Micah 4:12
But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) They know not the thoughts of the Lord.—As a commentary upon this passage, we may compare the message of God with reference to the haughty thoughts of Sennacherib. Then the Lord declared that the Assyrian king was but His instrument in all he had done; so that when he presumed to arrogate to himself the glory of his victories, the Lord revoked his commission: “I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou carnest.” And so it came to pass.

4:9-13 Many nations would assemble against Zion to rejoice in her calamities. They would not understand that the Lord had collected them as sheaves are gathered to be threshed; and that Zion would be strengthened to beat them to pieces. Nothing has yet taken place in the history of the Jewish church agreeing with this prediction. When God has conquering work for his people to do, he will furnish them with strength and ability for it. Believers should cry aloud under distresses, with the prayer of faith, not with despondency.But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they His counsel - The pagan did, for their own ends, what God willed for His. The first step was the same; God willed that His people should be punished; they willed to punish them. But all which lay beyond, they saw not; that God willed (on their repentance) to pardon His own people, but to punish themselves for their pride Isaiah 10:7, Isaiah 10:12 and cruelty Zechariah 1:15, Zechariah 1:19. : "Almighty God corrects the elect through the reprobate, as with a rod; after which He condemns the reprobate eternally, as when the son has been disciplined, the rod is cast into the fire."

For He shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor - The multitude of the sheaves hinders not the threshing; the multitude of God's enemies hinders not their destruction. They think that they strengthen themselves, as they gather together; God sees them but as ripened and fitted for destruction, gathered into one bundle together, to perish together. God gathers them, not by constraint or force, but by giving free scope to their own wayward wills, and overruling these to His ends.

12. thoughts of the Lord—Their unsearchable wisdom, overruling seeming disaster to the final good of His people, is the very ground on which the restoration of Israel hereafter (of which the restoration from Babylon is a type) is based in Isa 55:8; compare with Mic 4:3, 12, 13, which prove that Israel, not merely the Christian Church, is the ultimate subject of the prophecy; also in Ro 11:13. God's counsel is to discipline His people for a time with the foe as a scourge; and then to destroy the foe by the hands of His people.

gather them as … sheaves—them who "gathered" themselves for Zion's destruction (Mic 4:11) the Lord "shall gather" for destruction by Zion (Mic 4:13), like sheaves gathered to be threshed (compare Isa 21:10; Jer 51:33). The Hebrew is singular, "sheaf." However great the numbers of the foe, they are all but as one sheaf ready to be threshed [Calvin]. Threshing was done by treading with the feet: hence the propriety of the image for treading under foot and breaking asunder the foe.

But they, the gathered confederate nations, Zion’s enemies,

know not, neither discern nor consider, the thoughts of the Lord; the design of the holy, just, gracious, and faithful God, who is the God of his people, of Israel; who will humble, but not extirpate; who will purify by, but not consume in, the furnace; God’s thoughts to Israel are, to give him an expected end.

Neither understand they his counsel; the same thing in somewhat different phrase: this elegancy is ever added to confirm the thing foretold.

He shall gather them; by his secret, just, and effectual providence disposing all things to facilitate their gathering together, that they shall do, and yet God also shall do it; he as the first cause, they as the second; he moves according to his own pleasure, they move as they are second and dependent agents; they shall as a fire purge out the dross, or as a wind blow away the chaff and lightest corn, which is that God intendeth; but they consult only to extinguish the people, to cut them off that they be no moro a nation.

As the sheaves into the floor; a plain and very intelligible simile. The husbandman gathers the sheaves into the floor to thrash them; so God gathers, i.e. in due time he will do this, and bring his enemies and his church’s enemies together, that they may be bruised, broken, and destroyed utterly, This seems to look to Sennacherib’s gathering his power against Jerusalem, and the circumstances well enough suit this; yet is not this to be confined or restrained to Sennacherib, but perhaps to the slaughter made on the enemies in one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in Esther’s time, looking to somewhat that is further off indeed running through all ages of the church, and shall be finally accomplished in the ruin of the antichristian kingdom: then shall that of Zechariah 12:3 be fulfilled, when though all nations gather themselves against Jerusalem, yet it is that they may be cut in pieces; when the vine of the earth shall be gathered into the wine-press of God’s wrath, Revelation 14:19,20 19:15-21. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel,.... Which are very different from theirs: the thoughts and designs of the enemies of Zion, in the times of the Maccabees, were, to destroy utterly the people of God, and root them out of the earth, and abolish their religion and worship; but the intentions of God were to defeat them, and bring them to ruin: the views of the kings of the earth, being stirred up by unclean spirits to the battle of Almighty God, will be to extirpate the interest and kingdom of Christ; but the end of the Lord, in suffering them to be gathered together, will be utterly and totally to destroy them; and the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand, and the thoughts of his heart, to all generations. Men know their own designs, but they do not know the designs of the Lord; they intend the ruin of others, but God intends to bring about theirs; and his intentions are never frustrated, but theirs are;

for he shall gather them as sheaves into the floor; as, when the harvest is ripe, it is cut down, and bound up in sheaves, and brought home, and these are laid in order upon the floor to be threshed; so, when the nations of the earth are fully ripe for ruin, God will put, or order to be put; in the sickle, and cut them down, and bind them in bundles, and lay them on his threshingfloor of wrath and vengeance, and utterly destroy them contrary to their views and expectations.

But they {m} know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.

(m) He shows that the faithful ought not to measure God's judgments by the braggings and threatenings of the wicked, but by these are admonished to lift up their hearts to God to call for deliverance.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. for he shall gather them] Rather, for he hath gathered them. The fate which they have prepared for Zion will come upon themselves. This is Jehovah’s counsel, but they know it not, for he hath brought them together, as sheaves are brought together to be threshed. Their ignorance is taken up by Jehovah into his purpose.Verse 12. - But the enemies who came to exult over Zion do not know God's design while blindly working it out. God's people are not to be destroyed, but their adversaries. They know not the thoughts of the Lord. The heathen, who were the instruments of God's wrath against his people, knew nothing of his purpose in thus afflicting them, nor perceived that they themselves were drawn together for punishment. He shall gather (hath gathered) them as the sheaves into the floor. Their blindness is proved by their not perceiving till too late that God has brought them together before Jerusalem, as sheaves are brought into the threshing floor, in order to be broken up and destroyed (comp. Isaiah 21:10; Jeremiah 51:23). The metaphor is carried on in the next verse. Various are the explanations of the prophet's reference in this prophecy. Many commentators see in it a reference to the destruction of the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35); others discern a defeat of the Scythians after the return from captivity; others, again, place it in the times of the Maccabees; and others interpret it of the defeat of the mystical adversaries of God's Church adumbrated in Ezekiel 38; Zechariah 12; and Revelation 20. But the prophet has not one definite event in view, but looks forward to the general conflict between the powers of the world and the Church, of which the historical events and material enemies were the types. Certain historical circumstances may exactly suit the prediction, but they do not exhaust it. And indeed we do wrong to seek for minute and definite fulfilment of particular predictions. Such utterances are often conditional and are modified by subsequent circumstances. The prophets are concerned with great moral truths and the righteous government of the world, and are not always to be interpreted with literal exactness. Vision of a Basket of Ripe Fruit. - Amos 8:1. "Thus did the Lord Jehovah show me: and behold a basket with ripe fruit. Amos 8:2. And He said, What seest thou, Amos? And I said, A basket of ripe fruit. Then Jehovah said to me, The end is come to my people Israel; I will not pass by them any more. Amos 8:3. And the songs of the palace will yell in that day, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah: corpses in multitude; in every place hath He cast them forth: Hush!" כּלוּב from כּלך, to lay hold of, to grasp, lit., a receiver, here a basket (of basket-work), in Jeremiah 5:27 a bird-cage. קיץ: summer-fruit (see at 2 Samuel 16:1); in Isaiah 16:9; Isaiah 28:4, the gathering of fruit, hence ripe fruit. The basket of ripe fruit (qayits) is thus explained by the Lord: the end (qēts) is come to my people (cf. Ezekiel 7:6). Consequently the basket of ripe fruit is a figurative representation of the nation that is now ripe for judgment, although qēts, the end, does not denote its ripeness for judgment, but its destruction, and the word qēts is simply chosen to form a paronomasia with qayits. לא אוסיף וגו as in Amos 7:8. All the joy shall be turned into mourning. the thought is not that the temple-singing to the praise of God (Amos 5:23) would be turned into yelling, but that the songs of joy (Amos 6:5; 2 Samuel 19:36) would be turned into yells, i.e., into sounds of lamentation (cf. Amos 8:10 and 1 Maccabees 9:41), namely, because of the multitude of the dead which lay upon the ground on every side. השׁליך is not impersonal, in the sense of "which men are no longer able to bury on account of their great number, and therefore cast away in quiet places on every side;" but Jehovah is to be regarded as the subject, viz., which God has laid prostrate, or cast to the ground on every side. For the adverbial use of הס cannot be established. The word is an interjection here, as in Amos 6:10; and the exclamation, Hush! is not a sign of gloomy despair, but an admonition to bow beneath the overwhelming severity of the judgment of God, as in Zephaniah 1:7 (cf. Habakkuk 2:20 and Zechariah 2:13).
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