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Bible Commentaries

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

Micah 5

Verses 1-15

See Micah 4:1 ff for the passage comments with footnotes.

(cf. Micah 5:1). נכון stands emphatically as the expression which, from the ancient promise 2 Samuel 7:16; 2 Samuel 7:26, has be come the usual one, for the unchangeable establishment of anything by Almighty God, who can build firmly even on the floods of waters (Psalms 24:2; cf. Psalms 93:2). Parallel to this the following member says: and it (Zion) shall be exalted above the hills (cf. Ezekiel 17:22 f.). The ideal significance ot both sentences is proved by the parallel third member; and the peoples shall flow unto it,1 seeing it as it were from afar; not by constraint, but willingly. It lies in the universal character of the prophecy, that the word “peoples” here should not, as in Micah 1:2, be the tribes of Israel, but the nations of the world, and accordingly, in the second verse, גּוים immediately takes its place (cf. Isaiah 2:2).

Micah 5:2. And many nations shall go, רַבִּים like the N. T. οἱ πολλοί, e. g. Matthew 26:28; not in reference to those who exclude themselves, but to the great number of those who come (cf. Isaiah 2:2, כּל) A powerful movement will go through the heathen world, so that their own feeling will turn them all toward Zion (Zechariah 8:20. ff.), and shall say to each other Come ye! and let us go up (for a mountain is thought of) to the mountain of Jehovah, and to the house of the God of Jacob, no more to our deceitful idols from one land to the other (Deuteronomy 30:11 ff.); that he may teach us (imperf. instead of pert, conv. because the connection is final) concerning his ways, מִןπερι, as Isaiah 47:13),2that we may walk in his paths. God teaches sinners the path in which they should go, (Psalms 25:8; Psalms 25:12) For out of Zion shall go forth direction, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. The Thorah rests immediately on the preceding יוֹרֶה, and is, therefore, not to be understood (with Hengstenberg) as the Mosaic law strictly, but in its proper, more comprehensive sense, “instruction,” as also the explanatory “word of Jehovah,” in the parallel member, is not at all tke word already written merely, but one that is to be sounded out anew.3 Theodoret: “The word of the gospel, beginning as from a fountain, runs out through the whole inhabited world‚” Jerusalem, accordingly, is considered in that time of salvation, not as the seat of culture, but as the source of the living revelation of the Lord.

Micah 5:3. And He will judge between many peoples. War comes from the fact that men would procure justice for themselves, and so exercise violence (cf. Genesis 4:23; Romans 12:19); the new kingdom, however, will be (Isaiah 9:11) a kingdom of peace; God will discharge the duty of a judge. Compare, concerning the spread of such intimations of a reign of peace, in the heathen world, about the time of Christ, Virgil, Ecclesiastes 4:0 :.; Ovid, Fast., 1:699; Martial, 14:34. And will correct mighty nations, “who were hitherto for the most part inclined of their own will to grasp the sword.” Hengst., cf. Isaiah 53:12. Far away into the remote distance: accordingly, the flowing up in Micah 5:1-2, is a spiritual movement which is compatible with their externally remaining at home. Then they will beat their swords, which were still drawn against God’s kingdom (Joel 4:10), into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, i. e. into the implements of peace. For they will not lift up the sword nation against nation, they will not learn war any more; Jehovah teaches them, and his instruction is peace.4But they shall dwell, each one under his vine and under his fig tree,5 images of undisturbed peace in Solomon’s time (1 Kings 5:5; Zechariah 3:10). “Our evening meal‚” says the missionary, R. Schulz (Leitungen des Hochsten, 5:285), “we enjoyed” (in Beit Jibrin not far from Akko) “under a great grape-vine, whose stem was about a foot and a half in circumference, while it stretched upward to the height of thirty feet. It covered with its branches and side-canes a cottage of more than thirty feet in length and breadth. The clusters of such a vine weigh from ten to twelve pounds. They cut them off, lay them on a table, sit around and eat as much as each one desires.” Fig trees of equal luxuriance were seen by the same traveller between Arimathea and Jerusalem. Without a disturber, as is promised, Leviticus 26:6; for the mouth of Jehovah of Sabaoth has spoken, and before Him must all the world be dumb (Habakkuk 2:10; Zephaniah 1:7), just because He the Lord of hosts is strong and mighty in battle (Psalms 24:10; Psalms 24:8).

Micah 5:5. In Him lies the guaranty for the final salvation of Israel: For all the peoples go hence each in the name of his God, but we walk in the name of Jehovah, our God, forever and ever. The name of the God of Israel is Jehovah, that is, the eternally living and forever unchangeable one; and this name describes his being (Exodus 3:14). He, therefore, who walks in this name, in the power of this name, will eternally walk (Psalms 53:2-5 ff.; John 17:21 ff.). The true sense of the first half of the verse results from the antithesis, that mere “going,” in contrast with “going eternally,” has the incidental signification of “passing away” (Job 19:10; Job 14:20). It is the opposition of transience to permanence, inferred from the union (solidarity) in which th.e worshipper stands with the object of his devotion : the idols are perishable, because made of perishable materials; God is eternal, and therefore, etc. Compare on the whole thought, Isaiah 45:16 f. Bolder yet would appear the prophetic conception if we were to refer the final words עולם ועד to both verbs, and thus find the promise expressed that, in the time of salvation, every people would, under the name of its God, adore the true God and walk with Him eternally. The view might be supported by Psalms 97:9; Psalms 97:7, where a time is promised in which the gods should bow before God, and by Psalms 82:0 :., where it said that the gods like men will pass away, and Jehovah will enter into their inheritance. Still the form, in which it would appear here in Micah, transcends perhaps the horizon of the O. T. [“To walk in the name,” etc., may probably mean “to walk consistently with the character and will,” etc.—Tr.]

Micah 5:6. In that day, saith Jehovah, will I gather. He will gather, but not immediate!v now, as they allow themselves to be persuaded (Micah 2:12), but in the last days (Micah 5:1), and not the population of Zion as it is, but her that halteth, i. e., who has been pitifully treated, and her that is east off will I collect, and her whom I have afflicted. As such, therefore not till after many hard blows, after abuse and rejection (cf. Micah 5:10), will the Lord be gracious again to the daughter of Zion, the population of Judah. The assumption of Quistorp and Burck, that by “the lame” and “the dispersed,” the kingdom of Samaria was meant, never deserved refutation.

Micah 5:7. And will set the lame for a remnant, will regard and treat them as the remnant to whom the promise applies (cf. on Micah 2:12); and the dispersed (cf. Amos 5:27) those who have been thrust into exile, for a strong nation. And Jehovah is king in mount Zion from now on unto eternity (cf. Obadiah 1:21). The “now” is spoken of the time of the fulfillment; from that point onward at which God shall establish his universal dominion (Psalms 93:0 :); not as if this dominion did not exist also now, but now it is not perceived. Instead of the Messiah of David, Micah names God Himself as ruler in the kingdom of the future: “Non ut excludat regnum illud Davidis (cf. Micah 5:1), sed ut ostendat Deum palam facturum se auctorem illius regni esse, immo se ipsum tenere totam poteiitiam.” (Calvin.)

Micah 5:8. And thou, flock-tower of Ophel, the daughter of Zion will come to thee. Yea there is to be (zukunftig ist) the former dominion, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. Commentators connect the words of the first clause differently: “thou tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to thee will arrive and come,” etc. But this is condemned by the tautology, unavoidable in this view of בּאה and תּאתה. Accordingly, the Masoretes also close the sentence by the Athnach under תאתה, and our construction, which is found also in the LXX., is to be thought of as the right one. As regards the sense the connection shows that there must be a reference in the tower of the flock to the royal house of David; for as Micah 5:1-7, are antithetically related to Micah 3:12, inasmuch as the destruction of the temple hill is immediately followed by the promise of the consecration of it to be the centre of God’s eternal kingdom, so our Micah 5:8 forms the text for the following symmetrical discourse Micah 5:9-15, of which the theme is the near approaching ruin of the kingdom. Now there is a tower of David mentioned in Song of Solomon 4:4, which is described as a majestic structure, adorned with trophies. On the other side, Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:25) speaks of a tower which rose above the king’s castle, and therefore must have stood on Mount Zion. Both are explained by Keil and Hengstenberg as identical each with the other, and both with the tower of the flock in our passage. But, first, it is very doubtful whether those two towers are identical. The tower of David (Song of Solomon 4:4) can just as well be identical with the tower mentioned Nehemiah 3:11, or Nehemiah 3:28. There were many towers in Jerusalem, and any one which David had built might be called the tower of David; but again, granting that identity, the identity of the tower of David on Zion with the tower of the flock, is still more questionable, for why in that case should not this latter be called here also the tower of David. Finally, the tower is called by Micah expressly the tower of Ophel, not the tower of Zion. But Ophel is not Mount Zion, but the steep spur on the south of the temple mountain.6

To arrive at an understanding of our passage, we must turn to another of its connections. The designation “tower of the flock” (Migdal-edar). occurs also in Genesis 35:16 ff. We there read that as Jacob went from Bethel to Bethlehem, Rachel his wife died in her confinement, and that he then pitched his tent beyond Migdal-edar. There must, accordingly, have been a tower not far from Jerusalem, in the open field, such as were common in antiquity, to afford refuge to the inhabitants of the flat country in times of hostile invasion. Cf. Faber, Archaologie, 192 ff. German antiquity also is familiar with these towers visible from afar, in the open fields; in the Alexander-legend of Parson Lamprecht, they appear under the name of “Bergfrieden,” with which is connected the German-French name belfroys, beffrois. And that Micah has this tower of trie flock in mind is unquestionable, for, in the first place, thus only can we explain the connection of ideas, by virtue of which (Micah 5:9 ff.) the pangs of the woman in child-birth follow in a manner parallel to the connection of the tower of the flock with the pangs of Rachel (Genesis 35:0 :). And secondly, the mention of the name Ephrata (Micah 5:1), in connection with Bethlehem, is a reminiscence of Genesis 35:16.

If now we inquire more precisely after the position of this tower of the flock, we may infer with great probability from the two passages combined, that it lay within the limits of the subsequent city of Jerusalem. For here it is called the mount of Ophel, and Ophel lay in Jerusalem; there we read that it lay on the way from Bethel to Bethlehem, and within the inconsiderable distance which there was (כּבְרה, Micah 5:15) between the place where Rachel died and Bethlehem. Now Jerusalem lies on this road, twelve Roman miles from Bethel, and six Roman miles from Bethlehem. We may add, that from 1 Samuel 10:2, it must be inferred that Rachel’s grave lay still north of Jerusalem; that Jacob, therefore, after her death, on his way further to Bethlehem, must have passed the site of Jerusalem; but that Salem, the residence of Melchisedek, did not include the temple-mountain, is evident, since Abraham offered Isaac on this mountain without coming in contact with Melchisedek. On the other hand, that the temple mountain, particularly, was well suited for a fortification of the kind above described, is obvious from the fact that Hyrcanus also and Herod found it altogether convenient to be the site of a strong tower (Joseph., Ant., 18:6), and the south point, Ophel, especially, looked far out into the land, and was on three sides almost inaccessible. David may, therefore, have found this old tower on Ophel, and fortified it anew. For that he established such strong towers outside of Zion, also, is shown by the name of the tower, Nehemiah 3:11. Further, Isaiah 32:14 indicates that beside the palace on Zion (Armon), there stood a stronghold, and superfluously, Nehemiah 3:27, directly proves that Ophel was fortified, for a wall of Ophel is there spoken of.

That Micah now names this Flock-tower, in particular, as an emblem of the kingdom of David, is not because the establishment of a shepherd relation between God and his people is in question (Henestenberg); for it is here said that the dominion shall come to the Flock-tower, not to God; but it rests on historical agreements and parallels. The Flock-tower is directly a symbol of the royal house of David, as having come from the flock. Once already has Zion turned to the flock, to gain her king from thence; and so will she a second time, in the day of salvation, turn to the dominion which springs from the flock; the people turn to Jerusalem, Jerusalem to the heir of David.—עד denotes either the place up to which one comes, or the object toward which one turns. The first signification does not suit here; and we must therefore, as in Deuteronomy 4:30; Deuteronomy 30:2; Isaiah 9:12, have recourse to the second.—There thus lies at the bottom here, also, by implication, as in the two preceding verses, the conception of an unhappy interval, during which the kingdom of David is fallen down; and the thought is similar to that in Amos 9:11. This is expressed still more clearly by the following member : there comes the ancient dominion, the kingdom for the daughter of Jerusalem.—ל to designate the dominion over any one, as Numbers 22:4.—At the same time there runs parallel that other reference to Rachel, namely, that for the Jewish community this progress to salvation, to the Flock-tower, is a dangerous one: the Messiah is born amid deadly birth-pangs. With this thought, which is fully developed, Micah 5:1 ff., the following section connects itself.

Micah 5:9-14. In striking contrast to the rapturous vision of future splendor, appears the suffering which must first be endured. As in the preceding Micah 5:7 (cf. Psalms 35:15; Psalms 35:18), so here Micah 5:11 looks back to Psalms 35:0. (Micah 5:14-15). Now why dost thou cry aloud? In spirit the prophet perceives the cry which the daughter of Jerusalem must raise at the approach of the Assyrian (Isaiah 22:3 ff; cf. Isaiah 10:30). The nomen actionis stands as a strengthening object (Gesen., § 138, 1, 3). Is there no king in thee? Or has thy counsellor perished, that pangs have seized thee as the travailing woman in travail? The afflictipn will consist in the fact that the kingdom goes straightway to ruin, and Zion is thereby thrown into the deepest lamentation. “The loss of the king was much more painful for Israel than for any other people, because so many glorious promises were connected with the kingdom. The king was the visible representative of the divine favor, and his removal a sign of God’s wrath, and a nullification of all the blessings promised to the people in him.” Keil. “Counsellor” is an explanatory synonym.for king (Isaiah 9:5). What here is directly a figure becomes, as Micah 5:2 shows, to the prophet, looking back to the pangs of Rachel, from Micah 5:10 onward, a symbolical reality. The painful struggle of the people in their forsakenness serves, as Isaiah 7:14, for the ground of the Messianic view that amid the writhings, from this people as mother, the Messiah should be born.

Micah 5:10. But truly that must be preceded yet by much distress. Writhe and thrust forth, namely, the fruit of the body, who may counsel thee, since thou hast no counsellor. The cognate form גֹּהַ, stands here as Ps. 20:10 transitively instead of the intransitive גִּיהַ; cf. a similar irregularity in שׁוּב instead of הֵשִׁיב (Psalms 126:4, et sœp.). Writhe, daughter of Zion, as the travailing woman. It is high time that the birth which brings deliverance should follow, for the deepest trouble is at hand; for now thou must go forth out of the city. “To go forth,” spoken of those besieged, is the same as “to surrender” (Isaiah 36:16; 2 Kings 24:12). That קריה has no article, does not make it equivalent to the Latin urbs (Caspari, Keil), for the Latin has no article, and the Latin urbs (the well-known city) would be paralleled rather by הַקִּלְיָה, but there lies in מִן, as often, the negative consequence: to go out so that thou art no more a city (Isaiah 23:1). And must dwell in the field, while thou art carried away captive (Isaiah 36:17; Hosea 12:10); and come unto Babylon. This sharp announcement, reaching far beyond the immediately threatening danger from Assyria, marks the summit level of Micah’s threatening, the last step of the climax (Micah 1:9; Micah 2:4; Micah 3:12; Micah 4:10). It is of decisive importance also for the historical criticism of the prophets, since by it the criterion that everything must be easily understood from the present position, according to which the prophecy Isaiah 13 f., e.g., has been denied to Isaiah, falls to the ground. The prophecy is to be comprehended not by what an acute thinker might gather in a natural way concerning the immediate future, but only from an insight into the entire body of Old Testament prophecy. We can, to be sure, by that natural explanation, point to the fact that Babylon in Micah’s time belonged to the Assyrian monarchy, that it with its alternative name Shinar appears also in the undisputed portions of Isaiah (Isaiah 11:11) as a land in hostility with Judah, into which the Assyrians used to deport their captives (2 Chronicles 33:11); that it lay in part on this side of the Euphrates, therefore nearer to Judah than Nineveh beyond the Tigris; and finally, that it was the older (cf. Genesis 10:8; Genesis 10:10), and so the more celebrated capital of the Mesopotamian country.

Still, all these circumstances, while they deserve to be taken into the account, do not suffice for explaining how, just here in the decisive passage of Micah, instead of the real hostile power, Assyria, the subordinate vassal is named, and that so that the designation, although intended in a purely natural manner, could have appeared to the scornful and unbelieving men of that day (Micah 2:0 :) as nothing but a ridiculous paradox. Rather does Micah, in using this name “Babylon” (Babel), assume the position, resting on the Pentateuch, which regards the history of Israel as a history of the kingdom of God. This is by preference presented in the Scriptures, under the view of an antithesis between the holy city Jerusalem, on the one side (and the holy king David), and, on the other, the God-hating city Babylon, and the God-despising king Nimrod (Micah 5:5). The reason why the world in enmity against God should be represented by this particular type, which runs on through the whole Scripture (Revelation 16:19; Revelation 17:5; Revelation 18:21), lies in the account given in Genesis 11:0. (cf. Genesis 10:10 f.). This purports that just here mankind had the audacity to attempt the building of the tower, against the will of God, a view which is supported by a comparison of that report with Isaiah 13:13 ff., where the punishment threatened against Babylon is referred to that original transgression. On the other hand, the etymology of the name Nimrod also came to the support of this symbolism.—נִמְרוֹד N. Semitic = Heb. יִמְרֹד, derived from מרד (as יחוה, “the Existing,” from היה), therefore “the insurgent” (cf. Job 24:13). With the Assyrain termination—ak: Merodach.

The threatening of our passage, accordingly, theologically considered, indicates nothing less than that God’s commonwealth, before the coming of salvation, must be given up amid fearful catastrophes to the kingdom of the world. This theological view is, in the spirit of the prophets, the only possible one. That the simply historical apprehension does not suffice, is palpable : the oppression of Sennacherib carried away no Jew to Babylon. Accordingly, the Elders in Jeremiah 25:18 ff. in agreement with Micah 5:12 of our chapter—where also it is said that the immediate assault of the enemy will be baffled,—regard this prophecy of Micah as having been taken back.

The prophet is perfectly conscious that with this threatening he has spoken the severest word which could be uttered against the city; not merely oppression, division of lands, destruction of their nouses and sanctuaries; not merely annihilation of the kingdom and worship; not merely shameful defeat and prostration under an insolent foe; but removal from the land with which all the promises were inseparably connected (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 27:28); the curse in which all the curses of the law culminate. Hence he offers a word of comfort at once, before lie proceeds with his threatening: There shalt thou be delivered; there will Jehovah redeem thee, properly, buy thee back (Psalms 78:54), since the delivering up of Israel is conceived of as a sale on God’s part (Psalms 44:13; Isaiah 4:1 ff.) out of the hand of thy enemies. In the end it must yet again become light above the people of God.

Micah 5:11. The brief gleam of sunlight, however, in the distant future, is immediately overshadowed by the clouds of the nearer time : Yea, now are gathered against thee, not to hear the law (Micah 5:2), but for war—על as Obadiah 1:1many nations. The distress is naturally, in the prophet’s view, the same as that at which he had glanced Micah 5:9, as the parallel use of עתה proves. The chronological interpretation of Theodoret, adopted by Calvin, Cocceius, Marck, Hengstenberg, that after the redemption from the Bahylonian captivity there will be another time of oppression, together with the discovery of the Maccabees in our passage, which it necessitates, regards Micah not as a prophet, but as a diviner. It is opposed, moreover, both by the עתה. which never signifies deinde, and by the fact that we have here to do with the hostile invasion of “nations,” by which the national army of Mesopotamia may well be intended, but the mercenary collections of Antiochus cannot.7Who say : Let her be defiled by our encampment on the holy places (Obadiah 1:16; Psalms 35:16), and let our eyes feast upon Zion.—Singular of the verb with plural of the following subject, Gesenius, § 147, a: דּזה with ב, cf. Obadiah 1:12.

Micah 5:12. For the present, however, God wills the affliction only, not the destruction of Zion, which is reserved for the later judgment. But they know not the thoughts of Jehovah, which are very different from men’s thoughts (Isaiah 55:8 ff.), and understand not his counsel, to wit, that he collects them, brings them in troops before Jerusalem to assault her (Joel 4:9 ff.), not to deliver Jerusalem into their hands, but as a sheaf (sing, coll.) into the threshing floor, that he may have them together for the judgment. The shadow of Sennacherib falls across the scene.

