12/04/20 – Micah 4:8-13
Micah 4:8 – And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
tower – tower; elevated stage; pulpit; raised bed.
tower of the flock – migdal ‘eder It might be rendered as Migdal-‘Eder, a village with a tower near Bethlehem. Rachel was buried near Bethlehem; Jacob set up a pillar to mark her grave.
Genesis 35:19-21 – 19And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which [is] Bethlehem. 20And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that [is] the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day. 21And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar (migdal Eder). It is not likely that the tower of Edar refers to Rachel’s sepulchre, as it seems Israel journeyed from Rachel’s grave, past the tower of Edar, and then camped further on. (Although “beyond” could also mean “as far as”.)
While this tower seems to represent Jerusalem here, Micah is also the prophet who foretold Bethlehem would be the birthplace of Jesus (Micah 5:2). If we assume that this is the town of Migdal-Eder, then how could it fit in with the context of this verse? Easton’s Bible Dictionary says that it was the Tower of the flock, a place 2 miles south of Jerusalem, near the Bethlehem road. However, no definite evidence exists today to be certain of where it really was, apart from being near Bethlehem which itself is 10km south-east of Jerusalem. Jacob and Rachel were travelling from Bethel which was said to be about 17km north of Jerusalem. Rachel was buried not long before they reached Bethlehem. After she was buried, Jacob (Israel) journeyed further, past (or perhaps “as far as”) migdal Eder which is likely to have been quite near Bethlehem. Jerome says it was about 1000 paces (equivalent to a Roman mile which was probably about 1.5km) from Bethlehem.
Some say that Jesus was born at Migdal-Eder which could have been on the outskirts of Bethlehem. This is possible, considering that the traditional birthplace (The Church of the Nativity) in Bethlehem is unlikely to be the actual site of His birth. Migdal-Eder was probably close enough to Bethlehem to be considered part of it. Another possibility is that it was where the sheep were being watched by the shepherds, noting that sheep were a major provision for temple sacrifices.
If Jesus were born at or near Migdal-Eder, then does the tower of the flock here represent Christ their Messiah associated with Jerusalem (especially the millennium), and possibly not referring to an actual place at all?
Psalm 46:1 – God [is] our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 18:2 – The Lord [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower.
Proverbs 18:10 – The name of the Lord [is] a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
Overall, though, the context does appear to be about Jerusalem; therefore “tower of the flock” would refer to Jerusalem (noting that this is the city of their coming Messiah – and this passage is about the future millennium and the reign of their Messiah). Or the tower of the flock might be Christ the Messiah, reigning from Jerusalem during the millennium.
My view is that if there is a connection with the tower of the flock as an actual place, then the context has to make it then relate to their Messiah who would be born there. This assumes that this tower is either the birthplace of Jesus, or possibly, with an emphasis on sacrifice, it could relate to the sheep and lambs being kept on the hills around Bethlehem, noting the sacrificial connections of those sheep to Christ. I would tend toward the tower either referring to their Messiah, or to the city from which He as Messiah would redeem His people and then rule over them. My thought is that both are meant here, both their Messiah and His city of Jerusalem, noting that daughter of Zion is a term often associated with redemption or salvation.
The “strong hold (or fort; fortress) of the daughter of Zion” would have to refer to Jerusalem being the place of strength for Israel who would be referred to as “the daughter of Zion”. The “daughter of Zion” is often associated with their Messiah who will redeem them (and therefore will be their strength – see Psalm 46:1 above).
The daughter of Zion usually refers to an Israel that is to be offered God’s redemption and salvation. This will certainly occur when the remnant of Israel is redeemed and then rescued by Christ at the end of the battle of Armageddon.
Matthew 21:5 – Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
Zechariah 9:9 – Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he [is] just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Isaiah 62:10-12 – 10Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. 11Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward [is] with him, and his work before him. 12And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.
Even in their rebellion, the daughter of Zion is still noted as being left a remnant (a term that usually refers to that small group who should be redeemed).
Isaiah 1:8-9 – 8And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, [and] we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
the stronghold – ‘ophel (stronghold; fort; fortress; hill) Probably refers to Ophel, a high place on the south of Moriah. It was a fortified rocky outcrop, a strong place from which to make a stand against the enemy. It may even refer to the “fortress of the flock”. It could depict Christ as a rock of refuge for the remnant of Israel in Jerusalem.
the first dominion – or foremost or former rule. This does seem to refer to a reign that has already existed, yet not right now, but is yet to come to them in the future. It is clear that this refers to Christ their Messiah who, as their God, was their former ruler, yet has rejected them for a season (either via the captivity in Babylon, or more likely, being dispersed among the Gentiles until being reclaimed by God for their final 7 years on their timeline.
The first dominion could be associated with David as per the following from Ezekiel.
And David my servant [shall be] king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. (Ezekiel 37:24)
But it could also refer to the dominion that God claimed over Abraham with the Abrahamic covenant, or even to the dominion of God in the days before the fall of Adam (though this latter option is unlikely). Israel were once God's people, but slipped bit by bit until they literally were no longer God's people (by their own choice). The context of Micah 4:8 does suggest those 70 weeks of years (Daniel 9:24-27), where Israel slipped so far that she was eventually sidelined for over 2000 years, and is still waiting to be returned to that timeline for her final week of years (the great tribulation). They could have had their Davidic kingly line restored after the resurrection if they had not rejected their Messiah then, so they were put aside until such time as they would accept their Messiah, the descendant of David.
Jesus was proclaimed as the one who would sit on the throne of David His ancestor.
Luke 1:31-33 – 31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
They rejected their Messiah when He first came yet one day the kingdom would return to them, in Jerusalem with their Messiah on the throne.
Romans 11:25-27 – 25For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
And therefore the kingdom (the reign of God; the dominion that they had formerly had over them) that they once had over them shall return to them, Israel, as the daughter of Jerusalem.
Micah 4:9 – Now why dost thou cry out aloud? [is there] no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.
We now move back to the rebellion of Israel and their coming captivity. (Of course, other options are during the captivity, or their return to Israel, or even the lead-up to their final redemption at the end of the tribulation. But the following verse – Vs 10 below – does suggest the lead-up to their captivity in Babylon.)
In the leadup to the captivity of Judah, of their final 4 kings (all wicked), 3 were taken away into captivity by the enemy.
Josiah (5th last king) was the last good king of Judah. But it still was too late to stop God’s judgement against Judah.
2 Kings 23:24-27 – 24Moreover the [workers with] familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. 25And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there [any] like him. 26Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal. 27And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.
The next king, Josiah’s son Jehoahaz, was wicked. After 3 months rule in Jerusalem, Pharaoh took him captive and replaced him with Eliakim (brother of Jehoahaz), renaming him Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim, a wicked king, ruled for 11 years. During this time Nebuchadnezzar came up against him, making Jehoiakim serve him. He did for 3 years, then rebelled, so God sent against him many enemies for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the Lord would not pardon. (2 Kings 24:4)
His son, Jehoiachin, another wicked king, ruled in Jerusalem for 3 months, and was then taken by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar then made his uncle Mattaniah king in his place, changing his name to Zedekiah. He was another wicked king. He reigned 11 years at Jerusalem before being also taken captive to Babylon.
2 Kings 25:1-7 – 1And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth [day] of the month, [that] Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about. :2And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. 3And on the ninth [day] of the [fourth] month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land. :4And the city was broken up, and all the men of war [fled] by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which [is] by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees [were] against the city round about:) and [the king] went the way toward the plain. 5And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him. 6So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him. 7And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.
When Zedekiah and his sons were taken captive, Judah actually had no legal king at the time (Zedekiah ran away, deserting his people just when they could have done with some real leadership). Of course, this lack of leadership may well have been as a result of them reaping what they did to God, but with Vs 10 below talking about Babylon the context does favour this being their lack of a king when they were finally taken captive. They rejected their true king, God, and in return they have effectively been rejected by their earthly king. Their last king, Zedekiah with his army, deserted Jerusalem, leaving the people to fend for themselves. It would be a month later before Jerusalem was finally taken, and all the people left behind taken into captivity.
When Micah 2:13 says "and their king shall pass before them" it could actually mean that he cleared off like a coward before the rest of his people were herded off to Babylon. Without a leader to take charge, they would cry out for someone to lead them. Is there no king to lead you? the prophet asks. Are your wise men of counsel perished? Have sorrows taken hold of you like a woman in childbirth? Are you having a panic attack?
Romans 8:22-23 – 22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.
Note similar in Matthew 24:6-9 – 6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8All these [are] the beginning of sorrows. 9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
Micah 4:10 – Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.
Note again Romans 8:22-23. It depicts a picture of being reborn back to life again, yet there’s pain before the gain.
pain – twist; dance; writhe (as in pain); whirl about; be in anguish; tremble. There’s no gain without pain here. They have rebelled and disobeyed God and now there will be pain and anguish before they can be brought back to God. This talks of consequences for sin, consequences that cannot be avoided. You do the crime, you do the time!
labour to bring forth – to burst forth; to draw forth; to bring forth. The idea is the effort required to cause the rebirthing to happen.
If you want to be brought back to God, you must be a new birth, a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Note again Romans 8:22-23)
You need to go through the labour pains before bringing forth the new Israel. You will go forth out of your city, off to captivity. No longer will you be secure behind the walls of Jerusalem; instead you will dwell in fields without defences, at Babylon (next to the Chebar river, according to Ezekiel).
Ezekiel 3:15 – Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel–abib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
Babylon was not a world power to be reckoned with in the days of Micah. Many therefore question the mention of Babylon here, yet is this not prophecy? Is it not possible for God to tell His people that they will go to Babylon, even as God told Isaiah (Isaiah 44:28 – 45:4) that a ruler named Cyrus would authorise their eventual return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, even before Cyrus was born!
Note that here the travail appears to relate to their return from Babylon; they shall be delivered from their enemies. But ultimately it must refer to their final deliverance at and after Armageddon when they go into the millennium with their newly-recognised Messiah; note that a similar idea in Micah 5:3 appears to discuss a bringing forth into the millennium.
redeem – redeem; avenge; revenge; ransom; redeem from bondage or exile.
They would return from Babylon and would be redeemed (bought back again; ransomed) from the hand (or from under the rule) of their enemies. Ultimately this would have to also refer to Israel’s final victory in Jerusalem after the battle of Armageddon. Not only will they be redeemed (temporarily) from their captivity in Babylon; ultimately they will be redeemed from all enemies after the great tribulation (when God will take them back as His people and the remnant at the end will claim God as their God).
It is difficult to determine when this redemption applies to them: after their return from Babylon, or at the end of the tribulation. Possibly both can be read into this prophecy which may be in 2 stages, an initial yet partial prophecy, and a final fully complete prophecy. This 2 stage prophecy is common to a lot of prophecy. Certainly the end times deliverance has to be the final fulfilment of this prophecy.
Micah 4:11 – Now also many nations (goy) are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.
be defiled – to be profaned; be defiled; be polluted; be corrupted; be godless. To be godless, to be without holy God in charge of their destiny, to be destitute. Pulpit says: profaned, despoiled of her boasted holiness and inviolability.
This could apply to their capture and transport to Babylon, yet at the end of their final 7-year period, Israel will see many nations gathered against her, nations that desire Israel to be rejected by her God, to be left defenceless without God’s protection. Note the Syrians who reckoned that Israel’s God had power in the hills but not in the valleys. Therefore they would hope to be fighting a godless Israel if they fought her in the valleys.
1 Kings 20:22-23 – 22And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee. 23And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods [are] gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.
Many heathen (goy) nations will say: Let Israel’s God desert her because of her pollution, for our desire is to take Zion (Jerusalem) for our own.
Armageddon will be fought to decide who wins the prize of Jerusalem.
Revelation 16:16 – And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Zechariah 12:1-3 – 1The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. 2Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah [and] against Jerusalem. 3And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
Most commentaries say this verse is to do with the fight before their captivity in Babylon, yet the context (taking Vss 12 & 13 also into account) does point to the nations at Armageddon. Certainly the antichrist does everything he can (and loses!) to be able to rule the world from Jerusalem!
Micah 4:12 – But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.
gather – qabats (gather; gather together; take away) As used for “will gather” in Micah 4:6.
But these goy nations do not know the thoughts (plans; purposes) of the Lord (they have no idea what they are up against!), nor do they understand His counsel (advice; purpose) (this purpose of God is beyond their ability to understand), for (instead of them defeating Israel) God will gather them (together) into sheaves (handfuls; bundles) and put them on the floor ready for threshing, to separate the wheat from the chaff (the judgment).
Luke 3:17 – Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
Matthew 13:30 – Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Micah 4:13 – Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.
thresh – to tread out; thresh; to tread on; trample on.
Arise and thresh (trample on), O daughter of Zion (Israel), for I will make your horn (your strength) as iron, and I will make your hooves brass (or copper or bronze). That is, you will be invincible when treading down your enemies. You will beat in pieces (will pulverise; will make dust of) many peoples (nations – ‘am). It is interesting that the “many nations” of Vs 11 above are goy while these “many people” uses the general word for “nation”.
will consecrate – to prohibit (for common use); consecrate; devote; dedicate for destruction; exterminate; completely destroy. This could refer to a consecration of the threshed grain of these many nations for destruction.
gain – or “profit”, “unjust gain” or “gain (profit) acquired by violence”.
I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord – rather, more likely, You will consecrate their gain unto the Lord.
substance – strength; might; efficiency; wealth; army; ability; force.
These “many people” will have their unjust gains (by violence) devoted to destruction by the Lord of the whole earth. The harvest will be gathered, threshed, and judged for salvation or destruction. And Israel will dominate once again.
Revelation 19:15 – And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
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.
(Also note Revelation 14:14-20)
Put simply, those who oppose Israel will reap the crop that they sow. Do unto others is not just a nice saying; it is really a promise that the way you treat others is the way you will be treated yourself.