Micah 1
Pulpit Commentary
The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
Verse 1. - The inscription, or heading of the book, conveying the prophet's authority. The word of the Lord. The expression applies to the whole contents of the book, as in Hosea 1:1 and Zephaniah 1:1. It is often used for some particular message to a prophet, as Jeremiah 1:4, 11; Jeremiah 2:1; Ezekiel 3:16. Micah the Morasthite; i.e. Micah of Moresheth-Gath (ver. 14), a village in the lowland of Judaea, near Eleutheropolis, some twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem (see Introduction, § II.). In the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Thus Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah, though his ministry did not begin as soon or last as long as that prophet's (see Isaiah 1:1); he was a little later than Hosea and Amos, who prophesied under Uzziah, the father of Jotham. Kings of Judah are mentioned because the prophet's mission was to Judah, as the line of election; but, like Amos, he prophesied against Samaria also. However divided, the two nations are regarded as one people. Which he saw. What he saw in vision or by inward illumination he here relates in words. Thus the prophecies of Isaiah, Obadiah, Nahum, etc., are called "visions." Concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Samaria comes first, as being ripe for punishment, and the first to feel the avenger. The capitals of the two kingdoms Israel and Judah stand for the people themselves.
Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.
Verses 2-4. - § 1. Introduction to the prophet's address. The nations and earth itself are summoned to attend the solemn announcement. Verse 2. - Hear, all ye people; rather, all ye peoples; Septuagint, λαοί. All nations are summoned to come and witness the judgment, and to profit by the warning. So Micaiah, son of Imlah, the bold denouncer of false prophets in the age of Ahah, had cried, "Hear, ye peoples, all of you" (1 Kings 22:28). So Moses, in his song (Deuteronomy 32:1), calls on heaven and earth to listen to his words (comp. Isaiah 1:2). These expressions are not mere rhetorical figures; they have a special application. Whatever happens to Israel has a bearing on the development of the kingdom of God; the judgments on the chosen people are not only a warning to the heathen, but bring on the great consummation. All that therein is; literally, the fulness thereof; Vulgate, plentitudo ejus; Septuagint, πάντες οἱ ἐν αὐτῇ, "all ye that are therein" (Psalm 24:1). Let the Lord God (the Lord Jehovah) be witness against you. Let God by his judgments against you, viz. Israel and Judah, confirm my denunciation (comp. Deuteronomy 29:24). From his holy temple; i.e. from heaven, as ver. 3 shows (1 Kings 8:30; Psalm 11:4; Habakkuk 2:20).
For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.
Verse 3. - Here follows a grand description, in figurative language, of the course of Divine judgment, and of God's awful majesty and resistless power. Out of his place. It is as though the sins of Israel had roused him to action. God is hidden except when he displays his power in judgment and mercy (see note on Zechariah 14:3). Will come down. An anthropomorphic expression, as Genesis 18:21. The high places. As though descending from heaven, God first came upon the tops of the mountains (see note on Amos 4:13; comp. Deuteronomy 32:13). The phrase would imply God's absolute sovereignty over the universe.
And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.
Verse 4. - The description of God's advent to judgment is founded on the idea of a terrible storm and earthquake, perhaps accompanied with volcanic eruption, though evidence of such eruptions in the historical period is not forthcoming. The description recalls the awful revelation at Sinai (Exodus 19.). Shall be molten; either by the lightning or the showers of rain that descend from heaven. The mountains, the type of stability and strength, fall away at the presence of the Judge. Septuagint, σαλευθήσεται, "shall be shaken;" Vulgate, consumentur (Judges 5:4, 5; Psalm 18:7, etc.; Psalms 68:8; 97:4, 5; Amos 9:5). Be cleft; Septuagint, τακήσονται, "shall melt." The valleys shall be hollowed out into channels by the force of the water, which falls in torrents. As wax (Psalm 68:2; Psalm 97:5). This belongs to the first clause, "the mountains," etc. As waters. This belongs to the second clause. The cloven plains shall melt away as waters disappear down a precipice. The idea that underlies this description is that the inanimate creation shares in the effects of the judgment on man, and is used as an instrument in his punishment.
For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem?