Micah 5:13. And thus there comes, before the final deliverance, a moment of proud delight for Judah: Arise, and thresh daughter of Zion: Trample down as an ox which will tread upon the outspread grain in the straw, to stamp out the corn with the hoofs. Cf. Isaiah 28:28 and Cyrill. on the passage: ΙΙαιδες συνενεγκότες ἐξ . The comparison with the threshing cattle leads the prophet, through the association of ideas, to represent the power of the attack of the Jews upon the enemy by the familiar figure of the horns, as a symbol of strength, while yet he continues the picture of the threshing by the mention of the hoof: for thy horn will I make iron (Deuteronomy 33:17), and thy hoofs I will make brass (Job 28:2). And thou shalt beat in pieces many nations. And I will devote (cf. Leviticus 27:28) to Jehovah their gain (the goods they have collected by robbery, Judges 5:19), and their treasures to the Lord of the whole earth, to Jehovah, who through the subjugation of the heathen will have shown himself such (Psalms 96:9 :).

The distinction which here appears, between the revealing God speaking in the prophet, the Logos, and the God dwelling in heaven, presents itself also elsewhere in prophecy (Hosea 1:2; Isaiah 48:16). Zachariah calls the former “the angel that talked with me” (Micah 1:13, et sœpe). He is, according to our passage, the same that also in the name of God crushes the enemies (Psalms 36:5-6).

Micah 5:14 [Eng. Micah 5:1] however, puts a check upon the expectation raised high by this announcement. There will indeed a judgment follow upon the heathen before Jerusalem, and the prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 30:27 ff.) concerning the overthrow of the next approaching army of Assyria has its truth; but just as certainly has that of Micah himself also, previously given (Micah 3:12), concerning the extreme humiliation of Jerusalem.—This explanation of the seeming contradiction between Micah 5:13-14 appears the most obvious. Still the other view, supported by Keil, that Micah 5:12-13, concerning the Assyrian calamity, contemplate the final catastrophe of the heathen before Jerusalem (cf. Ezck. Micah 38:), and so belong to the eschatology of Micah, cannot be absolutely rejected as untenable.—Now, for this time of the judgment, which will strike thee also, gather thyself in troops (Jeremiah 5:7) thou daughter of the troop.בּת, before גְּדוּד, as before Zion (Micah 5:10), has the significance of a personifying address, in a relation of apposition with the following word : thou daughter of war-troops, i. e, thou people of Zion gathered in troops (1 Samuel 1:16), crowded together after the manner of a troop in war;8 gathered in troops, not indeed for attack merely, but from melancholy necessity; for they have set a siege against us. The prophet reckons himself with his people (cf. on Micah 1:8). Nor does the trouble stop with the siege; With a staff they smite on the cheek the judge of Israel; it leads to the extreme disgrace of Israel (cf. 2 Kings 23:24; Job 16:10) in the person of their judge, i. e. of him who stands at the head of the people, and who, if probably the king is meant, as Amos 2:3, is still not called מֶלֶךְ or משֵׁל, because this dignity, in the view of the prophets, is reserved for the Messiah (Micah 5:2), and in the afflictions preceding the Messiah properly exists not at all or only in a God-forsaken plight (Micah 5:9).

Micah 5:1-8 [Eng. Micah 5:2-9]. The description of the birth-pangs of salvation is ended, and the prophet turns, as in Micah 4:1 ff., to the prediction of that by which the salvation described shall come, namely, the person and work of the Messiah. While Jerusalem labors and has no strength to bring forth, God of his own strength sends the Messiah. With the aggravation of the threatening the promise also is enhanced.

Micah 5:1-4 a [2–5]. As the little Zion will become great among the mountains of the world, so anions the cities will the. little Bethlehem. The new flight of the discourse connects itself with Micah 4:14, as Micah 4:1 does with Micah 3:12, and Micah 4:9 with Micah 4:8. But thou Bethlehem-Ephratah! The addition of the ancient name from Genesis 35:16 heightens the impression of solemnity, and contains an allusion also, judging from the paronomasias in chapter first. The stem פָּרָה Hiph. “to make fruitful,” recalls the name of the Messiah, “Zemach,” “branch” or “shoot” (Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 3:8); as also in the name Bethlehem itself, i. e. Bread-house, an allusion may be discovered to the time of blessing in the kingdom of David, cf. the Abi-ad of Isaiah 9:6. The name is construed as masculine, not because the population is addressed (Keil: but then precisely the feminine would be required), but on account of the masc. בַּיִת contained in the name; “thou Bread-house of fruit-fulness.” Small art thou among the districts of Judah. Some: too small to be, but in that case מִן must stand and not לְ, and צָעִיר could hardly fail to have the article to mark the apposition. Rather צָעִיר is a predicate, and the infinitive with לִ stands, as often, in place of the finite verb (Proverbs 19:8; Psalms 118:8, cf. Micah 5:9; Isaiah 21:1; Ecclesiastes 2:3; 2 Chronicles 11:12), so that the translation in Matthew 2:6 is correct even to the οὐδαμῶς which anticipates the sense, and that of Luther corresponds exactly to the original. The LXX. translate the להיות twice: ὀλιγοστὸς εἶ τοῦ εἶναι.9Alafim, prop. “thousands,” are according to Numbers 1:16; Numbers 10:4, the greater divisions into which the tribes were parted.

Bethlehem was so small that it is wanting in the catalogue of cities in the book of Joshua. The LXX. indeed have it, and this warrants the conjecture of Jerome that it originally stood in the Hebrew text and was afterward stricken out, not, certainly, stricken out, as Jerome supposes, to obscure the derivation of the Messiah from the tribe of Judah, but plainly because the Rabbinic critics, sharing the interpretation of our passage rejected above, felt obliged to correct the text of Joshua accordingly [?] In Ezra 1:2, and Nehemiah 7:26, Bethlehem is numbered in the Hebrew also as one of the families of Judah; but it is wanting in Nehemiah 11:25, among the cities rebuilt immediately after the exile, and in the N. T. time it is called merely a κώμη (John 7:42), a χωρίον (Joseph., Ant., v. 2, 8).

As the Flock-tower will be again honored as the seat of the old dominion, so will Bethlehem, the home of David, as the starting-point of the new Ruler. Out of thee will go forth for me (cf. Jeremiah 30:24) he who is to be a ruler (cf. מִמְשָׁלָה4:8) in Israel. להיות without subject rests on the construction in the preceding member of the verse. The subject is left undetermined because it is immediately determined by the predicate, and, besides, the idea “out of thee” must first be made prominent, which would have been thrown into the background by naming the subject in the former member,—And whose outgoings are from of old, from the days of ancient time. It is not a new thing which Micah prophesies; but he whose origin he announces is one with the long promised Messiah of the stock of David. That the “of old” means directly the ancient time of the kingdom of David, which lay for Micah already in the distance of three hundred years, appears possible to be inferred from Amos 9:11, where it is said in a quite similar connection: “I will build the house of David as in the days of old (cf. sup., Micah 4:8). Still, the prophet, who everywhere speaks out of the full compass of God’s organic kingdom (cf. on Micah 4:0 : Micah 5:10), may have carried back his view even to the origin of the promise, even to the promise given to Eve, as the emphatic accumulation of the phrase suggest. “For a period of inconceivable length the ruler goes forth, and is coming, who will finally proceed from Bethlehem. For, since he it is toward whom the history of mankind, of Israel, of the house of David, look, all the steps in the progress of these are preparations for his coming, goings-forth of the second son of Jesse.” Hoffman, Schriftbeweis, Micah 2:1; Micah 2:9. Only this are we hardly allowed to say, that our passage, in the sense of the prophet, gives a strict proof of the antemundane life of the Messiah. Besides, the expression translated “ancient times” is too ambiguous. Matthew, if he had held that interpretation, would certainly not have left this so important proof-text untranslated. Yet history has attached to the ambiguous word of the prophet this definite sense, and that we, when we read the passage, so understand it, is natural, and only an application of the maxim, that God’s revealing deeds are explanations of his revealing words, and vice versa. And, in fact, that no other reference of our passage is historically possible, than that to the birth of Christ, is obvious. So was it understood, not merely by Matthew 2:6, but also by the scribes (Matthew 2:5; John 7:41 f.), nay, even by the emperor Hadrian, who, to kill the pseudo-Messianic disturbances at the root, caused all the Jews to be driven out of the region round about Bethlehem (Reland, J., 647; Tertullian, Cont. Jud., chap. 13), and the refutation of the strange propositions of the Jewish theology after Christ hardly required the great toil whieh Hengstenberg has expended upon them. The great freedom with which Matthew gives the citation is to be judged according to 2 Corinthians 3:6. Calvin: “Semper attendant lectores, quorsum adducant evangelistce scripturce locos, ne scrupulose in singulis verbis insistant, sed contenti sint hoc uno, quod scriptura nunquam torquetur ab illis in alienum sensum.” The word מוֹצָאֹתיו is chosen in reference to Hosea 6:3; the employment of the plural is explained by the older interpreters (Jerome, Trem., Jun.) on the theory that Micah Bpeaks of the eternal, unceasing procession of the Son from the Father. Cocceius : “Omnibus diebus swculi egreditur filius a patre et eternum estἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης αὐτο͂.” That, however, is an importation of the previously conceived dogmatic notion, without support from the language. Hengstenberg’s explanation, “place of origin,” is linguistically more appropriate (Numbers 33:2; Psalms 70:1), yet apart from the true sense, for the “days of eternity” are not place, and the assertion that מוֹצָא in general cannot mean the actus exeundi, is arbitrary; cf. the forms &#מַדַּע מַעְַשֶׂה מַפֶּלֶת, etc. The plural may most simply be regarded as the rhetorical plural especially frequent in poetical diction (Psalms 114:2; Psalms 49:4, and the תוֹצָאוֹת, Proverbs 4:21); yet further on a deeper side-design of the prophet will appear.

Micah 5:2 [3]. But how does this gracious purpose of God agree with the heavy threatenings in chap. 4.Micah 5:14; Micah 5:14? That is explained by Micah 5:2, since it begins, paradoxically enough, with לָכֵז, not “although,” but “because.” Therefore, precisely because Israel is to be redeemed not bv his own power, but by the gracious gift of the Messiah, and because not out of the secure city of Zion, but out of that despised Bethlehem, this Messiah must come, will he give them up; that is, God gives Israel into the hands of the enemy, נהזas 2 Chronicles 30:6, until the time that she that bears has borne. Who she is that bears cannot be doubtful from Micah 4:8 ff. Then the people were compared to Rachel. Rachel must groan anew at the Tower of the flock, that the new birth might come to pass. The one in travail, accordingly, is not any individual woman, as for instance the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus (Hengstenberg), but the people of Judah, of whom it was predicted Genesis 49:10, that a ruler sprung from them should never fail until Shiloh should come, which Shiloh Micah understands as a person, and in Micah 5:4 a, replaces by Shalom. In Hosea 8:13, Israel has not come to the birth, but Judah is in Isaiah 7:14; cf. Isaiah 9:6, also the pregnant maiden who shall bring forth the Immanuel. In the last distress the Messiah is born, whose outgoings, therefore, are as old as the time when the first seed of’promise went forth,—as when God comforted his people with the prospect of “a time when the travailing woman should bear;” as old therefore as Abraham and Adam (Genesis 12:3). In Micah’s mind, as the connection of these two verses shows, the same conclusion is drawn as Paul plainly expresses, Galatians 3:16 : not of many seeds does the promise speak, but of one: and so, all the births which have taken place since that promise, and in the line of it, are, as being only members of the genealogy leading to the Messiah, goings-forth of himself, the One. And as the people appear here as his mother, not a single family line leads to him, but all. Thus there is no incongruity in the fact that the people, after the representative capital, is called the daughter of Zion, while yet he comes from Bethlehem.

