואנשי “men of his house” are not his relations, who live in his house, but the company of servants: ( Genesis 17:23-27; Genesis 39:14). The connection of Micah 7:4 with5,6 shows how appropriately this description is again employed ( Matthew 10:35 ff.; Luke 12:53) as a sign of the last days (cf. also Matthew 14:10 ff.).

Micah 7:7-8. Transitus. The true Israel shudders not in this time of need. He knows well that for him the promise cannot be broken, and that through the confusion of the judgment God’s light must break. By the ואני as also the long preserved space between Micah 7:8-9 shows, these two verses are appended as a conclusion to the foregoing, while yet they constitute by their contents and Psalm -like tone,—a structural peculiarity, common to the prophets—the transition to what follows: but as for me I look out for God. Both aspects of the spirit which speaks in the prophets appear in this “looking out,” in that he both as prophet looks out for, strives to anticipate, the fortunes of the future, the coming of God for salvation, and also as the spirit of the true people of God confidently trusts in this coming help ( Psalm 5:4; Hebrews 2:1). Prophecy and faith are correlatives. I will wait, the Opt. indicates that the word is an exhortation to his own soul ( Psalm 42:12), for the God of my salvation, the God on whom my salvation rests; this also being a Psalm -tone ( Psalm 27:9). My God will hear me, and his hearing is an active, effectual hearing.

Micah 7:8. Hence results immediately the apostrophe to the enemy, the world-power which ( Micah 4:10) is called Babylon, to which the chastisement of Israel is committed: She must not regard this condition of chastisement as a perpetual thing. Rejoice not, my enemy; the pleonastic לי, which strengthens the emphasis, is likewise appropriate to the psalm style ( Psalm 25:2, et sœpe).[FN1]For if I fall, I rise again, I fall only to rise again.—The conditionally gains energy by the parataxis without particles ( Proverbs 18:22; Ewald, 357; 6). The second כּי, as is shown also by the change of tenses, is temporal and not for additional confirmation. When I sit in darkness, a common figure for the affliction caused by God’s judgments ( Isaiah 8:2-5; Isaiah 9:1; Isaiah 50:1 ff.); then is Jehovah my light ( Psalm 27:1); and this light cannot remain concealed, but must actively manifest itself.

Micah 7:9-10. With this transitus the psalmody is begun which sounds on through the whole lyric period which follows ( Micah 7:9-20). This describes (in the form of a prayer, with hope and supplication, announcing and celebrating the completion of God’s doings with his people), the coming of the kingdom of light after the darkness, and is thus the fulfillment of the final clause of Micah 7:8; when I sit in darkness then is Jehovah my light. The position is an ideal one. As Micah 7:1, Israel, on account of his deficiency in righteous men, felt that the worst abominations were maturing, and with them the judgment, and by gradual approach stood finally ( Micah 7:7 f.) in the crisis of the judgment, so he proceeds now in spirit through judgment, and exile to salvation. His language turns in a constant alternation, swaying lyrically (cf. Psalm 116.), now toward himself, now toward the offended and forgiving God, now toward the enemy who is to be judged (cf. Micah 7:8).

Micah 7:9. The indignation of Jehovah will I bear, with this humility (cf. Micah 6:8) and submission to the will of God, the germ of salvation is already given; when God’s will is accepted as their will the sorrow ceases to be sorrow. For I have sinned against him. Humiliation under sorrow flows from the recognition of sin; the sorrow must be recognized as indignation, that Isaiah, as the manifestation of God’s righteousness ( Psalm 51:6). Such recognition moves his heart, which cannot fail to answer the call of his people; and this confidence gives Israel a joyful courage to endure until Hebrews, as he surely must, shall maintain my cause. Instead of standing my foe, as now, in the suit ( Micah 6:1), He will make my cause against the heathen his own ( Psalm 35:1; Psalm 43:1), and secure for me my right ( Psalm 9:5). To the light will he bring me forth, out of the darkness of captivity ( Psalm 68:7) as once out of Egypt ( Deuteronomy 8:14). I shall see with pleasure (בּ) his righteousness, for even the deliverance of the sin-laden people is righteousness, because it is a fulfillment of the ancient promises (cf. on Micah 6:5).

Micah 7:10. And that shall my enemy see with pain (cf. on Micah 7:8), and shame shall cover her. The verbs are not indicative, therefore not direct announcement, but jussive: the prophecy of supplicating confidence. Her who saith to me: Where is Jehovah thy God? on whose help thon hast rested thy hope (cf. Psalm 69:10; Psalm 115:2). This is the point of view from which Israel’s cause becomes a controversy for God. My eyes will look upon her with pleasure—on the sharpened Nun, cf. Ewald, 198 a—and she will be trodden down as mire in the streets. The last Qamets in מרמס is shortened into Pattach, on account of the coming together of two tone syllables (ef. Isaiah 10:6). From the enemy the discourse turns off—

Micah 7:11-13. While the representative element gives way more to the prophetic, and announces salvation to the holy community. It is a day (so De Dieu, Hitz, Casp.) to build thy walls. The anticipation of the exile goes forward, and from the certainty of the threatenings ( Micah 3:12; Micah 4:10), the prophet expects (cf. Micah 7:7) the restoration of Jerusalem. To take this whole first member, not independently, but as a designation of time to the second (“on the day when thy walls shall be built, will,” etc.) is forbidden by the ההוא in the second member; besides, that view would require the reading יום הבּנוֹת. At the bottom of the figure of wall-building lies the conception of the vineyard ( Isaiah 27:2 ff.; Psalm 80.); גּדר is the inclosing wall of a vineyard (the wall of a city is הוֹמה). In that day will the law be far removed. The Rabbinic Exegesis, and with that those among recent Christian interpreters who are influenced more or less by the legal spirit of the Rabbins, have been obliged at this passage to have recourse to rationalistic evasions. According to the Targum and Hengstenberg, חק should mean the statutes imposed by the heathen oppressors; but this is not even remotely suggested by the connection, and the passage cited from Psalm 94:20 testifies rather for the opposite view. Caspari would have it mean that then the boundaries of the land of Israel shall lie in the far distance, be extended far beyond the original compass; but what should the walling around ( Micah 7:11 a) mean if the border is abolished? That would be directly contrary to the figure. Keil : The limits between Israel and the nations, the law of Israel’s exclusiveness shall be abolished. But why this limitation to one particular law? חק is the law in its widest and most general sense ( Psalm 99:7; Psalm 148:6; Exodus 15:25), and as it is unquestionably the doctrine of the New Testament, that in the time of the Gospel the fence of the law is broken down ( Ephesians 2:14), so there is the less ground for denying to the prophet this meaning in our passage, because the whole context has left the historical ground far behind, rising to the ideal height of a spiritual contemplation, and because Jeremiah also, in a like connection in the famous passage ( Jeremiah 3:16), prophesies a like triumph over the legal position (cf. Isaiah 45:1 f, and, in our prophet himself, Micah 6:6 f.) We may designate our passage as exactly the text of Jeremiah’s great prophecy ( Jeremiah 31:31 ff.) concerning the new covenant. The parenthetical view therefore of the words ירחק חק (“in that day—far distant is the term—in that day,” etc, De Wette, Ewald, Umbreit), is to be rejected.

