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: ; iii . COMMENTARY.
In the beginning of this prophecy, Amos predicts the dispersion of Israel; and foretells, that, in consequence of their rejecting the Messiah, there should be among them a great famine of true religious instruction. He adds, that even in the land of their captivity many of them should be slain by the sword; a declaration woefully fulfilled in the many persecutions which the Jews have suffered from the sanguinary bigotry of Popery. Meanwhile their land shall be overflowed and deluged by rivers of foreign invaders, as the Nile overflows the land of Egypt. The Persians shall succeed the Romans : the Saracens, the Persians; the western crusaders, the Saracens; the Turks, the crusaders; and last of all, at the period of their restoration, the armies of Antichrist shall. plant their tents in the glorious holy mountain. The whole of this is the Lord's doing. Yet, though he will utterly destroy, the sinful kingdom of Israel, he will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob. The civil and ecclesiastical polity shall be completely dissolved; but the individuals themselves shall be preserved. These God will scatter among all nations, as corn is sifted in a sieve : yet, unlike natural corn, not a single grain shall fall to the earth. Every grain, distinct from its fellow, shall continue flying, as it were, between the earth and the sieve of God's wrath, unable to settle upon the ground and coalesce into heaps, as is the case with natural corn when sifted *.
Nevertheless, while they are in this scattered and forsaken state, the Lord will suddenly raise up the tabernacle of David, and bring again the captivity of Israel. He will cause them to possess the remnant of the mystic Edom which had so long persecuted and afflicted them, and of all those nations of mere nominal Christians upon whom the name of the Lord had been called in letter though not in spirit. He will bless them with wonderful prosperity in the land of their fathers; and will never again suffer them to be violently dragged away from it. Such are the good things yet in store for Israel, when he shall turn unto the Lord his God.
* It might seem at first, that the expression not the least grain shall fall to the earth signifies, that every individual should be preserved ; but, when the whole imagery is considered, I incline to think that I have adopted the right interpretation. Suppose that some miracle prevented the sifted grains of wheat from falling to the ground ; they would in that case be carried about by every wind, unconnected with each other, and never able to continue long in one place. In this wonderful manner God threatens to sift the Fexus among all nations. The sieve of his wrath shall scatter them : but they shall never, like the Normans, the Saxons, and other kindred tribes, that have spread themselves far and wide ; they shall never fall to the ground, and be at rest,
It is to be observed, that the prophecy is couched in general terms, and relates to the house of Joseph no less than to the house of Judah.
The certainty of the restoration of Judah and Israel.
Micah ï. 12. I 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 t, as the flock in the midst of her fold: they shall make a great noise by reason of the multitude of men. 13. He that breaketh down is come up before them I: they have broken down the wall, and have passed through the gate, and have gone out by it: and their king passeth before them, even the Lord || at the head of them.
* I will surely gather the reinnant of Israel.] “ This promise relates to the general restoration of the Jewish nation." Mr. Lowth in loc.
+ I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah.] «God is often styled the shepherd of Israel, and his care over his people is compared to that of a shepherd over his flock-Bozrah is a noted place in Idumea, where there were large flocks of sheep. Mr. Lowth in loc.
# He that breaketh down is come up before them.] “He, that shall break the bonds of their captivity, or break through all obstacles that hinder their return home.-- The Jewish commentators generally understand the breaker, and their king that follows, of the same person, viz. the Messiah, as may be seen in Dr. Pocock upon the place --The words seem parallel to that expression of Zechariah (Chap. xii. 8.). As the angel of the Lord before them, or at the head of them. Some of the Yews indeed, with a little variation, expound their king of the Messiah, and the breaker of his forerunner Elijah, as Dr. Pocock observes.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
f Their king...even the Lord.] “ The Messiah, who is both their God and their king, shall conduct them as their captain and general. Compare Isaiah li. 12. Hos. i. 11.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
COMMENTARY. The general restoration of Israel is here predicted, under the image of a shepherd gathering together his flock into the fold: and an oblique intimation is given, which Micah sufficiently explains in the succeeding prophecy, that he should be made in the hand of the Lord an instrument of judgment upon his enemies. He that breaketh down is Jehovah the Messiah ; who is represented like a general leading on his troops to the work of destruction.
PROPHECY XXXIV. The glories of the Millennian church--The mystic birth of the
Jewish nation - The overthrow of the Antichristian confederacy partly by the instrumentality of the Jews--The advent of Christ -He protects the now converted Jews, and destroys the mystic Assyrian--The instrumentality of the Jews in the conversion of the Gentiles.
Micah iv, 1. And in the end of days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and the nations shall flow unto it. 2. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and 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 in his paths; for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 3. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off ; and they shall beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree; and none shall make them afraid. 5. Though all people walk every one in the name of his god, yet we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. 6. In that
day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out*, and her that I have amicted: 7. And I will make her that halted a remnant; and her that was cast far off, a strong nationt: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth even for ever. 8. And thou, O daughter of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
9. Now why dost thou cry out aloud ? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 10. Be in pain, and Jabour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: although now thou goest forth out of the city, and dwellest in the field, and goest to Babylon; yet there shalt thou be delivered, there shall the Lord redeem thee from the hand of thy enemies.
11. And now many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. 12. But they know not the thoughts of the Lordt, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. 13. Arise, and thresh, O daughter of Zion : for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass; and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will devote their gain unto the Lord with a curse of utter destruction, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. v. 1. Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: siege he hath laid against us: with a rod they have smitten upon the cheek the tribes of Israel l.
* I will gather her that is driven out.] “ This relates to the calling of the Fews from their several dispersions into the Church.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
† Her that was cast far off, a strong nation.] “ The Jews, when they return from their several dispersions, shall be victorious over all their enemies.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
# They know not the thoughts of the Lord.] Antichrist and his followers are blindly bent upon accomplishing their own purposes; and thus ignorant of what is foretold respecting them in Scripture, they rush upon their own destruction. Daniel uses language exactly to the same purpose : “None of the wicked shall understand ; but the wise shall understand.” Dan, xii. 10.
S With a-rod they have smitten upon the check the tribes of Israel.] So the LXX, Ev pacadw WATEXCI'ETI clayovee tag Quang T8 lo poena: and the Arabic, Fusti percutient genam familiarum Israelis. Both these versions have plainly read usw and not uBP. Compare Isaiah ix. 4---xiv. 4, 5, 6.-XXX. 31, 32,
2. But thou, Bethlehem-Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel ; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting. 3. Therefore will he give them up* into the hand of their enemies until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth; then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. 4. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide : .for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. :
5. And this ruler shall be peace unto us, when the Assyrian shall come into our landt, and when he shall tread down our palaces: and we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight anointed men t. 6. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. 7. And
Ezek. xx. 37. In the Hebrew, the Syriac, and the Arabic, what is the first verse of the fifth chapter of Micah in our version is arranged as the last verse of the fourth chapter, agreeably to the plain import of the context. I have accordingly supposed the paragraph to end with this verse.
* Will he give them up.] Having rejected the Messiah, they shall no more be his people, until the time of their mystic birth, namely their restoration and conversion. “God will give up his people into the hands of their enemies, or leave them to be exercised with troubles and afflictions, till the appointed time of their deliverance cometh, which shall be greater than that from Babylon. This deliverance.--will be fully completed in the general restoration of the Jewish nation to be expected in the latter ages.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
+ When the Assyrian shall come into our land.] “I take the sense, which Mr. Mede hath given to this passage, to be most agreeable to the scope and design of the following part of the chapter. See his Works, p. 796, where he expounds the place of the general destruction of some remarkable enemy or enemies to God and his truth, which should come to pass before the consummation of all things; an event foretold in several places of Scripture. This enemy is probably called by the name of the Assyrian by Isaiah (chap. xiv. 25.), as well as by Micah here.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
# Seven shepherds-cight anointed men.] “Some imagine,” says Dr. Gray, “that Micah foretells in this prophecy the victories to be obtained by the leaders of the Medes and Babylonians who took Nineveh. Others suppose him to speak of the seven Maccabees with their eight royal successors, from Aristobulus to Antigonus.” Dr. Gray himself conjectures, that “it may perhaps bear a reference to some higher triumph ;” and refers us to Ezek. xxxviii. and xxxix. wherein the destruction of Gog and Magog is foretold (Key to 0. Test. p. 465.). Though I cannot believe that it relates to the war of Gog and Magog, I think him perfectly right in his general idea that the accomplishment of it is yet future. All these events are to happen at the era of the restoration of the Fews : how then can they, with any degree of propriety, be referred to times previous even to the first advent of Christ?