That is the fullness of the time when the gathering of the people, which for the present only false prophets can promise (Micah 2:12), will take place. The sentence with ו connects itself to the preceding as if after עַד stood instead of עֵת a final temporal clause: until (she that bears shall have borne) and the residue of his brethren return (out of the captivity: Micah 4:10). Instead of the customary terminus technicus,שׁארית (cf. on Micah 2:12), which returns again afterwards, we have the synonymous יֶתֶר (as Zechariah 14:2), perhaps to indicate that we have to do not merely with the inhabitants of Judah left from the judgment, but with other estranged sons of Abraham, namely, with the members of the ten tribes, now long revolted from David. So the word is interpreted by Hoffman also, and Cas-pari, and Keil. That these scattered ones are his, the Messiah’s brethren, is manifest from our explanation of the first half of the verse, but it is emphatically brought out: only as his brethren have they a right to return to לְ עַל, Proverbs 26:11) the sons of Israel, his race (Isaiah 54:8).

Micah 5:3 [4]. For not theirs is the power, but he will stand, in the position of a governor, as a shepherd among his flock (Isaiah 61:5), and feed, perform God’s office (Psalms 23:5 :), as the true follower of David called from the flock to the kingdom (cf. on Micah 4:8, but also Revelation 12:0.), in the power of Jehovah (cf. Isaiah 9:5; Isaiah 11:2), in the majesty of the name of his father, which he himself will bear (Isaiah 9:5; cf. Isaiah 10:21), and whose Gaon (majesty) has already, in ancient times, proved itself mighty over his people (Exodus 15:7). And they shall abide [Kleinert: settle], dwell in peace, as is described chap. 4.Micah 5:4. And now (עתה spoken from the standing-point of the fulfillment, as in Micah 4:7) is He great, He alone (cf. Joel 2:21; Joel 2:20, and the citation Luke 1:32) unto the end of the earth; the kingdom has become a universal kingdom (chap. 4.Micah 5:1 ff.; Psalms 72:8).

The three first words of Micah 5:4 are to be connected immediately with Micah 5:3, and to be separated from the following: And He will be peace. Thus only arises a satisfactory sense, and the beautiful structure of the third verse comes into view: (1 a) and He stands, (b) and He feeds in the power of Jehovah, (c) and in the majesty of the name of Jehovah; (2 a) and they dwell, (b) for now is He great even to the end’s of the earth, (c) and He will be peace. “Peace” is the Messiah called, as quite similarly (Ephesians 2:14) αὐτός ἐστινεἰρήνη ἡμῶν, with which cf. Judges 6:24; Isaiah 9:5. The reference to Genesis 49:10, indicated on Micah 5:2 is manifest, as Ezekiel also offers a personal interpretation of the obscure term Shiloh (Ezekiel 21:32). Peace is the characteristic feature in all the descriptions of the Messiah’s kingdom (cf. particularly, Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 11:6). And as David had already, in reference to the great mission, named the heir of the promise (2 Samuel 7:0.) Solomon, man of peace, it was doubly natural for the prophet, who had before his eyes everywhere the mutual connection of the historical relations, and who had also (chap. 4.Micah 5:4; Micah 5:4) looked back to the time of Solomon, to say: He will be the true Solomon, seeing that the first one effected not the peace, but the sundering of the kingdom (1 Kings 11:31 ff).

Micah 5:4 [5], b, 5 [6]. The security and power of the new kingdom, God’s kingdom, stands in antagonism to the world-kingdom, and can attain to its restoration only by the destruction of the latter (Psalms 2:9). This is represented here under the name of Assyria, also in its historical, typical signification, as a universal empire, as in Isaiah 27:13, while in Micah 4:10 Babylon appears in the same light. Asshur, whatever Assyria it may be (L. Bauer: another Assyria;) Castalio compares Virgil’s verse: “Alter erit tunc Tiphys et altera quw vehat Argo delectos heroas;when he cometh into our land,—the prophet speaks as a member of the people,—and when he treadeth upon our palaces, then we will set up against him (על, as Judges 9:43) seven shepherds and eight princes of men. The distinctive terms, “palace,” “seven,” and “eight,” connect themselves with the threatening formula with which Amos (chaps, 1, Micah 2:0 :) announces the approach of the avenging catastrophe. The grace will be mightier than the sin; hence, instead of the three and four sins, which, according to Amos 2:4, make the judgment necessary, seven and eight heroes are named, who shall drive away the enemy. The seven and eight are, as we may suppose, not coordinate with the one in whose hands, according to 5 b, the main transaction rests, but subordinate to him. That the sense is only that the Messiah will afford the same protection to the people as a number of heroes (Umbreit, and still earlier Hengsten-berg), is intimated by nothing in the text. Obadiah also in a quite similar connection has the plural (Obadiah 1:21). They are called shepherds, since the prophet, from Micah 5:2 on, has constantly used the figure of feeding (pasturing) for dominion, to recall the pastoral origin of the dynasty of David. Whether here the function of leadership in war, or that of which John (12. f.) speaks, is most prominent in the figure, cannot be determined. Jeremiah (20.), Ezekiel (34.), and Zechariah, after the example of our prophet, and of Psalms 23:0 and Psalms 95:0., present further developments of the figure; the final amplification of it, within the limits of Scripture, is given by Jesus himself in John 10:0.

Nasikh is not an anointed one, but one formally installed in office, a prince (Caspari, cf. Hupfeld on Psalms 2:6), and נסּיכי אדם are princes among the children of men (Ewald, § 287, g).

Micah 5:5 [6]. And they shall feed [down], while the protective agency for Israel is turned (cf. Psalms 2:9; Revelation 2:27) into a destructive one for the heathen, the land of Asshur with the swond, and the land of Nimrod with his [her] gates. Nimrod likewise is a typical designation (cf. Micah 4:10). The defeat of the enemy will drive them from the gates of Jerusalem, into which they would press, to their own gates, and crush them there (cf. Is. (Isaiah 28:6). So will He, the Messiah, deliver from Asshur when He cometh into our land, and when He treadeth on our borders. Climax: not at all shall the enemy reach Jerusalem, but at the very border shall they be met and thrust back.

It appears from a comparison with chap. 4.Micah 5:2, that the prophet makes a distinction among the heathen themselves between those who arc disposed to salvation and those who are hardened against it. The one class will voluntarily press towards salvation, the others, by irresistible, judicial power be brought to a recognition of God’s sovereignty (Psalms 2:12). Thus also the apparent contradiction between our passage and Isaiah 19:23 ff. is explained. The same antithesis is carried through in what follows :—

Micah 5:6-8 [7–9]. The people of God, in its participation in the work of the Messiah, is a beneficent dew for those who seek God, a destructive one for those who hate Him; Luke 3:34; Romans 9:33 coll. Isaiah 8:14; Isaiah 28:16. Then will the remnant of Jacob, which through the Messiah will have shared in salvation (cf. on Micah 5:2), be in the midst of the abundance of the peoples (cf. chap. 4.Micah 5:2; Micah 5:2) as dew, image of the vivifying refreshment which descends from heaven (Hosea 14:6) from Jehovah, not by human caprice and calculation, and with human failures (Isaiah 55:10), as rain-showers on the grass. Grass without rain presents a dry and withered appearance, and with it, therefore, a God-forsaken people may well be compared (Isaiah 40:6), as again with a field full of dry bones (Ezekiel 37:0.). If elsewhere the rain coming from God is mentioned with reference to the certainty of its fertilizing effect (Isaiah 55:10), here it is thought of as that which tarrieth not for men, and waiteth not for the children of men, which (as is implied in the phrase “from Jehovah‚” in the first member) is not at all dependent on the doings and strivings of men, but alone on the grace of God which supplies it according to his own thoughts and his own laws (Isaiah 55:8). Umbreit: The Lord’s congregation is, in its heavenly call, in its independence of the favor of men, a dew which falls in refreshing drops on the herbage of the world; it works with as fertilizing an effect on the variously stocked field of the peoples round about.

Micah 5:7 [8]. But again will also the remnant of Jacob be among the heathen, in the midst of the abundance of the peoples as a lion … unsparingly. That the figures of dew and a lion stand in contrast, is obvious; and to attempt to combine them with reference to the element common to both, suddenness—Israel will fall like dew as unexpectedly as a lion on his prey (Hitzig)—empties the passage of meaning, to say nothing of the turgidity. Our verse runs parallel to Micah 5:5, as Micah 5:6 to chap. 4.Micah 5:2 ff.

Micah 5:8 [9]. With exulting shout the prophet cheers Israel on, as he marches toward the, object indicated in the preceding verse: High be thy hand (Isaiah 26:11) above thine oppressors,—he goes forth, not in pride, but summoned by oppression, for defense,—and let all thy foes be cut off. Cf. Isaiah 60:12.

Micah 5:9-14 [10–15], The Threatening which lies in the Promise. If Israel, the kingdom of the future, is to be established, it must be pure, pure from confidence in any help beside God’s, whether human measures, force of arms, and the like, or idols. Accordingly, God must root out of Israel all abominations, before the judgment on the rebellious nations can come. Cf. 1 Peter 4:17; Jeremiah 25:29. And it will come to pass in that day, saith Jehovah, that I will destroy thy horses out of the midst of thee, and … strongholds. Parallel to our prophecy, and serving as a commentary upon it, stand many passages in the prophet Isaiah. He also mentions first of all the war-chariots and cavalry which had been brought in from Egypt simultaneously with the origin of idolatry, as an abomination in the eyes of God (Isaiah 2:7, cf. Isaiah 31:1; 1 Kings 10:21 f.), and declares that the fortresses must be destroyed (Isaiah 2:15); because all that is flesh and not spirit, and Israel shall be delivered not by man (Isaiah 31:8). If the kingdom of peace is to come, the putting away of the weapons of war (Micah 4:8) must begin in Israel. Prom the same point of view is the mention of cities to be regarded. Sacred history derives the first origin of cities from the first murderer; the close aggregation of men for mutual protection (Genesis 4:17), that is, on account of the experience and further apprehension of murder and homicide. Compare the positive term of the prophecy, Ezekiel 38:12; Zechariah 2:8 f.

