Micah 1:13
O you inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in you.
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(13) Bind the chariot to the swift beasti.e., make haste to escape with thy goods. Lachish was the most important of the cities enumerated. It was fortified by Rehoboam, and was sought as a refuge by Amaziah from the conspiracy formed against him in Jerusalem. After the capture of the Holy City by Nebuchadnezzar, Lachish alone remained, with Azekah, of the defenced cities of Judah. It appears, from its position as a border city, to have been the channel for introducing into the kingdom of Judah the idolatry set up by Jeroboam in Israel.

Micah 1:13-15. O thou inhabitant of Lachish — This was a strong fortress in the tribe of Judah: see Joshua 15:39. Bind the chariot to the swift beast — In order to flee from the approaching enemy. Lachish was one of the first cities that Sennacherib besieged, when he invaded Judea. She is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion — She was the first among the cities of Judah which practised those idolatries which the kings and people of Israel had begun. Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moresheth-gath — Or, to Moresheth of Gath; that is, to the Philistines of that country, either to defend thee against the enemy, or to receive thee under their protection. The houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel — The word Achzib signifies a lie. There was a town of that name in the tribe of Judah, mentioned Joshua 15:44. This place, the prophet here foretels, will answer its name, and disappoint the kings of Israel that depended upon its strength and assistance: see 2 Chronicles 21:3; and 2 Chronicles 28:19. Israel is sometimes used for Judah, and so it may probably be taken here. Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah — This was another town belonging to Judah, mentioned Joshua 15:44. The name signifies an inheritance; so here, by way of allusion, it is said, that a new heir or master should come and take possession of it, namely, a conquering enemy. He shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel — Or, The glory of Israel shall come to Adullam; the Assyrians, whom Israel once gloried in as their ally, shall come to Adullam. This was a town in Judah not far from Lachish: see Joshua 15:35. Some think the meaning of this clause is, that the chief men of Israel should be forced to hide themselves from their enemies in the cave of Adullam, as David did when he fled from Saul, 1 Samuel 23.1:8-16 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.O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast - (steed.) Lachish was always a strong city, as its name probably denoted, (probably "compact." It was one of the royal cities of the Amorites, and its king one of the five, who went out to battle with Joshua Jos 10:3. It lay in the low country, Shephelah, of Judah Joshua 15:33, Joshua 15:39, between Adoraim and Azekah 2 Chronicles 11:9, 2 Chronicles 11:7 Roman miles south of Eleutheropolis (Onomasticon), and so, probably, close to the hill-country, although on the plain; partaking perhaps of the advantages of both. Rehoboam fortified it. Amaziah fled to it from the conspiracy at Jerusalem 2 Kings 14:19, as a place of strength. It, with Azekah, alone remained, when Nebuchadnezzar had taken the rest, just before the capture of Jerusalem Jeremiah 34:7. When Sennacherib took all the defensed cities of Judah, it seems to have been his last and proudest conquest, for from it he sent his contemptuous message to Hezekiah Isaiah 36:1-2.

The whole power of the great king seems to have been called forth to take this stronghold. The Assyrian bas-reliefs, the record of the conquests of Sennacherib, if (as the accompanying inscription is deciphered), they represent the taking of Lachish, exhibit it as "a city of great extent and importance, defended by double walls with battlements and towers, and by fortified riggings. In no other sculptures were so many armed warriors drawn up in array against a besieged city. Against the fortifications had been thrown up as many as ten banks or mounts compactly built - and seven battering-rams had already been rolled up against the walls." Its situation, on the extremity probably of the plain, fitted it for a depot of cavalry. The swift steeds, to which it was bidden to bind the chariot, are mentioned as part of the magnificence of Solomon, as distinct from his ordinary horses (1 Kings 4:28, English (1 Kings 5:8 in Hebrew)). They were used by the posts of the king of Persia Esther 8:10, Esther 8:14.

They were doubtless part of the strength of the kings of Judah, the cavalry in which their statesmen trusted, instead of God. Now, its swift horses in which it prided itself should avail but to flee. Probably, it is an ideal picture. Lachish is bidden to bind its chariots to horses of the utmost speed, which should carry them far away, if their strength were equal to their swiftness. It had great need; for it was subjected under Sennacherib to the consequences of Assyrian conquest. If the Assyrian accounts relate to its capture, impalement and flaying alive were among the tortures of the captive-people; and awfully did Sennacherib, in his pride, avenge the sins against God whom he disbelieved.

She is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion - Jerome: "She was at the gate through which the transgressions of Israel flooded Judah." How she came first to apostatise and to be the infectress of Judah, Scripture does not tell us . She scarcely bordered on Philistia; Jerusalem lay between her and Israel. But the course of sin follows no geographical lines. It was the greater sin to Lachish that she, locally so far removed from Israel's sin, was the first to import into Judah the idolatries of Israel. Scripture does not say, what seduced Lachish herself, whether the pride of military strength, or her importance, or commercial intercourse, for her swift steeds; with Egypt, the common parent of Israel's and her sin. Scripture does not give the genealogy of her sin, but stamps her as the heresiarch of Judah. We know the fact from this place only, that she, apparently so removed from the occasion of sin, became, like the propagators of heresy, the authoress of evil, the cause of countless loss of souls. Beginning of sin to - , what a world of evil lies in the three words!

13. "Bind the chariot to the swift steed," in order by a hasty flight to escape the invading foe. Compare Note, see on [1151]Isa 36:2, on "Lachish," at which Sennacherib fixed his headquarters (2Ki 18:14, 17; Jer 34:7).

she is the beginning of the sin to … Zion—Lachish was the first of the cities of Judah, according to this passage, to introduce the worship of false gods, imitating what Jeroboam had introduced in Israel. As lying near the border of the north kingdom, Lachish was first to be infected by its idolatry, which thence spread to Jerusalem.

Lachish; a very strong fortress on the confines of Judah towards the kingdom of the ten tribes, and which, as it did to the last stand out against Sennacherib, so it is very probable they did boast of their strength and valour.

Bind the chariot to the swift beast; either to flee from the sword of the enemy, and to seek safety in-another country, forsaking their own; or else by way of derision, You will be besieged and cooped up by the Assyrian, and then you may harness your horses or mules to carry you in chariots about your own streets; or else the prophet foretells Sennacherib’s commanding post-chariots to carry his messengers to summon Jerusalem to yield up all to him.

She Lachish, is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion; from thence idolatry spread itself into Judah and Jerusalem. Lachish, nearest to idolatrous Israel, took the infection of them, and conveyed it to Judah, or Jerusalem, here called

the daughter of Zion.

For the transgressions, not only the idolatry, but other sins also,

of Israel, of the ten tribes,

were found in thee; thou didst receive and worship the same idols that Samaria did. O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast,.... Horses, camels, dromedaries, or mules. Some (u) render the word swift horse or horses, post horses; others dromedaries (w); and some mules (x) the two latter seem more especially to be meant, either dromedaries, as the word is translated in 1 Kings 4:28; which is a very swift creature: Isidore says (y) the dromedary is one sort of camels, of a lesser stature, yet swifter, from whence it has its name, and is used to go more than a hundred miles a day; this is thought to be what the Jews (z) call a flying camel; which the gloss says is a sort of camels that are as swift in running as a bird that flies; they are lighter made than a camel, and go at a much greater rate; whereas a camel goes at the rate of thirty miles a day, the dromedary will perform a journey of one hundred and twenty miles in a day; they make use of them in the Indies for going post, and expresses frequently perform a journey of eight hundred miles upon them in the space of a week (a): this may serve the better to illustrate Jeremiah 2:23; and improve the note there: but whether these were used in chariots I do not find; only Bochart (b) takes notice of a kind of camel, that has, like the dromedary, two humps on its back, which the Arabians call "bochet", and put to chariots: or else mules are meant, for by comparing the above text in 1 Kings 4:28 with 2 Chronicles 9:24, it looks as if "mules" were there intended; and so the word here used is rendered in Esther 8:10; and by their being there said to be used for posts to ride on expresses, it up pears to be a swift creature. Aelianus (c) makes mention of mules in India of a red colour, very famous for running; and mules were used in the Olympic games, and many riders of them got the victory; and that these were used in chariots, there is no doubt to be made of it: Homer (d) speaks of mules drawing a four wheeled chariot; so Pausanias (e) of mules yoked together, and drawing a chariot, instead of horses; and the Septuagint version of Isaiah 66:20; instead of "in litters and on mules", renders it, "in litters" or carriages "of mules": but, be they one or the other that are here meant, they were creatures well known, and being swift were used in chariots, to which they were bound and fastened in order to draw them, and which we call "putting to"; this the inhabitants of Lachish (f) are bid to do, in order to make their escape, and flee as fast as they could from the enemy, advancing to besiege them; as they were besieged by the army of Sennacherib, before he came to Jerusalem, 2 Chronicles 32:1. Or these words may be spoken in an ironical and sarcastic way, that whereas they had abounded in horses and chariots, and frequently rode about their streets in them, now let them make use of them, and get away if they could; and may suggest, that, instead of riding in these, they should be obliged to walk on foot into captivity. Lachish was a city in the tribe of Judah, in the times of Jerom (g); it was a village seven miles from Eleutheropolis, as you go to Daroma or the south;

she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion; lying upon the borders of the ten tribes, as Lachish did, it was the first of the cities of Judah that gave into the idolatry of Jeroboam, the worshipping of the calves; and from thence it spread itself to Zion and Jerusalem; and, being a ringleader in this sin, should be punished for it: though some think this refers to their conspiracy with the citizens of Jerusalem against King Amaziah, and the murder of him in this place, now punished for it, 2 Kings 14:18;

for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee; not only their idolatry, but all other sins, with which it abounded; it was a very wicked place, and therefore no wonder it was given up to destruction. The Targum is,

"for the transgressors of Israel were found in thee.''

(u) "ad equos velocissimos", Pagninus; "equo veloci", Montanus; "angariis sc. equis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (w) "Dromadibus", Vatablus. So Elias. (x) "Mulis", so some in Piscator; "ad mulum celerem", Burkius. (y) Origin. l. 12. c. 1. p. 102. (z) T. Bab. Maccot, fol. 5. 1.((a) See Harris's Voyages and Travels, vol. 1. p. 469. (b) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 4. Colossians 87. (c) De Animal. l. 16. c. 9. (d) Iliad. 24. l. 324. (e) Eliac. prior, sive l. 5. p. 302. So Suetonius in Vit. Jul. Caesar. c. 31. "mulis ad vehiculum junctis". (f) There is a likeness in sound between and (g) De locis Hebr. fol. 92. M.

O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the {n} swift beast: she {o} is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee.

(n) To flee away: for Sennacherib laid siege first to that city, and remained there when he sent his captains and army against Jerusalem.

(o) You first received the idolatry of Jeroboam, and so infected Jerusalem.

13. Lachish] That well-known fortified town in the Shephélah, or maritime plain, the capture of which was commemorated by Sennacherib in two bas-reliefs in his palace; comp. Isaiah 36:2; Isaiah 37:8. These small Syrian and Palestinian fortresses had to sustain repeated sieges. ‘Lachish’ and rechesh (‘swift beast’) make what is called an assonance; hence the mention of Lachish suggests the thought of harnessing the chariot for flight. The imperative is of course to be understood poetically. It would be well for Lachish if her ‘swift steeds’ could carry her far away—those ‘swift steeds’ which were so violently obnoxious to Micah and his fellow-prophets (Isaiah 2:7; Isaiah 31:1).

she is the beginning of the sin] Rather, she was the beginning of sin, i.e. the image-worship of the northern kingdom took root first of all in Lachish, and from thence spread over the rest of Judah (comp. Micah 6:16). It is remarkable that the infection of idolatry should have appeared at a bound so far from its original focus. No light can be thrown upon this.Verse 13. - Lachish. A very strong and important city of the Canaanites, hod. Um Lakis, about fourteen miles northeast of Gaza, which was captured by Sennacherib after a long siege (2 Kings 18:14; Isaiah 36:2; Isaiah 37:8). In the British Museum there is a bas-relief, brought from Assyria, representing Sennacherib seated on his throne while the spoil of the city of Lachish passed before him (Sayce, 'Fresh Light from the Monuments,' pp. 123, 125). Bind the chariot to the swift beast. Harness your horses to your chariots, that ye may flee and escape destruction. The phrase is like the Latin, currum jungere equis. The paronomasia here lies in the sound, "Inhabitant of Lachish, harness your rekkesh" ("runner," "courser"). "Inhabitant of Horse town, harness your horses." Septuagint, ψόφος ἁρμάτων καὶ ἱππευόντων, "a sound of chariots and horsemen;" Vulgate, tumultus quadrigae stuporis - renderings which the present Hebrew text does not support. She was the beginning, etc. How Lachish came to adopt the idolatry of Israel, and how she infected Judah, we know not. A connection between Jerusalem and Lachish is found in the case of Amaziah (2 Kings 14:19), but nothing bearing on religion is mentioned. The whole clause is translated by Calmer, Keil, etc., thus: "It was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion that the iniquities of Israel were found in thee" (comp. Micah 6:16; Amos 8:14). The particular transgressions meant may be the idolatry of Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:6) and Ahaziah (2 Chronicles 22:3, 4). 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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