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A.M. 3294. B.C. 710.
In this chapter the prophet,
(1,) Laments the total corruption of the people, Micah 7:1-6 .
(2,) Directs those who feared God to take courage, to be patient, but to expect long trouble, Micah 7:7-13 . And,
(3,) To encourage themselves with God’s promises and faithfulness, and the future downfall of their enemies, Micah 7:14-20 .
Micah 7:1-2. Wo is me, &c. Judea, or rather the prophet himself, is here introduced as complaining, that though good men once abounded in the land, there were now few or none to be found. I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, &c. I am like one who gathers up the ears of corn after the harvest, or grapes after the vintage: who meets with very few. There is no cluster, &c. Good men, that used to be found in clusters, are now as the grape-gleanings of the vintage, here and there a berry. No societies of pious men are to be found, assembling together for the purposes of devotion and mutual edification: those that are such, are individuals, unconnected with, and standing aloof from each other. And these are but very imperfectly pious, like the small withered grapes, the refuse, left behind, not only by the gatherer, but by the gleaner. My soul desired the first ripe fruit I wish to see such worthy good men as lived in the former ages, were the ornaments of the primitive times, and as far excelled the best of the present age, as the first and full ripe fruits do those of the later growth, that never come to maturity. To meet with such as these would be a refreshment, to me like that which a thirsty traveller receives when he finds the early fruits in the summer season. The good man Hebrew, חסיד , the pious, kind, merciful, and beneficent; is perished out of the earth Rather, out of the land, namely, Judea. There are few or none that are so truly and consistently pious as to delight in doing good to others, or making them as happy as lies in their power. And there is none upright “As the early fig, of excellent flavour, cannot be found in the advanced season of summer, or the choice cluster of grapes after vintage, so neither can the good and upright man be discovered by diligent searching in Israel.” Newcome. They hunt every man his brother, &c. They make a prey, each one of his neighbour, or those they have to do with, and use all arts to deceive and injure them.
Micah 7:3-4. That they may do evil with both hands, &c. With all diligence; earnestly Hebrew, להישׂיב , to good it; that is, to do it thoroughly and effectually. “Their hands are bent on iniquity, to execute it fully.” So Dr. Wheeler. The prince asketh Namely, a gift; to do any one a favour, or good. And the judge asketh for a reward And the judge will not pass a decision till he has had a bribe to engage him to do it. And the great man uttereth his mischievous desire The great man at court, who can do what he will there, is bold to declare plainly his unjust, oppressive design; or, the mischief of his soul, as הות נפשׁו properly signifies. So they wrap it up The prince, the judge, and the great man, agreeing in their ill designs, make a threefold cord of iniquity: or, they twist one sin upon another, the latter to maintain or cover the former, and all jointly promote injustice, violence, and cruelty. The best of them is a brier Or, like a brier. They catch fast hold on, and retain, whatever they can lay their hands on. The most upright is sharper than a thorn Even the best among them would wound and injure on every side all that come near them. The day of thy watchmen The day in which they shall sound the alarm; and thy visitation cometh Namely, surely and speedily. The time of vengeance is coming, which hath been foretold by the prophets of former times, as well as the present, called here watchmen, as they are by Ezekiel 3:7, and by Hosea 9:8; then God will visit for all the sins thou hast committed against him. Watchmen may signify magistrates as well as prophets, (see note on Isaiah 56:10,) and then the words import the time when God will call both princes and prophets to account for their unfaithfulness in the discharge of their several offices. Now When that day is come; shall be their perplexity They shall be so entangled and insnared, as not to know what way to take.
Micah 7:5-7. Trust ye not in a friend This and the next verse are descriptive of a general corruption of manners; so that all ties and duties of consanguinity were trampled upon, or paid no regard to. The friend proved treacherous to his friend, the wife to her husband: children set at naught their parents, and a man’s own family, or domestics, plotted his injury, or destruction, or acted as enemies toward him. Therefore will I look unto the Lord The church here expresses her confidence in God alone, since no trust could be placed in man. Or, they may be considered as the words of the prophet, and of those who feared God in Israel.
Micah 7:8-9. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy Here begins a new subject; the Jewish nation in general being here introduced speaking in their captivity, and addressing themselves to the Chaldeans. When I fall I shall rise Or, because I am fallen; for I shall rise. When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me Neither rejoice nor triumph over me, because I at present sit in darkness, or misery, for Jehovah will again make me prosperous. I will bear the indignation of the Lord I will patiently, or without repining, bear the affliction, or punishment, Jehovah has inflicted upon me. Because I have sinned against him Because I am sensible I have highly offended him by my idolatry, injustice, and unmercifulness. Until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me Until he shall be pleased to acknowledge my cause, in consequence of my repentance and perseverance in the worship of him, and avenge my injuries on my enemies. It may well be supposed that the Chaldeans made a mock of the Jews for persevering in the worship of Jehovah, or that God who (as they supposed) had not been able to deliver them, his worshippers, out of their hands, the worshippers of Bel and Nebo; whom therefore they esteemed more powerful. He will bring me forth to the light He will again bring me into a prosperous condition. And I shall behold his righteousness Or rather, his goodness. What we render righteousness, often signifies, according to the Hebrew, beneficence, or goodness.
