Micah 1:10
Declare you it not at Gath, weep you not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll yourself in the dust.
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(10) Declare ye it not at Gath.—The prophet lets his lament flow after the strain of David’s elegy, “Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon.” In this passage the parallelism seems to require the name of a town where the English Version has “at all.” But the Hebrew word thus represented may, by the addition of a letter which has dropped out of the text, be rendered “in Accho,” or Ptolemais, now called Acca. The LXX. translation οἱ ἐν Γεθ, μὴ μεγαλύνεσθε οἱ ἐν Ακιμ, μὴ (=οἱ ὲν ἈΚεὶ μή), accords with this reading. The parallelism is thus maintained, and the thought is completed: “Mention not the trouble in our enemies’ cities; bewail it in our own.”

Micah 1:10-12. Declare ye it not in Gath — Lest the Philistines triumph. The words seem to be taken out of David s lamentation over Saul and Jonathan, 2 Samuel 1:20, where see the note. Weep ye not at all — Or, weep ye not with loud weeping, as Archbishop Newcome renders it. Do not make any loud lamentations, lest the evil tidings be spread. In the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust — Or, wallow in the ashes, as was commonly practised in times of great mourning. The word Aphrah signifies dust; and the prophet, it is likely, puts it here for Ophrah, a town in the tribe of Benjamin, that the name might better suit their present condition. Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir — Houbigant says that Eusebius places this city, the name of which signifies fair, or elegant, in the tribe of Judah, between Eleutheropolis and Askelon. Some think, however, that Saphir is not a proper name, and that there was no place so called in Judea; but that the clause ought to be rendered, Pass away, thou inhabitant of a delightful place, that is, Samaria, which was very pleasantly situated. The prophet here threatens the inhabitants of that place that they should go into captivity, in a way very unsuitable to their former softness and luxury, even stripped by the conquering enemy, and without so much as a covering to hide their nakedness. The inhabitant of Zaanan — A place in the tribe of Judah, called Zenan, Joshua 15:37; came not forth in the mourning of Beth-ezel — “There was no burial of her dead with solemn mourning out of the precincts of her city, but she was besieged and put to the sword.” — Newcome. Or, the meaning may be, the inhabitants of Zaanan were so much concerned to provide for their own safety, that they took no notice of the mournful condition of their near neighbour Beth-ezel, which seems to have been a place near Jerusalem, termed Azal, Zechariah 14:5. Grotius, however, supposes Zaanan to denote Zion, and Beth-ezel to signify Beth-el, called here by another name, importing the house of separation, because it was the principal seat of idolatrous worship. He shall receive of you his standing — The standing, or encamping of an army against the city; that is, the enemy shall encamp among you, shall stand on your ground, so that you will have no opportunity of coming out to the help of your neighbours. For the inhabitant of Maroth — A town in Judea, (the same probably that is called Maarath, Joshua 15:59,) waited, &c. — Or rather, as the words may be translated, Although the inhabitant of Maroth waited for good, yet evil came, &c., unto the gate of Jerusalem — Such a calamity as stopped not at Maroth, but reached even to Jerusalem. By Maroth, which signifies bitterness, or trouble, Grotius understands Ramah, or, expressed as it often is in the plural, Ramoth, a place in the tribe of Benjamin, near Beth-lehem, and not far from Jerusalem.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.Tell it not in Gath - Gath had probably now ceased to be; at least, to be of any account . It shows how David's elegy lived in the hearts of Judah, that his words are used as a proverb, (just as we do now, in whose ears it is yearly read), when, as with us, its original application was probably lost. True, Gath, reduced itself, might rejoice the more maliciously over the sufferings of Judah. But David mentions it as a chief seat of Philistine strength ; now its strength was gone.

The blaspheming of the enemies of God is the sorest part of His chastisements. Whence David prays "let not mine enemies exult over me" Psalm 25:2; and the sons of Korah, "With a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me, while they say daily unto me, where is thy God?" Psalm 42:10; and Ethan; "Thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice. Remember, Lord, the reproach of Thy servant" Psalm 89:42, Psalm 89:50 - wherewith Thine enemies have reproached, O Lord, wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of Thine anointed. It is hard to part with home, with country, to see all desolate, which one ever loved. But far, far above all, is it, if, in the disgrace and desolation, God's honor seems to be injured. The Jewish people was then God's only home on earth. If it could be extinguished, who remained to honor Him? Victories over them seemed to their pagan neighbors to be victories over Him. He seemed to be dishonored without, because they had first dishonored Him within. Sore is it to the Christian, to see God's cause hindered, His kingdom narrowed, the empire of infidelity advanced. Sorer in one way, because he knows the price of souls, for whom Jesus died. But the world is now the Church's home. "The holy church throughout all the world doth acknowledge Thee!" Then, it was girt in within a few miles of territory, and sad indeed it must have been to the prophet, to see this too hemmed in. Tell it not in Gath, to the sons of those who, of old, defied God.

Weep not at all - (Literally, weeping, weep not). Weeping is the stillest expression of grief. We speak of "weeping in silence." Yet this also was too visible a token of grief. Their weeping would be the joy and laughter of God's enemies.

In the house of Aphrah - (probably, In Beth-leaphrah) roll thyself in the dust (Better, as the text, I roll myself in dust). The prophet chose unusual names, such as would associate themselves with the meanings which he wished to convey, so that thence forth the name itself might recall the prophecy. As if we were to say, "In Ashe I roll myself in ashes." - There was an Aphrah near Jerusalem . It is more likely that Micah should refer to this, than to the Ophrah in Benjamin Joshua 18:23; 1 Samuel 13:17. He showed them, in his own person, how they should mourn, retired out of sight and hidden, as it were, in the dust. Jer. Rup.: "Whatever grief your heart may have, let your face have no tears; go not forth, but, in the house of dust, sprinkle thyself with the ashes of its ruins."

All the places thenceforth spoken of were in Judah, whose sorrow and desolation are repeated in all. It is one varied history of sorrow: The names of her cities, whether in themselves called from some gifts of God, as Shaphir, (beautiful; we have Fairford, Fairfield, Fairburn, Fairlight,) or contrariwise from some defect, Maroth, Bitterness (probably from brackish water) Achzib, lying, (doubtless from a winter-torrent which in summer failed) suggest, either in contrast or by themselves, some note of evil and woe. It is Judah's history in all, given in different traits; her "beauty" turned into shame; herself free neither to go forth nor to "abide;" looking for good and finding evil; the strong (Lachish) strong only to flee; like a brook that fails and deceives; her inheritance (Mareshah) inherited; herself, taking refuge in dens and caves of the earth, yet even there found, and bereft of her glory. Whence, in the end, without naming Judah, the prophet sums up her sorrows with one call to mourning.

10. Declare ye it not at Gath—on the borders of Judea, one of the five cities of the Philistines, who would exult at the calamity of the Hebrews (2Sa 1:20). Gratify not those who exult over the falls of the Israel of God.

weep ye not at all—Do not betray your inward sorrow by outward weeping, within the cognizance of the enemy, lest they should exult at it. Reland translates, "Weep not in Acco," that is, Ptolemais, now St. Jean d'Acre, near the foot of Mount Carmel; allotted to Asher, but never occupied by that tribe (Jud 1:31); Acco's inhabitants would, therefore, like Gath's, rejoice at Israel's disaster. Thus the parallelism is best carried out in all the three clauses of the verse, and there is a similar play on sounds in each, in the Hebrew Gath, resembling in sound the Hebrew for "declare"; Acco, resembling the Hebrew for "weep"; and Aphrah, meaning "dust." While the Hebrews were not to expose their misery to foreigners, they ought to bewail it in their own cities, for example, Aphrah or Ophrah (Jos 18:23; 1Sa 13:17), in the tribe of Benjamin. To "roll in the dust" marked deep sorrow (Jer 6:26; Eze 27:30).

Declare ye it not at Gath; do what you can to keep your griefs to yourselves, let them not be public, that the Philistines, your bitter enemies, should know how sad it is with you and rejoice at it. Gath was a principal city of the Philistines, and though this only is mentioned the rest are understood: such phrase you have 2 Samuel 1:20. Weep ye not at all; you that are of Israel or Judah, make no public weeping, that your cries and tears should inform your enemies in Palestine how deplorable your state is, let not your griefs be their joys.

In the house of Aphrah: we render it as a proper name of some city or town; though of no great note, yet we meet with one, 1 Samuel 13:23, in the tribe of Benjamin; a second we find in Manasseh’s lot, and was the place where Gideon’s father dwelt, Judges 6:11: these towns were somewhat remote from the Philistines, and there the prophet does direct then, to weep with the greatest expressions of it, and to keep it private from the Philistines. Others account the word to be a common name denoting

dust, and so give the sense, in the house of dust roll thyself in dust. Roll thyself, or, I have rolled myself, viz. in compassion to the miserable Israelites, or as a pattern to which they shall conform; so the word as written, but as by direction of the Masorets it is read, and as there it is rendered,

roll thyself, it directs and foretells; it foretells what they shall do at last, and directs what they should do at present. They shall be brought to sit, nay, to wallow in the dust, and in foresight of this it would become them to sit in the dust now. Declare ye it not at Gath,.... A city of the Philistines, put for all the rest: the phrase is borrowed from 2 Samuel 1:20; where the reason is given, and holds good here as there; and the sense is, not that the destruction of Israel, or the invasion of Judea, or the besieging of Jerusalem, could be hid from the Philistines; but that it was a thing desirable, was it possible, since it would be matter of rejoicing to them, and that would be an aggravation of the distress of Israel and Judah:

weep ye not at all; that is, before the Philistines, or such like enemies, lest they should laugh and scoff at you; though they had reason to weep, and did and ought to weep in secret; yet, as much as in them lay, it would be right to forbear it openly, because of the insults and reproach of the enemy. The learned Reland (f) suspects that it should be read, "weep not in Acco": which was another city in Palestine, to the north from the enemy, as Gath was to the south; and observes, that there is a like play on words (g) in the words, as in the places after mentioned. Acco is the same with Ptolemais, Acts 21:7; See Gill on Acts 21:7. It had this name from Ptolemy Lagus king of Egypt, who enlarged it, and called it after his own name; but Mr, Maundrell (h) observes,

"now, since it hath been in the possession of the Turks, it has, according to the example of many other cities in Turkey, cast off its Greek, and recovered some semblance of its old Hebrew name again, being called Acca, or Acra. As to its situation (he says) it enjoys all possible advantages, both of sea and land; on its north and east sides it is compassed with a spacious and fertile plain; on the west it is washed by the Mediterranean sea; and on the south by a large bay, extending from the city as far as Mount Carmel;''

in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust; as mourners used to do, sit in the dust, or cover their heads with it, or wallow in it; this is allowed to be done privately, in houses or in towns distinct from the Philistines, as Aphrah or Ophrah was, which was in the tribe of Benjamin, Joshua 18:23; called here "Aphrah", to make it better agree with "Aphar", dust, to which the allusion is: and it may be rendered, "in the house of dust roll thyself in the dust"; having respect to the condition houses would be in at this time, mere heaps of dust and rubbish, so that they would find enough easily to roll themselves in. Here is a double reading; the "Keri", or marginal reading, which the Masora directs to, and we follow, is, "roll thyself": but the "Cetib", or writing, is, "I have rolled myself" (i); and so are the words of the prophet, who before says he wailed and howled, and went stripped and naked; here he says, as a further token of his sorrow, that he rolled himself in dust, and as an example for Israel to do the like. This place was a village in the times of Jerom (k) and was called Effrem; it was five miles from Bethel to the east.

(f) Palestina Illustrata, tom. 2. p. 534, 535. (g) . (h) Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 54. (i) "volutavi me", De Dieu. (k) De locis Hebr. fol. 88. H.

Declare ye it not at {h} Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of {i} Aphrah roll thyself in the dust.

(h) Lest the Philistines our enemies rejoice at our destruction.

(i) Which was a city near to Jerusalem Jos 18:23, there called Ophrah, and signifies dust: therefore he wants them to mourn and roll themselves in the dust, for their dusty city.

