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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Micah 4

 

 

Verse 1

IV.

(1) But in the last days.—There is again a sudden transition. As the third chapter commenced with a startling denunciation, following immediately upon the predicted blessings of the restored kingdom, so upon that chapter, closed in deepest gloom, there now rises a vision of glorious light. The first three verses are almost identical with the second chapter of Isaiah, Micah 4:2-4; and it has been almost an open question which of the two prophets is the original author of them, or whether indeed they both adopted the words from an older prophecy current at the time. Dr. Pusey takes very decided ground, saying, “It is now owned, well-nigh on all hands, that the great prophecy, three verses of which Isaiah prefixed to his second chapter, was originally delivered by Micah. . . . No one now thinks Micah adopted that great prophecy from Isaiah” (Minor Prophets, p. 289). This last statement, however, is far too sweeping; all that can be correctly said is that the preponderance of opinion is in favour of Micah being regarded as the original writer.

In the top of the mountains—i.e., the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be spiritually elevated above all else, visible and invisible, and it shall be established for ever.


Verse 2

(2) Many nations shall come.—This prepares. the way to the more definitive prophecies, that there shall be a common consent among the nations journeying forth to the house of the Lord: asking the way thither in this world—finding the house itself in the eternal world. Even to this day the hearts of Jews and Christians alike yearn towards Jerusalem—a physical representative of the love which turns spontaneously to the Messiah.


Verse 3

(3) The name of the Messiah is the Prince of Peace; and we still look into the dim future out of a present life, rife with wars and rumours of wars, for the full realisation of His reign of peace. And we are sure that the time will come, for “the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”

They shall beat their swords . . .—See Note on Joel 3:10.


Verse 4

(4) They shall sit . . .—This was a proverbial expression for the feeling of security brought about by a peace which no foreign power was strong enough to disturb. It describes the state of the Israelites under Solomon—“Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even unto Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.” The vine and the fig-tree are the representative trees of Palestine.


Verse 5

(5) For all people will walk.—The comparatively near future to Micah, and the still distant future to us, are blended in the prophet’s vision: just as in the prophecies of our Lord the destruction of Jerusalem is described in terms which have their final accomplishment in the day of judgment. Micah’s description of the universal rule of Messiah is primarily applicable to the antecedent prosperity, after the return of the Jews from the captivity. The zeal of the Jews for Jehovah was stirred up after witnessing the example of “the children of this world” in Babylon. The devotion of the Babylonian princes to their god is strikingly evident in the diaries of Nebuchadnezzar and other prophets, as lately brought to light in The Records of the Past. That zealous Society for a national return to the strictness of the Law of Moses at first distinguished and honoured by the name of Pharisees took its rise after the return from the captivity.


Verse 6-7

(6, 7) Her that halted.—Like flocks wearied with heat and journeyings. The promise immediately refers to the return when God would re-establish the Jews, and eventually come Himself to the restored Temple. And, further, His own promise sanctions the words of Micah as to the abiding character of His rule, that legacy which He left to the Church—“Lo, I am with yon alway, even unto the end of the world.”


Verse 8

(8) O tower of the flock.—Israel having been compared to a flock, Jerusalem is called its tower, or protection; and in Messiah the ancient dominion shall return to the Holy City. This is a more satisfactory interpretation than that which makes the tower of the flock Migdol-Edah (Genesis 35:21), a place near Bethlehem.


Verse 9

(9) Now why dost thou cry out aloud?—The prophet places again, side by side with his vision of returned glory, the circumstances of misery which will intervene. The king and the counsellors of Jerusalem will be powerless to help in the moment of emergency.


Verse 10

(10) Thou shalt go even to Babylon.—This prediction has naturally caused difficulty to those who doubt the power of prophets to prophesy: for Babylon was not at all considered in the days of Micah, when Assyria was in the ascendant. It was a century after Micah’s time before Babylon recovered its ancient dignity. The fact, however, remains that Micah wrote, “Thou shalt go to Babel;” and there is the other fact, that the people of Judah (not Israel) did go. Micah also declared, “THERE shalt thou be delivered:” and in the time of Cyrus the Jews were delivered there. The repetition, “There . . . there,” is emphatic.


Verse 11

(11) Let her be defiled.—The seventy-fourth Psalm records the calamity foreseen by the prophet: “They have cast fire into Thy sanctuary, they have defiled (by casting down) the dwelling-place of Thy Name to the ground.”

Look upon—i.e., contemplate her destruction with pleasure.


Verse 12

(12) They know not the thoughts of the Lord.—As a commentary upon this passage, we may compare the message of God with reference to the haughty thoughts of Sennacherib. Then the Lord declared that the Assyrian king was but His instrument in all he had done; so that when he presumed to arrogate to himself the glory of his victories, the Lord revoked his commission: “I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou carnest.” And so it came to pass.


Verse 13

(13) Arise and thresh.—Micah, having likened Israel to the sheaves safely gathered, pursues the metaphor by calling upon the daughter of Zion to thresh her enemies after the manner of oxen treading out the corn; and under the symbolism of the horn—the weapon of strength—he promises that God will strengthen her for the work

I will consecrate.—The better reading is that of the LXX., Vulg., and some ancient versions, which give the second person, Thou shalt consecrate their gain unto the Lord. The termination, indicating the first person in our Hebrew Version, may be a form of the old second person feminine, of which there are other examples.

 


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

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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