Micah 5:11 [12]. As the self-help through war, so vanishes also self-deception through unprofitable and ensnaring idolatry, which, in contrast with the reverence for Jehovah expressed in prophecy and worship, is characterized by the two marks of divination and worship of idols: And I will destroy divinations out of thy hand, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers. Sign-mongering by hand (with staves, rods, drinking-cups, etc.) and observations of the sky and clouds (both can be understood from the word מענן, from ענן, a cloud), are used to represent all kinds of sorcery and magic.

Micah 5:12 [13]. Then will I out off thy stone images and thy molten images out of the midst of thee; and no more shalt thou worship the work of thy hands.

Micah 5:13 [14]. And I will tear down thy Asherahsאשׁירה, as Deuteronomy 7:5 irregularly written with i in the penult denotes, according to the derivation from אשׁר, related to ישׁר, the tree-trunk stuck upright in the ground to be worshipped (Deuteronomy 16:21), such as were the symbols of the nature-gods in the Canaanitish idolatry—out of the midst of thee, and destroy thy cities. These are regarded here not as fortified places, but as seats of false worship, as Micah 1:5 :. cf. Isaiah 15:1.

Micah 5:14. Then, when thus the purification is completed within thee, I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath on the people who have not heard. This last addition establishes, through the implied consequence, that some heathen nations will hear,the distinction made on Micah 5:5.


A light, a city on a hill, toward which the heathen stream—that is the holy congregation (Matthew 5:14). In the time of salvation she is loosed, by the catastrophe spoken of in Micah 3:12, from her natural substratum, the little earthly hill of Zion, and in her spiritual significance, as no longer a mere centre of a temporal system of worship, but the source of the perfect instruction concerning God, exalted high above all that is high on the earth. As upon the figure of David the prophetic figure of the Messiah is developed, so upon the figure of Jerusalem is the prophetic figure of the holy community of the future (cf. Psalms 87:0.). As once from the tower of Babylon, which they had raised for themselves, sinners were scattered over the world, so God now sets up the banner around which they are to assemble. Prom men the multitude of ways, from Him the oneness of way. Prom men the centrifugal power, from Him the centripetal. Now must the deceitful voices of the gods and the oracles be dumb, to inquire of which the heathen travelled over land and sea; inquiries of the heavens also and of the abyss (Deuteronomy 30:12 ff.) must cease. The world is aroused to receive the statute and watch-word of God which goes forth from Zion. And this watchword is Peace, not the peace which the world giveth, for “in the world ye shall have tribulation;” but which God alone can give, wheu He becomes judge of the nations. He has become the God of the world, the calling of Israel the religion of the world. Then there is a quiet, blessed abiding; God’s congregation are the quiet in the land. With glorified lustre the times of Solomon, the Peaceful, return. And whatever of noble fame there is among men grows pale before his name, or receives new splendor through his name.

But that the light may burn clear it must first be purified from the dross. Not with the proud, who rejoice in their own light, dwells the Holy who is the only light, and a burning flame for the ungodly, but with those who are humble and of a contrite spirit (Isaiah 57:15). Not until he is crippled in the contest with God does Israel receive the blessing (Genesis 32:25). The tower to which the congregation turn is not a regal, but a flock-tower. Prom the flock proceeds the rule, and the flock are the ruled. David was a shepherd, shepherds first heard of the Saviour, a shepherd was He himself.

But until then, until the spiritual completion of things, the way is still long. Jerusalem is still standing, and must first pass through the purifying judgments, whose end was described, Micah 3:12. Heavily struggles the congregation which is to be made perfect, under the terrors of the judgment. Out of her must the Messiah be born, from whom help cometh. But wave upon wave rushes on and dashes her that travaileth, yea, the waves will sweep her away from the shore where she thought herself concealed. Under God’s severe dealings there must first come upon Zion’s lips the cry: “Lord, depart from me, for I am a sinner,” before she can hear it said from his lips: “Fear not, for from henceforth shalt thou catch men.” And although she arise in might, so long as her Messiah is not born, all her labors come to nought, she labors in vain and spends her strength for nought (Isaiah 49:4). She must endure the worst.

Over against her stands the world-power, defiant from ancient times, and grown up together with her. And to the fullest power of manifestation must she come, yea, must accomplish the last shame of subjugation and extermination upon the inheritance of God, before she can herself be judged; for God judgeth not before the time is fulfilled (Genesis 15:16). But the days of the world-power also are numbered. She is allowed by God to perform her work and she performs it; but while she gathers all her might, she gathers it still only for the destruction which God has appointed to her.

For, when the time is fulfilled, the Messiah will be born of the travailing congregation. Not indeed in the outward Zion. Over that hangs the doom of destruction. But the poor of the world hath God chosen. Out of little Bethlehem will He come toward whom all the promises have pointed from the beginning, because from the beginning He was with God, and toward his coming all history looks. Israel is abandoned, but abandoned for the glory of God, which shall be accomplished through the Messiah. When everything totters, under the divine judgments, He alone stands firm and enters on his shepherd office to fulfill the prophecy of the kingdom; through Him God becomes the world-God, and Israel’s religion the world-religion, and in Him is the Peace, yea, He is Himself Peace.
But the world will not have the peace. The heathen flow unto it; some of them however do not join in this movement, but would destroy the kingdom. These flow on to be judged. It is another David who acts the shepherd here. For falling and for rising again, one for life another for death, thus stands the Messiah, and with Him the congregation of God, in the midst of the nations, in the midst of history.
Those who belong to Him are a congregation of the holy, separated from all that is impure, from all in which imin trusts apart from God, which he loves and fears besides God; and therefore triumphant, because God maintains her cause.

Hengstenberg: It makes no difference as to the thing whether the nations walk with their bodily feet or with the feet of the soul, whether they move toward the proper Mount Zion, or toward the Church, which was typified by that, only that the beginning of the pilgrimage must belong to a time when symbol and thing signified were still together, the outward Zion was still the seat of the Church. Incessantly strides the divine judgment towards its final issue, irresistibly the divine grace wrests from the enemy the prey which appeared to be given up to them forever. New phases of sin introduce new phases of judgment, a new phase of worldliness a new onset of the world-power. That the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Old Testament forms a side object of the occurrences of the New Testament, that, however, this object was with none of the latter the only object, that each of them, rather, has its significance apart from prophecy, and that by this significance prophecy and history are both equally ruled, is everywhere manifest. Among the blessings which the Messiah should bring to the congregation of the righteous, is first perceived the fundamental benefit, the condition of all others, namely, the transformation which He will produce in the disposition of the covenant people. This above all things must be ehanged, if they are not still further to be given up to judgment. False Israel is the proper booty of the world.

Schmieder: The three periods of deliverance in Micah give the basis for subsequent prophecy; (1.) The redemption from Babylon is unfolded by Isaiah 40-60 :., and in such a way that this redemption becomes the typical form for the entire subsequent development of the kingdom of God. (2.) The deliverance of Jerusalem from the universal attack of the nations is represented in Ezekiel 38-39. as the last triumph of Israel. (3.) The rescue from the last calamity of all, in which the city itself is conquered, and the judge of Israel is mocked, lies at the bottom of the concluding prophecy of Zechariah.

Calwer Bible: That is a comfort to him, that God’s instruments of punishment upon Israel find also an avenger again for their tyranny, even in the people of Israel, although these must first have passed under the rod.

Schlier: Not until Zion the impure has been destroyed, can it become the seat of God’s holy dominion; Zion’s people must first be led far away as captives, before they become a people strong in the Lord and victorious over all peoples; Zion’s king must be deeply humbled before the true king of David’s lineage comes, who brings everlasting peace to his people.

Of the fulfillment. Justin Martyr (Dial. c. Tr.) : As many of us as, moved by the law and by the word coming out of Jerusalem, through the Apostles, have come to the faith, and fled for refuge to the God of Jacob and of Israel, filled until then with war and slaughter and all iniquity, we have everywhere changed the instruments of war into instruments of peace, and are building piety, righteousness, philanthrophy, faith, hope, etc.

Calvin: Although God governed the ancient people by the hand of David, Josiah, Hezekiah, yet there lay as it were a shadow between, so that God ruled in a hidden way. The prophet, accordingly, here expresses the difference between that typical outline-shadow of the kingdom and the later, new kingdom which God would reveal through the Messiah. And that is truly and definitely fulfilled in the person of Christ. For although Christ was the true seed of David, He was still at the same time Jehovah, that is, God manifest in the flesh.

Hengstenberg thinks himself obliged, following ancient examples, to interpret Micah 4:9-13 in an apocalyptic way, as a chronological series, so that in Micah 4:9-10 the Babylonian catastrophe, in Micah 4:11 the Maccabean struggles, in Micah 4:14 the oppressions of the Romans should be foretold. Compare, on the contrary, the explanation given above.

Rosenm., Casp., and Keil give an eschatological reference to these verses.

Schmieder: It is an entire mistake to interpret this great prophecy of Micah of any one historical event, as though it was completely fulfilled in that. The interpretation corresponds nowhere in its entire fullness, not even with the expressly promised deliverance from Babylon. This should not expose the prophecy to suspicion, but only warn us against the undue haste of expositors. The prophecy rests on visions which represent, not separate historical events, but which in large, figurative sketches show the course of the development of God’s kingdom. What the Holy Spirit thus speaks, that the Holy Spirit alone can interpret, not all pious curiosity of historical learning.


On Micah 4:1-8. The kingdom of God.

1. Its central point: the glorified and exalted Zion, the source of the statutes and revelations, and through grace, the ancient, chosen seat of God’s dominion. Micah 4:1 a–c, Micah 4:2 g, h, 8.

2. Its citizens: those who flow toward it thirsting for righteosuness, longing for salvation.Micah 4:1 a, Micah 4:2 a–f, Micah 4:6, Micah 4:7.

3. Its order: God’s law and God’s peace. Micah 4:3.

4. Its blessedness: rest, security, prosperity. Micah 4:4.

5. Its duration: eternal, like God Himself. Micah 4:5.

Micah 4:1. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory. The city on the hill shines and is not concealed; it is thy own fault if thou see not. Salvation comes of grace; but that thou mayest possess it the voice of desire must be in thy heart. He who would not suffer law and justice, and longs not therefor in humble prostration, is not ready for the Gospel either.

