Micah 3:2
Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2, 3) Who hate the good.—The judges, instead of fulfilling the obligations of their office, whereby they should be “for the people to God-ward,” perpetrated the most flagrant cruelty upon them. Micah compares it to the process of preparing food, in which every part of the animal, even to the bones, is utilised. So the judges robbed the people until there was nothing left to them.

3:1-8 Men cannot expect to do ill, and fare well; but to find that done to them which they did to others. How seldom do wholesome truths reach the ears of those in high stations or in authority! Those who deceive others are preparing confusion for their own faces. The prophet had ardent love to God and to the souls of men; deep concern for his glory and their salvation, and zeal against sin. The difficulties he met with did not drive him from his work. He had this strength; not from and of himself, but he was full of power by the Spirit of the Lord. Those who act honestly, may act boldly. And those who come to hear the word of God, must be willing to be told of their faults, must take it kindly, and be thankful.Who hate the good and love the evil - that is, they hate, for its own sake, that which is good, and love that which is evil. The prophet is not here speaking of their "hating good" men, or "loving evil" men, but of their hating goodness and loving wickedness . : "It is sin not to love good; what guilt to hate it! it is faulty, not to flee from evil, what ungodliness to love it!" Man, at first, loves and admires the good, even while he cloth it not; he hates the evil, even while he does it, or as soon as he has done it. But man cannot bear to he at strife with his conscience, and so he ends it, by excusing himself and telling lies to himself. And then, he hates the truth or good with a bitter hatred, because it disturbs the darkness of the false peace with which he would envelop himself. At first, men love only the pleasure connected with the evil; then they make whom they can, evil, because goodness is a reproach to them: in the end, they love evil for its own sake Romans 1:32. pagan morality too distinguished between the incontinent and the unprincipled , the man who sinned under force of temptation, and the man who had lost the sense of right and wrong John 3:20. "Everyone that doeth evil, hateth the light. Whoso longeth for things unlawful, hateth the righteousness which rebuketh and punisheth" .

Who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones - He had described the Good Shepherd; now, in contrast, he describes those who ought to be "shepherds of the people," to feed, guard, direct them, but who were their butchers; who did not shear them, but flayed them; who fed on them, not fed them. He heaps up their guilt, act by act. First they flay, that is, take away their outer goods; then they break their bones in pieces, the most solid parts, on which the whole frame of their body depends, to get at the very marrow of their life, and so feed themselves upon them. And not unlike, though still more fearfully, do they sin, who first remove the skin, as it were, or outward tender fences of God's graces; (such as is modesty, in regard to inward purity; outward demeanor, of inward virtue; outward forms, of inward devotion;) and so break the strong bones of the sterner virtues, which hold the whole soul together; and with them the whole flesh, or softer graces, becomes one shapeless mass, shred to pieces and consumed. So Ezekiel says; "Woe to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves; should not the shepherds feed the flock? Ye eat the fat and ye clothe you, with the wool, ye kill them that are fed, ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened ..." (Ezekiel 34:2-4, add Ezekiel 34:5-10).

2. pluck off their skin … flesh—rob their fellow countrymen of all their substance (Ps 14:4; Pr 30:14). Who hate the good: in practice and affection these rulers were directly contrary to what they should have been and done, they hated not only to do good, but they hated the good which was to be done, and those that did it; and what kind of men may we judge they were who hated good men, and what was good, and by consequence hated also God himself?

Love the evil; choose, embrace, encourage, delight in, and prefer both evil works and evil workers, and take pleasure to do evil yourselves: the worst character that can be given of any sort of men.

Who pluck off their skin from off them: you by office are shepherds, and should feed, guide, heal, protect, and love the flock, but you use them as cruelly as the shepherd, who, instead of shearing of the fleece, would pluck off the skin, arid flay them.

And their flesh from off their bones; another proverbial speech of the same import, and chargeth highest injustice and inhumanity upon these princes and rulers: see Ezekiel 22:27 Zephaniah 3:3. Who hate the good, and love the evil,.... Instead of knowing and doing what was just and right; or, directly contrary to their light and knowledge, and the duty of their office, they hated that which is good, which is agreeable to the law, nature, and will of God, and loved that which is evil, which is contrary thereunto; or they hated to do good, and loved to do evil, as the Targum; as men do who are averse to good, and prone to evil; or they hated a good man, as Aben Ezra, and loved the evil man; not only delighted in committing sin themselves, but took pleasure in those that did it; and could not endure the company and conversation of holy and good men:

who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones: like wild beasts that tear off skin and flesh from the bones, and then devour them; or like cruel shepherds, that, not content to fleece their flocks, skin them, and take their flesh also, and feed themselves, and not the flock; or like butchers, that first take off the skin off a beast, and then cut up its flesh. The design of the expressions is to show what rigour, cruelty, and oppressions, these rulers exercised on the people and by their heavy taxes and levies, and exorbitant penalties and fines, pillaged and plundered them of all they had in the world, and left them quite bare, as bones stripped of their skin and flesh. So the Targum,

"seizing on their substance by violence, and their precious mammon they take away.''

