Micah 1:11
Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir, having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive of you his standing.
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(11) Saphir . . . Zaanan.—The sites of these cities, like that of Aphrah, are a matter of conjecture. They were probably south-west of Jerusalem, the prophet following the march of the invading army.

The inhabitant of Zaanan came not forthi.e., they remained in their city through fear of the enemy.

In the mourning of Beth-ezel.—Rather, the wailing of Beth-ezel shall take from you his standing—i.e., no support will be found in the inhabitants of Beth-ezel.

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.Pass ye away - (literally, Pass thou (fem.) away to or for yourselves), disregarded by God and despised by man) pass the bounds of your land into captivity.

Thou inhabitant of Shaphir, having thy shame naked - better, in nakedness, and shame. Shaphir (fair) was a village in Judah, between Eleutheropolis and Ashkelon (Onomasticon). There are still, in the Shephelah, two villages called Sawafir . It, once fair, should now go forth in the disgrace and dishonor with which captives were led away.

The inhabitants of Zaanan came not forth - Zaanan (abounding in flocks) was probably the same as Zenan of Judah, which lay in the Shephelah . It, which formerly went forth in pastoral gladness with the multitude of its flocks, shall now shrink into itself for fear.

The mourning of Beth-Ezel - (literally, house of root, firmly rooted) shall take from you its standings It too cannot help itself, much less be a stay to others. They who have been accustomed to go forth in fullness, shall not go forth then, and they who abide, strong though they be, shall not furnish an abiding place. Neither in going out nor in remaining, shall anything be secure then.

11. Pass ye away—that is, Thou shall go into captivity.

inhabitant of Saphir—a village amidst the hills of Judah, between Eleutheropolis and Ascalon, called so, from the Hebrew word for "beauty." Though thy name be "beauty," which heretofore was thy characteristic, thou shalt have thy "shame" made "naked." This city shall be dismantled of its walls, which are the garments, as it were, of cities; its citizens also shall be hurried into captivity, with persons exposed (Isa 47:3; Eze 16:37; Ho 2:10).

the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth—Its inhabitants did not come forth to console the people of Beth-ezel in their mourning, because the calamity was universal; none was exempt from it (compare Jer 6:25). "Zaanan" is the same as Zenan, in Judah (Jos 15:37), meaning the "place of flocks." The form of the name used is made like the Hebrew for "came forth." Though in name seeming to imply that thou dost come forth, thou "camest not forth."

Beth-ezel—perhaps Azal (Zec 14:5), near Jerusalem. It means a "house on the side," or "near." Though so near, as its name implies, to Zaanan, Beth-ezel received no succor or sympathy from Zaanan.

he shall receive of you his standing—"he," that is, the foe; "his standing," that is, his sustenance [Piscator]. Or, "he shall be caused a delay by you, Zaanan." He shall be brought to a stand for a time in besieging you; hence it is said just before, "Zaanan came not forth," that is, shut herself up within her walls to withstand a siege. But it was only for a time. She, too, fell like Beth-ezel before her [Vatablus]. Maurer construes thus: "The inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth; the mourning of Beth-ezel takes away from you her shelter." Though Beth-ezel be at your side (that is, near), according to her name, yet as she also mourns under the oppression of the foe, she cannot give you shelter, or be at your side as a helper (as her name might lead you to expect), if you come forth and be intercepted by him from returning to Zaanan.

Pass ye away: the imperative is here put for the future, and the prophet does here foretell and threaten what shall befall this people, they shall go before the enemy into captivity. Saphir denotes either the beautiful and pleasant habitation, and so may be applied to any pleasant seat, such as were many in Judea; such were Samaria and Jerusalem, which perhaps are here intended. Or else it is the proper name of some particular town or city: who read Eusebius will meet with such a village in the mountains between Ashkelon and Hebron, or (as later it is called) Eleutheropolis.

Having thy shame naked; stripped by thy conquering enemy, so that thou shalt not have so much left as shall cover thy nakedness; with shame shalt thou be thus led into captivity, and change all thy beauty into shameful nakedness.

Zaanan; a place rich in pastures and sheep, say some; others take it for the proper name of a particular place in the tribe of Judah; it is likely at this time it might be some considerable garrison full of people and soldiers.

