Micah 1:2
Hear, all you people; listen, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the LORD from his holy temple.
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(2) Hear, all ye people.—The three-fold repetition of the appeal, “Hear ye,” seems to mark three divisions in the book: 1. “Hear, all ye people” (Micah 1:2); 2. “Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob” (Micah 3:1); 3. Hear ye now what the Lord saith” (Micah 6:1).

From his holy templei.e., from heaven; for “the Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven” (Psalm 11:4).

Micaiah, the son of Imlah, ended his appeal to Ahab and Jehoshaphat with the words with which Micah opens his prophecy, “Hearken, O people, every one of you” (1Kings 22:28).

Micah 1:2-4. Hear, all ye people — All ye of Israel and Judah. Hearken, O earth — Or, O land, [of Israel:] and all that therein is — That is, all its inhabitants. Let the Lord be witness against you — “I call him to witness, that I have forewarned you of the judgments that hang over your heads, unless you speedily repent. And he himself will become a witness against you, and convince you of your sins in such a manner that you shall not be able to deny the charge.” The Lord from his holy temple — Heaven, his holy habitation. The Lord cometh forth out of his place — God is said, in Scripture, to come out of his place, or heaven, when he makes his judgments or mercies to be remarkably conspicuous, by visible effects on the earth. And will tread upon the high places of the earth — He will cause places of the greatest strength to be destroyed, and men of the highest rank to be brought down. And the mountains shall be molten under him, &c. — An allusion to God’s coming down upon mount Sinai, when thunder and lightning shook the mountain, and violent rains, which accompanied this tempest, made the hills look as if they were melted down. Or the words may be referred to the general judgment, of which all particular judgments are an earnest, when the heavens and the earth shall be dissolved at Christ’s appearing.1:1-7 The earth is called upon, with all that are therein, to hear the prophet. God's holy temple will not protect false professors. Neither men of high degree, as the mountains, nor men of low degree, as the valleys, can secure themselves or the land from the judgments of God. If sin be found in God's people he will not spare them; and their sins are most provoking to him, for they are most reproaching. When we feel the smart of sin, it behoves us to seek what is the sin we smart for. Persons and places most exalted, are most exposed to spiritual diseases. The vices of leaders and rulers shall be surely and sorely punished. The punishment answers the sin. What they gave to idols, never shall prosper, nor do them any good. What is got by one lust, is wasted on another.Hear, all ye people - Literally, "hear, ye peoples, all of them." Some 140, or 150 years had flowed by, since Micaiah, son of Imlah, had closed his prophecy in these words. And now they burst out anew. From age to age the word of God holds its course, ever receiving new fulfillments, never dying out, until the end shall come. The signal fulfillment of the prophecy, to which the former Micalah had called attention in these words, was an earnest of the fulfillment of this present message of God.

Hearken, O earth, and all that therein is - The "peoples" or "nations" are never Judah and Israel only: the earth and the fullness thereof is the well-known title of the whole earth and all its inhabitants. Moses Deuteronomy 32:1, Asaph Psalm 50:7, Isaiah Isa 1:2, call heaven and earth as witnesses against God's people. Jeremiah, Jeremiah 6:19 as Micah here, summons the nations and the earth. The contest between good and evil, sin and holiness, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan, everwhere, but most chiefly where God's Presence is nearest, is "a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men" 1 Corinthians 4:9. The nations are witnesses of God against His own people, so that these should not say, that it was for want of faithfulness or justice or power Exodus 32:12; Numbers 14:16; Joshua 7:8-9, but in His righteous judgment, that He cast off whom He had chosen. So shall the Day of Judgment "reveal His righteousness" Romans 2:5. "Hearken, O earth." The lifeless earth Psalm 114:7; Psalm 97:5 trembles "at the Presence of God," and so reproaches the dullness of man. By it he summons man to listen with great reverence to the Voice of God.

