Micah 3:7
Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) They shall all cover their lips.—As the lepers, who were cut off from all communication with men, so also these false prophets, being cut off from all communion with God, were to “put a covering upon the upper lip.” It was also a sign of mourning for one dead, and Ezekiel was commanded to awaken the astonishment of the people by omitting to cover his upper lip when his wife died.

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.They shall cover their lips - Literally, the hair of the upper lip . This was an action enjoined on lepers Leviticus 13:45, and a token of mourning Ezekiel 24:17, Ezekiel 24:22; a token then of sorrow and uncleanness. With their lips they had lied, and now they should cover their lips, as men dumb and ashamed. "For there is no answer of God," as these deceivers had pretended to have. When all things shall come contrary to what they had promised, it shall be clear that God did not send them. And having plainly no answer of God, they shall not dare to feign one then. Jerome: "Then not even the devils shall receive power to deceive them by their craft. The oracles shall be dumb; the unclean spirit shall not dare to delude." Dionysius: "All this is spoken against those who, in the Church of Christ, flatter the rich, or speak as menpleasers, out of avarice, ambition, or any like longing for temporal good, to whom that of Isaiah Isa 3:12 fitteth; the leaders of this people (they who profess to lead them aright) mislead them, and they that are led of them are destroyed." 7. cover their lips—The Orientals prided themselves on the moustache and beard ("upper lip," Margin). To cover it, therefore, was a token of shame and sorrow (Le 13:45; Eze 24:17, 22). "They shall be so ashamed of themselves as not to dare to open their mouths or boast of the name of prophet" [Calvin].

there is no answer of God—They shall no more profess to have responses from God, being struck dumb with calamities (Mic 3:6).

Then; in the days of this calamity, which shall confute all the flattering promises of these prophets.

The seers, who called themselves, were accounted by others, and were advised with as men that had visions from God, were prophets in name and repute with the deceived people.

Be ashamed; their impostures being detected, they shall be covered with shame, the people shall talk what they are, and tell them to their faces wherever they meet them that they are false and lying varlets, not worthy to live, and the very consciences of these men shall then fly in their faces and upbraid them.

The diviners confounded; diviners here are seers, slid being confounded the same with ashamed; this ingemination adds to the thing spoken, at least a fuller verification of it.

They shall all cover their lips; so lepers did, Leviticus 13:45; and men ashamed and mourners did thus, Ezekiel 24:17,22. So these shall mourn and pine in their shame.

For there is no answer of God; God doth not answer them; rather, because the answer they had formerly given and pretended to be from God now appears not to have been from him, they should therefore by the sentence of the law be stoned, Deu 13:10 Zechariah 13:3: so Elijah dealt with Baal’s prophets, and it is like these false prophets detected might fear the like from those they had deceived.

Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded,.... When the events of things will make it most clearly appear to all that their visions, divinations, and prophecies, are false; they will not be able to lift up their heads, or show their faces, but shame and confusion will cover them:

yea, they shall all cover their lips; stop their mouths, hold their tongues, and be entirely and totally silenced; they will not pretend to utter any other vision or prophecy; nor be able to say one word in defence of themselves, and of what they have before prophesied; every thing in providence being contrary to what they had said, and agreeable to the words of the true prophets; or they shall cover their lips as mourners; as the Targum adds, by way of explanation; see Ezekiel 24:17. It is said (e) there were two gates in Solomon's temple; one called the gate of the bridegrooms, the other the gate of mourners; to those that entered the latter, if their lip was covered, it was said, he that dwells in this house comfort thee; and so the lips of the false prophets being covered may signify that they were now sorry for what they had done, at least because of the calamities on them and the people; though the former sense seems best:

for there is no answer of God; not that they shall be ashamed and silenced because they shall now have no answer of God, for they never had any, which this would imply; but that it shall now be most plain and clear to all that the Lord never spoke by them, and they never had any answer from him; all their visions, divinations, and prophecies, were of, themselves, and not of him; what they delivered was not the word of the Lord, but their own; and this now being discovered and manifest to everyone, wilt put them to utter silence and shame. The Targum is,

"for there is not in them a spirit of prophecy from the Lord.''

(e) R. Jacob, Sepher Musar, c. 9. apud Drusii Proverb. claSongs 2. l. 21. sect. 194.

Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover {f} their lips; for there is no answer of God.

(f) When God will reveal them to the world, they will be afraid to speak: for all will know that they were but false prophets, and did give a false notion of the word of God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. their lips] Rather, their beard; the phrase includes the face up to the nose. A sign of mourning, Leviticus 13:45, Ezekiel 24:17; Ezekiel 24:22.

Verse 7. - Shall the seers be ashamed. The false prophets shall be ashamed because their oracles are proved to be delusive. They shall all cover their lips; the upper lip; i.e. the face up to the nose, in sign of mourning and shame (see Leviticus 13:45; Ezekiel 24:17, 22). It is equivalent to covering the head for the same reason, as Esther 6:12; Jeremiah 14:4. Septuagint, Καταλαλήσουσι καὶ αὐτῶν πάντες αὐτοί, taking the verb to mean "shall open" (not "cover") their lips against them. For there is no answer of God. There was no revelation (Psalm 74:9; Ezekiel 7:26). Septuagint, Διότι οὐκ ἔσται ὁ ἐπακούων αὐτῶν, "Because there shall be none that hearkeneth unto them." Micah 3:7In the second strophe, Micah turns from the godless princes and judges to the prophets who lead the people astray, with whom he contrasts the true prophets and their ways. Micah 3:5. Thus saith Jehovah concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who bite with their teeth, and preach peace; and whoever should put nothing into their mouths, against him they sanctify war. Micah 3:6. Therefore night to you because of the visions, and darkness to you because of the soothsaying! and the sun will set over the prophets, and the day blacken itself over them. Micah 3:7. And the seers will be ashamed, and the soothsayers blush, and all cover their beard, because (there is) no answer of God. Micah 3:8. But I, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of Jehovah, and with judgment and strength, to show to Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin." As the first strophe attaches itself to Micah 2:1-2, so does the second to Micah 2:6 and Micah 2:11, carrying out still further what is there affirmed concerning the false prophets. Micah describes them as people who predict peace and prosperity for a morsel of bread, and thereby lead the people astray, setting before them prosperity and salvation, instead of preaching repentance to them, by charging them with their sins. Thus they became accomplices of the wicked rulers, with whom they are therefore classed in Micah 3:11, together with the wicked priests. המּתעים, leading astray (cf. Isaiah 3:12; Isaiah 9:15) my people, namely, by failing to charge them with their sins, and preach repentance, as the true prophets do, and predicting prosperity for bread and payment. The words, "who bite with their teeth," are to be connected closely with the next clause, "and they preach peace," in the sense of "who preach peace if they can bite with their teeth," i.e., if they receive something to bite (or eat). This explanation, which has already been expressed by the Chaldee, is necessarily required by the antithesis, "but whoever puts nothing into their mouth," i.e., gives them nothing to eat, notwithstanding the fact that in other passages nâshakh only signifies to bite, in the sense of to wound, and is the word generally applied to the bite of a snake (Amos 5:19; Genesis 49:17; Numbers 21:6, Numbers 21:8). If, however, we understand the biting with the teeth as a figurative representation of the words of the prophets who always preach prosperity, and of the injury they do to the real welfare of the people (Ros., Casp., and others), the obvious antithesis of the two double clauses of Micah 3:5 is totally destroyed. The harsh expression, to "bite with the teeth," in the sense of "to eat," is perfectly in harmony with the harsh words of Micah 3:2 and Micah 3:3. Qiddēsh milchâmâh, to sanctify war, i.e., to preach a holy war (cf. Joel 3:9), or, in reality, to proclaim the vengeance of God. For this shall night and darkness burst upon them. Night and darkness denote primarily the calamity which would come upon the false prophets (unto you) in connection with the judgment (Micah 2:4). The sun which sets to them is the sun of salvation or prosperity (Amos 8:9; Jeremiah 15:9); and the day which becomes black over them is the day of judgment, which is darkness, and not light (Amos 5:18). This calamity is heightened by the fact that they will then stand ashamed, because their own former prophecies are thereby proved to be lies, and fresh, true prophecies fail them, because God gives no answer. "Convicted by the result, they are thus utterly put to shame, because God does not help them out of their trouble by any word of revelation" (Hitzig). Bōsh, to be ashamed, when connected with châphēr (cf. Jeremiah 15:9; Psalm 35:26., etc.), signifies to become pale with shame; châphēr, to blush, with min causae, to denote the thing of which a man is ashamed. Qōsemı̄m (diviners) alternates with chōzı̄m (seers), because these false prophets had no visions of God, but only divinations out of their own hearts. ‛Atâh sâphâm: to cover the beard, i.e., to cover the face up to the nose, is a sign of mourning (Leviticus 13:45), here of trouble and shame (cf. Ezekiel 24:17), and is really equivalent to covering the head (Jeremiah 14:4; Esther 6:12). Ma‛ănēh, the construct state of the substantive, but in the sense of the participle; some codd. have indeed מענה. In Micah 3:8 Micah contrasts himself and his own doings with these false prophets, as being filled with power by the Spirit of Jehovah (i.e., through His assistance) and with judgment. Mishpât, governed by מלא, is the divine justice which the prophet has to proclaim, and gebhūrâh strength, manliness, to hold up before the people their sins and the justice of God. In this divine strength he can and must declare their unrighteousness to all ranks of the people, and predict the punishment of God (Micah 3:9-12).
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