MICAH - WHO IS LIKE JEHOVAH?
Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission
Chart by Charles Swindoll
|MICAH: WHO IS LIKE JEHOVAH?
will follow Judgment
An Indictment of Sin &
A Promise of Blessing
|Sin & It's Outcome
|The King & His Kingdom
First Coming - Mic 5:2-3
Second Coming - Mic 5:4-15
|The Lord & His Justice
|Message of Destruction for Samaria & Judah||Message of Doom
|God Gathers to
Judge and Deliver
|God Judges Rulers and
Comes to Deliver
|God Brings Indictments and
Is God Responsible for the Destruction we face?
How Do We Know
God is with Us?
What Does God
Want from Us?
|About 25 Years
Micah 4:1 And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it.
- in the last Genesis 49:1; Isaiah 2:1-3; Jeremiah 48:47; Ezekiel 38:16; Daniel 2:28; 10:14; Hosea 3:5; Acts 2:17; Hebrews 1:2; 2 Peter 3:3
- the mountain Mic 3:12; Ps 68:15,16; Isaiah 11:9; 66:20; Ezekiel 17:22-24; 40:2; 43:12; Daniel 2:35,44; 7:14,18,22,27; Zechariah 8:3; Revelation 11:15; 20:4; 21:1-8
- and people Genesis 49:10; Psalms 22:27; 68:29-32; 72:7-11,16-19; 86:9; 110:3; Isaiah 11:10; 27:13; 43:6; 49:6,19-23; 54:2; 60:3-14; 66:18-23; Jeremiah 3:17; 16:19; Zephaniah 3:9,10; Zechariah 2:11; 14:16-21; Malachi 1:11; Romans 11:25,26; Revelation 15:4
In the interest of full disclosure, the reader is hereby informed that my approach to the Scripture is to interpret it literally. I do not adhere to a specific human system of theology or interpretation (reformed, covenant, dispensational, etc). If the text (in context) makes good sense in its natural, literal reading, then I seek to make no other sense out of it, lest it potentially result in nonsense. In short, if I am to be categorized, it should be as a literalist. To take prophecies which Micah clearly spoke to the literal nation of Israel, at a literal time and a literal place, and attempt to interpret them as relating to some other group or some other time is fraught with the potential for inaccurate interpretation.
The OT scholar Walter Kaiser considers Micah 4:1-5:15 to be "one of the truly magnificent portions of Scripture that takes us deep into the doctrine of the coming Messiah and His kingdom."
Charles Simeon says that while God through His prophet Micah "announced to the Jews God’s determined purpose to punish them (the Jews) in this awful manner, he foretold also his intention at a future period to restore them (the Jews) to his favor, and to make them (the Jews) a source of blessings to the whole earth." (Sermon)
Keil and Delitzsch state that "Zion will eventually be exalted from the deepest degradation to the highest glory." (Commentary)
F B Meyer - It is not improbable that Isaiah, Micah 2:1-4, and Micah quoted an older prophecy, which in its fullness, is yet to be fulfilled. In the millennial age Israel, in her restored beauty, will be the center of a renovated world. That restoration will bring great glory to God and blessing to mankind, Ro 11:15. The time center of unity is not to be found in creeds or systems, but in the impulse of a common desire after God and common worship. When men have found their unity in God they will renounce war; and the home-life will become the preservative of society, Micah 4:4. Micah 4:6-7 foretell the gathering of Israel to their own land. Babylon probably stands not only for the literal nation by which the Jews were carried into captivity, but for all of the Gentile nations that have afflicted the Chosen People. Notice that God’s deliverances discover and help us in the midst of our direct affliction. (Commentary)
A C Gaebelein - The last verse (Micah 3:12) predicted the long desolation and ruin of Zion. This is followed at once by a great prophecy of the future of glory in store for Zion. Isaiah also uttered this great prediction. Not that Micah copied Isaiah, nor Isaiah Micah, but the same Spirit gave to the men the same prophecy. It concerns the latter days, which means the coming of Messiah’s kingdom on earth. These days are not yet here. To apply these words, even in a spiritual way, to the present age, or to the Church, is a serious mistake. The house of the Lord is not the Church, but the house in Jerusalem (Ed: context must be "king," if one truly seeks accurate interpretation), to which in the kingdom the nations will come to worship the Lord of hosts. The nation will be judged and rebuked by Him whose glorious throne will be established in Jerusalem. Then, and only then, comes the time of universal, world-wide peace. How blind Christendom is in not seeing in what connection the favored text concerning peace on earth stands! It will be “in that day” when “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” The prediction of our Lord that throughout this age, down to its end, nation would lift up sword against nation, is then ended, and another order of things begins; for then “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” What peace and prosperity will then follow! It is described in the fourth verse, “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Annotated Bible)
Those readers who feel that God is finished with Israel might be surprised to discover that the prince of preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon would not agree with their interpretation. In fact Spurgeon clearly believed in a future restoration of a literal nation of Israel. Here is a statement regarding the nation of Israel made by Spurgeon in 1864 (84 years before Israel became a sovereign nation for a second time and also years before the birth of Dispensationalism).
The meaning of our text, as opened up by the context (Ed: Spurgeon clearly understood that context was absolutely crucial for accurate interpretation), is most evidently, if words mean anything (Ed: Does this statement sound like Spurgeon spurned Literal Interpretation which so many decry!), first, that there shall be a political restoration of the Jews to their own land and to their own nationality; and then, secondly, there is in the text, and in the context, a most plain declaration, that there shall be a spiritual restoration, a conversion in fact, of the tribes of Israel. (From his sermon - The Restoration and Conversion of the Jews - Ezekiel 37:1-10)
In addition Dennis Swanson discusses Spurgeon's view of The Millennium noting that
Despite claims to the contrary, his position was most closely identifiable with that of historic pre-millennialism in teaching the church would experience the tribulation, the millennial kingdom would be the culmination of God's program for the church, a thousand years would separate the resurrection of the just from that of the unjust, and the Jews in the kingdom would be part of the one people of God with the church. (The Millennial Position of Spurgeon) (Related article: C. H. Spurgeon, Biblical Inerrancy, and Pre-millennialism A Review Article by John C. Whitcomb -- Grace Theological Journal 7.2 , 229-234) - See bottom of page 5 for this statement from the 1891 edition of "The Sword and Trowel" - "Our hope is the Personal Pre-millennial Return of the Lord Jesus in glory")
Henry Alford one of the most highly respected theologians from the 19th Century wrote these words on Revelation 20:4-6 which he titled "The Millennial Reign" (notice that he wrote this many years before Dispensationalism was even propounded as a system)…
It will have been long ago anticipated by the readers of this Commentary, that I cannot consent to distort words from their plain sense (Ed: Clearly Alford espouses Literal Interpretation) and chronological place in the prophecy, on account of any considerations of difficulty, or any risk of abuses which the doctrine of the millennium may bring with it. Those who lived next to the Apostles, and the whole Church for 300 years, understood them in the plain literal sense: and it is a strange sight in these days to see expositors who are among the first in reverence of antiquity, complacently casting aside the most cogent instance of consensus which primitive antiquity presents. As regards the text itself (Ed: Referring to Rev 20:1-6), no legitimate treatment of it will extort what is known as the spiritual interpretation (Spiritualizing) now in fashion. If, in a passage where two resurrections are mentioned, where certain psuchai exesan at the first, and the rest of the nekroi exesan only at the end of a specified period after that first,—if in such a passage the first resurrection may be understood to mean spiritual rising with Christ, while the second means literal rising from the grave;—then there is an end of all significance in language, and Scripture is wiped out as a definite testimony to any thing. If the first resurrection is spiritual, then so is the second, which I suppose none will be hardy enough to maintain: but if the second is literal, then so is the first, which in common with the whole primitive Church and many of the best modern expositors, I do maintain, and receive as an article of faith and hope)… (Alford's Summary of Rev 20:1-10) 1–10.] THE VICTORY OVER SATAN. The next enemy now remaining is the Arch-fiend himself, who had given his might and his throne and great power (Revelation 13:2) to the beast: whose instruments the other enemies were. The blow given to him by their overthrow is followed by his binding and incarceration for 1000 years (Revelation 20:1-3): during which period the Saints live and reign with Christ, and judge the world, and the first resurrection takes place (Revelation 20:4-6). But his malice and his power are not yet at an end. One final effort is permitted him at the end of that time (Revelation 20:7), and he once more succeeds in deceiving the nations (Revelation 20:8), who come up against the camp of the saints, and are destroyed by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:9). He is then cast into the lake of fire with the beast and false prophet, there to be tormented forever (Revelation 20:10). (Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary)
Recommended Resources Related to Interpretation of Prophecy:
- Discussion of Allegorizing and Spiritualizing the Truth
- The Art and Science of Interpretation
- The Rise of Allegorical Interpretation
- Understanding Symbols and Figures
In the following table, observe God's pattern, noting especially how in the midst of wrath He remembers mercy, even promising welfare in place of calamity thus giving Israel a future and a hope (cf Jer 29:11)! It is fascinating that we see Jehovah repeatedly juxtapose prophecies of inevitable destruction with prophecies of incredible renewal for Israel as typified in His introductory prophecy in Jeremiah…
See, I have appointed you this day
over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To pluck up and to break down,
To destroy and to overthrow,
To build and to plant.
|Micah 1:1-2:11||Micah 2:12-13|
|Micah 3:1-12||Micah 4:1-5:14|
|Micah 5:1||Micah 5:2-15|
|Micah 6:1-7:10||Micah 7:11-20|
And so even in the midst of wrath, God remembers mercy (Hab 3:2-note), and Micah 4:1-5:15 is a excellent example, for the prophecy of Jerusalem's desolation and ruin in Micah 3:12 is followed with a prophecy of restoration of the future glory for Zion! This yet to be fulfilled prophecy is so significant and so glorious that the Spirit inspired Isaiah (Micah's contemporary) to pen a virtually identical description of the future Millennial Reign of the Messiah (Isaiah 2:2-4-note). As noted above, the topic of the coming of the Messiah and Israel's future restoration continues from Micah 4:1 to Micah 5:15). Moses had predicted
When you (Israel) are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter (Lxx = eschatos > "eschatological") days, you will return (Heb = shub; Lxx = epistrepho) to the LORD your God and listen to His voice. (Deut 4:30, 31)
Comment: Dear reader regardless of whatever "theological system" you are an adherent, let me ask you "Has the prediction of Moses been fulfilled?" If you are objective and honest, surely you agree that this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. Yes, the Jews are back in the Land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but they are back largely in unbelief (in their Messiah). Today the majority of the nation of Israel is secular and has only a shallow interest in the Word of God or the God of the Word! Compare parallel promises by God to Israel in Deut 30:1-9. Clearly the heart of most Jews is not yet circumcised (cf Jer 31:33, Ezek 36:26-27-note, Ro 2:25-29-note, Col 2:11-note), again strongly supporting the premise that the perfect fulfillment of this prophecy is yet future event.
And - This conjunction is present in the original Hebrew (Lxx has kai = and) but most of the modern translations (even the ESV) omit it! Micah is clearly tying the hopeful message that follows with the horrible message that preceded (See the following table on parallel contrasts). Some feel this is a poor chapter break in light of the fact that Micah is still speaking of Zion and Jerusalem. The mood changes from judgment to hope (see table 1 and table 2), for the overgrown Temple Mount would be exalted and the holy city like a plowed field as McComiskey puts it "would become the center of God’s gracious activity to the peoples of the earth." (His contribution to the Expositor's Bible Commentary)
ORACLE OF DOOM IN MICAH 3 &
ORACLE OF HOPE IN MICAH 4
A TRAGIC ENDING
A NEW BEGINNING
Micah 3:10, 12
|Mountain of the Temple
(Heb = har = mountain)
|Mountain of the house
(Heb = har = mountain)
(Heb = ro'sh)
Micah 3:9, 11
(Heb = ro'sh)
|Zion built with bloodshed
Jerusalem with violent injustice
|Zion source of the law
Jerusalem source of the Word of Jehovah
|Priests teach for money
Leaders judge unjustly
|Jehovah teaches His righteous ways
Jehovah judges justly
THE LAST DAYS
It will come about in the last days - What is "It?" What will come about? When? Simple questions to aid your inductive study of the text.
The last days (literally "at the back of the days")
11x - Isa 2:2; Jer 23:20; 49:39; Ezek 38:16; Hos 3:5; Mic 4:1;
Compare similar phrases (in the NASB)…
Latter Days: Dt 4:30, Dt 31:29, Jer 30:24 (cf Jer 23:20), , Jer 48:47, Da 2:28, Da 10:14
Days to come - Ge 49:1; Nu 24:14; Isa 27:6
Related Resource: Click for detailed discussion of "the last days"
Last days clearly has prophetic implications in this context, and from the use in Hebrews 1:2-note (cf Acts 2:17, 2Ti 3:1-note, 1Pe 1:20-note) we see that the last days begin with Jesus' first coming. Micah (and Isaiah's) descriptions of the Last Days clearly do not "fit" Messiah's first coming, but will be fulfilled at Messiah's Second Coming.
Patterson - This expression (last days) is prophetic shorthand for “the Day of the LORD,” the eschatological day of divine intervention in history that brings both the judgment of the wicked and the deliverance of the righteous. It is a day of cosmic upheaval and reversal, a day of theophany (an appearance of the Lord) and holy war against the pagan nations. The “day of the LORD” is an indefinite period of time, but always an impending event for the OT prophets. (Ed: See discussion of Day of the Lord)
MacKay - Certainly this (Micah 4) prophecy was not exhausted by the return of the Jews from Babylon, though in such an event we can readily detect a partial fulfilment of it (Ed: Beware for MacKay replaces Israel with the Church in some of his interpretation of Micah 4!).
Patterson - Micah described the day of the Lord as a day of reversal. He envisioned a day in which Jerusalem is the “navel” of the earth (Mic 4:1), a day when weapons of war are retooled as instruments of peace (Mic 4:3), a day when peace prevails over war (Mic 4:4), and a day when the worship of Yahweh is the “gold standard” among competing religious traditions (Mic 4:5). The idea of reversal is a common motif in the prophetic literature addressing the topic of the day of the Lord. This theme of reversal is sometimes called a “world upside down” (van Leeuwen 1986:599–610). God is a God of a “world upside down” in the sense that he is a God of surprises, a God of the unexpected.
Barker on last days - The phrase can refer to the general or undetermined future (e.g., Ge 49:1; Nu 24:14; Dt 31:29, “in days to come”), but in contexts like this one it usually appears to have in view the Messianic Age (Ed: A synonym for The Millennium). “In a real sense the last days began with the first coming of Christ (see Acts 2:17; Heb 1:2-note, 1Pe 1:20-note) and will be fulfilled at His Second Coming.”
McComiskey on the last days - (This) always denotes a period of time that, from the writer’s perspective, is in the indefinite future. It is not primarily an eschatological term. However, since the term is used in this context of the reign of the Lord, it is eschatological. The context must determine which future period is in view. That the prophet envisioned the exaltation of Jerusalem in association with the Messianic Kingdom is clear from such verses as Micah 4:8 and Micah 5:2–4, 7–9. And the phrase “in the last days” occurs in the prophetic writings in reference to the Messianic Age (cf. esp. Da 10:14; Hos 3:5). So it appears that Micah looked for the fulfillment of this prophecy, not specifically in the return from the Captivity, but rather in that time when the Messianic King would effect the will of God for His people and would restore the fortunes of Israel.
Other passages in which Last Days has an eschatological meaning are Deut 4:30, Ezek 38:16, Da 2:28.
Martin says last days (in the context of Micah 4:1-4) denotes "the time when God will bring to consummation all the events in history."
MacArthur agrees noting that the Last Days speaks of "the period beginning with the first advent of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:17; 2Ti 3:1-note; He 1:2-note; Jas 5:3; 2Pe 3:3-note). Old Testament prophets, being without a clear word regarding the time between the Messiah’s two advents, linked the expression to the Messiah’s return to establish His earthly kingdom, i.e., the millennial kingdom spoken about in Re 20:1-10-note) The writer of Hebrews in one sentence encompasses the first and second comings of Christ, which in effect define "the last days" - "So Christ also, having been offered once (First coming - beginning of "the last days") to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time (see Second Coming- which marks the termination of "the last days") for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. (He 9:28-note)
The mountain of the house of the LORD (See artist's rendering below) - This is the "it" that will occur in the Last Days is a great, cataclysmic, geopolitical and spiritual upheaval if you will. The tiny nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem that has been the source of age long strife and enmity by the Gentiles, will be transformed in such a way that they become a great attraction to the peoples of the world. This "earth shaking" event surely necessitates a significant supernatural intervention for the Gentiles' hearts to be changed so radically from hatred to love. The chief attraction will not so much be the house of the LORD, but the LORD of the house Who will dwell among men in His long promised, long awaited and longed for Kingdom on earth. As noted earlier this glorious transformation stands in marked contrast to the gloomy prophecy or Micah 3:12! It's as if the prophet is saying to his readers "When the outlook is grim, try the uplook!" Look to God's promises of a lifted up Temple in the City of God. Look up to the Messiah (cf Heb 12:2). Compare the words of Jehovah through His prophet Zechariah…
Thus says the LORD, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.’ (Zech 8:3)
The house of the LORD is not the church, but interpreted literally and in context clearly refers to the Holy Temple of Jehovah in Jerusalem, a Temple which will be rebuilt during the Millennial Reign of the Messiah. The current Temple Mount in Jerusalem will be the site of the rebuilt Temple and corresponds to Mt Moriah ("Chosen by Jehovah"). God's inspired prophet Ezekiel (speaking to a defeated, discouraged nation that had just seen its Holy Temple utterly destroyed by pagans) offers a hope (albeit it is a hope in the distant future, but isn't that the essence of "hope"? cf Ro 8:24-25-note, 1Cor 13:12) to the exiles in Babylon by giving a description of the Millennial Temple beginning in Chapter 40 (a detailed description that extends through Ezekiel 48)…
The man said to me, “Son of man, see with your eyes, hear with your ears, and give attention to all that I am going to show you; for you have been brought here in order to show it to you. Declare to the House (referring to the Temple) of Israel all that you see. 5 And behold, there was a wall on the outside of the Temple all around, and in the man’s hand was a measuring rod of six cubits, each of which was a cubit and a handbreadth. So he measured the thickness of the wall, one rod; and the height, one rod. (Ezekiel 40:4-5) (See Pastor Brian Bell's nice outline discussion of Ezekiel 40-48 - Ezekiel 40-43 Notes; Ezekiel 44-48 Notes)
Constable - The mountain of the house of the LORD is Mt. Zion where the Temple, the LORD’s house, stood in the past and will stand in the future (cf. Ezek 40–43). In the future, Mt. Zion would become the chief of all the mountains on earth rising above all other hills in its importance (cf. Ge 12:3; Zech 8:3) Mountain is also a figure for a kingdom in the Old Testament (e.g., Da 2:35-see discussion of this great prophecy , Da 2:44-45-note). Here it probably has the double significance of literal Mt. Zion (Jerusalem) and the whole kingdom of Israel that Mt. Zion represents (by metonymy).
In the ancient world, the mountains (harim) were considered to the abode of the gods. In fact almost every ancient near eastern religion and deity had a mountain (or hill) dedicated to it and often had a pagan temple situated on top. Consider, the famous Athenian Acropolis, where akros means highest or topmost and polis means city, this city being the site of the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron deity. Certainly then it is no accident that the true and living God's house in Zion will be the chief mountain in the end times! Praise God!
Will be established as the chief (highest) of the mountains. Isaiah frequently calls Mt. Zion the “holy mountain” (Is 11:9; 27:13; 56:7; 57:13; 65:11,25; 66:20). Zechariah 8:3 refers to the site of the future Temple as "the Holy Mountain."
Davis - Micah’s new geology is a put-down of pagan religion. Pagan deities allegedly dwelt on their various divine mountains; Micah chalks that up as nonsense and says Yahweh’s mountain will outdo the lot of them.
If you look closely at the representation below, you can see the mountain of the House of the LORD raised above the surrounding hills.
Used by permission Middletown Bible Church
It will be raised above the hills - Zechariah describes this great day when "Jehovah will be king over all the earth" and "all the land will be changed into a plain." (Zech 14:9,10-listen to comment by J Vernon McGee)
Barker - Is “be raised above the hills” to be understood literally or figuratively? In view of the topographical changes prophesied in passages like Zech 14:4–5, 10, Delitzsch argues for both. He insists that “it is not merely an exaltation of the temple mountain in the estimation of the nations that is predicted, but a physical and external elevation also.” (Biblical Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah - Franz Delitzsch) Thus Mount Zion and its temple will be elevated probably both physically and in prominence.
And the peoples will stream to it (cp Micah 7:12, Jer 51:44 = stream to idolatry!) - Isaiah 2:2 echoes Micah declaring "all the nations (kol-haggoyim; Lxx = ethne = Gentiles, cf study of ethnos) will stream to it."
Consider the scene - A house on a hill, God's Temple on a mountain and Gentiles like a river flow upward! This is miraculous magnetism! The Spirit supernaturally drawing the nations to the Messiah in this great day.
We can apply this even today, for we should all be supernaturally drawn to worship the King.
Worship is not just personal introspection, or we would worship our feelings. Worship is not even a warm glow, or we would worship that. We worship One outside ourselves. We concentrate on Him, we praise Him, we adore Him, we hear His Word for He is announcing it to us. We listen in holy awe to the Word of God, for it is a part of that "all" of Scripture which is given by the out breathing of God and is personally necessary for "my" correction and "my" instruction in righteousness. (Roger Palms)
This Spirit driven supernatural magnetism is reminiscent of Jesus' words in John 6:44…
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
And again Jesus alludes to His supernatural magnetism in John 12 declaring…
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself. (John 12:32)
Comment: Of course in context Jesus was referring to the Cross (Jn 12:33) but in a sense Micah 4:1 describes a "fruit" of His finished work on the Cross.
Peoples is a synonym for Gentiles, which pictures the Gentile nations (cf "nations" Mic 4:2) coming to Jerusalem, to "worship the King, the LORD of hosts and to celebrate the Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles)." (Zech 14:16-21-note) Steven Cole writes…
The Feast of Booths was the last of the feasts in the Jewish calendar year. It commemorated when Israel lived in temporary shelters after their deliverance from Egypt (Lev. 23:33-44). It was also a feast of ingathering, or harvest (Dt 16:13-15). Thus was a joyous celebration (Lev. 23:40; Dt 16:15) of God’s salvation and provision for His people. On the last day of this feast, the Jewish priests would leave the temple, go to the Pool of Siloam, draw water, and carry it back to the sanctuary. They would pour it out while the worshipers recited Isaiah 12:3, “You will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.” One day as they completed this ritual, a young man stepped forward and cried out loudly, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water’” (Jn 7:37-38). When that speaker, the Lord Jesus, reigns in holiness in your heart, His Holy Spirit, the living water, will fill you with refreshment, joy, and peace. (The Triumph of the Coming King Zechariah 14:1-21)
It is notable that the Gentiles coming to worship in Jerusalem is a "divine reversal" of the Gentiles coming to "tread under foot the holy city for 42 months," the three and one-half years (corresponding to Great Tribulation, also known as The Time of Jacob's Trouble or Distress foretold in Jeremiah 30:3-6, 30:7) that is abruptly terminated by the triumphant Second Coming of Christ (Rev 11:1,2-see commentary)
Spurgeon - God’s cause and kingdom shall not be hidden away in a corner: “the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains,” an Alp upon other Alps, higher than all the other hills. The day is coming when the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be the most conspicuous thing in the whole world, “and people shall flow unto it.” The heathen (Webster = an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible), the people who knew nothing about it, shall flow to it like a great river.
One might well ask, "How can the heathen nations stream to the place of consummate holiness on earth?" David's psalm helps us understand who these heathen are…
Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?
And who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood,
And has not sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD
And righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalm 24:3-5)
Only those declared righteous (justified) by grace through faith can draw near to the Holy One of Israel!
Stream (05102)(nahar) means to flow literally. Figuratively as used here in Micah 4:1, nahar describes the movement of something like the flow of a river. This metaphor congers up a picture of a great host of Gentiles coming from the nations and forming a mighty river of people being sweep upwards to the King of kings and Lord of lords. The Septuagint translates nahar with the verb speudo (see word study spoude derived from speudo) which means to make haste, to hurry, even with eagerness, earnestness or zeal. Like a mighty rushing river is this throng of Messiah worshippers! Oh my, what an beautiful sight upon which to meditate.
Nahar - 3v (in NAS) - Isa 2:2; Jer 51:44; Mic 4:1
Allen - From another point of view the poem may be regarded as a photographic enlargement of a familiar scene. Year by year bands of pilgrims would make their way to Jerusalem to engage in festive worship, in the course of which they would receive instruction in the moral traditions of the covenant. This Israelite pilgrimage is here magnified to universal dimensions. Not merely Israel, but their pagan neighbors from all around would one day wend their way to Yahweh’s earthly residence, and there learn lessons which they would put into practice back in their own communities.
It is interesting that Ezekiel 47 describes literal water "was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east." (Ezek 47:1-12, cf Ps 46:4). So as the peoples stream upward to Messiah's abode in His Holy Temple, the water will flow downward from the Holy Temple.
Note that here in Micah 4 those who stream to the mountain of God are the peoples, the nations (the Gentiles primarily referenced, but clearly believing Jews will ascend to the hill of the LORD), but in Hosea we see a picture that primarily refers to the believing Jewish remnant…
Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God (the Messiah) and David their king (Referring to David who will be resurrected at the end of this age [cf Daniel's future fate in Da 12:13] and reign in the Millennial Kingdom); and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days. (Hos 3:5)
Micah 4:2 Many nations will come and say, "Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths." For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
- and say Isaiah 2:3; Jeremiah 31:6; 50:4,5; Zechariah 8:20-23
- and he Deuteronomy 6:1; Psalms 25:8,9,12; Isaiah 54:13; Matthew 11:25-30; John 6:45; 7:17; Acts 10:32,33; 13:42; James 1:19-25
- for Ps 110:2; Isaiah 42:1-4; 51:4,5; Hosea 6:3; Zechariah 14:8,9; Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16,20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; 13:46,47; Romans 10:12-18; 15:19
Many nations will come and say (Mic 7:12) - Many nations is not the Jews but Gentiles, those who are "separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." (Eph 2:12-note) To my knowledge this prophecy has not been fulfilled. Gentiles coming into the Church (which was at its outset essentially all Jewish) does not fulfill this prophecy.
Davis - It seems to me that there is a clear ‘not yet’ element in the fulfilment (especially when Mic 4:3–4 are kept in view). We haven’t yet seen anything like this or Zechariah 8:20–23 (see below) in final, definitive form.
The prophet Zechariah foresees a similar procession of peoples and nations seeking the Lord in the end times…
Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities. 21 ‘The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, “Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts; I will also go.” 22 ‘So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.’ 23 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’ (Zech 8:20-23-see comments by Steven Cole - scroll to bottom of page)
Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob - Again Micah refers to the rebuilt Millennial Temple. While Micah's prophecy deals primarily with the future of the nation of Israel, God does not forget the redeemed Gentiles (and the Church) who will also worship the LORD in His Holy Temple.
Mountain (02022)(har; Lxx = horos) describes an elevated land formation such as a hill, hill country, mountain, mountain range.
That - Expresses purpose of the Gentiles going up the mountain. Is it on some "Holy Land" tourist trip? Clearly it is not to see a place, but to meet a Person, the Messiah and to be talk by Him to walk like Him!
He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths - Note the pattern - teach then walk. To go to seminars for knowledge and exhibit no life change is an all too frequently in the modern church. When teaching goes into the ears, does not settle in the heart and does not find its way to hearer's feet, we call that hypocrisy! The converse is transformation and conformation to the will of God and the way of His Son.
Imagine this scene - throngs coming with tender hearts that tremble at His Word, desiring to be fed pure milk from the Messiah Himself, the perfect teach.
His ways… His paths - The Messiah Himself instructing on how to live like He lives! What a glorious day this will be!
All the Jews and Gentiles who enter the Millennium are initially all regenerate men and women, but they still have need to be sanctified by truth, in this case taught by Messiah Himself!
Martin emphasizes the striking contrast - Micah’s readers (Jews) were chafing (being irritated) under the Word of God, not wanting to be told by Him or by His prophet that they were wrong. By contrast eventually the whole world (Gentiles and Jews) will submit willingly to God’s Word and His decisions!
Teach (03384)(yarah) means to “teach, instruct” but is related to another root sharing the same spelling “to shoot an arrow”. The word “teaching, instruction” (torah [08451) is derived from this same verb cluster. The instruction of Yahweh may be compared to archery in the sense that the “arrow” of God’s teaching (laws, commandments, statutes) was aimed at our heart with the goal of pursuing God’s holiness.
Baker summarizes yarah - A verb meaning to shoot, to throw, to pour. God hurled Pharaoh's army into the sea (Ex. 15:4); Joshua cast lots (Josh. 18:6); and God asked Job who laid the cornerstone of the earth (Job 38:6). This word is used often in reference to shooting with arrows, as Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:36); and those who killed some of David's men (2 Sa 11:24). King Uzziah made machines that shot arrows (2 Chr. 26:15); and the wicked shot arrows at the upright of heart (Ps 11:2; 64:4). In the sense of throwing, people were overthrown (Num. 21:30); and Job said that God had thrown him in the mud (Job 30:19). (The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament)
John Hartley - The basic idea of the root yārâ is "to throw" or "to cast" with the strong sense of control by the subject. Lots were cast in regards to dividing the land among the various tribes (Joshua 18:6). God cast the Egyptian army into the Red Sea (Exodus 15:4; cf. Job 30:19). With stones it has the idea of placing them in a certain place; God laid the cornerstone of the world (Job 38:6) and Laban set up a heap of stones and a pillar as a witness between Jacob and himself to their covenant of peace (Genesis 31:51f.). The three most frequent uses of this root deal with shooting arrows, sending rain and teaching. A most deadly weapon of the ancients was the bow and arrow. They could shoot from a distance and from behind protection. Some missiles were shot from specially designed engines (2 Chron. 26:15). Three of Israel's kings fell on the battlefield because of the archers' range, namely Saul (1 Chron. 10:3), Ahab (1 Kings 22:35), and Josiah (2 Chron. 35:23). Metaphorically the wicked from behind ambush shot suddenly at the blameless (Psalm 64:4 [H 5]; cf. Psalm 11:2). On the other hand, God too is pictured as shooting an arrow at the wicked and wounding them suddenly to protect the upright (Psalm 64:7 [H 8]). In addition, shooting of arrows could be used as a sign (1 Samuel 20:20; cf. 2 Kings 13:17). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)
Yarah is translated here in the Lxx with deiknumi which means to draw attention so something and thus point it out. It means "to exhibit something that can be apprehended by one or more of the senses, point out, show, make known… 2. to prove or make clear by evidence or reasoning, explain." (BDAG)
Gilbrant summarizes yarah - Yarah has three distinct verbal roots, but one of these ("to water"; Hos 6:3) is rare. Some of the occurrences carry the primary meaning of "to throw" or "to shoot." But the majority of instances reflect the extended meaning of "to instruct." Among the related Semitic languages, Old South Arabian, Tigre and Arabic all have cognates for both of the main meanings, possibly indicating that the two roots are actually separate words which happen to sound the same. Objects which are thrown or shot include: arrows (Ps. 11:2; Exo. 19:13); the chariots of Pharoah's army by God (Exo 15:4); stones (Num. 21:30). Stones are also piled in a heap, perhaps by gathering and tossing onto the pile (Gen. 31:51) as well used to lay a cornerstone (Job 38:6). The term is also used of casting lots to determine a course of action (Josh. 18:6). The secondary meaning of yarah is "to instruct" or "to teach," always in the Hiphil tense, meaning "causing to learn." Instruction was given by the priest (2 Ki. 12:3); companions (Job 6:24); those with experience (Job 8:8ff); and, of course, God (Exo. 24:12; Isa. 28:26). Objects of instruction mentioned by use of this term include: the difference between what is holy and what is profane (Ezek. 44:23); legal decisions (Deut. 17:10); what is pointed to (Prov. 6:13); skills for making the Tabernacle (Exo. 35:34); the statutes ordained by God (Lev. 10:11). The priests were required to teach the people as part of their vocation, but some unlawfully charged the people more (Mic. 3:11). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary).
Yarah - 74x in 69v - NAS Usage: archers(2), archers shot(1), archers*(2), cast(3), cast them down(1), directed(1), instruct(4), instructed(1), instruction(1), instructs(1), laid(1), point(1), points(1), rain(1), set(1), shoot(10), shot(3), shot through(1), showed(1), taught(3), teach(27), teacher(2), teaches(2), teaching(1), throws(1), watering(1).
Gen 31:51; 46:28; Exod 4:12, 15; 15:4, 25; 19:13; 24:12; 35:34; Lev 10:11; 14:57; Num 21:30; Deut 17:10f; 24:8; 33:10; Josh 18:6; Judg 13:8; 1 Sam 12:23; 20:20, 36f; 31:3; 2 Sam 11:20; 1 Kgs 8:36; 2 Kgs 12:2; 13:17; 17:27f; 19:32; 1 Chr 10:3; 2 Chr 6:27; 15:3; 35:23; Job 6:24; 8:10; 12:7f; 27:11; 30:19; 34:32; 38:6; Ps 11:2; 25:8, 12; 27:11; 32:8; 45:4; 64:4, 7; 86:11; 119:33, 102; Prov 4:4, 11; 6:13; 26:18; Isa 2:3; 9:15; 28:9, 26; 37:33; Ezek 44:23; Hos 6:3; 10:12; Mic 3:11; 4:2; Hab 2:18f.
W A Criswell - In this vision of the earthly Millennium, many Gentile converts come to know the Lord (Micah 4:2).
Spurgeon - That is the way the grace of God works in us; he teaches, and then we not only learn, but we obey. The kingdom of Christ, the Son of David, shall attract people and nations that were far off from the holy city where he lived and died.
For (term of explanation) from Zion will go forth the law (Torah), even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (Zion ~ Jerusalem, Mic 3:10, 12, 4:8) - This explains how Messiah will teach about His ways - trips to Israel are popular today for tourists, but these pilgrims will come for teaching with Torah, not for trinkets.
Martin - Micah’s readers were chafing under the Word of God, not wanting to be told by Him or by His prophet that they were wrong. By contrast eventually the whole world will submit willingly to God’s Word and His decisions
John Phillips - An omniscient, absolutely righteous King will govern an empire stretching from pole to pole and from sea to sea. In that kingdom there will be no bribery or corruption, no inequitable laws, no heavy-handed or uneven administration of the laws. There will be universal peace, prosperity, and progress. No wonder the nations will flock to Jerusalem to see the beautiful, benevolent capital and its all-glorious King!
Law (08451)(torah from yarah) is a feminine noun meaning instruction, direction, law, Torah, the whole Law. As discussed above yarah derives from a word that means to shoot an arrow, for a teacher aims to hit the target and achieve specific goals in the lives of the students.
Torah refers to instructions from God to His people on how to live (cf Job 22:22), and this was to be a total way of life, permeating every decision, thought, deed, etc. Torah was given to make known the way we should walk. In Israel, parents (Pr. 1:8; 6:20) and wise persons (Pr 13:14; 28:4) were major sources of instruction for life. Rebels were not willing to accept God's instructions in any manner (Isa 30:8, 9). In a similar way, the scribes handled the torah deceitfully and falsely "“How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie." (Jer. 8:8).Torah is often found paired with other words or phrases - "the word of the Holy One of Israel" (Isa. 5:24), "the word of the LORD" (Isa. 1:10); "To the law and to the testimony" (Isa. 8:20). Torah depict priestly instructions in general or as a whole. The Lord rejected the priests of Israel for they had disregarded it -- "those who handle the law did not know Me" (Jer 2:8) "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children." (Hos. 4:6). They had been charged to carry out and teach all the instructions of the Lord (Dt 17:11).
Torah is translated here in the Lxx with nomos which refers to laws in general, to any rule governing one's conduct (Ro 7:23), to Mosaic law (the Torah) (Lk 2:22), in a narrow sense the writings of the first 5 OT books (Pentateuch) (Mt 12:5, Gal 3:10), and finally to a principle, eg, one that governs spiritual life (Ro 8:2, Heb 10:16).
Gilbrant's summary of torah -
Occurring over 215 times in the OT and expressing one of the most important concepts in the economy of Israel, tôrāh apparently stems from the verb yārāh (HED #3498), "to throw," "to shoot (arrows)" or "to cast (lots)." Some have suggested that the practice of casting lots to receive guidance from God may be the primary connection to this noun, centering as it does on God's directions for his people. Although the word is most often translated as "law," its origin makes it clear that the Law was more than a mere code of regulations; it was the expression of God's will, instructing his people in the proper way to live.
Tôrāh can refer to teaching or instruction from one human to another, a usage particularly prevalent in the Proverbs. A mother teaches her children (Prov. 1:8; 6:20), and her instruction sheds light on the issues of daily life (6:23). In each verse, maternal teaching is linked with the instruction or commandment of the father. The description of the ideal wife in ch. 31 includes the fact that her lips give forth instruction characterized by kindness (v. 26). The teaching done by a father is also described by this word (3:1; 4:2; 7:2), and the writer urges children not to abandon this valuable instruction, but instead to value it like the apple of one's eye. In a broader sense, Proverbs describes the priceless value of instruction by wise men whose words are like a life-giving fountain (13:14). Several passages may refer to the wisdom proffered by sages (28:4, 7, 9; 29:18). In addition, Asaph begins Ps. 78 with an offer to share wise instruction (v. 1).
God, however, is the primary instructor Who gives mankind his directions for life. The Law of God appears in parallel with the Word of the Lord in Isa. 1:10, making it clear that the Law is the revelation of his will. Eliphaz reminded Job of the importance of receiving instruction from the mouth of God (Job 22:22), while Isaiah described the foolishness of those sons who reject instruction from the Lord (Isa. 30:9). One of the people of Israel's great sins was their failure to walk according to the teaching transmitted to them by the prophets (Dan. 9:10), and one of their judgments was the loss of the Law. They had ignored it so persistently that God ceased giving instructions through the prophets (Lam. 2:9).
The word is frequently used to describe a specific regulation or provision from God regarding a specific topic. The Pentateuch speaks of the law of such observances as the Passover (Exo. 12:49), the gathering of manna on the Sabbath (16:4), the various offerings (Lev. 6:9, 14, 25; 7:1, 11, 37), dietary regulations (11:46), childbirth (12:7) and a variety of other issues (13:59; 14:2, 32, 54, 57; 15:32; Num. 5:29f; 6:13, 21; 15:16, 29; 19:2, 14; 31:21). It was also used to describe the verdict rendered by priests when an issue in civil law was appealed to them (Deut. 17:11). And the regulations concerning the millennial temple are also described with this phrase (Ezek. 43:12). The most characteristic use of the term is as a description of the complete law code of OT Israel as contained in the Pentateuch.
Tôrāh sometimes appears in the plural, stressing the separate laws that made up the whole. Moses taught the laws and statutes of God to Israel (Exo. 18:16, 20), and God proclaimed that He had brought the people out of Egypt so that they could obey his laws properly (Ps. 105:45). Even before Mount Sinai, Abraham obeyed the laws of God in the sense of his moral laws (Gen. 26:5). And after the Messiah comes again, the laws governing worship in the new temple will be upheld (Ezek. 43:11; 44:5, 24).
The word used in the sense of a comprehensive revelation of law is normally in the singular, often preceded by the definite article or identified as the Law of Yahweh (Exo. 13:9), the Law of God (Josh. 24:26) or the Law of Moses (8:31f). Moses, of course, is mentioned as the mediator of the Law rather than its source. In the NT period, the term "law" is broadened to include the entire Pentateuch (Matt. 22:40) or the whole OT (John 12:34).
The Book of Deuteronomy provides a unique glimpse at God's underlying purpose in giving the Law. Moses began the Book by announcing that he would expound the true meaning of the Law (Deut. 1:5). The remainder of Deuteronomy explains that the Law is more than a mere code of regulations. It is an outworking of a genuine love for God, the central focus of the Covenant. The entire Book outlines God's covenant with the people and shows that God's law is really a way to share his wisdom, inculcating a way of life so superior in quality that the surrounding nations will be amazed (4:6).
A close link existed between the Law of God and his covenant with Israel. The person who broke one was breaking the other (Ps. 78:10). This close relationship was illustrated by the fact that the Book of the Law was placed in the Ark of the Covenant (Deut. 31:26).
The Law was the standard by which Israel was to govern its national and personal life. It was to be written (v. 9) and read to the people every seven years (v. 11). When the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land, they were to inscribe the Law on stones as a permanent memorial (27:3, 8). They were to obey it scrupulously (31:12; 32:46) and make it the object of meditation (Josh. 1:8). The Law served as the standard for judicial decisions (Deut. 17:8-11), and the king was to make a personal copy of the Law for himself so that it could guide his rule (vv. 18ff).
The Law was the special responsibility of the priesthood, and one of their prime responsibilities was to instruct the people in the demands of the Law (Jer. 18:18; Ezek. 7:26; Hag. 2:11; Mal. 2:6-9). Priests were described as "they who handle the law" (Jer. 2:8). When the priests failed to teach the Law, judgment was sure to follow (Hos. 4:6), even though God sent prophets to proclaim the messages neglected by the priesthood (2 Ki. 17:13).
When the Jews returned from exile in Babylonia, they made a fresh renewal of their covenant responsibilities, under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. The reading and explanation of the Law, as recorded in Neh. 8, was followed by repentance and the signing of a covenant to obey the command of the Law (9:3; 10:29ff). The postexilic community developed a focus on the Law as a central feature of their faith, paralleling the sacrificial system. This tradition continued to influence Judaism even after the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70.
The Psalms honor the Law, describing the way to value it and obey it. Psalm 19:7-11 portrays the excellence of the Law and declares that it is as sweet as honey. And Ps. 119 mentions the Law twenty-five times, cataloging the ways a godly person should employ it in daily life.
Even in the messianic passages of the Prophets, the Law holds an important place. When the Messiah comes again to set up his kingdom, He will teach about God's righteousness (Isa. 42:4), and it will go forth from Jerusalem in new power (2:3; 51:4; Mic. 4:2). From his capital, He will teach God's ways as expressed in the Law, and He will judge all nations in accordance with God's commands. The high point of prophecy will be the day when He will write the Law on the hearts of his people (Jer. 31:33). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)
Hartley on Torah - Teaching is the special task of the wisdom school as seen especially through the book of Proverbs and of the priesthood. The latter accompanies a revealed religion. The priests are to teach the law given by Moses (Leviticus 10:11; Deut. 33:10); e.g. King Jehoash acted uprightly because he was instructed by the high priest (2 Kings 12:2 [H 3]). Ezra the priest faithfully taught the Law of Moses in the fall Feast of Tabernacles in accordance with the Deuteronomic injunction (Deut. 31:9-11; Ezra 8:1ff.). Unfortunately the priests were not always true to God; they taught for money and became teachers of lies (Isaiah 9:15 [H 14]; Micah 3:11). Similarly an idol is deemed "a teacher of lies" (Habakkuk 2:18f.). Teaching is associated with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Bezalel and Oholiab were inspired to teach the skills of the artisan so that the tabernacle and its furnishing could be built (Exodus 35:34). God himself is particularly described as a teacher. He taught Moses both what to do and say (Exodus 4:15). He also teaches sinners the right way (Psalm 25:8) and instructs those who fear him in the way they should choose (Psalm 25:12). Therefore the Psalmist often beseeches God to teach him so that he may keep the statutes and walk in the way of truth (Psalm 27:11; Psalm 86:11; Psalm 119:33 cf. Job 6:24; Job 34:32). In the last days God promises the people of Jerusalem a teacher whom they will behold (Isaiah 30:20). The nations also will come to Jerusalem so that God might teach them (Isaiah 2:3). No wonder Jesus, as God incarnate, assumed the title of teacher and performed much of his ministry as a teacher. Scope of the Word The word târâ means basically "teaching" whether it is the wise man instructing his son or God instructing Israel. The wise give insight into all aspects of life so that the young may know how to conduct themselves and to live a long blessed life (Proverbs 3:1f.). So too God, motivated by love, reveals to man basic insight into how to live with each other and how to approach God. Through the law God shows his interest in all aspects of man's life which is to be lived under his direction and care. Law of God stands parallel to word of the Lord to signify that law is the revelation of God's will (e.g. Isaiah 1:10). In this capacity it becomes the nation's wisdom and understanding so that others will marvel at the quality of Israel's distinctive life style (Deut. 4:6). Thus there is a very similar understanding of the role of teaching with its results in the wisdom school, in the priestly instruction, and the role of the law with its results for all the people of the covenant. Specifically law refers to any set of regulations; e.g., Exodus 12 contains the law in regard to observing the Passover. Some other specific laws include those for the various offerings (Leviticus 7:37), for leprosy (Leviticus 14:57) and for jealousy (Numbers 5:29). In this light law is often considered to consist of statutes, ordinances, precepts, commandments, and testimonies. The meaning of the word gains further perspective in the light of Deuteronomy. According to Deut. 1:5 Moses sets about to explain the law; law here would encompass the moral law, both in its apodictic and casuistic formulation, and the ceremonial law. The genius of Deuteronomy is that it interprets the external law in the light of its desired effect on man's inner attitudes. In addition, the book of Deuteronomy itself shows that the law has a broad meaning to encompass history, regulations and their interpretation, and exhortations. It is not merely the listing of casuistic statements as is the case in Hammurabi's code. Later the word extended to include the first five books of the Bible in all their variety. (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)
Related Resources on Torah:
- See summary of Torah in Wikipedia
- What is the Torah? What is halakhah? What is the Pentateuch?
- What is the Mishnah? What is a midrash?
Torah - 220x in 214v -NAS Usage: custom(1), instruction(10), instructions(1), Law(1), law(188), laws(10), ruling(1), teaching(7), teachings(1).
Gen 26:5; Ex 12:49; 13:9; 16:4, 28; 18:16, 20; 24:12; Lev 6:9, 14, 25; 7:1, 7, 11, 37; 11:46; 12:7; 13:59; 14:2, 32, 54, 57; 15:32; 26:46; Num 5:29f; 6:13, 21; 15:16, 29; 19:2, 14; 31:21; Deut 1:5; 4:8, 44; 17:11, 18f; 27:3, 8, 26; 28:58, 61; 29:21, 29; 30:10; 31:9, 11f, 24, 26; 32:46; 33:4, 10; Josh 1:7f; 8:31f, 34; 22:5; 23:6; 24:26; 2 Sam 7:19; 1 Kgs 2:3; 2 Kgs 10:31; 14:6; 17:13, 34, 37; 21:8; 22:8, 11; 23:24f; 1 Chr 16:40; 22:12; 2 Chr 6:16; 12:1; 14:4; 15:3; 17:9; 19:10; 23:18; 25:4; 30:16; 31:3f, 21; 33:8; 34:14f, 19; 35:26; Ezra 3:2; 7:6, 10; 10:3; Neh 8:1ff, 7ff, 13f, 18; 9:3, 13f, 26, 29, 34; 10:28f, 34, 36; 12:44; 13:3; Job 22:22; Ps 1:2; 19:7; 37:31; 40:8; 78:1, 5, 10; 89:30; 94:12; 105:45; 119:1, 18, 29, 34, 44, 51, 53, 55, 61, 70, 72, 77, 85, 92, 97, 109, 113, 126, 136, 142, 150, 153, 163, 165, 174; Prov 1:8; 3:1; 4:2; 6:20, 23; 7:2; 13:14; 28:4, 7, 9; 29:18; 31:26; Isa 1:10; 2:3; 5:24; 8:16, 20; 24:5; 30:9; 42:4, 21, 24; 51:4, 7; Jer 2:8; 6:19; 8:8; 9:13; 16:11; 18:18; 26:4; 31:33; 32:23; 44:10, 23; Lam 2:9; Ezek 7:26; 22:26; 43:11f; 44:5, 24; Dan 9:10f, 13; Hos 4:6; 8:1, 12; Amos 2:4; Mic 4:2; Hab 1:4; Zeph 3:4; Hag 2:11; Zech 7:12; Mal 2:6ff; 4:4.
Patterson - As Yahweh proclaimed his Torah from Mount Sinai to Israel, so the Lord’s instruction will be “broadcast” from Mount Zion to all nations. “This Torah is not simply head knowledge, a body of dogma or doctrine. It is instruction, a word from the Lord which calls for a response resulting in a new way of living for those who hear it” (Limburg 1988:181)
G Campbell Morgan - Having denounced the false rulers and revealed the evil principle of their exercise of authority, the prophet described the true order in a prediction concerning its establishment. His outlook was that of the true Israelite; he recognized the Divine purpose in the national life of His people. Not for themselves did they exist in an isolation of privilege, but rather as a rallying centre for humanity, an order to which the people (the Gentiles) would flow, a revelation and realization, attracting the nations and inspiring them to inquire for the ways of Jehovah, the God of Jacob. In these particular words the chief glory of the national life of Israel is revealed. Zion is to be the hill of Jehovah, and out of it the law which men need, shall go forth; Jerusalem will become indeed the city of the Great King, and from it the word of Jehovah will be uttered. That is what the world waits for, and failing to find, or rather refusing to receive, it carries on, under a false interpretation of life, and cursed by the oppressions of false rulers. When life is governed by the law of Jehovah, and sustained by His word, strife will end, war will be no more; then peace and prosperity will be realized. That day has not yet come, but the gleams of its glory are everywhere appearing. Peace is found today in men in whom He is well pleased; and prosperity is the portion of the meek, who already inherit the earth, even though they seem to be excluded from its possession. The men in whom He is well pleased are those who live by His law; and the meek are such as are sustained by His Word. But the Day is yet to be. (Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)
Micah 4:3 And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.
- he shall judge 1 Samuel 2:10; Psalms 82:8; 96:13; 98:9; Isaiah 11:3-5; 51:5; Matthew 25:31,32; John 5:22,23,27-29; 16:8-11; Acts 17:31; Revelation 19:11
- and rebuke Mic 5:15; 7:16,17; Psalms 2:5-12; 68:30,31; 110:1,2,5,6; Isaiah 25:3; 60:12; Daniel 2:44; Joel 3:2,9-16; Zechariah 12:3-6; 14:3,12-19; Revelation 19:17-21; 20:8,9
- they shall Ps 46:9; Isaiah 2:4; 11:6-9; Hosea 2:18; Joel 3:10; Zechariah 9:10
- pruninghooks or, scythes. neither. Ps 72:7; Isaiah 9:7; 60:17,18; 65:25
1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3 "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!"
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain."
7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'"
10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. - What a wonderful day when all judgment will be perfectly righteous, a far cry from many judges in America whose perversions of justice are clearly biased by their liberal political agendas!
No nation will be exempt from Messiah's righteous rule (Jer 23:5, 22:3, 15, Ps 72:2). As an aside, in light of the fact that some interpreters see Micah's prophecies as fulfilled in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:2-note), one wonders how passages such as this can be interpreted this way in an environment which is totally devoid of sin and thus has no need of judgments?
Allen - Jerusalem will become the international court whose findings [will] be accepted without quibble. Disputes would be settled amicably, for such would be Yahweh’s prestige that even great nations in far-flung corners of the world would acknowledge his equity.
Related article: The Arrival of God’s Kingdom.
Then - This is a small, easily overlooked expression of time. The reader should be aware that it can have a very strategic meaning, especially in prophetic passages. It therefore behooves all of us to pause and ponder and interrogate "then" whenever it is encountered!
In His Millennial Reign, the Messiah will "rule all the nations with a rod of iron" (Rev 12:5-note Rev 2:27-note, Rev 19:15-note), eliminating the need for swords, but necessitating the need for plowshares, because in that day "the plowman will overtake the reaper" because of the incredible fruitfulness of the land (Amos 9:13).
- See the United Nations statue "Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares"
Davis - Divine intervention brings about international pacification. People and nations do not produce this state of affairs by their own efforts, or brilliance, or exhaustion. Rather, Yahweh imposes his just rule and, because of that, nations exist in peace.
Brian Bell gives us this modern twist on the text…
In 1989 when Hungary was still a Communist country. The European Baptist Federation met in Budapest, and it was the first time the federation had ever met in a Communist country. The meeting ended with a one-day Billy Graham crusade that filled the sports stadium with the largest crowd ever assembled there. There were eighty-five thousand inside and thousands more outside. Earlier sessions had welcomed church leaders from all over Europe with translations into the various languages and headphones for the listeners. Where, you may wonder, did they get all those headphones? They got them from the army! It was a modern twist on an old text--turning swords into plowshares. (Thy Kingdom Come!)
McComiskey - The result of God’s rule in this time will be that the nations of the world will experience peace. While the people of God who are the church have experienced peace in their hearts, it is difficult to limit this prediction only to Christians… The pastoral motif reflects the peace that Micah saw as the ruling element of the messianic kingdom, a concept used also by other prophets to symbolize the tranquility of that time (Isa 11:6–10-note, Hos 2:15; Amos 9:13–15).
Swindoll - Surrounding Micah’s prophecy of Jesus’ birth is one of the most lucid pictures of the world’s future under the reign of the Prince of Peace (Micah 5:5). This future kingdom, which scholars call the millennial kingdom, will be characterized by the presence of many nations living with one another in peace and security (Micah 4:3–4) and coming to Jerusalem to worship the reigning king, that is, Jesus Himself (Micah 4:2). Because these events have not yet occurred, we look forward to the millennial kingdom at some undetermined time in the future. (Book of Micah Overview)
And their spears into pruning hooks - Kaiser "Messiah will not only be King and Teacher in Zion in that day, but He will be the final Arbiter of all disputes. That will effectively antiquate the need for the United Nations Security Council."
Nation will not lift up sword against nation and never again will they train for war - Has this prophetic description been fulfilled? Clearly Micah's description is a striking contrast to this present age which Jesus described in Mk 13:8 and Mt 24:7.
Guzik - During the reign of the Messiah, there will be no more war. There will still be conflicts between nations and individuals, but they will be justly and decisively resolved by the Messiah and those who reign with Him. It isn’t the reign of the Messiah itself that will change the heart of man. Citizens of earth will still need to trust in Jesus and His work on their behalf for their personal salvation during the millennium. But war and armed conflict will not be tolerated. (Micah 4 Commentary)
Spurgeon - They shall give up the study of the art of war. Their spirit shall be softened, in many cases renewed by grace and then they shall take to the useful arts; they shall not throw away their swords, but shall beat them into ploughshares, they shall not hurl their spears into the earth, but shall bend them into scythes or pruning-hooks. Oh, that the day were come when the wealth and ingenuity and power of nations were used in the pursuits of peace instead of in the arts of war! This is the tendency of the kingdom of Christ, for wherever he comes, he makes peace. Nothing is more opposed to the spirit of Christianity than war; and when men are Christians, not in name only, but in deed and in truth, wars must cease.
- But The connection of this prophecy with the close of the preceding chapter shews that the establishment of the Christian Church, in consequence of the abrogation of the Mosaic dispensation, and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, was intended. But, though it has in a measure been fulfilling ever since these events, yet its grand accomplishment must still be future.
- they 1 Kings 4:25; Isaiah 26:16; Zechariah 3:10
- none Isaiah 54:14; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Ezekiel 34:25,28; 38:11; 39:26
- for Isaiah 1:20; 40:5; 58:14
Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree - Note that the parallel description in Isa 2:1-4 does not display the picture seen in Micah 4:3. Each in context (Micah 4:3) refers not so much to believing Jews but to the peoples and nations (Gentiles). While this may be true literally, it certainly describes a time of peace, prosperity and security, something mankind has long sought after in an earthly "Utopia." This deep longing will finally be fulfilled in the Millennial Reign of Christ when "Judah and Israel (will live) in safety, every man under his vine and under his fig tree." (1Ki 4:25, cf. 2Ki 18:31; Isa 36:16; Hos. 2:12; Joel 1:12; 2:22; 3:10; Zech. 3:10).
Walton - Egyptian tomb paintings, Assyrian reliefs and the biblical writers commonly use the phrase [sitting under one’s vine and fig tree] to refer to a people who control their own lives, without foreign interference, and are able to cultivate the land which the gods/God has given to them (1Ki 4:25; Is 36:16). The vine and fig provided some shade as well as fruit, and enjoying them indicated some long-term prospects as each took several years to become productive. (The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament)
Phillips - The communist vision-"to each according to his need; from each according to his ability"-will become a reality, not because an atheistic socialistic regime will be imposed on mankind, but because Jesus will reign and impose absolute economic equity on mankind. In the coming millennial age there will be perfectly equitable distribution of the world's wealth. The guarantee is that "the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it."
Kaiser - What is this but a return to the paradisiacal conditions that existed in the Garden of Eden (Is. 65:20–25; Ezek. 36:25; Hos. 2:18).
Guzik - This is a proverbial expression that means prosperity and peace (1 Kings 4:25, 2 Kings 18:31). (Micah 4 Commentary)
With no one to make them afraid ("there will be nothing to fear." NLT) - (See also Lev. 26:6; Jer. 30:10; 46:27; Ezek. 34:28; 39:26; Zeph. 3:13)- Why no fear? Because the threat of war, terrorism, crime and injustice will have vanished because of victorious King, the Messiah. What a striking contrast with the peace promised by the false prophets in Micah's day (Mic 3:5)!
At His First Coming Messiah, the Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6) brought peace to the world (Jn 14:27), to those who would receive it! At His Second Coming he will bring to the world peace!
For (ki) (don't miss this strategic term of explanation) the mouth of the LORD of hosts (only reference to Jehovah Sabaoth in Micah) has spoken.- Micah 4:1-4 might have sounded to Micah's readers as if the prophet were dreaming of some make believe world. So Micah puts a "divine exclamation point" on his fantastic prophecies! In short - God said it. That settles it, whether they believe it or not! As Kaiser said "You just can not get any more assurance than that!" (See God's ability to accomplish what He promises = Isa 43:13)
The LORD has spoken - This similar phrase is found in 30 verses -
Ge 24:51; Exod 19:8; 24:3, 7; Lev 10:11; Num 15:22; Deut 6:19; 9:3; 31:3; Josh 14:12; 2 Sam 3:18; 1 Kgs 13:3; 14:11; 2 Kgs 19:21; 2 Chr 23:3; Ps 50:1; Isa 1:20; 22:25; 24:3; 25:8; 37:22; 40:5; 58:14; Jer 9:12; 13:15; 27:13; 42:19; Joel 3:8; Amos 3:1; Obad 1:18
Jamieson - Therefore it must come to pass, however unlikely now it may seem." Micah emphasizes how certain are these incredible promises! The "non-lying," trustworthy God has spoken and that settles it!
Spurgeon - The best evidence that this will be the case is that the Lord of hosts, Who has all power at His disposal, has said that it shall be so.
Holman Christian Study Bible summarizes Micah 4:1-4 - This oracle (also in Isa 2:1-4) refers to the Last Days when God's Kingdom will be established. The Temple Mount, representing God's dwelling on earth, though previously destroyed (Mic 3:12), would be established at the top of the mountains and God would exalt Himself among the nations (Ps 46:10). Many peoples will be drawn to Him saying, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord ." They will want to learn His ways, and they will be changed by the truth of His instruction (Hebrew = torah). God Himself will bring peace between peoples and nations, causing bloodshed to end (Micah 3:10) and instruments of death to be remade into implements promoting life. Nations will never again train for war. Peace and security are certain because the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has promised this. (See Study Bible Notes in Right Column - select "Read", enter Micah 4)
- all 2 Kings 17:29,34; Jeremiah 2:10,11
- and we Genesis 17:1; Psalms 71:16; Isaiah 2:5; Zechariah 10:12; Colossians 2:6; 3:17
- the name Exodus 3:14,15; Psalms 48:14; 145:1,2
Though all the peoples (Gentiles) walk each in the name of his god - Micah mentions the first of two ways of walking or conducting one's life, which in a sense is really a summary of all mankind. All men are either in Adam or in Christ (cf 1Cor 15:22). All men either have God as their Father or the Devil as their father (cf Jn 8:44). All men are either godly (or believers in Christ, safe forever with God) or ungodly (unbelievers, lost forever away from God - cf 2Th 1:5-8, 9). Psalm 1-note summarizes these two diametrically opposed ways of walking ending with these fateful words…
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked (ungodly) will perish.
NET note says "The term "name" here has the idea of "authority." To "walk in the name" of a god is to recognize the god's authority as binding over one's life." When this will occur is difficult to state (see Martin below), because theoretically everyone, Jew and Gentile, who initially enters Messiah's Millennial Kingdom will be regenerate (Titus 3:5-note).
Though in the NASB is the Hebrew word ki which other versions translate as "for" (e.g., Mic 4:5ESV).
John Martin explains that "The nations (peoples) who were following their gods refer to pagan nations in Micah’s day. They could not be the nations in the future Millennium because Micah had just written (Mic 4:2,3) that they will go to Jerusalem to learn of the Lord."
Henry Morris - The sense of the Hebrew text here is that "all peoples now walk in the name of their gods, but eventually will walk in the Name of the LORD our God for ever." This is in accord with the revelation in Micah 4:2 that "many nations" will come to the Lord, and that His "law shall go forth… from Jerusalem."
As for us, we will walk - Walk is a frequent Biblical metaphor for one's behavior or conduct. To walk means they will hear and heed God's righteous standards, which are "summed up" in His righteous Name. Using the plural first person pronouns us and we signifies that Micah includes himself in this description which appears to refer to the godly, believing Jewish remnant in Israel in Micah's day and at the time of the Millennium.
We will walk in the Name of the LORD our God - Again Micah uses the personal possessive pronoun "our God" indicating that he considers that he has a personal relationship (personal possession as it were) with Jehovah (in short he is a genuine believer, in covenant forever with Jehovah). In Jehovah we find our life, our sustenance, our spirituality, our strength, our all in all. The parallel truth in the NT is that believers are now "in Christ," a position that Paul repeatedly emphasizes and for good reason (See study of the great truth - "In Christ"). The nations (the peoples, the Gentiles) were walking in the strength of their god (which is really "no god" at all - 1Cor 8:4-5, Jer 2:11, 16:20), but that this would not last forever, as would walking in the Name of the LORD… forever and ever. (Amen) One day the God will destroy all so-called gods, and those who have rejected Christ will recognize the vanity of their deities to save them in the Last Days (in the Day of the LORD which occurs in the last of the Last Days).
Related Resources on the Name of the LORD:
Boice - The Names of God are windows through which His character is seen.
And I would add that when we "see" Him as He really is, it is only then that we can walk as He walks. The apostles repeatedly emphasize this axiomatic principle…
Comment: Notice that our walk is a test of our talk! That is why John uses the "forceful" verb "ought," which in effect says "This is not an option, but an obligation! If someone says they know Christ, and yet they fail to walk as He walked, they have cause to question whether they truly, genuinely abide in Him (and Him in them). This is not a doctrine to be argued, but a doctrine to be personally pondered, for the fate of one's soul hangs in the balance. Beloved, do not be deceived! As an aside, of course no genuine believer walks perfectly in step with Jesus, and there are times (even seasons) when we are not walking at all like Jesus (we have unconfessed sins or we are overtly "backsliding"). It is in times like this that even genuine believers tend to lose their assurance of salvation, and yet they do not lose their salvation, just their sense of security. The way out of this "miry clay pit" is always the same - confess and repent and move on following your Lord. Remember the Christian life is not so much about perfection, but direction. The question that only we can answer is "Does the fruit, the deeds, the works, etc of my life demonstrate that my heart is headed in a heavenward direction or the converse?" See related in depth study on 2Corinthians 13:5.
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, (1Pet 2:21-note)
Matthew Henry speaks to the importance of the Name of the LORD…
(1) The better God is known the more He is trusted. Those who know Him to be a God of infinite wisdom will trust Him further than they can see Him (Job 35:14); those who know Him to be a God of almighty power will trust Him when creature-confidences fail and they have nothing else to trust to (2Chr 20:12); and those who know Him to be a God of infinite grace and goodness will trust Him though he slay them, (Job 13:15). Those who know Him to be a God of inviolable truth and faithfulness will rejoice in his word of promise, and rest upon that, though the performance be deferred and intermediate providences seem to contradict it. Those who know Him to be the Father of spirits, and an everlasting Father, will trust Him with their souls as their main care and trust in Him at all times, even to the end.
(2.) The more God is trusted the more He is sought unto. If we trust God we shall seek Him by faithful and fervent prayer, and by a constant care to approve ourselves to Him in the whole course of our conversations.
(3.) God never did, nor ever will, disown or desert any that duly seek to Him and trust in Him. Though He afflict them, He will not leave them comfortless; though He seem to forsake them for a while, yet He will gather them with everlasting mercies. (Ps 9:10-note) We never trust a man till we know him. The mother of unbelief is ignorance of God, his faithfulness, mercy, and power. They that know thee, will trust in thee. This confirmed Paul, Abraham, Sarah, in the faith. "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." (2Ti 1:12-note). "He is faithful that promised," and "able also to perform." (Heb 10:23-note He 11:11-note, Ro 4:21-note)
Patterson - The cosmic reversal of the Day of the LORD will finally see a rebellious and unfaithful Israel cured of idolatry and fully restored to a relationship with Yahweh characterized by covenant obedience and loyalty (cf. Jer 31:31–34; Ezek 36:25–27-note).
Guzik - In 1941 Franklin Roosevelt gave a famous speech about four freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Micah 4:1-5 describes four freedoms:
· Freedom from ignorance (He will teach us His ways)
· Freedom from war (Neither shall they learn war anymore)
· Freedom from want (everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree)
· Freedom from fear (no one shall make them afraid)
- I will Micah 2:12; Ps 38:17; Isaiah 35:3-6; Jeremiah 31:8; Ezekiel 34:13-17; Zephaniah 3:19; Hebrews 12:12,13
- and I Ps 147:2; Isaiah 56:8; Jeremiah 3:18; 30:17,18; Ezekiel 34:12,13; 36:24; Ezekiel 37:21,22; 39:25-29; Luke 19:10; John 10:16
LITERAL REGATHERING OF THE NATION
OF ISRAEL PROPHESIED
In that day - Whenever you encounter a time phrase, take a moment to pause, ponder and interrogate the phrase, asking at least "What day?" or "What time is this?" or "What happens on that day?", etc. In this case clearly the context guides our interpretation. Micah is referring to the last of "the Last Days" (Mic 4:1, Mic 5:10). What will transpire? Jehovah (Jesus), the Messiah, promises that He will assemble the lame, etc (This day correlates with the beginning of the Millennial Reign and the restoration of the nation of Israel as promised in many OT passages - Joel 3:1-note, Dt 30:3-note, Isa 11:11-16-note Jer 30:3,18-note, Ezek 37:21,22-note, Ezek 38:14-18-note Ezek 39:25,28,29-note Am 9:14 - As an aside God clearly HAS NOT forgotten the nation of Israel and these prophecies will be literally fulfilled just as the >300 prophecies of the Messiah from Israel were fulfilled! To change from literal to allegorical interpretation just because it is the nation of Israel is a tragic trap which many saints have fallen into by adhering to the thoroughly non-Biblical false teaching of replacement theology / supersessionism!). Micah's description is one "component" of what will transpire in the Day of the Lord [clearly not a single day but a general time with a number of specific events mostly involving judgment but also involving deliverance/redemption]. The prophet Isaiah describes the two sides of this great day "For the day of vengeance was in My heart (cf Joel 3:12-16-note), and My year of redemption (which parallels "that day" in Micah 4:8) has come." (Isaiah 63:4-note)
In light of God's promise of a glorious future for the lame, outcasts and afflicted Isaiah is told to…
Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. 4 Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, but He will save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. 6 Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah. (Isaiah 35:3-6; see similar prophecy in Jer 31:8-note, Ezek 34:16, Zeph 3:19-note)
I (Jehovah= Jesus) will assemble the lame (see note below) and gather the outcasts, even those whom I have afflicted (Lxx = apotheo/apotheomai - pushed aside, thrust off from Himself, driven away - used in Ro 11:1 = "God has not rejected His people" - cf promise in 1Sa 12:22 which uses apotheo/apotheomai) - Jehovah is referring to regathering of the believing remnant of the nation of Israel when He returns as their Deliverer (cf Ro 11:25-28-note).
Assemble (0622)(asaph/acaph) is used 185 times in the OT and means to gather (for any purpose, Jdg 20:11), to bring things or people to a central point (Joel 1:14, 2:16), to gather food (harvest, Ex 23:10).
Asaph/acaph can also represent "bringing" things to oneself as in the future time when He gathers His chosen people to Himself (Isa 49:5). In Zeph 3:18 asaph is again used in an eschatological passage (cf Zeph 3:19-20). In some contexts asaph speaks of God gathering Israel's enemies against her! (Micah 4:11, Zech 12:3; 14:2, cp the gathering of the nations prophesied by John in Revelation 16:14-note)
Asaph/acaph is used with qabats (see below) in eschatological passages predicting the regathering of the nation of Israel. Here are two more examples of asaph used in the context of a prophecy of future regathering of Israel…
And He will lift up a standard for the nations And assemble (asaph) the banished ones of Israel, And will gather (qabats) the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:12-note,).
Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will gather (qabats) you from the peoples and assemble (asaph) you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”’ (Ezekiel 11:17-note).
Comment: The OT has a number of prophetic promises from Jehovah regarding the regathering His people (e.g., Dt 30:1-5; Jer 31:7-9, Ezek 20:34, 41).
Earlier Micah had used asaph and qabats (see discussion of this verb below) in the context of assembling "all of… Jacob" and gathering the remnant of Israel (Micah 2:12), also a hope filled picture predicting future regathering and deliverance of the Jewish people (the believing remnant) in the day when the Breaker returns and leads them forth in triumph (Micah 2:13).
It is notable that asaph is translated in the Septuagint (Lxx) with the interesting verb sunago, which means to bring together (root of synagogue) and is used by John the Baptist explaining to his Jewish audience (see Mt 3:7) that Jesus'…
"winnowing fork is in His hand and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and He will gather (sunago) His wheat into the barn (believers), but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (unbelievers who suffer the second death in the eternal lake of fire, Rev 20:14-15-note). (Mt 3:12)
Lame (06761)(tsela') A masculine noun indicating stumbling, a fall, a slip. It is taken by many translators to mean a fall or stumbling, used figuratively of a person falling, being overtaken (Job 18:12; Ps. 35:15; 38:17; Jer. 20:10). Tsela' is translated in Micah 4:6 in the Septuagint (Lxx) with the verb suntribo, means to crush completely, to shatter, or to break in pieces. Those are the one's Jesus will gather to Himself in the last of the Last Days, not the arrogant, haughty and proud! As an aside in Ro 16:20 suntribo means to break the strength and power of Satan once and for all! This is a strong verb which leaves no doubt as to who is the winner in this battle. Glory!
Tsela' - Only 4 uses in the OT = Ge 32:31; Mic 4:6f; Zeph 3:19. One wonders if there is any allusion the the nation's name's sake, Jacob who had limp after his God encounter at Penuel.
Genesis 32:31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.
Zephaniah 3:19 "Behold, I (Jehovah) am going to deal at that time (Always stop and query expressions of time asking questions like "What time?," "When will this come about?", etc - This will usually "force" you to observe the preceding context. In this case it will "force" you to read the exciting end times prophecies in Zeph 3:8-18) with all your oppressors, I will save the lame and gather (same verb qabats used here in Mic 4:6 to "assemble") the outcast, and I will turn their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.
Gather (06908) (qabats) is used in 120 verses in the OT and means to gather, to collect, to assemble (as for battle, Josh 9:2, Neh 4:20 or religious convocation 1Chr 11:1, Ezra 10:1,7). Qabats has two especially significant "eschatological" meanings: (1) Jehovah gathers the nations for judgment in the end times (Isa. 43:9; 66:18; Joel 3:2]) (2) Jehovah gathers His scattered people, Israel which is the picture in Micah 4:6 (See similar use in Ps 106:47; Jer 29:14; 31:10; Hos 1:11).
Outcasts (05080)(nadach) means to impel, to thrust, to banish, to scatter. Nadach was used to describe the dispersion, the scattering of Israel into exile (Dt. 30:1, 4; Jer. 40:12; 43:5; 46:28; Mic. 4:6). Evil “shepherds” or leaders did not lead but rather “drove away” and scattered Israel (Jer. 23:2). Nadach is translated in the Lxx with the verb exotheo meaning to expel, drive out, push out (Acts 7:45).
Baker on nadach - I. A verb meaning to banish, to drive away, to scatter. It is used in various ways to indicate the idea of forcefully removing, impelling, or driving out: of the dispersion, the scattering of Israel into exile (Deut. 30:1, 4; Jer. 40:12; 43:5; 46:28; Mic. 4:6); of driving out something in a figurative sense (Job 6:13); Zion herself was considered an outcast, one driven out (Jer. 30:17). It is used of cattle straying off (Deut. 22:1). It means to be impelled to do something, e.g., by the lure of idolatry and false gods (Deut. 4:19; 30:17); by the seduction of a harlot (Prov. 7:21).II. A verb meaning to wield, bring (against). It is used of wielding or swinging an ax against something, striking it (Deut. 19:5; 20:19), whether a person or a tree. It is used figuratively of bringing evil and destruction on something or someone (2 Sam. 15:14). (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament)
Gilbrant on nadach/nadhach- The verb nādhach appears over fifty times in the Hebrew Bible. Many distinguish two roots in this entry, one which means "to scatter," "to banish" and a verb appearing only three times which means "to wield." The act of wielding an object impels the recipient of the action to move in accord with the will of the subject. The former nuance has cognates attested in Arabic, Ethiopic, Tigre, Jewish Aramaic and Middle Hebrew. The meaning "to wield" appears in three passages. It is used first in the context of manslaughter and cities of refuge, in the case of a worker in the forest who has an ax head slip off the handle, killing another (Deut. 19:5). The second is found in the description of holy war against cities of the Promised Land, as the Israelite invaders are forbidden to destroy fruit trees with an ax (Deut. 20:19). The trees were ultimately a gift of Yahweh to the Israelites when they would finally take the land. Finally, the verb appears in the narrative of the coup of David's son Absalom (2 Sam. 15:14). The passage records the decision to flee Jerusalem, so Absalom would not be able to "bring" or "wield" evil against David and his men. In many contexts, nādhach means "to be scattered." The subjects include animals (Deut. 22:1) and humans (Isa. 27:13). The Hiphil (causative) stem of the verb denotes the action of driving away. This is the case with animals (Jer. 23:2f), in this context a metaphor for the people, whom the spiritual leaders were to care for by properly instructing them. The Israelites, in accord with the curse for breaking the covenant with Yahweh, were to be scattered (Jer. 8:3). However, Yahweh had promised to restore the people should they repent of their ways and choose to serve Him (Deut. 30:1). Priests were expelled by the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam I (2 Chr. 13:9), who replaced Levitical priests descended from Aaron with illegitimate ones. The lone Hophal (causative passive) stem usage occurs in the context of a prophecy against Babylon, in which it is used in a simile, comparing the fleeing armies of Babylon to a frightened deer (Isa. 13:14). The verb has one other nuance—that of being led astray or seduced. This meaning is found in a warning about the adulteress in Proverbs, who destroys rather than giving life as Wisdom does (Prov. 7:21f). The noun appears in its remaining contexts employing this nuance in religious imagery. The practice of idolatry leads astray (Deut. 4:19; 13:13; 30:17). Indeed, the wicked attempt to lead Yahweh away from his rightful throne (Ps. 62:4). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)
Nadach - 53v - NAS Usage: banish(1), banished(3), banished one(3), bring down(1), dispersed(1), drawn away(2), drive(3), driven(11), driven away(5), hunted(1), led… astray(1), outcast(2), outcasts(6), scatter(1), scattered(4), seduce(2), seduced(1), seduces(1), straying away(1), swinging(1), swings(1), thrust(1), thrust down(1), will not be cast out(1).
Deut 4:19; 13:5, 10, 13; 19:5; 20:19; 22:1; 30:1, 4, 17; 2 Sam 14:13f; 15:14; 2Chr 13:9; 21:11; Neh 1:9; Job 6:13; Ps 5:10; 62:4; 147:2; Pr 7:21; Isa 8:22; 11:12; 13:14; 16:3f; 27:13; 56:8; Jer 8:3; 16:15; 23:2f, 8; 24:9; 27:10, 15; 29:14, 18; 30:17; 32:37; 40:12; 43:5; 46:28; 49:5, 36; 50:17; Ezek 4:13; 34:4, 16; Dan 9:7; Joel 2:20; Mic 4:6; Zeph 3:19.
Guzik - God’s restoration is not just for the strong, but the weak and disadvantaged will especially know the blessing of His restoration (Ed: recall who Jesus came to heal - Mt 9:12, Mk 2:17). (Micah 4 Commentary)
Martin - In the Tribulation, Jews will be persecuted (Da 7:25-note) and scattered (cf. Zech. 14:5); then when Christ returns they will be regathered (Mt. 24:31). (Ed: To qualify Martin's comment, the "Tribulation" he refers to characterized by "time, times, half a time," which is the last 3.5 year period of Daniel's Seventieth Week, the period Jesus designated in Mt 24:21 as the "Great Tribulation" or as Jeremiah 30:7 referred to it as the time of Jacob's Distress.
A C Gaebelein - Micah 4:6-13. The regathering of all Israel then takes place. Not the boasting, proud, infidel, portion of the nation as it is today. Reform Judaism and the other apostates in the nation will suffer judgment in the future as they did in the past. But there is a feeble, God-fearing remnant, and to that remnant belong the promises. “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 afflicted.” In His grace He will make the remnant a strong nation and reign over them in the established kingdom. To Zion shall return “the first dominion,” that is, the reign and power and glory that was manifested in the monarchy under David and Solomon; only it will be greater than David’s or Solomon’s kingdom. (Annotated Bible)
Lame… outcasts… afflicted - When we read this description, we as believers in Messiah cannot help but recall that we too were once crippled by a fatal fall (Ro 5:12) and were lame from birth (Ps 51:5) until the day His Spirit gave us new life in Christ by grace through faith.
Oh, Lord God, may we never forgot that we too were once spiritually lame, spiritual outcasts, and spiritually afflicted, and may the Spirit use that remembrance to stir in us an unending anthem of gratitude and praise that we have now and forever become new creatures in Christ Jesus (2Cor 5:17). Hallelujah. Amen.
See Spurgeon's Sermon on this passage - Mercy for the Meanest of the Flock (3201) - Micah 4:6
- I will Mic 2:12; 5:3,7,8; 7:18; Isaiah 6:13; 10:21,22; 11:11-16; 49:21-23; 60:22; Isaiah 66:8; Hosea 1:10; Zechariah 9:13-17; 10:5-12; Romans 11:5,6,25-27
- and the Ps 2:6; Isaiah 9:6,7; 24:23; Daniel 7:14,27; Joel 3:17; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15
I will make the lame (cf parallel passage - Zeph 3:19 which also predicts Israel's end time restoration, Lxx = suntribo = literally "rub hard together" ~ smashed, crushed, bruised) a remnant and the outcasts (hala = be removed far off; Lxx = apotheo/apotheomai) a strong nation -The exiles of the nation of Israel are compared to lame and injured sheep the Good Shepherd gathers together, heals and makes whole (cf Mk 13:27, cf Mt 23:37).
McComiskey commenting on the phrase "will make" writes - "It is thus an act of grace that forms these poor exiles into a remnant and bestows on them the blessings of the Messianic Age (cf. Ro 11:1–6).
Martin - in contrast with Israel’s being driven away into exile, the returned remnant (cf. Isa 37:32; Mic 2:12; 5:7–8; 7:18; Ro 9:27; 11:5) of believing Jews (cf Ro 11:25-28-note) will become a strong nation.
Holman Christian Study Bible - From this godly remnant He would build a strong nation. Thus God's people could expect to suffer before being redeemed. (See Study Bible Notes in Right Column - select "Read", enter Micah 4)
The prophet Zephaniah (also speaking of the last of the Last Days when Messiah returns as victorious warrior and King of kings - Rev 19:11-15, 16+) echoes this promise declaring "Jehovah has taken away His judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, Jehovah (Jesus), is in your midst. You will fear disaster no more." (Zeph 3:15+)
McComiskey - The center of God’s governmental activity will be restored and exalted Zion.
Holman Christian Study Bible - The greatness of the Davidic empire in the past would return once more to Migdal-eder ( watchtower for the flock), a location near Bethlehem (Gen 35:19-21). (See Study Bible Notes in Right Column - select "Read", enter Micah 4)
- O tower The Targumist applies these words to the Messiah: "But thou, O Messiah, who art hidden because of the sins of the congregation of Zion, the kingdom shall come unto thee." Ps 48:12,13; Isaiah 5:2; Matthew 21:33; Mark 12:1
- the flock or, Edar. Genesis 35:21
- the strong 2 Samuel 5:7; Isaiah 10:32; Zechariah 9:12
- the first Numbers 24:19; Daniel 2:44; 7:18; Obadiah 1:21; Zechariah 9:10; Ephesians 1:21; Revelation 22:5
As for you, tower of the flock-
Tower (04026)(migdal) can mean "watchtower." The Septugint translates it with purgos which refers to a lookout for watching over a field or vineyard - Mk 12:1) The tower pictures an elevated place from which the "flock" can be monitored, as does a shepherd his sheep or a farmer guarding his crops from raiders.
Holman Christian Study Bible - The greatness of the Davidic empire in the past would return once more to Migdal-eder (watchtower for the flock), a location near Bethlehem (Ge 35:19-21).
Kaiser interprets tower as a reference to "the royal house of David (which) will be restored" in the Millennium (cp Jer 30:8, 9 "David their king", Ezek 34:23,24 - see esp verse 24 which speaks of Jehovah and David as distinct individuals).
The daughter of Zion - This phrase refers to those who live in Jerusalem (cf. Isa 1:8-note; Jer 4:31; Lam. 1:6; 2:13; Micah 1:13; Zech. 9:9) cf Micah 4:10, 13.
To you it will come-- even the former dominion will come - Israel at her inception was to have been "the head and not the tail" (Dt 28:13,14) but it was conditioned on her obedience (Dt 28:1). Because of Israel's disobedience to God's Law (Dt 28:15, she was disciplined by God Who made her the tail not the head. However Micah predicts that in the last days, Israel's dominion over the nations will be restored (cf God's promise to not reject Israel forever - Lev 26:40-42,44+) and she will no longer be tread under foot by the nations, for the "times of the Gentiles" (See detailed discussion of the Times of the Gentiles) (Lk 21:24+) will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Messiah.
Chisholm on former dominion (kingdom) - “former dominion” can mean little else than that the Davidic kingdom will in some sense be restored to Jerusalem. By asserting this, Micah stands firmly in the tradition of the pre-exilic prophets (Isa 9:17+; Hos 3:5+; Amos 9:11+).
The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem - "The sovereignty that belongs to Daughter Jerusalem" (NET); "Kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem." (NIV) for the King of kings will reign forever and ever (Mic 4:7), "My precious Jerusalem" (NLT)
- why Jeremiah 4:21; 8:19; 30:6,7
- is there Isaiah 3:1-7; Lamentations 4:20; Hosea 3:4; 10:3; 13:10,11
- for Isaiah 13:8; 21:3; 26:17; Jeremiah 22:23; 30:6; 50:43
Now - This expression of time describes a "time change" - Micah goes from the far future back to the pathetic present as he prophesies of Judah's coming punishment as a prisoner in Babylon. Remember that in 700BC Babylon was not even the reigning world power and yet this prophecy was perfectly fulfilled. We can trust every promise of God, for the trustworthy God stands behind His Word to perfectly fulfill it in His time.
Why do you cry out loudly? Is there no king among you, or has your counselor perished - Micah 4:9-10 refer to Judah's 70 year period of captivity in Babylon (Mic 4:10). Judah would have no king or counselor in exile!
That agony (pain, writing, anguish) has gripped you like a woman in childbirth? - Why? Because of their embarrassing exile to Babylon (cf. Jer. 4:31; 6:24; 13:21; 22:23; 30:6; 49:24; 50:43). Like the process of the pain of parturition (childbirth), the culmination will bring blessing forevermore.
Micah 4:10 Writhe and labor to give birth, Daughter of Zion, Like a woman in childbirth; For now you will go out of the city, Dwell in the field, And go to Babylon. There you will be rescued; There the LORD will redeem you From the hand of your enemies.
- and labour Isaiah 66:7-9; Hosea 13:13; John 16:20-22
- shalt thou 2 Kings 20:18; 25:4; 2 Chronicles 33:11; 36:20; Hosea 1:10; 2:14; Revelation 12:14
- there shalt Micah 7:8-13; Ezra 1:1,2; Isaiah 45:13; 48:20; 52:9-12; Zechariah 2:7-9
- redeem Psalms 106:10; Jeremiah 15:21
Writhe and labor to give birth, daughter of Zion - The citizens of Jerusalem (see comment on Mic 4:8, 1:13) would be able to do nothing to stop the "birth" process, once labor had begun!
Like a woman in childbirth; For now you will go out of the city, dwell in the field - Always pause to ponder "for" (term of explanation) which explains the comparison to a woman in labor - the "birth" so to speak would be not a baby but a Babylonian exile!
And go to Babylon. There you will be rescued… redeem - Micah (ca 700BC) predicts Judah's exile to Babylon (605-586) over 100 years prior her exile! Notice how in one verse we see a "time gap" in Micah's prophecy of the exile from the Land of Israel and then (skipping over the 70 years in captivity) their return to the Land of Israel. (See concept of a "time gap")
W A Criswell - In a remarkable prophecy, Micah foresees the Babylonian Exile of the Jews, which took place in the sixth century. He makes it clear that the Exile and return have to take place before the messianic age.
Guzik - As is common in the prophets, Micah intertwines ages - having just spoken of the Millennial Earth, now he speaks of Israel’s deliverance from Babylonian captivity.
There the LORD will redeem (Heb = natsal - 05337; Lxx = rhuomai = snatch from danger, evil or an enemy) you from the hand of your enemies - Micah predicts Judah's release from exile by the edict of King Cyrus of Persian (ca 538BC) (God stirred the heart of Cyrus to fulfill this prediction - Ezra 1:1, Isa 44:28, Pr 21:1-note)
A C Gaebelein - Micah 4:10 goes beyond the Babylonian captivity, for it could not be said that the Lord redeemed in that past captivity Israel from the hands of her enemies. Nor was it true then that many nations were gathered against her. The Babylonian captivity is a type of the greater dispersion throughout this present age. When it ends, as it will end, the Lord will then redeem His people and deal in judgment with the opposing nations which finally gather against Jerusalem. (See the annotations of the last chapters of Zechariah.) He gathers the nations for the harvest time, when the sheaves are to be threshed. The daughter of Zion is to trample on them and beat them, and the grain, the riches of the Gentiles, will be consecrated unto the Lord. In connection with Micah 4:11-13 the following Scriptures should be read and studied with the annotations:Joel 3:1-21; Ezekiel 38:1-23; Zechariah 12:1-14. (Annotated Bible)
- many Isaiah 5:25-30; 8:7,8; Jeremiah 52:4; Lamentations 2:15,16; Joel 3:2-15
- let our Micah 7:10; Obadiah 1:12
And now many nations have been assembled against you (Israel) (cf Joel 3:2-15) - While this verse alone could point to Micah's day, the context (Mic 4:11-13) supports the premise that now Micah jumps from the preceding prophecy which historically would have a near fulfillment (in 100+ years Mic 4:9-10 will be fulfilled with Judah's exile to Babylon) to a distant future time when the nations come against Israel. From other Scriptures, this gathering of many nations against Israel (Zion) corresponds to the Time of Jacob's Distress, (Jer 30:7), that time which Jesus designated as the "Great Tribulation," (Mt 24:21), which corresponds to the last 3.5 years of the Seven Year Tribulation (Daniel's Seventieth Week). At this time, the "kings of the whole world" are gathered together (by demonic spirits) "for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty" in "the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon" or Mount of Megiddo (popularly referred to as Armageddon) (Diagram of the sequence of events in the Campaign of Armageddon)" (Rev 16:13-16-see notes discussing this great battle)
Spurgeon - All the enemies of Israel came together, hoping to destroy her, they saw that God had left her for a while in their hands, so they maliciously sought her destruction. (Micah 4 - Spurgeon Exposition)
Henry Morris summarizes Mic 4:11 - "Here Micah leaps over the coming captivity in Babylon (Micah 4:10) and deliverance there from, to the great ultimate invasion of Israel in the last days (Rev 16:13-16-note)." (Defender's Study Bible)
NET Bible Note explains that in "Micah 4:11–13 the prophet jumps from the present crisis (which will result in exile, Mic 4:10) to a time beyond the restoration of the exiles when God will protect his city from invaders. The LORD’s victory over the Assyrian armies in 701 B.C. foreshadowed this."
Who (the "goyim," the unbelieving Gentile nations) say, 'Let her be polluted, and let our eyes gloat over Zion - To gloat means to think about something with triumphant and often malicious satisfaction. The unbelieving Gentile nations will gloat as they gather against Israel (Zion), fully confident that they will once and for all crush God's chosen people into oblivion and accomplish the "final solution." Note the next verse with a contrast which overrules their plans to destroy Israel.
- they know Isaiah 55:8; Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 11:33,34
- for he shall Isaiah 21:10; Joel 3:12,13; Zechariah 14:1-3; Luke 3:17; Revelation 14:14-20
But they (nations) do not know the thoughts of the LORD, and they do not understand His purpose - The unbelieving Gentile nations of the world that have been gathered (in the sovereign plan of God) against Israel most likely think they are going to crush Israel. Micah says "Not so" because they don't understand the sovereign plan of Jehovah for His chosen people. Spiritual truth is spiritually discerned and these nations do not possess the Spirit to illuminate the Scriptures (1Cor 2:14).
Spurgeon - They had their own thoughts, and they thought that the Lord meant what they meant, — the entire destruction of the chosen race. (Micah 4 - Spurgeon Exposition)
Alternatively, perhaps these nations rely on theologians who do not interpret the Scriptures literally and scoff at predictive prophecy and instead teach that God is finished with Israel (e.g., Replacement Theology which sadly is a disturbing trend among many otherwise orthodox evangelicals), so that they see these prophecies in Micah as applying to the church, not to the nation of Israel. For example, here is a note from R C Sproul's (whom this writer greatly respects as a wonderful theologian) Reformation Study Bible (Ligonier Ministries) on the mountain of the house of the LORD (Micah 4:1)
Earthly Mount Zion prefigured the heavenly reality to which the church indeed has now come.
Is that really what Micah was prefiguring? Or did earthly Mount Zion describe a literal earthly Mount Zion, which would be a reality in the Millennium, a glorious time when, yes, praise God, the Church would be privileged to participate! Why spiritualize the meaning of a passage that can be read literally and thereby retain its original intended meaning? Sproul also says the "strong nation" in Micah 4:7 is "a prophecy that finds final fulfillment in the church." Is that really what the text is saying if one reads it in its plain, literal, "natural" sense, not looking for any hidden meaning? Can lame… outcasts be applied to believers in the church? Absolutely. But in context (which is crucial for accurate interpretation), Micah is speaking to a literal nation, one he has just condemned to destruction (Micah 3:12), and is seeking to give them a glimmer of hope! He is not literally speaking to the Church. To interpret Micah's prophecy as addressed to the church or to be fulfilled in the church is to totally miss the thrust of his prophecy to Israel. We must be vigilant to hear and heed Paul's exhortation…
Be diligent (spoudazo in the aorist imperative = a command calling for immediate attention and unhesitating obedience) to present (paristemi) yourself approved (dokimos) to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling (orthotomeo) the word of truth. (2Timothy 2:15-see comments)
Similarly Matthew Henry repeatedly ascribes Micah's prophecies to the church. As an aside Henry (and many of the otherwise wonderful, godly reformers), while so often excellent devotionally, seldom interpret OT prophecies as if the message was addressed to the literal nation of Israel and instead (generally, but not always) ascribe the prophecies to the Church, in effect "replacing" the nation of Israel. As an aside, one of the best (more literal interpretations of the OT prophecies) pre-1900 commentaries is the Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown (See Guidelines for Interpreting Prophetic Passages)
Jehovah reminds us
My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. (Isa 55:8)
Paul echoes this truth declaring…
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? (Ro 11:33-34-note)
Vance Havner spoke to not knowing the thoughts of the LORD…
The little boy who didn't understand why God put so many vitamins in spinach and didn't put more of them in ice cream had a pretty good idea that it just doesn't work out like you'd think!
The situation with so many in our day is:
Lots of knowledge, but little understanding
Lots of means, but little meaning
Lots of know-how, but little know-why
Lots of sight, but little insight.
(Robert Short, Leadership, Vol 6, no 3)
Criswell - The nations rejoice over the Exile of the Jews because they do not understand God's purpose in it. The attitude is characteristic of the unbelieving world, judging immediate circumstances, unaware of the providences of God which guide all things to foreordained consummation.
For He has gathered them (against Israel) like sheaves to the threshing floor (cf. Isa 21:10; Jer 51:33; Hos 13:3) - The picture of the Gentile nations is likened to the harvesting of grain and the threshing process. This is an interesting metaphor for those of us who were raised with the spiritual "Bringing In The Sheaves!" Here Israel's enemies, the Gentile nations (like powerless, cut sheaves) are in the hands of omnipotent Harvester, Jehovah (cf Pr 21:1-note). He gathers them against Israel in the exercise of His sovereign will and not of their own volition.
The NET Bible paraphrases this "He (Jehovah) has gathered them (nations of the world) like stalks of grain to be threshed at the threshing floor," explaining that "The words "to be threshed" are not in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied in the translation to make it clear that the LORD is planning to enable "Daughter Zion" to "thresh" her enemies."
Micah 4:13 Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion, For your horn I will make iron And your hoofs I will make bronze, That you may pulverize many peoples, That you may devote to the LORD their unjust gain And their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.
- and thresh Isaiah 41:15,16; Jeremiah 51:33
- hoofs Deuteronomy 33:25; Isaiah 5:28
- thou shalt Micah 5:8-15; Daniel 2:44; Zechariah 9:13-15; Revelation 2:26,27
- I will consecrate Joshua 6:19; 2 Samuel 8:10,11; Psalms 68:29; 72:10; Isaiah 18:7; 23:18; 60:6-9; Romans 15:25-28; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 21:24-26
- the Lord of Zechariah 4:14; 6:5
Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion (people of Jerusalem - see Mic 4:8), For your horn I will make iron and your hoofs I will make bronze, That you may pulverize many peoples - The context is Micah 4:11, the gathering of many nations against Israel. In this passage Micah assures Israel that they will trample their enemies, like oxen treading grain (cf Zech 14:12-15).
See description of Threshing of Grain in Ancient Times - Manner and Customs of Bible Lands - Chapter 19: Growing and Harvesting Grain (Or see James Freeman's text - search page for the word "thresh" for 38 hits)
Guzik - When the Lord restores Zion, He will restore them in strength - a strong as an ox with an iron horn. This has its ultimate fulfillment in the Millennium when Israel will be lifted up as a “superpower” among the nations.
Ryrie explains Mic 4:11-13 - This passage looks further ahead, to the great campaign of Armageddon immediately preceding the second coming of Christ and the millennial kingdom. There the world will be lined up against Israel, but God will give Israel victory, using horn of iron and hoofs of bronze."
That you may devote to the LORD their unjust gain and their wealth to the Lord of all the earth (a great Name - Ps 97:5-note; Zech 4:14; 6:5) -
Kaiser explains "devote" - Following the custom of setting aside a portion of one’s spoils to the deity that secured the victory for the nation, victorious Israel sets aside a portion of her gain for the temple of the Lord (v. 13c; cf. Isa. 60:1–9).
DISCLAIMER: Before you consult commentaries, sermons or other resources, first consult the Word of God, studying the Scriptures diligently (2Ti 2:15-note) and inductively (See inductive Bible study) in dependence on your Teacher, the Holy Spirit, Who Jesus promised would guide us into all truth (John 16:13).
In regard to the OT Prophetic books such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and the 12 "Minor" Prophets, remember that the most accurate interpretation is derived by applying the following principles:
(1) Read the Scripture literally (unless the text is clearly figurative, e.g., Jesus said "I am the door… " Jn 10:9). If one interprets a text symbolically (allegorically, figuratively, spiritualizing) when that text makes good sense literally, one potentially opens themselves to the danger of inaccurate interpretation, for then the question arises as to who's "symbolic" interpretation is correct and how imaginative one should be in evaluating a "supposed symbol"? Many of the commentaries and sermons on the OT prophetic books unfortunately are replete with non-literal interpretations (except when it comes to Messianic Passages, which are usually interpreted literally). Therefore the watchword when reading any commentary on Old Testament prophecy is caveat emptor ("buyer beware"). Read all commentaries like the Bereans (Acts 17:11-note).
(2) Study the context which is always "king" in interpretation (don't take verses out of context.)
(3) Passages addressed to Israel should be interpreted as directed to the literal nation of Israel and should not be interpreted as addressed to the NT Church, an entity not mentioned in the Old Testament. The promises of Jehovah to the nation of Israel (e.g., see Millennial Promises) remain valid (Jer 31:35, 36, 37, Nu 23:19, Lk 21:33) and have not been passed on to the NT Church because Israel has "defaulted" (See study Israel of God). Remember that while Scripture has only one correct interpretation, there can be many legitimate applications (See Application), and therefore the OT prophetic books are extremely applicable in the lives of NT believers.
(4) Scripture is always the best commentary on Scripture. While an attempt has been made to list resources that adhere to these basic interpretative guidelines, not all the works listed in these collections have been read in detail. Therefore should you discover a resource you feel is NOT conservative and/or orthodox, please email your concerns.
- Inductive Bible Study - Guidelines to Assure Accurate Interpretation
- Inductive Bible Study Interpretation of Prophetic Scripture
- Interpretative Views of the Revelation of Jesus Christ
- Allegorical Interpretation - Tony Garland
- Interpreting Symbols - Tony Garland
- Basic Considerations in Interpreting Prophecy - John Walvoord
- Millennium - Biblical descriptions of this time on earth, primarily from the OT prophets
- Allen, Leslie C., The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1976, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (One of the top 5 Commentaries on the Book of Micah)
- Baker, Warren; Carpenter, Eugene E., The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament, AMG Publishers, 2003.
- Barker, Kenneth L.: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah- An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (New American Commentary) Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers., 2001, 1999
- Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible Notes on Micah, 2006 (also synchronizes with Constable's notes)
- Constable, Thomas, Expository Notes on Micah 1-7
- Davis, Dale Ralph, A Study Commentary on Micah, Evangelical Press, 2010
- Harris, R. Laird; Archer, Gleason L., Jr.; Waltke, Bruce K.: Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT); Moody Press, 2003
- Kaiser, W. C.: The Preacher's Commentary Series, Volume 23: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi: Thomas Nelson Inc., 1992.
- Hindson, Ed and Kroll, Woodrow: King James Version Bible Commentary Nashville: Thomas Nelson; 2005.
- Martin, John The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Old Testament) Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
- McComiskey, Thomas: The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 7- Daniel and the Minor Prophets
- McComiskey, Thomas Edward: The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expository Commentary, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI, 2009
- MacKay, John L., Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah (Focus on the Bible Commentary), Christian Focus Publications, 2008.
- McGee, J Vernon Micah Commentary - Thru the Bible Commentary (Mp3's format only)
- Patterson, Richard D.; Hill, Andrew E: Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 10: Minor Prophets, Hosea–Malachi, Tyndale House Publishers, 2008
- Phillips, John, Exploring the Minor Prophets. Kregel, 2002
- Swanson, James: A Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains- Hebrew
- Wiersbe, Warren: Be Concerned (Micah)- Making a Difference in Your Lifetime. David C Cook. 2010
- Wiseman, Donald J.; Alexander, T. Desmond; Waltke, Bruce K., Obadiah, Jonah and Micah: an introduction and commentary, InterVarsity Press, 1988,Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries