The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Micah 7

Mic 7:1

WHAT MISERY IS MINE! I AM LIKE ONE WHO GATHERS SUMMER FRUIT AT THE GLEANING OF THE VINEYARD; THERE IS NO CLUSTER OF GRAPES TO EAT, NONE OF THE EARLY FIGS THAT I CRAVE: Micah expresses his own disappointment with Judah's own moral decline in the days of Hezekiah. He compared himself to Israel's fruit pickers and grape gatherers who felt great disappointment over their poor harvests (Mic 6:15). Israel should have born more spiritual fruit, but she did not (cp Isa 5:7; Mark 11:12-14,20-22; Mat 21:19; John 15:1-8; Gal 5:22-23).

Mic 7:2

THE GODLY HAVE BEEN SWEPT FROM THE LAND; NOT ONE UPRIGHT MAN REMAINS. ALL MEN LIE IN WAIT TO SHED BLOOD; EACH HUNTS HIS BROTHER WITH A NET: Obviously there a few faithful righteous, including Isaiah, but by overstating his case he made his point: there were very few. All of them seemed to wait for the opportunity to advance their own interests, even resorting to violence and bloodshed to do so (cp Mic 3:10; 6:12). They behaved like hunters waiting to snare unsuspecting birds in their nets.

Mic 7:3

BOTH HANDS ARE SKILLED IN DOING EVIL: They were "ambidextrous" when it came to sinning!

THE RULER DEMANDS GIFTS: "Gifts" is not in original: this may mean: "demands a sign" -- and could answer to Herod's asking for a miracle or a sign from Jesus.

THE JUDGE ACCEPTS BRIBES: Again, at the trial of Jesus, Pilate was probably seeking a bribe.
* THE POWERFUL DICTATE WHAT THEY DESIRE: Caiaphas utters his own mischievous desire: "It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish" (John 11:50,51).

THEY ALL CONSPIRE TOGETHER: "And so they wrap it up" (KJV) -- as if in a neat package! "There have been men who have been indolent in the performance of God's work and have praised themselves for their love of peace. There have been others who have done evil with both hands earnestly, and have said, 'See how zealous I am.' In either case the deceitful human heart furnishes them with ample disguises, and 'so they wrap it up' " (PrPr).

Mic 7:4

BRIER... THORN HEDGE: As if to say, 'The best and most upright of the people were like briars and thorn hedges in that they entangled and hurt all who came in contact with them.'

"Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?" (Mat 7:16).

THORNBUSHES: In context of v 3 (the trial of Jesus), a ref to the crown of thorns (John 19:2,5).

Mic 7:5

PUT NO CONFIDENCE IN A FRIEND: "Friend" is sw used of Judas in Psa 55:13.

BE CAREFUL OF YOUR WORDS: Cp Pro 5:2; 13:3; Ecc 5:2.

Mic 7:6

A SON DISHONORS HIS FATHER, A DAUGHTER RISES UP AGAINST HER MOTHER...: They could not trust the members of their own families because everyone was after his or her own interests and would stoop to betrayal to obtain them (cp Mat 10:35-36; Mark 13:12; Luke 12:53).

A MAN'S ENEMIES ARE THE MEMBERS OF HIS OWN HOUSEHOLD: "Man is so made that he finds security in a small group among whom he is accepted and receives support. At the heart of the concentric circles of people known to him there must ever be a stable core of friends, and usually family, if his psychological equilibrium is to be maintained. The prophet gradually penetrates to the center of these inner circles of familiarity: friend -- best friend -- wife. A man is now forced to go against his nature, retiring within himself and keeping his own counsel, if he is not to face betrayal" (Allen).

Mic 7:7

BUT AS FOR ME, I WATCH IN HOPE FOR THE LORD, I WAIT FOR GOD MY SAVIOR; MY GOD WILL HEAR ME: In contrast to the Israelites of his day, the prophet determined to watch expectantly and wait patiently for the Lord to act as He had promised (cp 1Sa 4:13; Tit 2:13). He would bring salvation to His people ultimately (cp Isa 59:20). This commitment gave Him confidence that the Lord would hear his prayers.

Mic 7:8

DO NOT GLOAT OVER ME, MY ENEMY! THOUGH I HAVE FALLEN, I WILL RISE. THOUGH I SIT IN DARKNESS, THE LORD WILL BE MY LIGHT: When Micah's enemies saw him experience some discouraging situation, they rejoiced. (This may also reflect Hezekiah's deadly illness, and his enemies' gloating over his imminent demise.) He told them not to rejoice, because though he fell God would raise him up. Though he appeared to be groping in the darkness (cp Lam 3:6), Yahweh would be a light to him and illuminate the right path for him to take.

