The Book of Micah
Chapter 7 Summarized:
Contents: Israel’s sad present condition. The voice of the remnant in the last days.
Conclusion: When a child of God has much occasion to cry “Woe is me”; when it seems that all flesh has corrupted their way, it is a great comfort that he has a God to look to , in Whom there is rejoicing and satisfaction always. He cannot but marvel at God’s pardoning mercy to men and rejoice at the promise that He shall yet reign supreme in the earth.
Key Word: God, my salvation, v. 7. Strong Verses: 7, 9, 18, 19.
Christ Seen: v. 19. The gracious God is ready, because of the sacrifice of His Son, to pardon and pass over iniquity of His people upon their repentance and turning to Him. Let the pardoned sinner remember that if he has not been dealt with according to his deserts, it is because Jesus Christ bore his sins on the cross, and made it possible for God to put his sins in the depths of the sea.
Introduction: In this chapter, I. The prophet, in the name of the church, sadly laments the woeful decay of religion in the age wherein he lived, and the deluge of impiety and immorality which overwhelmed the nation, which leveled the differences, and bore down the fences, of all that is just and sacred (v. 1-6). II. The prophet, for the sake of the church, prescribes comforts, which may be of use at such a time, and gives counsel what to do. 1. They must have an eye to God (v. 7). 2. They must courageously bear up against the insolences of the enemy (v. 8-10). 3. They must patiently lie down under the rebukes of their God (v. 9). 4. They must expect no other than that the trouble would continue long, and must endeavor to make the best of it (v. 11-13). 5. They must encourage themselves with God’s promises, in answer to the prophet’s prayers (v. 14, 15). 6. They must foresee the fall of their enemies, that now triumphed over them (v. 16, 17). 7. They must themselves triumph in the mercy and grace of God, and his faithfulness to his covenant (v. 18-20), and with that comfortable word the prophecy concludes.
Israel completely desolate of righteousness (7:1—6)
Verse 1: Woe is me! For I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the first ripe fruit. This is such a description of bad times as, some think, could scarcely agree to the times of Hezekiah, when this prophet prophesied; and therefore they rather take it as a prediction of what should be in the reign of Manasseh. But we may rather suppose it to be in the reign of Ahaz (and in that reign he prophesied, chap. 1:1) or in the beginning of Hezekiah’s time, before the reformation he was instrumental in the best of his days to purge out corruptions, still there was much amiss. The prophet cries out,
Woe is me! He bemoans himself that his lot was cast in such a degenerate age, and thinks it his great unhappiness that he lived among a people that were ripening quickly for a ruin which many a good man would unavoidably be involved in. There were so few good people to be found, even among those that were God’s people; and this was their reproach:
The good man has perished out of the earth, or out of the land, the land of Canaan; it was a good land, and a land of uprightness (Isa. 26:10), but there were few good men in it, none upright among them.
Verse 2: The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.
A similar sentiment may be found, Psalm 12:1; Isaiah 57:1. As the early fig of excellent flavor cannot be found in the advanced season of summer, or a choice cluster of grapes after vintage, so neither can the good and upright man be discovered by searching in Israel.
They hunt every man his brother with a net—this appears to be an allusion to the ancient mode of duel between the retiarius and secutor. The former had a casting net, which he endeavored to throw over the head of his antagonist, that he might then dispatch him with his short sword. The other parried the cast; and when the retiarius missed, he was obliged to run about the field to get time to set his net in right order for another throw. While he ran, the other followed, that he might dispatch him before he should be able to recover the proper position of his net; and hence the latter was called secutor, the pursuer, as the other was called retiarius, or the net man.
The prince asked—a bribe, to further claims in his court.
The judge asked for a reward—that he may decide the cause in favor of him who gives most money, whether the cause is good or evil.
The great man, he uttered his mischievous desire—such consider themselves above law, and they make no secret of their unjust determinations. And so they wrap it up—they all co-join in doing evil in their several offices, and oppressing the poor.
Verse 4: The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.
The best . . . is as a brier—even the best of the leaders are compared to briars and thorns; Micah leaves to the imagination what the worst are like. Even those who went to the leaders, who appeared most upright, would find them to be sharp and piercing, the day of thy watchmen . . . cometh—the watchmen were the true prophets (Jer. 6:17; Ezek. 3:17). They watched the sinful path chosen by the people of Israel and, like watchmen in ancient cities, warned the people of the consequences that would follow. This “day of the watchmen” was the day of punishment predicted by the prophets. now shall be their perplexity—In contrast to the prophets, the corrupt leaders were only blind men who were leading a blind people; they would all be punished and no one would know where to turn (Isa. 22:5).
Verse 5: Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.
Her that lieth in thy bosom—even your wife may be a traitor (Deut. 13:6).
Verse 6: For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.
The times are bad indeed when the son dishonors his father, gives him bad language, exposes him, threatens him, and studies to do him a mischief, when the daughter rises up in rebellion against her own mother, having no sense of duty, or natural affection; and no marvel that then the daughter-in-law quarrels with her mother-in-law, and is vexatious to her. Either they cannot agree about their property and interest, or their humors and passions clash, or from a spirit of bigotry and persecution, the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child, Mt. 10:4; Lu. 21:16. It is sad when a man’s betrayers and worst enemies are the men of his own house, his own children and servants, that should be his guard and his best friends. The contempt and violation of the laws of domestic duties are a sad symptom of a universal corruption of manners. Those are never likely to come to good that are undutiful to their parents, and study to be provoking to them and cross them.
Repentance of Israel in the last days (7:7—9)
Verse 7: Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.
This verse turns from the gloom of judgment to a new outlook of hope for a godly remnant.
Therefore I will look unto the Lord—He is the only one to be trusted. The word used here for “look” carries the meaning of waiting expectantly. This word was used to describe blind Eli as he anxiously waited for news of the battle in which his sons were killed and the ark taken (1 Sam. 4:13). If we patiently wait for the Lord and trust him to carry out his plan, we will be safe in his care. Israel’s only hope now was to turn back to her God, recognize her sin and turn from it, and wait expectantly and patiently for him (Lam. 3:26). Israel learned this lesson during the Babylonian captivity, and she will learn it again when the Lord gathers her back to her homeland. Then Israel will truly repent and mourn the consequences of her sin (Zech. 12:10-13).
Verse 8: Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.
Rejoice not . . . when I fall, I shall arise—Israel can cry to her enemies that even though she will fall now under God’s punishment, a remnant of her people will again return victorious (Psa. 37:24; Prov. 24:16).
When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light—After Israel has been punished for her sin, God will restore her to fellowship and she will once again experience his faithfulness (Psa. 103:17).
Verse 9: I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.
Until he [the Lord] plead my cause—both “plead” and “cause” come from the same Hebrew root (rı̂ḇ), a word that has legal connotations. Thus, this verse brings the reader back into the courtroom. But this time the godly remnant awaits a positive judgment from God, rather than a negative one. They had sinned, but now they would be restored.
Israel’s enemies humbled (4:7:10)
Verse 10: Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the LORD thy God? Mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.
Shame shall cover her—When Israel’s enemies saw how God had punished his people and then restored them to an even greater blessing, they would feel like fools for ever having taunted Israel.
Mine eyes shall behold her—at that time, Israel will have the pleasure of seeing their enemies destroyed and subjected to them. They will glorify God for all he has done.
Israel regathered (7:11—13)
Thy walls . . . be built—Under Cyrus, the cities of the Jews were rebuilt to greater prosperity than ever before. When the Messiah comes to set up his kingdom, they will be even greater (Amos 9:11; Zech. 12:6). The boundaries of the cities will be farther apart than ever before to accommodate the great numbers of people who will be coming to see what God has done for his people (Isa. 49:20; 54:2).
Verse 12: In that day also he shall come even to thee from Assyria, and from the fortified cities, and from the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain.
Israel’s enemies and friends from all over the earth will come to glorify God. Everyone, even the Assyrians and Egyptians (Isa. 19:23), will stand in awe at the blessings God has poured out on his people.
Verse 13: Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings.
Micah reminds the people that before any of these good things could happen; they would have to be punished for the terrible crimes that were then going on in their land.
Prayer to God (7:14)
Verse 14: Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.
Feed thy people—the prophet Micah here prays for Israel, asking God to bring the judgment quickly to an end so they can enjoy the good things God has for them. The prayer of a righteous man is the greatest power he has (James 5:16), and intercession for those in trouble is the greatest service one can perform.
Thy rod—unless God leads his people as a shepherd leads his sheep, they will fall totally under the coming judgment.
Which dwell solitarily in the wood, in Carmel—let all those who have been scattered throughout the nations come home to their own land and live without the threat of heathen nations. Let them live together as a single nation and be secure. The distinct nationality of the Jews is foretold here (Jer. 49:31; Ezek. 34:25). Carmel, meaning “fruitful land,” was a densely vegetated and little inhabited area, centrally dominated by the mountain that bears the name. Mount Carmel is located on the Mediterranean coastline.
Bashan and Gilead—Bashan was famed for its healthy cattle and rich pasturelands (Psa. 22:12; Amos 4:1; Jer. 50:19). Both Bashan and Gilead were located east of the Jordan and were chosen by Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh as the best lands for raising cattle (Num. 32; Deut. 3:12-17).
Judgment upon her enemies (7:15—17)
Verse 15: According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvelous things.
Verse 16: The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf.
All the other nations of the world will see the great things that God will do for his people lay . . . hand upon mouth—they will be dumbfounded. They will not be able to laugh at Israel any longer.
Ears . . . deaf—they will not want to hear about how wonderfully God is blessing Israel. They will see the power of God and realize that they could be destroyed suddenly and completely by this great God.
Verse 17: They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee.
Lick the dust—they will be totally prostrate before the Lord and his people, Israel (Isa. 49:23; 65:25). Move out of their holes—they will feel no better than the reptiles that creep about on the ground as they crawl to the feet of Israel.
Israel’s confidence in God (7: 18—20)
Verse 18: Who is a God like unto thee that pardoneth iniquity and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
Micah is so awed at the power and faithfulness of God that he breaks forth into a triumphant song of praise.
Who is a God like unto thee?—interestingly, this question is reflective of Micah’s name, which means, “Who is like the Lord?”
passeth by the transgression—The Lord does not hold a grudge; he punishes, and when they have learned their lesson, he forgives and forgets (Amos 7:8). Those who come through the punishment will still be the chosen people of God.
Retaineth not his anger for ever—God delights in showing mercy and forgiveness, and hates anger (Psa. 103:9).
Verse 19: He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
God had turned away from his people in order to punish them, but when the time was right he would restore them to even greater fellowship than before. Subdue our iniquities—lit. “Tread our sins underfoot” an act symbolic of total conquest. Those things which harm God’s people and keep them from God will be destroyed. Sin will have no more power over them. Cast . . . into the depths of the sea—the sins of Israel will be as far from her people as the sea is deep.
Verse 20: Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
The promises which he has made to Jacob and his posterity. Not one of them can ever fall to the ground. “And the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn;” viz., that “in his Seed all the families of the earth should be blessed;” that the Messiah should come from Abraham, through his son Isaac, by Jacob and David; be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel. And this promise, and this oath, God has most signally fulfilled by the incarnation of Christ, who was sent to bless us by turning away every one of us from our iniquities; and for this purpose he was delivered for our offenses, and rose again for our justification; and repentance and remission of sins are preached in his name to all nations. The proclamation was first made at Jerusalem; and that the prophet refers to this, is evident from the use made of these words by Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, when, under the fullness of the Spirit of God, he quoted this prophecy of Micah, as fulfilled in the incarnation of Christ, Luke 1:72, 73.
The following material were used in the
preparation of these notes:
Quick Verse 2005: Matthew Henry's commentary, New Commentary on the whole Bible.
E-Source: Barn's notes
Bible Explore 4 (downloaded version): Strong's Hebrew-Greek, ISBE,
All Bible text is from the King James Version
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