Micah 4:3. God’s judgments are best, and are clear enough for him who has part in the Holy Ghost. Plough and scythe cease not; sowing and reaping are still attended with toil, but what was a curse has become a blessing.

Micah 4:4. Who longs not for rest? In the kingdom of God thou hast peace. The terrors of the world are for him alone who goes with the world.

Micah 4:5. In God’s name! With that begin all thy work, then will it go on prosperously.

Micah 4:6. Even the Old Testament knows that not until after the fullness of the heathen will Israel after the flesh, humbled and contrite, enter into the kingdom. Why is his entrance delayed? Because Christians, instead of regarding God’s way, and thus living in peace, consume each other in strife and spiritual warfare, and so throw doubt over the certainty of the divine promises. Until Micah 4:3 is fulfilled (in a spiritual sense), Micah 4:6 also will not be fulfilled.

Micah 4:7-8. How will the dominion be? The question is obscure, and can be answered only from the New Testament. One thing only is sure—that God will reign forever.

Hengstenberg: On Micah 4:2. The ways of the Lord are the ways in which He would have men walk,—the ways of living which are well pleasing to Him. The antithesis is the walking in one’s own ways (Isaiah 53:6), the direction of the life according to the caprice of the corrupt heart itself.

Michaelis: The Messiah will be a teacher, says Kimchi. And it is quite remarkable how the old teachers of the Jews themselves say expressly, that the Messiah will interpret the words of the law, and discover the errors of the Jews; that the doctrine which men learn before Him will not be considered in comparison with his new law.

Burck: Micah 4:3. Jehovah Himself will reign through his law and spirit. The office which ye most shamefully disregard (Micah 4:3), will be most faithfully discharged.

Michaelis: One may not object to this what Christ says (Matthew 10:34 ff.), that He was not come to bring peace on the earth but a sword; for this happens per accidens through human depravity; and these disturbances Christians do not excite but suffer. The perfect fulfillment of this prophecy, moreover, is reserved for the final completion of all things.

Calwer Bible: Micah 4:4. Even under Solomon’s reign was it so (1 Kings 4:25), as also the great crowd of men in Israel, which is promised (Micah 2:12), likewise existed in Israel, according to 1 Kings 4:20, under Solomon. Solomon’s reign was indeed the chief type of the final reign of Messiah.

Caspari: Micah 4:5. We have to do with a promise. An admonition, or decree implying an admonition, wquld not be appropriate here among mere promises. The walking in the name of Jehovah, however, is not to be regarded as a merit deserving salvation, but as a conditioning grace which has been bestowed upon Israel.

Calvin: Micah 4:8. The prophet here establishes the souls of the pious, that they may hold out steadfast through the long delay, and not be discouraged by the present defeat so as to despair of the fulfillment of God’s promises. The dominion of the daughter of Zion is made prominent, because the king in Israel had obscured the glory of God.

Gulich: It is called the ancient kingdom, (1.) Because it is David’s kingdom in his son Christ. (2.) Because it is a kingdom proceeding from among them, not of foreign princes. (3.) Because it is the kingdom of God. (4.) Because it is the kingdom of the twelve tribes reunited as at the time of David and Solomon. (5.) Because it is the kingdom over the heathen as David and Solomon ruled over the heathen.

Luther: Micah 4:1. The kingdom of Christ, or the preaching of the Gospel, has been made so sure, and so firmly established, that it can be stifled or exterminated by no power, however great.

Micah 4:2. In particular, the prophet wished to show the difference between the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Moses and the law. Moses is a dreadful teacher; constrains and drives the people to a shadow of obedience. But the kingdom of Christ has a willing people (Psalms 110:0 :), who of themselves like sheep follow their shepherd. Eor to such willing obedience are they moved by the great, unspeakable benefits.

Micah 4:3. If any one is so utterly unacquainted with Holy Scripture as to interpret this text to mean that a Christian either may not bear arms, or not legitimately use them, he very unskillfully perverts the whole sense of the prophet. Eor he takes this saying concerning the spiritual kingdom of Christ and applies it to the bodily kingdom; and this he does against the plain Scripture, which enjoins on the temporal magistracy that they should protect their subjects in the enjoyment of their rights, and help maintain the general peace.

Micah 4:4. What a great difference is there between householders! Yet if they be Christians, each of them has his noble fruits, with which to help and support others.

Micah 4:6. Yet who would be so pusillanimous as not easily to allow God to take away his earthly goods, if he only has sure hope of the heavenly goods?

Starke: Micah 4:1. At the time of Christ, Mount Zion stood over all other mountains. The Church of the New Testament has a great preeminence over the Church of the Old Testament. Christ maintains and extends, even amid manifold disruption and desolation of the earthly kingdoms, his spiritual kingdom—the Christian Church on earth—by his Word and Gospel,

Micah 4:2. It is not enough that each one believes for himself, one must also excite another by fraternal means unto righteousness. We must not only send others to church, but also visit it ourselves. Not all who come to the church are on that account true members of the church, but only those who come in true simplicity.

Micah 4:3. Christians should be a peaceable people and not live in bickerings, strife, and enmity. True piety is rewarded in this world, also (1 Timothy 4:8).

Micah 4:5. It is a devilish opinion that men may be saved in all religions. Christ’s kingdom is not a worldly but an eternal kingdom. A Christian must fear God not for a time only, but constantly.

Micah 4:6. Bodily plagues and all kinds of chastisements belong to the strange ways of God, by which, however, He seeks to bring the erring into the right way. The cross must give birth to the Church of Christ. Hold fast and endure.

Pfaff: Micah 4:1. The church of the New Testament rests on an immovable foundation. Even the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. All the kingdoms of the world are nothing to be considered of in comparison with the kingdom of Christ.

Micah 4:3. Because there is still everywhere war, hatred, and enmity among those who should be Christians, the Lord still judges the peoples and punishes the heathen.

Micah 4:5. No one is capable of the peace of God except him who walks in the name, and in the power, and according to the commandments of the Lord.

Quandt: Micah 4:1. As Zion, so far as it signified also Jerusalem, was the capital of God’s kingdom under the Old Testament, the language of the prophets naturally adapted itself to that, and thus the whole kingdom of God, from its Old Testament germs on toward its New Testament development, on earth and in heaven, was designated by the name of Zion, the mount of God.

Micah 4:3. The kingdom of peace is building itself up even in these periods, in so far as Christian people have already beaten many a sword into ploughshares and many a spear into pruning-hooks; this imperfect fulfillment is a pledge of the complete fulfillment.

On Micah 4:9-13. Of the straggles of God’s congregation.

They must be maintained—

1. Under heavy sorrow in secure expectation of the final redemption (Micah 4:9-10).

2. Under the mighty assaults of the foe in sure confidence that the Lord sits upon the throne (Micah 4:11-12).

3. In constant self-examination. For, although the victory must certainly be given to God’s cause (Micah 4:13), nevertheless, until Christ is born in the congregation (and in each individual, Micah 4:1), the result of every contest is deserved disaster and disgrace (Micah 4:14).

Micah 4:9. Desperate complaint under the struggle and sorrow which God lays upon thee is a sign that Christ is not in thee. See to it that it becomes the right complaint and sadness; then will He, amidst the pain, be born in thee.

Micah 4:10. In his misery the prodigal son first found his way to his father’s house.

Micah 4:11. How much more earnestly must we be concerned that God’s name should be hallowed through our faith and life, since we know that to his enemies nothing is more agreeable than to see us dishallowed. While we are not unholy no one can render us so; and those who attempt it do so for their own condemnation and ruin.

Micah 4:13. In the fortunes of the congregation there is a constant ebb and flow. Let us be on our guard against pride in apparently prosperous seasons, against despondency in the drought.

Micah 4:14. It is a very wretched thing, that many Christians remember not until amid the furious assaults of the enemy that they belong together, so as to spare one another; but at other times for trifling causes refuse salvation to each other and will not dwell under one roof.

Hengstenberg: On Micah 4:9. The mingling together of judgments with promises of salvation should guard believers against vain hopes, which, if not supported by the event, change into so much the deeper despondency. It contains also an indirect solace in itself, for He who sends the prediction of what shall be, under his control must it stand, and “He who sends can turn it away.” The greatest reason for our faint-heartedness under the cross is the doubt whether it comes from God.

Calvin: Micah 4:10. As soon as He has strengthened the souls of believers to bear the cross, He adds the hope of salvation.

Luther: Birth-pangs indicate not a death but a twofold life, that, namely, the mother is to be delivered of her burden and the new man born.

Micah 4:11. Israel, with his claim to be alone the people of God, was a thorn in the eye of the heathen.

Starke: Micah 4:9. In great distress of heart men often either forget God’s promises, or begin in some measure to despair of their fulfillmenti

Micah 4:10. Then is the cross most lightly borne, when we consider the will of God, and yield ourselves patiently to the trouble.

Micah 4:12. The ungodly in their persecution of the saints, always have, doubtless, an evil design, but God knows how nevertheless to turn it to good.

Micah 4:13. A great army can accomplish nothing unless God gives it strength.

Micah 4:14. And all preparation for war is vain when God would punish. Those who despise Him and his Word are despised by God in return, and given over to the scorn of men.

Pfaff: Micah 4:11 ff. The enemies of Christ’s kingdom must not think that, because by God’s appointment they are permitted to plague the church for a time, this will pass unpunished. The iniquity will be returned upon their own heads. Against God’s judgments, when they fall, avails no military preparation, but only the preparation through repentance and prayer.

Rieger: Even in our Church, and amid the priceless liberty of conscience with which God has blessed us, his kingdom is still everywhere hampered and oppressed by the power and spirit of the world, and one cannot make the least use of discipline, still less discover traces of the kingdom of God in the secular power. But the greater the need the better can the promises come to one’s help. If God should even still further and more grievously afflict, this must still be our consolation, that if He, breaks down that which He has himself built, He will use all the living stones otherwise for his own purposes. The certainty of the faith of Israel in the Old Testament, and the solidity of all God’s promises through the prophets, have served at all times as a support for the Christian faith. Where there is little or no faith in the heart, and men still esteem earthly good very highly, we often hear premature and too sensitive complaints, against which we must testify that there can and will be a still further decay of external prosperity, while yet God will not let his promise fail. Our heart is either lost in the distress and forgets the promise, or it lends an ear to the promise and then thinks there must nothing adverse intervene. It is right to keep promise and threatening both before the eyes.

On chap. 5.The Prince of Peace.

1. His is coming.

(a.) In lowly guise, 1 a; humble.
(b.) And yet to the throne, 1 b; glorious.
(c.) Because He was appointed to this from of old, 1 c; eternal.
(d.) At the appointed fullness of time, 2 a; temporal.
2. His work.

(a.) To seek and save that which was lost, 2 b.
(b.) To be a shepherd in truth, 3 a.
(c.) To prepare God’s kingdom even to the ends I of the world, 3 b.
(d.) To give peace to his followers through the protection which He will afford and the bestow-ment of power, 4.
(e.) To judge the world, 5, 14.
3. His Congregation.

(a.) A spiritual congregation. Micah 5:6.

(b.) A powerful congregation. Micah 5:7-8.

(c.) A holy congregation, which (a) trusts in God alone (Micah 5:9-10); (ß) inquires after God’s will alone (Micah 5:11); (y) fears God alone (Micah 5:12-13).

Micah 5:1. God counts not but weighs; and the lowly and small in the eye of the world He chooses most fondly. He is a concealed God. His ways reach from the deep to the height.—As David came not from Bethlehem without previous signs, so everything temporal in the kingdom of God has eternal signification.—Kings should consider that they ought not to esteem’ most highly their arsenals, but their stores of bread, and that those exist for these.—Rulers are at all times by Gods grace. Christ’s coming is from eternity and to eternity.—It is little to believe that Christ was before the world; salvation begins not until you experience that He is born in the world.

Micah 5:2. God’s “therefore” is always hard to understand, especially when it goes against our flesh. Blessed he who receives it. God forsakes, but only for a certain time; have patience in the time of drought, his time is best of all. All his ways tend toward new birth; even death. He has forgotten none, and goes after all, even the lost; leaves the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and seeks the one.

Micah 5:3. Raise thy head; the Saviour stands ever, and if He veils himself, the cloud is in the dimness of thine eye; he cannot fall.—Although Jesus be thy salvation, thou shouldst not in a childish way drag his nature into the dust, but cherish a holy reverence for his divine majesty. In the name of Christ call upon God; in the name of God cry to Christ; He will certainly hear thee. Wherever thou art He is not far off. Even if thou wert sitting in the abyss, his kingdom reaches thither. But consider that time on earth has an end, seeking may begin too late.

Micah 5:4. He gives Himself, therefore gives He peace. In the congregation He, the One, is invisible; his work there is carried on by many hands. A visible head to the congregation is against Scripture.

Micah 5:5. Even where He smites, it is only salvation. No Christian should rejoice in the destruction of enemies, but only be thankful for the salvation of his own soul.

Micah 5:6. Amid the world must the congregation stand. Flight from the world is contrary to the kingdom of God. Where the maintenance of the spirit and of strength fails, there exists nothing of the true Israel. Again, where grace is sought through human wisdom, and is placed in an outward mechanism of Christianity, rather than in the living, travailing power of God’s spirit, there too the true Israel is not. Times of refreshing in the Church come not according to the will and calculation of men, but according to God’s will. They cannot be made, but must be prayed for. But for death God is not to blame, but those who would not receive the dew of his Spirit, and would rather remain dry.

Micah 5:7-8. If a preacher would indeed speak the Word of the Spirit, he must know that God’s Word, which he proclaims, will triumph. He who believes not speaks as if he spoke not. How much more earnest and diligent in our office should we be, if we always thought that God does not without means carry forward the upbuilding of his kingdom, but has connected this with instruments, with the remnant of Israel, his servants.

Micah 5:9-10. The pride of learning and wisdom also is horses; the pride of self-righteousness and good works is chariots, on which the natural man rides abroad; anvl if whole communities rest in them and suppose that they are thus justified, they are cities and fortresses rejected of God.

Micah 5:11 f. Covetousness and ambition also are idols. How many men ask first these dark idols of their heart, before they inquire after God’s will, and thus lose, alas ! labor and profit; adulterating also the fountain of grace which had been opened in their hearts.

Micah 5:14. In the time of salvation, the idea of “heathen” will no more be conceived as national and historical, but those are heathen who hear not the voice of God, whether by birth they stand within or outside of the congregation.

Michaelis: On Micah 5:1. “Days” and “eternity” seem to be incompatible, but the Scripture speaks of divine things which it would reveal, in a human way. Hence as we conceive always of a space still beyond the uttermost world-spheres, although it does not exist, so we imagine days and seasons before the world, because we cannot do otherwise. Thus the Apostle also speaks of the days of eternity, and God is called (Daniel 7:9) the Ancient of Days.

Chrysostom: When He says : His beginnings are from the beginning, from the days of antiquity, He shows his preexistent nature; but when He says: He will go forth a ruler to feed my people Israel, He shows his temporal birth.

Calvin: “For me will He come forth;” thus God indicates that He intends the destruction of the people only so as to restore them again after a certain time. Hence He calls back to Himself them that believe, and to his plan, as if He would say : So have I rejected you for a season, that you still lie near my heart.

Hengstenberg: God so ordered circumstances connected with the typical choice of David that his human lowliness might appear in the strongest light. It was God who raised him from a keeper of sheep to be a shepherd of the people.

Michaelis: On Micah 5:2. Therefore, because this is the plan of God, first to punish Zion for her sins and then to restore her through the Christ that comes forth out of Bethlehem.

Calvin: Micah 5:3. The expression “feed” shows how Christ stands toward his own, the sheep that have been intrusted to him. He does not rule over them like a dreadful tyrant, who oppresses his subjects with fear, but He is a shepherd and cares for his sheep with all the gentleness that, could be desired. But since we are surrounded with enemies, the prophet adds: He works with power, that is, with all the power there is in God, all the protection there is in Christ, as soon as there is need to protect the church. We should learn, therefore, to expect from Christ just as much salvation as there is power in God.

Schlier: Micah 5:6 ff. Christ’s people are a source of blessing everywhere, but where they are opposed they become a lion which none can resist; they are also a victorious people.

Schmieder: That the power of the holy people is a peaceful one, and that only the strength, not the kind of their force is compared to the force of a lion, is proved by what follows.

Michaelis: Christ is a lamb and a lion, cf. Revelation 6:16.

Michaelis: Micah 5:9. So did Joshua and David, in order to break up false confidence (Joshua 9:6 (f.; 2 Samuel 8:4).

Luther: How well has God fulfilled that already with the temporal Israel!

Starke: Micah 5:1. As believers under the Old Testament comforted themselves, amid their afflictions, with the promise of Christ’s coming in the flesh, so it becomes us, on whom the end of the world has come, to comfort and strengthen ourselves with the hope of Christ’s coming at the last judgment (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). Whatever cities worthily receive Christ, these are his Bethlehem. Although God’s throne is very high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly.

Micah 5:2. Let him that afflicts afflict, until He comes with the Gospel. Let him who loves happiness submit himself to his government in humility.

Micah 5:3. The Gospel gives nourishment to our souls, and glorifies Christ in us. Christ’s kingdom of power as well as of grace is and goes everywhere. The Gospel can be detained and hindered by no human power.

Micah 5:4. Christ is our peace, because through Him we have peace above us with God, within us in our conscience, around us with other men, and under us against Satan.

Micah 5:5. God can doubtless wink at the tyrants for a time; but when they have filled up the measure it will be measured to them again with the measure.

Micah 5:6. God scatters his pious ones for this reason also, that through them the seed of the Gospel may be sown also in other places. God has always a little flock left in the Church. True conversion results neither from our own nor from the powers of other men, but from God alone. The Gospel is the dew by which God refreshes the thirsty earth.

Micah 5:9-10. Many things not bad in themselves may become bad by abuse. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual and mighty before God (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Micah 5:13. Insincere worship also is a kind of idolatry.

Micah 5:14. God in kindness calls the sinner to repentance; if he obey not He chastises him in moderation; but if not even this helps, He overwhelms him utterly with his indignation.

Pfaff: Micah 5:1. Since Bethlehem, with the other cities of Judsea, has long been destroyed, the Messiah must have been born already. Jesus must reign by his Spirit in our hearts, if we would be a portion of his Israel.

Micah 5:2-3. A beautiful prophecy of the union of Jews and heathen in the New Testament; then they shall form one congregation to the world’s end.

Micah 5:6 f. Christians who walk in the power of the Saviour, are like a fruitful dew and rain, which fertilizes others also, makes them grow and bear fruit unto the Spirit; they are endowed with a spiritual strength from on high, whereby they may powerfully affect the conscience of men, and triumph gloriously over the kingdom of Satan.

Rieger: There remains much unexplained in this chapter. We may, however, in that which is clear and certain find our pasture, and have so much reverence for the more difficult parts as to believe that there lies in them also something by which already the faith of others has been strengthened, or of which others after us will have better understanding.

Micah 5:1 ff. Christ is here promised particularly as He who should be Lord over Israel, therefore in his kingdom. Where then is his high-priesthood, his redeeming work, and all the rest which is proclaimed of him in the Gospel ? All that has its fulfillment and due relations in the kingly rule. For this sets in motion his whole work of redemption with its blessed fruits, and procures its fulfillment for all the righteousness of God. It was the case with the Jews that they in an earthly sense rested on the kingdom alone, and stumbled at the rest; now, it works with many in Christendom almost precisely the other way.

Micah 5:2. It is not hard for faith to apprehend that, as Christ was once born at Bethlehem, as regards his person, so also he, in his kingdom, may once appear as the shepherd of nations, born through so many pangs and sighs of all the faithful, and may bring everything to the end proposed in the counsel of God.

Quandt: Micah 5:1. Out of the place which is too small to be an independent member, goes forth the head. Not the present Bethlehem, whose poor inhabitants support themselves by the preparation of mementoes for the pilgrims, out of the stones and shells of the Dead Sea, but a converted Christian soul is now the true birth-place of the Redeemer.

Micah 5:3. He who has the Messiah for a shepherd finds in Him both pasture and protection. With Him will the congregation dwell, not roam abroad any longer (cf. Amos 8:11).

Micah 5:6. The blessings which Christianity has brought to the world are not to be counted.

Micah 5:7. Not to the souls, but the sins of the nations will Israel be terrible; for the peace which the Messiah gives is in its nature warfare against sin.

Micah 5:10. Cities which are fortresses fall under the judgments of God, that confidence in them may fall also.

Micah 5:14. It is God’s way to do wonders with broken reeds. Not until’He has washed Israel in the sharp lye of his judgments, and taken from him all in which he placed his vain hopes, is he a suitable instrument for God, to execute his vengeance on the nations through attestation of the word.

