Micah 5:1
Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops: he has laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
V.

(1) O daughter of troops.—This verse coheres better with the former chapter, to which it is attached in the Hebrew Version. Micah again interpolates a prediction of trouble and dismay between the sentences describing triumph and glory. The sentence of smiting the judge has its historical fulfilment in the indignities which happened to King Zedekiah.

Micah 5:1. Now gather thyself, &c. — It seems this verse ought to be joined to the foregoing chapter, as it evidently belongs to it, and not to this, which is upon a quite different subject. Thus considered, after the promises given of a restoration from the captivity into which they should be carried, and of victory over their surrounding enemies, the prophecy concludes with bidding them first expect an enemy to come against them, who should lay siege to their chief city, and carry their insolence so far as to treat the judge of Israel in the most indignant and despiteful manner, such as striking him on the cheek, or face, with a rod, or stick. This, it is likely, was fulfilled on Zedekiah, who was treated in a contumelious manner by the Chaldeans, as if he had been a common captive, 2 Kings 25:6-7. And as the singular number is often used for the plural, by the judge of Israel may be meant the judges of Israel, including their principal men, as well as the king, for they doubtless were treated no better than he was; nay, probably, still more indignantly.5:1-6 Having showed how low the house of David would be brought, a prediction of the Messiah and his kingdom is added to encourage the faith of God's people. His existence from eternity as God, and his office as Mediator, are noticed. Here is foretold that Bethlehem should be his birthplace. Hence it was universally known among the Jews, Mt 2:5. Christ's government shall be very happy for his subjects; they shall be safe and easy. Under the shadow of protection from the Assyrians, is a promise of protection to the gospel church and all believers, from the designs and attempts of the powers of darkness. Christ is our Peace as a Priest, making atonement for sin, and reconciling us to God; and he is our Peace as a King, conquering our enemies: hence our souls may dwell at ease in him. Christ will find instruments to protect and deliver. Those that threaten ruin to the church of God, soon bring ruin on themselves. This may include the past powerful effects of the preached gospel, its future spread, and the ruin of all antichristian powers. This is, perhaps, the most important single prophecy in the Old Testament: it respects the personal character of the Messiah, and the discoveries of himself to the world. It distinguishes his human birth from his existing from eternity; it foretells the rejection of the Israelites and Jews for a season, their final restoration, and the universal peace to prevail through the whole earth in the latter days. In the mean time let us trust our Shepherd's care and power. If he permits the assault of our enemies, he will supply helpers and assistance for us.Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops - The "daughter of troops" is still the same who was before addressed, Judah. The word is almost always . used of "bands of men employed in irregular, marauding, in-roads." Judah is entitled "daughter of troops," on account of her violence, the robbery and bloodshed within her (Micah 2:8; Micah 3:2; etc. Hosea 5:10), as Jeremiah says, "Is this house which is called by My Name become a den of robbers in your eyes?" (Jeremiah 7:11, compare Matthew 21:13). She then who had spoiled Isaiah 33:1 should now be spoiled; she who had formed herself in bands to lay waste, shall now be gathered thick together, in small bands, unable to resist in the open field; yet in vain should she so gather herself; for the enemy was upon her, in her last retreat.

This description has obviously no fulfillment, except in the infliction by the Romans. For there was no event, before the invasion by Sennacherib and accordingly in the prophet's own time, in which there is any seeming fulfillment of it. But then, the second deliverance must be that by the Maccabees; and this siege, which lies, in order of time, beyond it, must be a siege by the Romans. With this it agrees, that whereas, in the two former visitations, God promised, in the first, deliverance, in the second, victory, here the prophet dwells on the Person of the Redeemer, and foretells that the strength of the Church should not lie in any human means Micah 5:8-15. Here too Israel had no king, but a judge only. Then the "gathering in robber-bands" strikingly describes their internal state in the siege of Jerusalem; and although this was subsequent to and consequent upon the rejection of our Lord, yet there is no reason why the end should be separated from the beginning since the capture by Titus was but the sequel of the capture by Pompey, the result of that same temper, in which they crucified Jesus, because He would not be their earthly king. It was the close of the organic existence of the former people; after which the remnant from among them with the Gentiles, not Israel after the flesh, were the true people of God.

He hath laid siege against us - The prophet, being born of them, and for the great love he bore them, counts himself among them, as Paul mourns over his brethren after the flesh. "They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek." So Paul said to him who had made himself high priest, "God shall smite thee, thou whited wall; for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law" Acts 23:3. It is no longer "the king" (for they had said, "We have no King but Caesar John 19:15) but the "judge of Israel," they who against Christ and His Apostles gave wrong judgment. As they had smitten contrary to the law, so were the chief men smitten by Titus, when the city was taken. As they had done it, was done unto them. To be smitten on the thee, betokens shame; to smite with the red, betokens destruction. Now both shall meet in one; as, in the Great Day, the wicked "shall awake to shame and everlasting contempt, and shall perish forever" Daniel 12:2.

CHAPTER 5

Mic 5:1-15. The Calamities Which Precede Messiah's Advent. His Kingdom, Conquest of Jacob's Foes, and Blessing upon His People.

1. gather thyself in troops—that is, thou shalt do so, to resist the enemy. Lest the faithful should fall into carnal security because of the previous promises, he reminds them of the calamities which are to precede the prosperity.

daughter of troops—Jerusalem is so called on account of her numerous troops.

he hath laid siege—the enemy hath.

they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek—the greatest of insults to an Oriental. Zedekiah, the judge (or king, Am 2:3) of Israel, was loaded with insults by the Chaldeans; so also the other princes and judges (La 3:30). Hengstenberg thinks the expression, "the judge," marks a time when no king of the house of David reigned. The smiting on the cheek of other judges of Israel was a type of the same indignity offered to Him who nevertheless is the Judge, not only of Israel, but also of the world, and who is "from everlasting" (Mic 5:2; Isa 50:6; Mt 26:67; 27:30).The birth of Christ foretold, Micah 5:1-3; his kingdom, Micah 5:4-7; his complete conquest over his enemies, Micah 5:8-15.

This verse is, say some, a sharp sarcasm against Israel’s enemies. Others will have it to be a repetition of the evils, and a description how far those evils should prevail, that were ere long to come upon Judah and Jerusalem, by either Sennacherib and his Assyrians, or by Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonians, to where God’s people seem thus to speak: We have heard what we must suffer for a time, and how we shall be delivered and triumph at last; and since that is the order, first afflictions, afterwards salvation, delay not, O thou enemy, but now gather thyself in troops; summon in thy forces, appoint thy rendezvous, bring thy spoiling, wasting troops, thy merciless and bloody troops, and form thy army, O Assyrian: of whom much like this doth Isaiah prophesy, Isaiah 8:6-10. And this passage of Micah may also further refer to the Babylonian army under Nebuchadnezzar, under the violence of both which they were to suffer, and from both which the Jews should have a glorious deliverance ere long. O daughter of troops; O Nineveh, daughter of troops: from her first founder she was a city full of troops, that spoiled, Cut off, and destroyed, and had been more than ordinarily so under Pul, Tiglath-pileser, Shalmaneser, and Sennacherib for ninety-five years together, in the successive reigns of these four monarchs. Babylon also in her time was as troublesome to Judah, and must be this daughter of troops also. He; that is, the enemy, either Assyrian, which had taken all but Jerusalem, and did invest Jerusalem too; or Babylonian, which afterward besieged and took Jerusalem, sacked the city, burnt the temple, and captivated the people.

Hath laid siege against us; hath in prophetic style, certainly will lay siege against the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the only people of God at that time; both king, judges, and citizens were all enclosed in the siege.

They, the proud, successful, and oppressive enemy,

shall smite the judge, the king, supreme judge,

of Israel; not the ten tribes, though they are usually called by this name, but the two tribes that adhered to David’s family.

With a rod upon the cheek: this is a proverbial speech, expressing a very contemptuous usage of the person spoken of, and it was fulfilled partly when Sennacherib’s general Rabshakeh did so vilify good Hezekiah, and not content herewith vilified the God of, Israel also, as 2 Kings 18:19, &c.; Isaiah 37:23. It was more fully and literally accomplished when Zedekiah, his children, his counsellors, and his officers of state, were most barbarously used by the insulting Babylonians, 2 Kings 25:6,7 2 Chronicles 36:13,17,18, &c.; Jeremiah 52:6, &c. Since all this must be done against us, make haste, O thou proud enemy, and do it, for it will end in our deliverance and thy ruin.

MICAH CHAPTER 5

The birth of Christ foretold, Micah 5:1-3; his kingdom, Micah 5:4-7; his complete conquest over his enemies, Micah 5:8-15.

