Micah 3:2
Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
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(2, 3) Who hate the good.—The judges, instead of fulfilling the obligations of their office, whereby they should be “for the people to God-ward,” perpetrated the most flagrant cruelty upon them. Micah compares it to the process of preparing food, in which every part of the animal, even to the bones, is utilised. So the judges robbed the people until there was nothing left to them.

3:1-8 Men cannot expect to do ill, and fare well; but to find that done to them which they did to others. How seldom do wholesome truths reach the ears of those in high stations or in authority! Those who deceive others are preparing confusion for their own faces. The prophet had ardent love to God and to the souls of men; deep concern for his glory and their salvation, and zeal against sin. The difficulties he met with did not drive him from his work. He had this strength; not from and of himself, but he was full of power by the Spirit of the Lord. Those who act honestly, may act boldly. And those who come to hear the word of God, must be willing to be told of their faults, must take it kindly, and be thankful.Who hate the good and love the evil - that is, they hate, for its own sake, that which is good, and love that which is evil. The prophet is not here speaking of their "hating good" men, or "loving evil" men, but of their hating goodness and loving wickedness . : "It is sin not to love good; what guilt to hate it! it is faulty, not to flee from evil, what ungodliness to love it!" Man, at first, loves and admires the good, even while he cloth it not; he hates the evil, even while he does it, or as soon as he has done it. But man cannot bear to he at strife with his conscience, and so he ends it, by excusing himself and telling lies to himself. And then, he hates the truth or good with a bitter hatred, because it disturbs the darkness of the false peace with which he would envelop himself. At first, men love only the pleasure connected with the evil; then they make whom they can, evil, because goodness is a reproach to them: in the end, they love evil for its own sake Romans 1:32. pagan morality too distinguished between the incontinent and the unprincipled , the man who sinned under force of temptation, and the man who had lost the sense of right and wrong John 3:20. "Everyone that doeth evil, hateth the light. Whoso longeth for things unlawful, hateth the righteousness which rebuketh and punisheth" .

Who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones - He had described the Good Shepherd; now, in contrast, he describes those who ought to be "shepherds of the people," to feed, guard, direct them, but who were their butchers; who did not shear them, but flayed them; who fed on them, not fed them. He heaps up their guilt, act by act. First they flay, that is, take away their outer goods; then they break their bones in pieces, the most solid parts, on which the whole frame of their body depends, to get at the very marrow of their life, and so feed themselves upon them. And not unlike, though still more fearfully, do they sin, who first remove the skin, as it were, or outward tender fences of God's graces; (such as is modesty, in regard to inward purity; outward demeanor, of inward virtue; outward forms, of inward devotion;) and so break the strong bones of the sterner virtues, which hold the whole soul together; and with them the whole flesh, or softer graces, becomes one shapeless mass, shred to pieces and consumed. So Ezekiel says; "Woe to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves; should not the shepherds feed the flock? Ye eat the fat and ye clothe you, with the wool, ye kill them that are fed, ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened ..." (Ezekiel 34:2-4, add Ezekiel 34:5-10).

2. pluck off their skin … flesh—rob their fellow countrymen of all their substance (Ps 14:4; Pr 30:14). Who hate the good: in practice and affection these rulers were directly contrary to what they should have been and done, they hated not only to do good, but they hated the good which was to be done, and those that did it; and what kind of men may we judge they were who hated good men, and what was good, and by consequence hated also God himself?

Love the evil; choose, embrace, encourage, delight in, and prefer both evil works and evil workers, and take pleasure to do evil yourselves: the worst character that can be given of any sort of men.

Who pluck off their skin from off them: you by office are shepherds, and should feed, guide, heal, protect, and love the flock, but you use them as cruelly as the shepherd, who, instead of shearing of the fleece, would pluck off the skin, arid flay them.

And their flesh from off their bones; another proverbial speech of the same import, and chargeth highest injustice and inhumanity upon these princes and rulers: see Ezekiel 22:27 Zephaniah 3:3.

Who hate the good, and love the evil,.... Instead of knowing and doing what was just and right; or, directly contrary to their light and knowledge, and the duty of their office, they hated that which is good, which is agreeable to the law, nature, and will of God, and loved that which is evil, which is contrary thereunto; or they hated to do good, and loved to do evil, as the Targum; as men do who are averse to good, and prone to evil; or they hated a good man, as Aben Ezra, and loved the evil man; not only delighted in committing sin themselves, but took pleasure in those that did it; and could not endure the company and conversation of holy and good men:

who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones: like wild beasts that tear off skin and flesh from the bones, and then devour them; or like cruel shepherds, that, not content to fleece their flocks, skin them, and take their flesh also, and feed themselves, and not the flock; or like butchers, that first take off the skin off a beast, and then cut up its flesh. The design of the expressions is to show what rigour, cruelty, and oppressions, these rulers exercised on the people and by their heavy taxes and levies, and exorbitant penalties and fines, pillaged and plundered them of all they had in the world, and left them quite bare, as bones stripped of their skin and flesh. So the Targum,

"seizing on their substance by violence, and their precious mammon they take away.''

Who hate the good, and love the evil; {b} who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;

(b) The Prophet condemns the wicked governors not only of covetousness, theft, and murder, but compares them to wolves, lions, and most cruel beasts.

2. who pluck off their skin from off them] The description is figurative. We may infer that cannibalism was not unknown to the Israelites by hearsay or tradition, but not necessarily that it was practised by the ancestors of the Israelites, much less by the Israelites themselves. The meaning of the figure plainly is that the peasantry had lost their old independence, and fallen into a condition like that of the peasants of the Turkish empire. This arose from a change in the social organism. “The nobles of Israel were no longer great farmers, as Saul and Nabal had been, living among the peasantry and sharing their toil … The introduction of such a commerce, throwing the Hebrews into immediate relations with the great emporium of international traffic (Tyre), necessarily led to accumulation of wealth in a few hands, and to the corresponding impoverishment of the class without capital, as exportation raised the price of the necessaries of life” (Prof. Robertson Smith, The Old Testament in the Jewish Church, p. 347).

their skin] i.e. the skin of the house of Israel.

Verse 2. - The good...the evil; i.e. goodness and wickedness. Septuagint, τὰ καλά τὰ πονηρά (Amos 5:14, etc.; John 3:20; Romans 1:32). Who pluck off their skin from off them. They are not shepherds, but butchers. We have the same figurative expression for merciless extortion and pillage. Ezekiel makes a similar complaint (Ezekiel 34:2-4). Cheyne sees in this and the following verse a possible allusion to cannibalism as at least known to the Israelites by hearsay or tradition. There is a passage in Wisdom (12:5) which somewhat countenances the idea that the Canaanites were guilty of this enormity, but it is probably only a rhetorical exaggeration of the writer. In the present passage the terms seem to be simply metaphors taken from the preparation of meat for human food. Such an allusion is natural in the mouth of one who had just been speaking of Israel as a flock (Micah 2:12). Micah 3:2First strophe. - Micah 3:1. "And I said, Hear ye, O heads of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel: Is it not for you to know the right? Micah 3:2. Ye who hate good, and love evil; who draw off their skin from them, and their flesh from their bones. Micah 3:3. And who have eaten the flesh of my people, and stripped off their skin from them; and broken their bones, and cut them in pieces, as if in the pot, and like flesh in the midst of the caldron. Micah 3:4. Then will they cry to Jehovah, and He will not hearken; and let Him hide His face from them at the same time, as they have made their actions evil." By the expression "And I said" (vâ'ōmar), the following address is indicated as a continuation of the preceding one. The reproofs of this chapter are also a still further expansion of the woe pronounced in Micah 2:1-2 upon the godless chiefs of the nation. The heads of Jacob are addressed, that is to say, the princes of the tribes and families of Israel, and the qetsı̄nı̄m, lit., deciders (answering to the Arabic qâḍy, a judge) of the house of Israel, i.e., the heads of families and households, upon whom the administration of justice devolved (cf. Isaiah 1:10; Isaiah 22:3). הלוא לכן, is it not your duty and your office to know justice? Da‛ath is practical knowledge, which manifests itself in practice; mishpât, the public administration of justice. Instead of this, they do the opposite. The description of this conduct is appended by participles, in the form of apposition to the heads and princes addressed in Micah 3:1. Hating good and loving evil refer to the disposition, and indicate the radical corruption of these men. רעה, generally misfortune, here evil; hence the Masoretes have altered it into רע; but the very fact that it deviates from the ordinary rule shows that it is the original word. Instead of administering justice to the people, they take off their skin, and tear the flesh from the bones. The suffixes attached to עורם and שׁארם point back to בּית־ישׂראל in Micah 3:1. The words answer to the German expression, "to pull the skin over the ears." In Micah 3:3 the expression is still stronger; but the address is continued in the form of a simple description, and instead of the participles, אשׁר is used with the finite verb. They not only flay the people, i.e., rob them of all their means of subsistence, but even devour them - treat them like cattle, which men first of all flay, then break their bones, but the flesh into pieces, and boil it in the pot. In this figure, which is carried out into the most minute details, we must not give any special meaning to the particular features, such as that "the skin, and boiling portions, which are cut up and put into the pot, are figures signifying the pledged clothing and coveted fields (Micah 2:2, Micah 2:8)." The prophet paints in very glaring colours, to make an impression upon the ungodly. Therefore, in the time of judgment, God will not hear their crying to Him for help, but will hide His face from them, i.e., withdraw His mercy from them. אז and בּעה ההיא point back to the evil time announced in Micah 2:3. For Micah 3:4, compare Proverbs 1:28. Veyastēr in Micah 3:4 is an optative. The prophet continues the announcement of the punishment in the form of a desire. כּאשׁר, as equals according to the way in which, as in 1 Samuel 28:18; Numbers 27:14, etc., i.e., answering to their evil doings.
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