The Universality of the Corruption; the Chosen
Remnant, Driven from Every Human Confidence, Turns to God; Triumphs by Faith over Her Enemies; Is Comforted by
God's Promises in Answer to Prayer, and by the Confusion of Her
Enemies, and So Breaks Forth into Praises of God's Character.
1. I am as when, &c.—It is the same
with me as with one seeking fruits after the harvest, grapes after the
vintage. "There is not a cluster" to be found: no "first-ripe fruit"
(or "early fig"; see on Isa 28:4) which "my soul
desireth" [Maurer]. So I look in vain
for any good men left (Mic 7:2).
2. The Hebrew expresses "one
merciful and good in relation to man," rather than to God.
is perished out of the earth—(Ps 12:1).
3. That they may do evil with both hands
earnestly—literally, "Their hands are for evil that they may
do it well" (that is, cleverly and successfully).
the great man, he—emphatic repetition.
As for the great man, he no sooner has expressed his bad desire
(literally, the "mischief" or "lust of his soul"), than the venal
judges are ready to wrest the decision of the case according to his
so they wrap it up—The Hebrew
is used of intertwining cords together. The "threefold cord is
not quickly broken" (Ec 4:12);
here the "prince," the "judge," and the "great man" are the three in
guilty complicity. "They wrap it up," namely, they conspire to carry
out the great man's desire at the sacrifice of justice.
4. as a brier—or thorn; pricking
with injury all who come in contact with them (2Sa
23:6, 7; Isa 55:13; Eze 2:6).
the day of thy watchmen—the day
foretold by thy (true) prophets, as the time of "thy visitation" in
wrath [Grotius]. Or, "the day of thy
false prophets being punished"; they are specially threatened as
being not only blind themselves, but leading others blindfold [Calvin].
now—at the time foretold, "at that
time"; the prophet transporting himself into it.
perplexity—(Isa 22:5). They shall not know whither to
5. Trust ye not in a friend—Faith is
kept nowhere: all to a man are treacherous (Jer 9:2-6). When justice is perverted by the
great, faith nowhere is safe. So, in gospel times of persecution, "a
man's foes are they of his own household" (Mt 10:35,
36; Lu 12:53).
guide—a counsellor [Calvin] able to help and advise (compare Ps 118:8,
9; 146:3). The head of
your family, to whom all the members of the family would naturally
repair in emergencies. Similarly the Hebrew is translated in
22:14 and "chief friends" in
her that lieth in thy bosom—thy wife
6. son dishonoureth the father—The state
of unnatural lawlessness in all relations of life is here described
which is to characterize the last times, before Messiah comes to punish
the ungodly and save Israel (compare Lu 21:16; 2Ti 3:1-3).
7. Therefore I will look unto the
Lord—as if no one else were before mine eyes. We must not
only "look unto the Lord," but also "wait for Him."
Having no hope from man (Mic 7:5, 6),
Micah speaks in the name of Israel, who herein, taught by chastisement
7:4) to feel her sin (Mic 7:9), casts herself on the Lord as her
only hope," in patient waiting (La 3:26). She did so under the Babylonian
captivity; she shall do so again hereafter when the spirit of grace
shall be poured on her (Zec 12:10-13).
8. Rejoice not—at my fall.
when I fall, I shall arise—(Ps
37:24; Pr 24:16).
when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a
light—Israel reasons as her divine representative, Messiah,
reasoned by faith in His hour of darkness and desertion (Isa 50:7, 8,
10). Israel addresses
Babylon, her triumphant foe (or Edom), as a female; the type of
her last and worst foes (Ps 137:7, 8). "Mine enemy," in Hebrew, is
the indignation of the Lord—His
punishment inflicted on me (La 3:39). The
true penitent "accepts the punishment of his iniquity" (Le 26:41, 43); they who murmur against God, do
not yet know their guilt (Job 40:4, 5).
execute judgment for me—against my
foe. God's people plead guilty before God; but, in respect to their
human foes, they are innocent and undeserving of their foes'
bring me forth to the light—to the
temporal and spiritual redemption.
