MICAH CHAPTER 2.
The Wickedness, the Punishment, and the Restoration of Israel.
DENUNCIATION OF THE PREVALENT EVILS. — V. 1. Woe to them that devise iniquity, not on a sudden impulse, but with deliberate planning, and work evil upon their beds! using even the night-time to hatch out further schemes of wickedness. When the morning is light, as soon as the day dawns, they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand, or, "their hand is as a god"; they know no higher authority, they recognize no other power but that of their arm; they think they have a right to do what they please. V. 2. And they covet fields, the property and inheritance of others, and take them by violence, seizing them as it suits their fancy, and houses, and take them away, oppressing the poor with a show of right. So they oppress, overwhelm and put to their own use, a man and his house, even a man and his heritage, which by the Law of God was to remain in the possession of his family. Cp. Ex. 20, 14. 17; Deut. 5, 18. V. 3. Therefore, thus saith the Lord, Behold, against this family, upon this generation of evil-doers, do I devise an evil, He, in turn, planning how He may punish them adequately with a severe judgment, from which ye shall not remove your necks, like a yoke which may not be shaken off no matter how heavy it presses; neither shall ye go haughtily, walking and behaving themselves in lofty pride; for this time is evil, in which depression of spirits and gloomy silence would come upon the members of the nation on account of the yoke of oppression laid upon them by the conquest of their country and the distress of the exile. V. 4. In that day shall one take up a parable against you, the enemies inventing bywords and mocking jingles, and lament with a doleful lamentation, for the mocking song of the enemies would be a mournful dirge in the mouths of the children of Israel, and say, We be utterly spoiled, completely destroyed! He hath changed the portion of my people, Jehovah Himself permitting the heathen to take possession of it; how hath He removed it from me! so that it was no longer in Israel's possession. Turning away, He hath divided our fields, dealing out the portions to the invaders. V. 5. Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the Lord, to cast a measuring-line on a lot of ground in the assembly of Jehovah, for the possessions of the children of Israel belonged to them only as long as they remained faithful to the God of the covenant and would be taken away when they became unfaithful. V. 6. Prophesy not, say they to them that prophesy, literally, "Drop not," or, "drivel not, they drivel," almost like the American slang, "Dry up! they drivel," in speaking to the true prophets in a silly fashion. They shall not prophesy to them that they shall not take shame, that is: If the prophecy, which the apostate Jews regarded as drivel, would not continue, then there would be no chance for them to escape the shame which would come upon the entire nation by the conquest of the enemies. The unbelievers to this day refuse to realize that the very preaching which they consider drivel and rot is the one means of saving them from the impending Judgment.
EXPULSION OF THE LEADERS AND RESTORATION OF THE LORD’S PEOPLE. — V. 7. O thou that art named the house of Jacob, the people who still considered themselves the covenant nation, is the Spirit of the Lord straitened, impatient? Did He not exercise patience and long-suffering? Are these His doings? Are the impending punishments coming because He delights in them, because He is vindictive? Do not My words do good to him that walketh uprightly? Is He not always ready to show goodness to those who conduct themselves in accordance with His righteous and holy will? The guilt, therefore, is entirely on the part of the people. V. 8. Even of late, in fact, yesterday, My people is risen up as an enemy, taking an open stand against Jehovah. And this hostility is openly shown. Ye pull off the robe with the garment, stripping off the mantle or upper garment, from them that pass by securely, considering themselves safe from robbery and violence, as men averse from war, that is, from peaceable people, such as seek no quarrel with any one. V. 9. The women of My people, the unprotected widows, have ye cast out from their pleasant houses, the houses of their delight, to which they were attached by the memory of their wedded love; from their children have ye taken away My glory, the ornament or gift which He has given them, forever, namely, by depriving them of their dress and of their rightful property. Cp. Ex. 22, 25. V. 10. Arise ye and depart! into the exile which the enemies would force upon them; for this is not your rest, they would not be permitted to remain in Canaan; because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction, or, "on account of the corruption which brings destruction, and that a most powerful destruction." Such prophecies, setting forth the depth of the nation's corruption, are, of course, very unwelcome to the wicked leaders. V. 11. If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood, in vanity and falsehood, namely, in preaching his own ideas, do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink, that is, of the enjoyment of this present life, he shall even be the prophet of this people, he would meet with the approval of their leaders and those who desired a cover for their lives of luxury and dissipation. But in the very midst of this denunciation the prophet places a wonderful promise of the restoration of the Lord's people in the Messianic era. V. 12. I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee, all those whom He intended as members of His congregation; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel, collecting the believers from all the nations of the earth; I will put them together, in one fold, John 10, 16, as the sheep of Bozrah, the rich meadowland east of Jordan, as the flock in the midst of the fold, secure from the attack of the enemies. They shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men, surging with their great numbers. V. 13. The breaker is come up before them, rather, "There will go up before them He that breaketh through," their powerful Champion; they have broken up, rather, "they break up," and have passed through the gate, passing into the gate of the Lord's Church, and are gone out by it, having free access to the throne of grace; and their King, Messiah Himself, shall pass before them and the Lord on the head of them, leading them through all the vicissitudes of this life to the promised life of eternity. While men are clamoring for a gospel which will suit their fleshly lusts and desires, all true preachers will continue to proclaim sin and grace, especially the salvation and the victory of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.