Denunciation of the Evils Prevalent: The
People's Unwillingness to Hear the Truth: Their Expulsion From the Land
the Fitting Fruit of Their Sin: Yet
Judah and Israel Are Hereafter to Be Restored.
1. devise … work …
practise—They do evil not merely on a sudden impulse, but
with deliberate design. As in the former chapter sins against the first
table are reproved, so in this chapter sins against the second table. A
gradation: "devise" is the conception of the evil purpose;
58:2), or "fabricate," the
maturing of the scheme; "practise," or "effect," the
execution of it.
because it is in the power of their
hand—for the phrase see Ge 31:29; Pr 3:27. Might, not right, is what regulates
their conduct. Where they can, they commit oppression; where they do
not, it is because they cannot.
2. Parallelism, "Take by violence," answers to
"take away"; "fields" and "houses," to "house" and "heritage" (that is,
3. against this family—against the
nation, and especially against those reprobated in Mic 2:1, 2.
I devise an evil—a happy antithesis
between God's dealings and the Jews' dealings (Mic 2:1). Ye "devise evil" against your fellow
countrymen; I devise evil against you. Ye devise it wrongfully, I by
righteous retribution in kind.
from which ye shall not remove your
necks—as ye have done from the law. The yoke I shall impose
shall be one which ye cannot shake off. They who will not bend to God's
"easy yoke" (Mt 11:29, 30), shall feel His iron yoke.
go haughtily—(Compare Note, see
on Jer 6:28). Ye shall not walk as now with neck
haughtily uplifted, for the yoke shall press down your "neck."
this time is evil—rather, "for
that time shall be an evil time," namely, the time of the
carrying away into captivity (compare Am 5:13; Eph 5:16).
4. one take up a parable against
you—that is, Some of your foes shall do so, taking in
derision from your own mouth your "lamentation," namely, "We be
lament with a doleful
lamentation—literally, "lament with a lamentation of
lamentations." Hebrew, naha, nehi, nihyah, the repetition
representing the continuous and monotonous wail.
he hath changed the portion of my
people—a charge of injustice against Jehovah. He transfers to
other nations the sacred territory assigned as the rightful portion of
our people (Mic 1:15).
turning away he hath divided our
fields—Turning away from us to the enemy, He hath divided
among them our fields. Calvin, as the
Margin, explains, "Instead of restoring our territory, He
hath divided our fields among our enemies, each of whom henceforward
will have an interest in keeping what he hath gotten: so that we are
utterly shut out from hope of restoration." Maurer translates as a noun, "He hath divided our
fields to a rebel," that is, to the foe who is a rebel against
the true God, and a worshipper of idols. So "backsliding," that is,
backslider (Jer 49:4).
English Version gives a good sense; and is quite tenable in the
5. Therefore—resumed from Mic 2:3. On account of your crimes described in
thou—the ideal individual ("me," Mic 2:4), representing the guilty people
in whose name he spoke.
none that … cast a cord by
lot—none who shall have any possession measured
in the congregation of the Lord—among
the people consecrated to Jehovah. By covetousness and violence (Mic 2:2) they had forfeited "the portion
of Jehovah's people." This is God's implied answer to their complaint
of injustice (Mic 2:4).
6. Prophesy ye not, say they—namely, the
Israelites say to the true prophets, when announcing unwelcome truths.
Therefore God judicially abandons them to their own ways: "The
prophets, by whose ministry they might have been saved from
shame (ignominious captivity), shall not (that is, no longer)
prophesy to them" (Isa 30:10; Am 2:12; 7:16). Maurer
translates the latter clause, "they shall not prophesy of such
things" (as in Mic 2:3-5,
these being rebellious Israel's words); "let them not prophesy"; "they
never cease from insult" (from prophesying insults to us). English
Version is supported by the parallelism: wherein the similarity of
sound and word implies how exactly God makes their punishment answer to
their sin, and takes them at their own word. "Prophesy," literally,
"drop" (De 32:2; Eze 21:2).
7. O thou … named the house of
Jacob—priding thyself on the name, though having
naught of the spirit, of thy progenitor. Also, bearing the name which
ought to remind thee of God's favors granted to thee because of His
covenant with Jacob.
is the Spirit of the Lord
straitened?—Is His compassion contracted within
narrower limits now than formerly, so that He should delight in your
destruction (compare Ps 77:7-9; Isa 59:1, 2)?
are these his doings?—that is, Are
such threatenings His delight? Ye dislike the prophets' threatenings
2:6): but who is to blame?
Not God, for He delights in blessing, rather than threatening; but
yourselves (Mic 2:8) who
provoke His threatenings [Grotius].
Calvin translates, "Are your doings such
as are prescribed by Him?" Ye boast of being God's peculiar people: Do
ye then conform your lives to God's law?
do not my words do good to him that walketh
uprightly—Are not My words good to the upright? If your ways
were upright, My words would not be threatening (compare Ps
18:26; Mt 11:19; Joh 7:17).
8. Your ways are not such that I can deal with
you as I would with the upright.
