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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Micah 4

 

 

Verses 1-3

But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.

Almost identical with Isaiah 2:2-4, which is derived from Micah, not vice versa. In Micah the prophecy stands in closest connection with the context. He had said, "The mountains of the house shall be as the high places of the forest" (Micah 3:12). Here he foretells the reversal of the sentence in the last days. He had said, "Zion shall be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps." Now he declares, "The law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." In Isaiah the prophecy is not so connected with the preceding context, which proves that Micah's introduction of it is the original.

The mountain of the house of the Lord - which just before (Micah 3:12) had been doomed to be a wild forest-height. Under Messiah its elevation is to be, not that of situation, but of moral dignity, as the seat of God's universal empire.

Shall be established in the top of the mountains. The Hebrew [ naakown (Hebrew #3559)] means, shall be abidingly established.

And people shall flow unto it. In Isaiah it is "all nations:" a more universal, as being the later prophecy.

Verse 3. And he shall judge among, many people, and rebuke - convict of sin (John 16:8-9, "And when he (the Spirit, the Comforter) is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; of sin, because they believe not on me"); and subdue with judgments (Psalms 2:5; Psalms 2:9; Psalms 110:5-6; Revelation 2:27; Revelation 12:5, "She brought forth a man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron").

He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks. This implies the reversal of the sentence to be executed by the enemy upon the people of God, "Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears." Christ's kingdom of peace shall supersede the wars wherewith Judah and Israel have been visited for their sins. In Isaiah 2:4 it is, "the nations ... many people.


Verse 4

But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.

But they shall sit every man under his vine ... - i:e., enjoy the most prosperous tranquillity (1 Kings 4:25, "Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree ... all the days of Solomon" - type of the true Solomon, the Prince of Peace; Zechariah 3:10). The vine and fig tree are mentioned rather than a house, to signify there will be no need of a covert; men will be safe even in the fields and open air.

For the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it - therefore it must come to pass, however unlikely now it may seem.


Verse 5

For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.

For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever - rather, Though it be that all people walk after their several gods, yet we (the Jews in the dispersion) will walk in the name of the Lord. So the Hebrew particle means in margin, Genesis 8:21; Exodus 13:17; Joshua 17:18. The resolution of the exiled Jews is, Since Yahweh gives us hope of so glorious a restoration, notwithstanding the overthrow of our temple and nation, we must, in confident reliance on His promise, persevere in the true worship of Him, however the nations around, our superiors now in strength and numbers, walk after their gods (Rosenmuller). As the Jews were thoroughly weaned from idols by the Babylonian captivity, so they shall be completely cured of unbelief by their present long dispersion (Zechariah 10:8-12).


Verse 6

In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;

In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth - feminine for neuter in Hebrew idiom, 'whatever halteth:' metaphor from sheep wearied out with a journey: all the suffering exiles of Israel (Ezekiel 34:16; Zephaniah 3:19).

And I will gather her that is driven out - all Israel's outcasts. Called "the Lord's flock" (Jeremiah 13:17; Ezekiel 34:13; Ezekiel 37:21; Zephaniah 3:19 follows Micah's language).


Verse 7

And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.

I will make her that halted a remnant - I will cause a remnant to remain which shall not perish.

And the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion. David's kingdom shall be restored in the person of Messiah, who is the seed of David, and at the same time Yahweh (Isaiah 24:23).

From henceforth, even forever - (Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 7:14; Daniel 7:27; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15).


Verse 8

And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.

And thou, O tower of the flock. Following up the metaphor of sheep (note, Micah 4:6), Jerusalem is called the "tower," from which the King and Shepherd observes and guards His flock: both the spiritual Jerusalem, the Church, now, whose towerlike elevation is that of doctrine and practice (Song of Solomon 4:4, "Thy neck is like the tower of David"), and the literal hereafter (Jeremiah 3:17). In large pastures it was usual to erect a high wooden tower, so as to oversee the flock. Jerome takes the Hebrew for 'flock,' Eder or Edar, as a proper name-namely, a village near Bethlehem, for which it is put, Bethlehem being taken to represent the royal stock of David (Micah 5:2 : cf. Genesis 35:21, "the tower of Edar"). But the explanatory words, "the strong bold of the daughter of Zion," confirm the English version.

The strong hold of the daughter of Zion - "strong hold," Hebrew, 'Ophel,' an impregnable height on mount Zion (2 Chronicles 27:3, "on the wall of Ophel (margin, the tower) he (Jotham) built much;" 2 Chronicles 33:14, "he (Hezekiah) compassed about Ophel;" Nehemiah 3:26-27, "the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel").

Unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion - namely, the dominion formerly exercised by thee shall come back to thee.

The kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem - rather, 'the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem shall come (again):' such as it was under David, before its being weakened by the secession of the ten tribes.


Verse 9

Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.

Now why dost thou cry out aloud? - addressed to the daughter of Zion, in her consternation at the approach of the Chaldeans.

Is there no king in thee? - asked tauntingly. There is a king in her; but it is the same as if there were none, so helpless to devise means of escape are he and his counselors (Maurer). Or, Zion's pains are because her king is taken away from her by the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 52:9; Lamentations 4:20, "The breath of our nostrils (Zedekiah), the anointed of the Lord, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the pagan;" Ezekiel 12:13). (Calvin.) The former view is illustrated by Jeremiah 49:7, "Is wisdom no more in Teman?" asked tauntingly. The latter, however, describes better Zion's kingless state during her present long dispersion (Hosea 3:4-5).


Verse 10

Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.

Be in pain, and labour to bring forth - carrying on the metaphor of a pregnant woman. Thou shalt be affected with bitter sorrows before thy deliverance shall come. I do not forbid thy grieving, but I bring thee consolation. Though God cares for His children, yet they must not expect to be exempt from trouble, but must prepare for it.

For now shalt thou go forth out of the city - on its capture. So "went out" and "come out" is used 2 Kings 24:12; Isaiah 36:16.

And thou shalt dwell in the field - namely, in the open country, defenseless, instead of their fortified city. Beside the Chebar (Psalms 137:1; Ezekiel 3:15).

And thou shalt go even to Babylon. Like Isaiah, Micah locks beyond the existing Assyrian dynasty to the Babylonian, and to Judah's captivity under it, and restoration (Isaiah 39:7; Isaiah 43:14). Had they been, as rationalists represent, merely sagacious politicians, they would have restricted their prophecies to the sphere of the existing Assyrian dynasty; because Assyria was then in the meridian height of its power (cf. Isaiah 39:6, "Behold the days come that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon"). But their seeing into the far off future of Babylon's subsequent supremacy, and Judah's connection with her, proves them to be inspired prophet. Not only so, but both contemporary prophets foretell the deliverance from Babylon as well as the captivity in it (Isaiah 48:20).

There shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thee enemies - "there ... there" emphatic repetition. The very scene of thy calamities is to be the scene of thy deliverance. In the midst of enemies, where all hope seems cut off there shall Cyrus the deliverer appear (cf Judges 14:14). Cyrus again being the type of the greater Deliverer who shall finally restore Israel.


Verse 11

Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.

Now also many nations are gathered against thee - the subject peoples composing Babylon's armies: and also Edom, Ammon, Moab, etc, who exulted in Judah's fall (Lamentations 2:16; Obadiah 1:11-13).

That say, Let her be defiled - metaphor from a virgin. Let her be defiled (i:e., outraged by violence and bloodshed).

And let our eye look upon Zion - and let our eye gaze insultingly on her shame and sorrow (Micah 7:10). Her foes desired to feast their eyes on her calamities.


Verse 12

But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.

But they know not the thoughts of the Lord. Their unsearchable wisdom and inexhaustible love, overruling seeming disaster to the final good of His people, is the very ground on which the restoration of Israel hereafter (of which the restoration from Babylon is a type) is based in Isaiah 55:8, (cf. with Micah 4:3; Micah 4:12-13, which prove that Israel-not merely the Christian Church-is the ultimate subject of the prophecy; also in Romans 11:33, where Paul had been speaking of the coming salvation of "all Israel," and adds that herein is exhibited God's unsearchable judgments - "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!") God's counsel is to discipline His people for a time with the foe as a scourge; and then to destroy the foe by the hands of His people.

For he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor - them who "gathered" themselves for Zion's destruction (Micah 4:11), the Lord "shall gather" for destruction by Zion (Micah 4:13, "Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion"), like sheaves gathered to be threshed (cf. Isaiah 21:10, "O my threshing, and the grain of my floor;" Jeremiah 51:33). The Hebrew is singular, 'sheaf.' However great the numbers of the foe, they are all but as one sheaf ready to be threshed (Calvin). Threshing was done by treading with the feet: hence, the propriety of the image for treading underfoot and breaking asunder the foe.


Verse 13

Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion - destroy thy foes "gathered" by Yahweh as "sheaves" (Isaiah 41:15-16).

For I will make thine horn iron. Zion being compared to an ox treading corn, and an ox's strength lying in the horns, her strength is implied by giving her a horn of iron (cf. 1 Kings 22:11, "Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron, and he said, Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians until thou have consumed them").

And I will make thy hoofs brass; and thou shalt beat in pieces many people - (Daniel 2:44). And I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord.} God subjects the nations to Zion, not for her own selfish aggrandizement, but for His glory (Isaiah 60:6; Isaiah 60:9, "The multitude of camels shall cover thee ... all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord ... Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee:" Zechariah 14:20, "In that day shall there be upon the bells of my horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD and the pots in the Lord's house, etc: yea, every pot in Jerusalem shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts;" with which cf. Isaiah 23:18, "Her (Tyre's) merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord; it shall not be treasured, nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord") and for their ultimate good; therefore He is here called, not merely God of Israel, but "Lord of the whole earth."

Remarks:

(1) Here is a prediction which certainly has not yet been fully accomplished either to the Jewish or to the Gentile Church. Jerusalem, as the seat of God's kingdom, is to be raised to a spiritual elevation far above that of the most exalted nations. From dooming Mount Zion to become soon like a wild forest height (Micah 3:12), because of the nation's sins, the prophet suddenly transports us to "the last days," when "the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains." The suddenness of the transition teaches us that the coming blessedness of Israel is an act wholly of sovereign grace, not for the people's merits, past, present, or future. Similarly, in the case of spiritual Israel, salvation is solely gratuitous, not of works; thus, "where sin abounded, grass did much more abound." (Romans 5:20).

(2) The result of the Lord's marvelous grace to Zion (Micah 4:2), on the Gentiles, shall be, to attract them, through the all subduing Spirit, to seek to be partakers of Israel's grace. Godliness, when it is manifested fully in the saints, has a power over others, constraining them to say, "Come, let us go up to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths."

(3) There is an order in God's ways of grace, as in His ways of Providence. That order is, that "the law should go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Micah 4:2). Let us fall in with the mind and the order of God, by placing the Jews in that prominent place in our affections, efforts, and prophetic views which God has intended that they should occupy.

(4) Judgment on the hostile world-powers shall precede the mercy about to be shown to the Jews (Micah 4:3). Then shall follow the reign of peace, wherein "nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." The prophetic command (Joel 3:10, "Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears") shall then be reversed; because "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks." How blessed a contrast shall that period of undisturbed tranquillity form to the suspicion, fear, and insecurity of the present order of things, even in comparatively well-governed states!

(5) As the Babylonian captivity weaned the Jews of their former proneness to idolatry, so their present long-continued dispersion will at last lead them, by the special grace of God, to cast away their unbelief, and in the strength of His Spirit to resolve, "We will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever" (Micah 4:5). Let this be our resolution also, and we shall experience that "the name of the Lord is a strong tower" (Proverbs 18:10), ensuring our safety forever and ever.

(6) As the Lord's elect people "walk in the name of the Lord forever and ever," so in the coming day the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth forever" (Micah 4:7). Those who once "halted,'' and whom God "afflicted" (Micah 4:6), shall then be made "strong." This promise, which primarily, belongs to Israel, belongs also to the present Church. Affliction is the discipline appointed to train the believer for coming glory. "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees (Hebrews 12:12).

(7) Jerusalem is in God's purposes the "tower of the flock" (Micah 4:8). "The kingdom shall come to her" with a glory far exceeding her former greatness. The Church also is designed by God to be a tower of spiritual strength and elevation. Each believer ought to be raised above the world in aims, temper, and whole conversation. In proportion as we realize this lofty standard hath the kingdom of God come to us with power.

(8) Sorrow and pain were appointed in Israel's case to precede her deliverance from the Babylonian captivity (Micah 4:9-10), and her redemption by the Lord from the hand of her enemies. The very scene of her sufferings was to be the scene of her vindication from wrong. As the joy at the birth of a man-child makes the mother to forget her past labour-pangs, so the present sorrow of the Lord's people shall be followed by a heartfelt joy which no man taketh from them (John 16:22).

(9) The enemies of Israel, literal and spiritual, little know the thoughts of love and unsearchable wisdom which God entertains toward His people. The very trials which He permits them to endure at the hands of their enemies are being overruled to the ultimate salvation of His people, and to the destruction of their enemies. When the latter gather themselves against the Church, to feast their eyes insultingly on her calamities, they are unconsciously being gathered together to be trodden under foot by her (Micah 4:13; Revelation 2:26-27).

(10) Yet even then "mercy rejoiceth against judgment" (James 2:13); because a remnant of the Gentiles shall be spared, whose "gain shall be" henceforth "consecrated unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth" (Micah 4:13). Israel is to be restored, not for her own selfish aggrandizement, but in order to be the instrument of blessing to the nations in "the whole earth." Our happiness is in proportion to our Christian usefulness. Israel shall be then most blessed when she shall be a blessing to others. And the nations shall thou be most blessed in their gains when, instead of hoarding them up for selfish ends, they shall "consecrate them to the Lord of the whole earth." The Lord grant us grace to find our happiness already in living for His glory and for the good of others, with all we have and all we are!

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Micah 4:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/micah-4.html. 1871-8.

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