15/03/20 – Micah 2:12 – Micah 3:4
Micah 2:12 – 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.
I will surely – ‘acaph (gather; gather in; assemble; collect; bring up the rear; gather and take away; remove; withdraw)
assemble – ‘acaph (gather; gather in; assemble; collect; bring up the rear; gather and take away; remove; withdraw)
Thus, “I will assemble-assemble …..” This is an emphasis on the assembling; it is doubly certain to happen. Thus “I will certainly (or surely) assemble (or gather in; collect), O Jacob, all of you (or altogether).”
I will surely – qabats (to gather; gather together; take away)
gather – qabats (to gather; collect; assemble) Different tense to “I will surely”.
Thus “I will gather-gather ….” Again this is a doubly assured event, doubly certain to occur. “I will certainly gather (or collect) the remnant of Israel.”
remnant – rest; residue; remainder; remnant; what is left; descendants
Joel 2:31-32 – 31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. 32And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (where “remnant” = those who survive; those who remain; a different word to “remnant” in the above verse.)
put them together – or “unite them”
sheep – or “flock”
Bozrah – enclosure; fold; sheepfold
the sheep of Bozrah – or “the flock of the (in their) sheepfold”; it is also a town in Edom. Bozrah is used 8 times in the OT.
Isaiah 34:5-6 – 5For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. 6The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, [and] with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.
Isaiah 63:1-4 – 1Who [is] this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this [that is] glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2Wherefore [art thou] red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 3I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people [there was] none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. 4For the day of vengeance [is] in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
Note the doubling up of statements:
I will surely assemble …. and I will surely gather ….
as the sheep of Bozrah …. and as the flock in the midst of their fold ….
they shall make great noise – to murmur; to show disquietude. Here it may be compared with the bleating of a flock of sheep in their sheepfold. The idea is of a flock of sheep making a lot of noise because there is danger such as a fox among them. Thus, it could be seen as the crying out of the population (with great noise because of the number of voices raised) because of an imminent danger.
Many see this as a Messianic prophecy, with Christ their Messiah gathering them together back to their land (and if so, then does it relate to the return after the Babylonian captivity, or to the gathering together for the tribulation after the great dispersion).
However, the context could also appear to support Micah prophesying the truth in spite of the previous accusations of being a prophet who made trouble by preaching at them too much (Micah 2:6-11). That is, Micah could be emphasising the unpalatable truth by making sure his critics well and truly hear God’s message to them.
Of course, it could mean that in spite of the calamity that is about to befall them, God has not entirely deserted them yet, that there will be a remnant of God’s people who returns, either after the captivity or after the great dispersion (note Joel 2:31-32), but the term does suggest that the people are troubled.
Micah 4:6-7 (6In 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; 7And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.) does relate to the gathering of God’s people in the end times and after, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that Micah 2:12-13 refers to the same event (although it could).
They will make a great noise because of the sheer numbers of men (or people) involved here. In the end, the remnant of Israel will be gathered all together in Jerusalem. They will be as sheep in their sheepfold, bleating with disquietude at the events unfolding before them (that is, the enemy at their gates threatening to defeat them unless God should deliver them – which He won’t because He has already judged that they should go into captivity for their wickedness.
Or (the traditional Jewish Messianic view), the remnant of Israel is gathered together when their Messiah returns; they mourn (or wail – Revelation 1:7) for the one whom they have now recognised as their Messiah.
Zechariah 12:9-11 – 9And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn. 11In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
Thus this could be seen as the great noise of many at the return of their Messiah, troubled because of their realisation of what they did to their Christ when He first came.
Or, this could be a prophecy in two levels, with an initial immediate fulfilment first (the captivity) and a more complete fulfilment later (the coming of their Messiah as foretold by Joel).
Micah 2:13 – 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.
The breaker (active participle) – to break through or down or over; burst; breach. The same word is used for “have broken up” (perfect tense).
While this could refer to the breaking in of an enemy king, it could also refer to the Messiah (which is the traditional Jewish interpretation).
So, the breaker (the enemy with his armies) has come up before them. The walls have been breached (broken down) and the enemy has come in through the gate. Israel has all gone out by this gate (into captivity) including their king and the Lord God in front of or leading them (for by His decision they are gone into captivity).
Or, Christ their Messiah is the rock on whom all others will be broken
Daniel 2:45 – Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream [is] certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
Also 1 Peter 2:7-8 – 7Unto you therefore which believe [he is] precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,8And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
The remnant of Israel will be broken on this rock of offence (or their Messiah shall have broken through the gate or barrier separating them from God – Ephesians 2:14). They pass through the gate with their Captain at the head (in front of them, leading by example, the firstborn from the dead – note “the captain of their salvation” Hebrews 2:10) with Yᵉhovah at their head.
So, the breaker: Is this the conquering king from Babylon? Or is it talking about going through the gate after Christ? Or the enemy who takes them out of their gates, off to captivity in Babylon?
Isaiah 52:12 – For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel [will be] your rereward.
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?
Micah now returns to his condemnation of those who oppress the weak simply because they are able to do so (Micah 2:1), those who take away by violence the possessions of others (Micah 2:2) and the evil which will come upon them as a result of their violence (Micah 2:3)
Micah 2:1-3 – 1Woe 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. 2And 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. 3Therefore 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.
Hear – to hear; listen to; obey. Thus “Pay attention to my words.”
heads – ro’sh – same word used for “the head” in previous verse.
princes – chiefs; rulers; commanders; captains; princes. Here the context suggests magistrates and judges who were normally taken from the rulers of the country.
(Is it) not for you to know – yada‘ (know)
Thus “And I told them, ‘Pay attention to what I am saying, O rulers of the people of Jacob and you magistrates and judges of the house of Israel. Aren’t you the ones who have to know how to apply proper judgment (or justice)?’ ” These were those who should have best known how to administer justice to God’s people; it was their responsibility to ensure that all received justice. They of all people should have known how to judge their people fairly. Those who took from others by violence were the same ones who should have known that what they were doing was wrong.
Micah 3:2 – Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
pluck off – to tear away; seize; plunder; tear off; pull off; rob; take away by force.
These are wicked people who hate good and love evil. Instead of being good shepherds who fed their flocks (as they should have), they have “butchered” their flock, taking from them even those things necessary for life itself: figuratively the skin off their flesh, and even the flesh off their bones.
These leaders of Israel were called to be shepherds of their people, yet they were false shepherds. Instead of feeding them wholesome food, they were feeding themselves at the expense of the flock.
Ezekiel 34:1-6 – 1And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: [but] ye feed not the flock. 4The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up [that which was] broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 5And they were scattered, because [there is] no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek [after them].
Israel’s leaders continued to be false shepherds to God’s flock after their return from captivity.
Zechariah 7:8-11 – 8And the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah, saying,9Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: 10And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. 11But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.
Zechariah 10:3 – Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.
Zechariah 11:3-9 – 3[There is] a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled. 4Thus saith the Lord my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter; 5Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed [be] the Lord; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not. 6For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour’s hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver [them]. 7And I will feed the flock of slaughter, [even] you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock. 8Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me. 9Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.
Micah 3:3 – 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.
You have treated God’s people like cattle who are slaughtered for your food, and their skin taken to be made into your clothing etc. They are no longer people, but goods and services to be used for your selfish benefits. You cut them up into pieces in order to cook them, as meat in the stew in the cauldron. You are not satisfied with sufficient, but desire everything from your people, even their lives. You leave them with nothing; they are destitute and broken; they are merely animals to be slaughtered for your every need. They are to be sacrificed for your pleasures.
Psalm 14:4 – Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people [as] they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord.
Micah 3:4 – 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.
Then, after these evil ones have cruelly oppressed their people, when they themselves are cruelly oppressed they will cry out to Yᵉhovah but He will not hear them (He will not answer nor respond). God will not pay any attention to their crying out; He will ignore them.
Zechariah 11:6 – For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour’s hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver [them].
God will hide His face from them; He will turn away from them and ignore them, just as they themselves have turned away from the cries of their people and have ignored their cries for mercy.
Isaiah 1:15 – And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
They will reap the crop that they planted (Galatians 6:7).
When they call upon God, He will not answer them.
Proverbs 1:28-33 – 28Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: 30They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
They will seek the Lord but He will not be found by them.
Hosea 5:6 – They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but they shall not find [him]; he hath withdrawn himself from them.
If they had genuinely sought God, He would have responded to them.
Isaiah 55:6 – Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Jeremiah 29:12-14 – 12Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
On an important side-issue, calvinism has serious problems when applying their doctrines to real life issues. For example, if one of their “elect” commits a serious offence such as adultery or murder, they have to decide then if that person may not be one of the elect. Piper has said that if he ever does something like committing adultery or other wild living, then others should accept that he was never one of the elect. But this is a problem for most reformed churches (including Presbyterian and Lutheran) who generally require that their ministers and pastors be declared elect before they may be ordained. For, how do you then declare that person unelect if they commit adultery or murder? They can’t! If a minister or pastor commits adultery, they embarrass the church because they cannot be declared non-elect again. (The elect must persevere to the end or else they are not elect, yet pastors must be “elect” to be ordained! Thus reformed pastors must persevere to the end! They have no other option.)
How do calvinists explain this? They either admit that they got the elect status of their pastor wrong (they rarely admit this), or they accept that their God decreed that their pastor should commit adultery (even calvinists have a problem with this option). They are caught between two impossible options.
This means calvinists are divided when faced with the elect status of King David. It is clear that David was chosen by God (in Acts 13:22) And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the [son] of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. David also committed both adultery and murder, yet had to be still fulfilling all God’s will. Calvinists have to either teach that David was not one of the elect, or else God’s will required that David (His elect) commit adultery and murder. How can David not be one of the elect? But, on the other hand, how could God decree that His elect would commit adultery and murder according to His will? For, when free will is removed, the calvinists have to believe the impossible, that God either desires wicked men to serve Him, or that He desires His servants to commit wickedness. Most calvinists try to ignore the implication that if David is one of God’s elect, then he was ordained to commit adultery and murder. This is ludicrous!