Micah 1:12
For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD to the gate of Jerusalem.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Waited carefully.—There are various ways of arriving at the interpretation of the words, but the result is the same. The people of Maroth were in distress; they were grieved at the spoiling of their property; they longed for good, but evil was the Lord’s decree against 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.For the inhabitant of Maroth - (bitterness) waited carefully for good She waited carefully for the good which God gives, not for the Good which God is. She looked, longed for, good, as men do; but therewith her longing ended. She longed for it, amid her own evil, which brought God's judgments upon her. Maroth is mentioned here only in Holy Scripture, and has not been identified. It too was probably selected for its meaning. The inhabitant of bitternesses, she, to whom bitternesses, or, it may be, rebellions, were as the home in which she dwelt, which ever encircled her, in which she reposed, wherein she spent her life, waited for good! Strange contradiction! yet a contradiction, which the whole un-Christian world is continually en acting; nay, from which Christians have often to be awakened, to look for good to themselves, nay, to pray for temporal good, while living in bitternesses, bitter ways, displeasing to God. The words are calculated to be a religious proverb. "Living in sin," as we say, dwelling in bitternesses, she looked for good! Bitternesses! for it is Jeremiah 2:19 an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that My fear is not in thee.

But evil came down from the Lord unto the gate of Jerusalem - It came, like the sulphur and fire which God rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah, but as yet to the gate of Jerusalem, not upon itself. : "Evil came down upon them from the Lord, that is, I was grieved, I chastened, I brought the Assyrian upon them, and from My anger came this affliction upon them. But it was removed, My Hand prevailing and marvelously rescuing those who worshiped My Majesty. For the trouble shall come to the gate. But we know that Rabshakeh, with many horsemen, came to Jerusalem and all-but touched the gates. But he took it not. For in one night the Assyrian was consumed." The two for's are seemingly coordinate, and assign the reasons of the foreannounced evils, Micah 1:3-11 on man's part and on God's part. On man's part, in that he looked for what could not so come, good: on God's part, in that evil, which alone could be looked for, which, amid man's evil, could alone be good for man, came from Him. Losing the true Good, man lost all other good, and dwelling in the bitterness of sin and provocation, he dwelt indeed in bitterness of trouble.

12. Maroth—possibly the same as Maarath (Jos 15:59). Perhaps a different town, lying between the previously mentioned towns and the capital, and one of those plundered by Rab-shakeh on his way to it.

waited carefully for good—that is, for better fortune, but in vain [Calvin]. Gesenius translates, "is grieved for her goods," "taken away" from her. This accords with the meaning of Maroth, "bitterness," to which allusion is made in "is grieved." But the antithesis favors English Version, "waited carefully (that is, anxiously) for good, but evil came down."

from the Lord—not from chance.

unto the gate of Jerusalem—after the other cities of Judah have been taken.

For; yet, or certainly, as the Hebrew particle is often to be rendered.

The inhabitant; one put for all, because all should fare alike.

Maroth: some say it is by transposing the letters put for Ramoth; others say it is, as the word imports, the grieving, imbittered cities; others take it for the proper name of some lesser place in Judah.

Waited carefully; long, earnestly, and patiently.

For good; for peace, prosperity, and what might make them happy.

Evil; of trouble, sword, famine, and pestilence, all sorts of evil comprised in this one:

Came down, in mighty tempests, or as a sweeping rain.

From the Lord; by his special command and charge, and as a punishment inflicted on them from heaven.

Unto the gate of Jerusalem; the flood of affliction by the Assyrian swallowed up other towns and cities, and swelled high to the head city Jerusalem, as partly by Sennacherib’s invasion, but more fully by Nebuchadnezzar’s besieging and taking Jerusalem, and carrying the citizens captive to Babylon. For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good,.... Or, "though they waited for good" (r); expected to have it, yet the reverse befell them: or "verily they were grieved for good" (s); for the good things they had lost, or were likely to lose; and which they had no more hope of, when they saw Jerusalem in distress. Grotius thinks, by transposition of letters, Ramoth is intended by Maroth, or the many Ramahs which were in Judah and Benjamin; but Hillerus (t) is of opinion that Jarmuth is meant, a city of Judah, Joshua 15:35; the word Maroth signifies "bitterness"; see Ruth 1:20; and, according to others, "rough places"; and may design the inhabitants of such places that were in great bitterness and trouble because of the invasion of the enemy, who before that had promised themselves good things, and lived in the expectation of them:

but evil came down from the Lord unto the gate of Jerusalem; meaning the Assyrian army under Sennacherib, which came into the land of Judea by the order, direction, and providence of God, like an overflowing flood; which spread itself over the land, and reached to the very gates of Jerusalem, which was besieged by it, and threatened with destruction: or "because evil came down", &c. that is, "because" of that, the inhabitants of Maroth grieved, or were in pain, as a woman in travail.

(r) "quamvis". (s) "certe doluit propter bonum", Vatablus; "siquidem doluit", Pagninus, Montanus; "quia doluit propter bonum", Burkius. (t) Onomast. p. 87, 951.

For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the {m} gate of Jerusalem.

(m) For Rabshakeh had shut up Jerusalem, so that they could not send to help them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. Maroth] The name might mean Bitternesses, i.e. ‘perfect grief.’ Comp. Ruth 1:20, ‘Call me Mara, for the Lord hath made it bitter unto me,’ i.e. hath grieved me.

waited carefully] Rather, hath been in pain.

for good] i.e. for the good of liberty which it has lost.

but evil came down] Rather, for evil is come down.

unto the gate of Jerusalem] It is the ‘great gate’ spoken of thus by Sennacherib in his boastful inscription, ‘the exit of the great gate of his city I caused (them) to break through’ (Taylor’s cylinder, Colossians 3. lines 22, 23). Sargon, however, is probably the Assyrian king referred to by the prophet, as also by Isaiah in a parallel passage (Isaiah 22:7), “the horsemen [of the enemy] set themselves in array towards the gate” (this is the correct rendering).Verse 12. - Maroth; bitterness. Its site is unknown; but it was in the immediate neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Ewald suggests that it is the same as Maarath (Joshua 15:59), hod. Beit Ummar, six miles north of Hebron. Waited carefully for good; waited, expecting succour. But the better translation is, writhed in anguish on account of good, which they have lost, whether property or liberty. But evil came; for (or, because) evil is come. Unto the gate of Jerusalem (comp. ver. 9). The prophet refers to the invasion of the Assyrian kings, Sargon or Sennacherib, also mentioned by Isaiah (Isaiah 22:7), and the haughty message (Isaiah 36:2). The first turn. - Amos 5:18. "Woe to those who desire the day of Jehovah! What good is the day of Jehovah to you? It is darkness, and not light. Amos 5:19. As if a man fleeth before the lion, and the bear meets him; and he comes into the house, and rests his hand upon the wall, and the snake bites him. Amos 5:20. Alas! is not the day of Jehovah darkness, and not light; and gloom, and no brightness in it?" As the Israelites rested their hope of deliverance from every kind of hostile oppression upon their outward connection with the covenant nation (Amos 5:14); many wished the day to come, on which Jehovah would judge all the heathen, and redeem Israel out of all distress, and exalt it to might and dominion above all nations, and bless it with honour and glory, applying the prophecy of Joel in ch. 3 without the least reserve to Israel as the nation of Jehovah, and without considering that, according to Joel 2:32, those only would be saved on the day of Jehovah who called upon the name of the Lord, and were called by the Lord, i.e., were acknowledged by the Lord as His own. These infatuated hopes, which confirmed the nation in the security of its life of sin, are met by Amos with an exclamation of woe upon those who long for the day of Jehovah to come, and with the declaration explanatory of the woe, that that day is darkness and not light, and will bring them nothing but harm and destruction, and not prosperity and salvation. He explains this in Amos 5:19 by a figure taken from life. To those who wish the day of Jehovah to come, the same thing will happen as to a man who, when fleeing from a lion, meets a bear, etc. The meaning is perfectly clear: whoever would escape one danger, falls into a second; and whoever escapes this, falls into a third, and perishes therein. The serpent's bite in the hand is fatal. "In that day every place is full of danger and death; neither in-doors nor out-of-doors is any one safe: for out-of-doors lions and bears prowl about, and in-doors snakes lie hidden, even in the holes of the walls" (C. a. Lap.). After this figurative indication of the sufferings and calamities which the day of the Lord will bring, Amos once more repeats in v. 20, in a still more emphatic manner (הלא, nonne equals assuredly), that it will be no day of salvation, sc. to those who seek evil and not good, and trample justice and righteousness under foot (Amos 5:14, Amos 5:15).
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