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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Micah 5

 

 

Verse 1

Micah 5:1 Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.

Ver. 1. Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops] Here the virgin, the daughter of Zion, despiseth her adversaries of Assyria and Babylon, and laughs them to scorn; "the daughter of Jerusalem shaketh her head at them," Isaiah 37:22; and bearing herself bold upon the foregoing promise, Micah 4:13, that she should beat in pieces many people, she taketh liberty to taunt the Assyrian monarch with all his troops beleaguering her, and basely abusing her judges, telling him, that the babe of Bethlehem would shortly take an order with him. And although she were but a virgin, yet, having such a champion as Christ, who is in love with her, that will take her part and fight her quarrel, she doubteth not to say, "Now gather thyself in troops," &c. Nunc turmatim coito, o turmaria, Increase thine army and come forth. "Gather yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand; for God is with us," Isaiah 8:9-10; Jehovah is our judge, Jehovah is our champion, Jehovah is our king; he will save us, Isaiah 33:22. Lo, this is the Church’s confident boasting in Christ, this is the triumph of her trust in him. The thought of his birth swalloweth up all her fears and discontents; and compasseth her about with songs of deliverance, Psalms 32:7.

He hath laid siege against us] And already devoured us in his hopes; but if we do but turn us to Christ, and say, Behold, she whom thou lovest is distressed the Assyrian as a strong river is come up over all his channels, and reacheth even to the neck; yea, the stretching out of his wings filleth the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel, Isaiah 8:7-8, he will soon bestir himself, he will besiege our besiegers, he will smite them upon the cheek bone, and break the teeth of those ungodly, Psalms 3:7, that smote the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek, for a reproach to the whole people. Hugo by this judge of Israel understandeth Christ, who was indeed at his passion contumeliously buffeted ( ερραπισαν Bacillis ceciderunt. Beza), and smitten with rods upon the cheek, Matthew 26:6-7. But this, though it be true, yet cannot be the sense of this text.


Verse 2

Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.

Ver. 2. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah] Not so called from Ephratah, Caleb’s wife, 1 Chronicles 2:19; 1 Chronicles 2:50-51, but from its fruitfulness; whence also it had the name Bethlehem, that is, the house of bread, where Jesus (that bread of life, that came down from heaven, John 6:33) was born in the fulness of time, as is here first foretold by this prophet; that great mystery of godliness being revealed to the world by degrees, in several ages. Here was Christ born by mere accident, in regard of his parents, who were brought hither by a tyrannical edict of Augustus, Luke 2:2, but yet by a sweet providence of God, that this Scripture might be fulfilled, and our faith in Christ settled.

Though thou be little among the thousands of Judah] Or, Art thou little? &c.; q.d. no such matter: and so it agreeth with Matthew 2:6. Or thus: And thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, it is a small thing to be among the princes of Judah: Out of thee shall come a ruler, q.d. thou hast a dignity above this, and above them all, in that out of thee shall come a ruler. Take tsagnir in the neuter gender (as Scultetus, after Osiander, and Forster doth), and then the seeming difference ( εναντιοφανος) between the prophet and evangelist is taken away. Some make St Matthew to relate the words of the Scribes to Herod, as they had varied the text before him. But we find not that they are anywhere taxed for altering or corrupting the text, but for misinterpreting it only, Matthew 5:17-48. Besides that, they were by their office text men, to look to the letter of the Scripture, and to keep it pure, 1 Corinthians 1:20; where they are distinguished from teachers of traditions and teachers of allegories.

Yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me] That is, to God the Father; that we may know that the coming of Christ in the flesh was a plot of God’s own contriving. He came not by chance, but by counsel; him hath God the Father sealed, anointed, and appointed to the work, John 6:27. This is comfortable to consider.

That is go be ruler in Israel] Matthew rendereth it, a captain that shall feed my people Israel, Matthew 2:6. {See Trapp on "Matthew 2:6"}

Whose goings forth have been from of old] This is spoken of Christ’s eternal generation, which none can declare, Isaiah 53:8. "What is God’s name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?" Proverbs 30:4. The Scripture usually speaketh of this grand mystery by way of circumlocution. It is here spoken of in the plural number for the excellence of it. In this text, then, we have a description of Christ, in his natures and offices. See the like Romans 1:3-4, and adore the fulness of the Scriptures, Adoro plenitudinem scripturarum (Aug.).


Verse 3

Micah 5:3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time [that] she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.

Ver. 3. Therefore will he give them up] As a little before the day springeth it is darker than ordinary; so before the day spring from on high visited God’s people they were under very hard and heavy pressures and miseries; whereby their desires after him were increased and ineagered. The enemy oppressed them, by God’s permission, yea, by his active providence; that they might pant after a Saviour, and sigh out with old Jacob, their father, Genesis 49:18, "O Lord, I have waited for thy salvation."

Until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth] She, that is, the Virgin Mary, say some: or, she, that is, say others, the afflicted Church, according to Micah 4:9-10; {See Trapp on "Micah 4:9"} {See Trapp on "Micah 4:10"} She must have a time of travail, of trouble, before she can bring forth, and be delivered. Luther saith well, that the Church is haeres crucis, cling to the cross and that every Christian is a Crucian; we must suffer before we can reign, and bear the cross or e’er we wear the crown.

Then the remnant of his brethren] i.e. The converted Gentiles, whom Christ is not ashamed to call his brethren, Hebrews 2:11-12.

Shall return unto the children of Israel] Shall be proselyted, and conjoined to the elect Jews, that there may be one sheepfold under one shepherd. "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one," Zechariah 14:9. {See Trapp on "Zechariah 14:9"}


Verse 4

Micah 5:4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.

Ver. 4. And he shall stand and feed (or rule) in the strength of the Lord] He shall stand, and none shall be able to stir him; there shall be lifting at his government, but it stands firm and fixed. Earthly monarchies have their times and their turns, their ruin as well as their rise. The Roman empire fell under the weight of its own greatness. The Turkish, although it be indeed very strong, yet is it by many probably thought to be on the declining hand. But Christ shall stand when all earthly greatness shall lie in the dust. And he shall feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, neither shall any ravenous lion or grievous wolf pluck them out of his hand, because he and the Father are one, John 10:30, and God hath laid help on one that is mighty, Psalms 89:19.

And in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God] That is, by the power of God’s word, called his name, Acts 9:15, and elsewhere. This word hath a singular majesty in it, whereby it aweth and affecteth men’s consciences, to the propagating of Christ’s kingdom, viz. when it is accompanied with the Spirit of God, called his strength in the former clause. And that these ever go together in all the subjects of Christ’s kingdom, see Isaiah 59:21 : "As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever."

For now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth] How, that is, ere long; in God’s due time, which often seems long because we are short, apt to antedate the promises in regard to the accomplishment, to limit the Holy One of Israel, and to set him a time, to set his sun by our dial: Jeremiah 8:20, help they would have that summer at furthest. But as God never fails in his own time, so he seldom comes at ours. We must live by faith, Habakkuk 2:4, and stay God’s leisure, as David did for the kingdom, and those in Esther for deliverance. God’s promises will at length take their way over all Alps of opposition, but we have "need of patience. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry," Hebrews 10:36-37.


Verse 5

Micah 5:5 And this [man] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.

Ver. 5. And this man shall be the peace] "The man Christ Jesus," 1 Timothy 2:5; that man, that shall be "as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land," Isaiah 32:2. Winds and tempests will arise, and that upon the Church. Assyrians and Babylonians (Nimrod’s brats) will invade and infest her; but that famous he before mentioned shall be her peace, her Prince of peace, Isaiah 9:6, who giveth her pacem omnimodam, peace internal, external, eternal, called by the apostle life and peace, Romans 8:6. This peace, peace, as Isaiah calleth it, Isaiah 26:3, that is, a multiplied, renewed, continued peace; this peace, regionis et religionis, of country and of conscience, as God hath promised, and Christ hath purchased. He merited and made it through the blood of his cross, Colossians 1:20, Isaiah 53:5, Ephesians 2:16. And hence it was, that as he was brought from heaven with that song of peace, Luke 2:14, so he returned up again with that farewell of peace, John 14:27, left to the world the doctrine of peace, Ephesians 2:17, whose ministers are messengers of peace, Romans 10:15, whose followers are the children of peace, Luke 10:6, whose rarity is in the bond of peace, Ephesians 4:3, and whose duty is the study of peace, Romans 12:18, and to whom God hath promised "I will give peace in your land. And ye shall chase your enemies," Leviticus 26:6-7. If any ask, how peace and pursuit of enemies can consist? it is easily answered. You shall have civil peace among yourselves, and besides an ability to quell and quiet foreign enemies. Or, you shall have peace; and if it happens that war arise, you shall have the better in battle. If the Assyrian come into your land he shall be a loser by it; if he tread in your palaces he shall retreat with shame and defeat, as it befell Sennacherib.

