Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
See Micah 2:1 ff for the passage comments with footnotes.
Here also the discourse applies directly (Micah 3:1–4) to the nobility, and particularly here to those in high official station, as called guardians of the administration of justice. Hear, now, ye heads of Jacob, and ye judges (קָצִין=Arab. Kâdi) of the house of Israel, Is it not for you (2 Chron. 13:5), for you above all, to know the right. To know = to regard, give heed to (Is. 42:25).
Micah 3:2. Ye that hate good, and love evil, that steal away their skin from off them, from the house of Israel (Micah 3:1), and their flesh from off their bones. They may well be pleased with the prophesying concerning the “flock” of Israel (2:12), for meanwhile they have the privilege of shearing and flaying the flock.
Micah 3:3. Yea, those who eat (the discourse turns to the third person, for in vision the prophet sees how those addressed have already stopped their ears, and turned away from him, and he makes his complaint before God and the congregation) the flesh of my people, etc.
Micah 3:4. Then—at the time of the revelation of the wrath of God (cf. Ps. 2:5; Prov. 1:18), at the very time for which their lying prophets hold out to them the prospect of nothing but golden hills,—will they rather cry to Jehovah, and he will not answer them, for they are not worthy of the gracious promise (Hos. 2:22 ff.), since they have let their day of grace pass by; and will hide his face from them (impf. Hiphil with e instead of 1: as Ps. 25:9) at that time even as they have made their deeds evil. Jehovah’s countenance is the fountain of life (Ps. 104:29); when it is turned away it is death; He will not break through before them, but will let them perish in misery, as their deeds deserve; cf. the last words, with 2:3, 7.
Micah 3:5 ff. Transition to the false prophets, parallel to 2:6 if. Thus saith Jehovah against (על as Jon. 1:2) the prophets who lead my people astray, God’s people are Israel, and he who hurts them, hurts God (Zech. 2:8). The prophets should be eyes for the people (Is. 29:10), and without prophets the people are blind; but whoever leads the blind astray is accursed (Deut. 27:18). They lead astray because they are bribed by the great (Micah 3:1 ff.). Who, when they have anything to bite in tlieir teeth (cf. 2:11, 12), i. e. who when they receive any good to eat, cry, Peace—prophesy as desired; and whoever gives them nothing for their mouth, against him they sanctify war [Kleinert: declare a sabred war]. By the antithesis of the two sentences, the meaning, “to bite,” “to chew,” is demanded for נשׁךְ: the construction of the first [Hebrew] sentence is parataxis pro syntaxi, and the first finite verb as following what precedes has been changed into a participle: they sit with the rich at their tables, eat their bread, and sing their song. The description answers completely to that which the Greek tragic poets, from a like moral indignation, give of the venal soothsayers of their time (cf. e. g. Soph., Antig., 1036; Æsch., Agam., 1168)., To sanctify a war is the solemn formula for the declaration of a war which should be undertaken for the honor of God against enemies (Joel 4:9, cf. Is. 13:3); for by the destruction of his foes God is proved a Holy One (Is. 5:16). The false prophets abuse this formula, as they do all the others of true prophecy (cf. on 2:12 f.).
Micah 3:6. Therefore, because you darken God’s light in the daytime, there shall be to you a night without vision, yea, a darkness shall be for you without divination. The punctuators read the 3d prset. fern, impers.: “and it shall be dark for you.” But, according to the parallelism the substantive הָשְׁכָּה (choshkah), with dagesh lene is to be preferred. The word chasôn, vision, which is elsewhere used of the genuine visions of true prophets (Is. 1:1), is here defined by the parallel kesom, the comprehensive designation of all the heathen arts of augury (Deut. 18:10, 14; Ezek. 21:26). In the use of the word chasôn, however, there lies the idea that the night will so break upon the people that all prophecy, even the genuine, will cease, all answer from Jehovah (cf. Micah 3:4; Lam. 2:9). Indeed, the latter half of the verse says the same: And the sun shall go down over the prophets,—all of them—and the day be dark over them. The words are designed to complete the picture of the visionless night in the first member of the verse (cf. Am. 8:9), and thus can hardly have the reference, which Hitzig supposes, to the eclipse of the sun on the 5th of June 716 B. C, the day in which Romulus died (Dion. Halic. 2:56).
Micah 3:7. And the seers will be ashamed, and the diviners blush (cf. 1 Kings 18:29). “Their lying being punished in its results, they become, since God by no word of revelation helps them out of their necessity, entirely disgraced.” Hitzig. And cover the beard, all of them, they will hide the face up to the nostrils, a sign of sorrow (Lev. 13:45), here of shame (cf. Ezek. 24:17), as elsewhere the covering of the head (Jer. 14:4), Because there is no answer from God, מַעְנֵה, subst. as Prov. 15:1, 23; some MSS. give the better sounding part, with seghol in ult.: for God answers not.
Micah 3:8. To the liars Micah sets himself and his prophesying in contrast. But I am filled with power (cf. Jer. 1:18). This first accus. (cf. Gesen., § 138, 3, b), is explained epexegetically by what follows; with power, i. e. with the spirit of Jehovah,1 in whom alone is power (Is. 31:3), while those speak out of their own spirit (Ezek. 13:3; Jer. 5:13); and with judgment (judicial sentence), by metonymy for: with an impartial (opposed to Micah 3:5) utterance of God’s righteous judgment (Jer.1:16), which the adversaries should indeed know, but did not wish to know: and with courage, which is not to be bought off by a dainty meal, like the slavish soul of the false prophets (Micah 3:5); to declare to Jacob his transgression, not the lies of false peace (Micah 3:5; 2:11), and to Israel his sin.
Micah 3:9, follows with a summary view of the final consequences of this sin and its punishment. Hear this, now, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and judges of the house of Israel who abhor judgment, and make crooked that which is straight, through the desperate arts of a sophistry which perverts right because it has the power (7:3; Is. 5:20).
Micah 3:10. Building Zion with blood-guiltiness (Ps. 26:9, cf. Mic. 6:16, with 1 Kings 21.), and Jerusalem with iniquity. They care not that the city in which they build their palaces (Hab. 3:6; Jer. 22:13) with the gain of sin and bloodshed, is God’s own holy city (Is. 1:21).2 When the prophet remembers Jerusalem, his angry and complaining word passes over to her.
Micah 3:11. Her heads judge for a bribe, therefore to the injury of the innocent poor (Ps. 15:5; Ezek. 22:12), and her priests teach for a reward; while it was their duty to give (Lev. 10:11; Deut. 17:11; 33:10) information concerning the decisions of the law
(cf. e. g. Hag. 2:16 ff.), they receive a fee for every consultation, so that the poor have, in fact, no part in the rights established by God (Is. 5:23), nay, can attain to no knowledge at all thereof. And their prophets divine for money, according to direction, like the heathen prophets (Num. 22:6 f.), and appeal to [lean upon] Jehovah, saying: Is not Jehovah among us? or, as the adversaries of Jeremiah; here is Jehovah’s temple (Jer. 7:4): Therefore, no evil can come upon us.
Micah 3:12. Therefore, so culminates in the closing verse, the threatening begun in Micah 3:8, now in the sharpest contrast to the conclusion of the preceding chapter; therefore, for your sakes, because you make the Lord’s temple a den of murderers (Jer. 7:11), Zion shall be ploughed as [Kleincrt: into, ace. of result, Ges., § 139, 2] a field, and Jerusalem not less than the previously destroyed Samaria, become heaps—the stones built up with blood will be torn asunder, because Jehovah makes inquisition for the blood; and the mountain of the house, בית, the temple, as I Kings 6–8, high places of a forest! On the Aram. plural עיין, cf. Gesen., § 87, 1, a. On the threatening of Is. 32:13, 14; on the incidental meaning of במות on 1:5.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
The people of Israel are formed, as a holy seed, to inherit the blessing. To this end they have a holy land (2:4), a holy place, and the Holy God in their midst (3:11), who answers them by the i mouth of the prophets (3:7).