I shall behold his righteousness—His
gracious faithfulness to His promises (Ps 103:17).
10. shame shall cover her—in seeing how
utterly mistaken she was in supposing that I was utterly ruined.
Where is … thy God—(Ps 42:3, 10). If He be "thy God," as
thou sayest, let Him come now and deliver thee. So as to Israel's
representative, Messiah (Mt 27:43).
mine eyes shall behold her—a just
retribution in kind upon the foe who had said, "Let our eye look
upon Zion." Zion shall behold her foe prostrate, not with the
carnal joy of revenge, but with spiritual joy in God's vindicating His
own righteousness (Isa 66:24; Re 16:5-7).
shall she be trodden down—herself, who
had trodden down me.
11. thy walls … be built—under
Cyrus, after the seventy years' captivity; and again, hereafter, when
the Jews shall be restored (Am 9:11; Zec 12:6).
shall the decree be far
removed—namely, thy tyrannical decree or rule of Babylon
shall be put away from thee, "the statutes that were not good" (Eze 20:25) [Calvin]. Ps 102:13-16; Isa 9:4. The Hebrew is against Maurer's translation, "the boundary of the
city shall be far extended," so as to contain the people
flocking into it from all nations (Mic 7:12; Isa 49:20;
12. In that day also—rather, an answer
to the supposed question of Zion, When shall my walls be built? "The
day (of thy walls being built) is the day when he (that is, many) shall
come to thee from Assyria," &c. [Ludovicus
De Dieu]. The Assyrians (including the Babylonians) who spoiled
thee shall come.
and from the fortified
cities—rather, to suit the parallelism, "from Assyria even
to Egypt." (Matzor may be so translated). So Assyria and
Egypt are contrasted in Isa 19:23
[Maurer]. Calvin agrees with English Version, "from all
from the fortress even to the
river—"from Egypt even to the river" Euphrates
(answering in parallelism to "Assyria") [Maurer]. Compare Isa
11:15, 16; 19:23-25; 27:13; Ho 11:11; Zec 10:10.
13. However glorious the prospect of
restoration, the Jews are not to forget the visitation on their "land"
which is to intervene for the "fruit of (evil caused by) their doings"
(compare Pr 1:31; Isa 3:10, 11; Jer 21:14).
14. Feed thy people—Prayer of the
prophet, in the name of his people to God, which, as God fulfils
believing prayer, is prophetical of what God would do. When God
is about to deliver His people, He stirs up their friends to pray for
Feed—including the idea of both
pastoral rule and care over His people (Mic 5:4, Margin), regarded as a flock
80:1; 100:3). Our calamity
must be fatal to the nation, unless Thou of Thy unmerited grace,
remembering Thy covenant with "Thine heritage" (De 4:20; 7:6;
32:9), shalt restore us.
thy rod—the shepherd's rod, wherewith
He directs the flock (Ps 23:4). No
longer the rod of punishment (Mic 6:9).
which dwell solitarily in the wood, in …
Carmel—Let Thy people who have been dwelling as it were in a
solitude of woods (in the world, but not of it),
scattered among various nations, dwell in Carmel, that is, where there
are fruit-bearing lands and vineyards [Calvin]. Rather, "which are about to dwell (that is,
that they may dwell) separate in the wood, in … Carmel" [Maurer], which are to be no longer mingled
with the heathen, but are to dwell as a distinct people in their own
land. Micah has here Balaam's prophecy in view (compare Mic 6:5, where also Balaam is referred to). "Lo,
the people shall dwell alone" (Nu 23:9; compare De 33:28). To "feed in the wood in Carmel," is to
feed in the rich pastures among its woods. To "sleep in the woods," is
the image of most perfect security (Eze 34:25). So that the Jews' "security," as well
as their distinct nationality, is here foretold. Also Jer 49:31.
