Micah 5:7
And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) As a dew from the Lord.—The Jews should, on their return from captivity, pour down their influence upon the nations, as God-sent showers upon the grass. So, through the dispersion of Jewish Christians, on the death of St. Stephen, the Lord caused the knowledge of the truth with which the Jews were cloud-charged to descend upon many people: “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass; as showers that water the earth” (Psalm 72:6).

Micah

‘A DEW FROM THE LORD’

Micah 5:7
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The simple natural science of the Hebrews saw a mystery in the production of the dew on a clear night, and their poetic imagination found in it a fit symbol for all silent and gentle influences from heaven that refreshed and quickened parched and dusty souls. Created by an inscrutable process in silence and darkness, the dewdrops lay innumerable on the dry plains and hung from every leaf and thorn, each little globule a perfect sphere that reflected the sun, and twinkled back the beams in its own little rainbow. Where they fell the scorched vegetation lifted its drooping head. That is what Israel is to be in the world, says Micah. He saw very deep into God’s mind and into the function of the nation.

It may be a question as to whether the text refers more especially to the place and office of Israel when planted in its own land, or when dispersed among the nations. For, as you see, he speaks of ‘the remnant of Jacob’ as if he was thinking of the survivors of some great calamity which had swept away the greater portion of the nation. Both things are true. When settled in its own land, Israel’s office was to teach the nations God; when dispersed among the Gentiles, its office ought to have been the same. But be that as it may, the conception here set forth is as true to-day as ever it was. For the prophetic teachings, rooted though they may be in the transitory circumstances of a tiny nation, are ‘not for an age, but for all time,’ and we get a great deal nearer the heart of them when we grasp the permanent truths that underlie them, than when we learnedly exhume the dead history which was their occasion.

Micah’s message comes to all Christians, and very eminently to English Christians. The subject of Christian missions is before us to-day, and some thoughts in the line of this great text may not be inappropriate.

We have here, then,

I. The function of each Christian in his place.

‘The remnant of Jacob shall be as a dew from the Lord in the midst of many nations.’ What made Israel ‘as a dew’? One thing only; its religion, its knowledge of God, and its consequent purer morality. It could teach Greece no philosophy, no art, no refinement, no sensitiveness to the beautiful. It could teach Rome no lessons of policy or government. It could bring no wisdom to Egypt, no power or wealth to Assyria. But God lit His candle and set it on a candlestick, that it ‘might give light to all that were in the house.’ The same thing is true about Christian people. We cannot teach the world science, we cannot teach it philosophy or art, but we can teach it God. Now the possibility brings with it the obligation. The personal experience of Jesus Christ in our hearts, as the dew that brings to us life and fertility, carries with it a commission as distinct and imperative as if it had been pealed into each single ear by a voice from heaven. That which made Israel the ‘dew amidst many nations,’ parched for want of it, makes Christian men and women fit to fill the analogous office, and calls upon them to discharge the same functions. For-in regard to all our possessions, and therefore most eminently and imperatively in regard to the best-that which we have, we have as stewards, and the Gospel, as the Apostle found, was not only given to him for his own individual enjoyment, elevation, ennobling, emancipation, salvation, but was ‘committed to his charge,’ and he was ‘entrusted’ with it, as he says, as a sacred deposit.

Remember, too, that, strange as it may seem, the only way by which that knowledge of God which was bestowed upon Israel could become the possession of the world was by its first of all being made the possession of a few. People talk about the unfairness, the harshness, of the providential arrangement by which the whole world was not made participant of the revelation which was granted to Israel. The fire is gathered on to a hearth. Does that mean that the corners of the room are left uncared for? No! the brazier is in the middle-as Palestine was, even geographically in the centre of the then civilised world-that from the centre the beneficent warmth might radiate and give heat as well as light to ‘all them that are in the house.’

So it is in regard to all the great possessions of the race. Art, literature, science, political wisdom, they are all intrusted to a few who are made their apostles; and the purpose is their universal diffusion from these human centres. It is in the line of the analogy of all the other gifts of God to humanity, that chosen men should be raised up in whom the life is lodged, that it may be diffused.

