Micah 3:3
Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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).

3. pot … flesh within … caldron—manifold species of cruel oppressions. Compare Eze 24:3, &c., containing, as to the coming punishment, the same figure as is here used of the sin: implying that the sin and punishment exactly correspond. Eat; maintain themselves and their followers, nay, live in luxury and excess, revelling in banquets and feasts, as the word is many times used, Amos 6:4.

The flesh; the estates, goods, and livelihood of their subjects, neighbours, and brethren.

My people; whom I have chosen, maintained, and allotted an inheritance unto, of whom I once said, Who toucheth them toucheth the apple of mine eye, Deu 32:10 Zechariah 2:8.

Flay their skin from off them; with barbarous cruelty and unheard-of injustice strip off (as butchers strip the sheep they kill) the very skin; or as hunters, which having taken the prey, wearied and worried first by their dogs, do strip off the skin to sell, and eat the flesh in feasts and riotous banquetings.

They break their bones; an allusion to wolves, boars, or lions, which devour the flesh, tear the skin, and break the bones of the innocent, weak, and defenseless lambs or sheep; thus our prophet tells these rulers plainly what they were, did, and how barbarously cruel and wicked.

Chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron: these bloody murderers, princes, and chieftains are here compared to cooks, and the subjects, weak neighbours, are compared to the bare bones which the cook doth by his art prepare for the pot, and to the flesh cut small for the caldron, that all might be boiled and extracted out to make pottage, and delicious broths or jellies: thus the great ones used the meaner sort, who lived under their jurisdiction. Possibly the prophet may aim at the bloody, cruel, and devouring times under Shallum, &c., or to that reported of Menahem, 2 Kings 15:16, when probably much of this was done according to the very letter.

Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skins from off them,.... Like cannibals, flay them alive, and then eat their flesh: this signifies, as before, devouring their substance, only expressed in terms which still more set forth their savageness, inhumanity, barbarity, and cruelty. So the Targum,

"who spoil the substance of my people, and their precious mammon they take from them;''

and what aggravated their guilt was, that they were the Lord's people by profession and religion they so used; whom he had committed to their care to rule over, protect, and defend:

and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron: did with them as cooks do, who not only cut flesh off the bones, and into slices, but break the bones themselves, to get out the marrow, and chop them small, that they may have all the virtue that is in them, to make their soup and broth the richer; by which is signified, that these wicked and avaricious rulers took every method to squeeze the people, and get all their wealth and riches into their hands, that they might have in a more riotous and luxurious manner.

Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 3. - The idea of the last verse is repeated here with more emphasis. The people are treated by their rulers as cattle made to be eaten, flayed, broken up, chopped into pieces, boiled in the pot (comp Psalm 14:4). (For an analogous figure, see Ezekiel 34:3-5.) Micah 3:3First 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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