|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-5 Woe to the people that devise evil during the night, and rise early to carry it into execution! It is bad to do mischief on a sudden thought, much worse to do it with design and forethought. It is of great moment to improve and employ hours of retirement and solitude in a proper manner. If covetousness reigns in the heart, compassion is banished; and when the heart is thus engaged, violence and fraud commonly occupy the hands. The most haughty and secure in prosperity, are commonly most ready to despair in adversity. Woe to those from whom God turns away! Those are the sorest calamities which cut us off from the congregation of the Lord, or cut us short in the enjoyment of its privileges.
Verses 1-5. ? § 6. The prophet justifies his threat by recounting the sins of which the grandees and guilty. Verse 1. - The prophet, himself one of the people, first inveighs against the sins of injustice and oppression of the poor. Devise... work... practise. A gradation. They are not led into these sins by others; they themselves conceive the evil purpose in their own heart; then they prepare and mature their scheme by reflection; then they proceed to execute it. Work evil; i.e. prepare the means for carrying out their conception (comp Isaiah 41:4). Upon their beds. At night, the natural time for reflection (comp. Job 4:13; Psalm 4:4; Psalm 36:4). Is light. Far from shrinking from the light of day in putting into effect their evil projects, they set about their accomplishment as soon as ever the morning allows them. Because it is in the power of their hand. Their might makes their right. (For the phrase, comp. Genesis 31:29; Proverbs 3:27.) As the word el may be taken to mean "God" as well as "power," some render here, "For their hand is their god," comparing the boast of Mezentius in Virgil, 'AEneid,' 10:773 -
"Dextra mihi Deus et telum quod missile libro." The Vulgate has, Quoniam contra Deum est manus eorum; LXX., Διότιοὐκ η΅ραν πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν χεῖρας αὐτῶν, Because they lifted not up their hands unto God." So the Syriac, with the omission of the negative.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Woe to them that devise iniquity,.... Any kind of iniquity; idolatry, or worshipping of idols, for the word is used sometimes for an idol; or the sin of uncleanness, on which the thoughts too often dwell in the night season; or coveting of neighbours' goods, and oppressing the poor; sins which are instanced in Micah 2:2; and every thing that is vain, foolish, and wicked, and in the issue brings trouble and distress: now a woe is denounced against such that think on such things, and please themselves with them in their imaginations, and contrive ways and means to commit them:
and work evil upon their beds; when, the senses being less engaged, the thoughts are more free; but should not be employed about evil; but either in meditating on the divine goodness, and praising the Lord for his mercies; or in examining a man's heart, state, and case, and mourning over his sins, and applying to God for the remission of them; but, instead of this, the persons here threatened are said to "work evil on their beds", when they should be asleep and at rest, or engaged in the above things; that is, they plot and contrive how to accomplish the evil they meditate; they determine upon doing it, and are as sure of effecting it as if it was actually done; and do act it over in their own minds, as if it was real; see Psalm 36:4;
when the morning is light, they practise it; they wish and wait for the morning light, and as soon as it appears they rise; and, instead of blessing God for the mercies of the night, and going about their lawful business, they endeavour to put in practice with all rigour and diligence, and as expeditiously as they can, what they have projected and schemed in the night season;
because it is in the power of their hand; to commit it; and they have no principle of goodness in them, nor fear of God before them, to restrain them from it: or, "because their hand is unto power" (b); it is stretched out, and made use of in the commission of sin to the utmost of their power, without any regard to God or man. The Vulgate Latin version is, "because their hand is against God"; their hearts are enmity to God, and therefore they oppose him with both their hands, and care not what iniquity they commit; they are rebels against him, and will not be subject to him. The Septuagint and Arabic versions are, "because they lift not up their hands to God"; they do not pray to him, and therefore are bold and daring to perpetrate the grossest iniquity, which a praying man dared not do; but the Syriac version is the reverse, "they do lift up their hands to God"; make a show of religion and devotion, when their hearts and their hands are deeply engaged in, sinning; which shows their impudence and hypocrisy; but the passages in Genesis 31:29 favour and confirm our version, and the sense of it; so the Targum.
(b) "quia est ad potentiam manus ipsorum", Calvin.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Mic 2:1-13. Denunciation of the Evils Prevalent: The People's Unwillingness to Hear the Truth: Their Expulsion From the Land the Fitting Fruit of Their Sin: Yet Judah and Israel Are Hereafter to Be Restored.
1. devise … work … practise—They do evil not merely on a sudden impulse, but with deliberate design. As in the former chapter sins against the first table are reproved, so in this chapter sins against the second table. A gradation: "devise" is the conception of the evil purpose; "work" (Ps 58:2), or "fabricate," the maturing of the scheme; "practise," or "effect," the execution of it.
because it is in the power of their hand—for the phrase see Ge 31:29; Pr 3:27. Might, not right, is what regulates their conduct. Where they can, they commit oppression; where they do not, it is because they cannot.
Micah 2:1 Parallel Commentaries
Micah 2:1 NIV
Micah 2:1 NLT
Micah 2:1 ESV
Micah 2:1 NASB
Micah 2:1 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible