MICAH CHAPTER 3.
The Sins of the Rulers and the Desolation of Zion.
Also in this chapter the discourse is directed to the nobility of the people, who abused the authority of their high official station by oppressing the poor and abandoning the way of justice. V. 1. And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, the leading men of the nation, and ye princes of the house of Israel, in whose hands was the administration of justice: Is it not for you to know judgment? to give heed to that which is right and just. V. 2. Who hate the good and love the evil, doing just the opposite of that which their station required of them; who pluck off their skin from off them, as though flaying the children of their people, and their flesh from off their bones, robbing them of their most precious possessions, v. 3. who also eat the flesh of My people, the address here turning to the third person, since the princes, as it were, turned away from the message intended to call them to repentance, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron. The prophet thus, with the emphasis of detail, pictures the excess of cruelty which the rulers of the people were practicing. V. 4. Then shall they, the guilty ones, cry unto the Lord, but He will not hear them, namely, at the time of the revelation of His wrath; He will even hide His face from them at that time, refusing to pay the slightest attention to their distress, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings, and were thus fully ripe for the judgment. V. 5. Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets, namely, the false prophets, who presumed to speak in the name of the Lord without being sent, that make My people err, leading them astray, that bite with their teeth and cry, Peace! that is, who, if they have anything to bite with their teeth, when they receive a sufficient amount of bribe money, proclaim peace, prophesying as it pleases the heart of men; and he that putteth not into their mouths, who refuses to pay them bribe money, they even prepare war against him, solemnly declaring warfare as for the honor of God. V. 6. Therefore night shall be unto you that ye shall not have a vision, being excluded from the light granted by the Spirit of God; and it shall be dark unto you that ye shall not divine, be granted no revelation of the future; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, namely, the sun of salvation and good fortune, and the day shall be dark over them, with the darkness of the Day of Judgment. V. 7. Then shall the seers be ashamed, be disgraced on account of the fact that their predictions are not fulfilled, and the diviners confounded, blushing with shame on account of their miserable failures in trying to uncover the future; yea, they shall all cover their lips, literally, "their beard," their face up to the nostrils, as a sign of shame; for there is no answer of God, He refuses to vouchsafe them any kind of information that might establish their false claims. V. 8. But, truly, I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, Micah here placing his own person in opposition to the false prophets, and of judgment, the divine right which he was sent to proclaim, and of might, of a virile and unflinching power, to declare unto Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin, uttering the cry to repentance without fear and favor. He immediately acts in accordance with this statement. V. 9. Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob and princes of the house of Israel, the very leaders whose wickedness had been described in the first part of the chapter, that abhor judgment, everything that was right and good, and pervert all equity, making crooked that which should have been kept straight. V. 10. They build up Zion with blood, with blood-guiltiness, and Jerusalem with iniquity, caring only for gain and bloodshed in building their stately mansions, their wealth being obtained by the condemnation and murder of the innocent. V. 11. The heads thereof judge for reward, being influenced in their decisions by bribe money, and the priests thereof teach for hire, for additional fees, although the Law required that they decide controversies without pay, and the prophets thereof divine for money, their oracles being fashioned according to the presents which men gave them; yet will they lean upon the Lord, insisting that they were performing the work of their office by authority of Jehovah, as of the God living in the midst of His people, and say, Is not the Lord among us? namely, with His power and protection. None evil can come upon us, all this being said with a great show of piety. V. 12. Therefore shall Zion for your sake, on account of their wickedness in making the Lord's Temple a den of murderers, be plowed as a field, the king's quarter turned into tillable soil, and Jerusalem, the rest of the city, shall become heaps, piles of broken stones, and the mountain of the house, that is, of the Temple, as the high places of the forest, being overgrown with brush and trees. It is a vivid description of the ruin which comes upon the enemies of the Lord.