Verses 5-7. - § 2. Judgment is denounced on Israel for its sin. Verse 5. - The prophet shows the cause of this punishment. Transgression; better, apostasy, which the people's trangression really was. Jacob. Here the ten tribes and Judah - the whole of the covenant people. In the latter part of the verse the term includes only the ten tribes, called often Israel or Ephraim. All this. The manifestation of God's power and wrath described in vers. 3 and 4. The house of Israel. The ten tribes. Is it not Samaria? She is naught but sin. He names the capitals of the two kingdoms as the source and centre of the idolatry and wickedness which pervaded the whole country. Samaria was built by Omri, a king who "wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him;" and in it his son Ahab erected a temple to Baal (1 Kings 16:32), and it became the chief seat of idolatry in the land. What are the high places? The prophet seems to say that Jerusalem is no longer the Lord's sanctuary, but a collection of unauthorized or idolatrous shrines. These were buildings or altars erected in conspicuous spots, contrary to the enactments of the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 12:11-14), and used more or less for idolatrous worship. With a strange perversity, the Jews mixed the pure service of Jehovah with the rites of heathen deities. Even the best kings of Judah were unable wholly to suppress these local sanctuaries (see 2 Kings 12:3; 2 Kings 14:4, etc.). They were found even in Jerusalem itself (Jeremiah 32:35), especially in the time of Ahaz (2 Kings 16:4). The parallelism of this clause with the preceding being thought defective ("high places" being not parallel with "apostasy"), the Septuagint reads, ἡ ἁμαρτία, "the sin," followed by the Syriac and the Targum. One Hebrew manuscript confirms the reading; but it is probably unauthorized, and has been ignorantly introduced The prophet defines the sins of Samaria and Jerusalem. The sin of the former is apostasy; that of the latter, unauthorized worship. Instead of "what" in both places the Hebrew gives "who," implying that there is a personal cause, the two capitals being personified. Hezekiah's partial reformation had not taken place when this was uttered.
Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof.
Verse 6. - I will make. This prophecy, therefore, was delivered before the destruction of Samaria in the fourth year of Hezekiah. As an heap of the field; or, into a heap of the field, like a heap of stones gathered off a cultivated field (comp. Isaiah 5:2.) Septuagint, ἰς ὀπωροφυλάκιον ἀγροῦ, "the hut of a fruit watcher." As plantings of a vineyard; into the plantings, etc.; i.e. into mere terraces for vines. Such shall be the utter ruin of the city, that on its site vines shall be planted. The prophet here uses a description of complete destruction which is a regular formula in Assyrian inscriptions, where we read of cities being made into "a rubbish heap and a field." The expression occurs, e.g., in a monument of Tiglath-Pileser (see Schrader, 'Keilinschr.,' p. 449). I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley. Samaria stood on a hilly platform (1 Kings 16:24), with a sheer descent on every side, and when it was overthrown its stones were hurled into the valley surrounding it, as may be seen to this day. "When we looked down," says Tristram ('Land of Israel,' p. 136), "at the gaunt columns rising out of the little terraced fields, and the vines clambering up the sides of the hill once covered by the palaces of proud Samaria, who could help recalling the prophecy of Micah? Not more literally have the denunciations on Tyre or on Babylon been accomplished. What though Sebaste rose, under Herod, to a pitch of greater splendour than even old Samaria, the effort was in vain, and the curse has been fully accomplished. In the whole range of prophetic history, I know of no fulfilment more startling to the eyewitness in its accuracy than this." Will discover; will lay bare (Psalm 137:7; Ezekiel 13:14).
And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.
Verse 7. - Graven images. The stone idols (Isaiah 10:10). Septuagint, τὰ γλυπτά. The hires thereof. The word properly means, "the wages of prostitution." Idolatry is viewed as spiritual fornication, and the offerings made to the idol temples are reckoned to be harlot gifts. Hosea speaks in the same way (Hosea 2:5, 8, 12; Hosea 9:1; comp. Isaiah 23:17; Ezekiel 16:31). There may be allusion to the shameful practices consecrated with the name of religion, the proceeds of which went to the support of idolatry (see Baruch 6:43; Herod., 1:199; Strabo, 16:1). Idols; more costly images, made probably of or plated with precious metals. For she gathered it; rather, them, the images and idols, from the offerings made by idolaters, spiritual fornicators, hence called the hire of an harlot. They shall return to the hire of an harlot. The treasures obtained by idolatry shall go to another idolatrous people, viz. the Assyrians; the dedicated offerings in the temples at Samaria shall be carried off to Nineveh to adorn the temples there (comp. Daniel 1:2; Daniel 5:3; Ezra 1:7). The sentence seems to be a kind of proverbial saying, like the Latin, Male parta, male dilabuntur. Sehegg compares the German, Wie gewonnen, so zerronnen, and Unrect Gut that sein Gut. The judgment on Samaria was executed by the Assyrians. Three times in his short reign of less than six years did Shalmaneser IV. invade Israel. Shortly after his accession, having reason to suspect the fidelity of Hoshea, he "came up against him" (2 Kings 17:3), and so overawed him by the exhibition of his superior power that the King of Israel submitted without a struggle, "became his servants and gave him presents," or rendered him tribute. But Hoshea's allegiance was not yet secured. Encouraged by the enterprise and success of the Ethiopian monarch So, or Shebek, who had defeated and slain the Egyptian king, and established himself firmly on the throne of Upper Egypt, Hoshea, in reliance on Egyptian aid, again threw off the yoke of Assyria, and refused the customary tribute. His punishment was speedy and sharp. Shalmaneser had no difficulty in making himself master of his person, "shut him up and bound him in prison." On a fresh act of rebellion, of what nature we are not informed, Shalmaneser made his third attack. This time he was everywhere resisted, and ended by laying siege to Samaria itself. Before this city his forces were detained for more than two years; nor was it till B.C. 722, when apparently his own reign had come to an end, that Samaria was taken, his successor Sargon claiming the conquest as appertaining to his first year (Rawlinson, 'Ancient Monarchies,' 2. ch. 9.).
Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.
Verses 8, 9. - 3. Micah mourns because the punishment extends to Judah also. Verse 8. - I will wail. The prophet marks the destruction of Samaria with these outward signs of mourning, in order that he might affect the minds of his own countrymen, and show how he grieved over their sins which should bring like punishment. The word rendered "wail" means "to beat" the breast. Septuagint, κόψεται: Vulgate, plangam. Stripped and naked. The former epithet the LXX. translate ἀνυπόδετος, as if it meant "barefoot;" and they refer the verse to Samaria, not to Micah. The two epithets contain one notion; the prophet assumes the character, not merely of a mourner, who put off his usual garments, but that of a captive who was stripped to the skin and carried away naked and despoiled (comp. Isaiah 20:2-4; Isaiah 47:2, 8). Dragons; Septuagint, δρακόντων: Hebrew, tannim, "jackals" (Job 30:29; Malachi 1:3), whose mournful howling is well known to all travellers in the East. Owls; Septuagint, θυγατέρων σειρήνων, "daughters of sirens;" Vulgate, struthionum. The bird is called in Hebrew bath yaanah, which some explain "daughter of the desert," or else refer to roots meaning either "to cry out" or "to be freed." Doubtless the ostrich is meant. Concerning the fearful screech of this bird, Pusey quotes Shaw, 'Travels,' 2:349, "During the lonesome part of the night they often make a doleful and piteous noise. I have often heard them groan as if they were in the greatest agonies."
For her wound is incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.
Verse 9. - Her wound; her stripes, the punishment inflicted on Samaria. Incurable (comp. Jeremiah 15:18) The day of grace is past, and Israel has not repented. It is come. The stripe, the punishment, reaches Judah. To the prophetic eye the Assyrians' invasion of Judaea seems close at hand, and even the final attack of the Chaldeans comes within his view. The same sins in the northern and southern capitals lead to the same fate. He is come. He, the enemy, the agent of the "stripe." The gate of my people. The gate, the place of meeting, the well guarded post, is put for the city itself (comp. Genesis 22:17; Deuteronomy 28:52; Obadiah 1:11). Pusey thinks that Micah refers to something short of total excision, and therefore that the invasion of Sennacherib alone is meant (2 Kings 18:13). But the fore shortened view of the prophet may well include the final ruin.
Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust.
Verses 10-15. - 4. The judgment on Judah is exemplified by the fate of certain of its cities, whose names the prophet connects with their punishment in a series of paronomasias. Verse 10. - Declare ye it not at Gath. This phrase from David's elegy over Saul (2 Samuel 1:20) had become a proverbial saying, deprecating the malicious joy of their hostile neighbours over the misfortunes that befell them. Gath is mentioned as the seat of the Philistines, the constant and powerful enemy of Judah. (For its situation, see note on Amos 6:2.) The paronomasias in this passage, which seem to modern ears artificial and puerile, are paralleled in many writings both Hebrew and classic, and were natural to a people who looked for mystical meaning in words and names. Thus Gath is taken to signify "Tell town," and the clause is, "In Tell town tell it not." Weep ye not at all; Vulgate, lacrymis ne ploretis; i.e. "weep in silence," or "hide your tears," that the enemy may not know your grief. As in cash of the other clauses a town is mentioned, some editors would here read, "In Acco ('Weep town') weep not!" - Acco being the later Ptolemais, the modern St. Jean d'Acre, and taken here to represent another foreign city which would rejoice at Judah's misfortunes (see, Judges 1:31). The Septuagint alone of all the versions seems to countenance this reading, by translating, Οἱ Ἐνακεὶμ μὴ ἀνοικοδομεῖτε, "Ye Enakim, do not rebuild," which has been resolved into οἱ ἐν Ἀκεὶμ, supposed to be an error for οἱ ἐν Ἀχί The objections against this reading may be seen in Keil and Pusey. There is a play on the words in both these clauses (as in the following five verses), which is not seen in the English Version, begath al taggidu, and bako al tibeku. Knabenbauer imitates the paronomasia in Latin, "Cannis ne canite; Anconae ne angamini;" Ewald and Schegg in German, "In Molln meldet nicht; in Weinsberg. weinet nicht;" Reuss in French, "N'allez pas le dire a Dijon! N'allez pas pleurer a Ploermel!" In these puns, as we should call them, the prophet is far, indeed, from jesting. "He sees," says Dr. Cheyne, "like Isaiah, in Isaiah 10:30, a preordained correspondence between names and fortunes;" and he wishes to impress this on his countrymen, that the judgment may not come upon them unwarned. In the house of Aphrah; better, at Beth-le-Aphrah, i.e. "House of dust;" Vulgate, in domo pulveris. The site of Aphrah is unknown. Some identify it with Ophrah in Benjamin (Joshua 18:23), four miles northeast of Bethel; others, with Ophrah in Philistia (1 Chronicles 4:14). Host of the towns named below lie in the Shephelah. Keil notes that the word is pointed with pathach here for the sake of the paronomasia. Roll thyself in the dust; sprinkle dust upon thyself. This was a common sign of mourning (comp. 2 Samuel 13:19; Jeremiah 6:26). The Hebrew text (in contradistinction to the margin, Keri) gives, "I roll myself," or "I have besprinkled myself," the prophet identifying himself with the people. But as in all the subsequent passages, not what the prophet does, but what the inhabitants do, is the point impressed, the reading of the Keri is hem to be preferred. Vulgate, pulvere vos conspergite. The Septuagint has an inexplicable rendering, κατὰ γέλωτα γῆν καταπάσασθε, "against laughter sprinkle earth," which Brenton translates, "sprinkle dust in the place of your laughter." With this section (vers. 10-15) should be compared Isaiah 10:28-32, which describes the alarm occasioned by Sennacherib's invasion of Judah from the northeast, as Micah represents his progress to the southwest.
Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir, having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive of you his standing.
Verse 11. - Pass ye away. Leave your house. Thou inhabitant of Saphir. The Hebrew is "inhabitress," the population being personified as a virgin (comp. 2 Kings 19:21; Isaiah 47:1). "Saphir" means "Fair city." It is placed by Eusebius ('Onomast.') between Ascalon and Eleutheropolis: it is now identified with some ruins named Suafir, five miles southeast of Ashdod. Having thy shame naked; "in nakedness and shame" (Pusey); Vulgate, confusa ignominia. The prophet contrasts the shame of their treatment with the meaning of their city's name," Go, Fair town, into foul dishonour." Septuagint, κατοικοῦσα καλῶς τὰς πόλεις αὐτῆς, "fairly inhabiting her cities." St. Jerome, in despair of explaining these Greek renderings, says here, "Multum Hebraicum a LXX. interpretatione discordat, et tantis tam mea quam illorum translatio difficultatibus involuta est, ut si quando indiguimus Spiritus Dei (semper autem in exponendis Scripturis sanctis illius indigemus adventu), nunc vel maxime eum adesse cupiamus." Zaanan is supposed to be the same as Zenan, mentioned in Joshua 15:37. The meaning of the name is doubtful. It is taken to signify "abounding in flocks" or "going out." Came not forth; or, is not come forth. The paronomasia seems to lie rather in sound than sense, and is variously explained, "The inhabitants of Flock town went not forth with their flocks." "The dwellers of Forthcoming came not forth," i.e. to flee, or to fight, or to aid their brethren; or did not escape destruction. Vulgate, Non est egressa quae habitat in exitu; Septuagint, Οὐκ ἐξῆλε κατοικοῦσα Σενναάρ, "She who dwelt at Sennaar came not forth." In the mourning, etc. These words are best joined with the following clause, thus: The mourning of Beth-ezel taketh from you its standing; i.e. refuge or shelter. Beth-ezel is explained, "House at one's side." "Neighbour town;" so the prophet would say, "Neighbour town is no neighbour to you," affords you no help. But various other explanations are given. e.g. "Lamentation makes its sure abode at Beth-ezel from your calamity." This may, perhaps, be supported by the rendering of the LXX., Λήψεται ἐξ ὑμῶν πληγὴν ὀδύνης, "She shall receive of you the stroke of anguish." Dr. Cheyne connects the whole verse with one idea, "Zaanan would willingly take to flight, but the sound of the mourning at Beth-ezel (which might mean, "the house, or place, at one's side') fills them with despair." Taking Beth-ezel to mean "House of root," others would interpret, on account of the public sorrow, "The 'house of root' affords no firm home for you." Others, again," The lamentation of 'The near House' will not stop near it, but pass on to other places." Beth-ezel is probably the Azal of Zechariah 14:5, the beth being dropped, as is often the case. It was in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem (see note on Zechariah. l.c.).
For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.
Verse 12. - Maroth; bitterness. Its site is unknown; but it was in the immediate neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Ewald suggests that it is the same as Maarath (Joshua 15:59), hod. Beit Ummar, six miles north of Hebron. Waited carefully for good; waited, expecting succour. But the better translation is, writhed in anguish on account of good, which they have lost, whether property or liberty. But evil came; for (or, because) evil is come. Unto the gate of Jerusalem (comp. ver. 9). The prophet refers to the invasion of the Assyrian kings, Sargon or Sennacherib, also mentioned by Isaiah (Isaiah 22:7), and the haughty message (Isaiah 36:2).
O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee.
Verse 13. - Lachish. A very strong and important city of the Canaanites, hod. Um Lakis, about fourteen miles northeast of Gaza, which was captured by Sennacherib after a long siege (2 Kings 18:14; Isaiah 36:2; Isaiah 37:8). In the British Museum there is a bas-relief, brought from Assyria, representing Sennacherib seated on his throne while the spoil of the city of Lachish passed before him (Sayce, 'Fresh Light from the Monuments,' pp. 123, 125). Bind the chariot to the swift beast. Harness your horses to your chariots, that ye may flee and escape destruction. The phrase is like the Latin, currum jungere equis. The paronomasia here lies in the sound, "Inhabitant of Lachish, harness your rekkesh" ("runner," "courser"). "Inhabitant of Horse town, harness your horses." Septuagint, ψόφος ἁρμάτων καὶ ἱππευόντων, "a sound of chariots and horsemen;" Vulgate, tumultus quadrigae stuporis - renderings which the present Hebrew text does not support. She was the beginning, etc. How Lachish came to adopt the idolatry of Israel, and how she infected Judah, we know not. A connection between Jerusalem and Lachish is found in the case of Amaziah (2 Kings 14:19), but nothing bearing on religion is mentioned. The whole clause is translated by Calmer, Keil, etc., thus: "It was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion that the iniquities of Israel were found in thee" (comp. Micah 6:16; Amos 8:14). The particular transgressions meant may be the idolatry of Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:6) and Ahaziah (2 Chronicles 22:3, 4).
Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel.