So to us the message comes: ‘The Lord hath need of thee.’ Christ has died; the Cross is the world’s redemption. Christ lives that He may apply the power and the benefits of His death and of His risen life to all humanity. But the missing link between the all sufficient redemption that is in Christ Jesus, and the actual redemption of the world, is ‘the remnant of Jacob,’ the Christian Church which is to be ‘in the midst of many people, as a dew from the Lord.’

Now, that diffusion from individual centres of the life that is in Jesus Christ is the chiefest reason-or at all events, is one chief reason-for the strange and inextricable intertwining in modern society, of saint and sinner, of Christian and non-Christian. The seed is sown among the thorns; the wheat springs up amongst the tares. Their roots are so matted together that no hand can separate them. In families, in professions, in business relations, in civil life, in national life, both grow together. God sows His seed thin that all the field may smile in harvest. The salt is broken up into many minute particles and rubbed into that which it is to preserve from corruption. The remnant of Jacob is in the midst of many peoples; and you and I are encompassed by those who need our Christ, and who do not know Him or love Him; and one great reason for the close intertwining is that, scattered, we may diffuse, and that at all points the world may be in contact with those who ought to be working to preserve it from putrefaction and decay.

Now there are two ways by which this function may be discharged, and in which it is incumbent upon every Christian man to make his contribution, be it greater or smaller, to the discharge of it. The one is by direct efforts to impart to others the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ which we have, and which we profess to be the very root of our lives. We can all do that if we will, and we are here to do it. Every one of us has somebody or other close to us, bound to us, perhaps, by the tie of kindred and love, who will listen to us more readily than to anybody else. Christian men and women, have you utilised these channels which God Himself, by the arrangements of society, has dug for you, that through them you may pour upon some thirsty ground the water of life? We could also help, and help far more than any of us do, in associated efforts for the same purpose. The direct obligation to direct efforts to impart the Gospel cannot be shirked, though, alas! it is far too often ignored by us professing Christians.

But there is another way by which ‘the remnant of Jacob’ is to be ‘a dew from the Lord,’ and that is by trying to bring to bear Christian thoughts and Christian principles upon all the relations of life in which we stand, and upon all the societies, be they greater or smaller-the family, the city, or the nation-of which we form parts. We have heard a great deal lately about what people that know very little about it, are pleased to call ‘the Nonconformist conscience,’ I take the compliment, which is not intended, but is conveyed by the word. But I venture to say that what is meant, is not the ‘Nonconformist’ conscience, it is the Christian conscience. We Nonconformists have no monopoly, thank God, of that. Nay, rather, in some respects, our friends in the Anglican churches are teaching some of us a lesson as to the application of Christian principles to civic duty and to national life. I beseech you, although I do not mean to dwell upon that point at all at this time, to ask yourselves whether, as citizens, the vices, the godlessness, the miseries-the removable miseries-of our great town populations, lie upon your hearts. Have you ever lifted a finger to abate drunkenness? Have you ever done anything to help to make it possible that the masses of our town communities should live in places better than the pigsties in which many of them have to wallow? Have you any care for the dignity, the purity, the Christianity of our civic rulers; and do you, to the extent of your ability, try to ensure that Christ’s teaching shall govern the life of our cities? And the same question may be put yet more emphatically with regard to wider subjects, namely, the national life and the national action, whether in regard to war or in regard to other pressing subjects for national consideration. I do not touch upon these; I only ask you to remember the grand ideal of my text, which applies to the narrowest circle-the family; and to the wider circles-the city and the nation, as well as to the world. Time was when a bastard piety shrank back from intermeddling with these affairs and gathered up its skirts about it in an ecstasy of unwholesome unworldliness. There is not much danger of that now, when Christian men are in the full swim of the currents of civic, professional, literary, national life. But I will tell you of what there is a danger-Christian men and women moving in their families, going into town councils, going into Parliament, going to the polling booths, and leaving their Christianity behind them. ‘The remnant of Jacob shall be as a dew from the Lord.’

Now let me turn for a moment to a second point, and that is

II. The function of English Christians in the world.

I have suggested in an earlier part of this sermon that possibly the application of this text originally was to the scattered remnant. Be that as it may, wherever you go, you find the Jew and the Englishman. I need not dwell upon the ubiquity of our race. I need not point you to the fact that, in all probability, our language is destined to be the world’s language some day. I need do nothing more than recall the fact that a man may go on board ship, in Liverpool or London, and go round the world; everywhere he sees the Union Jack, and everywhere he lands upon British soil. The ubiquity of the scattered Englishman needs no illustration.

But I do wish to remind you that that ubiquity has its obligation. We hear a great deal to-day about Imperialism, about ‘the Greater Britain,’ about ‘the expansion of England.’ And on one side all that new atmosphere of feeling is good, for it speaks of a vivid consciousness which is all to the good in the pulsations of the national life. But there is another side to it that is not so good. What is the expansion sought for? Trade? Yes! necessarily; and no man who lives in Lancashire will speak lightly of that necessity. Vulgar greed, and earth-hunger? that is evil. Glory? that is cruel, blood-stained, empty. My text tells us why expansion should be sought, and what are the obligations it brings with it. ‘The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord’ There are two kinds of Imperialism: one which regards the Empire as a thing for the advantage of us here, in this little land, and another which regards it as a burden that God has laid on the shoulders of the men whom John Milton, two centuries ago, was not afraid to call ‘His Englishmen.’

Let me remind you of two contrasted pictures which will give far more forcibly than anything I can say, the two points of view from which our world-wide dominion may be regarded. Here is one of them: ‘By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent. And I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people; and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved a wing, or opened a mouth, or peeped.’ That is the voice of the lust for Empire for selfish advantages. And here is the other one: ‘The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents; yea, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him, for He shall deliver the needy when he crieth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence, and precious shall their blood be in His sight.’ That is the voice that has learned: ‘He that is greatest among you, let him be your servant’; and that the dominion founded on unselfish surrender for others is the only dominion that will last. Brethren! that is the spirit in which alone England will keep its Empire over the world.

I need not remind you that the gift which we have to carry to the heathen nations, the subject peoples who are under the 槩s of our laws, is not merely our literature, our science, our Western civilisation, still less the products of our commerce, for all of which some of them are asking; but it is the gift that they do not ask for. The dew ‘waiteth not for man, nor tarrieth for the sons of men.’ We have to create the demand by bringing the supply. We have to carry Christ’s Gospel as the greatest gift that we have in our hands.

And now, I was going to have said a word, lastly, but I see it can only be a word, about-

III. The failure to fulfil the function.

Israel failed. Pharisaism was the end of it-a hugging itself in the possession of the gift which it did not appreciate, and a bitter contempt of the nations, and so destruction came, and the fire on the hearth was scattered and died out, and the vineyard was taken from them and ‘given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.’ Change the name, as the Latin poet says, and the story is told about us. England largely fails in this function; as witness in India godless civilians; as witness on every palm-shaded coral beach in the South Seas, profligate beach-combers, drunken sailors, unscrupulous traders; as witness the dying out of races by diseases imported with profligacy and gin from this land. ‘A dew from the Lord!’; say rather a malaria from the devil! ‘By you,’ said the Prophet, ‘is the name of God blasphemed among the Gentiles.’ By Englishmen the missionary’s efforts are, in a hundred cases, neutralised, or hampered if not neutralised.

We have failed because, as Christian people, we have not been adequately in earnest. No man can say with truth that the churches of England are awake to the imperative obligation of this missionary enterprise. ‘If God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He spare not thee.’ Israel’s religion was not diffusive, therefore it corrupted; Israel’s religion did not reach out a hand to the nations, therefore its heart was paralysed and stricken. They who bring the Gospel to others increase their own hold upon it. There is a joy of activity, there is a firmer faith, as new evidences of its power are presented before them. There is the blessing that comes down upon all faithful discharge of duty; ‘If the house be not worthy, your peace shall return to you.’ After all, our Empire rests on moral foundations, and if it is administered by us-and we each have part of the responsibility for all that is done-on the selfish ground of only seeking the advantage of ‘the predominant partner,’ then our hold will be loosened. There is no such cement of empire as a common religion. If we desire to make these subject peoples loyal fellow-subjects, we must make them true fellow-worshippers. The missionary holds India for England far more strongly than the soldier does. If we apply Christian principles to our administration of our Empire, then instead of its being knit together by iron bands, it will be laced together by the intertwining tendrils of the hearts of those who are possessors of ‘like precious faith.’ Brethren, there is another saying in the Old Testament, about the dew. ‘I will be as the dew unto Israel,’ says God through the Prophet. We must have Him as the dew for our own souls first. Then only shall we be able to discharge the office laid upon us, to be in the midst of many peoples as ‘dew from the Lord.’ If our fleece is wet and we leave the ground dry, our fleece will soon be dry, though the ground may be bedewed.

Micah 5:7. And the remnant of Jacob — Those who remained after the Assyrian invasion in the days of Hezekiah and Josiah, in whose reigns a considerable reformation was effected; and the remnant that should be carried captive into Babylon, who during their captivity should contribute to spread the knowledge of the one true God among the Chaldeans; (see Daniel 2:47; Daniel 3:29; Daniel 4:34; Daniel 6:26;) and more especially those that should return from captivity under Zerubbabel; shall be in the midst of many people as the dew, &c. — Shall multiply, and become numerous as the drops of dew. Or rather, as the dew refreshes and fertilizes the earth, so shall they be a blessing to all around them that use them friendly. The remnant, however, here principally meant, is that spoken of by Joel 2:32, the remnant which the Lord should call, on which the Spirit should be poured out, and which should be saved, (Romans 9:27,) namely, the Jewish converts to Christianity, among whom were the apostles, evangelists, and other first ministers of the word. These, dispersed through divers countries, like the drops of dew, or showers of rain scattered over the face of the earth, and refreshing and fertilizing the vegetable creation, shall, by their doctrine, example, exhortations, and prayers, refresh and render fruitful, in piety and virtue, the formerly barren nations, and make them grow in grace and goodness, like the grass that tarrieth not for man, but flourishes in places on which man bestows no culture, only by the divine blessing. Thus shall God, by the gospel of his grace, and the influence of his Spirit, unaided by human wisdom or power, render the barren deserts of the Gentile world fruitful to his praise, in a large increase of spiritual worshippers, and holy faithful servants to him.

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.And the remnant of Jacob - Micah (Micah 4:7), as well as Isaiah (Isaiah 10:21), had prophesied, that a remnant only should return unto the Mighty God. These, though very many in themselves, are yet but a remnant only of the unconverted mass; yet this, "the remnant, who shall be saved" Romans 9:27, who believe in Christ, "the little flock" Luke 12:32, of whom were the Apostles and their disciples, "shall be, in the midst of many people," whom they won to the faith, as John in Asia, Thomas in India, Peter in Babylon and Rome, Paul well-nigh in the whole world, what? something to be readily swallowed up by their multitude? No, but "as a dew from the Lord, as the showers from the grass, which tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men," quickening to life that, which, like soon-withered (see Psalm 102:5, Psalm 102:12; 2 Kings 19:26; Isaiah 37:27) grass, no human cultivation, no human help, could reach.

In the Gospel and the grace of Christ there are both, gentleness and might; softness, as the dew, might as of a lion. For "Wisdom reacheth from one end to another mightily; and sweetly doth she order all things" . The dew is, in Holy Scripture, a symbol of divine doctrine. "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass" Deuteronomy 32:2. The dew comes down from heaven, is of heavenly not of earthly birth, transparent, glistening with light, reflecting the hues of heaven, gentle, slight, weak in itself, refreshing, cooling the strong heats of the day (Ecclesiasticus 18:16; 43:22), consumed itself, yet thereby preserving life, falling on the dry and withered grass wherein all nature droops, and recalling it to freshness of life. And still more in those lands, where from the beginning of April to the end of October, the close of the latter and the beginning of the early rain, during all the hot months of summer, the life of all herbage depends upon the dew alone . "Showers" are so called from the "multitude" of drops, slight and of no account in themselves, descending noiselessly yet penetrating the more deeply.

So did the Apostles "bedew the souls of believers with the word of godliness and enrich them abundantly with the words of the Gospel," themselves dying, and the Church living the more through their death 2 Corinthians 4:12, quenching the fiery heat of passions, and watering the dry and barren soil, that it might bring forth fruits unto Christ. Yet, they say, "the excellency of the power was of God and not of us" 2 Corinthians 4:7. and "God gave the increase" 1 Corinthians 3:6-7. For neither was their doctrine "of man nor by man" Galatians 1:12; but it came from heaven, the Holy Spirit teaching them invisibly and making unlearned and ignorant men mighty inward and deed. Rup.: "Whence these and these alone the Church of Christ looks up to, as furnishing the rule of truth." Rib.: "The herb, upon which this dew falleth, groweth to God without any aid of man, and flourisheth, and needeth neither doctrines of philosophers, nor the rewards or praises of men."