Then shall we raise against him seven shepherds] That is, a competent number of chieftains and champions, with their victorious forces, which shall repel the enemies and secure the Church, Christo duce et auspice Christo, under Christ the arch-shepherd. This some understand to be the apostles, those anointed or authorized ones, as the word here signifieth, the weapons of whose warfare were "not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds," 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, and bringing in, not the heads, but hearts of those whom they had subdued: as Paul did of Sergius Paulus, the proconsul, Acts 13:7, where also he is first called Paul, in memory belike of those first spoils he brought into the Church. By shepherds here are meant (saith Gualther) the ministers and preachers of the word, who feed, defend, and watch over the flock. By principal men, magistrates, endued with that free (or, as the Chaldee hath it) kingly spirit, Psalms 51:12, to decree, and act for the good of the Church. Such shepherds in the time of the Assyrian war were Isaiah, Micah, Joel; such principal men were Hezekiah and Eliakim, Isaiah 22:20, &c. Such after the captivity were Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Zorobabel, Nehemiah, Judas Maccabeus. Qui nutantem rempublicam et Ecclesiam suis consiliis, et fortibus gestis fulserunt, who underpropped and kept up the tottering Church and commonwealth by their prayers, counsels, and valiant achievements, both before and since the days of Christ upon earth.


Verse 6

Micah 5:6 And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver [us] from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.

Ver. 6. And they shall waste the land of Assyria] Heb. They shall eat it down, as shepherds do pastures with their flocks. Pascere to graze is put for perdere, to destroy, saith Calvin; they shall leave nothing there safe or sound, but either bend or break the Church’s enemies, bring them to Christ by the sword of God’s word, or utterly ruin them by temporal slaughters. Aut poenitendum, aut pereundum. Either repent or perish.

Thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian] It is Christ that delivereth his, what instruments soever he please to make use of, Luke 1:71, 1 Corinthians 15:24, and he must have the praise of it. The Grecians thankfully acknowledged to Jupiter their deliverance from the Persians, wrought by Themistocles; and therehence called him ελευθεριος, as the Romans for like cause Sospitator , presenting a palm to him, and sacrificing a white ox (Liv. lib. 6), so acknowledging it was his power whereby the conquest was achieved. Our Edward III, after his victory at Poictiers (where he took the French king, A.D. 1356), took speedy order by Simon, Archbishop of Canterbury, that eight days together should be spent in giving God the thanks and glory. How much more should we praise him for spiritual deliverances from sin, Satan, the world, &c., and consecrate ourselves wholly to his service, since Servati sumus ut serviamus, Luke 1:74, deliverance commands obedience, Ezra 9:14.


Verse 7

Micah 5:7 And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.

Ver. 7. And the remnant of Jacob] The "remnant according to the election of grace," Romans 11:5. These are but a few in comparison, as a remnant to the whole piece, or a handful to a houseful; but they shall increase and multiply, by God’s blessing upon them, as is here set forth by two similitudes. First, for their propagation and multiplication, the prophet compareth them to the dew, which is engendered and distilled from heaven immediately. Therefore also, Psalms 110:3, new converts are compared to dew, and God’s begetting them, to the womb of the morning, when overnight the earth was dry. Secondly, for their growth and increase, he compareth it to the sprouting up of herbs and grass in the wilderness, where man cometh not, and so their springing tarrieth not for man, nor "waiteth for the sons of men," for them to come with their watering pots to nourish them (as herbs in gardens do), but these have showers from heaven that give the increase. "I the Lord do keep my vineyard, I will water it every moment," Isaiah 27:3. There is an honour due to God’s ministers, 1 Thessalonians 5:13, but the word only must be glorified, Acts 13:48, and Christ earnestly entreated, that as of old the manna came down with the dew, which covered the manna (whence that expression, "hidden manna," Revelation 2:17), so he himself, who is the bread of life, would descend unto us by the word of his grace, and fill us with the fruits of righteousness; that he would, rigare et recreare, refresh and cherish our hearts, as the dew from heaven doth the dry and lady fields.


Verse 8

Micah 5:8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.

