And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?Micah 3:1-4. Hear, O heads of Jacob, &c. — That the justice of God, in bringing upon them the punishments which he had threatened, might more evidently appear, the prophet here shows that there was no rank of them free from very grievous crimes; that even those, who ought to have excelled others in piety and virtue, were the first in offences. We find Ezekiel making the same complaint, Ezekiel 22:6, &c. Is it not for you to know judgment — 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. And, as it is your province to judge and punish those who break human laws, this ought to make you reflect that God will certainly execute judgment on the breakers of his laws. If you make any reflection, you must needs be sensible, that punishment must await you for your crimes. Who hate the good — Ye who hate, not only to do good, but the good which is done, and those that do it; and love the evil — Choose and delight in both evil works and evil workers; who pluck off their skin from off them — Who use the people, whom you govern, as cruelly as the shepherd would use his flock, who, instead of shearing the fleece, would pluck the skin and flesh from off their bones. Who eat the flesh of my people, &c. — Who devour the goods and livelihood of your brethren. And break their bones, &c. — An allusion to lions, bears, or wolves, which devour the flesh, and break the bones of the defenceless lambs. And chop them in pieces as for the pot, &c. — All these are metaphorical expressions, to signify the oppressions of the people by their heads, or great men; and how they, by one means or other, deprived them of their substance, and divided it among themselves. Then shall they — Namely, the heads of the people and princes spoken of above; cry unto the Lord — When these miseries come upon them; but he will not hear them, he will even hide, &c. — As they have showed no pity to others, he will have no pity on them.
Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.
Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.Micah 3:5. Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets — As the prophets prophesied falsely, and it was chiefly through their means that the princes bore rule, the prophet next addresses them, and lets them hear their doom; that make my people err — That lead them into mistakes, both concerning what they should do, and what God would do with them: that tell them they do well, and all shall be well with them, whereas they are in the paths of sin, and within a step of ruin. It is ill indeed with a people when their leaders cause them to err, and those draw them out of the way that should guide them and go before them in it. That bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace — Who speak smooth things, and promise peace and prosperity to the people, while they are bringing destruction upon them; or, who compliment and flatter those that will furnish them with gifts, and feed them well. And he that putteth not into their mouths — That will not entertain them at his table, and treat them with wine and strong drink; they even prepare war against him — They raise false accusations against him, as if he were an enemy to the government, and thereby bring him into trouble; or in some other way do him all the mischief they can.
Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.Micah 3:6-7. Therefore night shall be unto you — Darkness, uncertainty, perplexity, and heavy troubles, shall be to you prophets; that ye shall not have a vision — You shall see your predictions so fully confuted, that you shall no more pretend to have a vision, or dare to foretel any thing. And the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark, &c. — As they shall have no light, or revelation, from heaven; so dark days, or dismal calamities, shall overtake them, as a just punishment for their frauds and impostures. Or, if the prophet be considered as addressing the people, the meaning of the verse is, Since ye have given ear to such prophets, and rejected the true ones, the time shall come when there shall be no true vision among you, no divine counsel to direct you; but ye shall be involved in darkness and uncertainty, without knowing what course to take. Then shall the seers be ashamed, &c. — For the false pretences which they have made to the gift of prophecy; yea, they shall cover their lips — Covering the lips, or lower part of the face, was used as a sign to express being under some great affliction, or shame; for there is no answer of God — Because the answer, which they pretended to be from God, now appears not to have been from him.
Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.
But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.Micah 3:8. Truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord — Here Micah speaks of himself by way of contrast to the false prophets, and declares that he was filled with a divine prophetic influence, and not with dainties, wine, and strong drink, like those false pretenders to prophecy; and of judgment — To discern truth from error, right from wrong, and to judge properly of times and seasons, and improve them accordingly. And of might — Of courage, constancy, and resolution to speak whatever God commands me, without being deterred from it by the fear of any one, however great, or in whatever station.
Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.Micah 3:9-11. Hear this, ye heads of the house of Jacob, &c. — This address to the great men, shows the prophet’s courage and impartiality. That abhor judgment, &c. — Who do not love to pass a right judgment in matters that come before you, because you make no advantage to yourselves by so doing; but covet to have large bribes given you, to pervert equity, and make wrong decisions. They build up Zion with blood, &c. — Who build houses with the riches gotten by violence, and by the condemnation of the innocent. The heads thereof judge for reward — The judges pass sentence, not according to the right of the case, but according as they have been bribed. The priests thereof teach for hire — The priests for the sake of lucre teach those things which are agreeable to the kings and people, and not what God hath commanded to be taught. It was the duty of the priests to instruct the people, as well as to attend upon the service of the temple; for which cause they had cities allotted to them in all parts of the land: but, not being content with that plentiful revenue which the law allowed them, they made a corrupt gain of their office. And the prophets divine for money — This is to be understood of the false prophets. Yet will they lean upon the Lord — Pretend to trust in him, and expect his favour, protection, and blessing. And say, Is not the Lord among us — As our God and our shield? None evil — Such as war, famine, and captivity, can come upon us — While we have him with us to defend and help us.
They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.Micah 3:12. Therefore shall Zion for your sake — That is, because of your transgressions, ye judges, priests, and prophets; be ploughed as a field — “There is nothing which hinders us from referring this prophecy to the first destruction of Jerusalem: for though the foundations of the walls were left, yet a great number of houses within the city were overturned, as well by the Chaldeans as by the Jews themselves; who possibly used the materials to repair the breaches made in the walls during the long siege they underwent; when there could be no wonder if many places were ploughed as a field, for the purposes of corn, which before were gardens and houses: see 1Ma 4:38. The prophecy, however, may have a further respect to the total destruction of Jerusalem when Terentius Rufus, by the order of Titus, ploughed up the very foundations of it.” See Houbigant and Calmet. And Jerusalem shall become heaps — The word heaps alludes to the heaps of stones laid up together in fields newly ploughed. And the mountain of the house — That is, of the Lord’s house; as the high places of the forest — The place where the temple stood, which was upon mount Moriah, shall be overrun with grass and shrubs, like mountains situated in a forest. This is that passage, quoted Jeremiah 26:18, which Hezekiah and his princes took in good part, yea, it seems, they believed and laid it to heart, in consequence whereof they repented, and so the execution of it did not come in their days.