This verse is, say some, a sharp sarcasm against Israel’s enemies. Others will have it to be a repetition of the evils, and a description how far those evils should prevail, that were ere long to come upon Judah and Jerusalem, by either Sennacherib and his Assyrians, or by Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonians, to where God’s people seem thus to speak: We have heard what we must suffer for a time, and how we shall be delivered and triumph at last; and since that is the order, first afflictions, afterwards salvation, delay not, O thou enemy, but now gather thyself in troops; summon in thy forces, appoint thy rendezvous, bring thy spoiling, wasting troops, thy merciless and bloody troops, and form thy army, O Assyrian: of whom much like this doth Isaiah prophesy, Isaiah 8:6-10. And this passage of Micah may also further refer to the Babylonian army under Nebuchadnezzar, under the violence of both which they were to suffer, and from both which the Jews should have a glorious deliverance ere long. O daughter of troops; O Nineveh, daughter of troops: from her first founder she was a city full of troops, that spoiled, Cut off, and destroyed, and had been more than ordinarily so under Pul, Tiglath-pileser, Shalmaneser, and Sennacherib for ninety-five years together, in the successive reigns of these four monarchs. Babylon also in her time was as troublesome to Judah, and must be this daughter of troops also. He; that is, the enemy, either Assyrian, which had taken all but Jerusalem, and did invest Jerusalem too; or Babylonian, which afterward besieged and took Jerusalem, sacked the city, burnt the temple, and captivated the people.

Hath laid siege against us; hath in prophetic style, certainly will lay siege against the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the only people of God at that time; both king, judges, and citizens were all enclosed in the siege.

They, the proud, successful, and oppressive enemy,

shall smite the judge, the king, supreme judge,

of Israel; not the ten tribes, though they are usually called by this name, but the two tribes that adhered to David’s family.

With a rod upon the cheek: this is a proverbial speech, expressing a very contemptuous usage of the person spoken of, and it was fulfilled partly when Sennacherib’s general Rabshakeh did so vilify good Hezekiah, and not content herewith vilified the God of, Israel also, as 2 Kings 18:19, &c.; Isaiah 37:23. It was more fully and literally accomplished when Zedekiah, his children, his counsellors, and his officers of state, were most barbarously used by the insulting Babylonians, 2 Kings 25:6,7 2 Chronicles 36:13,17,18, &c.; Jeremiah 52:6, &c. Since all this must be done against us, make haste, O thou proud enemy, and do it, for it will end in our deliverance and thy ruin.

Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops,.... Not Jerusalem, full of people, called to draw out their forces, and fall upon the enemy besieging them, whether Chaldeans or Romans; but rather the Babylonians, whose armies were large, and their troops numerous; who are called upon by the people of God, encouraged by the foregoing prophecies, as well as by what follows, to come forth with all their forces, and muster up all their armies, and exert all the power and strength they had, thus suiting them; being assured, by the above promises, that in the issue they should prevail over all their enemies: unless the Romans should be intended, to whom this character of "daughter of troops" well agrees, of whose legions all have heard; and since the Babylonish attempt on Jerusalem, and the carrying the Jews captive into Babylon, are before predicted, with their deliverance from it, and what they should do in the times of the Maccabees; a prophecy of the Romans, or a representation of them, a gathering their troops and legions together to besiege Jerusalem, very naturally comes in here;

he hath laid siege against us; either Nebuchadnezzar, and the Chaldean army; or Vespasian with the Romans: this, according to the prophetic style, is spoken of as if actually done, because of the certainty of it;

they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek; that is, either they, the besiegers, the king of Babylon and his army, when they shall have taken Jerusalem, besieged by them, shall use Zedekiah the king of Judah, and judge of Israel, and his princes and nobles, very ill, signified by this phrase; yea, in a very cruel and barbarous manner; first slaying his sons and his princes before his eyes, then putting his eyes out, binding him in chains, and carrying him to Babylon, and there laying him in a prison, Jeremiah 52:10; or else they, the besieged, would use the Messiah, the King, Judge, and Ruler in Israel, in such a spiteful and scandalous manner; and so the Messiah was to be used by them, who according to prophecy gave his cheek to them that plucked off the hair, and hid not his face from shame and spitting; and so Jesus, the true Messiah, was smitten, both with rods, and with the palms of men's hands, and buffeted and spit upon, Isaiah 50:6; and this is mentioned as a reason why Jerusalem would be encompassed with the Roman armies, and besieged by their troops and legions, and become desolate, even for their rejection and ill usage of the Messiah. Aben Ezra says, it is right in my eyes that the judge of Israel is the Messiah, or Zerubbabel; not the latter, who never was so used, but the former.

Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter {a} of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.

(a) He forewarns them of the dangers that will come before they enjoy these comforts, showing that inasmuch as Jerusalem was accustomed with her garrisons to trouble others, the Lord would now cause other garrisons to vex her, and that her rulers would be hit on the face most contemptuously.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. Transition from the prediction of Jerusalem’s extremity during the siege to the Messianic glories in prospect

1. Now gather thyself in troops] Rather, Now thou mayest gather, &c. Assyria may marshal her hosts, may lay siege against the holy city, may violate the person of the king, but from insignificant Bethlehem a royal Deliverer shall arise.

O daughter of troops] i.e. O invading army. ‘Daughter’ is a personifying phrase, as in ‘daughter of Jerusalem’ = population of Jerusalem. Most commentators think Jerusalem itself is referred to here, the ‘troops’ being the crowds of frightened citizens, but this is contrary to usage, ‘troop’ being constantly used in a military sense.

he hath laid siege] An abrupt change of number, as in Isaiah 1:29. ‘Assyria’ is the implied subject.

smite … upon the cheek] A gross insult; comp. 1 Kings 22:24, Job 16:10, Luke 22:64.

the judge of Israel] i.e. the king (as in Amos 2:3). The phrase is chosen partly to produce a kind of paronomasia in the Hebrew with the word for ‘rod,’ and partly perhaps because Jehovah has already been called the ‘king’ of Israel (Micah 2:13). ‘Israel’ here means Judah, as in Micah 1:14 (see note).Verses 1-4. - § 8. After Zion's degradation Messiah shall be born, and shall bring the world into subjection. Verse 1. - This verse is joined to the preceding chapter in the Hebrew. Jerusalem is addressed, as in Micah 4:9, 11, not the invading army. The prophet returns to the view of the misery and humiliation expressed in that passage. Gather thyself in troops; or, thou shalt gather thyself, etc. Jerusalem must collect its armies to defend itself from the enemy. O daughter of troops. Jerusalem is thus named from the number of soldiers collected within her walls, from whence marauding expeditions were wont to set forth. Pusey considers that she is so called from the acts of violence, robbery, and bloodshed which are done within her (Micah 2:8; Micah 3:2, etc.; Jeremiah 7:11). Keil thinks the prophet represents the people crowding together in fear. It is more natural to refer the expression to the abnormal assemblage of soldiers and fugitives within the walls of a besieged city. Septuagint, Ἐμφραχθήσεσαι θυγάτηρ ἐμφραγμᾷ, "The daughter shall be wholly hemmed in;" Vulgate, Vastaberis, filia latronis. He hath laid siege. The enemy is spoken of by an abrupt change of person (comp. Isaiah 1:29). Against us. The prophet identifies himself with the besieged people. They shall smite the judge of Israel, etc. "The judge" represents the supreme authority, whether king or other governor (Amos 2:3); but he is called here "judge," that the sacred name of king may not be spoken of as dishonoured. To smite upon the cheek is the grossest insult (comp. 1 Kings 22:24; Job 16:10; Luke 22:64) When Zion is thus besieged, and its rulers suffer the utmost contumely, its condition must look hopeless, Such a state of things was realized in the treatment of Zedekiah (2 Kings 25.), and in many subsequent sieges of Jerusalem. But the underlying idea is that Israel shall suffer dire distress at the hands of her enemies until Messiah comes, and she herself turns to the Lord. The LXX. translates shophet, "judge," by φυλάς, "tribes," but the other Greek translators give κριτήν. To this vision the prophet attaches the last admonition to the rich and powerful men of the nation, to observe the threatening of the Lord before it is too late, impressing upon them the terrible severity of the judgment. Amos 8:4. "Hear this, ye that gape for the poor, and to destroy the meek of the earth, Amos 8:5. Saying, When is the new moon over, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may open wheat, to make the ephah small, and the shekel great, and to falsify the scale of deceit? Amos 8:6. To buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, and the refuse of the corn will we sell." The persons addressed are the השּׁאפים אביון, i.e., not those who snort at the poor man, to frighten him away from any further pursuit of his rights (Baur), but, according to Amos 2:6-7, those who greedily pant for the poor man, who try to swallow him (Hitzig). This is affirmed in the second clause of the verse, in which שׁאפים is to be repeated in thought before להשׁבּית: they gape to destroy the quiet in the land (ענוי־ארץ equals ענוים, in Amos 2:7), "namely by grasping all property for themselves, Job 22:8; Isaiah 5:8" (Hitzig). Amos 8:5 and Amos 8:6 show how they expect to accomplish their purpose. Like covetous usurers, they cannot even wait for the end of the feast-days to pursue their trade still further. Chōdēsh, the new moon, was a holiday on which all trade was suspended, just as it was on the Sabbath (see at Numbers 28:11 and 2 Kings 4:23). השׁבּיר שׁבר, to sell corn, as in Genesis 41:57. פּתח בּר, to open up corn, i.e., to open the granaries (cf. Genesis 41:56). In doing so, they wanted to cheat the poor by small measure (ephah), and by making the shekel great, i.e., by increasing the price, which was to be weighed out to them; also by false scales (‛ivvēth, to pervert, or falsify the scale of deceit, i.e., the scale used for cheating), and by bad corn (mappal, waste or refuse); that in this way they might make the poor man so poor, that he would either be obliged to sell himself to them from want and distress (Leviticus 25:39), or be handed over to the creditor by the court of justice, because he was no longer able to pay for a pair of shoes, i.e., the very smallest debt (cf. Amos 2:6).
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