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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Micah 3

 

 

Verse 1

III.

(1) Hear, I pray you.—In the second division of his prophecy Micah protests against the evil influences exercised upon the people in high places. The princes, the prophets, and the priests, to whom their interests were confided, were guilty of wrong, oppression, and robbery.

Ye princes.—Rather, judges, magistrates; but a different word is used from that which was given to the chiefs in the old days “when the judges ruled.”


Verse 2-3

(2, 3) Who hate the good.—The judges, instead of fulfilling the obligations of their office, whereby they should be “for the people to God-ward,” perpetrated the most flagrant cruelty upon them. Micah compares it to the process of preparing food, in which every part of the animal, even to the bones, is utilised. So the judges robbed the people until there was nothing left to them.


Verse 4

(4) Then shall they cry.—“Then”—i.e., in the day of retribution—“then shall they call upon me, saith the Lord, but I will not hear; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me; and that because they hated knowledge, and received not the fear of the Lord, but abhorred my counsel and despised my correction. Then shall it be too late to knock when the door shall be shut, and too late to cry for mercy when it is the time of justice” (Commination Service). So also Isaiah declared (Isaiah 1:15): “When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”


Verse 5

(5) That bite with their teeth.—The concluding statement that the false prophets declare war against those who do not put into their mouth indicates the meaning of the former expression, namely, “they say peace to those who feed and bribe them.” The Hebrew word, nashak, which is rendered “bite,” is strictly applied to serpents, to “an adder in the path,” and is therefore especially appropriate to the false and lying nature of the prophets.


Verse 7

(7) They shall all cover their lips.—As the lepers, who were cut off from all communication with men, so also these false prophets, being cut off from all communion with God, were to “put a covering upon the upper lip.” It was also a sign of mourning for one dead, and Ezekiel was commanded to awaken the astonishment of the people by omitting to cover his upper lip when his wife died.


Verse 8

(8) I am full of power.—Micah reverts to his denunciation of sin in high places with the fearlessness of his namesake. He contrasts himself with the prophets of the “lying spirit,” and declares his own commission from the Spirit of the Lord, and the ample equipment with which he was endowed.


Verse 10

(10) They build up Zion with blood—i.e., they acquire money for the erection of splendid buildings by spoliation and robbery, not stopping short of murder. So also Habakkuk (Micah 2:12) denounces the king of Babylon for the bloody wars with which he obtained wealth for the enlargement of the city.


Verse 11

(11) For reward.—Every function is carried out by judges, priests, and prophets through bribery, and yet they claim and count upon the protection of Jehovah. They rely for safety upon the presence of the sacred buildings; they cry, “The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord are these!” “Is not the Lord among us?” Isaiah contrasts in scathing terms the profession of holiness with the vicious life as seen in Jerusalem, and likens the city, with its rulers, to Sodom (Micah 1:10-15).


Verse 12

(12) Therefore shall Zion . . .—Micah declared this sentence of Divine judgment with an intrepidity that was long remembered by the Jews. More than a century later the elders of the land, speaking in justification of the course taken by Jeremiah, used as a precedent the example of Micah. They spake to all the assembly of the people, saying, “Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah, saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.’ Did Hezekiah, king of Judah, and all Judah put him at all to death? Did he not fear the Lord, and besought the Lord, and the Lord repented Him of the evil which He had pronounced against them?” (Jeremiah 26:17-19).

Shall become heaps.—So also, in after-days, the doom of Jerusalem was pronounced by our Lord: “The days will come when there shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

 


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Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Micah 3:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/micah-3.html. 1905.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, June 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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