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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)
The Birth of the Messiah
1- 5a. Jerusalem is besieged, its ruler insulted by the invader (Micah 5:1). Micah proclaims not only deliverance, but a deliverer. He will arise from Bethlehem, David’s birthplace (Micah 5:2). God raised up thence a ruler who shepherded his people instead of fleecing them, and who represented God’s eternal ideal of a ruler, not his own interests. He will send us in our new need another like the first. And this man shall be our peace (Micah 5:5). It is Micah’s prophecy of Messiah. Jesus Christ has taken away its temporary and local allusions, and made it greater than Micah knew.
1. Now gather thyself] better, ’now thou mayest gather thyself in troops, thou daughter of troops.’ The reference is to Assyria. Micah sees the armies gather against Jerusalem, and foresees the possible overthrow of the dynasty (the judge of Israel). But Judah’s future does not depend on Jerusalem. God can raise up from a village a deliverer.
2. Thousands] or, families: cp. Numbers 1:16; Numbers 10:14; Joshua 22:14, Joshua 22:21. Several such families made up a tribe. Unto me] or, ’for me,’ i.e. to fulfil my will. The true ruler represents God’s will in Israel. Since God’s will has been the same from everlasting and must be manifested, the goings forth of one who lives to manifest it are equally from everlasting. When Israel’s rulers fail Him, He raises up another. Bethlehem] cp. Joshua 1:15; Joshua 4:10. When Saul failed Him, God chose David from following the sheep, and set him to shepherd Israel. When the rulers of Jerusalem have failed Him, God will raise up even an obscure villager to represent His ideal of righteous government.
3. Will he give them up] better, ’He is giving them up.’ She which travaileth, etc.] the reference is to Isaiah’s prophecy of immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). Then the remnant, etc.] better, ’and until the remnant of His, i.e. Messiah’s brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.’ As Messiah was to arise from Judah, this means ’until the tribes are reunited.’ The reference is to Isaiah’s name for his son, Shear jashub, ’a remnant shall return’ (Isaiah 7 Probably the V. is a gloss from the exile: cp. Micah 4:10. Some one explained that Micah’s promise of a deliverer from Bethlehem was delayed, and God was still giving His people to captivity, until Isaiah’s prophecies had been fulfilled.
4. Feed] not himself, but his flock. The figure of the shepherd-king is continued.
5. Connect the first clause with the preceding, and put a full stop after peace.
5, 6. The power of Assyria, which rests on brute force and has no sympathy with the mission of Israel, can only last till God raises up a stronger than itself. It fell, as a matter of fact, before Babylon.
5. Eight principal men] Seven was sufficiency, eight is super-abundance. ’We shall not want for leaders.’
6. Land of Nimrod] cp. Genesis 10:11.
7-9. Israel’s dual mission. Its message has been trusted to it by God, and cannot remain without effect. To those who receive this truth gladly, it will come like refreshing dew. To those who oppose it, it will come like a ravening beast.
7. People] RV ’peoples.’ The influence of Messiah is not to be confined to Israel. Tarrieth not for man] the mysterious dewfall, inexplicable by man, is meant.
9. Better read as a prayer: ’let thine hand be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and let all thine enemies be cut off.’
10-15. Since war and pomp have driven any higher national ideal from their minds, God will strip them of the things in which they have trusted. Micah puts chariots and idols on the same level and under the same condemnation.
11. As the centres of the oppression described in Micah 2, 3.
13. Standing images] the stone pillars of Leviticus 26:1; Isaiah 19:19, etc.
14. Groves] RV ’asherim’: cp. Jdg 317: emblems of idol-worship.
15. Such as they have not heard] RV ’which hearkened not.’ God will judge the nations according to their attitude to Messiah and Israel’s faith.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Micah 5". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany