|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 16. - § 5. The prophet calls upon Zion to mourn for her captivity. Make thee bald. The Hebrew word implies "to make the back of the head bald." Micah addressee Zion as the mother of the children who are to be led into captivity. Shaving the head in sign of mourning seems to have been retained as a traditionary custom in spite of the prohibition of the Law against certain forms which the practice assumed (see Leviticus 19:27; Deuteronomy 14:1; and for the actual custom, comp. Isaiah 3:24; Jeremiah 7:29; and the note on Amos 8:10). Poll thee. Cut off thy hair, nearly synonymous with the word in the former clause. Thy delicate children; literally, the children of thy delights; i.e. the children who are a joy and comfort to thee, the citizens of thy kingdom (comp. Micah 2:9). As the eagle (nesher). The vulture is meant, either Vultur percnopterus, common in Egypt and Palestine, which is bald on the front of the head and neck, or more probably Vultur fulvus, the griffon vulture, whose whole head and neck are destitute of true feathers (see 'Bible Educator,' 2:247). Into captivity. This cannot refer exclusively to the Assyrian invasion, wherein very few captives were taken, but must look forward to the Babylonian deportation in ch. 4:10. The latter calamity alone is parallel to the destruction of Samaria announced in vers. 6, 7 of this chapter.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children,.... Which is said, either with respect to Mareshah, or to Adullam, or to the whole land, as Kimchi observes; rather to the latter; and that either to Israel, or to Judah, or both; the prophecy in general being concerning them both, Micah 1:1; making baldness, whether by plucking off the hair, or by shaving it, was used in token of mourning, Job 1:20; and so it is designed to express it here: the inhabitants of the land are called to lamentation and weeping for their children taken from them, whom they dearly loved, and brought up in a delicate manner. The Targum is,
"pluck off thy hair, and cast it upon the children of thy delight;''
and Sanctius observes; that it was a custom with the Gentiles to cut off their hair, and cast it into the graves of their kindred and friends at their interment, to which be thinks the prophet alludes:
enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; when it moults, and cast off all its feathers, as it does in old age, and so renews its youth; to which the allusion seems to be in Psalm 103:5; or every year, as birds of prey usually do at the beginning of the spring. The Jewish writers (y) say this happens to it every ten years; when, finding its feathers heavy and unfit for flying, it makes a tour to the sun with all its force it can, to get as near it as possible; and, having heated its plumage excessively, it casts itself into the sea for cooling, and then its feathers fall off, and new ones succeed; and this it does until it is a hundred years old; and to its then state of baldness, while it is moulting, is the allusion here; unless it can be thought any respect is had to that kind of eagle which is called the bald one. In Virginia (z) there are three sorts of eagles; one is the grey eagle, about the size of a kite; another the black eagle, resembling those in England; and a third the bald eagle, so called because the upper part of the neck and head are covered with a sort of white down: but the former sort of baldness seems to be intended, which is at certain stated times, and not what always is, and is only partial; for it denotes such an universal baldness to be made, as to take in all the parts of the body where any hair grows; as expressive of the general devastation that should be made, which would be the cause of this great mourning:
for they are gone into captivity from thee; that is, the delicate children of Israel and Judah, and so were as dead unto them, or worse: this was accomplished in Israel or the ten tribes, partly by Tiglathpileser, and more completely by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, 2 Kings 15:29; and in Judah or the two tribes, when Sennacherib came and took their fenced cities; and doubtless some of the inhabitants and their children were carried captive by him, though not Jerusalem; and therefore cannot be addressed here, as some do interpret the words, unless the prophecy is to be extended to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
(y) Saadiah Gaon apud Kimchi & Ben Melech in Psal. ciii. 5. & lsa. xl. 31. (z) See Harris's Voyages and Travels, vol. 2. p. 229. Lowthorp's Philosoph. Transact. abridged, vol. 3. p. 589.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. Make thee bald, &c.—a token of deep mourning (Ezr 9:3; Job 1:20). Mourn, O land, for thy darling children.
poll—shave off thy hair.
enlarge thy baldness—Mourn grievously. The land is compared to a mother weeping for her children.
as the eagle—the bald eagle, or the dark-winged vulture. In the moulting season all eagles are comparatively bald (compare Ps 103:5).
Micah 1:16 Parallel Commentaries
Micah 1:16 NIV
Micah 1:16 NLT
Micah 1:16 ESV
Micah 1:16 NASB
Micah 1:16 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible