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2. Man's Plans and God's

Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand. 2And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. 3Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evil.

4In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me! turning away he hath divided our fields. 5Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the Lord. 6Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.

7O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the Lord straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly? 8Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war. 9The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever. 10Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction. 11If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.

12I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men. 13The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.

Micah confirms here what is contained in the former verse; for he sets forth the alacrity with which the avaricious were led to commit plunder; nay, how unbridled was their cupidity to do evil. As soon as they have coveted any thing, he says, they take it by force. And hence we gather, that the Prophet, in the last verse, connected wicked counsels with the attempt of effecting them; as though he had said, that they indeed carefully contrived their frauds, but that as they were skillful in their contrivances, so they were not less bold and daring in executing then.

The same thing he now repeats in other words for a further confirmation, As soon as they have coveted fields, they seize them by force; as soon as they have coveted houses they take them away; they oppress a man and his house together; 8080     This verse presents an instance of parallelism not uncommon, in which the first and the last line correspond, and the second and the third; as will be seen in the following version: —
   And they covet fields and forcibly seize them,
And houses, and they take
them away;
Yea, they oppress the young man and his house,
And the old man and his inheritance.

   There must be some distinction between גבר, which I render, “the young man,” and איש, rendered above, “the old man.” The first means, robust, strong; and the second is a common term for man, but sometimes signifies a husband, and also a man in years. We may, indeed in harmony with the passage, consider the first as meaning a householder, and the latter as signifying a husbandman. The fields in the first line are the same with the inheritance in the last: and houses and a house are mentioned in the two intervening lines. — Ed.
that is, nothing escaped them: for as their wickedness in frauds was great, so their disposition to attempt whatever they wished was furious. And well would it be were there no such cruel avarice at this day; but it exists every where, so that we may see, as in a mirror, an example of what is here said. But it behaves us carefully to consider how greatly displeasing to God are frauds and plunders, so that each of us may keep himself from doing any wrong, and be so ruled by a desire of what is right, that every one of us may act in good faith towards his neighbors, seek nothing that is unjust, and bridle his own desires: and whenever Satan attempts to allure us, let what is here taught be to us as a bridle to restrain us. It follows —

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