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Against oppression. A lamentation. A reproof of injustice and idolatry. A promise of restoration to Jacob.
Before Christ 730
Micah 2:1. Woe to them that devise iniquity— "Woe to them whose thoughts are big with mischief; so that they contrive schemes of oppression and iniquity upon their beds; which, licentious in power, they put in practice as soon as they rise in the morning." See Pro 3:29 and Lowth.
Micah 2:2. They oppress— They plunder.
Micah 2:3. For this time is evil— For an evil time shall that be.
Micah 2:4. He hath changed the portion— He hath alienated, or transferred the portion of my people. How hath he departed from me, to bring again him who divided our fields! But Houbigant renders it, The patrimony of my people is measured by line, and no one hath stirred himself to turn it [the line] from me; it hath divided our fields: that is to say, "No one hath prohibited the enemy from dividing our fields among them." The next verse confirms this interpretation Therefore there shall be no one, who, casting lots, shall extend a line for thee, in the congregation of the Lord. The Assyrians had ravaged Israel and Judah before their final destruction. See 2Ki 15:29; 2 Kings 18:13.
Micah 2:6-7. Prophesy ye not, &c.— Prophesy ye not:—Yet they will prophesy. At least prophesy not these things: The boundaries of the kingdom shall not be removed, Micah 2:7. For thus saith the house of Jacob, Is the Spirit of the Lord? &c. Houbigant.
Micah 2:8. Ye pull off the robe, &c.— Having taken away the garment, you plunder the robe also. They who travel securely are carried away as captives in war. Houbigant.
Micah 2:9. From their children, &c.— "Because, when ye plunder their houses, ye take away their children, and sell them to strangers and idolaters; and they are no longer esteemed my children, because they become the worshippers of false gods." See 2 Chronicles 28:8.
Micah 2:10. Arise ye, and depart— These words are addressed to the true worshippers of God, who dwelt in the kingdom of Israel, and who were part of all that Jacob, whom God, in the 12th verse, promises to assemble. That the truly pious only can be here addressed, is plain from the words, because it is polluted. The next clause should be rendered, Thou art defiled; all inherent corruption is in thee.
Micah 2:11. If a man, &c.— If a man, walking after the wind, or pursuing vanity and falsehood, do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee for wine and for strong drink, &c.
Micah 2:12. As the flock, &c.— They shall make a great noise on account of the multitude of men, as the flock in the midst of the fold. God is often styled the Shepherd of Israel; and his care over his believing people is compared to that of a shepherd over his flock, when he gathers them into the fold, and defends them from beasts of prey. See Houbigant and Lowth.
Micah 2:13. The breaker is come up, &c.— He who shall open the way shall ascend before them: They shall come by troops, and pass through the gates. Their king before them shall lead the band: The Lord shall be at their head. In these two last verses the times of the new covenant are foretold; when he who is both the shepherd and the king of his sheep,—of all his faithful people,—shall open the way before them; when they shall go into that rest mentioned, Micah 2:10. It is very usual with the prophets, after they have denounced the destruction of the Jewish republic, to foretel their grand and spiritual deliverance; that the people might not think themselves intirely forsaken of God as a nation. See Houbigant and Calmet.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, It is true both of nations and individuals, that they would never have been sufferers, if they had not first been sinners.
1. The sins of this people are brought to light. With deep contrivance, even on their beds, they planned their wicked designs; and having in the day cast their greedy eyes on some field or house which lay convenient for them, they devised how to dispossess the owner, and, like Ahab, seize the heritage: and, eager to put their schemes in execution, no sooner does the morning break, than they are in haste to be at their evil work; and, having the power in their hands, stop at no oppression, fraud, or injustice, to accomplish their designs, careless about the miseries which they may entail upon the unhappy families of those who fall the victims of their covetousness. Note; (1.) Where inordinate love of gain possesses the heart, the very feelings of humanity are often banished. (2.) The more design and deliberation there is in sin, the more exceeding sinful it becomes. (3.) They who abuse their power to oppression, will find a greater than they to espouse the cause of the injured.
2. God threatens them with condign punishment. They flattered themselves that they could as easily escape the curse as they had broken the commands of God, and haughtily looked down on their inferiors, and despised the warnings of the prophets; but God will devise an evil against them, the Assyrian invasion, from which they cannot remove their necks; and in this time of evil, distress, and perplexity, the lofty looks of the proud shall be brought low; for pride will surely sooner or later have a fall. To such misery would they be then reduced, that they would be a proverb in the mouth of every beholder; insulted by their enemies and by their friends bitterly lamented; the general cry will be, We be utterly spoiled; their persons captives; their substance plundered; their land possessed by strangers; their portion changed, and given into the hands of the heathen. Turning away, he hath divided our fields; either God in anger hath turned from them, and given them up to the spoil; or the Assyrian conqueror, before he retired, divided their land among others; so that now they should neither have the country to divide, as in the days of Joshua, nor people to inhabit it, nor a congregation of the Lord, in which to cast the lot before him. Note; (1.) What is got by fraud, will usually be no abiding possession. (2.) There is a righteous God, who will shortly deal with proud oppressors according to their deserts.