Micah 7:12. In that day, unto thee, the restored Zion,—the ו of the apodosis after the elliptical protasis to designate the time, as Exodus 16:6 f.; Ewald, 344 b,—will one come from Assyria, and also the cities of Egypt will come; not merely the scattered believers of Israel, who already (cf. Micah 7:11) will have founded the new structure, but also the heathen peoples will be added ( Psalm 87.), and Assyria the scourge, first of all, but also the cities of Egypt, which here, as Isaiah 19:6; Isaiah 37:25, received the poetical name Mazor, instead of the usual Mizraim. She stands forth as the second world-power, on the other side of Israel from Assyria (cf. Zechariah 10:11), and the cities are particularly regarded, as prœcipua membra of the land of culture, even in Jehovah’s Messianic prediction ( Isaiah 19:18). Yea, from Egypt even unto the Euphrates, and even unto the sea from the sea, from the Western, Mediterranean to the Eastern, Persian Sea (cf. Joel 2:20), and from the mountain to the mountain, from Sinai in the south to Lebanon in the north, sc. will they come to thee. ים and ההר are local accusatives, and the induction of a great extent of country by the antithesis of the quarters of the compass is a common turn of discourse (cf. Amos 8:12). The prophet’s enumeration confines itself, as was natural, to what was suggested by history and geographical position, and indeed with a special horizon, having reference to Genesis 13:14 f.; but in the specification of the points of the compass lies potentially the universality of the plan of salvation (cf. Genesis 4:1-2). The same thought is expressed with greater clearness and smoothness by Isaiah ( Isaiah 19:23). But with cutting sharpness the prophet here also—

Micah 7:13. For the last time connects with the promise the contrast of the judgment: but the land (we may understand, either with Caspari, from Micah 7:2, Canaan, which extends itself before those that flock unto it, or, with Keil, the whole earth, out of which those who seek deliverance crowd hither) will he waste on account of its inhabitants (cf. Micah 6:11), because of the fruit of their doings. For just in Zion alone, the seat of God’s congregation, will be deliverance ( Obadiah 1:17; Joel 3:5), and this Zion is not the present, which itself is then destroyed ( Micah 3:12, coll. Micah 4:1), but a spiritual, living Zion. So salvation and judgment lie side by side ( Isaiah 45:24).

With that strikingly sudden turn, the occasion is given for the last supplication ( Micah 7:14-17), which the prophet utters in the name of the congregation.

Micah 7:14. Feed thy people, who after the terrors of the judgment need the shepherd’s care, which also according to the promise ( Micah 7:3) was to be given, with thy staff, the mark of the shepherd (cf. Zechariah 11:4 ff.); the flock ( Psalm 95:7) of thy possession ( Psalm 28:9) who dwell alone, whom thou hast as it were separated from among the nations, and whose distinction it is from of old that they, separately from the nations, belong to thee alone (cf. Numbers 23:9; Psalm 4:9, where לבדד belongs to the verb). שׂכני an old form instead of the scat, constr. ( Obadiah 1:3). “Accusativus habitantem notat passionis non objectum sea effeclum, tit acervos desolatos” ( Jeremiah 37:2-6). Ch. B. Michaelis. In the forest in the midst of Carmel let them feed; in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old. The kingdom of Zion shall extend over the whole desolated land, as was denoted by the enumeration of the east and west, as Psalm 40:9. That both regions named belong to the Ten Tribes may be accidental, but is better regarded as a commentary on Micah 7:13, in such sense that, as the desolation of the Ten Tribes began sooner, so will it continue longer than that of Zion, that it lies waste while Zion has been built up. The phrase, “in the forest in the midst of Carmel,” is not to be dragged back to the preceding, where it would be a useless, obscure, and halting addition, but to be connected with the second half of the verse, as the parallel passage ( Jeremiah 50:19), which evidently rests on this, still more clearly shows. By “the days of old” are hardly meant the days of Uzziah, as Movers supposes, but those of Itevid, as the normal period of the unity of the kingdom (cf. on Micah 7:2).

Micah 7:15. As in that passage so here, the prophet’s glance, while he quotes God’s[FN2] answer, confirmatory of the prayer in Micah 7:14, goes still further back; as in the days when thou, Israel, earnest out of the land of Egypt ( Psalm 114.), will I to them, thy people, show wonders of graceנפלאות are the special manifestations of God’s mercy, often in opposition to the course of nature ( Exodus 3:20), which will be repeated in the age of salvation (the Messianic age) ( Exodus 9:5). As the supplicating people in Micah 7:14 spoke of itself in the third person, עַמְּךָ, so God in the first member here addresses it with thou, but in the second, speaks of it in the third person; “thou” is the present Israel, “he” is the Israel of the future.

Micah 7:16. The old impression upon the heathen resulting from God’s wonderful deeds in behalf of Israel (cf. Exodus 15:14 f; [ Joshua 2:9 ff.]) is to be repeated. The heathen will see it, those, namely, who even then remain rebellious (cf. on Micah 7:14), and be ashamed so that all their power vanishes ( Ezekiel 32:30). מִןὥστε μὴ εἶναι, as Isaiah 23:1,—will lay their hand on their mouth; extreme astonishment takes away the power of speech ( Judges 18:19; Isaiah 52:15)—their ears will be deaf “before the thunder of Jehovah’s mighty deeds ( Job 26:14).” Hitzig.