But the straightforward development of the mission of Israel has been interrupted. The whole substance of the popular life in these holy arrangements has been thoroughly poisoned with the sin of seeking their own, and proudly trusting in their own power, instead of meditating on God’s law (Ps. 1:1), and trusting alone in his power (Ps. 2:12). But as a people stands toward God so He toward the people; with the froward He will show himself froward. When the people devise iniquity He devises it against them; when brother prepares destruction for brother, destruction is prepared for all from on high. He has given to Israel the portion of goods that fell to him, but in his hands it has been squandered, and falls to those to whom it does not belong.
The people is a body made up of members duly organized. But no community, even that which is best and most divinely organized, has any guarantee of continuance (to say nothing of the eternal promise), unless its individual members, with a full comprehension of their calling, stand and labor therein (3:1–8). And radical corruptisn exists whore that rank which ought to serve as the conduit for the stream of life from the heart of God to the whole life of the people has become putrid, and sends forth, instead of the juices of life, deadly fountains; where between the natural opposition of the arrogant and desponding thoughts of men, for which the Word of God, under all circumstances, has a somewhat unwelcome sound, and between the cowardice and self-indulgence of the servants of God, the compromise of false prophecy has been agreed upon. We recognize the preaching of lies by its one-sided emphasis on the promises of God’s Word, agreeably to the natural desire of men, while it forgets the conditions of those promises; by its sealing the crowd of hearers that may present itself for the congregation of God, and assuring them all, without exception, and without the purification resulting from divine judgment, of a share in his salvation. The Gospel has come for sinners, it is true, but not for drunkards and debauchees; that is, sinners as the object of the Gospel are those who heartily confess, and desire to forsake, their sins. By such preaching of lies the judgment is simply hastened. It brings out the contradiction of God’s Word with double energy, and prepares for corruption a rushing progress among the other classes.
The result of this course is that not merely the land becomes foreign, but prophecy disappears altogether, the presence of God becomes a dead shadow and his holy abode a stone-heap.
HENGSTENBERG: The particular vices which the prophet names are to be regarded at the same time, and principally, as indices of the whole diseased condition of the people. The severity of his speech, says the prophet to the false prophets, was rather true mildness, since it alone could avert the approaching judgment. Not from want of patience, not from unmercifulness does his God punish, but the fault lay with the sinners who violently drew his judgments upon themselves. The false prophets are to be looked upon as the accomplices of the corrupt nobility, as the bulwark, that is, which they oppose to the true prophecy and to its influence on the people, and their own conscience; as the material power always looks about for such spiritual allies.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
On chap. 2. Several signs that the state of a people is hastening toward judgment and needs amendment.
I. The reign of selfishness.
1. Each one strives and plans for himself alone. Micah 2:1 a, b, c.
2. Each one trusts in his own strength. Micah 2:1, d.
3. Regard for the restraints of law and morality is done away (Micah 2:2). Consequent judgment threatened. Micah 2:3, 4, 5.
II. Unbelief in the judgment and the consequent impenitence.
1. The sting is taken from the preaching of the judgment, while they find fault with the form instead of attending to the matter of the message. Micah 2:6.
2. They lull the conscience with half truths. Micah 2:7.
3. They suppress the consciousness of manifest sins and abuses (Micah 2:8, 9). Consequent judgment threatened. Micah 2:10.
III. The corruption of the prophetic office.
1. There are those who sing the slumbering consciences completely into a dream. Micah 2:11.
2. These people mislead even honest consciences by clothing their false doctrine in the style of God’s Word (Matt. 7:15). Micah 2:12, 13.
Micah 2:1 f. No man can serve two masters. He that seeks his own is the slave of self-seeking, and cannot escape from it day or night. Where your treasure is there is your heart also. Covetingis the original sin, and to fulfill the last commandment is a duty as fundamental as to fulfill the first.
Micah 2:3 f. As the wicked fastens his thought on wickedness so will God fasten him to the consequences of the wickedness. Not to be able to free one’s self from what is once begun, that is the curse of evil.
Micah 2:4 f. He who acts as if he had nothing, and is not satisfied with gathering and scraping together, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.
Micah 2:6. Many a one doubtless drivels because he loves to drivel; such should take heed lest by their ungentle words they give excuse to the adversaries. He is rightly zealous who cherishes a burning desire that the reproach may cease.
Micah 2:7. The Lord is long-suffering; but so much the more shameful is it to abuse his patience.
Micah 2:8. If God would enter into judgment with us, He needs not to go back to long past sins; yesterday, the hour just past, convicts thee of thy sin.
Micah 2:9. The corruption which thou workest in thy children is an everlasting corruption.
Micah 2:10. When man makes this lower world his rest, God will trouble him out of it.
Micah 2:11. The “inner mission in a social way” has many dark sides, and is seldom accomplished without a certain sacrifice of the truth, or neglect of it and casting pearls before swine. Avoid even the appearance of evil!
Micah 2:12. He who would once give out a perverse sentiment as God’s Word, will have little difficulty in finding Biblical expressions; and every one to whom theology is merely a thing of the memory stands in this danger. The test of all preaching is, whether it increases thy earnestness for improvement, let it give thee pain or not. If it lulls thee to sleep, it is false even though made up of Scripture phrases.
CH. B. MICHAELIS: On Micah 2:1. When one takes his stand on the fact that he has the power, there is abuse of the power.
LUTHER: Micah 2:2. The Papists may boast of the donation and beneficences of the Emperor Constantino, and others—charitable foundations, cathedrals, cloisters, rents, and tolls—but when we look at the truth, we must think of all such donation, as the prophet speaks of it, that they have coveted such goods, and have then snatched them for themselves. Not with open violence, but by plainly deceiving men with a false pretense, as if they could by such donation gain access to eternal life.
SCHLIEK: On Micah 2:5. While they think they have become rich through violence, they have rather thereby lost their whole land.
LUTHER: Micah 2:7. As to the grand boasts of the Papists, that God has given great ’promises to his church, I do not deny that the promises may be near at hand. But I do deny that they (the Papists) are the true Christian Church.
Micah 2:9. The Greeks said well, one’s own hearth is better than gold. For that is the best house in which thou wouldst fain be and reside. To widows and orphans, accordingly, their own houses, however small and humble, are true houses of delight. For there they are at home. This affection the prophet desired to magnify, that he might the more strikingly portray the tyranny of the covetous people.
BURCK: On Micah 2:7. Injustice against the wives is soon followed by injustice against the children. And this is a reason why dissension between the married couple is to be abominated, because it must occasion inexpressible harm to the education of the children.
STARKE: Micah 2:1. The proverb, “Thoughts are duty free,” holds good in human courts, it is true, but not before God’s judgment. Covetousness is a hard thing, and leaves a man no rest day or night.
Micah 2:2. We should earnestly resist the first attacks of the old Adam, that he may not acquire power.
Micah 2:3. That there is a law of retribution, is attested not only by Holy Scripture, again and again, but also by sound human reason.
Micah 2:4. Those who boldly deride divine admonitions, and make of them a mock, shall in turn become a mock to their enemies.
Micah 2:7. The nearer their punishment the, more secure, generally, the ungodly become.
Micah 2:8. Where manifest hostility, where robbing and stealing prevail, and go unpunished, there the ungodly are near to judgment. It does not follow that all who are called God’s people are on this account in favor with Him.
Micah 2:9. Whether to remain single or to marry, is optional; by no means is it optional to break up marriage, and drive away one’s tpouse. As all God’s works are glorious and good, so also is matrimony, which God has in many ways adorned and blessed.
Micah 2:10. He that will not hear must feel.
Micah 2:11, Upright teachers must preach nothing but what God commands them.
PFAFF: Take heed, O soul, to thy thoughts! If thou wakest in the night, on thy bed, let the place serve to engage, thee in holy thoughts.
Micah 2:4. What avails to lament, when God’s judgments are actually receiving accomplishment! Repent in time!
Micah 2:5. Woe to those who have no part in the congregation of God’s people! They have also no part in God and in the heavenly inheritance.
Micah 2:7. It is an idle fancy, that God cannot punish the sinner because He is merciful; would they become subjects of his mercy, why then let them be converted.
Micah 2:9. Ye judges, do the widows and orphans no hurt! They should be written on your heart.
Micah 2:11. A preacher should with full freedom, but with a mind and spirit like that of God, reprove vice.
RIEGER: Here also, as in Micah 1:the presentation of the sin and announcement of the penalty are connected together, but with the difference that there corruption of God’s service is rebuked, here, rather, violence and injustice in the civil relations of the people. One draws the other after it.
Micah 2:1 f. What a temptation it is, to have the power to do what evil spite suggests! What would many a one do if the power of the hand were as great as the boldness of the heart! As it is, however, God judges according to the counsel of the heart, and brings to light what a man has been occupied with even on his bed.
Micah 2:7. That is the old and still practiced way of avoiding God’s threatenings, namely, that men so readily form conceptions of God, and imagine that it is not to be supposed that God can be angry. Let one learn first of all to understand God from His own sayings. He who hates the light may for a while resort to imaginary comfort, but it cannot help him.
Micah 2:8. Public outrages resulting from corruption in the civil order, draw after them many private outrages in unhappy marriages, improper divorces, by which the children especially are permanently corrupted, and the ground is laid for all corruption in all classes. Give us peace on every account and in every way.
QUANDT: Micah 2:1 ff. Where such is the state of things in a country, there the glory of the people has departed, and there breathes a savor of death unto death, which attracts the eagles.
Micah 2:3.The evil which the Lord devises is so named only because to the evil it appears evil, while in truth it is holy and good.
Micah 2:5. Since the ungodly men of power have inwardly separated themselves from the congregation of the Lord, neither can they outwardly share in its advantages (Ps.37:9).
Micah 2:6. At the present day also the office of the preacher of righteousness is made specially difficult by the hypocrites who give forth their own carnality, and cry, Peace, peace, when there is no peace.
Micah 2:8. O, that all who do violence to poverty would consider that, while they abuse the poor brethren, they set themselves against the great God in heaven.
Micah 2:9. True religion is, to visit the widows and the fatherless in their affliction; the devil’s worship, to rob widows and orphans.
On chap. 3. To whom much is given in the kingdom of God, of him God’s judgment will require much.
I. The more is given him the greater is his guilt.
1. He cannot excuse himself from want of knowledge.
2. Rather is his sin a contradiction to the known commandment. Micah 3:2, 9.
3. And as such, aggravated by the design to, deafen the conscience, it comes to view practically in a very abominable light, and that
(a.) in externis as want of natural affection, and as bare egotism. Micah 3:3 c, 10, 11.
(b.) In internis as desecration of what is holy. Micah 3:5.
II. The greater the guilt the greater also the punishment.
1. The abused word and office loses power with respect, and is as if it were not. Micah 3:4 b, 6.
2. It loses also its power with God; He no longer hears, and remains dumb. Micah 3:4 a, 7.
3. And all which God does further is to announce and bring on trouble. Micah 3:8–12.
Micah 3:1 f. When once reverence for God’s com mand is destroyed, with the men in power, sin goes irresistibly toward its final end, like a flame which rests not till all is consumed. But against even the fury of the elements God has set his barrier (Job 38:11). How a right magistracy should be constituted we learn from Is. 32:2.—The Word of God is not partial, but the Most High is above the heights. Neither should his servants be partial. God values the magistracy not according to its legitimacy, but according to its works. But it may well be that the horrid works of a usurped power should first and most speedily come to an issue (6:16). To hold men like beasts for fattening and slaughter, is an abomination in the eyes of God. What held good in the O. T. within the nation of Israel, holds good of mankind in the N. T., and with a N. T. application the word of the prophet is true of slavery. Yet not even the prophet preaches revolution, but delivers his testimony, and sets home God’s judgment.
Micah 3:5. A servant of God, in his judgment on men, and his conduct towards them, should be influenced by no possible tokens of love toward himself personally.
Micah 3:6. In hours of drought we ought to prove ourselves, whether we are not ourselves to blame through deficient joyfulness and devotion in the service of God.
Micah 3:8. The human virtues also grow only out of the fullness of the Spirit of God, which a servant of God in his office needs
Micah 3:9. To make the straight crooked and to brand right as wrong—who does not shudder at the sin And yet this is the bosom sin of these our highly cultivated times; scarcely one has not a part in it: it is the necessary result of all partisanship (Eccles. 7:29).
Micah 3:10. Whoever builds with gold from extortion and usury builds with blood (1 John 4:15).
Micah 3:11. What profits all the knocking at the outward form of the church, when the fact proves that God by his Spirit is not there but has left it? In such a case the breaking up of the form also is only a question of time. The church is only a result of labor spent on the kingdom of God; labor spent on the church is in itseif of no profit, as a schoolmaster is not the carpenter who builds the school-house, nor the public officer who brings up the children, but he who forms their souls.
Micah 3:12. Better for a land to be quite uncultivated than cultivated in the service of sin.
LUTHER: On Micah 3:1. As the person of the magistracy, because they are in office, is public and common, so their sins and transgressions also are public, and much more offensive than those of ordinary citizens, not only on account of the scandal, from the fact tnat the common herd are any how inclined to imitate the sins of the great lords, but also because the magistracy thus become more slack to blame and punish in the lower orders those iniquities which they find and feel in themselves.
CH. B. MICHAELIS: Micah 3:2. When the prefect advised Tiberius to lay heavy burdens on the provinces, he wrote, A good shepherd shears the sheep, but does not flay them.
TARNOV: Micah 3:3. David would not drink the water which his attendants had procured for him at the hazard of their lives (2 Sam. 23:16); ought there to be then, among Christian men, any so bad that by them the blood of their dependents is drunk, and in a moment what those have contributed drop by drop?
CH. B. MICHAELIS: Micah 3:4. By this the promise is not broken that God will hear all that call upon Him. Here such are meant as wickedly call upon Him (James 4:3), not in truth (Ps. 145:18) but hypocritically, and merely in the anguish of punishment (Prov. 1:28), without repentance and faith (Is. 1:15); as Esau wept (Gen. 27:34), and as the lost lament (Wisd. 5:3).
TARNOV: On Micah 3:8. He speaks of the gift which God has given him, not to boast of it, but compelled, as Paul (2 Cor. 10:11 ff.).
LUTHER: On Micah 3:10. He condemns not priests and prophets because they take reward and money, for the pious and God-fearing preachers of the Word are worthy of their hire, but because they abuse their office to their own gratification, and for the sake of gain, and see through the finger when the people sin, whom they should justly have punished.
HENGSTENBERG: On Micah 3:12. Righteousness builds up because it brings God’s protection and blessing; unrighteousness tears down because it brings God’s curse.
STARKE: On Micah 3:1. Those are dangerous preachers who reprove only the crowd, that they may flatter the lords. Magistrates should of necessity know justice, because only thus can they speak what is just.
Micah 3:2. Love of evil is always connected with hatred toward the good, although men commonly, in practicing the evil, keep up a semblance of love for the good.
Micah 3:5. It is indeed a great hardship to live under a tyrannical government, but still more dangerous is it to be supplied with false and ungodly teachers, for they preach the people not only out of the land but into hell. That is a certain sign of an anti-christian disposition, which has always manifested itself as soon as the truth has arisen here or there in the world: the devil has at once roused up re-vilers, who attacked the witnesses for the truth, and accused them of horrible crimes. So it is still, and so it will remain to the last day.
Micah 3:6. He who loves the light of divine truth walks also in the light of blessedness (Job 22:28); but he who chooses darkness rather than light walks also in the darkness of error and falsehood, and does the deeds of darkness.
Micah 3:7. When the day of divine vengeance comes, the teachers of error will not be overlooked.
Micah 3:8. Here we perceive the distinction between a false and a true prophet, between a converted and an unconverted teacher, and the different ground, nature, and object of their office. There is with the true man, spirit, power, light, self-denial, wise temperance, pure, uncorrupted delivery of God’s plan of salvation; and with the false, envy, imagination, self love which puffs up, personal gain, respect of persons, deception of the fancy, etc., etc.
Micah 3:10. By tyranny and injustice neither the church of God is built nor the kingdom of a prince established.
PFAFF: Micah 3:1. We have here the condition of the magistracy. God has established this to dispense right and justice, to further the public good, to be an example of virtue to the peopla, and surely it should not take this away from the people by injustice and tyranny.
Micah 3:4. Repentance which comes to us from an experience of the punistfment deceives not before God.
Micah 3:5. Behold the criterion of a false and ungodly teacher. He is one who for his own enjoyment comforts the ungodly in their sins, who looks only for a goodj revenue and reward, who preaches to please men, who calumniates the real servants of God that speak the truth, who rebukes only when his gains are disturbed.
Micah 3:12. The more secure men are, the heavier are the judgments of God which come upon them.
RIEGER: Micah 3:1. God has given to every class in the world both its external advantages and its tendency and adaptation to usefulness. Thus even the great ones in the world should find in their more complete culture, understanding and discernment, an impulse to become acquainted with the rights which God has established. If then in the world they hate good, it is not only for themselves a sorry proof that they are children of the devil, but also opens the way for the eternal destruction of others, because much good is nipped in its blossom by the hate, or at least suspicion, which the great direct against it. The more enjoyment and advantage one can procure from his unrighteousness, the less readily does one give it up.
Micah 3:4. As little as the violent are generally disposed to cry to the Lord, there still come occasions even to them, as war, etc., when their cries are awakened. As the promise that his prayer shall be heard is the most consoling to wretched man, so is the threat of having to hear the judge the most dreadful. Let him who thus turns away the sufferer, who should have had the benefit of bis office, hides his face from him, refuses him an interview,—let such an one be careful what he does.
Micah 3:5 f. The times when, in the earthly rule things go sadly and in disorder, commonly bring also great danger of temptation upon the church.
Micah 3:2 f. Misbelief often does as much mischief in the land as unbelief. Amid increasing corruption of life, to trust to purity of doctrine alone, and think one’s self on this account far from the evil day, is misbelief. True, the kingdom of God cannot come to a stand, but meanwhile it may be. taken from us and given to others.
QUANDT: Micah 3:1. Those are the right court preachers who are not restrained by the star on the breast from inquiring whether the heavenly morning star shines also in the breast (Urlsperger).
Micah 3:3. There are people who spend money enough on a single meal to support a teacher or a missionary for a considerable time.
Micah 3:6. Only a sudden thought of the dark eternity can now fill with anguish the soul which rejoices in sin.
Ver 7. When once the world perceive that they are deceived, they turn with scorn from their own prophets.
Micah 3:8. Inward certainty, and having the soul established in God, is the best call for a Stillness must be filled with thought, good or bad; preacher,
Micah 3:12. The times are become still worse before the judgment came (Is. 26:18).
BREMER: Sermon on Micah 3:1–4. Warning to the judges. (1.) Their responsibility as possessors of knowledge. (2.) Their sin: violation of duty, and self-seeking. (3.) Their punishment.—Synodal sermon on Micah 3:5–8. Warning to the heralds of God’s Word. (1.) Their ideal character (Micah 3:8). (2.) Their danger of darkening God’s Word through self-seeking, in that either they for personal advantage preach what the ears of people lust after, or brand their personal enemies as God’s enemies. (3.) The aggravation of their sin; desecration of the Word; confusion of God’s congregation. (4.) Their punishment; they lose the capacity to discern God’s Word, and speak to the disgust of others and of themselves. Sermon on Micah 3:11, 12. False confidence in God. (1) Its ground, an outward temple—sacraments. (2.) Its danger, disregard of the distant future, indifference, indulgence given to the natural man. (3.) Its end. Fate of the Jewish state; the holy city becomes as the world, and shares the fate of the world. So likewise we. If we forsake God He will forsake us.
[PUSEY: Micah 2:1. Upon their beds, which ought to be the place of holy thought, and of communing with their own hearts and with God. Stillness must be tilled with thought, good or bad; if not with good, then with hail. The chamber, if not the sanctuary of holy thoughts, is filled with unholy purposes find imaginations.
Micah 3:6. Shall not depart. It hath not now first to come. It is not sonnew thing to be avoided, turned aside. The sinner has but to remain as he is; the shame encotapnsoeth him already, and only departeth not. The, wrath of God is already upon him, and abideth on him.
Micah 3:12. So then, Christians, following Him. iho captain of their salvation, strengthened by his grace, must hurst the bars of the flesh and of the world, the bonds and chains of passions and habits, force, themselves through the narrow way and narrow gate, do violence to ihetnselves. endure hardness, as good soldiers of Jems Christ. The title of our Lord, the breaker-throuyh, and the saying, they break through, together express the same as the New Testament doth, in regard to our being partakers of the sufferings of Christ.—Micah 3:6 The prayer is never too late, until judgment conies; the day of grace is over when the time of judgment has arrived. They shall cry unt« the Loid, anil shall not he heard, because they too did not hear those who asked them, and the Lord shall turn his face from them, because they too turned their face from those who prayed to them. O, what, will that turning away of the face he, on which hangs eternity!—TR.]
[Cf. Gram, and Text. note.—The “power” is rather the ability to exert a holy influence given from God.—TR.].
[“Or, by blood be may mean that they indirectly took away life, in that through wroog judgments, extortion, usury, fraud, oppression, reducing wages, or detaining them, they took away what was necessary to support life. Or it may be that these men thought to promote the temporal prosperity of Jerusalem, by doings which were unjust, oppressive, crushing to their inferiors. So Solomon, in his degenerate days, made the yoke upon his people and his service griecous, so ambitious monarchs by large standing armies, or filling their exchequers, drain the life-blood of their people. The physical condition and stature of the poorer population in much of France was lowered permanently by the conscriptions under the first emperor. In our wealthy nation the term poverty describes a condition of other days. We have had to coin a new name to designate the misery, offspring of our material prosperity. From our wealthy towns (as from those of Flanders,) ascends to heaven against us, “the cry of ‘pauperism,’ i. e., the cry of distress, arrived at a condition of system and of power, and, by an unexpected curse, issuing from the very development of wealth. The political economy of unbelief has been crushed by facts on all the theatres of human activity and industry” (Laeordaire). Truly we build up Zion’ with blood, when we cheapen luxuries and comforts at the price of souls, use Christian toil like brute strength, tempt men to dishonesty and women to other sin, to eke out the scanty wages which alone our selfish thirst for cheapness allows, heedless of everything save of our individvial gratification, or of the commercial prosperity which we have made our God.” Pusey, in loc.—TR.]
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?