And let the Lord God be witness against you - Not in words, but in deeds ye shall know, that I speak not of myself but God in me, when, what I declare, He shall by His Presence fulfill. But the nations are appealed to, not merely because the judgments of God on Israel should be made known to them by the prophets. He had not yet spoken of Israel or Judah, whereas he had spoken to the nations; "hear, ye peoples." It seems then most likely that here too he is speaking to them. Every judgment is an earnest, a forerunner, a part, of the final judgment and an example of its principles. It is but "the last great link in the chain," which unites God's dealings in time with eternity. God's judgments on one imply a judgment on all. His judgments in time imply a Judgment beyond time. Each sinner feels in his own heart response to God's visible judgments on another. Each sinful nation may read its own doom in the sentence on each other nation.

God judges each according to his own measure of light and grace, accepted or refused. The pagan shall be judged by "the law written in their heart" Romans 2:12-15; the Jew, by the law of Moses and the light of the prophets; Christians, by the law of Christ. "The word," Christ saith, "that I have spoken, the same shall judge him at the last Day" John 12:48. God Himself foretold, that the pagan should know the ground of His judgments against His people. "All nations shall say, wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? What meaneth the heat of this great anger? Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers which He made with them, when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, ..." Deuteronomy 29:24-25. But in that the pagan knew why God so punished His people, they came so far to know the mind of God; and God, who at no time "left Himself without witness" Acts 14:17, bore fresh "witness" to them, and, so far us they neglected it, against them. A Jew, wherever he is seen throughout the world, is a witness to the world of God's judgments against sin.

Dionysius: "Christ, the faithful Witness, shall witness against those who do ill, for those who do well."

The Lord from His holy temple - Either that at Jerusalem, where God shewed and revealed Himself, or Heaven of which it was the image. As David says, "The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven" Psalm 11:4; and contrasts His dwelling in heaven and His coming down upon earth. "He bowed the heavens also and came down" Psalm 18:9; and Isaiah, in like words, "Behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity" Isaiah 26:21.

2. all that therein is—Hebrew, "whatever fills it." Micaiah, son of Imlah, our prophet's namesake, begins his prophecy similarly, "Hearken, O people, every one of you." Micah designedly uses the same preface, implying that his ministrations are a continuation of his predecessor's of the same name. Both probably had before their mind Moses' similar attestation of heaven and earth in a like case (De 31:28; 32:1; compare Isa 1:2).

God be witness against you—namely, that none of you can say, when the time of your punishment shall come, that you were not forewarned. The punishment denounced is stated in Mic 1:3, &c.

from his holy temple—that is, heaven (1Ki 8:30; Ps 11:4; Jon 2:7; compare Ro 1:18).

Hear: the prophet here by proclamation requires earnest attention to his word. So Moses, Deu 4:26 30:19 32:1; so the psalmist, Psalm 50:1,4; and so Isaiah, Isaiah 1:2 34:1.

All ye people; either all the people of both kingdoms, all Israel and Judah, or else universally all people of all kingdoms whatever, both of that present age and all of future ages. Hearken, O earth: it may be taken for the meaner sort of people, the commonalty; but I rather incline to interpret it as both a tacit reproof of the deafness of this sinful and hardened people, with whom Micah now contends, and an appeal to the senseless creatures, or a summons to bring them in evidences for God against those kingdoms.

All that therein is; animate or inanimate creatures, all that are on the earth. If we interpret earth for the meaner sort of people, then this fulness of the earth will be the whole multitude of the people. It is a lofty strain, such as those of Moses, Deu 32:1, David, Psalm 1:1, Isaiah 1:1,2, and Jeremiah 6:19.

Let the Lord God; the mighty, holy, gracious, and faithful God, Lord of heaven and earth; who knows all your ways, who is a just judge, and a severe avenger of obdurate sinners.

Be witness against you, by his word, the voice of his law, by his prophets whom he hath sent, by the judgments he doth execute according to his menaces; as by his sovereignty he is supreme judge, so by his omniscience and truth he is an authentic witness against you, O house of Jacob.

From his holy temple; either from his temple at Jerusalem, or else from heaven, as Psalm 11:4 Habakkuk 2:20. Hear, all ye people,.... Or, "the people, all of them" (m); not all the nations of the world, but the nations of Israel, so called from their several tribes; though some (n) think the rest of the inhabitants of the earth are meant: thee are the same words which are used by Micaiah the prophet in the times of Ahab, long before this time, from whom they might be borrowed, 1 Kings 22:28. The phrase in the Hebrew language, as Aben Ezra observes, is very wonderful, and serves to strike the minds and excite the attention of men; it is like the words of a crier, in a court of judicature, calling for silence:

hearken, O earth, and all that therein is; or, "its fulness" (o); the land of Israel and Judah, the whole land of promise, and all the inhabitants of it; for to them are the following words directed:

and let the Lord God be witness against you; or, "in you" (p); the Word of the Lord, as the Targum; let him who is the omniscient God, and knows all hearts, thoughts, words, and actions, let him bear witness in your consciences, that what I am about to say is truth, and comes from him; is not my own word, but his; and if you disregard it, and repent not, let him be a witness against you, and for me, that I have prophesied in his name; that I have faithfully delivered his message, and warned you of your danger, and reproved you for your sins, and have kept back nothing I have been charged and entrusted with: and now, you are summoned into open court, and at the tribunal of the great God of heaven and earth; let him be a witness against you of the many sins you have been guilty of, and attend while the indictment is read, the charge exhibited, and the proof given by

the Lord from his holy temple, from heaven, the habitation of his holiness; whose voice speaking from thence should be hearkened to; who from thence beholds all the actions of men, and from whence his wrath is revealed against their sins, and he gives visible tokens of his displeasure; and especially when he seems to come forth from thence in some remarkable instances of his power and providence, as follows:

(m) "populi omnes ipsi", Montanus, Drusius, Piscator, Tarnovius. (n) So Burkius. (o) "et plenitude ejus", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius, Cocceius, Burkius. (p) "in vobis", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius.

Hear, {b} all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.

(b) Because of the malice and obstinacy of the people, whom he had so often exhorted to repentance, he summons them to God's judgments, taking all creatures, and God himself as witness, that the preaching of the Prophets, which they have abused, will be avenged.

2–7. The Threat of Punishment

2. all ye people] Rather peoples. God’s judgment upon the world is now in progress (comp. Isaiah 3:13-14; Isaiah 34:1-5), and one of the principal acts in the great drama is the judgment impending over Israel. Hence all nations are summoned, not merely as legal witnesses (as when ‘heaven and earth’ are called upon in a figure in Deuteronomy 4:26; Deuteronomy 30:19; Deuteronomy 31:28, Isaiah 1:2), but that they may learn wisdom in time from Israel’s fate. Hence the next half of the verse continues, ‘… against you.’ The opening words of this verse are uttered by Micaiah in 1 Kings 22:28, which can hardly be an accidental coincidence, as Micah is a shortened form of Micaiah. Probably the words in 1 Kings were interpolated by some ill-advised scribe, who identified Micaiah with our prophet Micah.

the Lord God] Rather, the Lord Jehovah. This is the reading of the Hebrew text; A. V. follows the vowel-points, which in this case merely express the exaggerated reverence of the later Jews for the sacred name.

his holy temple] It is ‘the temple of heaven’ which is meant (Revelation 16:17). Comp. Habakkuk 2:20, Zechariah 2:13, Isaiah 63:15, Psalm 11:4.Verses 2-4. - § 1. Introduction to the prophet's address. The nations and earth itself are summoned to attend the solemn announcement. Verse 2. - Hear, all ye people; rather, all ye peoples; Septuagint, λαοί. All nations are summoned to come and witness the judgment, and to profit by the warning. So Micaiah, son of Imlah, the bold denouncer of false prophets in the age of Ahah, had cried, "Hear, ye peoples, all of you" (1 Kings 22:28). So Moses, in his song (Deuteronomy 32:1), calls on heaven and earth to listen to his words (comp. Isaiah 1:2). These expressions are not mere rhetorical figures; they have a special application. Whatever happens to Israel has a bearing on the development of the kingdom of God; the judgments on the chosen people are not only a warning to the heathen, but bring on the great consummation. All that therein is; literally, the fulness thereof; Vulgate, plentitudo ejus; Septuagint, πάντες οἱ ἐν αὐτῇ, "all ye that are therein" (Psalm 24:1). Let the Lord God (the Lord Jehovah) be witness against you. Let God by his judgments against you, viz. Israel and Judah, confirm my denunciation (comp. Deuteronomy 29:24). From his holy temple; i.e. from heaven, as ver. 3 shows (1 Kings 8:30; Psalm 11:4; Habakkuk 2:20). The short, cursory explanation of the reason for the lamentation opened here, is followed in Amos 5:4. by the more elaborate proof, that Israel has deserved to be destroyed, because it has done the very opposite of what God demands of His people. God requires that they should seek Him, and forsake idolatry, in order to live (Amos 5:4-6); but Israel on the contrary, turns right into unrighteousness, without fearing the almighty God and His judgment (Amos 5:7-9). This unrighteousness God must punish (Amos 5:10-12). Amos 5:4. "For thus saith Jehovah to the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and live. Amos 5:5. And seek not Bethel, and come not to Gilgal, and go not over to Beersheba: for Gilgal repays it with captivity, and Bethel comes to nought. Amos 5:6. Seek Jehovah, and live; that He fall not upon the house of Joseph like fire, and it devour, and there be none to quench it for Bethel." The kı̄ in Amos 5:4 is co-ordinate to that in Amos 5:3, "Seek me, and live," for "Seek me, so shall ye live." For this meaning of two imperatives, following directly the one upon the other, see Gesenius, 130, 2, and Ewald, 347, b. חיה, not merely to remain alive, not to perish, but to obtain possession of true life. God can only be sought, however, in His revelation, or in the manner in which He wishes to be sought and worshipped. This explains the antithesis, "Seek not Bethel," etc. In addition to Bethel and Gilgal (see at Amos 4:4), Beersheba, which was in the southern part of Judah, is also mentioned here, being the place where Abraham had called upon the Lord (Genesis 21:33), and where the Lord had appeared to Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 26:24 and Genesis 46:1; see also at Genesis 21:31). These sacred reminiscences from the olden time had caused Beersheba to be made into a place of idolatrous worship, to which the Israelites went on pilgrimage beyond the border of their own kingdom (עבר). But visiting these idolatrous places of worship did no good, for the places themselves would be given up to destruction. Gilgal would wander into captivity (an expression used here on account of the similarity in the ring of גּלגּל and גּלה יגלה). Bethel would become 'âven, that is to say, not "an idol" here, but "nothingness," though there is an allusion to the change of Beth-el (God's house) into Beth-'âven (an idol-house; see at Hosea 4:15). The Judaean Beersheba is passed over in the threat, because the primary intention of Amos is simply to predict the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes. After this warning the prophet repeats the exhortation to seek Jehovah, and adds this threatening, "that Jehovah come not like fire upon the house of Joseph" (tsâlach, generally construed with ‛al or 'el, cf. Judges 14:19; Judges 15:14; 1 Samuel 10:6; here with an accusative, to fall upon a person), "and it (the fire) devour, without there being any to extinguish it for Bethel." Bethel, as the chief place of worship in Israel, is mentioned here for the kingdom itself, which is called the "house of Joseph," from Joseph the father of Ephraim, the most powerful tribe in that kingdom.

To add force to this warning, Amos (Amos 5:7-9) exhibits the moral corruption of the Israelites, in contrast with the omnipotence of Jehovah as it manifests itself in terrible judgments. Amos 5:7. "They that change right into wormwood, and bring righteousness down to the earth. Amos 5:8. He that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into morning, and darkeneth day to night: that calleth to the waters of the sea, and poureth them over the surface of the earth; Jehovah is His name. Amos 5:9. Who causeth desolation to flash upon the strong, and desolation cometh upon the fortress." The sentences in Amos 5:7 and Amos 5:8 are written without any connecting link. The participle in Amos 5:7 cannot be taken as an address, for it is carried on in the third person (hinnı̄chū), not in the second. And hahōphekhı̄m (who turn) cannot be in apposition to Beth-el, since the latter refers not to the inhabitants, but to the houses. As Amos is generally fond of a participial construction (cf. Amos 2:7; Amos 4:13), so in a spirited address he likes to utter the thoughts one after another without any logical link of connection. As a matter of fact, hahōphekhı̄m is connected with bēth-yōsēph (the house of Joseph), "Seek the Lord, ye of the house of Joseph, who turn right into wrong;" but instead of this connection, he proceeds with a simple description, They are turning," etc. La‛ănâh, wormwood, a bitter plant, is a figurative term denoting bitter wrong (cf. Amos 6:12), the actions of men being regarded, according to Deuteronomy 29:17, as the fruits of their state of mind. Laying righteousness on the ground (hinnı̄ăch from nūăch) answers to our "trampling under feet." Hitzig has correctly explained the train of thought in Amos 5:7 and Amos 5:8 : "They do this, whereas Jehovah is the Almighty, and can bring destruction suddenly upon them." To show this antithesis, the article which takes the place of the relative is omitted from the participles ‛ōsēh and hōphēkh. The description of the divine omnipotence commences with the creation of the brightly shining stars; then follow manifestations of this omnipotence, which are repeated in the government of the world. Kı̄mâh, lit., the crowd, is the group of seven stars, the constellation of the Pleiades. Kesı̄l, the gate, according to the ancient versions the giant, is the constellation of Orion. The two are mentioned together in Job 9:9 and Job 38:31 (see Delitzsch on the latter). And He also turns the darkest night into morning, and darkens the day into night again. These words refer to the regular interchange of day and night; for tsalmâveth, the shadow of death, i.e., thick darkness, never denotes the regularly recurring gloominess of night, but the appalling gloom of night (Job 24:17), more especially of the night of death (Job 3:5; Job 10:21-22; Job 38:17; Psalm 44:20), the unlighted depth of the heart of the earth (Job 28:3), the darkness of the prison (Psalm 107:10, Psalm 107:14), also of wickedness (Job 12:22; Job 34:22), of sufferings (Job 16:16; Jeremiah 13:16; Psalm 23:4), and of spiritual misery (Isaiah 9:1). Consequently the words point to the judicial rule of the Almighty in the world. As the Almighty turns the darkness of death into light, and the deepest misery into prosperity and health,

(Note: Theodoret has given a correct explanation, though he does not quite exhaust the force of the words: "It is easy for Him to turn even the greatest dangers into happiness; for by the shadow of death he means great dangers. And it is also easy to bring calamity upon those who are in prosperity.")

so He darkens the bright day of prosperity into the dark night of adversity, and calls to the waters of the sea to pour themselves over the earth like the flood, and to destroy the ungodly. The idea that by the waters of the sea, which pour themselves out at the call of God over the surface of the earth, we are to understand the moisture which rises from the sea and then falls upon the earth as rain, no more answers to the words themselves, than the idea expressed by Hitzig, that they refer to the water of the rivers and brooks, which flow out of the sea as well as into it (Ecclesiastes 1:7). The words suggest the thought of terrible inundations of the earth by the swelling of the sea, and the allusion to the judgment of the flood can hardly be overlooked. This judicial act of the Almighty, no strong man and no fortress can defy. With the swiftness of lightning He causes desolation to smite the strong man. Bâlag, lit., micare, used in the Arabic to denote the lighting up of the rays of the dawn, hiphil to cause to light up, is applied here to motion with the swiftness of lightning; it is also employed in a purely metaphorical sense for the lighting up of the countenance (Psalm 39:14; Job 9:27; Job 10:20). In Amos 5:9 the address is continued in a descriptive form; יבוא has not a causative meaning. The two clauses of this verse point to the fate which awaits the Israelites who trust in their strength and their fortifications (Amos 6:13). And yet they persist in unrighteousness.

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