Micah 4:8
And you, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) O tower of the flock.—Israel having been compared to a flock, Jerusalem is called its tower, or protection; and in Messiah the ancient dominion shall return to the Holy City. This is a more satisfactory interpretation than that which makes the tower of the flock Migdol-Edah (Genesis 35:21), a place near Bethlehem.

Micah 4:8. And thou, O tower of the flock — Or, of Eder, as Archbishop Newcome and many others translate the word, considering it as a proper name; a tower in or near Beth-lehem; see Genesis 35:21. Or, as some think, a tower near the sheep-gate in Jerusalem, (Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 3:32,) put here for the whole city. The word signifies a flock; the strong hold of the daughter of Zion — Hebrew, Ophel, a strong fort. Both expressions seem to be put for the whole city. Unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion — This was intended to signify the great honour coming to mount Zion, that the former dominion, the government, after seventy years’ captivity, should return to the former royal family, the house of David, and continue in it till Shilo came. This, in the type, was fulfilled after the restoration of the Jews to their own land under Zerubbabel and his successors; but the whole antitype concerns the Messiah’s kingdom.4:1-8 The nations have not yet so submitted to the Prince of Peace, as to beat their swords into ploughshares, nor has war ceased. But very precious promises these are, relating to the gospel church, which will be more and more fulfilled, for He is faithful that has promised. There shall be a glorious church for God set up in the world, in the last days, in the days of the Messiah. Christ himself will build it upon a rock. The Gentiles worshipped their idol gods; but in the period spoken of, the people will cleave to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and delight in doing his will. The word halteth, describes those who walk not according to the Divine word. The collecting the captives from Babylon was an earnest of healing, purifying, and prospering the church; and the reign of Christ shall continue till succeeded by the everlasting kingdom of heaven. Let us stir up each other to attend the ordinances of God, that we may learn his holy ways, and walk in them, receiving the law from his hands, which, being written in our hearts by his Spirit, may show our interest in the Redeemer's righteousness.And thou, O tower of the flock - "'Tower of Ader,' which is interpreted 'tower of the flock,' about 1000 paces (a mile) from Bethlehem," says Jerome who lived there, "and foresignifying (in its very name) by a sort of prophecy the shepherds at the Birth of the Lord." There Jacob fed his sheep Genesis 35:21, and there (since it was hard by Bethlehem) the shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks by night, saw and heard the Angels singing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." The Jews inferred from this place that the Messiah should be revealed there .

Stronghold - (Ophel ) of the daughter of Zion Ophel was a strong place in the South of Jerusalem, the last which the wall, enclosing Zion, reached, before, or as, it touched on the Eastern porch of the temple , with whose service it was connected.

We know that, after the captivity, the Nethinim, who did the laborious service of the temple, dwelt there Nehemiah 3:26; Nehemiah 11:21. It lay very near to the priests' district Nehemiah 3:28. It was probably, a lower acclivity, "swelling out," (as its name seems to mean ,) from the mountain of the temple. In the last war, it was held together with "the temple, and the adjoining parts to no slight extent, and the valley of Kedron." It was burnt before the upper city was taken. It had been encircled by a wall of old; for Jotham "built greatly upon its wall" 2 Chronicles 27:3, Manasseh "encircled it" 2 Chronicles 33:14, (probably with an outer wall) "and raised it exceedingly," that is, apparently raised artificially the whole level.

Yet, as a symbol of all Jerusalem, Ophel is as remarkable, as the "tower of the flock" is as to Bethlehem. For Ophel, although fortified, is no where spoken of, as of any account . It is not even mentioned in the circuit of the walls, at their dedication, under Nehemiah Neh 12:31-40, probably as an outlying, spot. It was probably of moment chiefly, as giving, an advantage to an enemy who might occupy it.

Both then are images of lowliness. The lonely Shepherd tower, for Bethlehem, the birthplace of David; Ophel for Jerusalem, of which it was yet but an outlying part, and deriving its value probably as an outwork of the temple. Both symbols anticipate the fuller prophecy of the littleness, which shall become great in God. Before the mention of the greatness of the "dominion to come," is set forth the future poverty to which it should come. In lowliness Christ came, yet is indeed a Tower protecting and defending the sheep of His pasture, founded on earth in His Human Nature, reaching to Heaven in His divine; "a strong Tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe" Proverbs 18:10.

Unto thee shall it come - (Literally, "unto thee shall it come , and there shall arrive etc.") He saith not at first what shall come, and so raises the soul to think of the greatness of that which should come. The soul is left to fill up what is more than thought can utter. "Unto thee," (literally, quite up to thee) No hindrances should withhold it from coming. Seemingly it was a great way off, and they in a very hopeless state. He suggests the difficulty even by his strength of assurance. One could not say, "it shall come quite up to thee," of that which in the way of nature would readily come to any one. But amid all hindrances God's Might makes its way, and brings His gifts and promises to their end. "And there shall arrive." He twice repeats the assurance, in equivalent words, for their fuller assurance , "to make the good tidings the gladder by repeating and enforcing them."

The "first or former, dominion." The word often stands, as our "former" , in contrast with the "later." It is not necessarily "the first," strictly; and so here, not the "dominion" of David and Solomon exclusively. Rather the prophet is placed in spirit in the later times when the kingdom should be suspended, and foretells that "the former dominion," that is, that of the line of David, should come to her, not in its temporal greatness, but the line itself. So the Angel said, "He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever" Luke 1:32-33.

The (A) kingdom to the daughter of Jerusalem - that is, a kingdom, which should not be of her, but which should come to her; not her's by right, but by His right, who should merit it for her, and, being King of kings, makes His own, "kings and priests unto God and His Father" Revelation 1:6.

The Jews themselves seem to have taken these words into their own mouths, just before they rejected Him, when they hoped that He would be a king, such as they wished for. "Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh in the Name of the Lord" Mark 11:10. And in a distorted form, they held it even afterward .

8. tower of the flock—following up the metaphor of sheep (see on [1154]Mic 4:6). Jerusalem is called the "tower," from which the King and Shepherd observes and guards His flock: both the spiritual Jerusalem, the Church now whose tower-like elevation is that of doctrine and practice (So 4:4, "Thy neck is like the tower of David"), and the literal hereafter (Jer 3:17). In large pastures it was usual to erect a high wooden tower, so as to oversee the flock. Jerome takes the Hebrew for "flock," Eder or Edar, as a proper name, namely, a village near Beth-lehem, for which it is put, Beth-lehem being taken to represent the royal stock of David (Mic 5:2; compare Ge 35:21). But the explanatory words, "the stronghold of the daughter of Zion," confirm English Version.

stronghold—Hebrew, "Ophel"; an impregnable height on Mount Zion (2Ch 27:3; 33:14; Ne 3:26, 27).

unto thee shall … come … the first dominion—namely, the dominion formerly exercised by thee shall come back to thee.

kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem—rather, "the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem shall come (again)"; such as it was under David, before its being weakened by the secession of the ten tribes.

O tower of the flock: some refer this to that tower Edar, in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem, built there for the shepherds’ more convenient watching over their flocks. The prophet may possibly allude to this. In the church, Christ’s flock, there is a tower built for defence of his flock, but it is that name which is a strong tower, to which the righteous run, and are safe. But there was a tower of this denomination in Jerusalem, through which tower the flocks of sheep were driven into the sheep market; this one tower, by synecdoche, put for the whole city Jerusalem.

The strong hold; Ophel, as it is in the Hebrew, and perhaps were better rendered a proper name of that impregnable fort, 2 Chronicles 27:3; another considerable part put for the whole.

The daughter of Zion; or, O daughter of Zion; so it will be an explication of what the prophet before meant by the tower Edar and Ophel, i.e. O Zion, O Jerusalem, both in the typical and in the mystical sense.

The first dominion; the former dominion, not in outward splendour, but because the government and supreme dignity among this people was restored (after seventy years’ captivity) to the former royal family, and continued in it till Shiloh came. This in the type was fulfilled upon the settlement under Zerubbabel and his successors; but the whole antitype concerns the Messiah’s kingdom, and the gospel Jerusalem, and is fulfilled in the spiritual glory of it. Christ’s kingdom is the ancient, supreme, and most glorious kingdom; and by his redeeming us from the bondage of hell, is set up, and shall be continued firm and unmovable, more than Edar, Ophel, Zion, or Jerusalem typical, as Luke 1:32,33, and more large than ever David’s or Solomon’s kingdom, Daniel 7:14, and therefore greater in glory, for Christ is King of kings, Revelation 17:14 19:16. This spiritual kingdom came first to the Jews, Acts 13:46. It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you. The gospel was to be preached first to the daughter of Jerusalem. There the preachers of repentance and remission of sins were to begin, and thence they were to publish it to all nations, Luke 24:47. This text, and such like, the blinded Jew doth take in a literal sense only, as if it promised a temporal dominion over all nations, and worldly kingdom to the Messiah, in which they expect a large share; but what is literal, and concerned the Jews alone, was limited to them that came out of the Babylonish captivity, and hath been fulfilled to them. And thou, O tower of the flock,.... The words "Migdal Eder" are left by some untranslated, and think that place to be intended so called, which was near to Bethlehem, Genesis 35:19; and perhaps is the same which Jerom (t) calls the tower of Ader, about a mile from Bethlehem: this is supposed to be the place where the shepherds were watching over their flocks at the time of Christ's birth, the tidings of which were first brought to them here; and the Jewish (u) doctors speak of it as near Jerusalem, and as a place of pasture; for they say, that cattle between Jerusalem and Migdal Eder, and in an equal space to every wind; the males were used for burnt offerings, and the females for peace offerings; and this place is thought to be referred to in the latter clause of this verse: others think that Bethlehem itself is meant, to which the dominion came; but rather, as in the next chapter, the ruler came out of that; others think that the gate in Jerusalem called the sheep gate is meant, Nehemiah 3:32; and the tower at it, through which Christ is supposed to pass when he entered into Jerusalem as King, amidst the Hosannahs of the people; others take it to be the same with the tower of David, and put for Jerusalem itself, whither the tribes were gathered together three times a year, like sheep in a fold, so Kimchi and Ben Melech; here others interpret it spiritually of the church of Christ; but though that is sometimes spoken of as a strong city, and a fortified place, yet is never called a tower, or a strong hold; which phrases, when figuratively used, are always spoken of a divine person; see Psalm 18:2; and here of the Messiah; and so the Targum interprets it,

"O Christ of Israel:''

the church indeed is the "flock": the people of God are often compared to sheep for their harmlessness and innocence, and the church to a flock of them, which is Christ's flock he feeds like a shepherd; the flock of slaughter, a little one, consisting of persons separated from the world, and under his peculiar care; and he is the tower of this flock, in allusion to a shepherd's cottage, called a tower, as a cottage in a vineyard is in Isaiah 5:2; where the shepherds watch, and into which they bring the sick and lame, and take care of them; Christ is a high tower, where his people are safe out of the reach of their enemies; and a strong one, being the mighty God and mighty Saviour, who has all power and strength to defend his church and people, and may be well called their tower: and

the strong hold of the daughter of Zion; "the daughter of Zion" is the church, particularly the church of the converted Jews; Christ is the strong hold of it, into which, as prisoners of hope, they will be directed to turn, Zechariah 9:12; a strong refuge he is to flee unto from the avenger of blood, the justice of God; from the curses of the law; from the storm of divine wrath; from the temptations of Satan, and from the persecutions of men; a strong hold is he to dwell in, and where the saints dwell safely, pleasantly, at ease and peace, and very comfortably, and in great plenty; a strong hold for shelter from every enemy:

unto thee shall it come; not the kingdom, as follows, which our version leads to, and is the sense of Aben Ezra; for there is a considerable accent on the word "come", which makes a large stop; and that it refers, as Jarchi observes, to "her that halteth", &c. "it" or "she" that halteth shall come, being assembled and gathered, or converted by the grace of God unto the Messiah; as to her, or their tower and strong hold, where all blessings of grace, and the supplies of it, and all salvation and safety, are to be had and enjoyed. The promise respects the Jews coming to Christ upon their conversion, even such who have been the halt, the maimed, the lame, and the blind:

even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem; or rather, "and the first dominion shall come, the kingdom to the daughter of Jerusalem": meaning, not the first notice of the Messiah's kingdom, given by John the Baptist, Christ, and his apostles, to the Jews, in the first times of the Gospel; or the preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom first to them; but rather he who has the first or principal dominion, and to whom the kingdom belongs, he shall come to the daughter of Zion, as in Zechariah 9:9; though it rather respects here his coming to them at the time of their conversion, when they shall come to him, Romans 11:26; and when the first, chief, and principal kingdom in the world, and which is preferable to all others, will come unto, and be placed among them, as in Micah 4:7; and when it shall be, as some interpret it, as at the beginning, in the days of David and Solomon, and much more abundantly.

(t) De locis Hebr. fol. 89. E. (u) T. Hieros. Kiddushin, fol. 63. 1. T. Ban. Kiddushin, fol. 55. 1. Misn. Shekalim, c. 7. sect. 4.

And thou, O {i} tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even {k} the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.

(i) Meaning Jerusalem, where the Lord's flock was gathered.

(k) The flourishing state of the kingdom, as it was under David and Solomon, which thing was accomplished for the Church by the coming of Christ.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8–10. The revival of the Kingdom of David; misery of the preceding period

8. And thou, O tower of the flock, &c.] It is clear that the prophet intends Jerusalem, which he addresses by an enigmatical title, to arrest attention and stimulate reflexion. (Other instances of this, Isaiah 22:5; Isaiah 29:1, Jeremiah 21:13.) But why does he select this particular title? Two answers may be given. It was either (1) suggested by the figurative description of Israel as a flock (Micah 4:6, Micah 2:12), or (2) by the situation of a tower called ‘the tower of the flock’ between Jerusalem and Bethlehem—Bethlehem, which was appointed to be the birthplace of the Messianic King (Micah 5:2). The existence of such a town in the situation described is deduced from Genesis 35:21, where Auth. Vers. inaccurately renders ‘the tower of Edar’). It may be doubted however whether this particular tower is sufficiently near Jerusalem to suit the context, for the prophet clearly indicates that it was either upon or close to the hill or hill-side called Ophel (see next note): Isaiah, too, in a prophecy parallel in more ways than one with Micah’s prophecy (see on Micah 3:12), mentions in combination ‘Ophel and watch-tower’ (Isaiah 32:14, literally rendered) in a description of the desolation of Jerusalem. The ‘tower of the flock’ mentioned in Genesis was probably a different one. There may have been many towers with this name (see 2 Kings 18:8, 2 Chronicles 26:10), just as there was more than one hill called Ophel (see 2 Kings 5:24, where Auth. Vers. renders ‘Ophel’ loosely ‘tower’). The phrase ‘tower of the flock’ simply means that the tower was designed as a shepherd’s refuge against robbers.

the strong hold of the daughter of Zion] Literally, the height, &c. It is a particular fortified hill which is meant, the so-called Ophel—according to most, the southern end of the hill Moriah between the Temple and Siloam, bounded on the east by the Kedron, and on the west by the Tyropæon valley. (But this view is uncertain.) This ‘Ophel’ had its fortifications strengthened by Jotham (2 Chron. 37:3), and here becomes the representative of the power of Jerusalem.

the first dominion] i.e. the kingdom of Israel in its widest extent. So most commentators; but the expression is peculiar.Verses 8-10. - § 6. After a certain period of calamity and captivity the kingdom of David shall be revived. Verse 8. - And thou, O tower of the flock (migdal-edar). There was a village with a tower so called near Bethlehem (Genesis 35:21), and it is thought that Micah refers to it as the home of David and as destined to be the birthplace of Messiah. But the context compels us to consider the expression as a periphrasis for Jerusalem, which the prophet here addressee, declaring that the royal power shall be restored to her. It is evidently the same place as the stronghold (ophel, "the hill") of the daughter of Zion. The name "Ophel" is affixed to the southern spur of Moriah, opposite to the Mount Zion, from which it was separated by the Tyropoeon Valley. It was fortified by Jotham (2 Chronicles 27:3) and Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:14), and on it were the king's house, i.e. the old palace of David, and "the tower that lieth out," or the upper tower (see Nehemiah 3:26, 27). This is probably the "flock tower" mentioned in the text (comp. Isaiah 32:14, where Ophel and the watch tower are named together); and it is so called as having been originally a place of refuge for flocks, or of observation for shepherds. Micah uses the two expressions to represent the power and dominion of Jerusalem. The propriety of the usa of the term "flock tower" is seen when we remember that David was a shepherd before he was king, and that the Israelites are the sheep of the Lord's pasture. The reference to a flock in the prceeding verses may also have influenced the prophet's thought. Owing to a slight variation in the reading, the LXX. renders Ophel by αἰχμώδης, "dark;" so Jerome, "nebulosa;" Aquila, σκοτώδης: Symmachus, ἀπόκρυφος. These translators would refer the term to the ruinous condition of the tower. The first dominion shall come, i.e. the former, original empire, such as it was in the days of David and Solomon, and which had been lost in later times. The LXX. adds, ἐκ Βαβυλῶνος: and hence the Greek expositors explain the passage as referring to the siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. The kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem. The verb "shall come" is better taken with "the first dominion," and this clause in apposition to the former, "the kingdom of" or "the reign over the daughter of Jerusalem." Sovereignty over Jerusalem, or, as others take it, that appertains to Jerusalem, represents rule over the whole country. In Messiah the glory and power are restored to the throne of David (Luke 1:32, 33). Amos first of all repudiates the insinuation that he practises prophesying as a calling or profession, by which he gets his living. "I am no prophet," sc. by profession, "and no prophet's son," i.e., not a pupil or member of the prophets' schools, one who has been trained to prophesy (on these schools, see the comm. on 1 Samuel 19:24); but (according to my proper calling) a bōqēr, lit., a herdsman of oxen (from bâqâr); then in a broader sense, a herdsman who tends the sheep (צאן), a shepherd; and a bōlēs shiqmı̄m, i.e., one who plucks sycamores or mulberry-figs, and lives upon them. The ἁπ. λεγ. bōlēs is a denom. from the Arabic name for the mulberry-fig, and signifies to gather mulberry-figs and live upon them; like συκάζειν and ἀποσυκάζειν, i.e., according to Hesych. τὰ σῦκα τρώγειν, to eat figs. The rendering of the lxx κνίζων, Vulg. vellicans, points to the fact that it was a common custom to nip or scratch the mulberry-figs, in order to make them ripen (see Theophr. Hist. plant. iv. 2; Plin. Hist. nat. 13, 14; and Bochart, Hieroz. i. 384, or p. 406 ed. Ros.); but this cannot be shown to be the true meaning of bōlēs. And even if the idea of nipping were implied in the word bōlēs, it would by no means follow that the possession of a mulberry plantation was what was intended, as many commentators have inferred; for "the words contain an allusion to the 'eating of bread' referred to in Amos 7:12, and the fruit is mentioned here as the ordinary food of the shepherds, who lived at the pasture grounds, and to whom bread may have been a rarity" (Hitzig). From this calling, which afforded him a livelihood, the Lord had called him away to prophesy to His people Israel; so that whoever forbade him to do so, set himself in opposition to the Lord God.
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