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Social Evils Denounced


Alas for those who devise wickedness

and evil deeds on their beds!

When the morning dawns, they perform it,

because it is in their power.


They covet fields, and seize them;

houses, and take them away;

they oppress householder and house,

people and their inheritance.


Therefore thus says the L ord:

Now, I am devising against this family an evil

from which you cannot remove your necks;

and you shall not walk haughtily,

for it will be an evil time.


On that day they shall take up a taunt song against you,

and wail with bitter lamentation,

and say, “We are utterly ruined;

the L ord alters the inheritance of my people;

how he removes it from me!

Among our captors he parcels out our fields.”


Therefore you will have no one to cast the line by lot

in the assembly of the L ord.



“Do not preach”—thus they preach—

“one should not preach of such things;

disgrace will not overtake us.”


Should this be said, O house of Jacob?

Is the L ord’s patience exhausted?

Are these his doings?

Do not my words do good

to one who walks uprightly?


But you rise up against my people as an enemy;

you strip the robe from the peaceful,

from those who pass by trustingly

with no thought of war.


The women of my people you drive out

from their pleasant houses;

from their young children you take away

my glory forever.


Arise and go;

for this is no place to rest,

because of uncleanness that destroys

with a grievous destruction.


If someone were to go about uttering empty falsehoods,

saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,”

such a one would be the preacher for this people!


A Promise for the Remnant of Israel


I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob,

I will gather the survivors of Israel;

I will set them together

like sheep in a fold,

like a flock in its pasture;

it will resound with people.


The one who breaks out will go up before them;

they will break through and pass the gate,

going out by it.

Their king will pass on before them,

the L ord at their head.


It follows, Ascend shall a breaker before them; that is, they shall be led in confusion; and the gate shall also be broken, that they may go forth together; for the passage would not be large enough, were they, as is usually done, to go forth in regular order; but the gates of cities shall be broken, that they may pass through in great numbers and in confusion. By these words the Prophet intimates, that all would be quickly taken away into exile. And they shall go forth, he says through the gate, and their king shall pass on before if them The Prophet means here, that the king would be made captive; and this was the saddest spectacle: for some hope remained, when the dregs of the people had been led into Chaldea; but when the king himself was led away a captive, and cast into prison, and his eyes pulled out, and his children slain, it was the greatest of misery. They were wont to take pride in their king, for they thought that their kingdom could not but continue perpetually, since God had so promised. But God might for a time overturn that kingdom, that he might afterwards raise it anew, according to what has been done by Christ, and according to what had been also predicted by the Prophets. “Crosswise, crosswise, crosswise, (transversa) let the crown be, until its lawful possessor comes.” We then see that this, which the Prophet mentions respecting their king, has been added for the sake of amplifying.

He afterwards adds, Jehovah shall be at the head of them; that is, He will be nigh them, to oppress and wholly to overwhelm them. Some consider something to be understood, and of this kind, that Jehovah was wont formerly to rule over them, but that now he would cease to do so: but this is too strained; and the meaning which I have stated seems sufficiently clear, and that is, — that God himself would be the doer, when they should be driven into exile, and that he would add courage to tyrants and their attendants, in pursuing the accursed people, in order to urge on more and more and aggravate their calamities and thus to show that their destruction vault happen through his righteous judgment. We now then understand the real meaning of the Prophet. 9191     Calvin is not singular in his view of this passage. Scott takes the same view, while Henry regards the passage as containing a promise, and so do Marckius, Newcome, and Henderson. But some have considered the words as those of the false prophets, referred to in the eleventh verse, and that Micah answers them in the next chapter. There is no sufficient ground for this opinion. Of those who regard the passage as including a promise, some apply it to the restoration from the Babylonian captivity, and others to spiritual restoration by the gospel. But the passage, viewed by itself, and in its connection with the next chapter, bears evidently the appearance of a commination: there are especially two words which manifestly favor this view, — תהימנה and הפרף; both are taken generally, if not uniformly, in a bad sense. The first means to tumultuate, to be turbulent and riotous, to be clamorous and noisy; the second signifies to demolish, to break through, to destroy, and in every instance in which it is found as a personal noun, it means a destroyer or a robber. — See Psalm 17:4; Ezekiel 18:10; Daniel 11:14. The first is a verb in the second person plural of the future tense, and in the feminine gender, because of the comparison made in the former lines to sheep and a flock. The verbs in the 12th verse are all in the future tense, and the two first in the 13th are in the past, according to what is common in prophecies, but must be rendered as futures. I propose the following version of the passage, —
   12. Gathering, I will gather Jacob, the whole of thee;
Assembling, I will assemble the residue of Israel;
Together will I set them as the sheep of Bozrah,
As a flock in the midst of its fold;

Ye shall be more noisy than men.

   13. Ascend shall the breaker in the sight of them,
they shall break through,
And pass the gate, yea, they shall go forth through it,
And pass shall their king before them,
And Jehovah
shall be at their head,
or, for their leader.

   — Ed.
Now follows —

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