2nd, They who choose their own delusions, are justly given up to them. The sins and punishments of this people exactly correspond.
1. Their persecution of the prophets is punished by depriving them of these faithful ministers, and abandoning them to their own inventions. Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy? they could not bear their harsh admonitions, nor patiently hear the judgments which they denounced, and therefore enjoined them silence. Thus they who will not be reformed hate to be reproved, and still seek to silence the faithful ministers who will not suffer them to go on quietly in their iniquities, but denounce those terrors of the Lord which disturb their repose. Some read the words Prophesy not, as addressed to the true prophets; but prophesy ye, the false prophets, who flattered them in their iniquities: such teachers they chose as with lies and falsehood lulled them asleep, promising them peace, though they added drunkenness to thirst, the companions or encouragers of their wickedness; and though they abused their blessings so vilely, prophesying of wine and of strong drink, the best news in a drunkard's ears; he shall be the prophet of this people. On such abominable conduct God expostulates with them, O thou that art named the house of Jacob, glorying in their descent from this patriarch; is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? will their prohibition stop God's Spirit? and when he speaks, can the prophets forbear? Or will they limit him to visions of peace, and restrain him from foretelling the judgments that they provoked? Are these his doings? does such conduct become the house of Jacob? or, is this like God's people? or, does God delight in vengeance? No: they forced him to the strange work. Do not my words, says he, do good to him that walketh uprightly? If they enjoy not the blessing, they have only themselves to blame, who, by their impenitence, put good things from them. For these things, therefore, God gives them up to their own delusions, and bids his prophets be silent. They shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame; either that the prophets may not expose themselves to the insults which they had met with; or that they should reprove the people no more, who, as they had chosen lying prophets as their sin, shall be curst with them as their plague; and a heavier one cannot light upon them. Note; (1.) They who are vile themselves, choose those for teachers who most resemble them, and from whom they least fear reproof. (2.) None hate God's word, but those who walk contrary thereto: the upright delight in it, and adore the justice of the wrath therein revealed, as well as the riches of the grace. (3.) Many are happy when their ministers who disturbed them are removed or silenced, not knowing the wrath and reprobacy which are herein contained.
2. Their oppression shall be punished with captivity. Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy; as when the Israelites fell upon their brethren, 2Ch 28:6 or they grew more and more oppressive. Ye pull off the robe with the garment; stripping the poor quite naked, and this without the least provocation; from them that pass by securely, little suspecting such violence; as men averse from war, peaceable themselves, they thought to pass unmolested. Nay, to such a pitch of inhumanity they advanced, that they spared not helpless women and children, plundering their pleasant houses: and from their defenceless children have ye taken away my glory for ever; enslaving them, and selling them to the heathen; thus depriving them of all the blessings of God's worship, and robbing him of his glory. But God will give them according to their deeds: the oppressors shall in their turn be oppressed. Arise ye, and depart, ye who are my true worshippers, out of this polluted land: or, as others explain it, Arise ye, and depart, prepare for captivity; for this is not your rest: you flattered yourselves with an abiding mansion here, but God hath decreed the contrary. Because it is polluted, it shall destroy you even with a sore destruction; the land shall shake them out as the Canaanites of old; and the Chaldean sword shall spread dreadful ravages among them, the just punishment of their cruelty and oppression. Note; (1.) To oppress the fatherless and widows is peculiarly criminal, and God will surely be the avenger of their wrongs. (2.) This world is not our rest; we must not think of it here below: it is polluted, and every thing around us is ready to communicate defilement. We must arise and depart, weaned from it in affection, and passing through it as a pilgrim through a strange land, careful to avoid the pollutions that are in it, and hastening on to our only true rest, which is above with God in glory.
3rdly, God still in judgment remembers mercy. The chapter closes with a gracious promise of the adored Messiah.
The Lord will assemble the scattered remnant of Israel returning penitently to him whom they had forsaken, and will unite them in one glorious fold, where they shall together rejoice aloud under their divine Shepherd's care; which was accomplished when, by the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, many penitent Jews were brought into his church, and rejoiced in his salvation; and will be more fully accomplished, when the sons of Jacob shall be gathered from their present dispersion and embrace the true Messiah. The breaker is gone up before them, Christ Jesus, who hath borne down all opposition from sin and Satan, and opened a way for the faithful to pass over, especially by his resurrection and ascension, leading their captivity captive: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it, even all the faithful sons of God, who are made more than conquerors through his grace, and enabled triumphantly to pass through the gate of death: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them; Jesus the captain of their salvation leading the way, opening the kingdom of heaven to all believers, and bringing many sons unto glory, even all that faithful host which no man can number.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Micah 2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30