Even of late—literally, "yesterday,"
"long ago." So "of old." Hebrew, "yesterday" (Isa 30:33); "heretofore," Hebrew, "since
yesterday" (Jos 3:4).
my people is risen up as an enemy—that
is, has rebelled against My precepts; also has become an enemy
to the unoffending passers-by.
robe with the garment—Not content with
the outer "garment," ye greedily rob passers-by of the ornamental
"robe" fitting the body closely and flowing down to the feet [Ludovicus De Dieu] (Mt 5:40).
as men averse from war—in antithesis
to (My people) "as an enemy." Israel treats the innocent
passers-by, though "averse from war," as an enemy" would treat captives
in his power, stripping them of their habiliments as lawful spoils.
Grotius translates, "as men
returning from war," that is, as captives over whom the right of
war gives the victors an absolute power. English Version is
supported by the antithesis.
9. The women of my people—that is, the
widows of the men slain by you (Mic 2:2) ye cast out from their homes which had
been their delight, and seize on them for yourselves.
from their children—that is, from the
orphans of the widows.
taken away my glory—namely, their
substance and raiment, which, being the fruit of God's blessing on the
young, reflected God's glory. Thus Israel's crime was not merely
robbery, but sacrilege. Their sex did not save the women, nor their age
the children from violence.
for ever—There was no repentance. They
persevered in sin. The pledged garment was to be restored to the poor
before sunset (Ex 22:26, 27); but these never restored their
10. Arise ye, and depart—not an
exhortation to the children of God to depart out of an ungodly world,
as it is often applied; though that sentiment is a scriptural one. This
world is doubtless not our "rest," being "polluted" with sin: it is our
passage, not our portion; our aim, not our home (2Co 6:17; Heb
13:14). The imperatives
express the certainty of the future event
predicted. "Since such are your doings (compare Mic 2:7, 8, &c.), My sentence on you is
irrevocable (Mic 2:4, 5),
however distasteful to you (Mic 2:6); ye
who have cast out others from their homes and possessions (Mic 2:2, 8,
9) must arise, depart,
and be cast out of your own (Mic 2:4, 5): for this is not your rest"
(Nu 10:33; De 12:9; Ps 95:11). Canaan was designed to be a
rest to them after their wilderness fatigues. But it is to be so
no longer. Thus God refutes the people's self-confidence, as if God
were bound to them inseparably. The promise (Ps 132:14) is quite consistent with temporary
withdrawal of God from Israel for their sins.
it shall destroy you—The land
shall spew you out, because of the defilements wherewith ye "polluted"
it (Le 18:25, 28; Jer 3:2; Eze 36:12-14).
11. walking in the spirit—The
Hebrew means also "wind." "If a man professing to have the
'spirit' of inspiration (Eze 13:3; so
'man of the spirit,' that is, one claiming inspiration, Ho 9:7), but really walking in 'wind' (prophecy
void of nutriment for the soul, and unsubstantial as the wind)
and falsehood, do lie, saying (that which ye like to hear), I will
prophesy," &c., even such a one, however false his prophecies,
since he flatters your wishes, shall be your prophet (compare Mic 2:6;
prophesy … of wine—that is, of
an abundant supply of wine.
12. A sudden transition from threats to the
promise of a glorious restoration. Compare a similar transition in
10. Jehovah, too, prophesies
of good things to come, but not like the false prophets, "of wine and
strong drink" (Mic 2:11).
After I have sent you into captivity as I have just threatened, I will
thence assemble you again (compare Mic 4:6, 7).
all of thee—The restoration from
Babylon was partial. Therefore that here meant must be still future,
when "all Israel shall be saved" (Ro 11:26). The restoration from "Babylon"
(specified (Mic 4:10) is
the type of the future one.
Jacob … Israel—the ten tribes'
12:2) and Judah (2Ch 19:8; 21:2,
remnant—the elect remnant, which shall
survive the previous calamities of Judah, and from which the nation is
to spring into new life (Isa 6:13; 10:20-22).
as the sheep of Bozrah—a region famed
for its rich pastures (compare 2Ki 3:4). Gesenius for Bozrah translates, "sheepfold." But
thus there will be tautology unless the next clause be translated, "in
the midst of their pasture." English Version is more
favored by the Hebrew.
13. The breaker—Jehovah-Messiah, who
breaks through every obstacle in the way of their restoration:
not as formerly breaking forth to destroy them for transgression
(Ex 19:22; Jud 21:15), but breaking a way for them through
they—the returning Israelites and
passed through the gate—that is,
through the gate of the foe's city in which they had been captives. So
the image of the resurrection (Ho 13:14) represents Israel's restoration.
their king—"the Breaker," peculiarly
"their king" (Ho 3:5; Mt 27:37).
pass before them—as He did when they
went up out of Egypt (Ex 13:21; De 1:30, 33).
the Lord on the head of them—Jehovah
at their head (Isa 52:12).
Messiah, the second person, is meant (compare Ex
23:20; 33:14; Isa 63:9).