Micah 7:17. The evil in them is overcome by the good, the serpent which reared itself against Jehovah Isaiah, like his type ( Genesis 3.), by the eternal judgment, cast down to the ground; dust shall they lick like the serpent ( Psalm 72:9; Isaiah 49:23) creeping on the earth—properly: as those things which creep on the earth; כִּveritatis, as Isaiah 1:7. They shall tremble forth out of their hiding-places; to Jehovah our God (cf. Micah 4:5) shall they approach with terror [herbeizittern] ( Hosea 11:10 f), and be in fear before thee ( Psalm 40:4). With this the discourse passes over again to the congregation, and ends—

Micah 7:18-20, in a final lyric strophe (as Psalm 104:32 ff; Psalm 68:30 ff.; Romans 11:33 ff.). The wonderful deeds of God, exhibitions of power to the adversaries, which bring them to trembling submission, are for Israel deeds of mercy and truth, which open his month for an inspired cry, lay in his soul the spirit of free heart devotion (נדיבהרוח, Psalm 51:14), in the production of which all God’s discipline, through law, deeds, and prophecy, culminates. Who is a God like thee! This also is borrowed from the triumphal ode of Miriam ( Exodus 15:11; cf. Psalm 76:8). Whether there is any play here on the name Micah, must be left undecided. Forgiving iniquity and graciously passing over all transgression for the remnant of his people (cf. on Micah 2:11). Back of this and what follows lies the description of the compassion of God in Exodus 34:6 f.; in the word עבר perhaps an allusion to the great act of mercy ( Exodus 12:12-13). He does not hold his anger forever, for he has his pleasure in mercy ( Psalm 103:9)

Micah 7:19. He will again have compassion on us (on the constr. vid. Gesen. § 142, 3 b), will tread down our iniquities, which rise up against us as enemies, and overpower us ( Psalm 65:4). Yea, he will cast into the depth of the sea all their sins, the prophet adds in confirmation, here also regarding the sins as foes, and intentionally alluding to Exodus 15:10.

Micah 7:20. Thou wilt show truth to Jacob, wilt maintain for the descendants what thou hast promised them in their progenitor, mercy to Abraham, who lives on in his posterity, and waits for the promise ( John 8:56), and was not vainly called a father of a multitude. Thou wilt show to them the truth and grace which thou hast sworn to our fathers from the days of antiquity. The unity of the plan of salvation for Israel from beginning to end (for the mercy and truth of God are the scarlet threads which run through it), is the thought with which the prophet, placing himself at the culminating,point of Revelation, concludes. This perspective has been expanded only from the point of view of the New Testament ( Matthew 25:34).

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

God has entered into a covenant relation with Israel, dating ( Micah 7:21) from the days of the patriarchs. Hence, while His judgments roar against the heathen, unproclaimed and without pity, to Israel He first demonstrates his guilt, and that by setting before Himself and the people alike the eternal principles which He has given in His revelation by word and deed, and in the face of these proves to Israel that He lias kept His truth, but that Israel has broken the covenant and become guilty. This conviction He secures before the punishment, that the latter may not prove an annihilation, but be made fruitful of improvement. Eor such fruit results from the punishment, provided the latter turns the sinner in upon himself, and when it is borne with the consciousness that it is just. Only on this condition, finally, is forgiveness possible; yea (while it appears that the sin is too great to be possibly expiated by punishment), necessary according to the grace of God. To this end serves the controversy at law.

This begins with a reference to those original works of redemption by which God founded the congregation, and with marvelous exhibitions of favor called them to be his people. Thereby Israel from the beginning entered into an obligation to be specially consecrated to Him : I am the Lord thy God. This obligation was represented in an outward system of duties. The ceremonial cultns, however, is only a passing pedagogic stage. It cannot be regarded as the independent principle and soul of the relation, because it offers to God nothing which does not already belong to Him, and in consistency it would lead to ungodly murder. It must look beyond itself, and can furnish no couch of rest for the congregation. The regulative and substantial principle in the law Isaiah, rather, the moral kernel, the righteousness of the heart.

And according to this principle must Israel be judged and condemned; for, when God’s truth, appearing in judgment, looks around for wisdom ( Proverbs 1:7) it perceives in every house the folly ( Psalm 14:1) of sinners, who would fain enjoy God’s blessing without purity of life. Therefore the greed and slavery of the sinner must become his punishment; to eat and not be satisfied, to labor and not enjoy the fruits, the miserable lot of involuntary servitude, is their normal end. Wherever like sins exist there is like punishment; no right of legitimacy can secure the kingdom of Judah against the fate of Samaria, if the ways here are the same as there.

Sent forth by God and his Spirit ( Isaiah 48:16), the true Israel wanders through the ages, and struggles for embodiment. But the longer the time the less does present reality correspond to the character which he is obliged to demand of his members. According to this they should be a living possession, prophets and priests to God ( Exodus 19:5-6). Kay, he appears to himself now as a vineyard, a fruit garden which has been gleaned; of those who are now called Israelites he can scarcely recognize one as a member of his body. Not a blooming orchard is this people, not belted together by the bands of divine peace into one well-pleasing whole, but involved in the bonds of iniquity, which bind the chiefs of the people ( John 7:48) together; so closely involved that in the day of judgment they cannot release themselves. The connection is external; inwardly, not the national bond merely, but all, even the most intimate relations of the family are utterly fretted away, and that will show itself in the worst outbreaks of alienation and discord.

But yet the true Israel knows that his time will come. Although Hebrews, with all his promises, is bound to the substratum of this neglected nationality, he knows still that when it has to be given up ( Micah 5:2) to punishment, he with it will be given up only to redemption. In the darkness of their abandonment to the world, Jehovah is his light.

Hence comes that right disposition to endure, which the litigation was intended to produce: the endurance of the anger as a cross which we take upon ourselves without reluctance: I will bear; and the confident waiting for deliverance. He submits to be given up to the hands of the world-power, but nevertheless knows that in that day when God shall perform his promises, out of these heathen also all that are called shall enter into the new Jerusalem, which will be divested of all enclosure and narrowness; that if all lie in ruins the eternal kingdom of God will arise upon the ruins. Then will the Lord be the shepherd of the true Israel, now become actual and visible. He will march with might at the head of his own people. The adversaries, scattered and cast to the-ground, come trembling unto Jehovah whom they had despised.

That will be the great day of the forgiveness of sins, and of the infliction of punishment, which only the God of the true Israel can ensure, for he takes pleasure in compassion. And it must come because the compassionate God is a true and faithful God, and the Covenant made with the fathers can be broken by nothing which may come between.

