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Wicked Rulers and Prophets


And I said:

Listen, you heads of Jacob

and rulers of the house of Israel!

Should you not know justice?—


you who hate the good and love the evil,

who tear the skin off my people,

and the flesh off their bones;


who eat the flesh of my people,

flay their skin off them,

break their bones in pieces,

and chop them up like meat in a kettle,

like flesh in a caldron.



Then they will cry to the L ord,

but he will not answer them;

he will hide his face from them at that time,

because they have acted wickedly.



Thus says the L ord concerning the prophets

who lead my people astray,

who cry “Peace”

when they have something to eat,

but declare war against those

who put nothing into their mouths.


Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision,

and darkness to you, without revelation.

The sun shall go down upon the prophets,

and the day shall be black over them;


the seers shall be disgraced,

and the diviners put to shame;

they shall all cover their lips,

for there is no answer from God.


But as for me, I am filled with power,

with the spirit of the L ord,

and with justice and might,

to declare to Jacob his transgression

and to Israel his sin.



Hear this, you rulers of the house of Jacob

and chiefs of the house of Israel,

who abhor justice

and pervert all equity,


who build Zion with blood

and Jerusalem with wrong!


Its rulers give judgment for a bribe,

its priests teach for a price,

its prophets give oracles for money;

yet they lean upon the L ord and say,

“Surely the L ord is with us!

No harm shall come upon us.”


Therefore because of you

Zion shall be plowed as a field;

Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins,

and the mountain of the house a wooded height.


He confirms the same thing in the next verse, And ashamed shall be the seers and confounded the diviners, 102102     רסמים, μαντεις, Sept. fatidici, sootsayers, diviners. It is used generally in a bad sense, while חזים, seers is commonly used in a good sense; but here both words denote pretenders, the false prophets. — Ed. and they shall cover their lip; that is they will put veils on their mouths. In short, he means, that they would become a reproach to all, so that they would be ashamed of themselves, and no more dare to boast with so much confidence of their name and of the prophetic office.

As to this form of expression, ועטו על-שפם, uothu ol shephim, some think that the practice of mourners is referred to; but this interpretation is frigid. I have therefore no doubt but that Micah intimates that the mouths of the false teachers would be closed. There is nearly the same denunciation mentioned by Zechariah; for speaking of the restoration of the Church, he says, — They who before went about boasting greatly, and gloried in the name of Prophets, shall cast away their mantle, and will no longer dare to show themselves; yea, when they shall come abroad, they shall be as it were herdsman or private persons, and shall say, “I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, I am chastised by my father;” that is, they shall profess themselves unworthy of being called prophets; but that they are scholars under discipline, (Zechariah 13:5.) So also in this place, “They deceive at this day my people,” saith the Lord; “I will reward them as they deserve; I will fill them with disgrace and contempt. They shall not then dare hereafter to show themselves as they have been wont to do; they shall not presume boastingly to profess themselves to be the pillars of the Church, that the whole world may be made subject to them; they shall not dare with tyrannical force to oppress the common and ignorant portions of society Veil, then, shall they their mouth; that is, “I will cause their mouth to be closed, so that they shall not dare hereafter to utter even a word.” 103103     The version of Newcome is, “They shall cover the mouth;” that is, as he adds in a note, “with part of the long eastern vesture. This action was a sign of being put to silence, of disgrace and dejection, Leviticus 13:45; Ezekiel 24:17, 22.” There is no reason to render mouth, beard, as some have done. — Ed.

It follows, For there will be no answer from God. Some so explain this sentence, as though the Prophet upbraided them with their old deceits, which they boasted were the words of God: as then they were not faithful to God, but lied to miserable men, when they said, that they were sent from above, and brought messages from heaven, while they only uttered their own inventions or fables, they should on these accounts be constrained to cover their mouth. But different is the meaning of the Prophet, and it is this, — that they were to be deprived of any answer, so that their want of knowledge might be easily perceived even by the most ignorant: for false teachers, though they possess nothing certain, yet deceive the simple with disguises, and render plausible their absurdities, that they may seem to be the interpreters of God; and they further add great confidence: and then the stupidity of the people concedes to them such great power, according to what is said by Jeremiah 5 where he says that the priests received gifts and that for gifts the Prophets divined, and that the people loved such deprivations. But Micah declares here that such delusions would no longer be allowed, for God would dissipate them. It will then be made evident, that you have no answer from God; that is, “All will perceive that you are void and destitute of every celestial truth, and that you were formerly but gross cheats, when ye passed yourselves as God’s servants, though you had no ground for doing so.”

We now perceive what the Prophet means. But this punishment might have then contributed to the benefit of the people: for as it is a cause of ruin to the world, when there is no difference made between light and darkness; so when the baseness of those is discovered, who abuse God’s name and adulterate his pure truth, there is then a door open to repentance. Rightly then is this combination addressed to false prophets. It now follows —

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