Micah 2:11
If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.
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(11) If a man walking in the spirit and falsehoodi.e., in a lying spirit, speaking smooth and pleasant things, such as the people loved to hear, after the fashion of Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah—he will be a fit prophet for this people. So also Jeremiah spake: “The prophets prophesy falsely. . . . and my people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:31).

Micah 2:11. If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood — If a man falsely pretending to have the spirit of prophecy, do lie — Speak things very false, and utter pretended predictions of events that shall never take place. Saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and strong drink — I will discourse to you of sensual enjoyments: or, I will give you assurance of peace, prosperity, and plenty. You shall live long, eat, drink, and be merry. He shall even be the prophet of this people — Such as they like and choose, a man perfectly to their minds. Some render the clause, I will prophesy unto thee for wine and strong drink, understanding Micah (who here speaks in his own person) as telling them, if he were one who would prophesy lies unto them, and bring them pleasing tidings, however false, for the sake of having his belly filled with wine and strong drink; that then they would extol him, and look upon him as a choice prophet; for that such a one only as spoke smooth things unto them, with whatever selfish views it was apparent he did it, was a prophet to their liking; and that, therefore, if he had been a false prophet, he should have prophesied so as to get wine and strong drink of them instead of reproaches.

2:6-11 Since they say, Prophesy not, God will take them at their word, and their sin shall be their punishment. Let the physician no longer attend the patient that will not be healed. Those are enemies, not only to God, but to their country, who silence good ministers, and stop the means of grace. What bonds will hold those who have no reverence for God's word? Sinners cannot expect to rest in a land they have polluted. You shall not only be obliged to depart out of this land, but it shall destroy you. Apply this to our state in this present world. There is corruption in the world through lust, and we should keep at a distance from it. It is not our rest: it was designed for our passage, but not for our portion; our inn, but not our home; here we have no continuing city; let us therefore arise and depart, let us seek a continuing city above. Since they will be deceived, let them be deceived. Teachers who recommend self-indulgence by their doctrine and example, best suit such sinners.If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood - Literally, "in spirit" (not My Spirit) "and falsehood," that is, in a lying spirit; such as they, whose woe Ezekiel pronounces Ezekiel 13:3, "Woe unto the foolish prophets who walk after their own spirit and what they have not seen Ezekiel 13:2, Ezekiel 13:17; prophets out of their own hearts, who prophesied a vision of falsehood, and a destruction and nothingness; prophesied falsehood; yea, prophets of the deceit of their hearts." These, like the true prophets, "walked in spirit;" as Isaiah speaks of "walking in righteousness" Isaiah 33:15. Their habitual converse was m a spirit, but of falsehood. If such an one do lie, saying, "I will prophesy unto thee of wine and strong drink." Man's conscience must needs have some plea in speaking falsely of God. The false prophets had to please the rich men, to embolden them in their self-indulgence, to tell them that God would not punish. They doubtless spoke of God's temporal promises to His people, the land "flowing with milk and honey." His promises of abundant harvest and vintage, and assured them, that God would not withdraw these, that He was not so precise about His law. Micah tells them in plain words, what it all came to; it was a prophesying of "wine and strong drink."

He shall even be the prophet of this people - Literally "and shall be bedewing this people." He uses the same words, which scorners of Israel and Judah employed in forbidding to prophesy. They said, "drop not;" forbidding God's word as a wearisome dropping. It wore away their patience, not their hearts of stone. He tells them, who might speak to them without wearying, of whose words they would never tire, who might do habitually what they forbade to God, - one who, in the Name of God, set them at ease in their sensual indulgences. This is the secret of the success of everything opposed to God and Christ. Man wants a God. God has made it a necessity of our nature to crave after Him. Spiritual, like natural, hunger, debarred from or loathing wholesome food, must be stilled, stifled, with what will appease its gnawings. Our natural intellect longs for Him; for it cannot understand itself without Him. Our restlessness longs for Him; to rest upon.

Our helplessness longs for Him, to escape from the unbearable pressure of our unknown futurity. Our imagination craves for Him; for, being made for the Infinite, it cannot be content with the finite. Aching affections long for Him; for no creature can soothe them. Our dissatisfied conscience longs for Him, to teach it and make it one with itself. But man does not want to be responsible, nor to owe duty; still less to be liable to penalties for disobeying. The Christian, not the natural man, longs that his whole being should tend to God. The natural man wishes to be well-rid of what sets him ill at ease, not to belong to God. And the horrible subtlety of false teaching, in each age or country, is to meet its own favorite requirements, without calling for self-sacrifice or self-oblation, to give it a god such as it would have, such as might content it. : "The people willeth to be deceived, be it deceived," is a true proverb. "Men turn away their ears from the truth" 2 Timothy 4:4 which they dislike; and so are turned unto fables which they like. They who "receive not the love of the truth, - believe a lie" 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12. If men "will not retain God in their knowledge, God giveth them over to an undistinguishing mind" Romans 1:28. They who would not receive our Lord, coming in His Father's Name, have ever since, as He said, "received them who came in their own" John 5:43. Men teach their teachers how they wish to be mistaught, and receive the echo of their wishes as the Voice of God.

11. walking in the spirit—The Hebrew means also "wind." "If a man professing to have the 'spirit' of inspiration (Eze 13:3; so 'man of the spirit,' that is, one claiming inspiration, Ho 9:7), but really walking in 'wind' (prophecy void of nutriment for the soul, and unsubstantial as the wind) and falsehood, do lie, saying (that which ye like to hear), I will prophesy," &c., even such a one, however false his prophecies, since he flatters your wishes, shall be your prophet (compare Mic 2:6; Jer 5:31).

prophesy … of wine—that is, of an abundant supply of wine.

This people were weary of true’ prophets, and silenced them, Micah 2:6, but they were fondly taken with the false prophets, and what these promised them; and these, as here described, are by a dreadful judgment on this people permitted, or left to deceive them.

If a man walking in the Spirit and falsehood; a prophet that pretends to walk in the Spirit, i.e. to have the Spirit of prophecy, and on that pretence takes the boldness to promise pleasing things in God’s name, whereas he never received such promises of good from God.

Do lie, against God, and to the people.

I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink: Micah, and his real-contented brethren, foretell scarcity, war, dismal calamities, and an Assyrian captivity of all for ever; I tell you these are idle dreams, you shall have plenty, and good days, and may eat, drink, and be merry; such times of evil you shall never see.

He shall even be the prophet, by a just and dreadful judgment from God, as well as by an unhappy and fatal choice of the people, 1 Kings 22:6,10-12, with 1 Kings 22:34 Ezekiel 13:3,10.

Of this people; doomed to unparalleled misery by God for their sins, and pulling it upon themselves by their obstinate impenitence and blindness.

If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie,.... Who pretends to be a prophet, and a spiritual man, and to be under the inspiration and influence of the Spirit of God, but utters nothing but lies and falsehoods; or who is actuated by a spirit of falsehood and lying; or, as in the margin, "walks with the wind, and lies falsely" (u); is full of wind and vanity; "after the wind" (w); and follows the dictates of his vain mind, and coins lies, and speaks false things:

saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; or "drop a word unto thee" (x); that there will be good times, and nothing but good eating and drinking; and that men need not fear such dismal things befalling them as the prophets of the Lord spoke of; but may be cheerful and merry, and drink wine and strong drink, and not be afraid of their evil tidings: or, for wine and strong drink (y), so Kimchi; and the meaning is, that if they would give him a cup of wine, or a draught of strong drink, he would prophesy good things to them; the reverse of what is before said, as that they should continue in their land, and not depart from it; that this should be their rest, and they should remain therein, and not be destroyed in it, or cast out of it:

he shall even be the prophet of this people; a "dropper" (z) to them; see Micah 2:6; such an one shall be acceptable to them; they will caress him, and prefer him to the true prophets of the Lord; which is mentioned to show the temper of the people, and how easily they were imposed upon, and their disrespect to the prophets of the Lord, as in Micah 2:6; to which subject the prophet here returns, as Kimchi observes.

(u) "qui ambulat cum vento et falsitate mentiatur", Piscator; "ambulantem cum vento et fasitate mendacem", Cocceius. (w) So Hillerus in Burkius. (x) "stillabo tibi", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Burkius. (y) "pro vino", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius. (z) "stillator", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Cocceius.

If a man {m} walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, {n} I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.

(m) That is, show himself to be a prophet.

(n) He shows what prophets they delight in, that is, in flatterers, who tell them pleasant tales, and speak of their benefits.

11. If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood, &c.] Who is the popular prophet? He who walks in a spirit of falsehood (Micah’s phrase is perhaps a hendiadys), and promises material blessings of the most palpable kind (represented by ‘wine and strong drink’). It was not merely his reference to temporal goods which made such a man a ‘false prophet,’ but his assurance of the divinely ordained connexion between righteousness and prosperity. For ‘in the spirit and falsehood,’ it is simpler to render, after wind and falsehood. (Dathe thinks Micah 2:11 is misplaced, and should come after Micah 2:6.)

Verse 11. - Such prophets as speak unwelcome truths are not popular with the grandees; they like only these who pander to their vices and prophesy lies. This was their crowning sin. If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie. "The spirit and falsehood" may be a hendiadys for "a spirit of falsehood," or "a lying spirit," as 1 Kings 22:22 (comp. Ezekiel 13:2, 3, 17). But it is better to render, If a man walking after (conversant with) the wind and falsehood do lie. Wind is symbolical of all that is vain and worthless, as Isaiah 26:18; Isaiah 41:29. The Septuagint introduces a gloss from Leviticus 26:17, Κατεδιώχθητε οὐδενὸς διώκοντος, "Ye fled, no one pursuing you," and translates the above clause, πνεῦμα ἔστησε ψεῦδος: "spiritus statuit mendacium, i.e. finem posuit mendacii" (St. Jerome); Vulgate, Utinam non essem vir habens spiritum et mendacium potius loquerer. I will prophesy unto thee, etc. These are the words of a false prophet, "Prophesy," "drop," as ver. 6. Of vine and of strong drink. Concerning temporal blessings, dwelling on God's promises of material prosperity (Leviticus 26:4, etc.; Deuteronomy 28:4, 11) in order to encourage the grandees in self-indulgence. He shall even be the prophet of this people. Such a one is the only prophet to whom the great men, the representatives of "this people," will listen. Micah 2:11Such conduct as this must be followed by banishment from the land. Micah 2:10. "Rise up, and go; for this is not the place of rest: because of the defilement which brings destruction, and mighty destruction. Micah 2:11. If there were a man, walking after wind, who would lie deceit, 'I will prophesy to thee of wine and strong drink,' he would be a prophet of this people." The prophet having overthrown in Micah 2:7-9 the objection to his threatening prophecies, by pointing to the sins of the people, now repeats the announcement of punishment, and that in the form of a summons to go out of the land into captivity, because the land cannot bear the defilement consequent upon such abominations. The passage is based upon the idea contained in Leviticus 18:25, Leviticus 18:28, that the land is defiled by the sins of its inhabitants, and will vomit them out because of this defilement, in connection with such passages as Deuteronomy 12:9-10, where coming to Canaan is described as coming to rest. זאת (this) refers to the land. This (the land in which ye dwell) is not the place of rest (hammenūchâh, as in Zechariah 9:1 and Psalm 132:14). If "this" were to be taken as referring to their sinful conduct, in the sense of "this does not bring or cause rest," it would be difficult to connect it with what follows, viz., "because of the defilement;" whereas no difficulty arises if we take "this" as referring to the land, which the expression "rise up and go" naturally suggests. טמאה equals טמאה, defilement; תּחבּל is to be taken in a relative sense, "which brings destruction," and is strengthened by לחבל, with an explanatory ו: and indeed terrible destruction. חבל, perditio; and נמרץ as in 1 Kings 2:8. The destruction consists in the fact that the land vomits out its inhabitants (Leviticus 18:25). Such prophecies are very unwelcome to the corrupt great men, because they do not want to hear the truth, but simply what flatters their wicked heart. They would like to have only prophets who prophesy lies to them. הולך רוּח, walking after the wind; the construction is the same as הולך צדקות in Isaiah 33:15, and rūăch is a figure signifying what is vain or worthless, as in Isaiah 26:18; Isaiah 41:29, etc. The words אטּיף לך וגו are the words of a false prophet: I prophesy to thee with regard to wine. The meaning is not "that there will be an abundant supply of wine," or "that the wine will turn out well" (Rosenmller and others); but wine and strong drink (for shēkhâr, see Delitzsch on Isaiah 5:11) are figures used to denote earthly blessings and sensual enjoyments, and the words refer to such promises as Leviticus 26:4-5, Leviticus 26:10, Deuteronomy 28:4, Deuteronomy 28:11, Joel 2:24; Joel 3:18., which false prophets held out to the people without any regard to their attitude towards God. "This people," because the great men represent the nation. With this explanation pointing back to Micah 2:6, the threatening is brought to a close.
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