Schmieder ( Micah 6:4): Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron, was a prophetess ( Exodus 15:20). Just as the deliverance out of Egypt, as beginning of the creation of the people of God, includes within it all the subsequent works of protection and redemption, so the three personages, Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, are the types of the whole legislation of the entire priesthood and prophecy, therefore all God’s saving institutions for Israel ( Micah 7:11 ff.). The day of vengeance upon evil is the dawn of the day of redemption and restoration for the congregation of the saints. This is the pervading doctrine of the whole Bible; with the flood comes the rain-bow to Noah, with the destruction of Pharaoh the deliverance from Egypt, with Saul’s death David’s glory, with the destruction of Jerusalem the new hope of Zion, with the fall of Babylon, the return of the Jews, with the judgment upon the heathen the return of the Jews.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Mirror of Evangelical Repentance

1. Everything is open and manifest before God; the dumb earth is his witness. Hide not thyself ( Micah 6:1-2).

2. How much has He done for thee? Hast thou ever considered it1 ( Micah 6:3-5).

3. Thou hast outwardly taken part in his worship, mayest even have gone further in it than. was necessary. But how is it with thee inwardly? ( Micah 6:6-7.)

4. Thou knowest his law, but thy life accuses thee ( Micah 6:8-12).

5. Thou knowest that He is Judges, and art acquainted with his judgments. But thy ways show that thou regardest them not ( Micah 6:13-16).

6. Yea. Lord, I confess ( Micah 7:1-6).

7. But I believe also; therefore will I fain bear thy judgments ( Micah 6:7-9).

8. For I know thy promises ( Micah 6:10-16).

9. And will celebrate thy great compassion ( Micah 6:18–21).

Or: The History of the congregation in God’s light ( Isaiah 2:15). Exordium: The light of God a light of judgment ( Micah 6:1-2).

1. The selection and establishment of the congregation ( Micah 6:3-5).

2. The legislation ( Micah 6:6-8).

3. Sin (Mic 6:9-16).

4. The acknowledgment of sin ( Micah 7:1-6). Transitus: The light of God a light of grace ( Micah 7:7-8).

5. The return ( Micah 7:9).

6. The experience of grace ( Micah 7:10-20).

Micah 6:1. The heart of man is harder than a stone. The rocks could not but be moved by the gratuitous beneficence of God, and his complaint. Men remain unaffected, “If these should keep silence the stones would cry out.”

Micah 6:2. Is there greater condescension than this, that the Lord of heaven and earth, before whom none living is just, and who sees through and through everything, will not judge Israel, unless He have seen his sins and consented to it. How soon, O Christian, art thou ready with thy judgments! and allowest thy brother no time for reply, and hast no ear for him!

Micah 6:3. What God has done for us from our youth up is nothing but benefits. Therefore we should, even in painful experiences, know that the hour cometh, when we shall recognizc them as mercies from God. What the deliverance from Egypt was for Israel, that is for us the redemption from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil. Thus have we become his holy people and possession.

Micah 6:4. A great benefit is it when God at the right time puts the right people at the head of the congregation. To such right people it pertains also that they should meet opposition.

Micah 6:5. Balaam came to curse, but when he sought God ( Numbers 23:3), his curse was turned into a blessing. Whatever thou wotrldst do, forget not to seek God, that thou mayest do all as his instrument. To the upright He gives success. The end of all earnest meditation on the ways of God is that one perceives them to be righteousness.

Micah 6:6-8. A sermon in time of war. The people seek their God and thereby become conscious of their guilt. Then seeking is equivalent to atonement. Wherewith? (1.) Not with outward behavior. Fast-days help not, and the first-born who lie dead on battle-fields, atone not for the sins of the people. Rather (2) with the heart. Holy wars like those of David are scarcely waged any more, but it ought to be the case that wars should be waged holily. Those who are at home, however, should show mildness and modesty.

Micah 6:6. That is the way of sinful Prayer of Manasseh, to excuse himself as if he knew not God’s word. Then we speak as if we knew not what He really demands ( Luke 10:29 ff.). Or we capriciously form notions of God as if He demanded things which no man can perform. No heart is so lazy that it would not find out how to reach what is good ( Proverbs 12:13).

Micah 6:8. If thou seekest God, ask thyself above all, What does God seek in me? To do right, κατεργάζεσθαι δικαιοσύνην ( Acts 10:39), is a hard piece of work, and whoever reflects upon it deeply perceives that no man alive is just before God. The power for that, however, comes from the loving mercy. Clemency towards our neighbor is doubtless intended ( Hosea 6:6), but the expression is designedly so put that we are obliged to think of the undeserved mercy of Him who first loved us. He who imagines that he loved first has not attained to the third thing, walking humbly. However much he may outwardly show humility, it is only a wretched gloss upon a puffed up and proud heart. And pride in the house of God is a miserable thing.

Micah 6:9. The voice of the Lord calls ever, but not ever in the same way; sometimes for invitation, again to judgment. He who hears not the former at the time must hear the other after the time. O that men would not always regard merely the rod of correction, but ever also Him who hath appointed it! They would then complain of nothing but their own sin.

Micah 6:10. It is a helpful means to repentance, to inquire carefully in regard to each of our physical and intellectual possessions, how we came by them. Trade is a dangerous art; but God condemns not the art, only the fraud which is practiced with it. The grain speculators, even in Micah’s time, received the first curse.

Micah 6:11. He also has false weight who judges not his neighbor with the same measure as himself.

Micah 6:12. It soon comes to pass with a man that he believes his own lies, in fact no longer knows what lies he tells, so that his tongue is a demon to itself, deceit is in his mouth. When it has reached that point it is no wonder that God ( Micah 6:13) carries away him who is himself sin with his sin.

Micah 6:14. The covetous pines after what he desires even in enjoying it. The feeling of perpetual emptiness is no longer a sign of sin merely, but already of the judgment of God. Save what thou canst, thou canst save nothing from God.

Micah 6:15. The curse that man should in the sweat of his face eat bread may still be aggravated. God’s eye looks about indeed for wisdom ( Micah 6:9), but what He sees is men who with eyes open run into destruction as if they would do it by force. Generation after generation heaps up the curse; woe to the generation oh whom it breaks! Then the sins of fathers and children lie on one head. How canst thou excuse thy faults by maintaining that thou hast been a tender father or mother toward thine own, when they yet are to bear the punishment of thy faults? Take care that thou heap up the reward for the good works which thou hast done; that is the best inheritance.