[Dr. Pusey: On Micah 4:1. God’s promises, goodness, truth, fail not. He withdraweth his Presence from those who receive Him not; only to give Himself to those who will receive Him. Mercy is the end and sequel of chastisement. Micah then joins on this great prophecy of future mercy to the preceding woe, as its issue in the order of God’s will.

Micah 5:2. In Micah’s time not one people, scarcely some poor fragments of the Jewish people, went up to worship God at Zion, to call to remembrance his benefits, to learn of Him. Those who should thereafter worship Him, should be many nations.—They came not making bargains with God (as some now would), what they should be taught, that He should reveal to them nothing transcending reason, nothing exceeding or contradicting their notions of God; they do not come with reserves, that God should not take away this or that error, or should not disclose anything of.his incomprehensiblencss. They come in holy simplicity, to learn whatever He will condescend to tell them; in holy confidence, that He, the Infallible Truth, will teach them infallibly.—No one ever saw or could imagine two human beings, in whom the grace of God had unfolded itself in exactly the same way. Each saint will have his distinct beauty around the throne. But then each will have learnt of his ways, in a different proportion or degree.

Micah 5:3. The fathers had indeed a joy, which we have not, that wars were not between Christians; for although “just wars are lawful,” war cannot be on both sides just; very few wars have not, on both sides, what is against the spirit of the Gospel. Por, except where there is exceeding wickedness on one side, or peril of further evil, the words of our Lord would hold good, in public as well as private. I say unto you that ye resist not evil.

Micah 5:10. God’s judgments, or purifying trials, or visitation of his the saints, hold their way, until their end be reached. They who suffer cannot turn them aside; they who inflict them cannot add to them or detain them.—There [in Babylon, “in tumult, and din, and unrest, and the distractions of this life”] shall it [the backslidden and chastened soul] be delivered, like the poor Prodigal, who came to himself in a far country, when worn out by its hard service. Even then it must not despair, but remember, with him, its Father’s house, the Heavenly Jerusalem. Its pains within or without, whereby in it is brought back, are travail pains. Though all is dark, it must not say, I have no Counsellor. For its Redeemer’s name is Counsellor, “one Counsellor of a thousand.” “Thine Intercessor never dies.” Out of the very depths of misery will the Divine merrcy draw thee.

Dr. Pusey: Micah 5:7 (Eng. Vers.). In the Gospel and the grace of Christ there are both, gentleness and might; softness, as of the dew, might, as of a lion. For, “wisdom reacheth from one end to another mightily; and sweetly doth she order all things.”10

Micah 5:11. The church shall not need the temptation of human defenses; for God shall fence her in on every side. Great cities too, as the abode of luxury, and sin, of power and pride, and, mostly, of cruelty, are chiefly denounced as the objects of God’s anger. Babylon stands as the emblem of the whole city of the world or of the devil, as opposed to God. “The first city was built by Cain; Abel and the other saints had no continuing city here.”

Matthew Henry: Micah 4:2. Where we come to worship God. we come to be taught of Him. Those may comfortably expect that God will teach them who are firmly rewolved by his grace to do as they are taught.

Micah 5:5. Then peace is a blessing indeed, when it strengthens our resolution to cleave to the Lord.

Micah 5:12. When men are made use of as instruments of Providence in accomplishing its purposes, it is very common for them to intend one thing, and for God to intend quite the contrary.

Micah 5:13. When God has conquering work for his people to do, He will furnish them with strength and ability for it, will make the horns iron and the hoofs brass; and when He does so, they must exert the power He gives them and execute the commission; even the daughter of Zion must arise and thresh.

Micah 5:2 (Eng. Vers). A relation to Christ will magnify those that are littli in the world.

Micah 5:5. When God has work to do He will not want fitting instruments to do it with; and when He pleases He can do it by a few; He needs not raise thousands, but seven or eight principalmen may servr the turn, if God be with them.


[1][Literally, “upon” it, as though the stream would overflow the mountain. “It is a miracle, if waters ascend from a valley and flow to a mountain. So it is a miracle that earthly nations should ascend to the church, whose doctrine and life are lofty, arduous, sublime.” Lap. in Pusey in loc.—Tr.]

[2][Dr. Pusey understands the מִן partitively, and happily applies the expression to the infinite variety and degrees of understanding to which individual saints have attained, concerning God, and of experience of his grace. “They do not go to God because they know Him, but that they may know Him.”—Tr.]

[3][He speaks of it as law simply, not the Jewish, law as such, but a rule of life from God. Man’s better nature is ill at ease, being out of harmony with God. It cannot be otherwise. Having been made in His likeness, it must be distressed by its unlikeness; having been made by Him for Himself, it must be restless without Him. What they indistinctly longed for, what drew them, was the hope to be conformed by Him to Him. The sight of superhuman holiness, life, love, endurance, ever won and wins those without to the gospel or the church.”—Pusey.]

[4] These three verses are found again in Isaiah 2:2-4, almost word for word. It is disputed which of the two prophets borrowed them from the other. At first view the reference of them to our author seems to be favored by the obvious circumstance that they stand in a vital and complementary connection, are essential to the understanding of what follows, and through the antithesis to the immediately preceding context, have an appropriate and truly constructive position (cf. Micah 2:12 with Micah 3:1 and Micah 4:14 with Micah 5:1). In Isaiah, on the other hand, the three verses stand entirely apart at the head of a long discourse, whose subsequent parts are easily intelligible without them, and have only the interior connection with them that Isaiah shows: “So it ought to be and might have been, but how unworthy are ye now, that such salvation should come.” It is in this view evident that Isaiah in that passage quotes from some source, and granting this, it seems most obvious that he quotes from Micah. But now we learn from Jeremiah 26:18 f. that Micah published his prophesies (cf. the Introd.) under king Hezekiah. And although one might restrict this statement to that which was immediately connected with the verse of Micah (Micah 3:12) there cited, and belonging to the same time, still, on this principle chaps, 1., 6., 2., possibly, at the most, could be assigned to an earlier date of composition, but precisely for the series of discourses, chaps, 2–5., would Jeremiah’s statement remain decisive. But Isaiah’s discourse, Micah 2:0., belongs not to the time of Hezekiah, but at the latest, to that of Ahaz, probably to that of Jotham, and was composed, accordingly, before Micah 2-5. Besides, the assumption (otherwise improbable) that Micah has presented us in our book with a total collection of the revelation, communicated by him at different times, does not solve the enigma. For thus the verbal identity of the citation in Isaiah, made from the oral discourse, with the written expression of Micah remains unexplained. This latter must have lain before Isaiah, on the supposition that he was the borrower from our prophet.

Thus commentators have been led to assume that both prophets made use of one and the same earlier prophet (Hitzig: Joel), whose writing has been lost. But how can this be proved, especially since it stands written expressly over those verses in Isaiah, “The word of Jehovah,” which appears to do away utterly with such, and with every assumption of borrowing? I can understand this caption, which, besides, would be altogether superfluous, only by regarding it as belonging to the discourse itself of Isaiah, not, therefore as a title, but as an integral beginning of the discourse itself. I should accordingly paraphrase Isaiah 2:1-5 in this way: Isaiah once spoke the familiar word (הַבָדָּר), etc. (Isaiah 2:2-4); but now (Isaiah 2:5) it must be spoken thus (Isaiah 2:5 ff., cf. Isaiah 16:13. ff.). Isaiah should thus before the whole discourse in Micah 2:0. have uttered the Micah 5:2 ff. as an independent prophecy, which he now repeats under altered circumstances to show how it is that it cannot be fulfilled. Isaiah quotes, accordingly, from himself. On the other side, however, Micah also has taken up again that old promise of his respected colleague, which might very naturally have made a strong impression among the people, in order, not antithetically but expansively to carry it forward, and to attach thereto his own new revelations. In a similar manner Jeremiah also (vid Introd. to Obad.) has reproduced and modified older predictions. [The very general view of commentators is that Isaiah (“not after the reign of Jotham,” Pusey) borrowed these verses from our prophet. See Dr. Pusey’s very strong judgment, Introd. to the Proph. Micah, p. 289 f.—Tr.]

[5][Pusey finds the fulfillment of this enchanting prophecy of “Peace on Earth” “(1) In the character of the Gospel. (2) The prophecy has been fulfilled within and without, among individuals or bodies of men, in body or mind, in temper or indeed, as far as the Gospel has prevailed.” Alas! to how small an extent then, has the Gospel prevailed! True, the coming of Christ to the earth was remarkably, providentially coincident with a universal peace, the second which had been experienced throughout the Roman dominion since the reign of Numa (Livy, 1:19). Very impressive also are the testimonies of the early Christian writers to the change which the world had even then undergone, through the influence of Christianity, in respect to the frivolousness, the frequency, barbarity, rage, and destruetiveness of wars. Indeed, the expressed sentiments and the actual practice of Christians, at times, in former centuries, might well have encouraged the hope that erenow war would be remembered throughout Christendom only as the nightmare of a darkness forever past. But what is our feeling when those of us who are older retrace the bloody history of Christendom throughout our own lifetime! What, when we see the foremost nations of the world, and those most clearly enlightened by the rays of the Gospel, still most conspicuously distinguished above the heathen precisely in respect to the magnitude, the costliness, the scientific perfection, and the destructive efficiency, surpassing all ancient example, of their apparatus for mutual slaughter and devastation! It is but partial consolation to the Christian heart, that in all the wars which have stained the record of our century, one of the parties may have been in the right; because, even so, the other party, Christians also, were necessarily wrong. Still, it is true that the spirit of peace, “averse from war.” is the spirit of individual Christian hearts; and among the thousand I painful evils due in our time to the sectarian division, discrepancy, belligerency of Christians, without any authoritative unity of organization, or possibility of expressing freely their common thought and will, there is none more painful, humiliating, disastrous, than their incapacity to combine, and so make efficacious, their hatred of war.—Tr.]

[6][On OPhel, vid. Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, S. V. and Stanley’s Sinai and Palestime, p. 490.—Tr.]

[7][DR. Pusey in loc. Presents strongly, and enlarges, the arguments for understanding this of the oppressions in the time of the MAccabees. Tr.]

[8][גְּדוּד almost always means an irregular band of plundering soldiers, on a foray or raid, and in calling Jerusakem the daughter of such a troop, the prophet seems to intimate the lawlessness, violence, and injustice of which she had been guilty, and for which she was to be repaid in kind.—Tr.]

[9]Cf. Textual and Grammatical on the passage.

[10][Micah 5:4. — כִּי. Dr. Kleinert renders: Is it, possibly, that I brought thee up, etc.; ist etwa, dass, u. s. w. This is spirited but savors too much, perhaps, of modern rhetoric. — Tr.]

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Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Micah 5". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". 1857-84.