Appeal before All Creation to the Israelites to
Testify, if They Can, if Jehovah Ever Did Aught but Acts of Kindness to
Them from the Earliest Period: God
Requires of Them Not So Much Sacrifices, as Real Piety and Justice:
Their Impieties and Coming Punishment.
1. contend thou—Israel is called by
Jehovah to plead with Him in controversy. Mic 5:11-13 suggested the transition from
those happy times described in the fourth and fifth chapters, to the
prophet's own degenerate times and people.
before the mountains—in their
presence; personified as if witnesses (compare Mic 1:2;
De 32:1; Isa 1:2). Not as the
Margin, "with"; as God's controversy is with Israel, not
2. Lord's controversy—How great is
Jehovah's condescension, who, though the supreme Lord of all, yet
wishes to prove to worms of the earth the equity of His dealings (Isa 5:3;
3. my people—the greatest aggravation of
their sin, that God always treated them, and still treats them, as
what have I done unto thee?—save
kindness, that thou revoltest from Me (Jer 2:5, 31).
wherein have I wearied thee?—What
commandments have I enjoined that should have wearied thee as irksome
4. For—On the contrary, so far
from doing anything harsh, I did thee every kindness from the earliest
years of thy nationality.
Miriam—mentioned, as being the
prophetess who led the female chorus who sang the song of Moses (Ex 15:20). God sent Moses to give the best
laws; Aaron to pray for the people; Miriam as an example to the women
5. what Balak … consulted—how
Balak plotted to destroy thee by getting Balaam to curse thee (Nu 22:5).
what Balaam … answered—how the
avaricious prophet was constrained against his own will, to bless
Israel whom he had desired to curse for the sake of Balak's reward
24:9-11) [Maurer]. Grotius
explains it, "how Balaam answered, that the only way to injure
thee was by tempting thee to idolatry and whoredom" (Nu 31:16). The mention of "Shittim" agrees with
this: as it was the scene of Israel's sin (Nu
25:1-5; 2Pe 2:15; Re 2:14).
from Shittim unto Gilgal—not that
Balaam accompanied Israel from Shittim to Gilgal: for he was
slain in Midian (Nu 31:8). But
the clause, "from Shittim," alone applies to Balaam. "Remember" God's
kindnesses "from Shittim," the scene of Balaam's wicked counsel taking
effect in Israel's sin, whereby Israel merited utter destruction but
for God's sparing mercy, "to Gilgal," the place of Israel's first
encampment in the promised land between Jericho and Jordan, where God
renewed the covenant with Israel by circumcision (Jos 5:2-11).
know the righteousness—Recognize that,
so far from God having treated thee harshly (Mic 6:3), His dealings have been kindness itself
(so "righteous acts" for gracious, Jud 5:11;
Ps 24:5, 112:9).
6. Wherewith shall I come before the
Lord?—The people, convicted by the previous appeal of Jehovah
to them, ask as if they knew not (compare Mic 6:8) what Jehovah requires of them to
appease Him, adding that they are ready to offer an immense heap of
sacrifices, and those the most costly, even to the fruit of their own
burnt offerings—(Le 1:1-17).
calves of a year old—which used to be
offered for a priest (Le 9:2, 3).
7. rivers of oil—used in sacrifices
15). Will God be appeased by
my offering so much oil that it shall flow in myriads of torrents?
my first-born—(2Ki 3:27). As the king of Moab did.
fruit of my body—my children,
as an atonement (Ps 132:11).
The Jews offered human sacrifices in the valley of Hinnom (Jer
19:5; 32:35; Eze 23:27).
hath showed thee—long ago, so that
thou needest not ask the question as if thou hadst never heard (Mic 6:6; compare De 10:12;
what is good—"the good things to come"
under Messiah, of which "the law had the shadow." The Mosaic sacrifices
were but suggestive foreshadowings of His better sacrifice
9:23; 10:1). To have this
"good" first "showed," or revealed by the Spirit, is the only
basis for the superstructure of the moral requirements which follow.
Thus the way was prepared for the Gospel. The banishment of the Jews
from Palestine is designed to preclude the possibility of their looking
to the Mosaic rites for redemption, and shuts them up to Messiah.
justly … mercy—preferred by God
to sacrifices. For the latter being positive ordinances, are
only means designed with a view to the former, which being
moral duties are the ends, and of everlasting obligation
(1Sa 15:22; Ho 6:6; 12:6; Am 5:22, 24). Two duties towards man are
specified—justice, or strict equity; and mercy, or
a kindly abatement of what we might justly demand, and a hearty desire
to do good to others.
to walk humbly with thy God—passive
and active obedience towards God. The three moral duties here are
summed up by our Lord (Mt 23:23),
"judgment, mercy, and faith" (in Lu 11:42, "the love of God"). Compare Jas 1:27. To walk with God implies
constant prayer and watchfulness, familiar yet "humble" converse with
9. unto the city—Jerusalem.
the man of wisdom—As in Pr 13:6, Hebrew, "sin" is used for
"a man of sin," and in Ps 109:4, "prayer" for "a man of prayer";
so here "wisdom" for "the man of wisdom."
shall see thy name—shall regard Thee,
in Thy revelations of Thyself. Compare the end of Mic 2:7. God's "name" expresses the sum-total of
His revealed attributes. Contrast with this Isa 26:10, "will not behold the majesty of the
Lord." Another reading is adopted by the Septuagint, Syriac, and
Vulgate, "there is deliverance for those who fear Thy
name." English Version is better suited to the connection; and
the rarity of the Hebrew expression, as compared with the
frequency of that in the other reading, makes it less likely to be an
hear … the rod, &c.—Hear
what punishment (compare Mic 6:13, &c.; Isa 9:3; 10:5,
24) awaits you, and from
whom. I am but a man, and so ye may disregard me; but remember my
message is not mine, but God's. Hear the rod when it is come, and you
feel its smart. Hear what counsels, what cautions it speaks.
appointed it—(Jer 47:7).
10. Are there yet—notwithstanding all My
warnings. Is there to be no end of acquiring treasures by wickedness?
Jehovah is speaking (Mic 6:9).
scant measure …
abominable—(Pr 11:1; Am 8:5).
11. Shall I count them pure—literally,
"Shall I be pure with?" &c. With the pure God shows Himself
pure; but with the froward God shows Himself froward
18:26). Men often are
changeable in their judgments. But God, in the case of the impure who
use "wicked balances," cannot be pure, that is, cannot deal with them
as He would with the pure. Vatablus and
Henderson make the "I" to be "any one";
"Can I (that is, one) be innocent with wicked balances?" But as "I," in
6:13, refers to Jehovah, it
must refer to Him also here.
the bag—in which weights used to be
carried, as well as money (De 25:13; Pr 16:11).
12. For—rather, "Inasmuch as"; the
conclusion "therefore," &c. following in Mic 6:13.
13. make thee sick in
smiting—(Le 26:16, to
which perhaps the allusion here is, as in Mic 6:14; Ps 107:17, 18; Jer 13:13).
14. eat … not be
satisfied—fulfiling the threat, Le 26:26.
thy casting down shall be in the midst of
thee—Thou shalt be cast down, not merely on My borders, but
in the midst of thee, thy metropolis and temple being overthrown [Tirinus]. Even though there should be no
enemy, yet thou shalt be consumed with intestine evils [Calvin]. Maurer
translates as from an Arabic root, "there shall be
emptiness in thy belly." Similarly Grotius, "there shall be a sinking of thy belly
(once filled with food), through hunger." This suits the parallelism to
the first clause. But English Version maintains the parallelism
sufficiently. The casting down in the midst of the land, including the
failure of food, through the invasion thus answering to, "Thou shalt
eat, and not be satisfied."
thou shalt take hold, but … not
deliver—Thou shalt take hold (with thine arms), in order to
save [Calvin] thy wives, children and
goods. Maurer, from a different root,
translates, "thou shalt remove them," in order to save them from the
foe. But thou shalt fail in the attempt to deliver them (Jer 50:37).
that which thou deliverest—If haply
thou dost rescue aught, it will be for a time: I will give it up to the
15. sow … not reap—fulfilling the
threat (Le 26:16; De 28:38-40; Am 5:11).
16. statutes of Omri—the founder of
Samaria and of Ahab's wicked house; and a supporter of Jeroboam's
superstitions (1Ki 16:16-28). This verse is a recapitulation of what
was more fully stated before, Judah's sin and consequent punishment.
Judah, though at variance with Israel on all things else, imitated her
works of … Ahab—(1Ki 21:25, 26).
ye walk in their counsels—Though these
superstitions were the fruit of their king's "counsels" as a master
stroke of state policy, yet these pretexts were no excuse for setting
at naught the counsels and will of God.
that I should make thee a
desolation—Thy conduct is framed so, as if it was thy set
purpose "that I should make thee a desolation."
inhabitants thereof—namely, of
the reproach of my people—The very
thing ye boast of, namely, that ye are "My people," will only increase
the severity of your punishment. The greater My grace to you, the
greater shall be your punishment for having despised it, Your being
God's people in name, while walking in His love, was an honor; but now
the name, without the reality, is only a "reproach" to you.