7. remnant of Jacob—already mentioned in Mic 5:3. It in comparative smallness stands in antithesis to the "many people." Though Israel be but a remnant amidst many nations after her restoration, yet she shall exercise the same blessed influence in quickening them spiritually that the small imperceptible dew exercises in refreshing the grass (De 32:2; Ps 72:6; 110:3). The influence of the Jews restored from Babylon in making many Gentile proselytes is an earnest of a larger similar effect hereafter (Isa 66:19; Zec 8:13).

from the Lord—Israel's restoration and the consequent conversion of the Gentiles are solely of grace.

tarrieth not for man—entirely God's work, as independent of human contrivance as the dew and rains that fertilize the soil.

The remnant of Jacob; both the remnant which surviveth the sacking and burning of their city and temple, and, carried captive, live in a scattered condition; and the whole remnant, according to the election of grace, whether of Jacob after the flesh or after the Spirit.

In the midst of many people; either among the several people under the Babylonian dominion, which may well be called many, when it is said of Nebuchadnezzar, that God gave him all nations and kingdoms, Jeremiah 27:6-8; or else, amidst the nations, their neighbours, after their return and reestablishment in their own land. This remnant, wherever they are,

shall be as a dew; either subsisting and multiplying as the dew; or else, as the dew refresheth the grass, and is beneficial to it, so where this remnant is, it should be a blessing to those about them that use them friendly; so Hosea 14:5.

From the Lord; it shall be the peculiar work of God; as dew hath no other father or fountain, so the blessings on Jacob, and the blessing by him on others, shall be from the Lord. So God blesseth those that bless Abraham’s seed, Genesis 12:3. So Cyrus received his blessings, and his Persians with him, Isaiah 45:1-4.

As the showers upon the grass; the same thing in a different, but very apt expression; nations kind to Jacob should for this spring and flourish, as the grass doth by the dew and showers.

That tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men; it shall be the only work of God, he shall by his immediate hand bless such, as he alone, without the help of man, giveth dew and showers. As this was fulfilled in the type, before the gospel of the kingdom was preached to all nations, so it hath been, now is, and ever shall be fulfilled in ages to come. God’s remnant shall be a blessing to the places they live in, and the persons they live with, as Jacob was to Laban, Genesis 30:27, and Joseph was to Potiphar, and to the keeper of the prison.

The remnant of Jacob; both the remnant which surviveth the sacking and burning of their city and temple, and, carried captive, live in a scattered condition; and the whole remnant, according to the election of grace, whether of Jacob after the flesh or after the Spirit.

In the midst of many people; either among the several people under the Babylonian dominion, which may well be called many, when it is said of Nebuchadnezzar, that God gave him all nations and kingdoms, Jeremiah 27:6-8; or else, amidst the nations, their neighbours, after their return and reestablishment in their own land. This remnant, wherever they are,

shall be as a dew; either subsisting and multiplying as the dew; or else, as the dew refresheth the grass, and is beneficial to it, so where this remnant is, it should be a blessing to those about them that use them friendly; so Hosea 14:5.

From the Lord; it shall be the peculiar work of God; as dew hath no other father or fountain, so the blessings on Jacob, and the blessing by him on others, shall be from the Lord. So God blesseth those that bless Abraham’s seed, Genesis 12:3. So Cyrus received his blessings, and his Persians with him, Isaiah 45:1-4.

As the showers upon the grass; the same thing in a different, but very apt expression; nations kind to Jacob should for this spring and flourish, as the grass doth by the dew and showers.

That tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men; it shall be the only work of God, he shall by his immediate hand bless such, as he alone, without the help of man, giveth dew and showers. As this was fulfilled in the type, before the gospel of the kingdom was preached to all nations, so it hath been, now is, and ever shall be fulfilled in ages to come. God’s remnant shall be a blessing to the places they live in, and the persons they live with, as Jacob was to Laban, Genesis 30:27, and Joseph was to Potiphar, and to the keeper of the prison.