Mic 7:9

BECAUSE I HAVE SINNED AGAINST HIM, I WILL BEAR THE LORD'S WRATH: Micah identified with his people by confessing his guilt (cp Dan 9:5,8,11,15). Though he had not personally committed the sins that he criticized his fellow Israelites of practicing, as a part of His nation he was with them in their guilt. He would have to bear the consequences of divine discipline as they did. (Likewise, the good king Hezekiah suffered greatly, as a representative of the whole nation.)

There is a radical distinction between natural regret and God-given repentance. The flesh can feel remorse, acknowledge its evil deeds, and be ashamed of itself. However, this sort of disgust with past actions can be quickly shrugged off, and the individual can soon go back to his old wicked ways. None of the marks of true repentance described in 2Co 7:11 are found in his behavior. Out of a list of 11 men in the Bible who said, "I have sinned," possibly only five actually repented. They were David (2Sa 12:13; 24:10; 1Ch 21:8; Psa 41:4), Nehemiah (Neh 1:6), Job (Job 42:5,6), Micah (Mic 7:9), and the prodigal son (Luk 15:18). The other (possibly less sincere) instances? Pharaoh in Exo 9:27; 10:16; Balaam in Num 22:34; Achan in Jos 7:20; Saul in 1Sa 15:24,30; 26:21; Shimei in 2Sa 19:20; Judas in Mat 27:4.

Mic 7:10

THEN MY ENEMY WILL SEE IT AND WILL BE COVERED WITH SHAME, SHE WHO SAID TO ME, "WHERE IS THE LORD YOUR GOD?": Then Micah's enemies would see God's rightness and feel ashamed for accusing Yahweh of abandoning His watchman. "God's enemies have asked this question down the ages and surely will continue to do so. Let us take heart. We are not the only ones who have been accused of being taken in by a big con trick -- for many centuries there have been scoffers who say the same things: Psa 42:3,10; 79:10; 115:2; Isa 7:10-12; Dan 3:15; Joel 2:17; Mat 27:43" (PC).

EVEN NOW SHE WILL BE TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT LIKE MIRE IN THE STREETS: Micah would also see these enemies humiliated and brought low, trodden down like mud in the street (cp Jos 10:24; Psa 110:1). This was the fate of the wicked Jezebel (2Ki 9;37).

Mic 7:11

THE DAY FOR BUILDING YOUR WALLS WILL COME, THE DAY FOR EXTENDING YOUR BOUNDARIES: That day, when the Israelite critics of Micah and his prophecies would see they were wrong, would be when the walls around vineyards would be rebuilt and the boundaries of Judah extended (cp Eze 47:13-23; Oba 1:19,20). This may have a more or less immediate fulfillment, but preeminently it refers to the distant future -- when God will regather and reestablish Israel in her land, in the Millennium, not following the Babylonian captivity. This is clear from what follows.

Mic 7:12

IN THAT DAY PEOPLE WILL COME TO YOU FROM ASSYRIA AND THE CITIES OF EGYPT, EVEN FROM EGYPT TO THE EUPHRATES AND FROM SEA TO SEA AND FROM MOUNTAIN TO MOUNTAIN: Particularly, this refers to Jews carried captive to Egypt and Assyro/Babylon, and from thence being liberated and returned to their own Land in the days of the Messiah: see Isa 11:11-16; 19:23-25; 27:12,13; 43:6; 49:12; 60:4-9; 66:19,20; Jer 3:18; 23:3; 31:8; Eze 37:21; Hos 11:11; Rev 16:12n.

Mic 7:13

THE EARTH WILL BECOME DESOLATE BECAUSE OF ITS INHABITANTS, AS THE RESULT OF THEIR DEEDS: Before the fulfillment of v 12, however, the earth (or Land) will become desolate because God will judge its inhabitants for their sinful deeds (cp Isa 24:1; 34 -- 35).

Mic 7:14

SHEPHERD YOUR PEOPLE WITH YOUR STAFF, THE FLOCK OF YOUR INHERITANCE: Micah prayed that the Lord would again take an active role as the shepherd of His people Israel. Shepherding with His rod (Heb "shebet") implies kingly leadership. This is a request for the promised descendant of David to appear and lead Israel.

WHICH LIVES BY ITSELF IN A FOREST, IN FERTILE PASTURELANDS: Presently the Israelites, the flock that Yahweh possessed uniquely (cp Deu 4:20), were isolated even though they were inhabiting the land that God had given them.

LET THEM FEED IN BASHAN AND GILEAD AS IN DAYS LONG AGO: Micah prayed that they might enjoy God's blessings, as when their flocks fed on the lush grazing hills of Bashan and Gilead earlier in their history.

Mic 7:15

AS IN THE DAYS WHEN YOU CAME OUT OF EGYPT, I WILL SHOW THEM MY WONDERS: JT writes: "This is forty years; for so long were they in passing from Egypt to Canaan, which was the type of their coming out from among the nations to the Holy Land under the generalship of Elijah, the Lord's harbinger to the Ten Tribes" (Elp 449). But CCW footnotes: "The allusion is to the characteristic wonder of those days, not to their duration. Cp the parallel expressions: Isa 9:4; 11:16; 51:9; Hos 2:15; 9:9; Zech 14:3."

The Jews' liberation from Gentile domination and return to their own land at the beginning of the Millennium will be a second miraculous Exodus.

Mic 7:16

THEY WILL LAND THEIR HANDS ON THEIR MOUTHS AND THEIR EARS WILL BECOME DEAF: They will not want to speak out against Yahweh or Israel because of reverence and awe. Nor will they want to hear any criticism or complaint from anyone else.

Mic 7:17

THEY WILL LICK DUST LIKE A SNAKE: Licking the dust is a figure describing total defeat (cp Gen 3:14; Psa 72:9 Isa 49:23; 65:25). This will mean, also, the total defeat of the Sin- or Serpent-Power in all its forms, in the Millennium.

Mic 7:18

WHO IS A GOD LIKE YOU, WHO PARDONS SIN AND FORGIVES THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE REMNANT OF HIS INHERITANCE?: The prophet praised Yahweh as a God who is unique in that He pardons the rebellious sins of the surviving remnant of His people. "Who is a God like You?" is another rhetorical question (cp Exo 15:11; Psa 35:10; 71:19; 77:13; 89:6; 113:5), and it may be a play on Micah's name, which means "Who is like Yahweh?" No one is just like Him!

YOU DO NOT STAY ANGRY FOREVER BUT DELIGHT TO SHOW MERCY: Pardoning such grave sins is contrary to human behavior, but Yahweh would not retain His anger against the Israelites forever (cp Psa 103:9). He will pardon them (cp Mic 1:5; 3:8; 6:7; Exo 34:6,7) because He delights to be faithful to His covenant love (Heb "hesed") for them (cp v 20).

Mic 7:19

YOU WILL AGAIN HAVE COMPASSION ON US: Yahweh would again have compassion (tender, heartfelt concern, Heb "rechem") on the Israelites, as He had done so often in their history (cp Psa 102:13; 103:4, 13; 116:5; 119:156; Hos 14:3; Zec 10:6).

YOU WILL TREAD OUR SINS UNDERFOOT: Trampling them, as a serpent might be crushed underfoot (cp Gen 3:15; v 17n; Mic 3:12).

AND HURL ALL OUR INIQUITIES INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA: Those iniquities will be removed as surely as someone gets rid of something permanently by throwing it into the sea (Mat 21:21; Mark 11:23; cp generally Psa 103:12).

The sins of God's people: "Covered" (Psa 32:1), "Removed" (Psa 103:12), "Cast behind God's back" (Isa 38:17), "Blotted out" (Psa 51:1; Isa 44:22), "Washed away" (Psa 51:2,7), "Remembered no more" (Jer 31:34), "Sought for but not found" (Jer 50:20), "Cast into the depths of the sea" (Mic 7:19).

Mic 7:20

YOU WILL BE TRUE TO JACOB, AND SHOW MERCY TO ABRAHAM, AS YOU PLEDGED ON OATH TO OUR FATHERS IN DAYS LONG AGO: These all died without receiving the promises: Acts 7:5; Heb 11:13. But God will yet fulfill His promises: Psa 105:8-11; Luk 1:68-75.

The basis of Micah's confidence was that God would be faithful to His promises to the fathers, and loyal to His commitment (Heb "hesed") to bless Abraham (cp Gen 12:2,3; 13:15; 15:18-21; 17:7,8,13,19,21; 28:13,14; 35:10-12; 48:4; etc). These were ancient promises that God had sealed with His oath vowing to fulfill them (eg, Gen 22:16-18; cp Rom 4:13; 2Co 6:16; Heb 4:1-10; 8:10; 1Pe 2:9; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 21:3,7).
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