MICAH CHAPTER 6.
Jehovah's Appeal for True Piety.
A CALL TO REPENTANCE. — V. 1. Hear ye now what the Lord saith, in this closing address to the Israelites, Arise, contend thou before the mountains, the prophet being called upon to be a witness of the judicial controversy which was to be decided in the presence of the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice, for the mountains and hills, having stood during the time of Israel's entire history, could witness to the facts which were here brought out. V. 2. Hear ye, O mountains, the Lord's controversy, Jehovah's cause, which He wanted to have decided in the present suit, and ye strong foundations of the earth, literally, "ye immovable bases of the earth," that cannot be shaken by any ordinary means; for the Lord hath a controversy with His people, and He will plead with Israel, trying to effect a definite settlement in court. V. 3. O My people, what have I done unto thee? namely, in inflicting any kind of wrong. And wherein have I wearied thee? by requirements which were too rigorous. Testify against me! He was ready to entertain any reply which they might want to make concerning His charges. V. 4. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, the act by which Israel had really been made the Lord's people, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants, cp. Ex. 20, 2; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, who were their leaders through the wildernesses of Sinai and Arabia. V. 5. O My people, remember now what Balak, king of Moab, consulted, the counsel he took in trying to bring about their downfall, and what Balaam, the son of Beor, answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal, between the first station after Balaam's blessing and the first station on the soil of the Holy Land, cp. Num. 25, 1; Josh. 4, 19, that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord, how truly and righteously He performed the deeds of His almighty power in carrying out His counsel of love toward His people. Israel being unable to answer this challenge of the Lord and admitting the guilt charged in His statement, is ready to make amends. V. 6. Wherewith shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before the high God? the prophet asks in the name of the people, in order to restore the relationship which had been so rudely disturbed by their transgressions. Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? these being considered the choicest sacrifices. V. 7. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? which, as it were, would flow in torrents in order to appease His wrath. Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? the most precious possession being offered in expiation, by way of atonement. But the Lord shows that such outward offerings were not sufficient to restore the relationship of love which obtained, but that He requires the consecration of the heart. V. 8. He hath showed thee, O man, what is good, Jehovah Himself had made known to them how they might remain in fellowship with Him; and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to perform that which was right, and to love mercy, to practice the discharge of all the beneficent duties enjoined in the Law, and to walk humbly with thy God? Without these actual, outward expressions of the faith of the heart in the virtues as here named there can, be no true worship of Jehovah. Even so today the good works of the Christians are the exponents and proofs of the faith living in their heart.
A THREAT OF PUNISHMENT. — V. 9. The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, in announcing His judgment, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name, literally, "Thy name beholds wisdom," that is, it is a matter of true wisdom to fear the name of Jehovah, or, His attention is directed to the true wisdom of life: hear ye the rod, perceiving the scourge which the Lord threatens, which He has prepared for His apostate people, and who hath appointed it, for the Assyrian hosts were even then getting their war material ready. V. 10. Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked? namely, such as had been gained by wickedness, by oppression and cheating, and the scant measure that is abominable? literally, "and the ephah of leanness, the accursed," for many of the rich had made their money by short-weighing the people. V. 11. Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, when they were daily cheating in trade and business, and with the bag of deceitful weights? with which the scales were made incorrect. V. 12. For the rich men thereof are full of violence, of criminal wickedness and oppression, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, in willful perversion of the truth, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth, being so full of deceit that it could no longer practice anything but deception. V. 13. Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, by inflicting a mortal blow, in making thee desolate because of thy sins, the devastation striking the entire country. V. 14. Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied, on account of the shortage of food following the invasion of the enemy; and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee, literally, "and thy emptiness remaineth in thy bowels"; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver, trying to flee with family and goods, but unable to save them; and that which thou deliverest, managing to save it when the enemy attacked, will I give up to the sword. Cp. Jer. 50, 37; 42, 16. V. 15. Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap, the enemy either destroying or robbing the crop; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil, since the enemy would plunder the stores; and sweet wine, the must as pressed from the grapes, but shalt not drink wine, the finished product. V. 16. For the statutes of Omri, who founded a wicked dynasty of rulers of the northern kingdom, 1 Kings 16, 25, are kept and all the works of the house of Ahab, the worship of Baal which had then been established, and ye walk in their counsels, in agreement with the idolatry and the abomination introduced by these wicked kings, that, as an actual result of this idolatrous behavior, I should make thee a desolation, an object of astonishment and horror, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing, to be jeered at on every side. Therefore ye shall bear the reproach of My people, the disgrace which is ordinarily heaped upon the people of God if it is delivered into the hands of its enemies. The greater the grace and mercy of the Lord which was upon them, the greater would be their punishment for having rejected His mercy. If people have a form of godliness, but deny its power, then this outward semblance is all the more liable to bring the Lord's reproach upon such hypocrites.