MARSHAL YOUR TROOPS, O CITY OF TROOPS, FOR A SIEGE IS LAID
AGAINST YOU: This verse is the last one in Mic 4 in the Hebrew Bible. It
continues the theme of Zion's might.
Micah called the Israelites to prepare for war and reminded
them that they had often engaged in war by referring to them as a "daughter of
troops" -- an expression means that Jerusalem was a city marked by warfare.
Jerusalem's rich had been at war with the poor (Mic 2:8; 3:23,9,10; 7:2-6), but
now their external enemies would wage war against them. These enemies had laid
siege against them (2Ki 24:10; 25:1,2; Jer 52:5; Eze 4:3,7; 5:2).
THEY WILL STRIKE ISRAEL'S RULER ON THE CHEEK WITH A
ROD: The besieging power would even smite Israel's ruler on the cheek, a
figure for humiliating him (cp 1Ki 22:24; Job 16:10; Lam 3:30). The ruler in the
first instance could be King Zedekiah -- the last ruler of Judah, and smitten by
the Babylonians. In the second instance, this could point forward to Christ (cp
also Isa 50:6).
BUT YOU, BETHLEHEM EPHRATHAH, THOUGH YOU ARE SMALL AMONG
THE CLANS OF JUDAH, OUT OF YOU WILL COME FOR ME ONE WHO WILL BE RULER OVER
ISRAEL: In contrast to the humiliation of Israel's judge (king) Zedekiah, a
greater ruler would emerge later in Israel's history. He would be Yahweh's
representative (cp John 17:4; Heb 10:7) and would arise from the comparatively
insignificant town of Bethlehem (House of Bread) Ephrathah (Fruitful). (The
birth of Jesus in Bethlehem has already been intimated in Mic 4:7-10.)
EPHRATHAH: Ephrathah (or Ephrath) was an old name for
the area later occupied by Bethlehem in Judah, in contrast to other Bethlehems
in the Promised Land (cp Gen 35:16-19; 48:7; Josh 19:15; Rth 4:11). Bethlehem
was, of course, the hometown of David (1Sa 16:1,18,19; 17:12), so the reference
to it allows for the possibility of a familial connection with King David.
THE CLANS OF JUDAH: "The thousands of Judah" (AV). This
is another word for families or clans. Several "thousands" then make a tribe: cp
Num 1:16; 10:4; Josh 22:14,21.
WHOSE ORIGINS ARE FROM OLD, FROM ANCIENT TIMES: The NIV
has "origins", and the KJV has "goings forth". Heb "mowtsaah" occurs only 3
times: it signifies family descent, or most literally a fountain or gate
(Strong). This Heb word is derived from the more common "mowtsa", used 27 times,
signifying literally a 'going out': it seems to have a variety of meanings, it
is used with reference to the exodus from Egypt (Num 24:8; 33:2; Deu 8:14),
words spoken from lips (Num 30:12; Deu 8:3; 23:23; Psa 89:34; Jer 17:16; Dan
9:25), a fountain or spring flowing out (Deu 8:15; 2Ki 2:21; Isa 41:18; 58:11),
the sun rising or going forth (Psa 19:6; 75:6; Hos 6:3); an exit (Eze 42:11;
All of these ideas are suggestive: Jesus was the Word of God
made flesh (Joh 1:14); he was the great light sent into the world (Joh 8:12); he
was the Passover lamb to bring about the "exodus" from the Egypt of sin (Joh
1:29; etc). All this was decreed from the very beginning, even "from
everlasting", and in a sense Jesus WAS these things from the beginning, although
he had no personal existence until his conception in the womb of Mary, because
God's word and promise was sure and certain.
