Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
Mic 4:1-13. Transition to the Glory, Peace, Kingdom, and Victory of Zion.
1-3. Almost identical with Isa 2:2-4.
the mountain of the house of the Lord—which just before (Mic 3:12) had been doomed to be a wild forest height. Under Messiah, its elevation is to be not that of situation, but of moral dignity, as the seat of God's universal empire.
people shall flow into it—In Isaiah it is "all nations": a more universal prophecy.
And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
3. rebuke—convict of sin (Joh 16:8, 9); and subdue with judgments (Ps 2:5, 9; 110:5, 6; Re 2:27; 12:5).
many people … strong nations afar off—In Isa 2:4 it is "the nations … many people."
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.
4. sit every man under his vine, &c.—that is, enjoy the most prosperous tranquillity (1Ki 4:25; Zec 3:10). The "vine" and "fig tree" are mentioned rather than a house, to signify, there will be no need of a covert; men will be safe even in the fields and open air.
Lord of hosts hath spoken it—Therefore it must come to pass, however unlikely now it may seem.
For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
5. For—rather, Though it be that all people walk after their several gods, yet we (the Jews in the dispersion) will walk in the name of the Lord. So the Hebrew particle means in the Margin, Ge 8:21; Ex 13:17; Jos 17:18. The resolution of the exile Jews is: As Jehovah gives us hope of so glorious a restoration, notwithstanding the overthrow of our temple and nation, we must in confident reliance on His promise persevere in the true worship of Him, however the nations around, our superiors now in strength and numbers, walk after their gods [Rosenmuller]. As the Jews were thoroughly weaned from idols by the Babylonian captivity, so they shall be completely cured of unbelief by their present long dispersion (Zec 10:8-12).
In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;
6. assemble her that halteth—feminine for neuter in Hebrew idiom, "whatever halteth": metaphor from sheep wearied out with a journey: all the suffering exiles of Israel (Eze 34:16; Zep 3:19).
her … driven out—all Israel's outcasts. Called "the Lord's flock" (Jer 13:17; Eze 34:13; 37:21).
And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.
7. I will make her that halted a remnant—I will cause a remnant to remain which shall not perish.
Lord shall reign … in … Zion—David's kingdom shall be restored in the person of Messiah, who is the seed of David and at the same time Jehovah (Isa 24:23).
for ever—(Isa 9:6, 7; Da 7:14, 27; Lu 1:33; Re 11:15).
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.
8. tower of the flock—following up the metaphor of sheep (see on Mic 4:6). Jerusalem is called the "tower," from which the King and Shepherd observes and guards His flock: both the spiritual Jerusalem, the Church now whose tower-like elevation is that of doctrine and practice (So 4:4, "Thy neck is like the tower of David"), and the literal hereafter (Jer 3:17). In large pastures it was usual to erect a high wooden tower, so as to oversee the flock. Jerome takes the Hebrew for "flock," Eder or Edar, as a proper name, namely, a village near Beth-lehem, for which it is put, Beth-lehem being taken to represent the royal stock of David (Mic 5:2; compare Ge 35:21). But the explanatory words, "the stronghold of the daughter of Zion," confirm English Version.
stronghold—Hebrew, "Ophel"; an impregnable height on Mount Zion (2Ch 27:3; 33:14; Ne 3:26, 27).
unto thee shall … come … the first dominion—namely, the dominion formerly exercised by thee shall come back to thee.
kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem—rather, "the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem shall come (again)"; such as it was under David, before its being weakened by the secession of the ten tribes.
Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counseller perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.
9. Addressed to the daughter of Zion, in her consternation at the approach of the Chaldeans.
is there no king in thee?—asked tauntingly. There is a king in her; but it is the same as if there were none, so helpless to devise means of escape are he and his counsellors [Maurer]. Or, Zion's pains are because her king is taken away from her (Jer 52:9; La 4:20; Eze 12:13) [Calvin]. The former is perhaps the preferable view (compare Jer 49:7). The latter, however, describes better Zion's kingless state during her present long dispersion (Ho 3:4, 5).
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.
10. Be in pain, and labour—carrying on the metaphor of a pregnant woman. Thou shalt be affected with bitter sorrows before thy deliverance shall come. I do not forbid thy grieving, but I bring thee consolation. Though God cares for His children, yet they must not expect to be exempt from trouble, but must prepare for it.
go forth out of the city—on its capture. So "come out" is used 2Ki 24:12; Isa 36:16.
dwell in the field—namely, in the open country, defenseless, instead of their fortified city. Beside the Chebar (Ps 137:1; Eze 3:15).
Babylon—Like Isaiah, Micah looks beyond the existing Assyrian dynasty to the Babylonian, and to Judah's captivity under it, and restoration (Isa 39:7; 43:14; 48:20). Had they been, as rationalists represent, merely sagacious politicians, they would have restricted their prophecies to the sphere of the existing Assyrian dynasty. But their seeing into the far-off future of Babylon's subsequent supremacy, and Judah's connection with her, proves them to be inspired prophets.
there … there—emphatic repetition. The very scene of thy calamities is to be the scene of thy deliverance. In the midst of enemies, where all hope seems cut off, there shall Cyrus, the deliverer, appear (compare Jud 14:14). Cyrus again being the type of the greater Deliverer, who shall finally restore Israel.
Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.
11. many nations—the subject peoples composing Babylon's armies: and also Edom, Ammon, &c., who exulted in Judah's fall (La 2:16; Ob 11-13).
defiled—metaphor from a virgin. Let her be defiled (that is, outraged by violence and bloodshed), and let our eye gaze insultingly on her shame and sorrow (Mic 7:10). Her foes desired to feast their eyes on her calamities.
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.
12. thoughts of the Lord—Their unsearchable wisdom, overruling seeming disaster to the final good of His people, is the very ground on which the restoration of Israel hereafter (of which the restoration from Babylon is a type) is based in Isa 55:8; compare with Mic 4:3, 12, 13, which prove that Israel, not merely the Christian Church, is the ultimate subject of the prophecy; also in Ro 11:13. God's counsel is to discipline His people for a time with the foe as a scourge; and then to destroy the foe by the hands of His people.
gather them as … sheaves—them who "gathered" themselves for Zion's destruction (Mic 4:11) the Lord "shall gather" for destruction by Zion (Mic 4:13), like sheaves gathered to be threshed (compare Isa 21:10; Jer 51:33). The Hebrew is singular, "sheaf." However great the numbers of the foe, they are all but as one sheaf ready to be threshed [Calvin]. Threshing was done by treading with the feet: hence the propriety of the image for treading under foot and breaking asunder the foe.
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.
13. thresh—destroy thy foes "gathered" by Jehovah as "sheaves" (Isa 41:15, 16).
thine horn—Zion being compared to an ox treading corn, and an ox's strength lying in the horns, her strength is implied by giving her a horn of iron (compare 1Ki 22:11).
beat in pieces many—(Da 2:44).
I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord—God subjects the nations to Zion, not for her own selfish aggrandizement, but for His glory (Isa 60:6, 9; Zec 14:20, with which compare Isa 23:18) and for their ultimate good; therefore He is here called, not merely God of Israel, but "Lord of the whole earth."