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Micah 4:1-2

1. 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.

1. Accidet ultimis diebus, ut sit mons domus Jehovae dispositus in capite montium, et extollentur ipse prae sublimitatibus; et venient ad eum populi:

2. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

2. Et proficiscentur gentes multae et dicent, Venite, et ascendemus ad montem Jehovae, et ad domum Dei Jacob; et docebit nos de viis suis, et ambulabimus in semitis ejus; quia ex Sion prodibit lex, et verbum Jehovae ex Jerusalem.

 

Here Micah begins his address to the faithful, who were a remnant among that people; for though the infection had nearly extended over the whole body, there were yet a few, we know, who sincerely worshipped God. Hence Micah, that he might not dishearten God’s children by extreme terror, reasonably adds what we have now heard, — that though for a time the temple would be demolished and laid waste, it would yet be only for a season, for the Lord would be again mindful of his covenant. When, therefore, the Prophet had hitherto spoken of God’s dreadful vengeance, he directed his discourse to the whole people and to the princess; but now, especially, and as it were apart, addresses the pious and sincere servants of God; as though he said, “There is now a reason why I should speak to the few: I have hitherto spoken of the near judgment of God on the king’s counselors, the priests and the prophets; in short, on the whole community, because they are all become wicked and ungodly; a contempt of God and an irreclaimable obstinacy have pervaded the whole body. Let them therefore have what they have deserved. But now I address the children of God by themselves, for I have something to say to them.”

For though the Prophet publicly proclaimed this promise, there is yet no doubt but that he had regard only to the children of God, for others were not capable of receiving this consolation; nay, he had shortly before condemned the extreme security of hypocrites, inasmuch as they leaned upon God; that is, relied on a false pretense of religion, in thinking that they were redeemed by a lawful price when they had offered their sacrifices. And we know that we meet with the same thing in the writings of the Prophets, and that it is a practice common among them to add consolations to threatening, not for the sake of the whole people, but to sustain the faithful in their hope, who would have despaired, had not a helping hand been stretched forth to them: for the faithful, we know, tremble, as soon as God manifests any token of wrath; for the more any one is touched with the fear of God, the more he dreads his judgment, and fears on account of his threatening. We hence see how necessary it is to moderate threatenings and terrors, when prophets and teachers have a regard to the children of God; for, as I have said, they are without these fearful enough. Let us then know that Micah has hitherto directed his discourse to the wicked despisers of God, who yet put on the cloak of religion; but now he turns his address to the true and pious worshipers of God. And he further so addresses the faithful of his age, that his doctrine especially belongs to us now; for how has it been, that the kingdom of God has been propagated through all parts of the earth? How has it been, that the truth of the gospel has come to us, and that we are made partakers with the ancient people of the same adoption, except that this prophecy has been fulfilled? Then the calling of the Gentiles, and consequently our salvation, is included in this prophecy.

But the Prophet says, And it shall be in the extremity of days, 114114     In extremitate dierum, באחרית הימים, in the posteriority or postremity of the days; επ εσχατων των ημερων, in the last days.—Sept. “In the latter days,” or, “in the end of days.”—Newcome. “In the last of the days.”—Henderson. See Jeremiah 23:20; 30:24; Ezekiel 38:8; Daniel 10:14; Hosea 3:5 Kimchi, as quoted by Lowth, says, “Whenever the latter days are mentioned in Scripture, the days of the Messiah are always meant.” — Ed. that the mount of the house of Jehovah shall be set in order 115115     Dispositus, נכזןconstitus, constituted — praeparatus, prepared— firmatus, made firm — are the words by which the term is commonly expressed. It comes from כון, which Leigh justly says, means “aptly and timely to frame, and likewise to make firm and sure;” and he adds, “The word noteth the ordering, perfecting, and fast establishing of anything.” How suitably then it is here used: it is a mountain (which means evidently the Church) that is fitly framed, ordered, and firmly established. — Ed. on the top of mountains The extremity of days the Prophet no doubt calls the coming of Christ, for then it was that the Church of God was built anew; in short, since it was Christ that introduced the renovation of the world, his advent is rightly called a new age; and hence it is also said to be the extremity of days: and this mode of expression very frequently occurs in Scripture; and we know that the time of the gospel is expressly called the last days and the last time by John, (John 2:18,) as well as by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, (Hebrews 1:2,) and also by Paul, (2 Timothy 3:1;) and this way of speaking they borrowed from the prophets. On this subject some remarks were made on Joel 2. Paul gives us the reason for this mode of speaking in 1 Corinthians 10:11: “Upon whom,” he says, “the ends of the world are come.” As Christ then brought in the completion of all things at his coming, the Prophet rightly says that it would be the last days when God would restore his Church by the hand of the Redeemer. At the same time, Micah no doubt intended to intimate that the time of God’s wrath would not be short, but designed to show that its course would be for a long time.

It shall then be in the last of days; that is, when the Lord shall have executed his vengeance by demolishing the temple, by destroying the city, and by reducing the holy place into a solitude, this dreadful devastation shall continue, not for one year, nor for two; in a word, it will not remain only for forty or fifty years, but the Lord will let loose the reins of his wrath, that their minds may long languish, and that no restoration may be evident. We now then understand the Prophet’s design as to the last days.

He calls the mount, the mount of the house of Jehovah, 116116     Marckius adduces the opinions of the ancients as to the signification of this “mount.” Some, such as Tertullian, Jerome, and Augustine, interpret it of Christ; while others, namely, Origen, the two Cyrils, and Chrysostom, regard it as signifying the Church; and with the latter most modern commentators agree. Here the consent of moderns exceeds that of the ancients; and it is no doubt sounder and wiser. — Ed. in a sense different from what he did before; for then it was, as we have stated by way of concession; and now he sets forth the reason why God did not wish wholly to cast aside that mount; for he commanded his temple to be built there. It is the same, then, as though he said, — “This ought not to be ascribed to the holiness of the mountain, as if it excelled other mountains in dignity; but because there the temple was founded, not by the authority of men, but by a celestial oracle, as it is sufficiently known.”

The mount then of the house of Jehovah shall be set in order on the top of the mountains, that is it shall surpass in height all other mountains; and it shall be raised, he says, above the highest summits, and assemble 117117     Convenient, ונהרו, literally, “and flow;” σπευσουσι — hasten, Sept. It is flowing like that of a river, or of a strong current, and implies copiousness and spontaneity. “There shall be,” says Henry, “a constant stream of believers flowing in from all parts into the Church, as the people of the Jews flowed into the temple, while it was standing, to worship there.”
   Kimchi says, that this word means to “run to what is pleasing or delightful,” —”currere ad beneplacitum, hoc est, ad id quod cupias An old author, quoted by Leigh, says, that it implies abundance and celerity — affluentiam cum celeritate It is rendered “flow together” in Jeremiah 51:44.

   Instead of “peoples,” עמים, Isaiah has כל חגוים, “all the nations.” One MS. Has the same here, and three have כל before עמים, and this seems to be the correct reading. עם, in the plural number, is synonymous with גוים, meaning nations. The rest of this verse is exactly the same in the two Prophets, except that נכון, “prepared,” is differently placed, and הוא, “it,” is added by Micah after נשא, “exalted.”

   In the second verse, which is the third in Isaiah, there is a complete verbal identity, except that גוים and עמים are reversed, and that ו before אל is wanting in Isaiah; but it is supplied in several MSS.

   In the third, the fourth in Isaiah, there are verbal varieties in the two first lines, the four remaining are exactly the same with the exception of a paragogic ן, nun, added to a verb by Micah, and the verb ישאו is singular in Isaiah. In the two lines referred to, there is also an addition of עד רחוק, “afar of,” in Micah.

   Isaiah.
ושפט בין הגוים 4.
והוכיחלעמים רבים
And he shall judge among the nation,
And shall convince many peoples.

   Micah.

whwkyx lgwyM eumyM ed rxwq wspj byN emyM rbyM

And he shall judge among many peoples,
And shall convince strong nations afar off.

   With this verse the passage ends in Isaiah; Micah adds another: and this, with the two other circumstances — that the passage is fuller and more connected with the context here than in Isaiah, may seem to favor the opinion that Isaiah, and not Micah, was the copyist; but the words, with which the passage is introduced in Isaiah, forbid such a supposition.

   “Bishop Lowth, on Isaiah 2:2, thinks that Micah took this passage from Isaiah. It is true that he has improved it after the manner of imitators. Or, the Spirit may have inspired both with this prediction: or both may have copied some common original, the words of a Prophet well known at the time. — Newcome.
there shall all nations. It is certain, that by these words of the Prophet is to be understood no visible eminence of situation: for that mount was not increased at the coming of Christ; and they who lived in the time of the Prophet entertained no gross idea of this kind. But he speaks here of the eminence of dignity, — that God would give to mount Zion a distinction so eminent, that all other mountains would yield to its honor. And how was this done? The explanation follows in the next verse. Lest, then, any one thought that there would be some visible change in mount Zion, that it would increase in size, the Prophet immediately explains what he meant and says, at the end of the verse, Come shall nations to God. It is now easy to see what its elevation was to be, — that God designed this mount to be, as it were, a royal seat. As under the monarchy of the king of Persia, the whole of the east, we know, was subject to one tower of the Persian; so also, when mount Zion became the seat of sovereign power, God designed to reign there, and there he designed that the whole world should be subject to him; and this is the reason and the Prophet said that it would be higher than all other mountains. Hence his meaning, in this expression, is sufficiently evident.

There follows, however, a fuller explanation, when he says, that many nations would come He said only before that nations would come: but as David, even in his age, made some nations tributary to himself, the Prophet here expresses something more, — that many nations would come; as if he had said, “Though David subjugated some people to himself, yet the borders of his kingdom were narrow and confined, compared with the largeness of that kingdom which the Lord will establish at the coming of his Messiah: for not a few nations but many shall assemble to serve him, and shall say,” etc. The Prophet now shows that it would be a spiritual kingdom. When David subdued the Moabites and the Amorites, and others, he imposed a certain tribute to be paid annually but he was not able to establish among them the pure and legitimate worship of God, nor was he able to unite them in one faith. Then the Moabites and other nations, though they paid a tribute to David, did not yet worship the true God, but continued ever alienated from the Church. But our Prophet shows that the kingdom, which God would set up at the coming of the Messiah, would be spiritual.

For they shall say, 118118     Marckius says, “corde, ore, et opere — with the heart, mouth, and in deed.” Let us you and ascend to the mount of Jehovah, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for, go 119119     כי, ki, for, or because: what follows contains the reason for the preceding promise. How could it be, that the mount of the house of Jehovah should be firmly fixed on the top of mountains, etc.? The answer is here given, “for go forth shall a law from Zion,” etc. And this was literally fulfilled at the commencement of the Gospel; it was first preached at Jerusalem: in consequence of this, the mount of Jehovah’s house, or the Church, was formed; and what is here predicted was in part fulfilled, and will no doubt be hereafter more completely fulfilled.
   It is said, “on top of the mountains,” not of a mountain. The Church was not to be confined to one place, but was to be preeminent throughout the earth. It was to be coextensive with the word that was to go forth from Zion. — Ed.
forth shall a law from Zion, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem Throughout this passage the Prophet teaches us, that people are not to be constrained by an armed force, or by the power of the sword, to submit to David’s posterity, but that they are to be really and thoroughly reformed, so that they submit themselves to God, unite with the body of the Church, and become one people with the children of Abraham; for they will yield a voluntary service, and embracing the teaching of the Law, they will renounce their own superstitions. This then is the Prophet’s meaning. But the remainder we shall defer till to-morrow.


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