Who hate the good, and love the evil; {b} who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;

(b) The Prophet condemns the wicked governors not only of covetousness, theft, and murder, but compares them to wolves, lions, and most cruel beasts.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. who pluck off their skin from off them] The description is figurative. We may infer that cannibalism was not unknown to the Israelites by hearsay or tradition, but not necessarily that it was practised by the ancestors of the Israelites, much less by the Israelites themselves. The meaning of the figure plainly is that the peasantry had lost their old independence, and fallen into a condition like that of the peasants of the Turkish empire. This arose from a change in the social organism. “The nobles of Israel were no longer great farmers, as Saul and Nabal had been, living among the peasantry and sharing their toil … The introduction of such a commerce, throwing the Hebrews into immediate relations with the great emporium of international traffic (Tyre), necessarily led to accumulation of wealth in a few hands, and to the corresponding impoverishment of the class without capital, as exportation raised the price of the necessaries of life” (Prof. Robertson Smith, The Old Testament in the Jewish Church, p. 347).

their skin] i.e. the skin of the house of Israel.Verse 2. - The good...the evil; i.e. goodness and wickedness. Septuagint, τὰ καλά τὰ πονηρά (Amos 5:14, etc.; John 3:20; Romans 1:32). Who pluck off their skin from off them. They are not shepherds, but butchers. We have the same figurative expression for merciless extortion and pillage. Ezekiel makes a similar complaint (Ezekiel 34:2-4). Cheyne sees in this and the following verse a possible allusion to cannibalism as at least known to the Israelites by hearsay or tradition. There is a passage in Wisdom (12:5) which somewhat countenances the idea that the Canaanites were guilty of this enormity, but it is probably only a rhetorical exaggeration of the writer. In the present passage the terms seem to be simply metaphors taken from the preparation of meat for human food. Such an allusion is natural in the mouth of one who had just been speaking of Israel as a flock (Micah 2:12). This threat is carried out still further in Amos 6:8-11. Amos 6:8. "The Lord Jehovah hath sworn by Himself, is the saying of Jehovah, the God of hosts: I abhor the pride of Jacob, and his palaces I hate; and give up the city, and the fulness thereof. Amos 6:9. And it will come to pass, if then men are left in a house, they shall die. Amos 6:10. And when his cousin lifts him up, and he that burieth him, to carry out the bones out of the house, and saith to the one in the hindermost corner of the house, Is there still any one with thee? and he says, Not one; then will he say, Hush; for the name of Jehovah is not to be invoked. Amos 6:11. For, behold, Jehovah commandeth, and men smite the great house to ruins, and the small house into shivers." In order to show the secure debauchees the terrible severity of the judgments of God, the Lord announces to His people with a solemn oath the rejection of the nation which is so confident in its own power (cf. Amos 6:13). The oath runs here as in Amos 4:2, with this exception, that instead of בּקדשׁו we have בּנפשׁו in the same sense; for the nephesh of Jehovah, His inmost being or self, is His holiness. מתאב, with the guttural softened, for מתעב. The participle describes the abhorrence as a continued lasting feeling, and not a merely passing emotion. גּאון יעקב, the loftiness or pride of Jacob, i.e., everything of which Jacob is proud, the true and imaginary greatness and pride of Israel, which included the palaces of the voluptuous great men, for which reason they are placed in parallelism with גאון יע. This glory of Israel Jehovah abhors, and He will destroy it by giving up the city (Samaria), and all that fills it (houses and men), to the enemies to be destroyed. גאון יע, to give up to the enemy, as in Deuteronomy 32:30 and Obadiah 1:14; not to surround, to which וּמלאהּ is unsuitable. The words not only threaten surrounding, or siege, but also conquest, and (Amos 6:11) the destruction of the city. And then, even if there are ten in one house, they will all perish. אנשׁים: people, men. Ten in one house is a large number, which the prophet assumes as the number, to give the stronger emphasis to the thought that not one will escape from death. This thought is still further explained in Amos 6:10. A relative comes into the house to bury his deceased blood-relation. The suffix to נשׂאו refers to the idea involved in מתוּ, a dead man. Dōd, literally the father's brother, here any near relation whose duty it was to see to the burial of the dead. מסרף for משׂרף, the burner, i.e., the burier of the dead. The Israelites were indeed accustomed to bury their dead, and not to burn the corpses. The description of the burier as mesârēph (a burner) therefore supposes the occurrence of such a multitude of deaths that it is impossible to bury the dead, whose corpses are obliged to be burned, for the purpose of preventing the air from being polluted by the decomposition of the corpses. Of course the burning did not take place at the house, as Hitzig erroneously infers from להוציא עצמים; for עצמים denotes the corpse here, as in Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32, and 2 Kings 13:21, and not the different bones of the dead which remained without decomposition or burning. The burier now asks the last living person in the house, who has gone to the very back of the house in order to save his life, whether there is any one still with him, any one still living in the house beside himself, and receives the answer, אפס (Adv.), "Nothing more;" whereupon he says to him, has, "Be still," answering to our Hush! because he is afraid that, if he goes on speaking, he may invoke the name of God, or pray for the mercy of God; and he explains his words by adding, "The name of Jehovah must not be mentioned." It is not Amos who adds this explanation, but the relation. Nor does it contain "the words of one who despairs of any better future, and whose mind is oppressed by the weight of the existing evils, as if he said, Prayers would be of no use, for we too must die" (Lievl., Ros.). לא להזכּיר, "it is not to (may not) be mentioned," would be unsuitable as an utterance of despair. It rather indicates the fear lest, by the invocation of the name of God, the eye of God should be drawn towards this last remaining one, and he also should fall a victim to the judgment of death. This judgment the Lord accomplishes not merely by a pestilence which breaks out during the siege, and rages all around (there is no ground for any such limitation of the words), but also by sword and plague during the siege and conquest of the town. For the reason assigned for the threat in Amos 6:11 points to the latter. כּי links the words to the main thought in Amos 6:11, or even Amos 6:10: "When the Lord delivers up the city and all that fills it, they will all perish; for, behold, He commands, orders the enemy (the nation in Amos 6:14), and it will smite in pieces the houses, great and small." The singular הבּית is used with indefinite generality: every house, great and small (cf. Amos 3:15).
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