God's Wrath against Samaria and Judah; the
Former Is to Be Overthrown; Such Judgments in Prospect Call for
2. all that therein is—Hebrew,
"whatever fills it." Micaiah, son of Imlah, our prophet's namesake,
begins his prophecy similarly, "Hearken, O people, every one of you."
Micah designedly uses the same preface, implying that his ministrations
are a continuation of his predecessor's of the same name. Both probably
had before their mind Moses' similar attestation of heaven and earth in
a like case (De 31:28; 32:1; compare Isa 1:2).
God be witness against you—namely,
that none of you can say, when the time of your punishment shall come,
that you were not forewarned. The punishment denounced is stated in
Mic 1:3, &c.
from his holy temple—that is, heaven
(1Ki 8:30; Ps 11:4; Jon 2:7; compare Ro 1:18).
3. tread upon the high places of the
earth—He shall destroy the fortified heights (compare De 32:13;
4. Imagery from earthquakes and volcanic
agency, to describe the terrors which attend Jehovah's coming in
judgment (compare Jud 5:5).
Neither men of high degree, as the mountains, nor men of low degree, as
the valleys, can secure themselves or their land from the judgments of
as wax—(Ps 97:5; compare Isa 64:1-3). The third clause, "as wax," &c.,
answers to the first in the parallelism, "the mountains shall be
molten"; the fourth, "as the waters," &c., to the second, "the
valleys shall be cleft." As wax melts by fire, so the mountains before
God, at His approach; and as waters poured down a steep cannot stand
but are diffused abroad, so the valleys shall be cleft before
5. For the transgression of Jacob is all
this—All these terrors attending Jehovah's coming are caused
by the sins of Jacob or Israel, that is, the whole people.
What is the transgression of
Jacob?—Taking up the question often in the mouths of the
people when reproved, "What is our transgression?" (compare Mal 1:6, 7), He answers, Is it not Samaria?
Is not that city (the seat of the calf-worship) the cause of Jacob's
apostasy (1Ki 14:16; 15:26, 34; 16:13,
19, 25, 30)?
and what are the high places of
Judah?—What city is the cause of the idolatries on the high
places of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem (compare 2Ki 18:4)?
6. Samaria's punishment is mentioned first, as
it was to fall before Jerusalem.
as an heap of the field—(Mic 3:12). Such a heap of stones and rubbish as
is gathered out of fields, to clear them (Ho 12:11). Palestine is of a soil abounding in
stones, which are gathered out before the vines are planted (Isa 5:2).
as plantings of a vineyard—as a place
where vines are planted. Vineyards were cultivated on the sides of
hills exposed to the sun. The hill on which Samaria was built by Omri,
had been, doubtless, planted with vines originally; now it is to be
reduced again to its original state (1Ki 16:24).
pour down—dash down the stones
of the city into the valley beneath. A graphic picture of the present
appearance of the ruins, which is as though "the buildings of the
ancient city had been thrown down from the brow of the hill"
[Scottish Mission of Inquiry, pp. 293,294].
discover the foundations—destroy it so
utterly as to lay bare its foundations (Eze 13:14). Samaria was destroyed by
7. all the hires—the wealth which Israel
boasted of receiving from her idols as the "rewards" or "hire" for
worshipping them (Ho 2:5, 12).
idols … will I …
desolate—that is, give them up to the foe to strip off the
silver and gold with which they are overlaid.
she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and
they shall return to the hire of an harlot—Israel gathered
(made for herself) her idols from the gold and silver received from
false gods, as she thought, the "hire" of her worshipping them; and
they shall again become what they had been before, the hire of
spiritual harlotry, that is, the prosperity of the foe, who also being
worshippers of idols will ascribe the acquisition to their idols [Maurer]. Grotius explains it, The offerings sent to
Israel's temple by the Assyrians, whose idolatry Israel adopted,
shall go back to the Assyrians, her teachers in idolatry, as the hire
or fee for having taught it. The image of a harlot's hire
for the supposed temporal reward of spiritual fornication, is more
common in Scripture (Ho 9:1).