Bashan—famed for its cattle (Ps 22:12;
Am 4:1). Parallel to this
passage is Jer 50:19.
Bashan and Gilead, east of Jordan, were chosen by Reuben, Gad, and half
Manasseh, as abounding in pastures suited for their many cattle (Nu
32:1-42; De 3:12-17).
15. thy … him—both referring to
Israel. So in Mic 7:19 the
person is changed from the first to the third, "us … our …
their." Jehovah here answers Micah's prayer in Mic 7:14, assuring him, that as He delivered His
people from Egypt by miraculous power, so He would again "show" it in
their behalf (Jer 16:14, 15).
16. shall see—the "marvellous things"
(Mic 7:15; Isa 26:11).
confounded at all their might—having
so suddenly proved unavailing: that might wherewith they had thought
that there is nothing which they could not effect against God's
lay … hand upon …
mouth—the gesture of silence (Job 21:5; 40:4;
Ps 107:42; Isa 52:15). They
shall be struck dumb at Israel's marvellous deliverance, and no longer
boast that God's people is destroyed.
ears … deaf—They shall stand
astounded so as not to hear what shall be said [Grotius]. Once they had eagerly drunk in all rumors
as so many messages of victories; but then they shall be afraid of
hearing them, because they continually fear new disasters, when they
see the God of Israel to be so powerful [Calvin]. They shall close their ears so as not to be
compelled to hear of Israel's successes.
17. lick the dust—in abject prostration
as suppliants (Ps 72:9;
compare Isa 49:23; 65:25).
move out of their holes—As reptiles
from their holes, they shall come forth from their hiding-places, or
fortresses (Ps 18:45),
to give themselves up to the conquerors. More literally, "they shall
tremble from," that is, tremblingly come forth from their coverts.
like worms—reptiles or crawlers (De 32:24).
they shall be afraid of the Lord—or,
they shall in fear turn with haste to the Lord. Thus the
antithesis is brought out. They shall tremble forth from their
holes: they shall in trepidation turn to the Lord for salvation
(compare Note, see on Ho 3:5, and Jer 33:9).
fear because of thee—shall fear Thee,
Jehovah (and so fear Israel as under Thy guardianship). There is a
change here from speaking of God to speaking to God
[Maurer]. Or rather, "shall fear thee,
18. Grateful at such unlooked-for grace being
promised to Israel, Micah breaks forth into praises of Jehovah.
passeth by the transgression—not
conniving at it, but forgiving it; leaving it unpunished, as a
traveller passes by what he chooses not to look into (Pr 19:11). Contrast Am 7:8, and "mark iniquities," Ps 130:3.
the remnant—who shall be permitted to
survive the previous judgment: the elect remnant of grace (Mic 4:7; 5:3, 7,
retaineth not … anger—(Ps 103:9).
delighteth in mercy—God's forgiving is
founded on His nature, which delights in loving-kindness, and is averse
19. turn again—to us, from having been
turned away from us.
subdue our iniquities—literally,
"tread under foot," as being hostile and deadly to us. Without
subjugation of our bad propensities, even pardon could not give us
peace. When God takes away the guilt of sin that it may not condemn us,
He takes away also the power of sin that it may not rule us.
cast … into … depths of the
sea—never to rise again to view, buried out of sight in
eternal oblivion: not merely at the shore side, where they may rise
our … their—change of person.
Micah in the first case identifying himself and his sins with his
people and their sins; in the second, speaking of them and their
20. perform the truth—the faithful
to Jacob … Abraham—Thou shalt
make good to their posterity the promise made to the patriarchs. God's
promises are called "mercy," because they flow slowly from grace;
"truth," because they will be surely performed (Lu 1:72, 73;
sworn unto our fathers—(Ps 105:9, 10). The promise to Abraham is in
Ge 12:2; to Isaac, in Ge 26:24; to Jacob, in Ge 28:13. This unchangeable promise implied an
engagement that the seed of the patriarchs should never perish, and
should be restored to their inheritance as often as they turned wholly
to God (De