MICAH CHAPTER 1.
The Judgment upon Samaria and Judah.
EPHRAIM’S DESTRUCTION THREATENED. — V. 1. The word of the Lord that came to Micah, the Morasthite, in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem, the two capitals being named as representative of the respective nations. V. 2. Hear, all ye people, cp. 1 Kings 22, 28; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is, cp. Is. 1, 2; and let the Lord God be witness against you, in testifying to their transgressions, the Lord from His holy temple, that is, from heaven; cp. Ps. 11, 4. V. 3. For, behold, the Lord cometh forth out of His place, as one getting ready to execute His vengeance, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth, on the mountains, as the places where He has revealed Himself to His people in more than one instance. V. 4. And the mountains shall be molten under Him, dissolving before His almighty power, and the valleys shall be cleft, cleaving asunder before His majesty, as wax before the fire and as the waters that are poured down a steep place, tearing down the abysses and causing a general dissolution of the entire surface of the earth. V. 5. For the transgression of Jacob is all this, as a due recompense for the wickedness of the covenant people, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? The sin of idolatry had reached such a climax in Samaria that it was part and parcel of the life of the people. And what are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem? The inhabitants of Jerusalem had also become so guilty of idolatry that its hills were entirely devoted to the worship of idols. V. 6. Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, as ruins that fall into dust and finally become a part of the soil, and as plantings of a vineyard, that is, places where vineyards may be planted; and I will pour down the stones thereof, those which King Omri had used in building the city, into the valley, and I will discover, lay bare, the foundations thereof, destroying it to the very ground. V. 7. And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces and all the hires thereof, namely, those of spiritual harlotry, the consecrated offerings placed on the idol altars, shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate, making them a wilderness; for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, by her spiritual adultery, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot, for the rich treasures were taken away by the enemies and devoted to their own idols. The vanity of false worship, also in this respect, seems rarely to strike the consciousness of idolaters.
LAMENTATION OVER JUDAH’S CHASTISEMENT. — V. 8. Therefore, on account of the calamity which would strike Samaria and Judah, I will wail and howl, in a most bitter and mournful cry, I will go stripped and naked, robbed by the enemies and deprived of his upper garment, that is, in the condition of a captive; I will make a wailing like the dragons, like the jackals of the desert, and mourning as the owls, like ostriches crying in pain. Cp. Job 30,29. V. 9. For her wound is incurable, deadly her strokes, for it is come unto Judah, the territory which harbored the Sanctuary of the Lord being included in the general ruin; he is come unto the gate of My people, to the place where the solemn assemblies of Jehovah were held, even to Jerusalem. V. 10. Declare ye it not in Gath, one of the chief cities of the Philistines, weep ye not at all, lest the message cause these enemies to rejoice; in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust, literally, "in Beth-leaphra I wallow in the dust," for such scattering of dust was a sign of deep grief. Throughout this paragraph the prophet, in the Hebrew, uses puns, for Gath means "announcement" and Ophra "dust-house." V. 11. Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir (fair-view), having thy shame naked, in shameful nakedness, also robbed by the enemy; the inhabitant of Zaanan (outlet) came not forth in the mourning of Beth-ezel; he shall receive of you his standing, rather, "not has gone out the inhabitant of Zaanan," since she did not have the courage to face the enemy in the open field, "the mourning of Beth-haezel [house of separation] takes you away from its standing-place"; for its inhabitants would not permit the Jews to seek shelter behind its walls. V. 12. For the inhabitants of Maroth (bitterness) waited carefully for good, being anxiously and bitterly concerned about it, writhing in grief and pain on account of her lost prosperity; but evil came down from the Lord unto the gate of Jerusalem. But while all these towns were in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, the prophet next shows that the punishment would not be confined to the immediate neighborhood of the capital. V. 13. O thou inhabitant of Lachish, a fortified city in the plain toward the southwest, bind the chariot to the swift beast, to the fastest horses, namely, to escape the impending punishment; she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion, for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee, she was the first city of Judah to introduce the idol-worship of the northern kingdom. V. 14. Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moresheth-gath (the betrothed of Gath), the daughter of Zion being obliged to dismiss or release this city to the enemy, like the gift of a marriage portion; the houses of Achzib (deception) shall be a lie to the kings of Israel, a deceitful brook, which offers no refreshment to the thirsty wanderer; just so the city would slip from the grasp of the kings of Judah (the southern kingdom being meant in this instance), so that it would no longer be in their possession. V. 15. Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah (town of inheritance), for Israel had been the heir obtaining it from the Canaanites, and the enemy would now be the heir receiving it from the people of Judah; he shall come unto Adullam, the glory of Israel, rather, "even unto Adullam will the nobility of Israel come," to hide themselves in the cave in which David once sought refuge from Saul. Cp. 1 Sam. 22, 1. V. 16. Make thee bald, Zion as the mother of the nation being addressed, and poll thee, shearing her head, for thy delicate children, in deep grief and sorrowful lamentation; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle, the griffin vulture of the Orient, the entire forepart of whose head is without feathers; for they are gone into captivity from thee. The entire paragraph is a powerful and vivid description of the overthrow of the land by the armies of the invaders, which would be sent to punish the transgression of Judah.