DENUNCIATION OF THE
1. devise . . . work . . . practise--They do evil not merely on a
sudden impulse, but with deliberate design. As in the former chapter
sins against the first table are reproved, so in this chapter sins
against the second table. A gradation: "devise" is the conception of
the evil purpose; "work"
or "fabricate," the maturing of the scheme; "practise," or
"effect," the execution of it.
because it is in the power of their hand--for the phrase see
Might, not right, is what regulates their conduct. Where they can,
they commit oppression; where they do not, it is because they
2. Parallelism, "Take by violence," answers to "take away"; "fields"
and "houses," to "house" and "heritage" (that is, one's land).
3. against this family--against the nation, and especially against
those reprobated in
Mic 2:1, 2.
I devise an evil--a happy antithesis between God's dealings and the
Ye "devise evil" against your fellow countrymen; I devise evil against
you. Ye devise it wrongfully, I by righteous retribution in kind.
from which ye shall not remove your necks--as ye have done from the
law. The yoke I shall impose shall be one which ye cannot shake off.
They who will not bend to God's "easy yoke"
(Mt 11:29, 30),
shall feel His iron yoke.
go haughtily--(Compare Note, see on
Ye shall not walk as now with neck haughtily uplifted, for the yoke
shall press down your "neck."
this time is evil--rather, "for that time shall be an
evil time," namely, the time of the carrying away into captivity
4. one take up a parable against you--that is, Some of your foes shall
do so, taking in derision from your own mouth your "lamentation,"
namely, "We be spoiled," &c.
lament with a doleful lamentation--literally, "lament with a
lamentation of lamentations." Hebrew, naha, nehi, nihyah, the
repetition representing the continuous and monotonous wail.
he hath changed the portion of my people--a charge of injustice
against Jehovah. He transfers to other nations the sacred territory
assigned as the rightful portion of our people
turning away he hath divided our fields--Turning away from us to the
enemy, He hath divided among them our fields.
CALVIN, as the Margin, explains, "Instead of restoring our territory, He hath divided our
fields among our enemies, each of whom henceforward will have an
interest in keeping what he hath gotten: so that we are utterly shut out
from hope of restoration."
MAURER translates as a noun, "He hath divided
our fields to a rebel," that is, to the foe who is a rebel against
the true God, and a worshipper of idols. So "backsliding," that is,
English Version gives a good sense; and is quite tenable in the
5. Therefore--resumed from
On account of your crimes described in
Mic 2:1, 2.
thou--the ideal individual ("me,"
representing the guilty people in whose name he spoke.
none that . . . cast a cord by lot--none who shall have any possession
in the congregation of the Lord--among the people consecrated to
Jehovah. By covetousness and violence
they had forfeited "the portion of Jehovah's people." This is God's
implied answer to their complaint of injustice
6. Prophesy ye not, say they--namely, the Israelites say to the true
prophets, when announcing unwelcome truths. Therefore God judicially
abandons them to their own ways: "The prophets, by whose ministry they
might have been saved from shame (ignominious captivity), shall not
(that is, no longer) prophesy to them"
Am 2:12; 7:16).
MAURER translates the latter clause, "they shall
not prophesy of such things" (as in
these being rebellious Israel's words); "let them not prophesy"; "they
never cease from insult" (from prophesying insults to us). English
Version is supported by the parallelism: wherein the similarity of
sound and word implies how exactly God makes their punishment answer to
their sin, and takes them at their own word. "Prophesy," literally,
7. O thou . . . named the house of Jacob--priding thyself on the
name, though having naught of the spirit, of thy progenitor. Also,
bearing the name which ought to remind thee of God's favors granted to
thee because of His covenant with Jacob.
is the Spirit of the Lord straitened?--Is His compassion contracted
within narrower limits now than formerly, so that He should delight in
your destruction (compare
Isa 59:1, 2)?
are these his doings?--that is, Are such threatenings His delight? Ye
dislike the prophets' threatenings
but who is to blame? Not God, for He delights in blessing, rather than
threatening; but yourselves
who provoke His threatenings [GROTIUS]. CALVIN translates, "Are your doings such as are
prescribed by Him?" Ye boast of being God's peculiar people: Do ye then
conform your lives to God's law?
do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly--Are not My words
good to the upright? If your ways were upright, My words would not be
8. Your ways are not such that I can deal with you as I would with
Even of late--literally, "yesterday," "long ago." So "of old."
"heretofore," Hebrew, "since yesterday"
my people is risen up as an enemy--that is, has rebelled against My
precepts; also has become an enemy to the unoffending passers-by.
robe with the garment--Not content with the outer "garment," ye
greedily rob passers-by of the ornamental "robe" fitting the body
closely and flowing down to the feet [LUDOVICUS
as men averse from war--in antithesis to (My people) "as
an enemy." Israel treats the innocent passers-by, though "averse from
war," as an enemy" would treat captives in his power, stripping them of
their habiliments as lawful spoils. GROTIUS
translates, "as men returning from war," that is, as captives
over whom the right of war gives the victors an absolute power.
English Version is supported by the antithesis.
9. The women of my people--that is, the widows of the men slain
ye cast out from their homes which had been their delight, and seize on
them for yourselves.
from their children--that is, from the orphans of the widows.
taken away my glory--namely, their substance and raiment, which, being
the fruit of God's blessing on the young, reflected God's glory. Thus
Israel's crime was not merely robbery, but sacrilege. Their sex did not
save the women, nor their age the children from violence.
for ever--There was no repentance. They persevered in sin. The pledged
garment was to be restored to the poor before sunset
(Ex 22:26, 27);
but these never restored their unlawful booty.
10. Arise ye, and depart--not an exhortation to the children of God
to depart out of an ungodly world, as it is often applied; though that
sentiment is a scriptural one. This world is doubtless not our "rest,"
being "polluted" with sin: it is our passage, not our portion; our aim,
not our home
The imperatives express the certainty of the future event
predicted. "Since such are your doings (compare
Mic 2:7, 8,
&c.), My sentence on you is irrevocable
(Mic 2:4, 5),
however distasteful to you
ye who have cast out others from their homes and possessions
(Mic 2:2, 8, 9)
must arise, depart, and be cast out of your own
(Mic 2:4, 5):
for this is not your rest"
Canaan was designed to be a rest to them after their wilderness
fatigues. But it is to be so no longer. Thus God refutes the people's
self-confidence, as if God were bound to them inseparably. The promise
is quite consistent with temporary withdrawal of God from Israel for
it shall destroy you--The land shall spew you out, because of the
defilements wherewith ye "polluted" it
(Le 18:25, 28;
11. walking in the spirit--The Hebrew means also "wind." "If a
man professing to have the 'spirit' of inspiration
so 'man of the spirit,' that is, one claiming inspiration,
but really walking in 'wind' (prophecy void of nutriment for the soul,
and unsubstantial as the wind) and falsehood, do lie, saying
(that which ye like to hear), I will prophesy," &c., even such a one, however
false his prophecies, since he flatters your wishes, shall be your
prophesy . . . of wine--that is, of an abundant supply of wine.
12. A sudden transition from threats to the promise of a glorious
restoration. Compare a similar transition in
Ho 1:9, 10.
Jehovah, too, prophesies of good things to come, but not like the false
prophets, "of wine and strong drink"
After I have sent you into captivity as I have just threatened, I will
thence assemble you again (compare
Mic 4:6, 7).
all of thee--The restoration from Babylon was partial. Therefore that
here meant must be still future, when "all Israel shall be saved"
The restoration from "Babylon" (specified
is the type of the future one.
Jacob . . . Israel--the ten tribes' kingdom
(2Ch 19:8; 21:2, 4).
remnant--the elect remnant, which shall survive the previous
calamities of Judah, and from which the nation is to spring into new
(Isa 6:13; 10:20-22).
as the sheep of Bozrah--a region famed for its rich pastures (compare
GESENIUS for Bozrah translates, "sheepfold." But
thus there will be tautology unless the next clause be translated, "in
the midst of their pasture." English Version is more
favored by the Hebrew.
13. The breaker--Jehovah-Messiah, who breaks through every obstacle
in the way of their restoration: not as formerly breaking forth to
destroy them for transgression
but breaking a way for them through their enemies.
they--the returning Israelites and Jews.
passed through the gate--that is, through the gate of the foe's city
in which they had been captives. So the image of the resurrection
represents Israel's restoration.
their king--"the Breaker," peculiarly "their king"
pass before them--as He did when they went up out of Egypt
De 1:30, 33).
the Lord on the head of them--Jehovah at their head
Messiah, the second person, is meant (compare
Ex 23:20; 33:14;