Micah 7:10-13. Then she that is mine enemy Namely, the Chaldean nation. Which said unto me, (namely, when she held me captive,) Where is the Lord thy God? Where is now Jehovah, whom thou worshippest, and sayest is the only God? Why does he not now deliver thee? Why does he not free thee from my hands, who am not his worshipper? Mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down, &c. As the heathen beheld the desolations of God’s church and temple with delight, (see Micah 4:11,) so it shall come to my turn to see God’s judgments executed upon the Babylonish empire, which shall be brought down to as low a condition as ever they had reduced God’s people. In the day that thy walls shall be built, &c. When God shall visit his people, and repair their decayed estate, (compare Amos 9:11,) then the tyrannical edicts of their persecutors shall be utterly abolished. This may partly relate to the recalling those edicts, which put a stop to the rebuilding of the city and temple of Jerusalem: see Ezra 4:23-24; Ezra 6:14; Nehemiah 2:8; Nehemiah 2:17. In that day At that time also; he shall come even to thee from Assyria, &c. This may be rendered, They shall come, &c.; that is, thy restored inhabitants; and from the fortress Or rather, from Egypt, even unto the river That is, the Euphrates; for the word מצור , which we translate fortress, likewise means Egypt. All this signifies the return of the Jews from the various parts to which they had been scattered. Notwithstanding, the land shall be desolate, &c. Nevertheless the land shall, before this, be reduced to a state of desolation, on account of the heinous wickedness of those who at present inhabit it.
Micah 7:14. Feed thy people with thy rod, &c. This seems to be a prayer which the prophet broke out into on this occasion, beseeching God to take his people again under his peculiar protection and care; which is the meaning of feeding them with his rod, or pastoral crook: the flock of thy heritage, which dwell solitarily That is, that peculiar people, which thou hast separated from the rest of the world, or caused to live apart by themselves, that they might maintain among them, and preserve uncorrupted, thy pure worship. In the wood, in the midst of Carmel Called the forest of Carmel, Isaiah 37:24, and spoken of as a place remarkable for its fruitfulness. Therefore, to feed in the midst of Carmel, implied giving them great plenty. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, &c. These parts of Canaan were noted for their rich pastures, and therefore this implies the same as the foregoing sentence, namely, Bless them with plenty of every thing, as was the case formerly.
Micah 7:15-16. According to the days of thy coming These words are an answer to the prophet’s prayer in the foregoing verse; wherein God tells him that the wonders he will perform in bringing back his people into their own country shall be as conspicuous as those which he showed in their deliverance out of Egypt, and giving them the first possession of it. The sense is equivalent to that of Psalms 68:22, The Lord hath said, I will bring my people again, as I did from Bashan, &c. The nations shall see, and be confounded at all their might The heathen shall feel the same confusion as men do under a great disappointment. Or, the meaning may be, They shall be ashamed of their might; namely, to see all the might of the Chaldean empire so soon laid low. This seems to be spoken of the nations in alliance with, or who were friends to, the Chaldeans. Others, by their might, understand the might and power of God’s people, whom no force will be able to withstand: see Micah 5:8. They shall lay their hand upon their mouth The evident tokens of God’s presence with his people shall strike their adversaries with astonishment. Their ears shall be deaf They shall be so struck with surprise, as not to hear what is said to them: or, they shall hardly believe their own ears, when they hear of those wonderful works which God will work for his servants.
Micah 7:17. They shall lick the dust like a serpent They shall fall to the earth through fear, and carry themselves very humbly and submissively toward God’s people. They shall move out of their holes like worms They shall be afraid to stir out of their lurking-holes; and if they creep out like worms, they shall presently hide their heads again. They shall be afraid of the Lord our God Overthrowing the Babylonish empire by Cyrus. This is expressed Isaiah 45:1, by loosing the loins of kings. And fear because of thee When they shall see Almighty God appear so conspicuously in thy favour. The text is parallel to that of Jeremiah 33:9, They shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and the prosperity that I procure unto it; that is, unto Jerusalem. Or, if the prophet be considered as addressing God, the meaning is, When they understand that it was long before denounced by the prophets that destruction should come upon them, and thy people be delivered, and they see all things tending to bring this to pass, then shall they begin to be afraid of thy power.
Micah 7:18-19. Who is a God like unto thee That is, there is no God like unto thee; that passeth by the transgression of the remnant, &c. That pardons the offences of the remainder of his people, namely, of those that shall survive the various punishments and destructions brought upon their forefathers for their sins. He retaineth not his anger for ever Though in his just displeasure he suffered their enemies to destroy their city, and lay their country desolate, and sent them into captivity; yet will he restore them again, and raise them to a state of great prosperity. He will chastise, but not consume his remnant. Because he delighteth in mercy Because it is his nature to delight in pardoning the penitent, and communicating blessings; whereas to punish, or inflict evil, is contrary to it. He will turn again, he will have compassion Or, he will again have compassion upon us. He will subdue our iniquities He will deliver us not only from the guilt, but also from the power of them, so that they shall not have dominion over us. Thou wilt utterly destroy them, as thou didst destroy Pharaoh and his army in the Red sea: a victory this, which can only be obtained by the merits of Christ, and the grace of the gospel. And therefore the remnant, here spoken of, to which God will show such mercy, seems to be chiefly those Jews which should be reserved to be made partakers of the benefits which should be conferred on that nation, upon their conversion to Christianity. Then especially shall God make manifest his mercy toward them, in pardoning all their former stubbornness and disobedience, and receiving them into his favour as formerly; and that in a degree greater than was ever experienced in the preceding ages of their church.
Micah 7:20. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob Thou wilt perform to his posterity what thou didst promise to Jacob. And the mercy to Abraham As the promises given to Abraham were made to him and to his seed after him, so the Scriptures speak of the blessings bestowed upon his children, as if they were actually made good to him their progenitor. Among the promises made to Abraham and the other patriarchs, one important one was, that their seed should possess the land of Canaan. This promise, with those of a spiritual nature, will receive its final accomplishment in the conversion and restoration of the Jewish nation in the latter times. That people are said to be beloved for their fathers’ sakes, Romans 11:28; and therefore we have reason to expect, that the mercies promised to their fathers will be made good to them, in God’s due time; for the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, Romans 11:29.
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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Micah 7". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany