Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII

Micah was cotemporary with Isaiah, and began to prophesy a little after him. What we find here in writing, is an abstract of what he preached, during the reign of three kings. The scope of all is,

  1. To convince Israel and Judah of their sins, and of the judgments of God ready to break in upon them;
  2. To comfort the righteous with promises of mercy and deliverance, especially with an assurance of the coming of the Messiah.

Chapter I

The title and preface, ver. 1, 2. Warning of desolating judgments at hand, ver. 3 - 7, The prophet's sorrow, and the general sorrow for them, ver. 8 - 16.

1 Hezekiah - The best son, of the worst father. How long Micah prophesied during his reign, we can but conjecture, possibly 'till the fourteenth year of Hezekiah. So this prophet may be supposed to have prophesied sixteen years in Jotham's time, as many under Ahaz, and fourteen under Hezekiah, in all forty - six years. And he survived the captivity of Israel ten years, which he lamented as well as foretold.
2 O earth - This seems to be an appeal to the senseless creatures, or a summons to bring them in evidences for God against those kingdoms. Therein - Animate or inanimate creatures, all that are on the earth. Temple - Either from his temple at Jerusalem, or from heaven.
3 The Lord - He comes forth as a judge, to hear, determine, and punish. His place - Heaven, the place of his glorious throne. Come down - Shew, by the effects of his power, justice, and wisdom, that he is more eminently present there. Tread upon - Trample under foot all that is high, excellent, and matter of your glorying.
4 Cleft - Or rent in sunder, broken up and slide away.
5 Jacob - The sons of Jacob, the ten tribes. What - Or, who is the spring, and cause of that overflowing transgression? Of Jacob - The kingdom of the ten tribes, the head of which was Samaria, where the kings had their residence, where they worshiped idols, and set an example to the rest of the Israelitish kingdom. And what - Or, who is the cause of the high places, and the idolatry there practised? Jerusalem - Which was the chief city of that kingdom, and had the same influence over Judah, as Samaria had on the ten tribes.
6 As an heap - As a heap of ruins. Of a vineyard - In planting vineyards, they dig up the earth, and cast it up in hillocks; so shall they make this city. Into the valley - The city was built on a high hill, and a deep valley beneath it. I will discover - I will raze the walls, fortresses, and public buildings of this city, to the very foundations.
7 The hires - The rich gifts given for the honour and service of the idols by deceived idolaters. She - The kingdom of Samaria. It - Their wealth, or the rich presents made to their idols. Of an harlot - As harlots get rich gifts of their lovers. They - These rich presents shall be turned by the Assyrians to the service and honour of their idols.
8 Therefore - Because of those dreadful slaughters in Israel and Samaria. And naked - As one that in bitterness of passion hath cast off his upper garment. Dragons - Or rather, Jackals, which haunt desolate places, and make a great and hideous noise by night.
9 Her wound - The wounds of Samaria, her own sins, and God's just displeasure. It is come - The contagion of her sins, and the indignation of God against it, have reached to Judah also, yea, to Jerusalem.
10 Declare ye it not - Lest the Philistines triumph. Weep ye not - Make no public weeping. Aphrah - This was farther from the Philistines. Roll thyself - Express thy sorrow.
11 Pass ye away - The imperative is here put for the future; they shalt go into captivity. Saphir - Probably Samaria and Jerusalem. Naked - Stript by the conquering enemy. Zaanan - It is thought, this was a considerable garrison full of people and soldiers. Came not forth - To help their neighbouring town Beth - ezel. Beth - ezel - A strong town taken by the Assyrians. His standing - The enemy shall encamp among you, shall stand on your ground, so that you will have no opportunity of coming out to help your neighbours.
12 Maroth - A town in Judea. But evil - The flood of affliction by the Assyrian, swallowed up other cities, and swelled even to the head city, Jerusalem.
13 Lachish - A strong fortress on the confines of Judah. Bind the chariot - To fly from the sword of the enemy. She - Lachish, which being the nearest to idolatrous Israel, took the infection of them, and conveyed it to Jerusalem. The transgressions - Not only the idolatry, but other sins also. Of Israel - Of the ten tribes.
14 Give presents - The inhabitants of Lachish courted the assistance of the Philistines against the Assyrian. Moresheth - gath - A known city of the Philistines, called Moresheth - gath, to distinguish it from a town of the same name in the tribe of Judah. Achzib - This was also a city of the Philistines. A lie - A lying refuge, a prop that will break under them.
15 An heir - The Assyrian, who in the right of conquest shall possess thee. Mareshah - A town of the Philistines. Adullam - Perhaps this city was considerable enough at that time, to be the glory of Israel.
16 Thee - O Judea and Israel, tear off thy hair. Shave what thou canst not tear off. For thy children - For the loss of them, some being slain, others starved, or swept away with pestilence, and the residue carried captive. As the eagle - One species of which is entirely bald.

Chapter II

The sins of Israel and the judgments hanging over them, ver. 1 - 11. Gracious promises of comfort, ver. 12, 13.

1 That devise - Contrive and frame mischief. Evil work - Contrive how to work it. It is in the power - Because they can; without regarding right or wrong.
2 And his house - His family, which by this means is left to poverty. And his heritage - And this is done against ancient right and possession, nay, in a case where God hath forbidden them to sell their heritage.
3 Against this family - God will devise evil against their family, as they devised evil against the family of their neighbours. Haughty - You have made others hang the head; so shall you now. Is evil - Full of miseries on the whole family of Jacob.
4 A parable - A taunting proverb. And lament - Your friends for you, and you for yourselves. He - God. Portion - Their wealth, plenty, freedom, joy and honour, into poverty, famine, servitude, grief and dishonour. How - How dreadfully hath God dealt with Israel; removing their persons into captivity, and transferring their possession to their enemies? Turning away - Turning away from us in displeasure. God hath divided our fields among others.
5 Thou shalt have - None that shall ever return to this land, to see it allotted by line and given them to possess it. In the congregation - They shall no more be the congregation of the Lord, nor their children after them.
6 They shall not prophesy - So God doth in his displeasure grant their desire. Take shame - That will not take shame to themselves.
7 That art named - You are in name, not in truth, the seed of Jacob. Straitened - The power, wisdom, and kindness of God is not less now than formerly. Are these - Are these severe proceedings the doings your God delighteth in? Do not my words - My words promise all good, to those that with honest hearts walk in the ways of God.
8 Is risen up - They have risen up, Israel against Judah, and Judah against Israel, and of late the tribes have conspired against one another; subjects against their kings, and great ones against the meaner sort. With the garment - You strip those that fearing no evil, go about their private affairs.
9 The women - The widows. Of my people - Of Israelites, not strangers, that were by peculiar provision from God's law, to be tenderly dealt with, Exod 22:22. Cast out - You have turned out of their old habitations. From their children - You have turned their children out of their houses, and estates, which were secured by the law of God from any sale beyond the jubilee; yet you have confiscated them for ever. My glory - Which was the glory of my bounty to them.
10 Arise ye - Ye inhabitants of Israel, prepare for your departure out of this land. Your rest - Though it was given this people for a rest under God's wing; yet it was on condition of continued obedience. Polluted - With many, and great, and old sins. Destroy - It shall spue you out.
11 Walking - If a man pretend to have the spirit of prophesy. Saying - You shall have plenty of days, and may eat, drink, and be merry. He shall even be the prophet - Such they like and chuse.
12 Them - All the remnant. As the sheep - ln great numbers. Their fold - Their own fold, where they are safe. The multitude of men - This was fulfilled in part, when the Jews returned out of Babylon, but more fully when Christ by his gospel gathered together in one, all the children of God that were scattered abroad.
13 The breaker - To break down all opposition. The gate - The door of escape out of their captivity. No cities so strong, which the Assyrians shall not take and possess, and enter in through the gates. The Lord - Even Jehovah, as he was at the head of Israel, when he brought them out of Egypt.

Chapter III

The prophet reproves oppressing princes, ver. 1 - 4. And false prophets, ver. 5 - 7. And threatens both, ver. 8 - 12.

1 Is it not for you - Ought not you to understand, and conform to, the just laws of your God. You princes, magistrates, and ruling officers, ought of all men to know and do right.
2 The good - Ye who hate not only to do good, but the good which is done, and those that do it. The evil - Chuse, and delight in, both evil works and evil workers. Who pluck it off - Ye who use the flock as cruelly as the shepherd, who instead of shearing the fleece, would pluck off the skin and flesh.
3 The flesh - Ye who devour the goods, and livelihood of your brethren. Break their bones - An allusion to wolves, bears, or lions, which devour the flesh, and break the bones of the defenceless lambs.
4 Then - When these miseries come upon them.
5 That bite - When they are furnished with gifts, and well fed. Prepare war - They do them all the mischief they can.
6 Night - Heavy calamities. A vision - You shall no more pretend to have a vision, or dare to foretell any thing. And the sun - The hand of God shall be against them, making their sorrows the more dreadful, as darkness by the sun going down at noon.
7 The seers - So called by the deceived people. Cover their lips - Mourners did thus, Ezek 24:17,22. So these shall mourn and pine in their shame. No answer - Because the answer they had formerly, pretended to be from God, now appears not to have been from him.
8 Power - Courage, and vivacity. Of judgment - To discern times and seasons, right from wrong. Might - Resolution.
10 They - The heads and great ones enlarge, beautify, and fortify, the house in Zion, particularly the temple and the royal palace. Blood - With wealth, which they made themselves masters of by violence, taking away the life of the owners.
11 Lean - Pretend to trust in him. Among us - As our God and our shield.
12 For your sake - Because of your sins. The mountain - The mountain, on which the temple stood. This is that passage, which is quoted, Jer 26:18, which Hezekiah and his princes took well: yea, they repented and so the execution of it did not come in their days.