Came not forth; neither sent out succours to relieve their neighbouring besieged town Bethezel, but stood on their own guard, nor yet durst send out any to condole the captive state of their neighbours.

Bethezel; a strong town taken and wasted by the Assyrians, the people carried captive under the eye of the inhabitants of Zaanan, who mean time dare not stir or make many signs of sorrow.

He; the invading enemy, say some, others say it is the inhabitant of Zaanan.

Shall receive of you his standing: who refer this to the enemy make this the sense, viz. That the enemy should make his stay among them till he had conquered, spoiled, and captivated them; or, that he should by severe dealing make them pay dear for their obstinacy in defending their town against his forces, that he should strip them of all to recompense his expenses of treasure, time, and blood in taking them. But they that refer this to Zaanan and its inhabitants make this the sense, That they should take their measures, and judge what the enemy would do against them by that which he had done against Beth-ezel their neighbour.

Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir,.... A village, according to Eusebius (l), between Eleutheropolis and Ashkelon; perhaps the same with Sephoron; it is mentioned among the cities of Judah, in the Greek version of Joshua 15:48. Calmet (m) conjectures the prophet intends the city of Sephoris or Sephora in Galilee. Hillerus (n): takes it to be the same with Parah, mentioned with Ophrah, in Joshua 18:23; so called from its ornament, neatness, beauty, and elegance, as both words signify, to which the prophet alludes: now everyone of the inhabitants of this place are called upon to prepare to go into captivity to Babylon; which would certainly be their case, though they dwelled in fine buildings, neat houses, and streets well paved. In the margin it is, "thou that dwellest fairly" (o); which some understand of Samaria; others of Judea; and particularly Jerusalem, beautifully situated, yet should go into captivity:

having thy shame naked; their city dismantled, their houses plundered, and they stripped of their garments, and the shame of their nakedness discovered; which must be the more distressing to beautiful persons, that have dressed neatly, and lived in handsome well built houses, and elegantly furnished, and now all the reverse;

the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; or house of Azel, where the posterity of Azel, of the tribe of Benjamin, dwelt. Hillerus (p) suspects it to be the same with Mozah, Joshua 18:26; so called from Moza, the great grandfather of Azel, 1 Chronicles 8:37. Capellus takes it to be the same with Azal in Zechariah 14:5. This place being taken and plundered by the enemy occasioned great mourning among the inhabitants: and it seems to have been taken first, before Zaanan; perhaps the same with Zenan, Joshua 15:37; and is here read "Sennan" by Aquila; the inhabitants of which did not "come forth", in which there is an allusion to its name (q), either to help them in their distress, or to condole them; they being in fear of the enemy themselves, and in arms in their own defence, expecting it would be their turn next, and that they should share the same fate with them. Some think that under the name of Bethezel is meant Bethel; and of Zaanan, Zion; and that the sense is, that when Bethel, Samaria, and the ten tribes, were in distress, they of Zion and Judea did not come to give them any relief; and when they were carried captive did not mourn with them, were not affected with their case, nor troubled themselves about them;

he shall receive of him his standing: either the enemy, as R. Joseph Kimchi, shall receive of the inhabitants of Zaanan his standing; that is, he shall make them dearly pay for stopping him, for making him stand and stay so long before their city before he could take it; for all his loss of time, men, and money, in besieging it; by demolishing their city, plundering their houses, and carrying them captive; who remained he put to death by the sword. Aben Ezra interprets the word "receive" of doctrine or learning, as in Proverbs 4:2; and renders it, "he shall learn"; either Bethezel, or rather Zaanan, shall learn, by the case of Bethezel, and other neighbouring places, what would be his own case, whether he should stand or fall.

(l) Ad vocem (m) Dictionary, in the word "Saphir". (n) Onomast. Sacr. p. 925. (o) "habitans pulchre", Montanus; "habiatrix elegantis loci", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (p) Ibid. p. 516, 951. (q) from Vid. V. L. vers.

Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of {k} Saphir, having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall {l} receive of you his standing.

(k) These were cities by which the enemy would pass as he came to Judah.

(l) He will not depart before he has overcome you, and so you will pay for his staying.

11. inhabitant] The word in the Hebrew is feminine, the population of the city being (as often, e.g. Isaiah 1:8) personified as a virgin.

Saphir] as if Fair town (a play on the name).

Zaanan] The Zenan of Joshua 15:37.

came not forth, &c.] Rather, is not come forth; the mourning of Beth-ezel taketh from you its standing-ground. Zaanan would willingly take to flight, but the sound of the mourning at Beth-ezel (which might mean ‘the house, or place, at one’s side’) fills them with despair. An ‘Azal,’ or rather Azel, is mentioned in Jerusalem in Zechariah 14:5 (see however on ‘Aphrah,’ Micah 1:10).

Verse 11. - Pass ye away. Leave your house. Thou inhabitant of Saphir. The Hebrew is "inhabitress," the population being personified as a virgin (comp. 2 Kings 19:21; Isaiah 47:1). "Saphir" means "Fair city." It is placed by Eusebius ('Onomast.') between Ascalon and Eleutheropolis: it is now identified with some ruins named Suafir, five miles southeast of Ashdod. Having thy shame naked; "in nakedness and shame" (Pusey); Vulgate, confusa ignominia. The prophet contrasts the shame of their treatment with the meaning of their city's name," Go, Fair town, into foul dishonour." Septuagint, κατοικοῦσα καλῶς τὰς πόλεις αὐτῆς, "fairly inhabiting her cities." St. Jerome, in despair of explaining these Greek renderings, says here, "Multum Hebraicum a LXX. interpretatione discordat, et tantis tam mea quam illorum translatio difficultatibus involuta est, ut si quando indiguimus Spiritus Dei (semper autem in exponendis Scripturis sanctis illius indigemus adventu), nunc vel maxime eum adesse cupiamus." Zaanan is supposed to be the same as Zenan, mentioned in Joshua 15:37. The meaning of the name is doubtful. It is taken to signify "abounding in flocks" or "going out." Came not forth; or, is not come forth. The paronomasia seems to lie rather in sound than sense, and is variously explained, "The inhabitants of Flock town went not forth with their flocks." "The dwellers of Forthcoming came not forth," i.e. to flee, or to fight, or to aid their brethren; or did not escape destruction. Vulgate, Non est egressa quae habitat in exitu; Septuagint, Οὐκ ἐξῆλε κατοικοῦσα Σενναάρ, "She who dwelt at Sennaar came not forth." In the mourning, etc. These words are best joined with the following clause, thus: The mourning of Beth-ezel taketh from you its standing; i.e. refuge or shelter. Beth-ezel is explained, "House at one's side." "Neighbour town;" so the prophet would say, "Neighbour town is no neighbour to you," affords you no help. But various other explanations are given. e.g. "Lamentation makes its sure abode at Beth-ezel from your calamity." This may, perhaps, be supported by the rendering of the LXX., Λήψεται ἐξ ὑμῶν πληγὴν ὀδύνης, "She shall receive of you the stroke of anguish." Dr. Cheyne connects the whole verse with one idea, "Zaanan would willingly take to flight, but the sound of the mourning at Beth-ezel (which might mean, "the house, or place, at one's side') fills them with despair." Taking Beth-ezel to mean "House of root," others would interpret, on account of the public sorrow, "The 'house of root' affords no firm home for you." Others, again," The lamentation of 'The near House' will not stop near it, but pass on to other places." Beth-ezel is probably the Azal of Zechariah 14:5, the beth being dropped, as is often the case. It was in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem (see note on Zechariah. l.c.). Micah 1:11The penetration of the judgment into Judah is now clearly depicted by an individualizing enumeration of a number of cities which will be smitten by it. Micah 1:10. "Go not to Gath to declare it; weeping, weep not. At Beth-Leafra (dust-home) I have strewed dust upon myself. Micah 1:11. Pass thou away, O inhabitress of Shafir (beautiful city), stripped in shame. The inhabitress of Zaanan (departure) has not departed; the lamentation of Beth-Hazel (near-house) takes from you the standing near it. Micah 1:12. For the inhabitress of Maroth (bitterness) writhes for good; for evil has come down from Jehovah to the gate of Jerusalem." The description commences with words borrowed from David's elegy on the death of Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:20), "Publish it not in Gath," in which there is a play upon the words in begath and taggı̄dū. The Philistines are not to hear of the distress of Judah, lest they should rejoice over it. There is also a play upon words in בּכו אל־תּבכּוּ. The sentence belongs to what precedes, and supplies the fuller definition, that they are not to proclaim the calamity in Gath with weeping, i.e., not to weep over it there.

(Note: On the ground of the Septuagint rendering, καὶ οἱ Ἐνακεὶμ μὴ ἀνοικοδομεῖτε, most of the modern expositors follow Reland (Palaest. ill. p. 534ff.) in the opinion that בּכו is the name of a city, a contraction of בּעכּו, "and weep not at Acco." There is no force in the objection brought against this by Caspari (Mich. p. 110), namely, that in that case the inhabitants of both kingdoms must have stood out before the prophet's mind in hemistich a, which, though not rendered actually impossible by Micah 1:9, and the expression על־זאת in Micah 1:8, is hardly reconcilable with the fact that from Micah 1:11 onwards Judah only stands out before his mind, and that in Micah 1:8-10 the distress of his people, in the stricter sense (i.e., of Judah), is obviously the pre-eminent object of his mourning. For Acco would not be taken into consideration as a city of the kingdom of Israel, but as a city inhabited by heathen, since, according to Judges 1:31, the Canaanites were not driven out of Acco, and it cannot be shown from any passage of the Old Testament that this city ever came into the actual possession of the Israelites. It is evidently a more important objection to the supposed contraction, that not a single analogous case can be pointed out. The forms נשׁקה for נשׁקעה (Amos 8:8) and בּלה for בּעלה (Joshua 19:3 and Joshua 15:29) are of a different kind; and the blending of the preposition ב with the noun עכּו, by dropping the ע, so as to form one word, is altogether unparalleled. The Septuagint translation furnishes no sufficient authority for such an assumption. All that we can infer from the fact that Eusebius has adopted the reading Ἐναχείμ in his Onom. (ed. Lars. p. 188), observing at the same time that this name occurs in Micah, whilst Aq. and Symm. have ἐν κλαυθμῶ (in fletu) instead, is that these Greek fathers regarded the Ἐναχείμ of the lxx as the name of a place; but this does not in the smallest degree prove the correctness of the lxx rendering. Nor does the position of בּכו before אל furnish any tenable ground for maintaining that this word cannot be the inf. abs. of בּכה, but must contain the name of a place. The assertion of Hitzig, that "if the word were regarded as an inf. abs., neither the inf. itself nor אל for לא would be admissible in a negative sentence (Jeremiah 22:10)," has no grammatical foundation. It is by no means a necessary consequence, that because אל cannot be connected with the inf. abs. (Ewald, 350, a), therefore the inf. abs. could not be written before a finite verb with אל for the sake of emphasis.)

After this reminiscence of the mourning of David for Saul, which expresses the greatness of the grief, and is all the more significant, because in the approaching catastrophe Judah is also to lose its king (cf. Micah 4:9), so that David is to experience the fate of Saul (Hengstenberg), Micah mentions places in which Judah will mourn, or, at any rate, experience something very painful. From Micah 1:10 to Micah 1:15 he mentions ten places, whose names, with a very slight alteration, were adapted for jeux de mots, with which to depict what would happen to them or take place within them. The number ten (the stamp of completeness, pointing to the fact that the judgment would be a complete one, spreading over the whole kingdom) is divided into twice five by the statement, which is repeated in Micah 1:12, that the calamity would come to the fate of Jerusalem; five places being mentioned before Jerusalem (Micah 1:10-12), and five after (Micah 1:13-15). This division makes Hengstenberg's conjecture a very natural one, viz., that the five places mentioned before Jerusalem are to be sought for to the north of Jerusalem, and the others to the south or south-west, and that in this way Micah indicates that the judgment will proceed from the north to the south. On the other hand, Caspari's opinion, that the prophet simply enumerates certain places in the neighbourhood of Moresheth, his own home, rests upon no firm foundation.

בּית לעפרה is probably the Ophrah of Benjamin (עפרה, Joshua 18:23), which was situated, according to Eusebius, not far from Bethel (see comm. on Josh. l.c.). It is pointed with pathach here for the sake of the paronomasia with עפר. The chethib התפּלּשׁתּי is the correct reading, the keri התפּלּשׁי being merely an emendation springing out of a misunderstanding of the true meaning. התפּלּשׁ does not mean to revolve, but to bestrew one's self. Bestrewing with dust or ashes was a sign of deep mourning (Jeremiah 6:26; 2 Samuel 13:19). The prophet speaks in the name of the people of what the people will do. The inhabitants of Shafir are to go stripped into captivity. עבר, to pass by, here in the sense of moving forwards. The plural לכם is to be accounted for from the fact that yōshebheth is the population. Shâphı̄r, i.e., beautiful city, is not the same as the Shâmı̄r in Joshua 15:48, for this was situated in the south-west of the mountains of Judah; nor the same as the Shâmı̄r in the mountains of Ephraim (Judges 10:1), which did not belong to the kingdom of Judah; but is a place to the north of Jerusalem, of which nothing further is known. The statement in the Onomast. s.v. Σαφείρ ἐν γῆ ὀρεινῆ between Eleutheropolis and Askalon - is probably intended to apply to the Shâmı̄r of Joshua; but this is evidently erroneous, as the country between Eleutheropolis and Askalon did not belong to the mountains of Judah, but to the Shephelah. עריה־בשׁת, a combination like ענוה־צדק in Psalm 45:5, equivalent to stripping which is shame, shame-nakedness equals ignominious stripping. עריה is an accusative defining the manner in which they would go out. The next two clauses are difficult to explain. צאנן, a play upon words with יצאה, is traceable to this verb, so far as its meaning is concerned. The primary meaning of the name is uncertain; the more modern commentators combine it with צאן, in the sense of rich in flocks. The situation of Zaanan is quite unknown. The supposed identity with Zenân see at Joshua 15:37) must be given up, as Zenân was in the plain, and Zaanan was most probably to the north of Jerusalem. The meaning of the clause can hardly be any other than this, that the population of Zaanan had not gone out of their city to this war from fear of the enemy, but, on the contrary, had fallen back behind their walls (Ros., Casp., Hitzig). בּית האצל is most likely the same as אצל in Zechariah 14:5, a place in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, to the east of the Mount of Olives, as Beth is frequently omitted in the names of places (see Ges. Thes. p. 193). Etsel signifies side, and as an adverb or preposition, "by the side of." This meaning comes into consideration there. The thought of the words mispad bēth, etc., might be: "The lamentation of Beth-Haezel will take away its standing (the standing by the side of it, 'etslō) from you (Judaeans), i.e., will not allow you to tarry there as fugitives (cf. Jeremiah 48:45). The distress into which the enemy staying there has plunged Beth-Haezel, will make it impossible for you to stop there" (Hitzig, Caspari). But the next clause, which is connected by כּי, does not suit this explanation (Micah 1:12). The only way in which this clause can be made to follow suitably as an explanation is by taking the words thus: "The lamentation of Beth-Haezel will take its standing (the stopping of the calamity or judgment) from you, i.e., stop near it, as we should expect from its name; for (Micah 1:12) Maroth, which stands further off, will feel pain," etc. With this view, which Caspari also suggests, Hengstenberg (on Zechariah 14:5) agrees in the main, except that he refers the suffix in עמדּתו to מספּד, and renders the words thus: "The lamentation of Beth-Haezel will take its stopping away from you, i.e., the calamity will not stop at Beth-Haezel (at the near house), i.e., stop near it, as we should expect from its name; for (Micah 1:12) Maroth, which stands further off, will feel pain," etc. With this view, which Caspari also suggests, Hengstenberg (on Zechariah 14:5) agrees in the main, except that he refers the suffix in עמדתו to מספּד, and renders the words thus: "The lamentation of Beth-Haezel will take its stopping away from you, i.e., will not allow you the stopping of the lamentation." Grammatically considered, this connection is the more natural one; but there is this objection, that it cannot be shown that עמד is used in the sense of the stopping or ceasing of a lamentation, whereas the supposition that the suffix refers to the calamity simply by constructio ad sensum has all the less difficulty, inasmuch as the calamity has already been hinted at in the verb נגע in Micah 1:9, and in Micah 1:10 also it forms the object to be supplied in thought. Maroth (lit., something bitter, bitternesses) is quite unknown; it is simply evident, from the explanatory clause כּי ירד וגו, that it was situated in the immediate neighbourhood of Jerusalem. The inhabitants of Maroth writhe (châlâh, from chūl, to writhe with pain, like a woman in child-birth), because they are also smitten with the calamity, when it comes down to the gate of Jerusalem. לטוב, "on account of the good," which they have lost, or are about to lose.

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