Micah 5:12
And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:
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Micah 5:12-15. And I will cut off witchcrafts, &c. — Here is foretold the downfall of all unlawful arts and devices, which had been used by the Jews in former ages, to obtain the knowledge of future events: that God would, in mercy to his people, take away these occasions of sinning. Thy graven images also will I cut off — I will abolish every species of idolatry. This was effected, even among the Jews, by that severe judgment the Babylonish captivity, from which time they have abhorred the use of images in divine worship, and indeed have been kept from worshipping any false god. And I will pluck up thy groves — The usual scenes of idolatrous worship. It is justly observed by Mr. Scott here, that though the reformation of the Jews, after their return from Babylon, might be alluded to in this passage, yet the purification of the Christian Church from all antichristian corruptions of faith and worship, and all idolatry and superstition, seems more immediately to be predicted. “The reliance on human merits for justification, the external pomp used in worship, and the oppressive exercise of human authority in mere matters of conscience, will be entirely destroyed by the clear light of divine truth, and the power of divine grace; and simplicity and purity in doctrine, worship, and practice, will prevail, when the enemies of the church shall be destroyed.” And I will execute vengeance in anger, &c. — When I have purged my people from their corruptions, I will severely vindicate their cause, to the utter destruction of all their unbelieving enemies. Such as they have not heard — In an unprecedented manner. God will give his Son either the hearts or necks of his enemies, and make them either his friends or his footstool.

5:7-15 The remnant of Israel, converted to Christ in the primitive times, were among many nations as the drops of dew, and were made instruments in calling a large increase of spiritual worshippers. But to those who neglected or opposed this salvation, they would, as lions, cause terror, their doctrine condemning them. The Lord also declares that he would cause not only the reformation of the Jews, but the purification of the Christian church. In like manner shall we be assured of victory in our personal conflicts, as we simply depend upon the Lord our salvation, worship him, and serve him with diligence.I will cut off the cities of thy land - So God promised by Zechariah, "Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls; for I will be unto her a wall of fire round about" Zechariah 2:4-5. The Church shall not need the temptation of human defense; for God shall fence her in on every side. Great cities too, as the abode of luxury and sin, of power and pride, and, mostly, of cruelty, are chiefly denounced as the objects of God's anger. Babylon stands as the emblem of the whole city of the world or of the devil, as opposed to God. Rup.: "The first city was built by Cain; Abel and the other saints heed no continuing city" Hebrews 13:14 here. Cities then will include (Rup.) "all the tumults and evil passions and ambition and strife and bloodshed, which Cain brought in among men. Cities are collectively called and are Babylon, with whom, (as in the Revelations we hear a voice from heaven saying), "the kings of the earth committed fornication and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies" Revelation 18:3; and of which it is written, "And a mighty Angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city, Babylon, be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all." Revelation 18:21. "Great rest then is promised to holy Zion that is, the Church, when the cities or strongholds of the land (strongholds, as they are, of earthliness) shall be destroyed. For together with them are included all objects of desire in them, with the sight whereof the citizens of the kingdom of God, while pilgrims here, are tempted; whereof the wise man saith, Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."

The fulfillment reaches on to the Day of Judgment, when the Church shall finally receive glory from the Lord, and be "without spot and wrinkle" Ephesians 5:27. All looks on to that Day. The very largeness of the promise, which speaks, in its fullest sense, of the destruction of things, without which we can hardly do in this life, (as cities or things very useful to the needs of man, (as horses,) carries us on yet more to that Day when there will be no more need of any outward things; Rup.: "when the heavy body shall be changed, and shall have the swiftness of angels, and shall be transported whither it willeth, without chariots and horses; and all things which tempt the eye shall cease; and no evil shall enter; and there shall be no need of divining, amid the presence and full knowledge of God, and where the ever-present Face of God, who is Truth, shall shine on all, and nothing be uncertain or unknown; nor shall they need to form in their souls images of Him whom His own shall see as He Is; nor shall they esteem anything of self, or the work of their own hands; but God shall be All in all." In like way, the woe on those who obey not the truth, also looks on to the end. It too is final. There is nothing to soften it. Punishments in the course of life are medicinal. Here no mention is made of Mercy, but only of executing vengeance; and that, with wrath and fury; and that, such as they have not heard. For as eye hath not seen, nor heart conceived the good things laid up in store for those who love God, so neither the evil things prepared for those who, in act, shew that they hate Him.

12. witchcrafts out of thine hand—that is, which thou now usest. In this verse the Lord foretells the downfall of all unlawful arts which had been in use, though forbidden by the law of God, Leviticus 20:27. Though Israel should have consulted with God alone, yet they did consult with sorcerers. So did Manasseh, and before him, 2 Kings 17:17.

Thou shalt have no more soothsayers; the very art shall be out of use, and none shall openly, as formerly, consult with them, or they make profession of foretelling events, or what a lucky day or hour to set upon an enterprise, or to curse, as Balaam would have done, an enemy to make way for victory; no more of these; the oracles ceased when Christ was born: much to this purpose Zechariah 13:2 Malachi 3:5. God will, in mercy to his people, take away these stumbling-blocks, these occasions of sin.

And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand,.... Such as were formerly practised among the Jews, though forbidden them, and in mystical Babylon, or the antichristian church, whose sorceries are mentioned, Revelation 9:21; but nothing of this kind will be found in the Christian church, consisting of Jews and Gentiles, in the latter day; all unlawful arts, cheating and juggling in religious matters, will cease, and be no more:

and thou shalt have no more soothsayers; or diviners, that cast a mist over people's eyes, and deceived them with false appearances of things; that pretended to know times and seasons, when it was or was not a good day to go abroad, or to make merchandise; that judged by the clouds, and by the position of the heavens, what would come to pass hereafter; and though such sort of men were formerly indulged, connived at, and caressed among the Jews, they should be so no more; nor should they apply to such persons for advice and counsel; nor would they need it, nor should they use it; see Deuteronomy 18:10.

And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:
12. witchcrafts] Sorcery was highly developed in Syria and Palestine; the ancient Semites brought it from their early home in Mesopotamia (see Lenormant’s Chaldean Magic). Comp. Isaiah 2:6, Numbers 22-24, Deuteronomy 18:10-13.

soothsayers] More precisely, diviners of the clouds (the clouds were much studied by the Chaldean diviners); or perhaps, cloud-makers (-falling, beneficent dew, and on the other to ths among savages, ‘rain-makers’).

Verse 12. - Witchcrafts. Magic and sorcery, which were much practised in Syria and Palestine, as in Chaldea, the literature of which country consists in great part of spells and charms. It is to the belief in the efficacy of such incantations that we owe the episode of Balak and Balaam (Numbers 22-24.), and the enactments in the Law; e.g. Deuteronomy 18:10, etc. (comp. Isaiah 2:6; Isaiah 47:12). Septuagint, τὰ φάρμακά σου, "thy poisons;" Vulgate, maleficia. Soothsayers; properly, cloud diviners, or storm makers; either persons who professed to divine by means of the shape and colour of clouds, or, as the old Scandinavian witches, charlatans who assumed the power of musing and directing storms. Cheyne compares the common name of sorcerers among savages, "rain makers." Micah 5:12But if Israel conquer the nations in such a way as this, then will Jehovah fulfil the peace of His people by the destruction of all the instruments of war, and the extermination of everything of an idolatrous nature, as well as by the judgment of wrath upon all resisting nations. Micah 5:10. "And it comes to pass in that day, is the saying of Jehovah, that I will destroy thy horses out of the midst of thee, and annihilate thy chariots. Micah 5:11. And I shall destroy the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy fortresses. Micah 5:12. And I shall destroy the witchcrafts out of thy hand; and cloud-interpreters shall not be left to thee. Micah 5:13. And I shall destroy thy graven images and thy statutes out of the midst of thee; and thou wilt no more worship the work of thy hands. Micah 5:14. And I shall root out thine idol-groves out of the midst of thee, and destroy thy cities. Micah 5:15. And I shall execute vengeance in wrath and fury upon the nations which have not heard." These verses do not explain Micah 5:8, or state how the extermination of the enemy is to take place, or how Israel is made into a lion destroying the nations that are hostile to it, namely, by the fact that the Lord eradicates from its heart all confidence in horses, chariots, and fortifications, in witchcraft and idolatry (Caspari). This assumption is at variance with the words themselves, and with the strophic arrangement of the chapter. There is nothing about trust in horses, etc., but simply about the extermination of the horses, and everything else in which the idolatrous nation had sought its strength. Moreover, the expression והיה ביּום ההוּא, when compared with והיה in Micah 5:4 and Micah 5:6, shows at once that these verses are intended to depict the last and greatest effect produced by the coming of the Prince of peace in Israel, and overthrows Hengstenberg's assumption, that the prophet here foretels the destructive work of the Lord in Israel, which will precede the destruction of the enemy predicted in Micah 5:10. In that case בּיּום ההוּא would mean "before that day," a meaning which it can never have. The prophet passes rather from the attitude of Israel among the nations, to the description of the internal perfection of the kingdom of God, which does indeed stand in a reciprocal relation to the former and proceed simultaneously with it, but which will not be completed till after the victorious suppression of the foe. Only when the people of God shall have gained the supremacy over all their enemies, will the time have arrived for all the instruments of war to be destroyed. When the world shall be overcome, then will all war cease. The ancient Israel did indeed put its trust in war-horses, and war-chariots, and fortifications (cf. Isaiah 2:7); but the Messianic Israel, or the true people of the Lord, will only put its trust in such things so far as it is not yet pervaded by the power of the peace brought by the Messiah. And the more it appropriates the spiritual power of the Prince of peace, the more will the trust in horses and chariots disappear; so that they will be destroyed, because all war comes to an end (compare Isaiah 9:4-6). And the extermination of everything of an idolatrous nature will go hand in hand with this. Two kinds are mentioned in Micah 5:12 and Micah 5:13, viz., witchcraft and the worship of idols of their own making. As objects of witchcraft there are mentioned keshâphı̄m, lit., witchcrafts of different kinds, but the expression מיּדך limits them to such as are performed with the hand, and me‛ōnenı̄m ( equals ‛ōnenı̄m in Isaiah 2:6), lit., cloud-interpreters, or cloud, i.e., storm makers, from ‛ânan, a kind of witchcraft which cannot be more precisely defined (see Delitzsch on Isaiah, l.c.). Of the objects of the idolatrous worship there are mentioned (after Leviticus 26:1) pesı̄lı̄m, idols made of wood or metal; and מצּבות, stone-images, or stones dedicated to idols (see at 1 Kings 14:23). For Micah 5:12, compare Isaiah 2:8.
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