MICHEAS, of Morasti, a little town in the tribe of JUDA, was contemporary with the prophet ISAIAS:  whom he resembles both in his spirit and his style.  He is different from the rophet MICHEAS mentioned in the third book of Kings, chap. 22.  For that MICHEAS lived in the days of king ACHAB, one hundred and fifty years before the time of EZECHIAS, under hom this MICHEAS prophesied.

Micheas Chapter 1

Samaria for her sins shall be destroyed by the Assyrians; they shall also invade Juda and Jerusalem.

1:1       The word of the Lord, that came to Micheas, the Morasthite, in the days of Joathan, Achaz, and Ezechias, kings of Juda:  which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
1:2       Hear, all ye people:  and let the earth give ear, and all that is therein:  and let the Lord God be a witness to you, the Lord from his holy temple.
1:3       For behold the Lord will come forth out of his place:  and he will come down, and will tread upon the high places of the earth.
1:4       And the mountains shall be melted under him:  and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as waters that run down a steep place.
1:5       For the wickedness of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel.  What is the wickedness of Jacob?  is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Juda?  are they not erusalem?
1:6       And I will make Samaria as a heap of stones in the field when a vineyard is planted:  and I will bring down the stones thereof into the valley, and will lay her foundations bare.
1:7       And all her graven things shall be cut in pieces, and all her wages shall be burnt with fire, and I will bring to destruction all her idols:  for they were gathered together of the hire of a arlot, and unto the hire of a harlot they shall return.
1:7       Her wages. . .That is, her donaries or presents offered to her idols:  or the hire of all her traffic and labour.--Ibid.  Of the hire of a harlot, etc. . .They were gathered together by one dolatrous city, viz., Samaria:  and they shall be carried away to another idolatrous city, viz., Ninive.
1:8       Therefore will I lament, and howl:  I will go stript and naked:  I will make a wailing like the dragons, and a mourning like the ostriches.
1:9       Because her wound is desperate, because it is come even to Juda, it hath touched the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.

It hath touched the gate, etc. . .That is, the destruction of Samaria shall be followed by the invasion of my people of Juda, and the Assyrians shall come and lay all waste even to the onfines of Jerusalem.

1:10     Declare ye it not in Geth, weep ye not with tears:  in the house of Dust sprinkle yourselves with dust.

Declare ye it not in Geth. . .Viz., amongst the Philistines, lest they rejoice at your calamity.--Ibid.  Weep ye not, etc. . .Keep in your tears, that you may not give your enemies an occasion f insulting over you; but in your own houses, or in your house of dust, your earthly habitation, sprinkle yourselves with dust, and put on the habit of penitents.  Some take the house of dust (in ebrew, Aphrah) to be the proper name of a city.

1:11     And pass away, O thou that dwellest in the beautiful place, covered with thy shame:  she went not forth that dwelleth in the confines:  the house adjoining shall receive mourning from ou, which stood by herself.

Thou that dwellest in the Beautiful place, viz., in Samaria.  In the Hebrew the Beautiful place is expressed by the word Sapir, which some take for the proper name of a city.--Ibid.  She ent not forth, etc. . .that is, they that dwelt in the confines came not forth, but kept themselves within, for fear.--Ibid.  The house adjoining, etc. . .Viz., Judea and Jerusalem, neighbours to amaria, and partners in her sins, shall share also in her mourning and calamity; though they have pretended to stand by themselves, trusting in their strength.

1:12     For she is become weak unto good that dwelleth in bitterness:  for evil is come down from the Lord into the gate of Jerusalem.
1:13     A tumult of chariots hath astonished the inhabitants of Lachis: it is the beginning of sin to the daughter of Sion for in thee were found the crimes of Israel.

It is the beginning, etc. . .That is, Lachis was the first city of Juda that learned from Samaria the worship of idols, and communicated it to Jerusalem.

1:14     Therefore shall she send messengers to the inheritance of Geth: the houses of lying to deceive the kings of Israel.

Therefore shall she send, etc. . .Lachis shall send to Geth for help: but in vain:  for Geth, instead of helping, shall be found to be a house of lying and deceit to Israel.

1:15     Yet will I bring an heir to thee that dwellest in Maresa:  even to Odollam shall the glory of Israel come.

An heir, etc. . .Maresa (which was the name of a city of Juda) signifies inheritance:  but here God by his prophet tells the Jews, that he will bring them an heir to take possession of their nheritance:  and that the glory of Israel shall be obliged to give place, and to retire even to Odollam, a city in the extremity of their dominions.  And therefore he exhorts them to penance in the ollowing verse.

1:16     Make thee bald, and be polled for thy delicate children:  enlarge thy baldness as the eagle:  for they are carried into captivity from thee.

She is become weak, etc. . .Jerusalem is become weak unto any good; because she dwells in the bitterness of sin.

Micheas Chapter 2

The Israelites by their crying injustices provoke God to punish them. He shall at last restore Jacob.

2:1       Woe to you that devise that which is unprofitable, and work evil in your beds:  in the morning light they execute it, because their hand is against God.
2:2       And they have coveted fields, and taken them by violence, and houses they have forcibly taken away:  and oppressed a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.
2:3       Therefore thus saith the Lord:  Behold I devise an evil against this family:  from which you shall not withdraw your necks, and you shall not walk haughtily, for this is a very evil time.
2:4       In that day a parable shall be taken up upon you, and a song shall be sung with melody by them that say:  We are laid waste and spoiled: the portion of my people is changed:  how shall he epart from me, whereas he is returning that will divide our land?

How shall he depart, etc. . .How do you pretend to say that the Assyrian is departing; when indeed he is coming to divide our lands amongst his subjects?

2:5       Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast the cord of a lot in the assembly of the Lord.

Thou shalt have none, etc. . .Thou shalt have no longer any lot or inheritance in the land of the people of the Lord.

2:6       Speak ye not, saying:  It shall not drop upon these, confusion shall not take them.

It shall not drop, etc. . .That is, the prophecy shall not come upon these.  Such were the sentiments of the people that were unwilling to believe the threats of the prophets.

2:7       The house of Jacob saith:  Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened or are these his thoughts?  Are not my words good to him that walketh uprightly?
2:8       But my people, on the contrary, are risen up as an enemy:  you have taken away the cloak off from the coat:  and them that passed harmless you have turned to war.

You have taken away, etc. . .You have even stripped people of their necessary garments:  and have treated such as were innocently passing on the way, as if they were at war with you.

2:9       You have cast out the women of my people from their houses, in which they took delight:  you have taken my praise forever from their children.

You have cast out, etc. . .either by depriving them of their houses:  or, by your crimes, given occasion to their being carried away captives, and their children, by that means, never learning o praise the Lord.

2:10     Arise ye, and depart, for there is no rest here for you.  For that uncleanness of the land, it shall be corrupted with a grievous corruption.
2:11     Would God I were not a man that hath the spirit, and that I rather spoke a lie:  I will let drop to thee of wine, and of drunkenness:  and it shall be this people upon whom it shall drop.

Would God, etc. . .The prophet could have wished, out of his love to his people, that he might be deceived in denouncing to them these evils that were to fall upon them:  but by onforming himself to the will of God, he declares to them, that he is sent to prophesy, literally to let drop upon them, the wine of God's indignation, with which they should be made drunk; that s, stupified and cast down.

2:12     I will assemble and gather together all of thee, O Jacob:  I will bring together the remnant of Israel, I will put them together as a flock in the fold, as sheep in the midst of the sheepcotes, hey shall make a tumult by reason of the multitude of men.
2:13     For he shall go up that shall open the way before them:  they shall divide and pass through the gate, and shall come in by it:  and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord at the head f them.

Micheas Chapter 3

For the sins of the rich oppressing the poor, of false prophets flattering for lucre, and of judges perverting justice, Jerusalem and the temple shall be destroyed.

3:1       And I said:  Hear, O ye princes of Jacob, and ye chiefs of the house of Israel:  Is it not your part to know judgment,
3:2       You that hate good, and love evil:  that violently pluck off their skins from them and their flesh from their bones?
3:3       Who have eaten the flesh of my people, and have flayed their skin off them:  and have broken, and chopped their bones as for the kettle, and as flesh in the midst of the pot.
3:4       Then shall they cry to the Lord, and he will not hear them:  and he will hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved wickedly in their devices.
3:5       Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err:  that bite with their teeth, and preach peace:  and if a man give not something into their mouth, they prepare war gainst him.
3:6       Therefore night shall be to you instead of vision, and darkness to you instead of divination:  and the sun shall go down upon the prophets, and the day shall be darkened over them.
3:7       And they shall be confounded that see visions, and the diviners shall be confounded:  and they shall all cover their faces, because there is no answer of God.
3:8       But yet I am filled with the strength of the spirit of the Lord, with judgment and power:  to declare unto Jacob his wickedness and to Israel his sin.
3:9       Hear this, ye princes of the house of Jacob, and ye judges of the house of Israel:  you that abhor judgment and pervert all that is right.
3:10     You that build up Sion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
3:11     Her princes have judged for bribes:  and her priests have taught for hire, and her prophets divined for money:  and they leaned upon the Lord, saying:  Is not the Lord in the midst of us?  o evil shall come among us.
3:12     Therefore because of you, Sion shall be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall be as a heap of stones, and the mountain of the temple as the high places of the forests.

Micheas Chapter 4

The glory of the church of Christ, by the conversion of the Gentiles. The Jews shall be carried captives to Babylon, and be delivered again.

4:1       And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared in the top of the mountains, and high above the hills:  and people shall flow to it.
4:2       And many nations shall come in haste, and say:  Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob:  and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk n his paths:  for the law shall go forth out of Sion, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem.
4:3       And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off:  and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into spades:  nation shall not take sword gainst nation:  neither shall they learn war anymore.

Neither shall they learn, etc. . .The law of Christ is a law of peace; and all his true subjects, as much as lies in them love and keep peace with all the world.

4:4       And every man shall sit under his vine, and under his fig tree, and there shall be none to make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken.
4:5       For all people will walk every one in the name of his god:  but we will walk in the name of the Lord, our God, for ever and ever.
4:6       In that day, saith the Lord, I will gather up her that halteth: and her that I had cast out, I will gather up:  and her whom I had afflicted.
4:7       And I will make her that halted, a remnant:  and her that had been afflicted, a mighty nation:  and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Sion, from this time now and forever.
4:8       And thou, O cloudy tower of the flock, of the daughter of Sion, unto thee shall it come:  yea the first power shall come, the kingdom to the daughter of Jerusalem.
4:9       Now, why art thou drawn together with grief?  Hast thou no king in thee, or is thy counselor perished, because sorrow hath taken thee as a woman in labour.
4:10     Be in pain and labour, O daughter of Sion, as a woman that bringeth forth:  for now shalt thou go out of the city, and shalt dwell in the country, and shalt come even to Babylon, there hou shalt be delivered:  there the Lord will redeem thee out of the hand of thy enemies.
4:11     And now many nations are gathered together against thee, and they say:  Let her be stoned:  and let our eye look upon Sion.
4:12     But they have not known the thoughts of the Lord, and have not understood his counsel:  because he hath gathered them together as the hay of the floor.
4:13     Arise, and tread, O daughter of Sion:  for I will make thy horn iron, and thy hoofs I will make brass:  and thou shalt beat in pieces many peoples, and shalt immolate the spoils of them to he Lord, and their strength to the Lord of the whole earth.

Micheas Chapter 5

The birth of Christ in Bethlehem:  his reign and spiritual conquests.

5:1       Now shalt thou be laid waste, O daughter of the robber:  they have laid siege against us, with a rod shall they strike the cheek of the judge of Israel.

Daughter of the robber. . .Some understand this of Babylon; which robbed and pillaged the temple of God:  others understand it of Jerusalem; by reason of the many rapines and ppressions committed there.

5:2       And thou Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda, out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel:  and his going forth is from the eginning, from the days of eternity.

His going forth, etc. . .That is, he who as man shall be born in thee, as God was born of his Father from all eternity.

5:3       Therefore will he give them up even till the time wherein she that travaileth shall bring forth:  and the remnant of his brethren shall be converted to the children of Israel.
5:4       And he shall stand, and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the height of the name of the Lord, his God:  and they shall be converted, for now shall he be magnified even to the ends of he earth.
5:5       And this man shall be our peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land, and when he shall set his foot in our houses:  and we shall raise against him seven shepherds, and eight rincipal men.

The Assyrian. . .That is, the persecutors of the church:  who are here called Assyrians by the prophet:  because the Assyrians were at that time the chief enemies and persecutors of the eople of God.--Ibid. Seven shepherds, etc. . .Viz., the pastors of God's church, and the defenders of the faith.  The number seven in scripture is taken to signify many:  and when eight is joined ith it, we are to understand that the number will be very great.

5:6       And they shall feed the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nemrod with the spears thereof:  and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he shall come into our land, and hen he shall tread in our borders.

They shall feed, etc. . .They shall make spiritual conquests in the lands of their persecutors, with the word of the spirit, which is the word of God.  Eph. 6.17.

5:7       And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples, as a dew from the Lord, and as drops upon the grass, which waiteth not for man, nor tarrieth for the children of men.

The remnant of Jacob. . .Viz., the apostles, and the first preachers of the Jewish nation; whose doctrine, like dew, shall make the plants of the converted Gentiles grow up, without waiting or any man to cultivate them by human learning.

5:8       And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, in the midst of many peoples, as a lion among the beasts of the forests, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep:  who, when e shall go through, and tread down, and take there is none to deliver.

As a lion, etc. . .This denotes the fortitude of these first preachers; and their success in their spiritual enterprises.

5:9       Thy hand shall be lifted up over thy enemies, and all thy enemies shall be cut off.
5:10     And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will take away thy horses out of the midst of thee, and will destroy thy chariots.

I will take away thy horses, etc. . .Some understand this, and all that follows to the end of the chapter, as addressed to the enemies of the church.  But it may as well be understood of the onverts to the church: who should no longer put their trust in any of these things.

5:11     And I will destroy the cities of thy land, and will throw down all thy strong holds, and I will take away sorceries out of thy hand, and there shall be no divinations in thee.
5:12     And I will destroy thy graven things, and thy statues, out of the midst of thee:  and thou shalt no more adore the works of thy hands.
5:13     And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee:  and will crush thy cities.
5:14     And I will execute vengeance in wrath, and in indignation, among all the nations that have not given ear.

Micheas Chapter 6

God expostulates with the Jews for their ingratitude and sins:  for which they shall be punished.

6:1       Hear ye what the Lord saith:  Arise, contend thou in judgment against the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.

The mountains, etc. . .That is, the great ones, the princes of the people.

6:2       Let the mountains hear the judgment of the Lord, and the strong foundations of the earth:  for the Lord will enter into judgment with his people, and he will plead against Israel.
6:3       O my people, what have I done to thee, or in what have I molested thee?  answer thou me.
6:4       For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and delivered thee out of the house of slaves:  and I sent before thy face Moses, and Aaron, and Mary.
6:5       O my people, remember, I pray thee, what Balach, the king of Moab, purposed:  and what Balaam, the son of Beor, answered him, from Setim to Galgal, that thou mightest know the ustice of the Lord.

From Setim to Galgal. . .He puts them in mind of the favour he did them, in not suffering them to be quite destroyed by the evil purpose of Balach, and the wicked counsel of Balaam:  nd then gives them a hint of the wonders he wrought, in order to bring them into the land of Promise, by stopping the course of the Jordan, in their march from Setim to Galgal.

6:6       What shall I offer to the Lord that is worthy?  wherewith shall I kneel before the high God?  shall I offer holocausts unto him, and calves of a year old?

What shall I offer, etc. . .This is spoken in the person of the people, desiring to be informed what they are to do to please God.

6:7       May the Lord be appeased with thousands of rams, or with many thousands of fat he goats?  shall I give my firstborn for my wickedness, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
6:8       I will shew thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requireth of thee:  Verily to do judgment, and to love mercy, and to walk solicitous with thy God.
6:9       The voice of the Lord crieth to the city, and salvation shall be to them that fear thy name:  hear O ye tribes, and who shall approve it?
6:10     As yet there is a fire in the house of the wicked, the treasures of iniquity, and a scant measure full of wrath.

Full of wrath, etc. . .That is, highly provoking in the sight of God.

6:11     Shall I justify wicked balances, and the deceitful weights of the bag?
6:12     By which her rich men were filled with iniquity, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue was deceitful in their mouth.
6:13     And I therefore began to strike thee with desolation for thy sins.
6:14     Thou shalt eat, but shalt not be filled:  and thy humiliation shall be in the midst of thee:  and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not save:  and those whom thou shalt save, I will give up to the word.
6:15     Thou shalt sow, but shalt not reap:  thou shalt tread the olives, but shalt not be anointed with oil:  and the new wine, but shalt not drink the wine.
6:16     For thou hast kept the statutes of Amri, and all the works of the house of Achab:  and thou hast walked according their wills, that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants hereof a hissing, and you shall bear the reproach of my people.

The statutes of Amri, etc. . .The wicked ways of Amri and Achab, idolatrous kings.

Micheas Chapter 7

The prophet laments, that notwithstanding all his preaching, the generality are still corrupt in their manners:  therefore their desolation is at hand:  but they shall be restored again and rosper; and all mankind shall be redeemed by Christ.

7:1       Woe is me, for I am become as one that gleaneth in autumn the grapes of the vintage:  there is no cluster to eat, my soul desired the first ripe figs.
7:2       The holy man is perished out of the earth, and there is none upright among men:  they all lie in wait for blood, every one hunteth his brother to death.
7:3       The evil of their hands they call good:  the prince requireth, and the judge is for giving:  and the great man hath uttered the desire of his soul, and they have troubled it.
7:4       He that is best among them, is as a brier, and he that is righteous, as the thorn of the hedge.  The day of thy inspection, thy visitation cometh:  now shall be their destruction.
7:5       Believe not a friend, and trust not in a prince:  keep the doors of thy mouth from her that sleepeth in thy bosom.
7:6       For the son dishonoureth the father, and the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law:  and a man's enemies are they of his own household.
7:7       But I will look towards the Lord, I will wait for God, my saviour: my God will hear me.
7:8       Rejoice not, thou my enemy, over me, because I am fallen:  I shall arise, when I sit in darkness, the Lord is my light.
7:9       I will bear the wrath of the Lord, because I have sinned against him:  until he judge my cause, and execute judgement for me:  he will bring me forth into the light, I shall behold his ustice.
7:10     And my enemy shall behold, and she shall be covered with shame, who saith to me:  Where is the Lord thy God?  my eyes shall look down upon her:  now shall she be trodden under foot s the mire of the streets.

She shall be covered, etc. . .Viz., Babylon my enemy.

7:11     The day shall come, that thy walls may be built up:  in that day shall the law be far removed.

The law. . .Viz., of thy enemies, who have tyrannized over thee.

7:12     In that day they shall come even from Assyria to thee, and to the fortified cities:  and from the fortified cities even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain.

The land, etc. . .Viz., of Babylon.

7:13     And the land shall be made desolate because of the inhabitants thereof, and for the fruit of their devices.