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Micah, Part 2 - Christogenea Internet Radio 02-21-2014
In Micah chapter 1, we saw that the prophet had been chastising Israel for their sins, among which were their intercourse with other nations and their oppression of the poor of their people. We saw parallel prophecies in the writings of the contemporary prophets Isaiah, Hosea and Amos, all of whom were announcing different aspects of the same basic messages. By the many different ways in which their prophecies corroborate one another, as well as by all of the clear fulfillments of these prophecies, we see that these men were truly prophets of God, while at the same time there were many false prophets among the people whose works have not endured. We shall see more of that here in Micah chapters 2 and 3.
Furthermore, in the opening chapter of Micah the prophet uttered oracles against Israel and Samaria and against certain cities of Judah, and then he warned that the judgment of God would come “unto the gate of Jerusalem.” It may be ascertained from the historical portions of Scripture, and from history itself, that the Assyrians who were about to invade Israel in fulfillment of these oracles would indeed take captive all but some small scattered remnants of the Northern kingdom of Israel, and also much of Judah – especially those northern towns of Judah which Micah explicitly mentioned – but that the Assyrians would indeed be stopped at the gate of the Jerusalem, and not take the city itself. Most notable, however, is that the names of the towns of Judah which Micah prophesied against also have meanings, and an understanding of those meanings adds a much greater depth to his message, because they are pertinent to the purpose of his prophecy. Here we shall repeat this portion of Micah chapter 1, from verses 10 through 15, and offer some interpretation. However we will not repeat many of the things which we offered from the Septuagint in our full presentation, although they should not be ignored if one truly wants to study the prophecy in depth:
From Micah 1: 10 Declare ye it not at Gath [do not inform the enemy, lest they rejoice], weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah [dust or figuratively derision] roll thyself in the dust [a sign of disgrace or humility]. 11 Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir [fair or beauty], having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan [said to mean pointed in the Enhanced Strong's lexicon, but it is primarily a sheep pasture, which we errantly omitted to mention in our first presentation] came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel [house of narrowing or nearness, other interpretations are possible but the Septuagint version is good, where it has for the house next to her, in other words, the Septuagint can lead us to understand the passage to be saying that the sheep of the pasture had no care for their neighbors]; he shall receive of you his standing. 12 For the inhabitant of Maroth [bitterness, or more appropriately, sorrow, the phrase may be interpreted as he who dwells in sorrow] waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem [those of the people who sorrowed at the sin of Israel prayed for good but Israel would only receive Yahweh's judgment]. 13 O thou inhabitant of Lachish [which means invincible], bind the chariot to the swift beast: she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee [because Israel thought they were above reproach or judgment, they thought they could avoid punishment for their behavior - Micah 2:9-11 corroborates this interpretation]. 14 Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath [or thou shalt send men to the possession of Gath]: the houses of Achzib [deceit] shall be a lie ['akzab] to the kings of Israel. 15 Yet will I bring an heir [one who takes possession] unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah [the summit]: he shall come unto Adullam [the justice of the people] the glory of Israel [and we explained the fulfillment of that as the Edomites who came to possess Marissa, as well as many other cities, and how that eventually led to the Edomite takeover of Jerusalem, the temple, and the Crucifixion of Christ through which the children of Israel were rendered righteous]. Therefore we believe that much of Micah's prophecy concerning Israel's sin and judgment, and eventual restoration, is encoded, in a way, into the names of these towns of Judah which he prophesied against.
Micah 2:1 Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.
The phrase “work evil upon their beds” is not a reference to the sexual fornication which had become commonplace, although it could certainly be inclusive of that. Rather, it is a reference to the proclivity of the people to dream up wicked schemes as they lie in bed at night, putting their ungodly desires to practice when they awake in the morning. The Septuagint reads: “They meditated troubles, and wrought wickedness on their beds, and they put it in execution with the daylight; for they have not lifted up their hands to God.” When the children of Israel turn to Yahweh their God, He makes a smooth path for them. As John the Baptist said of Christ, “the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth” (Luke 3:5).
2 And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.
In a world without God, there is nothing left but materialism. In a people who have no hope in a transcendental existence, there is nothing left but carnal lust and the desire to enrich oneself, even at the expense of one's own kindred and tribe. The wealthy, and governments which whore themselves off to the wealthy under the guise of bureaucracy, oppress their own kindred by using legal and political mechanisms in order to deprive them of their property and hard-earned wages.
Israel, fallen into apostasy and the paganism which had been mandated by the State since the days of Jeroboam I (1 Kings 12:26-33), had fallen to the level of self-serving decadence which is found in what we now call materialism. That is the same state which most formerly Christian White nations find themselves in once again today. How do they not merit the impending judgment of Yahweh once again?
We see that Israel was chastised for this same reason by the contemporary prophets Amos and Hosea. In Amos chapter 3 we see this is one of the primary reasons given for Israel's judgment, where the prophet said: “10 For they know not to do right, saith the LORD, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces. 11 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled.” Likewise we read in Amos 5: “11 Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. 12 For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.” The poor were burdened with taxes, corrupt courts and unrighteous government, and the rich benefited from their oppression.
The theme is recurrent throughout Amos, and we see in chapter 8: “4 Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, 5 Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?” Today's merchants have “modernized” and “secularized” our Christian society by removing the obstacles that prevented them from trading every single hour of every single day, thereby removing the concept of the Sabbath from Christian society. Making the ephah small and the shekel great, we suffer this same thing today where wages never rise as quickly as currency devaluation and price inflation, because the bankers are always skimming the economy.
While the primary scope of the prophecy of Hosea is the fornication and idolatry of Israel which resulted from a desire for riches through trade, to some degree Hosea also rebukes Israel for these same injustices against the poor of their own nation. In Hosea chapter 12, where Ephraim stands for all of the northern kingdom, we read that “7 He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress. 8 And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin.” Yet with this attitude Ephraim deceived himself, because in seeking the gain of ungodly merchandising Israel indeed oppressed its own people, just as Christendom has done today. Through this ungodly trade, Ephraim said “I am rich”, and once again the whore of Babylon supposes that she is rich, but in one hour her great riches shall be made as nothing (Revelation 18:17). Christ said likewise to the assembly at Laodicea (which can be interpreted to mean “self-righteous people”): “17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”. The whore of Babylon described in Revelation chapter 18 is judged because she enriched herself from international trade in merchandise, the same exact sin of ancient Israel for which they were also judged.
The sins of ancient Israel, Baal worship and the seeking of riches in commerce with aliens, go hand-in-hand. You cannot trade with alien people without accepting their persons and respecting their gods, making treaties with them that the children of Israel were explicitly told not to make. “Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever” (Deuteronomy 23:6). In turn, the pursuit of commercialism leads to individualism and materialism, which alienate men from their own kindred and lead them to compete with one another. All of this is anti-Christian, and it is promoted through our society by the anti-Christs. Yet Christians have disregarded their Old Testaments, and have therefore neglected to learn these lessons from the prophets. In turn, the enemies of Christ have taken the Revelation, which is warning us of these very same things, and they have interpreted it as a fantastic science fiction comic book scenario reserved for some time far off in the future, preventing Christians from learning from that as well.
3 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evil.
From Amos chapter 6, where Israel is prophesied against for many of the very same reasons given by Micah: “14 But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the LORD the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of the wilderness.”
This evil is coming upon the nation in the form of the imminent Assyrian invasions and the resulting captivity, which the nation was not going to be able to avoid. This leads us to discuss what evil could come from God, and to put certain things in perspective which are often misconstrued. This is because from a worldly perspective, good and evil are indeed relative. However that does not mean that good and evil should be relative to Christians. Here, from Isaiah 45:7, we have the words of Yahweh God in reference to Himself: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
Many people, or many fools, attempt to abuse passages such as this one in Micah, or in Isaiah which we just quoted, and simple-mindedly assert that because Yahweh creates both good and evil, that Yahweh Himself must therefore be Satan or the Devil. That must by necessity create a serious problem for God, who would have to bind himself in a pit for a thousand years, and then again when He has to throw Himself into the Lake of Fire, in company with the beast and the false prophet, as He describes in Revelation chapter 20.
The evil which God creates is not evil to Him, but to man. It is necessary evil in order that He may execute His judgment upon our works. When His judgment befalls us, it is evil in our perspective, but to God, His judgment is righteous. Repentant men who recognize their sin should also see His judgment as righteous, even though it was evil to them when they suffered it. As the Proverb says, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24). That is why good and evil are relative, because “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
In relation to this very judgment against Israel uttered here in Micah, we read in the prophet Isaiah: “21 The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. 22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. 23 For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land. 24 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. 25 For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.” Therefore the evil God brings upon man is ultimately brought for good.
When men oppose God, they become adversarial to God, and the Hebrew word satan primarily means adversary. Therefore Peter, a good man and a child of Adam who was made in God's image, became satan when he expressed his own will in opposition to Christ (Matthew 16:23). But Peter became a small-s satan, and upon his repentance he would no longer be such a satan, being in agreement with Christ. When the angels described in Revelation chapter 12 were cast from heaven, they corrupted the creation of God. Because of their corruption of God's creation, there are plants here which the “heavenly Father hath not planted” (Matthew 15:13). These started out as the tares which the enemy planted soon after the foundation of the world (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-42). These corruptions of God's creation are permanently and irreparably in opposition to God, because their very existence is in opposition to God's law. These therefore constitute the capital-s Satan, because until they are thrown into the Lake of Fire they will always be in opposition to God, because their origin is not from God, but began with that entity popularly known as the “fallen angels” who rebelled from God, which are described in Revelation chapter 12, the epistles of Jude and Peter, Luke chapter 10 and elsewhere. Because of the corruption of those who rebelled from God, they were - and their descendants still are to this day - born of the earth, and not of heaven, as John explains in the fourth chapter of his first epistle, and therefore because they are not “born from above”, meaning that they are not of God or the Adamic race which God created, they shall not ever see the Kingdom of Heaven, as Christ attests to Nicodemus in John chapter 3.
While God, in order to execute His judgment upon man may choose to employ either or both of the small-S satans, such as the Assyrians and Babylonians, or capital-S satans, such as the Edomite Jews and all the bastard races, that does not mean that God Himself is Satan. The Scripture soundly refutes that idea.
From 3 John: “11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.”
From the epistle of James, chapter 1: “12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
The idea that God is Satan is absolutely contrary to Scripture.
4 In that day [referring to the evil time promised in verse 3] shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me! turning away he hath divided our fields.
The Greek of the Septuagint, which Brenton's version reflects well here, punctuates the end of the verse differently: “... the portion of my people has been measured out with a line, and there was none to hinder him so as to turn him back; your fields have been divided.” The children of Israel are warned that their lands would be taken away, that new divisions of those lands would be assigned to others, and that they would have no recourse in the matter: “and there was none to turn him back”.
Yet there seems to be a deeper meaning here than simply a giving of the land of Israel over to the Assyrians. In the Septuagint version Yahweh is attributed as saying “the portion of my people has been measured out with a line”, and Yahweh's portion is His people, as He says in Deuteronomy 32:9 “9 For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” Therefore the statement may be taken in two ways, referring to the people themselves in relation to God, and to the land in relation to the people. The people themselves were also divided, and some would be put to the sword while others would survive in Assyrian captivity, and others would escape altogether. From Amos chapter 7, where we see a very similar prophecy at this very same time: “7 Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. 8 And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: 9 And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”
5 Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the LORD.
None of Yahweh's people in Israel would have any part in the new division of the land. Brenton's translation of the Septuagint Greek interprets the words for “in the congregation of the Lord” with the text of verse 6.
6 Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.
The Septuagint rendering of verse 6 is quite different, and Brenton translates it to say: “6 Weep not with tears in the assembly of the Lord, neither let any weep for these things; for he shall not remove the reproaches”. This makes much more sense in the Biblical context of the time, as there were several other prophets including Micah who were indeed prophesying at this very time and warning Israel of the impending and irreversible judgment which was to come. These were Isaiah, Hosea and Amos.
The Hebrew word which the King James Version renders as prophesy in this verse is nataph, Strong's # 5197, and it means “to ooze, i.e. distill gradually; by implication to fall in drops; figuratively to speak by inspiration”. The King James translators rendered it as prophesy only on these three occasion in this verse, once in Micah 2:11, and once in Zechariah 13:3. Of these, the Septuagint agrees only at Zechariah 13:3, which shows that while the word may be interpreted as the King James Version has it here, that interpretation does not always seem to fit the context. Regarding Israel, while the prophets were indeed rejected by the people (i.e. Amos 7:10-17), and therefore the words “prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy” are true and appear in all versions, yet the words “they shall not prophesy to them” are simply not true, because all of these prophets, both true prophets and false prophets, certainly did continue to prophesy to them. Understanding this, once again we can hardly consider the King James Version alone to be inspired. Only the original God-breathed Word is inspired, and from then on men can only try to understand it so that it may be translated equitably.
7 O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?
The punishment of Jacob was brought by his own doings. Yet even in captivity Israel was promised that seeking righteousness, God would be with them.
Hosea 10: “12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. 13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.”
8 Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war. 9 The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever.
These verses are difficult to understand, and the very different reading found in the Septuagint does not help the matter: “8 Even beforetime my people withstood him as an enemy against his peace; they have stripped off his skin to remove hope in the conflict of war. 9 The leaders of my people shall be cast forth from their luxurious houses; they are rejected because of their evil practices; draw ye near to the everlasting mountains.” Yet the reading of this passage in the Dead Sea Scrolls closely resembles that of the King James Version based upon the Masoretic Text.
Verse 8 is explaining that the children of Israel had become wholly adversarial to God, which is indeed the case as the records attest throughout all of the prophets of the period, and also relates that they robbed the possessions of those who were peacable, and verse 9 that they robbed the houses of widows and orphans. We see in Isaiah chapter 10, from around this same time: “1 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; 2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!”
However if we were to accept the Septuagint reading of verse 9, we may compare it to Amos chapter 6, where the wealthy of the people in Israel are judged for taking advantage of the poor. From Amos 6, in part: “1 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came! ... 3 Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; 4 That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; 5 That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David; 6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. 7 Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.”
10 Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction. 11 If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.
Wine and strong drink here symbolize good times and prosperity. The people deserved no other prophet than a false prophet, who would foretell good times although their destruction was imminent. We had referred to the account of the false prophet which Amos had encountered earlier in our presentation of this chapter of Micah, at verse 6 where it was said “Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy”. In other words, the people did not want to hear prophesies of truth foreboding the judgment of their evil deeds. Here is that account, from Amos 7:10-17: “ 10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land. 12 Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: 13 But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court. 14 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: 15 And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. 16 Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. 17 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.” In their present circumstances, once again the Israel of God becomes distressed when they hear the words of truth, and when they hear of even the possibility of judgment for their wicked deeds.
12 I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.
This is a promise of regathering in the captivity into which they are about to enter. However Bozrah was one of the chief cities of Edom, and there is no other similar such statement in the prophets, that Yahweh would gather His people to a city of the Edomites. All other prophecies of Bozrah only indicate Yahweh's judgment of eventual doom and destruction against Edom. Elsewhere Yahweh stated that the children of Israel were going into captivity that He may sift them, which infers a purification process. From Amos 9: “9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.”
Rather, the word Bozrah is also a simple noun which means sheepfold. This is how both the Septuagint and many other versions based upon the Masoretic Text have interpreted the word here in Micah. As our Redeemer told the Judaeans, recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 10: “16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Most of the children of Israel never returned to Judaea after the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, but were instead gathered together in northern Europe, where nations emerged that were unknown before that time.
13 The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.
Mainstream commentaries often see this as a Messianic prophecy, an interpretation which is absolutely contrary to the context. Rather, those whom Yahweh shall use to pass His judgment on Israel are “the breaker” who is depicted as already coming. The statement that “their king shall pass before them” is primarily a reference to Tiglath-Pileser III, the first of the Assyrian kings to invade Israel proper, beginning around 742 BC and then several times later. Both he and his successors, Sargon II and Sennacherib, invaded and deported most of Israel and then much of Judah, and these kings customarily accompanied their armies during these invasions, as Micah describes here and as their own inscriptions attest.
Tiglath-Pileser first invaded Israel when Menahem was king, where he is called Pul in 2 Kings 15:19, but Menahem averted disaster by paying tribute. Tiglath-Pileser invaded Israel again when Pekah was king (2 Kings 15:29), and the reign of Jotham king of Judah began in the second year of Pekah. Ostensibly, since the ministry of Micah must have begu before the invasion of Tiglath-Pileser in the time of Pekah, which is described as being imminent here, then Micah's ministry must have begun not long after Jotham came to be king. Tiglath-Pileser carried off into captivity many of the Israelites of Galilee and the areas beyond the Jordan. Upon the succession of Ahaz to the throne of Judah, he subjected himself to Tiglath-Pileser and paid a large tribute of silver and gold (2 Kings 16:7, 10), thereby averting invasion. Samaria itself was not taken by the Assyrians until the reign of Sargon II in 722 or 721 BC. Judah was not invaded by the Assyrians until the coming of Sennacherib after 704 BC, during the reign of Hezekiah. Here Yahweh professes that He would be at the head of the invading Assyrian armies, and therefore the Assyrians could not fail: Israel would indeed be broken by “the breaker”.
Micah 3:1 And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment? 2 Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; 3 Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
We must be careful not to interpret this criticism of the wealthy and the princes of Israel in a manner which is sympathetic to Marxist economics. God is not a Marxist, and God hates Marxism. He tells us that “the workman is worthy of his meat”, and we see from the words of Christ that in the Kingdom of Heaven one servant is rewarded ten cities, another five, and another only one, or even none, in exchange for the quality of each of their labors. That is not Marxism, it is justice.
We have already seen here that this criticism of the wealthy of Israel is a recurrent theme throughout Amos and now in Micah, and this, besides the, economic, religious and social fornication which Israel had been guilty of and which is elaborately detailed in Hosea, is one of the primary reasons for Israel's judgment. The wealthy have no excuse. For it is written into the laws of Yahweh precisely why He blesses and gives certain men the ability to acquire such wealth, while others work hard and may have but little gained.
Here it is, from Deuteronomy chapter 8: “11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: 12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; 16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; 17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. 19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. 20 As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.”
For those of the children of Israel who are wealthy, God grants that wealth in order that His covenants with the patriarchs are upheld, so that His kingdom may be established in the face of His enemies. They should in turn use what wealth they have towards that same endeavor. Oppressing the poor of their brethren by depriving them of a fair wage, as the apostle James illustrates in chapter 5 of his epistle, or by withholding from them the things which they need to sustain themselves when we ourselves have an excess, or by forcing them to compete with aliens for labor or business based on price as a matter of efficiency, which is a capitalist Jewish deception: those things are ungodly and violate the Covenants and undermine the foundations of the Kingdom.
From James chapter 2: “14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”
One cannot profess belief, and then not put those good things which God grants him into the practice of that belief, unless one is a hypocrite. “Now if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially of kin, he has denied the faith and is inferior to one of the faithless” (1 Timothy 5:8)
Micah continues to address those princes of Israel who have oppressed the poor and who have cared more for the enrichment of their own lives than for the Kingdom of God:
4 Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.
Prayers for oneself may certainly not be heard when one has neglected the care of the will of God.
5 Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him. 6 Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. 7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.
The language used here indicates with all certainty that these prophets being chastised here must have been legitimate prophets who had turned away from God, since it is indicated that before their error they did indeed have visions and answers from God.
8 But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
Here Micah asserts that his ministry is a legitimate prophetic ministry. It seems that Micah had the same sort of opposition which Amos also faced, from false prophets who attempted to silence him. The people simply did not want to hear of their own sin.
9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. 10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. 11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
The heads thereof judge for reward: the judges of the people give judgment for bribes. By this alone the wealthy would always prevail over and be able to oppress the poor.
And the priests thereof teach for hire: the ministers of the people work for sake of money, and therefore they teach what their masters want to hear.
And the prophets thereof divine for money: doing that same thing which the priests do, foreboding good things that tickle the ears of their hearers for the sake of their own gain.
Yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us: As we saw in Micah chapter 1, the meanings of the names of the towns of Judah which he prophesied against were a major facet to the message which he related. Lachish was the “beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion”, as the King James Version reads Micah 1:13, because the name of Lachish means invincible. Here we see corroboration for that interpretation, where Micah explicitly states that the people thought they could get away with anything simply because they were Israel, and that Yahweh their God would uphold them in spite of their injustices.
All of these things just as well describe the functionaries of the denominational sects within our own society, who so wrongly teach that all one must do is to believe in Jesus, and be saved. In truth, the Scripture does teach that all of Israel shall indeed be saved. But many in Israel shall have no reward (Isaiah 45:25, Daniel 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.
Many mistake the reports of the Roman plowing of Jerusalem in the days of Hadrian as the fulfillment of this prophecy. This interpretation is especially loved by Christian Zionists – who are little but apologists for the Edomite bastards that are inhabiting Jerusalem today. However instead we must look to the Assyrian and Babylonian destruction of Israel and Jerusalem for its fulfillment, because it was the ancient kingdom of Israel and the first temple city of Jerusalem which Micah had in mind.
The word Zion was originally applied to the “city of David”, which many of the mainstream denominational commentators mistakenly consider to be Jerusalem, but which was clearly applied to only the acropolis of Jerusalem, to a single mountain within the city.
From 2 Samuel 5: “7 Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.”
From 1 Chronicles 11: “5 And the inhabitants of Jebus [which was also Jerusalem, Judges 19:10] said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David.”
In 2 Chronicles chapter 5 we read that in the days of Solomon were gathered all the princes of the children of Israel “to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.” Upon this being accomplished, we read “And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up.... 7 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims...”
Therefore it is evident that Zion, “the city of David”, was on one mountain in Jerusalem, and the temple, which was said to be on Mount Moriah, was on another mountain in Jerusalem. From 2 Chronicles 3: “1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.” Therefore Zion was only one mountain within the much larger city, but Zion was never merely another name for the city itself.
However the word, or rather the concept of Zion later transcended its original application, and was taken to mean something much greater in the books of the prophets. For instance, in Isaiah chapter 51 we read this in a Messianic prophecy: “3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.... 16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.”
Often in the Scriptures we read that Yahweh dwells in Zion. From the 9th Psalm: “11 Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.” Ostensibly, Zion became a prophetic epithet for the mass of His people who dwell with Him. However, appropriately the Hebrew word Zion means a parched place, which is indeed descriptive of His people apart from Him.
In Micah 3:10 the prophet addresses the “heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel”, ostensibly referring to both Israel and Judah, to both halves of a long-divided kingdom, and then he says that “they build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity”. And therefore the meaning of the word Zion cannot be limited to the city of David which is merely a small part of Jerusalem. Rather it must be understood in its transcendent application to refer to the nation and people of Israel as a whole.
The nation and the people were indeed plowed like a field by the Assyrians, so that Yahweh could then “sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve,” as He promised at Amos 9:9. All of the cities of Israel were overturned, as the blade of a plow does to the soil of a field. After the later Babylonian invasions, Jerusalem did literally lie in heaps, as Nehemiah attests where nearly 70 years later he says in Nehemiah chapter 2: “11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. 12 And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon. 13 And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire. 14 Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king's pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass. 15 Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.” Nehemiah returned to Persia, from whence he had come. [Nearly all , if not all, of the denominational commentators believe Nehemiah followed Ezra, and those commentators are all fools. Nehemiah actually preceded Ezra by several decades! We discussed this at great length, and proved it, in the second of our two-part presentation of chapter 13 of the Gospel of Mark.]
If Nehemiah's beast could not pass into the heart of the city due to the rubble, then Jerusalem was not plowed after its destruction by the Babylonians. Neither could Ezra and his 42,000 people even have been there. While the Romans under Hadrian were said to have run a plow over the city as a commemoration of its destruction, they must have removed much of the rubble first. However the words here in Micah, where he says “Zion for your sake be plowed as a field”, cannot refer to the first century AD destruction of Jerusalem or to the time of Hadrian in the second century AD, but to the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions of ancient Israel. Likewise, the term Zion clearly has a greater meaning than that which refers to the city of David alone, which was only one mountain in Jerusalem, and the term never referred to the city of Jerusalem as a whole. In Micah, the plowing of Zion has to do with the Assyrian destruction and captivity of Israel, along with most of Judah.