Micah 4:9
Now why do you cry out aloud? is there no king in you? is your counselor perished? for pangs have taken you as a woman in travail.
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(9) Now why dost thou cry out aloud?—The prophet places again, side by side with his vision of returned glory, the circumstances of misery which will intervene. The king and the counsellors of Jerusalem will be powerless to help in the moment of emergency.

Micah 4:9-10. Now — Now I have promised such great things to you, why dost thou cry out aloud — As a woman in the anguish of her travail? Here the Jewish people are addressed, as bewailing themselves under the miseries of their captivity. Is there no king in thee? — Thou hast lost the king Zedekiah, but thy God, thy king, is with thee. Is thy counsellor perished? — Hast thou none among thy wise counsellors left? Yet the Wonderful Counsellor is with thee. Messiah, the wisdom of the Father, hath the conduct of thy sufferings, deliverance, and re-establishment. For pangs hath taken thee as a woman in travail — This may be understood of the time when Zedekiah and his counsellors were seized by the Chaldeans. Be in pain, and labour to bring forth — Be like a woman in her pangs; bow thyself down, and show all the signs of excessive pain, for there is a sufficient cause. For now shalt thou go forth out of the city, &c. — Thou shalt not only have troubles, sorrows, and dangers, in the wars against the Babylonians; but shortly thou shalt be driven out from thy city and country, and have no habitation of thy own, but be forced to dwell in a foreign land. The Jews’ captivity is expressed thus, because their city and temple being destroyed, they should live in an obscure state. The same condition is elsewhere expressed by their living in the wilderness, Ezekiel 20:35. And thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered — Thou shalt be carried away, even as far as Babylon; but there, where, according to all human probability, and the expectations of thine enemies, thou mayest seem to be cut off from all relief, even there shalt thou be delivered: — such is the power, and lovingkindness, and faithfulness of Jehovah thy God.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.Now - The prophet places himself in the midst of their deepest sorrows, and out of them he promises comfort. "Why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no King in thee? is thy Counsellor perished?" . Is then all lost, because thou hast no visible king, none to counsel thee or consult for thee? . Very remarkably he speaks of their "King and Counsellor" as one, as if to say, "When all beside is gone, there is One who abides. Though thou be a captive, God will not forsake thee. When thou hadst no earthly king, "the Lord thy God was thy King" 1 Samuel 12:12. He is the First, and He is the Last. When thou shalt have no other, He, thy King, ceaseth not to be." Montanus: "Thou shouldest not fear, so long as He, who counselleth for thee, liveth; but He liveth forever." Thy "Counsellor," He, who is called "Counsellor" Isaiah 9:6, who counselleth for thee, who counselleth thee, will, if thou obey His counsel, make birth-pangs to end in joy.

For pangs have taken thee, as a woman in travail - Resistless, remediless, doubling the whole frame, redoubled until the end, for which God sends them, is accomplished, and then ceasing in joy. The truest comfort, amid all sorrow, is in owning that the travail-pains must be, but that the reward shall be afterward. Montanus: "It is meet to look for deliverance from God's mercy, as certainly as for punishment from our guilt; and that the more, since He who foretold both, willingly saves, punishes unwillingly." So the prophets adds.

9. Addressed to the daughter of Zion, in her consternation at the approach of the Chaldeans.

is there no king in thee?—asked tauntingly. There is a king in her; but it is the same as if there were none, so helpless to devise means of escape are he and his counsellors [Maurer]. Or, Zion's pains are because her king is taken away from her (Jer 52:9; La 4:20; Eze 12:13) [Calvin]. The former is perhaps the preferable view (compare Jer 49:7). The latter, however, describes better Zion's kingless state during her present long dispersion (Ho 3:4, 5).

Now; now that I have from the Lord promised such great good things to you, after the seventy years’ captivity, and in the days of the Messiah,

why dost thou cry out aloud? as if this case were desperate, or as if it would be ever night with thee, or as if thy hopes would not outweigh thy fears, or thy future joy would not counterbalance thy present griefs.

Is there no king in thee? thou hast lost thy king Zedekiah, and now art become tributary, but thy God, thy King, is with thee. and will be with thee to preserve, restore, establish, enlarge, enrich, and beautify thee with salvation, and to reign over thee in Mount Zion for ever, Micah 4:7. Thy loss at present is great, but thy future advantage may well stop these outcries.

Is thy counsellor perished? hast thou none among thy wise counsellors left in thee? Hath Nebuchadnezzar cruelly slain all he took of them, and are the rest fled? Yet the wonderful Counsellor is with thee, doth consult and resolve that thou shalt not be undone, and perish for ever. Messiah, the wisdom of his Father, hath the conduct of thy sufferings, deliverance, and re-establishment, in which thou mayst at last glory.

For pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail: this great distress of spirit appears by thy outcries, like those of a woman in travail; of which no great reason can be given, all things considered, no more than of those of a woman at her full time, and bringing forth the fruit of her womb, to the present increase and future honour of the family; whose pains end in joy, John 16:21. Now why dost thou cry out aloud?.... Or "cry a cry" (w); a vehement one, or set up a most lamentable cry, as if no help or hope were to be had, but as in the most desperate condition: here the prophet represents the Jews as if they were already in captivity, and in the utmost distress, and as they certainly would be; and yet had no reason to despair of deliverance and salvation, since the Messiah would certainly come to them, and his kingdom would be set up among them, The word used has sometimes the notion of friendship and association; hence the Targum renders it,

"now why art thou joined to the people?''

and so Jarchi,

"thou hast no need to seek friends and lovers, the kings of Egypt and Assyria, for help.''

And which sense of the word as approved by Gussetius (x).

Is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? he it so that they were; as was the case when Zedekiah was taken and carried captive, and his princes, nobles, and counsellors killed; yet God, their King and Counsellor, was with them, to keep and preserve them, counsel, instruct, and comfort them, and at last to deliver and save them; and the King Messiah would be raised up, and sent unto them in due time, who is the Wonderful Counsellor Isaiah had prophesied of:

for pangs have taken thee as a worn an in travail; which is often expressive of great sufferings and sorrows; and yet, as the pangs of a woman in travail do not continue always, but have an end, so would theirs, and therefore there was no reason for despair; and as, when she brings forth her issue, her sorrow is turned into joy, this would be their case.

(w) "quid vociferabis vociferationem", Pagninus, Montanus. So Vatablus, Drusius. (x) Ebr. Comment. p. 789.

Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is {l} there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.

(l) In the meantime he shows that they would endure great troubles and temptations, when they saw themselves neither to have king nor counsel.

9. Now why dost thou cry out aloud?] The prophet from his watch-tower beholds the capture of Jerusalem, and hears the lamentation of its inhabitants (comp. Isaiah 10:30). Absorbed in high visions of the future, he deprecates this unmanly despair. True, all is lost, for the present; but they may carry with them into exile a consoling promise of deliverance.

Is there no king in thee?] Is it because thy king has been carried captive? Comp. Hosea 13:10, ‘Where then is thy king that he may save thee?’

thy counseller] A synonym for ‘thy king.’ The root of mélech (king) in Aramaic means ‘to counsel.’ The Messiah is called ‘Wonderful counsellor’ in Isaiah 9:6.Verse 9. - Before this glorious revival the prophet foresees calamity and exile in the nearer future; yet he bids the people not to despair. Why dost thou cry out aloud? The prophet hears the cry of Zion, and asks the cause. Septuagint, Ἱνατί ἔγνως κακά; "Why knowest thou evils?" from a variation in reading. Is there no king in thee? Hast thou lost thy king? Is this the reason of thy sorrow? The allusion is to the captivity of Jehoiachin and Zedekiah (2 Kings 24, 25.). The loss of the king, the representative of the help and favour of God, was a token of the withdrawal of the Divine protection (comp. Lamentations 4:20; Hosea 13:10). Thy counsellor. A synonym for "king." Cheyne notes that the root of melech ("king") in Aramaic means "to counsel." In Isaiah 9:6 Messiah is called "Counsellor." The Septuagint, treating the word as a collective, renders, ἡ βουλή σου, "thy counsel." Pangs, etc. The comparison of sorrow of heart to the anguish of labour pains is very common (comp. Isaiah 13:8; Jeremiah 6:24; 6:43; Hosea 13:13). In return for this rebellion against Jehovah, Amos foretels to the priest the punishment which will fall upon him when the judgment shall come upon Israel, meeting his words, "Thou sayst, Thou shalt not prophesy," with the keen retort, "Thus saith Jehovah." הטּיף, to drip, applied to prophesying here and at Micah 2:6, Micah 2:11, and Ezekiel 21:2, Ezekiel 21:7, is taken from Deuteronomy 32:2, "My teaching shall drip as the rain," etc. Isaac (yishâq) for Israel, as in Amos 7:9. The punishment is thus described in Amos 7:17 : "Thy wife will be a harlot in the city," i.e., at the taking of the city she will become a harlot through violation. His children would also be slain by the foe, and his landed possession assigned to others, namely, to the fresh settlers in the land. He himself, viz., the priest, would die in an unclean land, that is to say, in the land of the Gentiles, - in other words, would be carried away captive, and that with the whole nation, the carrying away of which is repeated by Amos in the words which the priest had reported to the king (Amos 7:11), as a sign that what he has prophesied will assuredly stand.
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