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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Micah 2

 

 

Verse 1-2

Micah 2:1-2. Wo to them that devise iniquity — That design and frame mischief; and work evil upon their beds — Contrive how to work it, and actually execute their plans when they rise in the morning. Because it is in the power of their hand — Because they can do it; because there is none that can hinder them. They make their strength the law of justice; and do whatsoever they have a mind to do, whether right or wrong, because they have power in their hands. And they covet fields — Set their minds upon the estates of their meaner neighbours, thinking how convenient they lie to theirs, as Ahab thought concerning the field of Naboth. And take them by violence — By power wrest the estates out of the hands of the owners of them. And houses, and take them away — They take both houses and lands. So they oppress a man and his house — They not only do injustice to a man himself, but to his whole family also, by taking away his heritage, whereby his family, as well as himself, and his posterity after him, were to be supported.


Verse 3

Micah 2:3. Therefore, behold, against this family do I devise evil — As they devise mischief against others, so will I devise an evil against them, as a due punishment for their sin. As they have unjustly deprived others of their inheritances, so a conquering enemy shall dispossess them and carry them into captivity. The word family is equivalent to people, as appears from Jeremiah 1:15. From which ye shall not remove your necks — They laid snares for others, where open force would not suffice, so that the poor could not get out of their hands, but were empoverished and enslaved; and God here threatens that he will deal thus with them by the Assyrians, from whose power they should not be able to defend themselves or to escape. Neither shall ye go haughtily — You have made others hang down their heads, and so shall you now; for this time is evil — You have made it an evil time for sins committed against me, and against the poor and innocent: and I will make it an evil time for calamities and miseries on the whole family of Jacob.


Verses 4-6

Micah 2:4-6. In that day shall one take up a parable — Shall use a figurative speech, against you — A parable signifies a speech out of the ordinary way, as the Greek word παροιμια imports, and illustrated with metaphors or rhetorical figures. So speaking in parables is opposed to speaking plainly, John 16:25; John 16:29. And lament, &c. — Your friends for you, and you for yourselves. He hath changed the portion of my people — Their wealth, plenty, freedom, joy, and honour, into poverty, famine, servitude, grief, and dishonour. How hath he removed it — How dreadfully hath God dealt with Israel; removing their persons into captivity, and transferring their possessions to their enemies! Turning away he hath divided our fields — Turning away from us in displeasure, God hath divided our fields among others. Thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord — None that shall ever return to this land, to see it allotted by line, and given them to possess it. In the congregation of the Lord — They shall no more be the congregation of the Lord, nor their children after them. They shall not prophesy — The people often said to the prophets, Prophesy ye not; and God here declares that he would, in his displeasure, grant their desire: and that the time should come, when the prophets should no longer prophesy unto them, that they might no longer bring contempt upon themselves, or be ignominiously treated by the people, as they had long been.


Verse 7

Micah 2:7. O thou that art named The house of Jacob — But dost not act suitably to the piety of thy father Jacob, and therefore, though thou art in name, yet not in truth the genuine seed of Jacob. Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened — Is God’s hand shortened? Are his power, wisdom, and kindness less now than formerly? Are these his doings — Are these severe proceedings the doings your God delights in? Are the judgments he brings upon you the genuine effects of his power and goodness? and not rather such acts as your sins do, in a manner, constrain him to exercise? Thus punishments are called his strange work, Isaiah 28:21. Do not my words do good to him, that walketh uprightly? — Certainly, both God’s laws, and the words delivered by his prophets, would do you great and lasting good if you would obey them.


Verse 8-9

Micah 2:8-9. Of late my people is risen up as an enemy — AGAINST ME is to be here understood, namely, against God; for this is still spoken in the person of God. The sense is more evident in the Hebrew than in our translation, namely, But they who were yesterday (or lately) my people rise up (now, or to-day) as an enemy. Ye pull off the robe with the garment — Ye are guilty of grievous oppression and inhumanity: ye are not content with spoiling the poor, and those who are weaker than yourselves, of their cloak, but take their coat also. Taking the robe with the garment, or the cloak and coat also, seems to have been a proverbial expression to signify a high degree of oppression and injury. From them that pass by securely — Who, fearing no evil, are going about their private affairs; as men averse from war — Who are willing to live peaceably with you, and give you no manner of provocation: even these, you in a violent manner strip of all their substance, even to their wearing apparel. The women of my people have ye cast out, &c. — The widows, wives, and daughters of my people have you, by acts of injustice and oppression, turned out of their habitations, which to them were pleasant, and in which they delighted. From their children have ye taken away my glory for ever — You have robbed their children, or posterity, of their houses and estates, which were secured to them by the law of God from any sale or alienation beyond the year of jubilee, which was the glory of my bounty to them: yet you have confiscated these their inheritances for ever. Or, as some think, the sense of this clause may be, “When you plunder their houses you 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.”


Verse 10

Micah 2:10. Arise ye, and depart — Ye Israelites prepare for your departure out of this land, for it shall be no longer yours; it is not your rest, because it is polluted — Though it was given to the posterity of Jacob for a place of rest, under my protection, yet this was on condition of their continued obedience. And because you have polluted it by your sins — You shall be cast out of it, or shall be destroyed in it; even with a sore destruction — This threatening is to the same effect with the declaration made by Moses concerning the Canaanites whom God drove out before Israel. The land is defiled, therefore do I visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. And it accords with the solemn caution which God then gave his people, saying, Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and shall not commit any of these abominations; that the land spew not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spewed out the nations that were before you, Leviticus 18:25-28.


Verse 11

Micah 2:11. If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood — If a man falsely pretending to have the spirit of prophecy, do lie — Speak things very false, and utter pretended predictions of events that shall never take place. Saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and strong drink — I will discourse to you of sensual enjoyments: or, I will give you assurance of peace, prosperity, and plenty. You shall live long, eat, drink, and be merry. He shall even be the prophet of this people — Such as they like and choose, a man perfectly to their minds. Some render the clause, I will prophesy unto thee for wine and strong drink, understanding Micah (who here speaks in his own person) as telling them, if he were one who would prophesy lies unto them, and bring them pleasing tidings, however false, for the sake of having his belly filled with wine and strong drink; that then they would extol him, and look upon him as a choice prophet; for that such a one only as spoke smooth things unto them, with whatever selfish views it was apparent he did it, was a prophet to their liking; and that, therefore, if he had been a false prophet, he should have prophesied so as to get wine and strong drink of them instead of reproaches.


Verse 12-13

Micah 2:12-13. I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee, &c. — Many commentators, connecting these verses with the preceding, interpret them as a prediction of the captivity of Israel and Judah. By assembling all of Jacob, and gathering the remnant of Israel, as a flock in the midst of their fold, they understand bringing them together into Samaria and Jerusalem, to be besieged in those cities, and thence taken out for slaughter or captivity. By the breaker being come up before them, breaking up and passing through the gate, they understand the enemies assaulting their cities, (namely, the Assyrians and Chaldeans,) breaking down their walls, and entering in and going out the gates of them, just as the citizens used to do; and by their king passing before them, his being carried into captivity along with them. By the Lord on (or, at) the head of them, they understand, God being on the side of, or prospering the Assyrians and Chaldeans in their attempts against the Israelites and Jews. Others, however, interpret these verses of the restoration of the Jewish people from captivity, and therefore understand by the breaker coming up before them, him who was to break the bonds of their captivity, or break through all obstacles that hindered their restoration, and open to them the way home. The following expressions, They have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it, they consider as metaphorical, describing their return, in allusion to a flock of sheep, which, as soon as a passage is opened for one to get out, do all of them follow; and that these expressions are made use of because it is said, in the foregoing verse, that they should be put or gathered together as a flock of sheep in the midst of their folds. The last clause they render, Their king shall pass before them, even the Lord on the head of them — That is, the Messiah, who is both the Lord and their King, shall lead and conduct them as their captain-general. Thus the Jewish commentators generally understand the breaker and their king of the same person, namely, the Messiah, as may be seen in Dr. Pocock on the place. Bishop Pearson cites the words of Moses Hadarson to the same purpose, in his exposition of the Sixth Article of the Creed. It may be observed further, that most of those who understand the Messiah as being meant by the breaker and their king, though they consider the promise as receiving its first accomplishment in the restoration of the Jews from Babylon, yet suppose it will receive a much more complete fulfilment in the latter days, when the general conversion of the Jews and Israelites, and their restoration to their own land, shall take place; it being 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 entirely forsaken of God, before the promises made to their fathers were completed. As this passage is so extremely obscure, it has been thought best to lay both these interpretations before the reader, that he may judge which is most consistent with the words of the text.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Micah 2:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/micah-2.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, August 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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