And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people,.... The Jews, who will be converted in the latter day, the remnant of them according to the election of grace, as well as all true Israelites, whether Jews or Gentiles, the Lord's chosen and peculiar people; who, though but a small number in comparison of others, and mean and contemptible in the eyes of men, are such as God has made a reserve of for himself; and these, though not of the world, yet are in the world, and will be in the several parts of it, but a distinct people from it, and of no account in it; nevertheless will be visible in it, and wonderfully preserved in the midst of it: and will be

as a dew from the Lord; both with respect to themselves, being like to dew for the generation of it, which is from above, from heaven, and of God, as their regeneration is; and which secretly and silently falls as the grace of God in regeneration does; and for the number of the drops of it, which are not to be reckoned; and so numerous are the people of God, at least they will be in the latter day, when Christ shall again have the dew of his youth; or such a number of converts, as will be like the drops of the morning dew; as also for the favour, grace, and blessings of God upon them, which are as the dew; and which he himself is as that unto them, so that they themselves are as dew from him, being indulged with his favour; which, as the dew is entirely free, very softening, cooling, and refreshing, as well as fructifying; and having the dews of his grace, or the blessings of it, falling upon them in plenty; see Hosea 14:5; and with respect to others, among whom they are, and to whom they are as the dew, by their speech, their doctrine, the word ministered by then), which distils like the dew, Deuteronomy 32:26; and by their good works, which are profitable unto men; and by their soft and gentle behaviour towards them; and by reason of the many outward blessings they enjoy through them, as Laban did for the sake of Jacob, and Potiphar on the account of Josiah:

as the showers upon the grass; which revive, refresh it, and cause it to grow and flourish; or they are like grass, on which the showers fall, and grow up as such in great numbers, and with great verdure and fruitfulness, Psalm 72:16;

that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men; which seems to be connected with the dew, though it agrees with both dew and rain, which stay not for men's desires or deserts, but descend according to the will of God: and as this regards the people of God, either with respect to themselves; it shows that as they are, as the dew, or as showers and clouds full of rain, either of grace or doctrine compared thereunto; they are not of themselves so, or of men, but of God; and that their dependence is not upon the creature, but upon the Lord for support and supply:, and with respect to others, to whom they are beneficial by their doctrine and works; that it is all from the Lord, and owing to his goodness, which makes them a blessing round about unasked and undeserved; see Ezekiel 34:26. It may have respect to plenty of Gospel ministers, whose doctrine is as the dew; and which, being attended with the power and Spirit of God, waits not for anything in man, but operates at once secretly and powerfully.

And the {i} remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.

(i) This remnant or Church which God will deliver will only depend on God's power and defence (as does the grass of the field), and not on the hope of man.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. many people] Rather, many peoples. See Micah 4:11; Micah 4:13.

as the showers upon the grass] ‘The grass withereth, the flower fadeth’ (Isaiah 40:7) is the prophet’s exclamation on the extinction of mighty empires. But there is no inherent necessity for the death of nations; Israel is the ‘dew,’ the fertilizing rain, of the nations, as the Church is elsewhere described as their ‘salt’ (Matthew 5:13).

that tarrieth not for man] Man can neither help nor hinder the works of God in nature; and the initial reluctance of the heathen shall be no bar to the blessed influence of Israel.

7, 8. The twofold operation of the Messiah’s people.—Israel is a precious and powerful instrument given by God to mankind. In a certain sense, he is a Messiah, because specially chosen to set an example of obedience to God’s laws (Exodus 19:5-6), and to preach His religion to the Gentiles (Micah 4:2), and because the pious kernel of the nation is mystically united to Him who is preeminently the Messiah. Christ (‘the Christ’), as we know from Luke 2:34, was ‘set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel,’ and so too the people of Israel, regarded as a Messiah or Messianic agent, has a twofold influence on the neighbouring peoples, comparable on the one hand to the softly-falling, beneficent dew, and on the other to the fierce, destructive lion. (The same antithesis of figures occurs in Proverbs 19:12.)

Verses 7-9. - § 10. The people under Messiah's rule have a mission to execute; they are to be not only conquerors, but saviours also. Verse 7. - First, Israel in God's hands shall be an instrument of life and health to the nations. The remnant of Jacob. The faithful, Messianic Israel, as Micah 4:7; Isaiah 10:21. Many people; rather; many peoples (Micah 4:11, 13); so in ver. 8. The LXX. inserts ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, "among the nations," as in ver. 8. As a dew from the Lord. Converted Israel shall act as Messiah himself in refreshing and stimulating the nations. Receiving grace from him, she shall diffuse it to others. (For the metaphor of dew thus used, comp. Deuteronomy 32:2; Hosea 14:6.) It is especially appropriate in a country where from May to October the life of herbage depends chiefly on the copious dews (comp. Genesis 27:28; Deuteronomy 33:13, 28; Haggai 1:10). As the showers upon the grass. The dew is called "showers" as appearing to descend in a multitude of drops. That tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. This refers to the dew, which is wholly the gift of God, and is not artificially supplied by man's labour, as Egypt is "watered by the foot" (Deuteronomy 11:10). So grace is God's free, unmerited gift, and will come upon the nation! in his good time and way. The LXX. has here a curious rendering, Καὶ ὡς ἄρνες ἐπὶ ἄγρωστιν ὅπως μὴ συναχθῇ μηδεὶς μηδὲ ὑποστῇ ἐν υἱοῖς ἀνθρώπων, which Jerome explains of the obdurate Gentiles who continue in unbelief, "as lambs upon the grass, that none may assemble nor withstand among the sons of men." Micah 5:7But the Messiah will prove Himself to be peace to His people, not only by the fact that He protects and saves it from the attacks of the imperial power represented by Asshur, but also by the fact that He endows His rescuing people with the power to overcome their enemies, both spiritually and bodily also. Micah 5:7. "And the remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many nations like dew from Jehovah, like drops of rain upon grass, which tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for children of men. Micah 5:8. And the remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many nations, like the lion among the beasts of the forest, like the young lion among the flocks of sheep; which, when it goes through, treads down, and tears in pieces, without deliverer. Micah 5:9. High be thy hand above thine oppressors, and may all thine enemies be rooted out." Two things are predicted here. In the first place (Micah 5:7), Israel will come upon many nations, like a refreshing dew from Jehovah, which falls plentifully in drops upon the grass, and will produce and promote new and vigorous life among them. Dew is here, as indeed everywhere else, a figurative expression for refreshing, stimulating, enlivening (cf. Psalm 110:3; Psalm 133:3, and Psalm 72:6; Hosea 14:6; Deuteronomy 33:2). The spiritual dew, which Jacob will bring to the nations, comes from Jehovah, and falls in rich abundance without the cooperation of men. Without the spiritual dew from above, the nations are grass (cf. Isaiah 40:6-8). אשׁר before לא יקוּה does not refer to עשׂב, but to the principal idea of the preceding clause, viz., to טל, to which the explanatory כּרביבים וגו is subordinate. As the falling of the dew in rain-drops upon the grass does not depend upon the waiting of men, but proceeds from Jehovah; so will the spiritual blessing, which will flow over from Israel upon the nations, not depend upon the waiting of the nations, but will flow to them against and beyond their expectation. This does not deny the fact that the heathen wait for the salvation of Jehovah, but simply expresses the thought that the blessings will not be measured by their expectation. Secondly (Micah 5:8, Micah 5:9), the rescued Israel will prove itself a terrible power among the nations, and one to which they will be obliged to succumb. No proof is needed that Micah 5:8, Micah 5:9 do not state in what way Israel will refresh the heathen, as Hitzig supposes. The refreshing dew and the rending lion cannot possibly be synonymous figures. The similarity of the introduction to Micah 5:7 and Micah 5:8 points of itself to something new. To the nations Christ is set for the rising and falling of many (compare Luke 2:34; Romans 9:33, with Isaiah 8:14 and Isaiah 28:16). The people of God shows itself like a lion, trampling and rending the sheep among the nations of the world which oppose its beneficent work. And over these may it triumph. This wish (târōm is optative) closes the promise of the attitude which Israel will assume among the nations of the world. For târōm yâd (high be the hand), compare Isaiah 26:11. High is the hand which accomplishes mighty deeds, which smites and destroys the foe.
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