Micah 3:4
Then shall they cry to the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Then shall they cry.—“Then”—i.e., in the day of retribution—“then shall they call upon me, saith the Lord, but I will not hear; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me; and that because they hated knowledge, and received not the fear of the Lord, but abhorred my counsel and despised my correction. Then shall it be too late to knock when the door shall be shut, and too late to cry for mercy when it is the time of justice” (Commination Service). So also Isaiah declared (Isaiah 1:15): “When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”

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.Then shall they cry unto the Lord - "Then." The prophet looks on to the Day of the Lord, which is always before his mind. So the Psalmist, speaking of a time or place not expressed, says, "There were they in great fear" Psalm 53:5. He sees it, points to it, as seeing what those to whom he spoke, saw not, and the more awfully, because he saw, with superhuman (certain) vision, what was "hidden from their eyes." The then was not then, "in the time of grace," but when the Day of grace should be over, and the Day of Judgment should be come. So of that day, when judgment should set in, God says in Jeremiah, "Behold I will bring evil upon them which they shall not be able to go forth of, and they will cry unto Me, and I will not hearken unto them" Jeremiah 11:11. And David, "They cried and there was none to save; unto the Lord, and He answered them not" Psalm 18:41. And Solomon; "Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he shall cry himself and shall not be heard" Proverbs 21:13. And James, "He shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy" James 2:13. The prayer is never too late, until judgment comes ; the day of grace is over, when the time of judgment has arrived. "They shall cry unto the Lord, and shall not be heard, because they too did not hear those who asked them, and the Lord shall turn His Face from them, because they too turned their face from those who prayed them."

He will even hide His Face - He will not look in mercy on those who would not receive His look of grace. Your sins, He says by Isaiah, "have hid His face from you, that He heareth not." O what will that turning away of the Face be, on which hangs eternity!

As - There is a proportion between the sin and the punishment . As I have done, so God hath requited me. "They have behaved themselves ill in their doings. literally have made their deeds evil." The word rendered doings is almost always used in a bad sense, mighty deeds, and so deeds with a high hand. Not ignorantly or negligently, nor through human frailty, but with set purpose they applied themselves, not to amend but to corrupt their doings, and make them worse. God called to them by all His prophets, make good your doings Jeremiah 35:15; and they, reversing it, used diligence to make their doings evil. Jerome: "All this they shall suffer, because they were not rulers, but tyrants; not Prefects, but lions; not masters of disciples, but wolves of sheep; and they sated themselves with flesh and were fattened, and, as sacrifices for the slaughter, were made ready for the punishment of the Lord. Thus far against evil rulers; then he turns to the false prophets and evil teachers, who by flatteries subvert the people of God, promising them the knowledge of His word."

4. Then—at the time of judgment, which Micah takes for granted, so certain is it (compare Mic 2:3).

they cry … but he will not hear—just as those oppressed by them had formerly cried, and they would not hear. Their prayer shall be rejected, because it is the mere cry of nature for deliverance from pain, not that of repentance for deliverance from sin.

ill in their doings—Men cannot expect to do ill and fare well.

Then; when that time and those miseries which Micah foretells shall come upon them, Micah 1:6-8 2:3, when God shall retaliate and pay these great ones in their own coin. They; the cruel oppressors, these tyrannical judges, that pitied none, devoured all, and feared not the Divine vengeance.

Cry unto the Lord, as if they were his, and as if he were bound to deliver; they then shall own he can, and none else can deliver them, and they will expect a saving hand after all their rebellions against and contempts of God.

But he will not hear them; as they heard the cry of the oppressed, but would not hear; so God will hear the cry of their distresses, but not hear the requests they make; he will do no more for them than as if he did not hear them, he will be as a stranger to their case.

He will even hide his face from them; they turned away their face from beholding and pitying the poor, now God will turn away his eye from them, and, as if unconcerned, leave them to their own distresses, and their enemies’ rage and cruelty. At that time: this is added to assure them they should have least respect from God when they need it most; so they shall receive what they gave, judgment without mercy, as it is Jam 2:13.

As they have behaved themselves ill in their doings: this speaks both the reason why, and the manner how, God will thus leave them to the oppressor; the greatness of their sin deserved this, and such was the quality of their sins, that nothing fitter than a retaliation to punish the sin, convince the sinner, teach the world righteousness, and to vindicate God. Then shall they cry unto the Lord, but he will not hear them,.... When all the above evils threatened them in the preceding chapters shall come upon them; when the enemy shall invade their hind, besiege their cities, and take them, and they, their families and substance, just ready to fall into their hands, they shall cry unto the Lord; or pray unto him, as the Targum, in the time of their distress; but he will not hear their prayer, so as to answer it according to their desire; that is, he will not save them from imminent danger, but deliver them up, them, and all that belong unto them, into the hands of such that shall use them as they have done others:

he will even hide his face from them at that time; turn his back upon them, and a deaf ear to them, and show them no favour, nor grant them any help and protection:

as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings; he will punish them according to the law of retaliation; as when the poor cried unto them, when they were stripping them of their substance, and they would not hearken to them, so now, when they cry unto the Lord in their distress, he will not hearken to them; and as they turned their backs, and hid their faces from those that were afflicted by them, and would show them no favour, so will the Lord deal with them; and as they exercised the utmost cruelty and barbarity that could be done, they will now be given up into the hands of cruel and merciless men, that will use them in like manner: or, "because they have done ill in their doings" (b) to the poor, whose cause God will defend and vindicate.

(b) "eo quod", Sept. "quia", Drusius; "pro eo quod", Grotius.

Then {c} shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.

(c) That is, when I will punish their wickedness: for though I hear the godly before they cry Isa 65:24, yet I will not hear these even though they cry; Isa 1:15 Eze 8:18 Jas 2:13 1Pe 3:11-12.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. Then shall they cry] We must suppose that, when Micah delivered this prophecy (of which we can have but a summary), he introduced between Micah 3:3 and Micah 3:4 a description of ‘the day of the Lord,’ the day of just retribution.Verse 4. - The merciless shall not obtain mercy. Then, when the day of chastisement has come, "the day of the Lord," of which, perhaps, the prophet spoke more fully when he originally delivered this address. He will not hear them. A just retribution on those who refused to hearken to the cry of the poor and needy (comp. Psalm 18:41; Proverbs 1:28; Jeremiah 11:11; James 2:13). As they have behaved themselves ill in their doings; according as they have made their actions evil, or because they have, etc.; ἀνθ ω΅ν (Septuagint). This judgment also, they, with their perversion of all right, will be unable to avert by their foolish trust in their own power. Amos 6:12. "Do horses indeed run upon the rock, or do men plough (there) with oxen, that ye turn justice into poison, and the fruit of the righteousness into wormwood? Amos 6:13. They who rejoice over what is worthless, who say: with our strength we make ourselves horns! Amos 6:14. For, behold, I raise over you, O house of Israel, is the saying of Jehovah, the God of hosts, a nation; and they will oppress you from the territory of Hamath to the brook of the desert." To explain the threat in Amos 6:11, Amos now calls attention in Amos 6:12, under two different similes, to the perversity with which the haughty magnates of Israel, who turn right into bitter wrong, imagine that they can offer a successful resistance, or bid defiance with their own strength to the enemy, whom the Lord will raise up as the executor of His judgment. The perversion of right into its opposite can no more bring salvation than horses can run upon rocks, or any one plough upon such a soil with oxen. In the second question בּסּלע (on the rock) is to be repeated from the first, as the majority of commentators suppose. But the two questions are not to be taken in connection with the previous verse in the sense of "Ye will no more be able to avert this destruction than horses can run upon rocks," etc. (Chr. B. Mich.). They belong to what follows, and are meant to expose the moral perversity of the unrighteous conduct of the wicked. For הפכתּם וגו, see Amos 5:7; and for ראשׁ, Hosea 10:4. The impartial administration of justice is called the "fruit of righteousness," on account of the figurative use of the terms darnel and wormwood. These great men, however, rejoice thereby in לא דבר, "a nothing," or a thing which has no existence. What the prophet refers to may be seen from the parallel clause, viz., their imaginary strength (chōzeq). They rested this hope upon the might with which Jeroboam had smitten the Syrians, and restored the ancient boundaries of the kingdom. From this might they would take to themselves (lâqach, to take, not now for the first time to create, or ask of God) the horns, to thrust down all their foes. Horns are signs and symbols of power (cf. Deuteronomy 33:17; 1 Kings 22:11); here they stand for the military resources, with which they fancied that they could conquer every foe. These delusions of God-forgetting pride the prophet casts down, by saying that Jehovah the God of hosts will raise up a nation against them, which will crush them down in the whole length and breadth of the kingdom. This nation was Assyria. Kı̄ hinnēh (for behold) is repeated from Amos 6:11; and the threat in Amos 6:14 is thereby described as the resumption and confirmation of the threat expressed in Amos 6:11, although the kı̄ is connected with the perversity condemned in Amos 6:12, Amos 6:13, of trusting in their own power. Lâchats, to oppress, to crush down. On the expression לבוא חמת, as a standing epithet for the northern boundary of the kingdom of Israel, see Numbers 34:8. As the southern boundary we have נחל הערבה instead of ים הערבה (2 Kings 14:25). This is not the willow-brook mentioned in Isaiah 15:7, the present Wady Sufsaf, or northern arm of the Wady el-Kerek (see Delitzsch on Isaiah, l.c.), nor the Rhinokorura, the present el-Arish, which formed the southern boundary of Canaan, because this is constantly called "the brook of Egypt" (see at Numbers 34:5; Joshua 15:4), but the present el-Ahsy (Ahsa), the southern border river which separated Moab from Edom (see at 2 Kings 14:25).
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