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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Micah 1

 

 

Verse 1

Micah 1:1. In the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah — Micah is thought to have prophesied about sixteen years in Jotham’s time, as many under Ahaz, and fourteen under Hezekiah: in all, forty-six years. And he survived the captivity of Israel ten years, which he lamented as well as foretold. Which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem — Concerning both the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, whereof Samaria and Jerusalem were the capital cities. It is said, Which he saw, &c., because the prophets having the general name of seers, every kind of prophecy, in whatever way delivered, seems to have been generally called a vision.


Verses 2-4

Micah 1:2-4. Hear, all ye people — All ye of Israel and Judah. Hearken, O earth — Or, O land, [of Israel:] and all that therein is — That is, all its inhabitants. Let the Lord be witness against you — “I call him to witness, that I have forewarned you of the judgments that hang over your heads, unless you speedily repent. And he himself will become a witness against you, and convince you of your sins in such a manner that you shall not be able to deny the charge.” The Lord from his holy temple — Heaven, his holy habitation. The Lord cometh forth out of his place — God is said, in Scripture, to come out of his place, or heaven, when he makes his judgments or mercies to be remarkably conspicuous, by visible effects on the earth. And will tread upon the high places of the earth — He will cause places of the greatest strength to be destroyed, and men of the highest rank to be brought down. And the mountains shall be molten under him, &c. — An allusion to God’s coming down upon mount Sinai, when thunder and lightning shook the mountain, and violent rains, which accompanied this tempest, made the hills look as if they were melted down. Or the words may be referred to the general judgment, of which all particular judgments are an earnest, when the heavens and the earth shall be dissolved at Christ’s appearing.


Verse 5

Micah 1:5. For the transgression of Jacob — That is, of the sons of Jacob; for the many transgressions committed among them; is all this — All these many, great, and irresistible judgments of God foretold and executed. What is the transgression of Jacob — Where is the chief cause of Israel’s sin and apostacy? Is it not Samaria — Is it not in that city, the chief seat of the kingdom, the residence of the king and his princes, who have set up the idolatry of the golden calves, and made it the established religion of the kingdom? What are the high places of Judah, &c. — Doth not the idolatrous worship, practised in the high places of Judah, receive its chief encouragement from the city of Jerusalem, even from Ahaz, and the great men who there join with him in that idolatry?


Verse 6-7

Micah 1:6-7. Therefore I will make Samaria as a heap — A heap of ruins. And as plantings of a vineyard — As in planting vineyards men dig the earth, and cast it up in hillocks, so shall they make this city. The Vulgate reads, I will make Samaria as a heap of stones in a field, when a vineyard is planted. I will pour down the stones thereof, &c. — The stones of it shall be tumbled down, from the lofty eminence on which it is situated, into the valley beneath, and shall leave the foundations thereof naked and bare. All this, and what follows, was fulfilled by Shalmaneser, who made a conquest of Samaria. And all the graven images thereof — Whether made of gold, silver, brass, wood, or stone; shall be beaten to pieces — Shall be pulled out of their chapels, shrines, or repositories, by their conquering enemies, and shall be trampled upon and broken, either out of contempt, or that the rich materials of which they are made may be carried away. And all the hires thereof shall be burned with fire — The rich gifts, given for the honour and service of the idols by the deceived idolaters, shall be consumed. This seems to be spoken of the gifts sent to their temple by the Assyrians, whose worship they imitated. For she gathered it of the hire of a harlot, &c. — She got it by the gifts of idolaters, and it shall return to those idolaters again.


Verse 8-9

Micah 1:8-9. Therefore I will wail and howl — I will mourn and lament. I will go stripped and naked — That is, without an upper garment; or with garments rent and torn. This would fitly denote the naked condition to which the ten tribes were to be reduced by their enemies. I will make a wailing like dragons — The word rendered dragons, according to Pocock on the place, may “signify a kind of wild beast like a dog, between a dog and a fox, or a wolf and a fox, which the Arabians, from the noise which they make, call Ebn Awi, (filius Eheu,) and our English travellers jackals; which, abiding in the fields and waste places, make in the night a lamentable, howling noise:” see Encycl. Brit. And mourning as the owls — Or rather, ostriches: see note on Job 30:29. “It is affirmed by travellers of good credit,” says Pocock, “that ostriches make a fearful, screeching, lamentable noise.” Shaw also observes, that “during the lonesome part of the night, they often make a very doleful and hideous noise;” and that he had “often heard them groan, as if they were in the greatest agonies.” For her wound is incurable — The wound of Samaria and Israel, namely, their own sins and God’s just displeasure: the calamities coming upon them will end in their destruction: nothing can prevent it. It is come even unto Judah The contagion of her sins, and the indignation of God against them, have reached to Judah also, yea, to Jerusalem. This was accordingly fulfilled: for a few years after the Assyrians had destroyed Samaria, and spoiled all the land of Israel, their conquering army, led by Sennacherib, entered the kingdom of Judah, and took all the fenced cities; and a part of it, termed a great host, was sent up to the gates of Jerusalem, as is related, 2 Kings 18:17.


Verses 10-12

Micah 1:10-12. Declare ye it not in Gath — Lest the Philistines triumph. The words seem to be taken out of David s lamentation over Saul and Jonathan, 2 Samuel 1:20, where see the note. Weep ye not at all — Or, weep ye not with loud weeping, as Archbishop Newcome renders it. Do not make any loud lamentations, lest the evil tidings be spread. In the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust — Or, wallow in the ashes, as was commonly practised in times of great mourning. The word Aphrah signifies dust; and the prophet, it is likely, puts it here for Ophrah, a town in the tribe of Benjamin, that the name might better suit their present condition. Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir — Houbigant says that Eusebius places this city, the name of which signifies fair, or elegant, in the tribe of Judah, between Eleutheropolis and Askelon. Some think, however, that Saphir is not a proper name, and that there was no place so called in Judea; but that the clause ought to be rendered, Pass away, thou inhabitant of a delightful place, that is, Samaria, which was very pleasantly situated. The prophet here threatens the inhabitants of that place that they should go into captivity, in a way very unsuitable to their former softness and luxury, even stripped by the conquering enemy, and without so much as a covering to hide their nakedness. The inhabitant of Zaanan — A place in the tribe of Judah, called Zenan, Joshua 15:37; came not forth in the mourning of Beth-ezel — “There was no burial of her dead with solemn mourning out of the precincts of her city, but she was besieged and put to the sword.” — Newcome. Or, the meaning may be, the inhabitants of Zaanan were so much concerned to provide for their own safety, that they took no notice of the mournful condition of their near neighbour Beth-ezel, which seems to have been a place near Jerusalem, termed Azal, Zechariah 14:5. Grotius, however, supposes Zaanan to denote Zion, and Beth-ezel to signify Beth-el, called here by another name, importing the house of separation, because it was the principal seat of idolatrous worship. He shall receive of you his standing — The standing, or encamping of an army against the city; that is, the enemy shall encamp among you, shall stand on your ground, so that you will have no opportunity of coming out to the help of your neighbours. For the inhabitant of Maroth — A town in Judea, (the same probably that is called Maarath, Joshua 15:59,) waited, &c. — Or rather, as the words may be translated, Although the inhabitant of Maroth waited for good, yet evil came, &c., unto the gate of Jerusalem — Such a calamity as stopped not at Maroth, but reached even to Jerusalem. By Maroth, which signifies bitterness, or trouble, Grotius understands Ramah, or, expressed as it often is in the plural, Ramoth, a place in the tribe of Benjamin, near Beth-lehem, and not far from Jerusalem.


Verses 13-15

Micah 1:13-15. O thou inhabitant of Lachish — This was a strong fortress in the tribe of Judah: see Joshua 15:39. Bind the chariot to the swift beast — In order to flee from the approaching enemy. Lachish was one of the first cities that Sennacherib besieged, when he invaded Judea. She is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion — She was the first among the cities of Judah which practised those idolatries which the kings and people of Israel had begun. Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moresheth-gath Or, to Moresheth of Gath; that is, to the Philistines of that country, either to defend thee against the enemy, or to receive thee under their protection. The houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel — The word Achzib signifies a lie. There was a town of that name in the tribe of Judah, mentioned Joshua 15:44. This place, the prophet here foretels, will answer its name, and disappoint the kings of Israel that depended upon its strength and assistance: see 2 Chronicles 21:3; and 2 Chronicles 28:19. Israel is sometimes used for Judah, and so it may probably be taken here. Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah — This was another town belonging to Judah, mentioned Joshua 15:44. The name signifies an inheritance; so here, by way of allusion, it is said, that a new heir or master should come and take possession of it, namely, a conquering enemy. He shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel — Or, The glory of Israel shall come to Adullam; the Assyrians, whom Israel once gloried in as their ally, shall come to Adullam. This was a town in Judah not far from Lachish: see Joshua 15:35. Some think the meaning of this clause is, that the chief men of Israel should be forced to hide themselves from their enemies in the cave of Adullam, as David did when he fled from Saul, 1 Samuel 23.


Verse 16

Micah 1:16. Make thee bald — O Judah and Israel, tear off thy hair; and poll thee — Shave what thou canst not tear off; for thy delicate children, &c. — For the loss of them, some being slain, others starved or swept away by pestilence, and the residue carried into captivity. Cutting the hair, or shaving it close, were expressions of mourning and lamentation anciently used among most nations. Enlarge thy baldness as the eagle — When she moults her feathers; for they are gone into captivity, &c. — By these phrases the prophet signifies, that the calamity would be so great as to deserve the strongest expressions of grief.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Micah 1:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/micah-1.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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