Chap7. As the true Israel to the people of Israel, so Christ stands to his congregation. There an invisible head with many visible members, who can however be such only in name, as being called Israelites; here likewise with Christians.

What Christ’s congregation should say in an evil time.

1. Her complaint, Micah 7:1-4 a. That the saints have grown few and iniquity abundant. The complaint bears most hard upon the princes according to their various responsibility.

2. Their fear, Micah 7:4 b–6. The day of God must certainly come, and that with fearful signs.

3. Their comfort.

(a.) They know on whom they trust, know his name, and his readiness to hear, his wounding and healing, and his nature, that he is light ( Micah 7:7-8). Therefore they wait patiently in the darkness.

(b.) They know that right must remain right ( Micah 7:9). Therefore they patiently endure wrong.

(c.) They know that to their adversaries an evil lot is appointed ( Micah 7:10). Therefore they weary not.

(d.) They know what is before them, namely, that the evil and narrow is to be torn down, in order to build again well and wide ( Micah 7:11-13). Therefore they complain not that it is torn down.

(e.) They know their shepherd’s voice and works from of old ( Micah 7:15-18). Therefore they meditate on the days of old ( Psalm 77:6), and hold before him his Word.

(f.) They have a complete revelation of God’s nature, that He is the only, and a sin-forgiving, God, gracious and powerful over sin and faithful ( Micah 7:18-20). Therefore, they celebrate and praise Him even in the most wretched time.

A pious soul is for the Lord a refreshment. That is not said, however, to puff up, but for the encouragement of those who love God. Who would not willingly prepare a delight for Him!

Micah 7:2. When once the saints die out of a land, there is soon manifested a whole abyss of abominable things, which they alone, through their life and prayers, have kept down. The prayers of the pious restrain the judgment.

Micah 7:3. How would God’s kingdom be promoted, if only the same activity, invention, and perseverance were applied to its objects, which are spent in works of wickedness.—Every judge ought to think that he has an office from God, and that God’s cause should be cheap to no one.—It is also a bad sign when in a land unbridled words prevail. Sins of the tongue increase also the burden. The further a man’s voice is heard, the more honestly should he guard his mouth.

Micah 7:4. It is a bad thing to draw others into one’s own matters and interests. Many a one has thought he did God service while he was making a party for the accomplishment of his own plans, and was only a snare for the day of judgment. God alone makes his parties for Himself; his programme is not theses, but the Holy Scriptures; his leader is the Holy Spirit. When He works not (and He works in truthfulness and peace, without any human addition, as a spirit of willingness, without any harm or calumny toward others), then all work is vain. All partisanship leads to the state of things described in Micah 7:5. How can the kingdom of God be built up, when its original foundation tears itself in pieces. It is written that Abraham went out from his kindred, but not that he stood up against them and mocked them.

Micah 7:7. Martha is careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful. To wait is the strongest power, to pray is the strongest weapon; for they both have God for an ally; and when He hears it is also effectually heard.

Micah 7:8. He who falls without God never rises again. What a fearful darkness is that in which they must sit who have no God! And what is all darkness for us if we have God? The name of God is a light shining in the depth of the heart, and therefore cannot be extinguished from without.

Micah 7:9. The evangelical call to repentance results in the conversion of the will with hearty sorrow. Evangelical repentance is not doing but suffering. Works of repentance (satisfactio operis) are not pain but pleasure, therefore self deception, or, if they were not a pleasure, but were imposed by authority, against one’s will, they would be wholly useless, since then not the will of him who renders them performs them, but properly the will of Him by whom they are imposed. But the pain resulting from a clear discernment of the misery of sitting deservedly far from God in our misery, is an unspeakable grief; and he who has not felt it knows not yet what repentance is. It is so profound that if faith were not present (9 b), it must inevitably become despair.

Micah 7:11. Where life in the kingdom of God.must first be propped up by statutes, there is no life begun, but whitewashed death. The kingdom of God begins in a man with the law of liberty. The embracing wall which God draws around the new Jerusalem is He himself ( Zechariah 2:8). That is a very wide room. There all the peoples of the earth have a place.

Micah 7:13. But this birth also takes place amid pains.

Micah 7:14. The shepherd of the new congregation is the Messiah ( Micah 5:3). Therefore is her room also (against Micah 7:11) a very narrow, separate room; there, namely, where good pasture is for his sheep ( Psalm 23:2); the wilderness remains for the morally wild.

Micah 7:15. In the history of the kingdom, of God there is a constant similarity in the main lines. Naturally, for God is unchanging, and his doings always divine, wonderful.

Micah 7:16. When He once begins to work there is also an end of human power. Desire not to bring on yourselves the wonder!

Micah 7:17. How has the serpent revived in so many persons! The seed of the woman, Abraham’s seed, has become as the sand of the sea, but the other not less. The final biting of the heel and the final crushing of the head are not yet come.

Micah 7:18. In all tiie world for Him whose look sees highest over the world and into eternity, there is nothing so commendable as the forgiveness of sins. He who said: Thy sins are forgiven thee, could be no other than God, unless he were more criminal than Adam; for he exercised the highest prerogative of God.

Micah 7:19. The last short sting of repentance : Belongest thou also to the “remnant?” The “remnant” is lame and crippled ( Micah 4:7); it needs the physician. God takes pleasure in mercy; what a look does that give us into the deepest heart of God! There no man sees a bottom, but as deeply as he can see, nothing but delight.

Micah 7:20. God has a long memory; and his blessing extends to the thousandth generation.

On Micah 6:1. Luther: People are wont, especially if they hear of the anger of God, to believe that it will not go so fearfully with them. Hence they allow themselves to suppose that in the midst of sin they may hope to find forgiveness and pardon, and may either laugh at the prophet’s threatening or despise it as human fiction. Such mistake would the prophet guard against when Re says, not that men should hear him, but the Lord; the Lord speaks, and not he.

Taknov: From men who would not hear, the discourse turns to the hills and mountains, that it may be heard.

Micah 7:3. Chrysostom: He calls those his people who would not call Him God; those who strive to take from Him the kingdom He treats not as haughty rebels, but invites them to Him mildly, and says: My people, what have I done to thee? Have I been burdensome to thee? Thou canst say nothing of that kind. But even if thou couldst thou shouldst not have fallen away from Him. For who is the son whom his father chastiseth not? But not once hast thou occasion to speak of that. Cf. Jeremiah 2:5.

Micah 7:4. Michaelis: It is an ungodly thing to injure him from whom thou hast received no evil, much more ungodly still to injure the most bountiful benefactor.

Micah 7:5. Hengstenberg: That also is regarded as a part of Balaam’s answer which served as its practical guaranty.

Micah 7:6. Luther: God had commanded sacrifices. But He would receive them as certain testimony of obedience toward Him if they were not disobedient in much greater and more important things. But since they neglect the greater acts of worship, and perform the lesser and more irrational acts with so ungodly a purpose, namely, that the sacrifices should be a payment for their sins, God regards their offerings as an abomination, and mocks them.

Michaelis: They are not able to deny their sins, but practice hypocrisy when they offer sacrifices and outward things, but are unconcerned about repentance.

Micah 7:8. Luther: That is also a service which all men in every position can render.

Michaelis: It is the most excellent things in the law which Christ, in opposition to the purely pedagogic Old Testament portions of the law, calls. τὰ βαρύτερα τοῦ νόμου. There is nothing more humble or more humbling than faith.

Micah 7:13. Luther: We Germans have experienced such things through war.

Micah 7:1. Burck: This is a complaint. To the pious teacher, namely, it is sad, that the perverseness of human nature is so great, that not only are the ungodly not improved, but in some sort actually with design and exertion become daily worse. On this account, however, we ought not to let the calling sleep nor be neglected. For on the teachers lie two things, says Luther: first, that they save their soul, as Ezekiel speaks, secondly, that the evil world should have a testimony against it. “Had I not come and spoken,” said Jesus, “they had not had sin.” To this may be added the third most important cause, that when all others blaspheme, God’s name may be hallowed.

Schlier: The prophet proclaims to his people the painful confession of sin, that they may learn by that what is necessary. The confession of sin is followed by the confession of faith.

Micah 7:2. Luther: There is none that walketh rightly. Because, namely, he sees that all men, when it goes well and prosperously, live without fear of God, and in the highest wantonness. Again when misfortune comes, they either faint or betake themselves to carnal helps and means.

Micah 7:3. Therefore should rulers let sins in them be freely punished (for it is God’s command), but they should stand clear of sins.

Micah 7:7. Calwer Bible: Thus speaks the prophet, in the name of the little flock, to the ungodly opposers.

Michaelis: But I: that is an antithesis to the foregoing, and means: It is even so; all is getting bad; the righteous and fearful judgments of God hang over men’s heads; but what shall I do in such a state of things?:—despair, or murmur, or speak impatiently? Rather, etc. He does not allow himself to be led away by the wickedness of the great mass, and what is more, he does not throw away hope; although the deluge must come, know that God can save even in the deluge. The ground of his hope lies in God: the God of my salvation. He will certainly save me, who has from ancient times been my salvation, and who is called God of salvation. Isaiah 18:1; Habakkuk 3:18.

Micah 7:8. Calvin: The feeling of divine grace in adversity is quite peculiarly comparable to the light, as when one who has fallen into a deep pit yet perceives a distant gleam of the sun when he raises his eyes. So should we also not be confounded, however dense and gloomy the darkness may be in our trials, but ever keep the spark of light glowing for us, that Isaiah, faith should ever raise our eyes upward that we may have a feeling of the divine goodness.

Micah 7:9. Luther: It may seem an amusing thing, that Basilius, in a letter in which he laments his mother’s death, says that this has happened because of her sin. But, truly, whoever thinks that even the most trifling misfortune has its source in this fountain, mistakes not, but lives nobly in the fear of God.

Calwer Bible: Even the pious can never except themselves from the general guilt, and must therefore also take their part of the general punishment, although they may live innocently from the world and before the world. Cf. 1 Peter 4:12-19.

Michaelis; Until; that is twofold, first, the immovable patience of the congregation, secondly, the end of the appointed suffering.

Micah 7:10. Michaelis: They rejoice not so much over the destruction of enemies as over the assurance of the favor of God, whose name hitherto has been so much profaned by them.

Micah 7:12. Hengstenberg: It is not enough that the people of God be free from the slavery of the world; they become also the object of the longing of the nations, even the strongest and most hostile; the magnet which attracts them.

Micah 7:13. Luther: In these words we should notice the special diligence of the Holy Spirit, which sees clearly what sort of thoughts the wicked synagogue will have, that they will hope for a carnal kingdom, and despise the preaching of the Gospel on that account. Such an error, which not I only obscures the Kingdom of Heaven but utterly takes it away, the Holy Spirit would here anticipate and forestall.

Micah 7:14. Tarnov: With thy staff; not with the iron rod of Moses, but with thine, the leading of the Holy Spirit, with thy Word and Spirit; for these are the instruments of the kingdom of God.

Cocceius: With the staff the shepherd numbers his sheep, smites, leads them, points oui whither they should go, from what they should turn aside, where they should find pasture.

Micah 7:18. Michaelis: The congregation whicK here speaks through the prophet, is sunk in an abyss, while it contemplates the riches of the divine grace and mercy, which in the last times is to come upon it.

Micah 7:18 ff. Burck: The Holy Scriptures re veal a new, rich depth of the divine fullness, and a truly inexhaustible treasure of “indulgence.” There are no casus reservati.

Starke: Micah 6:1. Teachers and preachers in their teaching should not make a show of strange languages, or clothe themselves in the writings of Church fathers, or even in unprofitable fables, but should abide by God’s Word alone, and speak that. On the mountains and hills in particular was idolatry practiced, so that they had evidence of men’s ungodliness.

Micah 7:3. God earnestly desires the salvation of all.

Micah 7:4. We should remember not only the benefits which God has shown to us, but particularly those also which our forefathers have experienced.—The teaching and the governing office should be in accord with each other.

Micah 7:5. The wish of the enemies of the Church, to destroy it, has never succeeded.

Micah 7:6-7. Most powerfully does our own conscience bear witness to the necessity of a vicarious atonement, in that it cannot otherwise be pacified. It makes a great difference whether pious or ungodly people ask: How shall we appease God? Even with such works as God has commanded can He not be served, if they are performed by an impenitent man. By self-appointed acts of worship He is only angered the more.

Micah 7:8. Believe, love, and endure. As it is a great sorrow when men whom God has created and Christ redeemed, know neither God nor Christ, Song of Solomon, on the contrary, it is a great blessing, when we know from God’s Word, and perceive what is good, and what God demands of us. On the ground of ignorance, since we can know but will not, we cannot excuse ourselves.

