24/05/20 Micah 6:9-16
Micah 6:9 – The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city, and [the man of] wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed (designated; ordained) it.
shall see – to see; perceive; consider; learn about; observe; give attention to; discern.
name – shem (name; fame; glory; reputation)
the rod – staff; branch; tribe; rod. Used 251 times, translated “tribe” 182 times, “rod” 52 times, “staff” 15 times. It is likely that it originally stood for the leader of a tribe with a staff (probably as a symbol of authority). It is often used of tribes of Israel.
It is the voice of God (not merely the prophet speaking) which cries out (proclaims) to the city (Jerusalem). He who is wise will know that it is God, and understand that this is what they should expect from God. Hear what judgment has been prophesied and who it is (God) that ordained such punishment. That is, the man of wisdom will understand that disobeying God has consequences; after all, this is what God is known for. He demands that His glory and reputation remain untarnished (holy), that if His people sin then God will protect His reputation and glory by appointing a suitable punishment. Or it could be read as “Recognise the voice of the Lord when you see the punishment that has been dealt out to you. The wise ones will understand that this is God’s right and authority to do so.”
The LXX says “he shall save those that fear his name”.
Psalm 9:16a – The Lord is known [by] the judgment [which] he executeth:
Micah 6:10 – Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure (or “the measure of leanness”) [that is] abominable?
treasures – treasures; storehouses; supplies of food/drink; treasure-house; treasury; magazine; armoury.
wickedness – Another of those Hebrew words with one option in the actual script plus a second recommended option in the margin. The script itself means “wrong; wickedness; guilt”, while the marginal suggestion means “man; husband; human being; person (in contrast to God); whosoever; any; each”. “wickedness” seems to fit in better with the context than “man” or “person”, noting that in the above verse “the wicked” is similar to “wickedness”, and that “wicked” is used again in Vs 10 below.
On the other hand, it could be that the treasures of man are being built up in the house of the wicked – see Matthew 6:19-21.
In spite of the warnings, judgments and pleadings from God to do otherwise, are there still those who would continue to build up their wickedness? Are the wicked satisfied to be of the house of the wicked in defiance of everything God has said [notably Micah 6:8 (He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?)]?
It brings to mind the question God asks in Isaiah 5:4 – What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? That is, what more could God have done to help them reform their ways? The idea in Isaiah was that no matter how much God tried to reform them, they would continue to produce rubbish.
They would also cheat by underpaying for produce, and using biased scales/weights for selling produce. This was an abomination to the Lord.
Proverbs 11:1 – A false balance [is] abomination to the Lord: but a just weight [is] his delight.
They would even yearn for the sabbath day to be over with so they could continue with their abominations. That is, cheating is OK as long as you don’t so on the sabbath!
Amos 8:4-7 – 4Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, 5Saying, 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? 6That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; [yea], and sell the refuse of the wheat? 7The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works.
That is, it’s acceptable as long as we don’t cheat on the sabbath! Other days, though, are alright!
Also note Vs 11 below where they would even carry false weights with which to measure out produce; a premeditated deceit!
Micah 6:11 – Shall I count [them] pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?
It could be read as God asking if he can consider to be pure (clean; justified) those who deal with wicked balances and those who carry the bag of deceitful (treacherous) weights (weights designed to deceive). “Shall (or “Can”) I justify (or consider it justified) (the use of) the wicked balance?”
Or, how could he consider such wicked and deceitful people to be justified in His sight?
Leviticus 19:35-36 – 35Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. 36Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I [am] the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 25:13-16 – 13Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. 14Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. 15[But] thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 16For all that do such things, [and] all that do unrighteously, [are] an abomination unto the Lord thy God.
However, the translation could be “Shall (or “Can”) I be pure with wicked balances, and with a bag of deceitful weights?” with the emphasis upon the person answering God’s condemnation. Even so, the meaning is little changed.
Micah 6:12 – For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue [is] deceitful in their mouth.
Note Micah 2:1-2 – 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.
It was those who took from the poor their very ability to survive who Micah’s prophecy is largely against. These were rich because they were able (it is in the power of their hand) to take from others to add to their own possessions.
Isaiah 5:8 – Woe unto them that join house to house, [that] lay field to field, till [there be] no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth! Woe to them who take so many properties of others that their possessions are wall-to-wall, and their fields so large that they are isolated in the middle of them.
The rich just keep on getting richer at the expense of the poor who just keep on getting poorer. They take by violence (cruelty; injustice) what belongs to others so that their greed may be satisfied (see Micah 2:2). These rich men are those of the city in Vs 9 above. If they had wisdom they would understand that what is about to come upon them is ordained by God because of their iniquity. And not only the rich, because the rest of the people will generally copy what the rich people do: if you can’t beat them, join them! All the inhabitants are liars; there is often little obvious benefit in telling the truth when others are gaining so much by telling lies. Often those who tell the truth are the first to suffer deprivation of necessary supplies.
They cannot even open their mouths without deceit (speaking lies). It’s like the question: How do you know when a politician is lying? When he opens his mouth! or When his lips are moving!
Isaiah 1:23a – Thy princes [are] rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards:
Micah 6:13 – Therefore also will I make [thee] sick in smiting thee, in making [thee] desolate because of thy sins.
smiting – to smite; strike; beat; scourge; clap; applaud; give a thrust; kill; slay (man or beast); attack and destroy; conquer; ravage; chastise; send judgment upon; punish.
Therefore God will bring sickness upon them (make them diseased) (or their iniquity will cause God to bring sickness upon them – or make them diseased) in making them desolate (devastating them; ravaging them) by sending judgment upon them (chastise; punish; attack and destroy them), because of their sins (sinfulness).
Nahum 3:19 – [There is] no healing of thy bruise (or “destruction”); thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually? (Nahum, along with Habakkuk, was after Micah but before the captivity of Judah at Babylon. Both of them were probably contemporaries of Jeremiah.)
Isaiah spoke similar words. Seemingly the people were suffering because of their rebellion, yet they weren’t doing anything about it other than just making it worse with more and more rebellion.
Isaiah 1:5-6 – 5Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6From the sole of the foot even unto the head [there is] no soundness in it; [but] wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
Micah 6:14 – Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down [shall be] in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and [that] which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword.
You shall eat but not be satisfied (sated with food; be fulfilled; have one’s fill; have in excess), for it will not nourish you (you shall eat nardoo but even though it fills your bellies, you will still die!). Burke and Wills (Australian explorers) died of malnutrition, which was accelerated by the onset of beri-beri — a deficiency of thiamine, vitamin B1. The explorers contracted beri-beri by eating nardoo, a clover-like plant which contains an enzyme that breaks down thiamine. Nardoo was regularly eaten by the (aboriginal) people. They carefully prepared the plant to eliminate the enzyme and gave it to the explorers. Burke and Wills, however, ate the plants raw. (https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/burke-and-wills)
Isaiah 9:19-20 – 19Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother. 20And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:
casting down – a sinking feeling; emptiness.
And there will be a feeling of emptiness in spite of the food you have consumed. Even though Burke and Wills filled their stomachs with nardoo, they still died of malnutrition. Being filled with food, they were consequently filled with emptiness!
shalt take hold – to displace; move back; move away; remove; carry away.
shalt not deliver – or “shall not bring to safety”
That is, you will gather your possessions and seek to escape the enemy, but you will not be able to bring them (and/or yourselves) to safety. Even though you see the enemy and seek to flee for safety, you will not find safety.
and [that] which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword – And anything that you think has been delivered into safety, God will cause to be destroyed even then. That is, even when you think anything is safe, think again!
Note 1 Thessalonians 5:3 – For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
Many of the people of Judah sought protection or safety by fleeing (or even migrating) to Egypt. But that would not be able to save them from God’s judgment.
Jeremiah 44:11-14 – 11Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah. 12And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, [and] fall in the land of Egypt; they shall [even] be consumed by the sword [and] by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, [and] an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach. 13For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: 14So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape.
Others would try to avoid the conflict by running away from their responsibilities.
Jeremiah 52:7-8 – 7Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which [was] by the king’s garden; (now the Chaldeans [were] by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain. 8But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him.
They were also warned that if they walked contrary to God, they would eat and not be satisfied, and they could also be delivered into the enemy’s hands. They couldn’t say that they weren’t told!
Leviticus 26:23-26 – 23And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; 24Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. 25And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of [my] covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. 26[And] when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver [you] your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.
You can run but you can’t hide!
Micah 6:15 – Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine, but shalt not drink wine.
They would sow crops but not reap them, possibly from lack of production, but the context suggests that the enemy would eat their produce, use their olive oil, and drink their wine.
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. (Amos was a bit earlier than Micah.)
It possibly even applies to their impending captivity where they would be slaves, growing the food and supplies for others who might give them some in return but where they would be at the mercy of their conquerors.
They were told in the wilderness after leaving Egypt that if they disobeyed God, then among other curses, they would grow food but not eat it, and they would have sons and daughters, but would not enjoy them because they would go into captivity.
Deuteronomy 28:15; 38-42 – 15But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
38Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather [but] little in; for the locust shall consume it. 39Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress [them], but shalt neither drink [of] the wine, nor gather [the grapes]; for the worms shall eat them. 40Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint [thyself] with the oil; for thine olive shall cast [his fruit]. 41Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. 42All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.
Olive oil was considered a necessary luxury and to have your own olive trees was considered a blessing indeed. Likewise wine.
Note Revelation 6:6 – And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and [see] thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
Micah 6:16 – For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.
Omri was one of the more wicked kings of Israel.
1 Kings 16:25 – But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that [were] before him.
Ahab, his son, was also known for his evil. Ahab married Jezebel who is considered very evil on a level of mystery Babylon riding the beast in Revelation 17 & 18.
1 Kings 16:30-33 – 30And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that [were] before him. 31And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. 32And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 33And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.
This relates also to Micah 1:13 – O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she [is] the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee. (The infection of Israel – “the statutes of Omri ….. and all the works of the house of Ahab” (Vs 16 above) – had to start somewhere!)
a desolation – waste (of land, city etc); horror; appalment.
The transgressions of Israel would be the statutes of Omri (and his descendants such as Ahab). Such things should not have been touched by Judah who should have seen the trouble Israel got for her iniquities. Judah walked (as a way of life) according to the policies of Omri and Ahab; thus she would go the same way as Israel, into captivity. The land would become desolate; the people an object of horror, an appalling situation to be in.
an hissing – the object of derision. Hissing at people was to deride them, mock them.
Jeremiah 19:1-9 – 1Thus saith the Lord, Go and get a potter’s earthen bottle, and [take] of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests; 2And go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which [is] by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee, 3And say, Hear ye the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle. 4Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; 5They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire [for] burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake [it], neither came [it] into my mind: 6Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter. 7And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth. 8And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof. 9And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.
therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people – This seems to be applied to the people addressed earlier on in this passage: the rich people of Vs 12 above. They are largely responsible (due to their greed) for causing this iniquity for which God is condemning them (see also Micah 2:1-3; Micah 3:1-3).
reproach – To express disapproval of, criticism of, or disappointment in (someone). (thefreedictionary.com)
Judah should have seen all this coming. Israel was going into captivity at this time (or had already gone) because of her false worship and sins. God’s prophets clearly told them of their impending judgment but they would rather listen to the prophets who preached of good tidings, not bad.
Micah 3:5-7 – 5Thus 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. 6Therefore 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. 7Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for [there is] no answer of God.
The leaders and rulers of Judah caused God to bring upon Judah the judgment that they should have avoided, if only they had listened to God’s prophets. And because they had led by example this charge into sin, and even though their people followed their example, once today’s passage became reality (as it surely would one day), those same selfish leaders would bear the reproach of their people who had once followed them. While they do well, the followers might approve the leaders. But let the leaders (those rich by their greed) fail and cause the desolation of the nation and land, then those followers would turn on their leaders, blaming them for the judgment they have been landed in.
In like fashion, many will willingly follow those that lead into hell, like the blind following the blind, but once there, once facing the torment, they will then turn on those leaders who failed them. Thus satan will be the most despised, most hated being in hell, bearing the reproach of all those he misled into hell. His kingdom will be totally destroyed; not one will follow him in hell when they realise what he has done to them. Satan will bear the reproach of all in hell! Likewise, those false leaders today who teach the doctrines of hell will be most cursed by those who have followed them into hell. Those who teach the doctrines of devils will be despised by those who once considered them to be infallible in their teachings. Those who teach the doctrines of devils today will one day bear the reproach of all who were deceived into following them into hell.