|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:8-16 The prophet laments that Israel's case is desperate; but declare it not in Gath. Gratify not those that make merry with the sins or with the sorrows of God's Israel. Roll thyself in the dust, as mourners used to do; let every house in Jerusalem become a house of Aphrah, a house of dust. When God makes the house dust it becomes us to humble ourselves to the dust under his mighty hand. Many places should share this mourning. The names have meanings which pointed out the miseries coming upon them; thereby to awaken the people to a holy fear of Divine wrath. All refuges but Christ, must be refuges of lies to those who trust in them; other heirs will succeed to every inheritance but that of heaven; and all glory will be turned into shame, except that honour which cometh from God only. Sinners may now disregard their neighbours' sufferings, yet their turn to be punished will some come.
Verse 14. - Therefore. Because Judah has adopted the evil practices of Israel. The prophet here addresses Judah, and continues to do so to the end of the chapter. Shalt thou give presents to Moreshsth-Gath. The "presents" intended are parting gifts, farewell presents. The word is used (1 Kings 9:16) for the dowry given to a daughter when she is married. The meaning, therefore, is that Judah must relinquish all claim to Moresheth. The paronomasia is explained in two ways. As Moresheth may mean "possession," the prophet may be understood to say, "Thou shalt give up possession of Gath's possession." Or the play of words may depend upon the similarity of sound between Moresheth and Meorasah, "Betrothed" (Deuteronomy 22:29), "Thou shalt give dismissal (bill of divorcement) to the city once betrothed to thee." Moresheth-Gath, Micah's birthplace, is placed just south of Beit Jibrin, or Eleutheropolis, about twenty-five miles from Gaza (see Introduction, § II.). The addition of Gath to the name of the town is meant to mark its situation in the immediate neighbourhood of that well known city. So we have Bethlehem-Judah (Judges 17:7), Abel-Maim or Maachah (1 Kings 15:20; 2 Chronicles 16:4). Septuagint, Δώσει ἐξαποστελλομένους ἕως κληρονομίας Γέο, "He shall cause men to be sent forth even to the inheritance of Geth;" Vulgate, Dabit emissarios super heredidatem Geth. To give shilluchim the sense of "messengers" seems to be unprecedented. The houses of Achzib shall be a lie (achzab), a lying, deceiving brook, which disappoints the hope of the wayfarer, like "fundus mendax" (Horat., 'Carm.,' 3:1. 30). Septuagint, οἴκους ματαίους, "vain houses;" Vulgate, domus mendacii. The city shall be yielded to the enemy and lost to the Judaeans. Achzib (Joshua 15:44), hod. Ain Kezbeh, eight miles north of Adullam, is probably the same as Chezib (Genesis 38:5), where Shelah, Judah's son by Tamar, was born. The kings of Israel. "Israel" is here equivalent to Judah, having, according to the prediction of vers. 6, 7, lost its political existence (comp. 2 Chronicles 28:19, where Ahaz is called King of Israel).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath,.... Since Lachish was the cause of leading Judah into idolatry, and was a city so very wicked; therefore it should be reduced to such distress as to send messengers with presents to the Philistines at Moreshethgath, a place near to Gath of the Philistines, and may include that and other cities of theirs, to come and help them against the Assyrians:
the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel; a city of Judah, Joshua 15:44; or of Asher, Joshua 19:29; the same with Chezib, Genesis 38:5; and called Ecdippa by Josephus (h), Pliny (i), and Ptolemy (k). The Jewish writers commonly call it Cezib, of which they (l) say many things about that, and the land unto it, being subject to tithes, the laws of the seventh year, and the like. Maimonides and Bartenora say (m) it is the name of a place which divided between the land of Israel, which they possessed who came out of Babylon, and that land which they enjoyed who came out of Egypt; but the Jews are not agreed about the situation of it. One of their writers (n) places it to the northeast of the land of Israel; but another (o) observes, and proves from one that resided in those parts some time, and diligently inquired into and made his observation on places, that Cezib, and also Aco and Amana, frequently mentioned with it, were all on the western sea of the land of Israel, that is, the Mediterranean sea; in which he was right, without all doubt: the place is now called Zib by contraction, of which Mr. Maundrell (p) gives this account;
"having travelled about one hour in the plain of Acra, we passed by an old town called Zib, situate on an ascent close by the seaside; this may probably be the old Achzib, mentioned Joshua 19:29; called afterwards Ecdippa; for St. Jerom (q) places Achzib nine miles distant from Ptolemais (or Aco), towards Tyre, to which account we found the situation of Zib exactly agreeing.''
Now the houses or families that dwelt in this place, or the idols' temples there, as some, and the idolatry exercised therein, should be a lie unto, or disappoint the expectations of, the kings of Israel; which, according to Kimchi, is put for Judah, who placed confidence in them, and had dependence on them: there is an elegant play on words between Achzib and a "lie" (r). The Targum is,
"thou shall send gifts to the heirs of Gath; the houses of Achzib shall be delivered to the people, because of the sins of the kings of Israel, who worshipped idols in them.''
(h) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 22. De Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 13. sect. 4. (i) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 19. (k) Geograph, l. 5. c. 15. (l) T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 36. 2. T. Bab. Gittin, foi. 7. 2. Misn. Demai, c. 1. sect. 3.((m) In Misn. Demai, c. 1. sect. 3.((n) Bartenora in Misn. Sheviith, c. 6. 1. & Challa, c. 4. sect. 8. (o) Yom Tob in Sheviith, c. 6. 1. e Caphtor Uperah, c. 11. (p) Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 33. Ed. 7. (q) De locis Hebr. fol. 88. I.((r) &
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. shalt thou give presents to Moresheth-gath—that its inhabitants may send thee help. Maurer explains it, "thou shalt give a writing of renunciation to Moresheth-gath," that is, thou shalt renounce all claim to it, being compelled to yield it up to the foe. "Thou," that is, Judah. "Israel" in this verse is used for the kingdom of Judah, which was the chief representative of the whole nation of Israel. Moresheth-gath is so called because it had fallen for a time under the power of the neighboring Philistines of Gath. It was the native town of Micah (Mic 1:1).
Achzib—meaning "lying." Achzib, as its name implies, shall prove a "lie to … Israel," that is, shall disappoint Israel's hopes of succor from her (compare Job 6:15-20; Jer 15:18). Achzib was in Judah between Keilah and Mareshah (Jos 15:44). Perhaps the same as Chezib (Ge 38:5).
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