Ver. 8. And the remnant of Jacob … as a lion among the beasts of the forest] The saints shall prosper and do great exploits, as being endued with an invincible force of the spirit, making them as so many Coeur-de-lions; or as Chrysostom saith of Peter, that he was like a man made all of fire walking among stubble. What lion-like men were all the apostles, those white horses upon which the Lord Christ rode about the world, "conquering and to conquer?" Revelation 6:2. That Lion of the tribe of Juda, Revelation 5:5, had put upon them of his own spirit; and of his fulness bestowed upon them grace for grace, John 1:16; hence their transcendent zeal and courage for the truth. Stephen was among his countrymen, the Jews, as a lion among the beasts of the forest. So were in their several generations Athanasius, Basil, Ambrose, Luther, Latimer, Farel, &c., that noble army of martyrs. One of them told the persecutors that they might pluck the heart out of his body, but never pluck the truth out of his heart. Another, that the heavens should sooner fall than he would turn. A third, that if every hair of his head were a man he would suffer death in the opinion and faith that he was now in. A fourth said, Can I die but once for Christ? And generally, the valour of the patient and the savageness of the persecutors strove together; till both exceeding nature and belief bred wonder and astonishment in beholders and readers, and in some effectual conversion, as in Justin Martyr, in Calberius, in those four hundred said to be converted at the martyrdom of Cecilia; and lastly, in Silvester, the executioner at the martyrdom of Simon Laloe, at Dijon, in France; where seeing the great faith and constance of that heavenly martyr, he was so compuncted with repentance, and fell into such despair of himself, that after much ado, being comforted and converted, he moved with all his family to the Church of Geneva. But what a silly conceit is that of the Jews at this day, that when Messiah comes they shall be these lions among the Gentiles in the midst of all other people to tread them down, and to tear in pieces without rescue; and what a true character hath a late writer (Sir H. Blount) given of them, that they are a light, aerial, and fanatical brained people; and easily apt to work themselves into the fool’s paradise of a sublime dotage!


Verse 9

Micah 5:9 Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.

Ver. 9. Thine hand shall be lift up upon thine adversaries] q.d. Adversaries thou shalt be sure of, O my Church, but thou shalt have the better of them. Thou shalt keep footing still under the standard of the cross, and prevail, Sub militia crucis (Calv.). The mountain of the house of the Lord shall overtop all other mountains of worldly power, Micah 4:1. It shall be as that mountain not far from Arbela (where the empire of the world was won and lost in one day), called Nicatorium by Alexander the Great, as a constant trophy of that famous victory he there got over Darius, νικατοριον ορος (Strabo). As she is highest in the favour of God, so she shall be highest in herself; and her enemies shall be found liars unto her. Her hand shall be lifted up, and fall very heavily upon her adversaries: if not sooner, yet at utmost at the resurrection. The upright shall have dominion over them in that morning, Psalms 49:14, the Church shall shine as the sun in his strength, when her enemies shall be in that place that is fittest for them, even the lowest place, the footstool of Christ. Meanwhile she conquereth then when she is conquered (as Christ overcame as well by patience as by power), and is sure not to be shivered though shaken, not to be drowned though doused over head and ears in the waters of affliction.

Niteris incassum Christi submergere navem:

Fluctuat, at nunquam mergitur illa ratis. ”

That ship may be tossed, saith one, not shipwrecked, whereof Christ is the pilot, the Scripture the compass, the promise the tacklings, hope the anchor, faith the cable, the Holy Ghost the winds, and holy affections the sails, filled with heavenly graces. Such a soul sails safely, and will neither fall upon the soft sands of presumption nor hard rocks of despair.


Verse 10

Micah 5:10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:

Ver. 10. And it shall come to pass in that day] viz. Of Christ’s power and kingdom, Psalms 110:3. The word day here signifies non spatium diurnum, sed diuturnum, ac a Deo destinatum, saith Danaeus, not the space of twenty-four hours, but a long time, yet certain and set by God.

That I will cut off thy horses out of thee] For the which thou hast been trading with Egypt: and in which thou trustest more than in me. "Some trust in horses, and some in chariots," &c. I will therefore cut off both, I will take away thine earthly idol; and that in much mercy to thee, that in quietness and confidence may be thy strength, Isaiah 30:15, Micah 5:7 : your strength is to sit still, or your Egypt is to sit still, q.d. by sitting still you shall have an Egypt (the same word Rahab signifieth strength and Egypt); by being without their horses, you shall do better than when you had them, and thought yourselves simply the better or safer for them. See Zechariah 9:10.

And I will destroy thy chariots] That other prop and supposed help I will pull from thee: that thou mayest not trust to such uncertainties that cannot save; but in the "living God, who giveth us all things richly to enjoy," 1 Timothy 6:17. Trust is God’s jewel; and of all things he cannot endure to be robbed of it, or wronged in it by creature confidence, for it giveth him the sovereignty, 9:15, and sets the crown on his head, and the contrary.


Verse 11

Micah 5:11 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds:

Ver. 11. And I will cut off the cities of thy land] Thy fenced cities and places of strength, for like reason as before, that thou mayest look upon my name alone as a strong tower, and thereto run and be safe, Proverbs 18:10, that thou mayest hover and cover under my wings, Psalms 91:1-2, and there hold thee as secure as in a tower of brass or town of war. "Blessed be the Lord" (saith David, who could not be safe in Keilah, that had gates and bars), "for he hath showed me his marvellous lovingkindness as in a strong city," Psalms 31:21. The tower of Shechem saved not those that ran into it, 9:49. The stronghold of Zion could not secure the Jebusites, that in the height of their pride scorned David and his host, that laid siege to it, 2 Samuel 5:6-7. Belshazzar and his Babylonians bare themselves so bold upon the strength of their city, and provision laid in for twenty years, if need were (as Xenophon testifieth), that they reproached the Persians that besieged them, and derided their attempts as to no purpose; yet were shortly after made a prey to the enemy. Arimazes, having garrisoned a very strong and steep rock in the Sogdian country with 80,000 men, sent to Alexander the Great, who demanded it, to know whether he could fly or not? But the next day he was taken together with his stronghold, and nailed to a cross (Plut. in Alex. Curt. lib. 7). God delights to confute men in their confidences; that those that are his may run to the Rock of ages, Isaiah 26:4, to that Arx roboris strong citadel of his holy name, which alone is impregnable, inexpugnable. The Spaniards called their navy in ‘88 the Invincible Armada, but it proved otherwise, and that upon St James’s day, whom they count their patron, their tutelary saint. It is not unlawful to have cities and strongholds, but to confide in them, by rising up to a corky, frothy hope when we have them; or to sit down in a faithless, sullen discontent and despondence when we want them; this is to make flesh our arm, and so to incur that heavy curse, Jeremiah 17:5. God will cut off all occasions of so doing from those whom he loveth, as here he promiseth: and as accordingly he performed to this people, after their return from Babylon, and especially a little before the coming of Christ in the flesh, when they were reduced by Pompey into a province of the Roman empire.


Verse 12

Micah 5:12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no [more] soothsayers:

Ver. 12. And I will cut off witchcrafts, &c.] As before God had promised to take away such things as in themselves are not evil, but only by our abuse; so here he will also remove from his people things simply evil and unlawful, such as are witchcrafts, idolatry, &c., that he may make way for mercy, which he is ready to give were they but fit to receive it. The word here rendered witchcrafts hath the signification of changing or turning; and is used for unlawful devilish arts and artisans: כשׁף hence βασκαινω, fascino, to bewitch. It is also applied to false teachers and their magic acts, Galatians 3:1-29 : 1 Kings 18:23. See a like promise Zechariah 13:2. {See Trapp on "Zechariah 13:2"} See Malachi 3:5. {See Trapp on "Malachi 3:5"}

And thou shalt have no more soothsayers] Or star gazers, diviners, fortune tellers. One derivation of the word clepeth them nebulones or knaves; as those that undertake to foretell future things, ex nebulis, by the clouds, planets, star, by calculating nativities, and the like unlawful practices of judiciary astrology, necromancy, pyromancy, oneiromancy, aruspicy, sortilegy, and other diabolical arts of that nature. The Ephesians were much addicted to such wicked practices: hence the proverb εφεσια γραμματα for the black art. The Samaritans also, Acts 8:11; and hence that malicious slander of the Jews, "Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan," that is, one that dealeth with the devil, John 8:48; for otherwise they knew that Christ was no Samaritan, but a Galilean, as they called him in scorn, in truth a Bethlehemite, as Micah 5:2. The Jews themselves are taxed, Isaiah 2:6, that they were soothsayers, like the Philistines; and told that God had therefore forsaken them, or sent them away into captivity. See more against this sort of sin and sinners, Isaiah 44:24-26; Isaiah 47:12-14; Jeremiah 10:2; Jeremiah 10:25, Daniel 2:1-3, &c.; but especially Deuteronomy 18:10-11, where we have these five arguments (as one well observeth) against astrological and other unlawful predictions. First, that all such are abomination to the Lord, Deuteronomy 18:12; Secondly, that for such arts the Canaanites were driven out; Thirdly, that unless men cast away the use of the said arts they cannot be perfect, that is, upright and sincere with God, Deuteronomy 18:13; Fourthly, that godly men must differ from Canaanites and heathens, in the abandoning of such arts, Deuteronomy 18:14; Lastly, that instead of such ways of prediction, the Lord raiseth up Christ, the great prophet, to foretell unto them what is meet for them to foreknow, Deuteronomy 18:15 cf. Acts 3:23. To seek to know more is condemned for curiosity and rashness by Christ himself, in his own disciples, Acts 1:7; it derogateth from the glory of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge: it is to go a whoring from Christ, Leviticus 20:6, and is therefore in this text fitly yoked with idolatry. It is here also reckoned among those things that must be cut off, if Christ’s kingdom shall be set up among us. So that if there were no other text of Scripture against that wickedness but this alone, it were sufficient.


Verse 13

Micah 5:13 Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.

Ver. 13. Thy graven images also will I cut off] Sorcery and idolatry are fitly coupled here and elsewhere: for they commonly go together, as in the Pope and his clergy, see Revelation 9:21; Revelation 21:8; as also in the Canaanites, Philistines, and other heathens. True it is that the temples at Rome were without images for 170 years after it was built; that the Lacedaemonians would not endure pictures or images, lest by them they should be distracted; that the Turks and Jews both at this day do abhor Christian religion, for the abominable idolatry they see among Papists: for since the captivity of Babylon the graven images and statues have been so cut off from the Jews, that they would never be drawn to worship the work of their hands. They have a saying among them to this day, that no punishment befalleth them, wherein there is not an ounce of that golden calf they once made in the wilderness (Moses Gerand). Having paid, therefore, for their learning, they abhor idols, Romans 2:22, and count it sacrilege, as Plutarch did, to worship by images. The Papists should do so likewise; and not say, as their Vasquez (unable to answer our arguments) doth, that the second commandment belonged to the Jews only; or bring such proofs of their idolatry that the images themselves (if they were sensible) would blush to hear repeated.


Verse 14

Micah 5:14 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities.

Ver. 14. And I will pluck up thy groves, &c.] Wherein thou placest a part of thy happiness (as the Hebrew word importeth), and hast an overly high opinion of them, because anciently frequented by the Fathers, before the law. But it should have been considered that it was but will worship at best; yea, that God had flatly forbidden the planting of groves, Deuteronomy 16:21, as things in use among Pagans for honour either of some god or some great man’s ghost which was thought to dwell there. Nulli certa domus, lucia habitamus opacis (Virg. Aeneid). The worshippers of Priapus (that shame), when they had ended their sacrifice, stepped into a grove close by the altar, and there, like brute beasts, promiscuously satisfied their lusts; thereby, as they conceived, best pleasing their god.

So will I destroy thy cities] Or, thine enemies: and this will be the end or fruit of that forementioned reformation. Mr Fox observeth, that in King Edward VI’s time the English put to flight their enemies in Musselborough field in the self-same day and hour wherein the Reformation, enjoyed by Parliament, was put in execution at London, by burning of idolatrous images.


Verse 15

Micah 5:15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.

And I will execute vengeance in anger] Upon those that refuse to be reformed, that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Thessalonians 1:8. Such as were the Jews’ enemies, the primitive persecutors, the stubborn Papists, some of whom have professed that they would rather take part with the Turks than with the Lutherans: as some rigid Lutherans again have protested openly, that they would return to the Papacy rather than to admit ever that sacramentary and predestinary pestilence (as they called it) of the Calvinists. But what a sad story is that related by Mr Burroughs, who had it from a worthy minister of those parts, that at Hamburgh was not long since held a consultation by some learned Lutherans, concerning the cause and cure of German calamities; and where it was concluded, that Germany suffered so much in these late wars, because their images in churches were not adorned enough, which therefore they would presently procure done. Had they consulted this text. they might soon have seen their mistake, and bethought them of better. But, "Lord, when thine hand is lifted up, they will not see: howbeit they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy towards thy people," Isaiah 26:11. Yea their ears shall be opened, and their instruction sealed, Job 33:16, that they might be accounted worthy to escape that vengeance, that shall be executed in anger and fury upon the heathens that have not heard the joyful sound, but, as so many sea-monsters, have with a deaf ear passed by the doctrine of salvation, the Gospel of peace.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Micah 5:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/micah-5.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 11th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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