10. Declare ye it not …] ‘May we at least be spared the sight of the malicious joy of our envious neighbours!’ Here begins a series of paronomasias, which however are far from indicating a playful mood in the prophet. Most of them refer to Judæan towns in the prophet’s own neighbourhood. He could not possibly jest about the fate of his friends! No; he is in sober earnest, and sees (like Isaiah in Isaiah 10:30) a pre-ordained correspondence between names and fortunes (comp. the familiar phrase ‘his name shall be called’ = ‘he shall be’). It is not always easy to catch his allusions, nor to reproduce them when caught. Some idea of the general effect is given by M. Reuss in the following imitation, ‘N’allez pas le dire à Dijon! N’allez pas pleurer à Plœrmel! Pars, Paris! Chartres, attèle ton char!’

at Gath] Alluding to 2 Samuel 1:20. The substance of the power of Gath had passed away (Amos 6:2). Like Ashdod (see Amos 1:8), it seems not to have recovered from the severe blow inflicted by Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:6). But its name was still a symbol of bitter hostility.

weep ye not at all] Or, in Acco weep ye not (another reading). According to Jdg 1:31, the Canaanites were not driven out of Acco. Thus Acco (the later Ptolemais) would be the representative of the Canaanites or Phœnicians of the north. The choice of the town would be dictated (as the Hebrew suggests) by the love of paronomasia. The Sept. has οἱ Ἐνακείμ; but we should probably read οἱ ἐν Ἀκή (μ came from the following μή; and η and ει are often confounded).

in the house of Aphrah] Rather, in Beth-le-aphrah (i.e. House of dust). There was a town of the tribe of Benjamin called Ophrah, Joshua 18:23. Most, if not all, however, of the other eight towns appear to lie in the Shephélah, i.e. the ‘low country’ between Joppa and Gaza; probably therefore the Benjamite Ophrah is not here intended. It may be asked, Why does the prophet single out the Shephélah? Isaiah, in a strictly parallel passage (Isaiah 10:28-32), mentions an altogether different region as suffering from the invasion? The answer is, that the prophet has the feelings (if we may say so) of a provincial. The ‘low country’ was even less able than Aiath, Migron, Michmash, &c., to oppose the rapid movements of the Assyrians.

