« PreviousContinue »
the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people, as the dew from the Lord, as showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. 8. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep; who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. 9. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
10. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy war-chariots : 11. And I will cut off the fortified cities of thy land, and throw · down all thy strong holds : 12. And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers : 13. Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands : 14. And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; and I will destroy thy fortified cities. 15. And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the na. tions *, such as they have not heard.
COMMENTARY. Micah begins this prophecy with predicting, in terms similar to a parallel passage in Isaiaht, the glories of the millennian kingdom of Christ.
He declares, that, after God had judged among the people, and rebuked the nations, war and destruction should be no more; but that every one should dwell peaceably with his neighbour.
He then proceeds to enter into particulars. He fore. tells the general restoration of Israel; and, addressing himself to the mystic daughter of Zion, he calls upon her to be in travail, and to bring forth the mighty multitude of her sons * Though she has long gone out of her city, and has been led away captive into the dominions of the Roman Babylont; yet even there the Lord will convert her and deliver her, and will redeem her from the hand of her enemies.
* I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the nations. ] “When I have purged my people from their corruptions, I will severely vindicate their cause, to the utter destruction of all their unbelieving enemies.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
+ Isaiah ii. 1.-5.
He next directs our attention to another particular, with which the period immediately preceding the Millennium will be marked. While the daughter of Zion is returning into her own land, many nations, ignorant of the counsel of the Lord, shall league themselves against her. But this confederacy of Antichrist God will gather together to Armageddon I, as sheaves of corn are gathered into the floor. Then will he call aloud to the daughter of Zion to arise and thresh, and to beat in pieces many people : then will he make her horn iron, and her hoofs brass : then will he devote unto the Lord with a curse of utter destruction the substance of those, who have themselves proclaimed an anathema against their opponents. Antichrist wars under the pretext of religion. He goeth forth, as we learn from Daniel, to devote with a curse many to utter destruction. But this curse of extermination will be retorted upon himself: and he will perish with his assembled multitudes at Megiddo; which St. John, to denote the same circumstance that Micah here alludes to, forms into the compound word Armageddon, or the cursing to extirmination at Megiddo. Against this enemy, who will lay siege to Jerusalem, who will even be permitted to take it, and who will smite with the rod of tyrannical oppression the tribes of Israel, the daughter of Zion is called upon to gather herself in troops.
It is now necessary however, that the prophet should go back to the times of the first advent, in order to bring upon the stage that mighty deliverer who alone is able to tread the wine-press of God's indignation. He foretells, that, although the goings forth of the Messiah have been from everlasting, the place of his earthly nativity should.
• Compare Isaiah xxvi. 17. and lxvi. 7...12.
+ The literal Babylonian captivity can only be meant in an inchoate sense, for the daughter of Zion has never yet arisen and threshed her enemies.
# Rev. xvi. 16.
be the small town of Bethlehem *. The divine ruler cometh to his own, and his own receive him not. Therefore will he give them up to be led away captive by their enemies, till the time when the daughter of Zion shall travail, and bring forth a whole nation at once; or till that mystic birth of the restored Jewish people shall take place, which the prophet had already announced t. Then shall the remnant of Christ's brethren according to the flesh return unto the children of Israel, and form with them only one nation. Their once rejected Redeemer shall be their king. He shall feed his flock in the strength of the Lord. And such shall be the increase of the Church in the happy age of the Millennium, that he shall be great unto the ends of the earth, and all people shall „How unto his holy mountain.
Messiah however will be revealed, not only to be peace unto his people, but likewise to be a terror unto his enemies. When the mystic Assyrian, the Antichristian head of the Roman Babylon, shall enter into the land of Palestine; when he shall tread down its palaces, and plant the curtains of his tents between the seas in the glorious holy mountain : then will the Lord suddenly go forth in his anger, and deliver his chosen from the hand of their oppressors; then shall the wilful king come to his end, and none shall be able to help him. The tyrant of Babylon, that shook whole kingdoms, and that made the world as a wilderness, shall in his turn feel the avenging arm of God. For the Lord will surely break the Assyrian in his land, and upon the mountains of Israel tread him under foot; so that his yoke shall depart from off the sons of Jacob, and his burden from off their shoulders I.
It appears both from the present prophecy, and from others which are parallel to it, that, although the overthrow of the Antichristian faction will be chiefly miraculous, yet it will partly be effected by the instrumentality
Ok whole ki help him
* It is not unworthy of notice, that the Chaldee Paraphrast expressly applies this prophecy to the Messiah, just as the chief priests and scribes (Matt. ii. 3--6) rightly interpreted it to Herod. “ Et tu, Bethlehem Ephrata, ---ex te coram meprodibit Christus."
+ Compare Micah iv. 10. with v. 3.
of the Jews themselves. The daughter of Zion is to thresh and beat in pieces the nations that are assembled against her: and the remnant of Jacob is to be in the midst of the peoples as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep; treading down and tearing in pieces, so that none can deliver *. .
Who are meant by the seven shepherds and the eight anointed men, that are represented as going forth to fight the battles of Israel, and to waste with the sword the land of the figurative Assyrian, it is impossible now to determine with any degree of precision, and therefore it would be a vain waste of time to indulge in the fruitlessness of conjecture: the accomplishment of the prophecy itself can alone explain this part of it. .
It is worthy of observation, that the remnant of Jacob are not only to be in the midst of the nations as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep; but they are likewise to be in the midst of many people as the dew from the Lord, as showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. This accords with those prophecies which declare, that the converted Israelites will be greatly instrumental in spreading the light of the Gospel through distant nations t, and that they will be made as it were the seed of the millennian church. Dew from the Lord, and showers upon the grass, typify the graces and doctrines of the Holy Spirit I. Hence I think, that the diffusing of the remnant of Jacob (after their restoration and conversion, be it observed) in the midst of many people, like dew and gentle showers, must mean
* 66 The former verse (Micah v.7.) described the benefits, which the converted Fews should bring to those Gentiles that were disposed to embrace the Gospel : this (ver. 8.) instructs us, how terrible adversaries they will prove to such as persist in their enmity to them and to the truth. Comp. Obad. 18, 19. Zech. xji. 6.” Mr. Lowth. in loc. :7“That remnant,” says Mr. Lowth, “shall be the instruments of converting those Gentiles among whom they live ; and thereupon may fitly be represented by the dews and rains, which come down from heaven, and are the means of making the earth fruitful.”
† “ Rain, if not immoderate, and dew, and living water, for the graces and doctrines of the Spirit ; and the defect of rain, for spiritual barrenness" (Sir Isaac Newton's Observ. on Dan. p. 19.). “A church is made a wilderness and a parched land, when the living waters of the Spirit are withheld.” Bp. Horsley's Hosea, p. 5.
precisely the same as the promise, that they should be sown among the nations : that is to say, they should be the seed of the church ; they should diffuse to the very ends of the earth the graces and doctrines of the Holy Spirit *. Yet, as the dew and showers tarry not for man, nor wait for the sons of men; so will not the Spirit of God always strive with man, nor wait for his acquiescence beyond a certain limited period. In the morning of the great day of the Millennium, the converted Israelites are as dew and gentle rain among the people. As the day advances towards noon, the dew and the rain are gradually dried up; and the watered vineyard of the Lord is reduced within narrower limits. In the evening, as we are taught by Ezekiel and St. John, the daring confederacy of Gog and Magog makes its appearance.
The concluding verses teach us, that, during the happy period of the Millennium, and after the Lord had executed his vengeance upon the nations, all wars and tumults should cease. Every fortified city and every strong hold should be destroyedt; the land of Israel should be a land of unwalled villages; the people should dwell without walls, and having neither gates nor bars; and the Lord should cut the spear in sunder, and burn the chariot in the fire I. With this freedom from war there should likewise be a freedom from all idolatry, and from every superstitious practice that is an abomination to God. The vanities, that have so long bewildered erring mortals, should then be abolished; and true religion alone should flourish.
* See Bp. Horsley's Hosea, p. 9, and my own commentary on Prophecy XXVII. XXXII. and XXXIX. in the present work.
+ The meaning of the passage, according to Mr. Lowth, is, “ I will afford deliverance to my people, not in the ordinary way of second causes, but immediately by myself; so that they shall not need to trust in the strength of their forces, or of their garrisons.”
# Compare Ezek. xxxviii. 11. and Psalm xlvi. 9.