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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Micah 4

 

 

Verses 1-13


Zion the Spiritual Centre of the Earth

1-10. Here purified Israel is the light to the nations, which joyously acknowledge the supremacy of its God. The Temple shall be glorified, because known as the source of a help which all men need. When men grow eager for this, their wars shall cease (Micah 4:1-4). Because Israel is holding its faith as a trust for all men, Micah bids his people hold it more resolutely (Micah 4:5). Though their very national existence is threatened (Micah 4:9-10), let them not despair, God can restore them. Their being driven out of their own land may be His means for making them see themselves as bearers of His religion (Micah 4:6-8, Micah 4:10). The oracle may have been uttered when Sennacherib was threatening Judah, 701.

1-3. Cp. Isaiah 2:2-4. The great Messianic prophecy of the OT. which has been fulfilled since Jesus Christ of the stem of Jesse became the Light of the world. Some think that this locus classicus of Messianic prophecy was taken by both Micah and Isaiah from an older prophet. Professor Cheyne thinks that it is a post-exilic utterance, and was inserted by compilers or editors into the works of these prophets.

1. In the top] RM 'at the head.' The kingdom of God will be supreme. People] RV 'peoples': Micah means the heathen nations.

3. Judge among] RV 'between.' God shall be the arbiter of their quarrels, and so war will cease. The nations shall be more eager for justice than aggrandisement.

4. This v. is not in Isaiah. Isaiah belonged to the city, Micah to the country.

5. Translate: 'because all the peoples walk, every one in the name of his god, let us (or, we will) walk in the name of the Lord.' Micah drops back into the present. Since Israel's faith is to enlighten the world, let them be the more diligent to keep the faith.

6. In that day] the latter days of Micah 4:1.

7. Here and in Micah 2:12 Micah expects the return from the Assyrian captivity, not of all Israel, but of the remnant who, remaining faithful to their religion, shall become the stock from which the Messianic future will spring: cp. Isaiah 6:13; Isaiah 10:20. Isaiah 11:11. Isaiah 24:13.

8. Tower of the flock, etc.] i.e. Jerusalem. Unto thee, etc.] RV 'unto thee shall it come; yea, the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.' When the people have repented of the sins which brought their ruin, God will restore them as wide a dominion as in the days of David.

9. The captivity which seems to destroy the kingdom with its king and counsellors will be the birthpangs of a better state.

10. Probably Thou shalt go even to Babylon was added to explain the prophet's meaning, by one who saw the Babylonian exile. Essentially he was right. But the enemy in Micah's time was, not Babylon, but Assyria. And what Micah means is that his people shall be cast out of Jerusalem, and, when they are compelled to dwell in the field, i.e. without a capital and a court, they shall learn that God's ideal of a kingdom can be realised without these.

11-13. But Assyria is about to besiege Jerusalem: cp. Isaiah 36. Their aim is to destroy Jerusalem (Micah 4:11). But they are only the instruments in God's hand (Micah 4:12). Their proud self-confidence shall bring them to shame before Israel (Micah 4:13).

11. Many nations] the polyglot hordes of Assyria: cp. Isaiah 33:3.

12. He shall gather] RV 'He hath gathered.' God has brought them to their ruin.

13. Hoofs] oxen were used to tread out corn (Deuteronomy 25:4). I will consecrate] RV 'thou shalt devote': cp. Leviticus 27:28.

The nations, which try to destroy Israel, shall be destroyed by Israel in the interest of the truth Israel represents.


Verses 1-15


Bright Visions of the Future

Micah's view of Israel's future, especially in relation to the nations. He believes that God chose Israel to maintain and teach true religion, and that in this lies Israel's greatness. The people have forgotten this and have tried to emulate the other nations in wealth and pride and armed strength. Such a contest was hopeless, and God will prove its hopelessness by bringing ruin on Jerusalem, where these pomps were gathered. But, when the chastisement has done its work, the nation will return to its divinely-given task. It will have a mission to the nations.

The chapters appear to contradict each other as to the result on the nations' fate. This is because Micah regards the peoples as free agents, and the religion Israel teaches as no mere ceremonial observances. The nations may recognise Israel's message, and, submitting to God's will, receive the blessing He gives (Micah 4:1-5). They may refuse it. But, if they obstinately oppose it, they shall be overthrown (Micah 4:11-13). For, since the truths Israel represents are divine in their origin, these must be a blessing or a curse, according as men accept or refuse them (Micah 5:7-9)

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Micah 4:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/micah-4.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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