Verse 14. - Therefore. Because Judah has adopted the evil practices of Israel. The prophet here addresses Judah, and continues to do so to the end of the chapter. Shalt thou give presents to Moreshsth-Gath. The "presents" intended are parting gifts, farewell presents. The word is used (1 Kings 9:16) for the dowry given to a daughter when she is married. The meaning, therefore, is that Judah must relinquish all claim to Moresheth. The paronomasia is explained in two ways. As Moresheth may mean "possession," the prophet may be understood to say, "Thou shalt give up possession of Gath's possession." Or the play of words may depend upon the similarity of sound between Moresheth and Meorasah, "Betrothed" (Deuteronomy 22:29), "Thou shalt give dismissal (bill of divorcement) to the city once betrothed to thee." Moresheth-Gath, Micah's birthplace, is placed just south of Beit Jibrin, or Eleutheropolis, about twenty-five miles from Gaza (see Introduction, § II.). The addition of Gath to the name of the town is meant to mark its situation in the immediate neighbourhood of that well known city. So we have Bethlehem-Judah (Judges 17:7), Abel-Maim or Maachah (1 Kings 15:20; 2 Chronicles 16:4). Septuagint, Δώσει ἐξαποστελλομένους ἕως κληρονομίας Γέο, "He shall cause men to be sent forth even to the inheritance of Geth;" Vulgate, Dabit emissarios super heredidatem Geth. To give shilluchim the sense of "messengers" seems to be unprecedented. The houses of Achzib shall be a lie (achzab), a lying, deceiving brook, which disappoints the hope of the wayfarer, like "fundus mendax" (Horat., 'Carm.,' 3:1. 30). Septuagint, οἴκους ματαίους, "vain houses;" Vulgate, domus mendacii. The city shall be yielded to the enemy and lost to the Judaeans. Achzib (Joshua 15:44), hod. Ain Kezbeh, eight miles north of Adullam, is probably the same as Chezib (Genesis 38:5), where Shelah, Judah's son by Tamar, was born. The kings of Israel. "Israel" is here equivalent to Judah, having, according to the prediction of vers. 6, 7, lost its political existence (comp. 2 Chronicles 28:19, where Ahaz is called King of Israel).
Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel.
Verse 15. - Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah. "Mareshah" sounds like Morashah, the Hebrew word for "inheritance;" so the play is, "I will bring an inheritor who shall claim your Heritage town." The "heir" is the Assyrian king, Sargon, into whose possession the city shall pass. Mareshah (Joshua 15:44; 2 Chronicles 14:9) was near Achzib, one mile southcast of Beit Jibrin, and is now called Mer'ash. He shall come, etc.; better, the glory of Israel shall come to Adullam; i.e. the nobility (comp. Isaiah 5:13) of Israel shall fly for refuge to such places as the cave of Adullam, David's asylum (1 Samuel 22:1, 2). So the Vulgate. The LXX. has, Κληρονομία ε{ως Ὀδυλλὰμ ἥξει ἡ δόξα τῆς θυγατρὸς Ἰσραήλ "The inheritance shall come to Odullam, even the glory of the daughter of Israel." But Rosenmuller, Henderson, Pusey, and others take the sentence as in the Authorized Version, making "the glory of Israel" in apposition with "Adullam," and understanding by "he" the heir or enemy. One knows no reason why Aduliam should be honoured with the above-named title; so the rendering given above is preferable. There is probably a paronomasia intended, "The glory of the Lord shall set (ad olam) forever." The city of Adullam, hod. Aid-el-Mah, lay in the valley of Elah, ten miles northwest of Hebron, halfway between Sochoh and Keilah. It was of great antiquity, being mentioned as the birthplace of Hirah, the friend of Judah (Genesis 38:12), and one of the cities fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:7). In its neighbourhood is the celebrated cave, Mugha et Khureitun, which is pointed out as the traditional hold of David, and which has been carefully explored by Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake, of the Palestine Exploration Fund (see Thomson, 'Land and the Book,' pp. 332, etc.).
Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee.
Verse 16. - § 5. The prophet calls upon Zion to mourn for her captivity. Make thee bald. The Hebrew word implies "to make the back of the head bald." Micah addressee Zion as the mother of the children who are to be led into captivity. Shaving the head in sign of mourning seems to have been retained as a traditionary custom in spite of the prohibition of the Law against certain forms which the practice assumed (see Leviticus 19:27; Deuteronomy 14:1; and for the actual custom, comp. Isaiah 3:24; Jeremiah 7:29; and the note on Amos 8:10). Poll thee. Cut off thy hair, nearly synonymous with the word in the former clause. Thy delicate children; literally, the children of thy delights; i.e. the children who are a joy and comfort to thee, the citizens of thy kingdom (comp. Micah 2:9). As the eagle (nesher). The vulture is meant, either Vultur percnopterus, common in Egypt and Palestine, which is bald on the front of the head and neck, or more probably Vultur fulvus, the griffon vulture, whose whole head and neck are destitute of true feathers (see 'Bible Educator,' 2:247). Into captivity. This cannot refer exclusively to the Assyrian invasion, wherein very few captives were taken, but must look forward to the Babylonian deportation in ch. 4:10. The latter calamity alone is parallel to the destruction of Samaria announced in vers. 6, 7 of this chapter.

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