But, most especially, the Hebrew for "origins" points to the
paternal "fountain" of procreation: Jesus, a man born of a woman (Gal 4:4), was
also the direct and immediate descendant of the Eternal Father. On his mother's
side, he was but a man descended from many other men and women. But on his
Father's side, he was one small step removed from the Creator of Heaven and
Earth -- his paternal origin was "from of old, from days of eternity". His
paternal lineage in that sense predated Adam, and all other created things. He
was (approximately) the 42nd generation from Abraham, and (approximately) the
77th generation from Adam, BUT he was also the FIRST generation from
Is there a problem with saying Jesus was "from God" or "from
heaven" or "from eternity", whilst still maintaining he was a mortal man whose
individual existence began with his conception? Of course not. In the simplest
terms, men may be said to be "from" their parents, without necessarily having
any separate or personal existence at all the same times or places as their
parents! Indeed, they cannot have so existed along with their parents. Both of
Barbara's parents were born in Scotland and emigrated to Canada as small
children; Barbara was born in Canada, and has never set foot in Scotland -- yet
with all reasonableness she may be said to be "from Scotland".
Finally, there is a Biblical sense in which Levi may be said
to have paid tithes even before he was born, being still "in the loins" of his
father Abraham when Abraham did so (Heb 7:9,10). Likewise, Jesus may be said to
have been "from everlasting".
FROM OF OLD, FROM ANCIENT TIMES: Elsewhere both phrases
refer to the early periods in the history of the world or of the nation of
Israel. For "miqqedem" (of old) see Neh 12:46; Psa 74:12; 77:11; Isa 45:21;
46:10. For "mime olam" (ancient times, or days of eternity) see Isa 63:9,11;
Amos 9:11; Mic 7:14; Mal 3:4. In Neh 12:46 and Amos 9:11 the Davidic era is in
view. This verse alludes to David, as the references to Bethlehem and to his
ancient origins and activities indicate. The passage anticipates the second
coming of the great king to usher in a new era of national glory for Israel.
Other prophets are more direct and name this coming ideal ruler "David" (Jer
30:9; Ezek 34:23,24; 37:24,25; Hos 3:5). Of course, this prophecy of "David's"
second coming is actually fulfilled through his descendant, the Messiah, who
will rule in the spirit and power of his famous ancestor and bring to
realization the Davidic royal ideal in an even greater way than the historical
David (see Isa 11:1,10; Jer 33:15).
The Virgin Birth in the OT: Psa 71:6; 89:26,27; 110:3, LXX;
Gen 3:15; 49:1,25; Isa 7:14; 49:1; Jer 31:22; Mic 5:1,2; 2Sa 7:14.
THEREFORE ISRAEL WILL BE ABANDONED UNTIL THE TIME WHEN SHE
WHO IS IN LABOR GIVES BIRTH: Yahweh would give the Israelites over to
chastening until Israel had ended her painful period of suffering (like a woman
in labor: Mic 4:9) and she had brought forth a child. In view of previous
revelation about Israel's continuing discipline by God until her Redeemer
appeared (Mic 4:10), this seems to be a reference to the second coming of
Messiah, not His first coming.
AND THE REST OF HIS BROTHERS RETURNS TO JOIN THE
ISRAELITES: Then the remainder of the Redeemer's brethren, the Jews, will
experience a regathering (cp Mic 2:12; 4:6,7). They will return to the land and
rejoin other Israelites.
HE WILL STAND AND SHEPHERD HIS FLOCK: KJV has "feed",
but the Heb means "to act as a shepherd" -- to do everything expected of a
shepherd: to guide, to watch, to preserve, to restore, to tend, as well as to
feed (cp Mic 2:12; 7:14; Zec 10:3; and ct the failure of Israel's leaders in Mic
3:1-11). Christ's reign... is that of a shepherd-king. He has supremacy, but it
is the superiority of a wise and tender shepherd over his needy and loving
flock; he commands and receives obedience, but it is the willing obedience of
the well-cared-for sheep, rendered joyfully to their beloved Shepherd, whose
voice they know so well. He rules by the force of love and the energy of
His reign is practical in its character. It is said, 'He shall
stand and feed.' The great Head of the ecclesia is actively engaged in providing
for his people. He does not sit down upon the throne in empty state, or hold a
scepter without wielding it in government. No. Instead, he stands and feeds
HE WILL BE THEIR PEACE: Hezekiah brought peace to Judah
when the Assyrians swept through the land, because he instituted a religious
revival and turned the people to Yahweh. Consequently the Assyrian army arrayed
against Jerusalem was destroyed. Isaiah prophesied of the Assyrian invasion (Isa
8:7-9), and recounted the destruction of the Assyrian army (Isa
THE ASSYRIAN... MARCHES THROUGH OUR FORTRESSES: A ref
to Assyrian soldiers garrisoned in the Temple area: "Ahaz took some of the
things from the temple of the LORD and from the royal palace and from the
princes and presented them to the king of Assyria, but that did not help him"
(2Ch 28:21). 2Ch 28:21. Lit, "divided up a portion of the temple" -- giving it
to the Assyrian soldiers as a place to rest and reside. Cp 2Ki 16:18. (A similar
policy was followed by the Assyrians with other vassal nations; cp also the
Roman garrison next to the Temple in NT times). Cp idea, Isa 63:18; 64:11; Psa
74:3-8; 79:1; Isa 7:13; 11:9; 52:1; Mic 5:5.
SEVEN SHEPHERDS: Possibly the prophets Isaiah, Joel,
Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, and Habakkuk.
EVEN EIGHT LEADERS OF MEN: Adding Hezekiah the king
(and also a "prophet") to the other seven.
THE LAND OF NIMROD: A synonym for Assyria (cp Gen
10:8,9; 1Ch 1:10),
THE REMNANT OF JACOB WILL BE AMONG THE NATIONS, IN THE
MIDST OF MANY PEOPLES LIKE DEW FROM THE LORD: In that day the remnant of
Jacob will live all over the world scattered among the other nations. "The
remnant of Jacob" is one of Micah's favorite terms for the believing Jews living
in the "last days" (cp Mic 2:12; 4:7; 5:8; 7:18), and here it refers to them
after God judges the nations (vv 5,6). The presence of the Jews will be a divine
gift to the other people of the world, as dew and rain are to the earth (cp Gen
12:3). God will have sent them among the nations as He sends the dew and
THE REMNANT OF JACOB WILL BE AMONG THE NATIONS, IN THE
MIDST OF MANY PEOPLES, LIKE A LION AMONG THE BEASTS OF THE FOREST, LIKE A YOUNG
LION AMONG FLOCKS OF SHEEP, WHICH MAULS AND MANGLES AS IT GOES, AND NO ONE CAN
RESCUE: The Israelites will be dominant and powerful over the other people
of the world then but in an irresistible rather than a ferocious sense (v. 7; cp
Deu 28:13). They will have the upper hand, and their enemies would not be able
to rise up against them. What a change this will be compared to the downtrodden
and abused condition that the Jews have known in earlier times!
Vv 10,11: In that future day, God will remove all the vain
sources of security that had always tempted the Israelites represented by
horses, chariots, cities, and fortifications (cp Deu 17:16).
WITCHCRAFT: Sorceries involved seeking information from
supposed idolatrous and demonic sources (cp 2Ki 9:22; Isa 47:9,12; Nah
YOU WILL NO LONGER CAST SPELLS: Fortune tellers cast
spells by calling upon imagined demonic spirits to influence other people (cp
Lev 19:26; Deu 18:10).
CARVED IMAGES: Pagan idols (cp Exo 20:4).
ASHERAH POLES: Sacred pillars (v 13) and Asherim were
stone and wooden symbols of the male and female Canaanite deities (cp Deu
16:21-22; 1Ki 14:23; 2Ki 17:10; 18:4; 23:14). See Lesson, Asherah.
I WILL TAKE VENGEANCE IN ANGER AND WRATH UPON THE NATIONS
THAT HAVE NOT OBEYED ME: Finally the LORD promised to angrily take vengeance
on the nations that had not obeyed His will (cp Psa 2:9; Rev 12:5; 19:15). They
are not responsible to keep the Mosaic Law, as Israel was, but they fail to
acknowledge and worship Him as the only true God. "Vengeance" is a legal term
for the action of a ruler against rebels who will not acknowledge his