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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Here the prophet denounces a wo against the plotters of wickedness, the covetous and the oppressor, Micah 2:1, Micah 2:2. God is represented as devising their ruin, Micah 2:3. An Israelite is then introduced as a mourner, personating his people, and lamenting their fate, Micah 2:4. Their total expulsion is now threatened on account of their very numerous offenses, Micah 2:5-10. Great infatuation of the people in favor of those pretenders to Divine inspiration who prophesied to them peace and plenty, Micah 2:11. The chapter concludes with a gracious promise of the restoration of the posterity of Jacob from captivity; possibly alluding to their deliverance from the Chaldean yoke, an event which was about two hundred years in futurity at the delivery of this prophecy, Micah 2:12, Micah 2:13.
1Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.
Wo to them that devise iniquity - Who lay schemes and plans for transgressions; who make it their study to find out new modes of sinning; and make these things their nocturnal meditations, that, having fixed their plan, they may begin to execute it as soon as it is light in the morning.
Because it is in the power of their hand - They think they may do whatever they have power and opportunity to do.
2And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.
They covet fields - These are the rich and mighty in the land; and, like Ahab, they will take the vineyard or inheritance of any poor Naboth on which they may fix their covetous eye; so that they take away even the heritage of the poor.
3Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evil.
Against this family (the Israelites) do I devise an evil - You have devised the evil of plundering the upright; I will devise the evil to you of punishment for your conduct; you shall have your necks brought under the yoke of servitude. Tiglath-pileser ruined this kingdom, and transported the people to Assyria, under the reign of Hezekiah, king of Judah; and Micah 54ed to see this catastrophe. See on Micah 2:9 (note).
4In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me! turning away he hath divided our fields.
Take up a parable against you - Your wickedness and your punishment shall be subjects of common conversation; and a funeral dirge shall be composed and sung for you as for the dead. The lamentation is that which immediately follows: We be utterly spoiled; and ends, Are these his doings? Micah 2:7.
5Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the LORD.
None that shall cast a cord - You will no more have your inheritance divided to you by lot, as it was to your fathers; ye shall neither have fields nor possessions of any kind.
6Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.
Prophesy ye not - Do not predict any more evils - we have as many as we can bear. We are utterly ruined - shame and confusion cover our faces. The original is singular, and expressive of sorrow and sobbing. Literally, "Do not cause it to rain; they will cause it to rain; they cannot make it rain sooner than this; confusion shall not depart from us." To rain, often means to preach, to prephesy; Ezekiel 20:46, Ezekiel 21:2; Amos 7:16; Deuteronomy 32:2; Job 29:22; Proverbs 5:3, etc.
The last line Bp. Newcome translates, "For he shall not remove from himself reproaches;" and paraphrases, "The true prophet will subject himself to public disgrace by exercising his office."
7O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?
Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? - This is the complaint of the Israelites, and a part of the lamentation. Doth it not speak by other persons as well as by Micah? Doth it communicate to us such influences as it did formerly? Is it true that these evils are threatened by that Spirit? Are these his doings? To which Jehovah answers, "Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?" No upright man need fear any word spoken by me: my words to such yield instruction and comfort; never dismay. Were ye upright, ye would not complain of the words of my prophets. The last clause may be translated, "Walking with him that is upright." The upright man walks by the word; and the word walks with him who walks by it.
8Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war.
My people is risen up as an enemy - Ye are not only opposed to me, but ye are enemies to each other. Ye rob and spoil each other. Ye plunder the peaceable passenger; depriving him both of his upper and under garment; ye pull off the robe from those who, far from being spoilers themselves, are averse from war.
9The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever.
The women of my people - Ye are the cause of the women and their children being carried into captivity - separated from their pleasant habitations, and from my temple and ordinances - and from the blessings of the covenant, which it is my glory to give, and theirs to receive. These two verses may probably relate to the war made on Ahaz by Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel. They fell suddenly upon the Jews; killed in one day one hundred and twenty thousand, and took two hundred thousand captive; and carried away much spoil. Thus, they rose up against them as enemies, when there was peace between the two kingdoms; spoiled them of their goods, carried away men, women, and children, till, at the remonstrances of the prophet Oded, they were released. See 2 Chronicles 28:6, etc. Micah 54ed in the days of Ahaz, and might have seen the barbarities which he here describes.
10Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.
Arise ye, and depart - Prepare for your captivity; ye shall have no resting place here: the very land is polluted by your iniquities, and shall vomit you out, and it shall be destroyed; and the destruction of it shall be great and sore.
Some think this is an exhortation to the godly, to leave a land that was to be destroyed so speedily.
11If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.
If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood - The meaning is: If a man who professes to be Divinely inspired do lie, by prophesying of plenty, etc., then such a person shall be received as a true prophet by this people. It not unfrequently happens that the Christless worldling, who has got into the priest's office for a maintenance, and who leaves the people undisturbed in their unregenerate state, is better received than the faithful pastor, who proclaims the justice of the Lord, and the necessity of repentance and forsaking sin, in order to their being made partakers of that holiness without which no man shall see God.
12I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.
I will surely assemble - This is a promise of the restoration of Israel from captivity. He compares them to a flock of sheep rushing together to their fold, the hoofs of which make a wonderful noise or clatter. So when one hundred sheep run, eight hundred toes or divisions of these bifid animals make a clattering noise. This appears to be the image.
13The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.
The breaker is come up - He who is to give them deliverance, and lead them out on the way of their return. He who takes down the hurdles, or makes a gap in the wall or hedge, to permit them to pass through. This may apply to those human agents that shall permit and order their return. And Jehovah being at their head, may refer to their final restoration, when the Lord Jesus shall become their leader, they having returned unto him as the shepherd and bishop of their souls; and they and the Gentiles forming one fold under one shepherd, to go no more out into captivity for ever. Lord, hasten the time!