Micah 7:9. A man sees only what is before his eyes, but God sees the heart. Those who will not give ear to God’s paternal admonitions must taste his sharp rod.

Micah 7:10. There are ungodly men who knowingly have in their house goods gained by unrighteousness. Such goods are not treasures, but a coal, by which the rest also that has been honestly gained shall be consumed.

Micah 7:11. A Christian householder should endure no false balance or false weight in his house.

Micah 7:12. Rich people who love unrighteousness, meet unrighteousness also as a reward. Covetous people are generally lying people also. Those who possess goods wickedly acquired commonly oppress the poor also with great violence and pride; covetousness is insatiable.

Micah 7:13. Here He begins to display the rod which He had commanded in Micah 7:9 to hear. God begins with lighter punishments, but when these do not secure improvement, He makes them heavier in proportion as they are more prolonged.

Micah 7:14. Famine is one of God’s greatest plagues. As the pious, in all their conduct, have God about, with, and for them, so the wicked, on the other hand, have Him against them.

Micah 7:15. If we would enjoy our labor, we must fear God and pursue piety, fairness, and justice.—Vet16. Subjects are often much more submissive to their rulers in their wicked requirements than in just and commendable regulations.— Micah 7:1. When teachers see no fruit of their labors, they should not straightway lay them down, but faithfully do their own part and commend it to God’s blessing.

Micah 7:2. Religion should not be judged by the lives of men. Cain has in all times his brother. Before God sends the general calamities on a land, He is wont to remove the pious people by death, that they may not see the evil. Those also who go about with secret plots and wicked practices are murderers before God, for He seeth the heart.

Micah 7:4. The ungodly believe not what is threatened them until they have it in hand; then they are utterly cast down and disheartened, so that they can counsel neither themselves nor others.

Micah 7:5. Christians ought to be prudent.

Micah 7:6. When men first give themselves up to carnal lusts, and lose sight of all shame and respect for God, then natural affection also commonly dies out.

Micah 7:7. See how strenuously he insists that he has a God, much as if the other crowd had no God. The wicked have a God, doubtless, but an angry God, a God of vengeance and not of salvation. He that would be secure against evil example must look to the Lord in obedience and patience.

Micah 7:8. God sometimes leaves believers also to stumble and fall, that they may be humbled, but He helps them up again.

Micah 7:9. The righteous complains first of himself.

Micah 7:10. God punishes not only the blasphemies which are cast upon Him, but the calumnies against his children also.

Micah 7:11. The preaching of the Gospel is the means by which God maintains and enlarges his Church.

Micah 7:13. The earth is the Lord’s, the men, however, are its guests and inhabitants.

Micah 7:14. God would have us pray to Him for the good things which He promises us. Believers have in Christ no want, but full enjoyment.

Micah 7:16. It annoys the wicked greatly, when they see that the Gospel is spread abroad in spite of them.

Micah 7:17. It is among the items of the great mystery, that the unbelieving world has believed the Gospel.

Micah 7:18. Not only is there no other God, but also there is in heaven and on earth no such loving-kindness to be found as with God, who forgiveth sins. God is not so compassionate as to have no anger, but only so that He holds it not forever. Sin is Satan’s work, forgiveness God’s.—Var19. The sea is the blood of Jesus Christ. God not only forgives sins, but gives us the power also to subdue sin.

Micah 7:20. As God Himself is truth, so also is his Word truth, on which we may confidently rest.

Pfaff: Micah 6:6-8. Ye cannot excuse yourselves, ungodly men, as not having known the will of God. As clearly and richly as this has been made known to you, as many corrections, from the Good Spirit as ye have received in your souls, so often has conscience in you been awakened. But ye hold the truth in unrighteousness.

Micah 6:13. Public iniquity and deceit are certainly followed by heavy judgments; for the property gathered by them must become a disgrace ( Micah 7:8). In the darkness of the greatest affliction, the pious still see the light, and find their pleasure in the Lord’s mercy, which is hidden in the cross.

Rieger: Ch6. (1) The forcible beginning, for the awakening of hearts, Micah 6:1-2. (2) The friendly direction, for the winning of hearts, Micah 6:3-8 (3) The sharp threatening against the sealed hearts, Micah 6:9-16. On Micah 6:6-7. As men now-a-days express their unreasonableness towards the service of God in spirit and in truth, when they say, One scarcely ever knows what one ought to do; they will be contented with nothing any more.

Micah 6:8. To conduct one’s self in all things earnestly, according to the divine and not the human standard, and in this to give to the Word of God its judicial power; to practice kindness with delight, and to walk in humble faith before and with God: in that light let each one consider his own heart and conscience.

Micah 6:9 ff. God has never accumulated presages of future events for the gratification of curious inquisitiveness, but to promote improvement at the present, thereby to render aid against unrighteousness.— Micah 7:1 ff. One must never rest satisfied with discourses and representations to men, but must support the public address by many words before and with the Father in secret; and if one will cover the unfruitfulness of the public labor with fatigue, one must refresh himself again by this intercourse with God.

Micah 6:2. For the righteous who doubtless yet remained it was a salutary prompting that they should not so conceal themselves ( Proverbs 28:28), but be active also in the better spirit.

Micah 6:8 ff. There are always people who are glad to see it when the truth is so humbled, and her confessors brought into such straits, that it seems to be all over with religion, order, and discipline. They together make up the enemy that is hostile to Zion.

Micah 6:9. This makes one submissive under all the reproach upon the Church and her service, to observe that there is indignation at the bottom of it, that God thus withdraws Himself, and we no more attain to the blessing of former witnesses. But hope refreshes the heart.

Schmieder: Micah 6:3. This question of the conscience, cutting deep into the sinful heart, addresses itself still, and in a still more humiliating way, to the people whom the Lord has purchased with his blood. The liturgy of the Romish Church, on Good Friday, during the adoration of the cross (the Song of Solomon -called lamentations), has appropriated this complaint of the Lord to the holy people: “I led you forty years long through the wilderness, fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a good land, and thou hast therefor crucified thy Saviour. I planted thee as my beautiful vineyard, and thou hast become bitter for me, hast given me vinegar to drink in my thirst, with a spear hast pierced my side. For thy sake I scourged Egypt and her firstborn, and thou hast caused me to be scourged,” etc.

Micah 6:7. Not indeed, unless it is a sign of a heart offering itself to God.

Micah 6:8. Doing rightly is an exhibition of faith, complete devotion to God is the real spiritual burnt-offering. To love mercy toward others is the true daily meat-offering. To walk humbly, to be mindful that God is the Holy One, thou a poor sinner, that is the true spiritual sin-offering.

