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4. Mountain of the Lord

But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

3And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. 5For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. 6In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; 7And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.

8And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem. 9Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 10Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.

11Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. 12But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. 13Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

Micah still continues the same subject, — that the miserable calamities of the people, or even their ruin, will not prevent God to restore again his Church. Thou tower of the flock, he says, the fortress of the daughter of Zion, doubt not but that God will again restore to thee thy ancient kingdom and dignity from which thou seemest now to have entirely fallen. But interpreters take the tower of the flock in various senses. Some think that the devastation of the city Jerusalem is pointed out, because it became like a cottage, as it is said in Isaiah; and עפל, ophil, they render “obscure,” for its root is to cover. But another explanation is simpler, — that the holy city is called the tower of the flock, because God had chosen it for himself, to gather his people thence; for we know that they had there their holy assemblies. Thou, then, the tower of the flock, and then, the fortress of the daughter of Zion, to thee shall come the former kingdom 129129     “I think the temple is meant, or Jerusalem; the place where the flock, the whole congregation of the people assembled to worship God. Newcome retains the Hebrew word עדר, eder, a tower in or near Bethlehem, Genesis 35:21, or as some think, a tower near the sheep gate in Jerusalem. I believe Jerusalem, or the temple, or both, are meant; for these were considered the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, the fortress of the Jewish people.”—Adam Clarke. What especially confirms this view is, that the two clauses are in apposition, the latter is explanatory of the former. — Ed. If, however, the former sense be more approved, I will not contend; that is, that Jerusalem is here called the tower of the flock on account of its devastation, as it was reduced as it were into a cottage. As to the main import of the passage, there is no ambiguity; for the Prophet here strengthens the minds of the godly: they were not to regard the length of time, nor to allow their thoughts, to be occupied with their present calamity, but to feel assured, that what God had promised was in his power, that he could, as it were, raise the dead, and thus restore the kingdom of David, which had been destroyed.

Do then, he says, firmly hope. — Why? because come to thee, come to thee shall the former kingdom 130130     Calvin observes the order of the original, which is not done in our version. The whole verse may be thus rendered, —
   And thou tower of the flock,
The fortress of the daughter of Zion!
To thee it shall return;
Yea, come shall the former dominion,
The kingdom to the daughter of Jerusalem.

   The verb אתה, which I render “return,” means mostly, to come, to come near, to approach, to happen. — Ed.
Here the breaking off of the sentence is to be noticed, when the Prophet speaks of the ancient kingdom and dignity. It is not indeed to be doubted, but that the people of God had become objects of mockery, and that hypocrites and heathens thought that what David had testified respecting the perpetuity of his kingdom was a mere delusion.

‘Behold thy kingdom,’ he said, ‘shall continue as long as the sun and the moon,’
(Psalm 72)

but soon after the death of Solomon, a small portion only was reserved for his posterity, and at length the kingdom itself and its dignity disappeared. This is the reason that the Prophet now says, that the former kingdom would come. Come, he says, to thee, daughter of Zion, come shall the former kingdom There is indeed no doubt, but that by the former kingdom he understands its most flourishing condition, recorded in Scripture, under David and Solomon.

The kingdom, he says, to the daughter of Jerusalem shall come He expressly mentions the daughter of Jerusalem, because the kingdom of Israel had obscured the glory of the true kingdom. Hence the Prophet testifies here that God was not unmindful of his promise, and that he would restore to Jerusalem the dignity which it had lost, and unite the whole people into one body, that they might be no more divided, but that one king would rule over the whole race of Abraham. But this was not fulfilled, we are certain, at the coming of Christ, in a manner visible to men: we must therefore bear in mind what Micah has previously taught, — that this kingdom is spiritual; for he did not ascribe to Christ a golden scepter, but a doctrine, “Come, and let us ascend unto the mount of Jehovah, and he will teach us of his ways; and then he added,” From Zion shall go forth a law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem. This, then, ought ever to be remembered, — that God has not rendered Jerusalem glorious in the sight of men, as it was formerly, nor has he enriched it with influence and wealth and earthly power; but he has yet restored the sovereign authority; for he has not only subjected to himself the ten tribes which had formerly revolted, but also the whole world. Let us go on —

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