roll thyself in] Rather, besprinkle thyself with. So Tamar, as a sign of mourning, ‘put ashes upon her head,’ 2 Samuel 13:19. But the reading of the Hebrew text is preferable to that of the margin and of A. V., viz. ‘I have besprinkled myself with.’Verses 10-15. - 4. The judgment on Judah is exemplified by the fate of certain of its cities, whose names the prophet connects with their punishment in a series of paronomasias. Verse 10. - Declare ye it not at Gath. This phrase from David's elegy over Saul (2 Samuel 1:20) had become a proverbial saying, deprecating the malicious joy of their hostile neighbours over the misfortunes that befell them. Gath is mentioned as the seat of the Philistines, the constant and powerful enemy of Judah. (For its situation, see note on Amos 6:2.) The paronomasias in this passage, which seem to modern ears artificial and puerile, are paralleled in many writings both Hebrew and classic, and were natural to a people who looked for mystical meaning in words and names. Thus Gath is taken to signify "Tell town," and the clause is, "In Tell town tell it not." Weep ye not at all; Vulgate, lacrymis ne ploretis; i.e. "weep in silence," or "hide your tears," that the enemy may not know your grief. As in cash of the other clauses a town is mentioned, some editors would here read, "In Acco ('Weep town') weep not!" - Acco being the later Ptolemais, the modern St. Jean d'Acre, and taken here to represent another foreign city which would rejoice at Judah's misfortunes (see, Judges 1:31). The Septuagint alone of all the versions seems to countenance this reading, by translating, Οἱ Ἐνακεὶμ μὴ ἀνοικοδομεῖτε, "Ye Enakim, do not rebuild," which has been resolved into οἱ ἐν Ἀκεὶμ, supposed to be an error for οἱ ἐν Ἀχί The objections against this reading may be seen in Keil and Pusey. There is a play on the words in both these clauses (as in the following five verses), which is not seen in the English Version, begath al taggidu, and bako al tibeku. Knabenbauer imitates the paronomasia in Latin, "Cannis ne canite; Anconae ne angamini;" Ewald and Schegg in German, "In Molln meldet nicht; in Weinsberg. weinet nicht;" Reuss in French, "N'allez pas le dire a Dijon! N'allez pas pleurer a Ploermel!" In these puns, as we should call them, the prophet is far, indeed, from jesting. "He sees," says Dr. Cheyne, "like Isaiah, in Isaiah 10:30, a preordained correspondence between names and fortunes;" and he wishes to impress this on his countrymen, that the judgment may not come upon them unwarned. In the house of Aphrah; better, at Beth-le-Aphrah, i.e. "House of dust;" Vulgate, in domo pulveris. The site of Aphrah is unknown. Some identify it with Ophrah in Benjamin (Joshua 18:23), four miles northeast of Bethel; others, with Ophrah in Philistia (1 Chronicles 4:14). Host of the towns named below lie in the Shephelah. Keil notes that the word is pointed with pathach here for the sake of the paronomasia. Roll thyself in the dust; sprinkle dust upon thyself. This was a common sign of mourning (comp. 2 Samuel 13:19; Jeremiah 6:26). The Hebrew text (in contradistinction to the margin, Keri) gives, "I roll myself," or "I have besprinkled myself," the prophet identifying himself with the people. But as in all the subsequent passages, not what the prophet does, but what the inhabitants do, is the point impressed, the reading of the Keri is hem to be preferred. Vulgate, pulvere vos conspergite. The Septuagint has an inexplicable rendering, κατὰ γέλωτα γῆν καταπάσασθε, "against laughter sprinkle earth," which Brenton translates, "sprinkle dust in the place of your laughter." With this section (vers. 10-15) should be compared Isaiah 10:28-32, which describes the alarm occasioned by Sennacherib's invasion of Judah from the northeast, as Micah represents his progress to the southwest. This judgment is announced in Amos 5:16, Amos 5:17. Amos 5:16. "Therefore thus saith Jehovah the God of hosts, the Lord: In all roads lamentation! and in all streets will men say, Alas! alas! and they call the husbandman to mourning, and lamentation to those skilled in lamenting. Amos 5:17. And in all vineyards lamentation, because I go through the midst of thee, saith Jehovah." Lâkhēn (therefore) is not connected with the admonitions in Amos 5:14, Amos 5:15, nor can it point back to the reproaches in Amos 5:7, Amos 5:10-12, since they are too far off: it rather links on to the substance of Amos 5:13, which involves the thought that all admonition to return is fruitless, and the ungodly still persist in their unrighteousness, - a thought which also forms the background of Amos 5:14, Amos 5:15. The meaning of Amos 5:16, Amos 5:17 is, that mourning and lamentation for the dead will fill both city and land. On every hand will there be dead to weep for, because Jehovah will go judging through the land. The roads and streets are not merely those of the capital, although these are primarily to be thought of, but those of all the towns in the kingdom. Mispēd is the death-wail. This is evident from the parallel 'âmar hō hō, saying, Alas, alas! i.e., striking up the death-wail (cf. Jeremiah 22:18). And this death-wail will not be heard in all the streets of the towns only, but the husbandman will also be called from the field to mourn, i.e., to seep for one who has died in his house. The verb קראוּ, they call, belongs to מספּד אל י, they call lamentation to those skilled in mourning: for they call out the word mispēd to the professional mourners; in other words, they send for them to strike up their wailing for the dead. ידעי נהי (those skilled in mourning) are the public wailing women, who were hired when a death occurred to sing mourning songs (compare Jeremiah 9:16; Matthew 9:23, and my Bibl. Archologie, ii. p. 105). Even in all the vineyards, the places where rejoicing is generally looked for (Amos 5:11; Isaiah 16:10), the death-wail will be heard. Amos 5:17 mentions the event which occasions the lamentation everywhere. כּי, for (not "if") I go through the midst of thee. These words are easily explained from Exodus 12:12, from which Amos has taken them. Jehovah there says to Moses, "I pass through the land of Egypt, and smite all the first-born." And just as the Lord once passed through Egypt, so will He now pass judicially through Israel, and slay the ungodly. For Israel is no longer the nation of the covenant, which He passes over and spares (Amos 7:8; Amos 8:2), but has become an Egypt, which He will pass through as a judge to punish it. This threat is carried out still further in the next two sections, commencing with hōi.
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