8. Therefore I will wail—The prophet
first shows how the coming judgment affects himself, in order that he
might affect the minds of his countrymen similarly.
stripped—that is, of shoes, or
sandals, as the Septuagint translates. Otherwise "naked"
would be a tautology.
naked—"Naked" means divested of the
upper garment (Isa 20:2).
"Naked and barefoot," the sign of mourning (2Sa 15:30). The prophet's upper garment was
usually rough and coarse-haired (2Ki 1:8; Zec 13:4).
like the dragons—so Jerome. Rather, "the wild dogs," jackals or wolves,
which wail like an infant when in distress or alone [Maurer]. (See on Job
owls—rather, "ostriches," which give a
shrill and long-drawn, sigh-like cry, especially at night.
9. wound … incurable—Her case,
politically and morally, is desperate (Jer 8:22).
it is come—the wound, or impending
calamity (compare Isa 10:28).
he is come … even to
Jerusalem—The evil is no longer limited to Israel. The
prophet foresees Sennacherib coming even "to the gate" of the principal
city. The use of "it" and "he" is appropriately distinct. "It," the
calamity, "came unto" Judah, many of the inhabitants of which suffered,
but did not reach the citizens of Jerusalem, "the gate" of which the
foe ("he") "came unto," but did not enter (Isa
10. Declare ye it not at Gath—on the
borders of Judea, one of the five cities of the Philistines, who would
exult at the calamity of the Hebrews (2Sa 1:20). Gratify not those who exult over the
falls of the Israel of God.
weep ye not at all—Do not betray your
inward sorrow by outward weeping, within the cognizance of the enemy,
lest they should exult at it. Reland
translates, "Weep not in Acco," that is, Ptolemais, now St. Jean
d'Acre, near the foot of Mount Carmel; allotted to Asher, but never
occupied by that tribe (Jud 1:31);
Acco's inhabitants would, therefore, like Gath's, rejoice at Israel's
disaster. Thus the parallelism is best carried out in all the three
clauses of the verse, and there is a similar play on sounds in each, in
the Hebrew Gath, resembling in sound the Hebrew for
"declare"; Acco, resembling the Hebrew for "weep"; and
Aphrah, meaning "dust." While the Hebrews were not to expose
their misery to foreigners, they ought to bewail it in their own
cities, for example, Aphrah or Ophrah (Jos 18:23; 1Sa 13:17), in the tribe of Benjamin. To
"roll in the dust" marked deep sorrow (Jer 6:26; Eze 27:30).
11. Pass ye away—that is, Thou shall go
inhabitant of Saphir—a village amidst
the hills of Judah, between Eleutheropolis and Ascalon, called so, from
the Hebrew word for "beauty." Though thy name be "beauty," which
heretofore was thy characteristic, thou shalt have thy "shame" made
"naked." This city shall be dismantled of its walls, which are the
garments, as it were, of cities; its citizens also shall be hurried
into captivity, with persons exposed (Isa 47:3; Eze 16:37; Ho
the inhabitant of Zaanan came not
forth—Its inhabitants did not come forth to console the
people of Beth-ezel in their mourning, because the calamity was
universal; none was exempt from it (compare Jer 6:25). "Zaanan" is the same as Zenan, in
15:37), meaning the "place of
flocks." The form of the name used is made like the Hebrew for
"came forth." Though in name seeming to imply that thou dost come
forth, thou "camest not forth."
Beth-ezel—perhaps Azal (Zec 14:5), near Jerusalem. It means a "house on
the side," or "near." Though so near, as its name implies, to
Zaanan, Beth-ezel received no succor or sympathy from Zaanan.
he shall receive of you his
standing—"he," that is, the foe; "his standing," that is, his
sustenance [Piscator]. Or, "he shall be
caused a delay by you, Zaanan." He shall be brought to a stand for a
time in besieging you; hence it is said just before, "Zaanan came not
forth," that is, shut herself up within her walls to withstand a siege.
But it was only for a time. She, too, fell like Beth-ezel before her
[Vatablus]. Maurer construes thus: "The inhabitant of Zaanan
came not forth; the mourning of Beth-ezel takes away from you
her shelter." Though Beth-ezel be at your side (that is, near),
according to her name, yet as she also mourns under the oppression of
the foe, she cannot give you shelter, or be at your side as a
helper (as her name might lead you to expect), if you come forth and be
intercepted by him from returning to Zaanan.
12. Maroth—possibly the same as Maarath
15:59). Perhaps a different
town, lying between the previously mentioned towns and the capital, and
one of those plundered by Rab-shakeh on his way to it.
waited carefully for good—that is, for
better fortune, but in vain [Calvin].
Gesenius translates, "is grieved
for her goods," "taken away" from her. This accords with the meaning of
Maroth, "bitterness," to which allusion is made in "is grieved." But
the antithesis favors English Version, "waited carefully (that
is, anxiously) for good, but evil came down."
from the Lord—not from
unto the gate of Jerusalem—after the
other cities of Judah have been taken.
13. "Bind the chariot to the swift
steed," in order by a hasty flight to escape the invading foe.
Compare Note, see on Isa 36:2, on
"Lachish," at which Sennacherib fixed his headquarters (2Ki 18:14,
17; Jer 34:7).
she is the beginning of the sin to …
Zion—Lachish was the first of the cities of Judah, according
to this passage, to introduce the worship of false gods, imitating what
Jeroboam had introduced in Israel. As lying near the border of the
north kingdom, Lachish was first to be infected by its idolatry, which
thence spread to Jerusalem.
14. shalt thou give presents to
Moresheth-gath—that its inhabitants may send thee help. Maurer explains it, "thou shalt give a writing
of renunciation to Moresheth-gath," that is, thou shalt renounce all
claim to it, being compelled to yield it up to the foe. "Thou," that
is, Judah. "Israel" in this verse is used for the kingdom of
Judah, which was the chief representative of the whole nation of
Israel. Moresheth-gath is so called because it had fallen for a time
under the power of the neighboring Philistines of Gath. It was
the native town of Micah (Mic 1:1).
Achzib—meaning "lying." Achzib, as its
name implies, shall prove a "lie to … Israel," that is, shall
disappoint Israel's hopes of succor from her (compare Job
6:15-20; Jer 15:18). Achzib
was in Judah between Keilah and Mareshah (Jos 15:44). Perhaps the same as Chezib (Ge 38:5).
15. Yet will I bring an heir unto
thee—rather, "the heir." As thou art now occupied by
possessors who expelled the former inhabitants, so will I bring "yet"
again the new possessor, namely, the Assyrian foe. Other
heirs will supplant us in every inheritance but that of heaven. There
is a play upon the meaning of Mareshah, "an inheritance": there shall
come the new heir of the inheritance.
Adullam the glory of Israel—so called
as being superior in situation; when it and the neighboring cities
fell, Israel's glory was gone. Maurer,
as the Margin, translates, "the glory of Israel" (her chief
citizens: answering to "thy delicate children," Mic 1:16) "shall come in flight to Adullam."
English Version better preserves the parallelism, "the heir" in
the first clause answering to "he" in the second.
16. Make thee bald, &c.—a token of
deep mourning (Ezr 9:3; Job 1:20). Mourn, O land, for thy darling
poll—shave off thy hair.
enlarge thy baldness—Mourn grievously.
The land is compared to a mother weeping for her children.
as the eagle—the bald eagle, or the
dark-winged vulture. In the moulting season all eagles are
comparatively bald (compare Ps 103:5).