Micah 3:9
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.

3:9-12 Zion's walls owe no thanks to those that build them up with blood and iniquity. The sin of man works not the righteousness of God. Even when men do that which in itself is good, but do it for filthy lucre, it becomes abomination both to God and man. Faith rests in the Lord as the soul's foundation: presumption only leans upon the Lord as a prop, and would use him to serve a turn. If men's having the Lord among them will not keep them from doing evil, it never can secure them from suffering evil for so doing. See the doom of wicked Jacob; Therefore shall Zion for your sake be ploughed as a field. This was exactly fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and is so at this day. If sacred places are polluted by sin, they will be wasted and ruined by the judgments of God.Hear this, I pray you - The prophet discharges upon them that "judgment" whereof, by the Spirit of God, he was full, and which they "abhorred; judgment" against their perversion of judgment. He rebukes the same classes as before "the heads and judges" Micah 3:1, yet still more sternly. They abhorred judgment, he says, as a thing loathsome and abominable, such as men cannot bear even to look upon; they not only dealt wrongly, but they "perverted, distorted, all equity:" "that so there should not remain even some slight justice in the city" . "All equity;" all of every sort, right, rectitude, uprightness, straight-forwardness, whatever was right by natural conscience or by God's law, they distorted, like the sophists making the worse appear the better cause. Naked violence crushes the individual; perversion of equity destroys the fountain-head of justice. The prophet turns from them in these words, as one who could not bear to look upon their misdeeds, and who would not speak to them; "they pervert;" building; "her heads, her priests, her prophets;" as Elisha, but for the presence of Jehoshaphat, would not look on Jehoram, nor see him 2 Kings 3:14. He first turns and speaks of them, as one man, as if they were all one in evil; 9. Hear—resumed from Mic 3:1. Here begins the leading subject of the prophecy: a demonstration of his assertion that he is "full of power by the Spirit of Jehovah" (Mic 3:8). This verse is word for word the same in the former part of it with the former part of the first verse of this chapter; we refer thither for explication of it. The prophet having asserted his Divine call, and avowed his faithfulness in the prophetic office, Micah 3:8, he here gives us one more proof of it, dealing roundly with the magistrates in both kingdoms, Israel and Judah.

That abhor judgment; whereas judgment should be their great delight, as it is of every good magistrate, these had hearts that detested it, were weary of the directions of God’s law in their polity, and hated to be controlled by it.

And pervert all equity; where you can, you wrest the law to countenance your unequal proceedings, and wrong those you should right, and acquit those you should condemn. And there is many a woe denounced against such.

Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel,.... As an instance of his boldness, courage, and impartiality, he begins with the principal men of the land, and charges them with sins, and reproves for them, and denounces judgments on account of them; See Gill on Micah 3:1;

that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity; a sad character of princes, rulers, and judges, who not only ought to know but to love judgment, justice, and equity, and do them; even take delight and pleasure in the distribution of them to everyone, and in every cause that came before them; but, instead of this, hated to do that which was right and just; and perverted all the rules and laws of justice and equity, clearing the guilty, and condemning the innocent.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9–12. A recapitulation of the national sins, with a more distinct declaration of the bitter end

10. build up Zion with blood] Probably this alludes to the building of palaces and fortifications, always a fruitful source of oppression in the East. ‘Blood’ is used by synecdoche for ‘violent conduct leading to the ruin of others;’ so Isaiah 1:15; Isaiah 59:3, Proverbs 1:11, and other passages. Unless we admit this, we shall have to take an incredibly dark view of the state of public morals in the Jewish state.

Verses 9-12. - § 3. Recapitulation of the sins of the three classes - rulers, priests, and prophets, with an announcement of the destruction of Zion and the temple. Verse 9. - The prophet exemplifies his courage by delivering in full the denunciation with which he commenced (ver. 1: see note there). Hear this. What follows. Pervert all equity. Ye, who by your position ought to be models and guardians of justice and equity, violate all laws, human and Divine, make the straight crooked, distort every notion of right (comp. Isaiah 59:8). Micah 3:9Third strophe. - Micah 3:9. "Hear this, I pray, O he heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, who abhor right, and bend all that is straight. Micah 3:10. Building Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with wickedness. Micah 3:11. Their heads, they judge for reward; and their priests, they teach for hire; and their prophets, they divine for money, and lean upon Jehovah, saying, Is not Jehovah among us? evil will not come upon us." With the words "Hear this, I pray," the address returns to its starting-point in Micah 3:1, but only to announce to the leaders of the people the threat of punishment for which the way has been prepared by Micah 3:2-7. To this end their God-forgetting conduct is briefly summed up once more in Micah 3:10, Micah 3:11. The summons to hear is really attached to the end of Micah 3:8. They are to hear the sin of Jacob (Micah 3:9-11); but they are also to hear the punishment for their sin, to which the word "this" points. The civil rulers only are addressed in Micah 3:9, - namely, those who were charged with the administration of justice and of the affairs of the state, but who did the very opposite, who abhorred justice, and made the straight crooked, because they passed sentence for bribes (Micah 3:11). They thereby build Zion with blood, etc., i.e., obtain the means of erecting splendid buildings by cruel extortions, and partly also by actual judicial murders, as Ahab (1 Kings 21 compared with Micah 6:16), and after him Jehoiakim, had done (Jeremiah 22:13-17). The Chaldeans built with blood in a different sense (Habakkuk 2:12). The participle bōneh (building) is also in apposition to râ'shē bēth (heads of the house, etc.), and the singular without the article is to be taken collectively. They do not, however, truly build the city by this, they simply labour for its destruction (Micah 3:12). But before saying this, Micah once more sums up briefly all the sins of the leading ranks. The teaching of the priests for reward refers to the fact that they had to give instruction as to the ritual requirements of the law, and were to do this gratuitously (cf. Leviticus 10:11; Deuteronomy 17:11; Deuteronomy 33:10), and that in disputed cases the judges were to pronounce sentence accordingly. At the same time, these men (not the prophets merely, but also the priests and the heads of the nation as the administrators of justice) placed their reliance upon Jehovah, upon the assurance that He was in the midst of them enthroned in His temple at Jerusalem, and that He would protect the city and its inhabitants from misfortune, without ever reflecting that Jehovah as the Holy One demands sanctification of life, and exterminates the sinners out of His people.
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