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Bible Commentaries
Micah 5

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Verse 1

Micah 4:6 to Micah 5:1 . Exile and Restoration: Israel’ s Victory over the Nations.— The reference to the Babylonian exile ( Micah 4:10) shows that the passage is not earlier than the sixth century, Micah himself being concerned with Assyria, not Babylon. The sequence of thought is not clear, and it has been suggested that Micah 4:9 f. should precede Micah 4:6-8; Micah 4:11 ff. is apparently a distinct prophecy, describing a siege of Jerusalem which is eschatological rather than historic ( cf. Ezekiel 38:1.). The paragraph opens with a prophecy of the restoration of the “ Messianic” remnant (analogous to Micah 2:12 f.), the people being pictured as a lame, outcast, and suffering flock ( cf. Zephaniah 3:19). Jerusalem, restored to her ancient sovereignty, is the “ tower” of the flock ( cf. 2 Chronicles 26:10), i.e. the watch-tower of Yahweh, its shepherd. In Micah 4:9 f. the daughter of Zion is described as going forth from her leaderless city into homeless exile (the absence of a human rather than of the Divine king-counsellor seems intended, though cf. Jeremiah 8:19). Her sorrows are compared, as often ( cf. Jeremiah 4:31) with those of a travailing woman; yet Yahweh shall rescue her from her captivity. In Micah 4:11 ff. there is an apocalyptic vision of the final gathering of heathen forces against Jerusalem, eagerly seeking to desecrate her (by forcing their way in); but, in reality, Yahweh has gathered them for Zion to destroy them utterly, goring them with her horns ( Deuteronomy 33:17), threshing them with her hoofs ( Deuteronomy 25:4), and “ devoting” their possessions to Yahweh ( cf. 1 Samuel 15:3 mg.). For the figure of the threshing-floor, here employed, see Thomson, The Land and the Book, pp. 538ff. The closing verse of the paragraph ( Micah 5:1) is obscure; as it stands, Zion is the “ daughter of troops” , and is bidden to oppose the besiegers, who have insulted Israel’ s king, here called “ judge” , as in Amos 2:3 (for smite . . . upon the cheek, see 1 Kings 22:24, Job 16:10). Marti and others follow Wellhausen’ s easy emendation of the first clause, viz. “ Now cut thyself grievously” ( i.e. in sign of mourning; cf. Deuteronomy 14:1, p. 110), and regard the verse as a gloss on Micah 4:10.

Verses 2-9

Micah 5:2-9 . Messianic Anticipations.— This paragraph, like the last, seems to consist of several separate prophecies, viz. Micah 5:2-4, describing the emergence of a triumphant Davidic ruler; Micah 5:5 f., deliverance from the “ Assyrian” through leaders raised by the people; Micah 5:7-9, the multitude and irresistible might of the remnant of Israel. All these seem to be post-exilic, though some, taking “ Assyrian” literally, refer the second to Micah. The clan of Ephrathah (to whose district Bethlehem belongs; cf. Ruth 4:11, 1 Samuel 17:12, Joshua 15:59, LXX), though insignificant in numbers and standing, yet (because Bethlehem was the home of David 1 Samuel 20:6) is to be the source of the future ruler of Davidic ancestry ( Amos 9:11, Ezekiel 34:23 f., Isaiah 9:6 f; Isaiah 11:1 ff.), which goes back to ancient days ( Micah 5:2, both mgg.; “ goings forth” means “ origin” ). He shall stand firm ( Micah 5:4; cf. Isaiah 61:5), pasturing his flock in peace, strong by Yahweh’ s aid. Micah 5:3 is a later insertion in this prophecy, interrupting Micah 5:2 and Micah 5:4, and intended to connect it with the Messianic (not the true) interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 *; Yahweh, it is said, will give up His people to their foes until the birth of the Messiah (here identified with the Davidic king), and until the return of the” residue “ or remnant (probably, as Wellhausen says, a reference to the “ Shear Yashub” of Isaiah 7:3).— The second passage, Micah 5:5 f., is artificially linked to the first in the RV by the insertion of “ man” , to which nothing in the Heb. corresponds; “ this” should refer to what follows, i.e. the way in which peace shall be secured from the “ Assyrian” . Against the invasion of this (not identified) oppressor, the people will raise up plenty of princely ( Micah 5:5 mg.) leaders, who shall “ shepherd” the enemy’ s land, and bring deliverance.

Micah 5:5 . Assyrian is a term applied to many later oppressors of Israel, e.g. Lamentations 5:6, Ezra 6:22, Zechariah 10:11; cf. Herod, vii. 63.— palaces should be “ land” , with LXX.— The Heb. idiom, seven . . . and eight means “ a (full) seven, yes, eight if needed,” i.e. an ample, though indefinite, number; cf. Ecclesiastes 11:2.

Micah 5:6 . the land of Nimrod: a name for Assyria (see Genesis 10:8-12). The first “ he” in Micah 5:6 should probably be “ they” .— The third passage, Micah 5:7-9 , which is similar to Micah 2:12; Micah 4:7, presupposes the wide dispersion of the Jews, and perhaps belongs to the Persian period. Israel shall be as numerous as the drops of dew and rain, which fall on the grass in an abundance independent of man (so Marti cf. Hosea 1:10; or may the comparison be between the swift passing away of the dew and rain, as in Hosea 6:4, and the rapid gathering of the scattered Jews from all the nations?). Israel shall be as irresistible as a lion among the flocks. May she utterly destroy her foes! (but probably this should read “ thine hand is lifted up, etc.,” a conviction, rather than a wish).

Verses 10-15

Micah 5:10-15 . The Purging of Israel.— Some modern commentators, e.g. Wellhausen and Nowack, refer this to Micah; if so, it would anticipate the Deuteronomic denunciation of the “ pillars” and “ Asherim” ( Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 12:3); but the general character of this Divine intervention, to secure a community purified from warfare and idolatry, rather suggests a post-exilic date, when similar references to Asherim, etc., continued to be made ( e.g. Isaiah 27:9), Yahweh will remove from Israel its means of warfare ( Zechariah 9:10, Hosea 14:3; cf. Isaiah 2:7), that it may depend on Himself alone; He will bring to an end its sorceries ( i.e. magical use of spells and mixtures) and its soothsayers (lit. “ murmurers” ). He will destroy images ( Micah 1:7, Judges 17:3, Hosea 11:2, Deuteronomy 12:3), stone pillars ( Genesis 28:18, Deuteronomy 16:22, Isaiah 19:19), and wooden posts (Asherim, Deuteronomy 16:21, Jeremiah 17:2), with their associations of heathenism. Outside Israel, He will take vengeance on the disobedient heathen ( cf. Isaiah 60:12; this verse, introducing a new subject, may be a later addition)

Micah 5:14 . cities should probably be “ idols,” an easy emendation, for the sake of the parallelism.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Micah 5". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/micah-5.html. 1919.
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