Chapter IV

The prosperity of the church, ver. 1 - 10. Her enemies shall be destroyed, ver. 11 - 13.

1 In the last days - Or, in the latter days, at the expiring of the seventy years captivity, near two hundred years from Micah's time, a type of the days of the Messiah's kingdom. The mountain - The mountain on which the temple stood, the type of the church of Christ. Established - Literally fulfilled when the second temple was built by the Jews. Spiritually, when Christ established his church by the preaching of the gospel.
2 Many nations - This was in part fulfilled when so many proselyted servants of several nations, in love to their Jewish masters, and more to the God of the Jews, came up with them from Jerusalem. Come - So the Jews, released from captivity, encouraged each other; which was a fulfilling of this prophecy in part; the conversion of the multitude of the Gentiles to Christ, was a more eminent fulfilling of it. To the mountain - To the temple at Jerusalem, a type of Christ and the gospel church. From Jerusalem - In Jerusalem is declared the only way of worshipping God, and from thence the only law of right worship shall go forth, when the Messiah is come.
3 He - The Messiah shall act as a judge and king. Rebuke - So Christ commissioned his apostles, to teach all nations.
4 They - The redeemed of the Lord, redeemed from Babylonish captivity, the type of a greater redemption by Christ. Shall sit - That is, they shall enjoy peace, security and plenty. This was more fully made good in the gospel - days.
5 All people will walk - It is the practice of all nations, to serve their gods. Will walk - Seek the Lord, embrace his law and worship.
6 That halteth - The Jews weakened with the hard usage of oppressing conquerors. Her - Captive Judah; driven out, of their own land. And Christ will much more gather to his fold those who were captives to Satan.
7 A remnant - Which as they are preserved for a seed, so they take root and increase, and continue to the coming of the Messiah.
8 O tower - One tower put for the whole city Jerusalem. The strong - hold - Ophel, a strong fort, is likewise put for the whole city. The first dominion - The former dominion; the government (after seventy years captivity) shall return to the former royal family, and continue in it 'till Shiloh come. This, in the type was fulfilled, under Zerubbabel and his successors; but the whole antitype concerns the Messiah's kingdom.
9 Now - Now I have promised such great things to you. No king - Thou hast lost thy king Zedekiah, but thy God, thy king is with thee. Thy counsellor - Hast thou none among thy wise counsellors left? Yet the Wonderful Counsellor is with thee. Messiah, the wisdom of his father, hath the conduct of thy sufferings, deliverance and re - establishment.
10 In pain - Thou shalt have troubles, sorrows, and dangers in the wars against the Babylonians, and in the captivity under them. Now - Shortly. In the field - In their journey to Babylon they were forced to lodge in the fields. Delivered - By Cyrus, by Darius, and by Artaxerxes; and this was a type of a greater deliverance. Redeem - The Hebrew word points out a redemption by the next kinsman, and so minds us of the Messiah, the great redeemer of the church.
11 Now - The time is at hand. Defiled - Let her be polluted with blood, and let us enter, sack and destroy her temple and palaces. Look - With delight on her destruction.
12 The thoughts - The design of the holy, just and faithful God. As the sheaves - The husbandman gathers the sheaves into the floor to thresh them; so God in due time will bring his enemies together, that they may be bruised, broken and destroyed.
13 And thresh - The future strength of the church employed in subduing her enemies, is here foretold. Iron - This expresses the strength of the church firm as iron, to beat down her enemies. Brass - By this figurative speech, is the strength of Zion expressed, treading underfoot, and breaking the power of her enemies in pieces. And I - I, the church. Their gain - The spoils of my conquered enemies.

Chapter V

The troubles of Israel, ver. 1. The birth and advancement of the Messiah, ver. 2 - 4. His protection of his people, and victory over their enemies, ver. 5,6. The increase of the church and destruction of her enemies, ver. 7 - 15.

1 Now gather thyself - Since this must be done, do it quickly. O daughter of troops - Nineveh or Babylon. He - Sennacherib, or Nebuchadnezzar. They - The proud, oppressive enemy. The judge - The king. Of Israel - Not the ten tribes, though they are actually called by this name, but the two tribes that adhered to David's family. A rod - This is a proverbial speech, expressing the most contemptuous usage.
2 Bethlehem - Bethlehem of Judah was called Ephratah, from the fruitfulness of the land where it stood: the word whence it is derived importing fruitfulness. Art thou little - If thou art the least in other respects in this thou art honoured above them all. Ruler - King and sovereign. In Israel - Amidst the Israel of God. Going forth - Whose generation, as he is the Son of God, equal with his father, is eternal.
3 He - God. Give them up - To the Chaldeans. She - The daughter of Zion, compared here to a woman in travail, shall be delivered out of captivity. His brethren - The brethren of the Messiah. Those of Judah and Benjamin who were carried captive.
4 He - The ruler, the Messiah shall stand. This posture speaks the readiness, chearfulness, and stability of Christ, his government, and kingdom. Feed - As a shepherd that diligently guides, preserves, and feeds his sheep. By the strength - By his own almighty strength. Of the name - By commission from the Father in whose name Christ came, preached, wrought miracles, and instituted his gospel church. They - His church made up of converted Jews and Gentiles, shall continue; the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. For - The church is so redeemed, and established, that Christ the Messiah might be glorified, throughout the world.
5 This man - The Messiah. The peace - Which is promised to the people of God; all their deliverances are not only for his sake, but effected by his power. Shall tread in our palaces - Which Sennacherib did in all the cities of Judah, except Jerusalem. We - Hezekiah, and with him the prophets and people, shall prevail with God to send deliverance. Seven shepherds - A certain number put for an uncertain.
6 They - The seven shepherds, and eight principal men, those great instruments of God's revenge, and his church's deliverance. Waste the land - So did Merodach Baladan, king of Babylon. The land of Nimrod - The same with the land of Assyria. The entrance - The fortified frontiers. In this manner shall he, the Messiah, deliver the Jews, his people. The Assyrian - The type of all other enemies, to the people of God.
7 As a dew - This remnant wherever they are, shall multiply as the dew that refreshes the grass, so where this remnant is, it shall be a blessing to those about them, that use them friendly. As the showers - God shall bless them by his immediate hand, as he alone, without the help of man, gives dew and showers. As this was fulfilled in the type, before the gospel was preached to all nations, so it hath been, now is, and ever shall be fulfilled in ages to come. God's remnant shall be a blessing to the places they live in.
8 As a lion - For strength and courage, which the beasts of the forest dare not oppose, and cannot resist.
9 Thine hand - Thou people of God.
10 I will cut off - Not in judgment, but in mercy, for there shall be no need of them, nor shall the church of God any more rely on them. Thy chariots - Chariots prepared for war.
11 The cities - Cut off the occasion of fortifying their cities, thou shalt need no other defence than what I am to thee.
12 I will cut off - God will in mercy to his people take away these occasions of sin.
13 Graven images - This was verified among the Jews, who to this day hate images for divine uses, and learnt this in their captivity.
14 Thy groves - The groves which they abused by idolatrous worship.
15 Have not heard - In an unprecedented manner. Christ will give his Son either the hearts or necks of his enemies, and make them either his friends or his footstool.

Chapter VI

God charges his people with ingratitude, ver. 1 - 5. The way to please God, ver. 6 - 8. He sets their sins in order before them, ver. 9 - 15.

1 Arise - This is God's command to Micah. Contend thou - Argue the case between God and thy people; and speak as if thou wouldst make the mountains hear thee, to testify for me.
2 Foundations of the earth - The mountains properly so called; the sin of Israel is so notorious, that the whole creation may be summoned as a witness against them.
3 What have I done - What injustice or unkindness? What grievous, burdensome impositions have I laid upon thee. Wearied thee - Speak, what it is hath caused thee to be weary of me?
4 And Miriam - A prophetess to be assistant to her brothers, and to be an example and a counsellor to the women.
5 Shittim - This is the place where Balak began by the women of Midian to debauch Israel as Baalim had counselled, and so continued to do, even to Gilgal, all along the borders of his dominion. The righteousness - His mercy, justice and veracity.
6 Wherewith - One whose heart was touched by the preceeding expostulation, may be supposed to make this enquiry.
7 Thousands - Ever so many. Ten thousands of rivers - Were it possible to give them.
8 He - God hath already told you in his word, with what you ought to come before him. To do justly - To render to every one their due, superiors, equals, inferiors, to be equal to all, and oppress none, in body, goods or name; in all your dealings with men carry a chancery in your own beasts, and do according to equity. To love mercy - To be kind, merciful and compassionate to all, not using severity towards any. Walk humbly with thy God - Keep up a constant fellowship with God, by humble, holy faith.
9 Crieth - Either by his judgments, each of which is the Lord's voice, or by his prophets. The city - To every city in Israel and Judah, but principally to Jerusalem and Samaria. The man of wisdom - Every wise man. See thy name - Will perceive God in that cry. The rod - Hear ye the voice of God in the punishments God is now sending. Appointed it - Who hath chosen it out, and strikes with it.
10 Yet - After so many express laws, and so many examples of punishment. Treasures - Gotten by injurious courses.
11 Count them pure - Approve, or acquit then as if they were righteous.
12 Thereof - Of Jerusalem and Samaria.
13 Sick - God will e're long so smite, that the strokes shall reach the heart, and make Israel heartsick of his wounds.
14 In the midst of thee - Thou shalt be cast down at home by thy own hands. Thou shalt take hold - This may refer either to persons or things, on which we lay hold in order to save them. Shalt not deliver - Where thou lodgest thy children, and layest up thy wealth, thither the enemy shall pursue thee; or if thou fly into other countries, it shall not be a safe refuge to thee. Which thou deliverest - For a little while.
15 Thou shalt not reap - An enemy shall reap it. Sweet wine - Thou shalt tread the grapes which afford sweet wine.
16 The statutes - The idolatrous worship was set up by Omri in the royal city. Ye - O house of Israel. That I should make thee - This will be the event. Thereof - Of the land. The reproach - The reproach threatened in the law, if my people forsake me.

Chapter VII

The total corruption of the people, ver. 1 - 6. Those who fear God are to take courage, to be patient, to expect long trouble, ver. 7 - 13. And to encourage themselves with God's promises, and faithfulness, and the future downfall of their enemies, ver. 14 - 20.

1 Woe is me - The land is brought in complaining, that whereas it was once well stored, now it hath few good in it. As the grape - gleanings - In Israel and Judah, which in bringing forth good men, should have been a fruitful vine full of clusters: just, compassionate and humble men, are as grapes after the vintage is gathered. Desired - But in vain.
3 Both hands - With all diligence. The great man - The great man at court, who can do what he will there. Uttereth - Is bold to speak plainly. Desire - His unjust, oppressive design. They - They all jointly promote violence and cruelty.
4 As a briar - Mischievous and hurtful. The day - The day in which they shall sound the alarm. Cometh - Surely, speedily, and unavoidably. Now - When that day is come.
7 Therefore - Since all sorts of men are so perfidious. Look - As one set in a watch - tower looks round about, and diligently observes all that stirs, so will the prophet; so did they who in Israel and Judah feared the Lord.
8 Rejoice not - The prophet personates the church. Let it be no matter of glorying to thee, that the day of calamity hath overtaken me. In darkness - When affliction, war, famine, and captivity cover me. A light - Shall support, comfort and deliver me.
9 Plead - Against mine enemy, now he pleads his own cause against me. His righteousness - The truth and riches of his promised salvation.
10 She - What nation or people soever. Shall behold - The people of God shall see their enemies laid low.
11 Thy walls - O Jerusalem. The decree - Of Artaxerxes, which forbad the re - building of the temple. Removed - Abolished.
12 In that day - After the return out of captivity. He - He who is of Jewish race. To thee - O Jerusalem. The fortified cities - In which many Jews were kept for servile works. To the river - To Euphrates. To sea - From the Caspian to the Persian and to the Midland sea. From mountain - That is, from all parts of their captivity, they shall return to their own country.
13 Not withstanding - These promises of restitution, which took not place 'till more than two hundred years after.
14 Feed - So Christ directs his officers. With thy rod - In allusion to the custom of shepherds who guided their sheep by a pastoral staff. In the wood - Protect and guide those that in their present captive state are solitary, compassed with dangers. Carmel - A fruitful place and well inhabited. In Bashan - A place of note for fruitfulness. Gilead - Equal with any of the other for plenty and safety.
16 Shall be deaf - They shall neither care to hear, nor to speak of it.
17 Lick the dust - In the most submissive, servile manner, testify their subjection. Holes - Their strong holds, and fastnesses. Because of thee - So that the name of Jews, shall be terrible to their enemies.