Micah 6:14. That is the curse of the covetous, that he is never satisfied; the blessing of God and contentment are wanting.— Micah 7:3. Thus ever the history of Naboth’s vineyard repeats itself. The prince demands it; since Naboth will not consent, judges are bribed, and the queen says what she lusts after; Naboth, though innocent, must die as a blasphemer; thus they weave the net.

Micah 6:4. The thorn, the hedge, is in the vegetable kingdom the type of what is evil, because it injures ( 2 Kings 14.; Judges 9.); as the vine, the olive, the fig tree are the type of the good, because they give fruit and shadow.

Micah 6:5 ff. Compare Matthew 10:35 f, where by the use which our Lord makes of this prophetic office it is clear that the times of such domestic discord and insecurity, come then especially when, after the undisturbed dominion of evil, the Spirit of God arouses and enlivens the remnant of the pious, so that they with word and deed bear witness against wickedness, and contend with Satan. Then must the pious man contend and suffer for the Lord’s sake, but also watch lest he commit sin, and thus be rightfully chastised for his sin’s sake.

Micah 6:14. Since on Carmel, in Bashan and Gilead, was the best pasture, and since Israel is here compared to a flock, these good pasture grounds are here typically assigned to the people, while yet only the fruitful abodes in the land of Canaan are really meant.

Micah 6:18. That is the Song of Solomon -called angry God of the Old Testament.

Micah 6:19. Our misdeeds are our most dangerous enemy and accuser; but even this Satan will the God of peace subdue to Himself and us, and has already done it, if we trust wholly to Him who treads the serpent under foot. Happy he whose sin is buried ( Romans 6:4).

Quandt: Ch6. Of Israel’s gratitude. (1) Israel’s unthankfulness for God’s previous mercy, Micah 6:1-5. (2) Micah 6:6-8. How Israel should thank God. (3) Micah 6:9-16. How God will punish thankless Israel.

Micah 6:1. The mountains and hills signify the prominent leaders of the people.

Mic 6:10. Cf. Amo 8:5-6.

Micah 6:11. Inquiry of the conscience terrified by the searching of the Lord. Not as if the grain-speculators actually inquired thus. But Micah wishes that they would so inquire, that they might come to themselves and repent.

Micah 6:12. The punishment of men on earth is never the ultimate end, but ever the means to the end of their conversion.—Ch7. Mercy glories over judgment.

Micah 6:2. The seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal were not wanting in Micah’s time either. But if one would picture the impression made by a barren landscape, he does not stop on the description of a flower or two which may bloom somewhere in concealment. The Redeemer also said universally: Ye would not, and leaves Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea out of the account.

Micah 6:20. God’s oath, on which Micah here at the end leans as on a rock, is that of Genesis 13:16 ff. How God kept it, see in Luke 1:72-75.

[Matthew Henry: on Micah 6:4. When we are calling to mind God’s former mercies to us, we must not forget the mercy of good teachers and governors when we were young. Let those be made mention of, to the glory of God, who went before us, saying, This is the way, walk in it; it was God that sent them before us, to prepare the way of the Lord, and to prepare a people for Him.

Micah 6:6-8. Deep convictions of guilt and wrath will put men upon inquiries after peace and pardon, and then, and not till then, there begins to be some hope of them. Those that are thoroughly convinced of sin, of the malignity of it, and of their misery and danger by reason of it, would give all the world, if they had it, for peace and pardon. Men will part with anything rather than their sins, but they part with nothing, to God’s acceptance, unless they part with them.

Micah 6:9. It is a point of true wisdom to discover the name of God in the voice of God, and to learn what He is from what He says. Every rod has a voice, and it is the voice of God that is to be heard in the rod of God; and it is well for those that understand the language of it; which if we would do, we must have an eye to Him that appointed it. Every rod is appointed, of what kind it shall be, where it shall light, and how long it snail lie. The work of ministers is to explain the providences of God, and to quicken and direct men to the lessons that are taught by them.

Micah 6:16. If professors of religion ruin themselves, their ruin will be the most reproachful of any other; and they in a special manner will rise at the last day to everlasting shame and contempt.— Micah 6:1. Some think that this intimates not only that good people were few, but that those few who remained, who went for good people, were good for little; like the small withered grapes, the refuse that were left behind, not only by the gatherer, but by the gleaner. When the prophet observed this universal degeneracy, it made him desire the first-ripe fruit; he wished to see such worthy, good men as were in the former ages, were the ornaments of the primitive times, and as far exceeded the best of all the present age as the first and full-ripe fruits do those of the latter growth, that never come to maturity. When we read and hear of the wisdom and zeal, the strictness and conscientiousness, the devotion and charity, of the professors of religion in former ages, and see the reverse of this in those of the present age, we cannot but sit down and wish with a sigh, O,for primitive Christianity again! Where are the plainness and integrity of those that went before us? Where are the Israelites indeed, without guile? Our souls desire them, but in vain. The golden age is gone and past recall; we must make the best of what Isaiah, for we are not likely to see such times as have been.[FN3]

Micah 6:9. Those that are truly penitent for sin will see a great deal of reason to be patient under affliction.

Micah 6:15. God’s former favors to his Church are patterns of future favors, and shall again be copied out as there is occasion.—Tr.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Cf. Gram. and Text.—Tr.]

FN#2 - This from of dialogue between god and the people is very common in the hymnistic style of the prophets; more particularly at the conclusion where the prophetic ecstasy has reached its climax. Hosea 14, e.g., cannot be unterstood at all without bearing in mind that we have a dialogue before us. This is the ענה, the solemn responsive song ( Exodus 15:21) at the time of the salvation, as Hosea ( Micah 2:18, 2:16]) foretells.

FN#3 - So good people have been wont to complain, in Church and State, since the Homeric heroes, at least, of the degeneracy of each generation, as compared with the preceding one. If such wailings were reasonable, what angelic piety and social virtue must have flourished three thousand years ago, and how dreadful to think of our posterity, three thousand years hence, looking back, over countless steps of deterioration, to us as paragons of lost perfection! This view of things Isaiah, rather, a lazy or helpless recognition of the remaining evil which it behooves each age to put away or diminish. As Henry himself says on Micah 7:9, “When we complain to God of the badness of our own heats.”—Tr.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Micah 7:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/micah-7.html. 1857-84.

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