Micah 6:1
Hear you now what the LORD said; Arise, contend you before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
VI.

(1) Hear ye now what the Lord saith.—The third portion of Micah’s prophecy opens with a solemn appeal to Nature to hear the Lord pleading with His people. A similar summons is found in Deuteronomy 32:1 : “Give ear, O ye heavens, and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.”

Micah 6:1-2. Hear now what the Lord saith — Here begins a new discourse, respecting the causes of the evils which hung over the Jewish nation. Arise — This is God’s command to Micah; contend thou before the mountains — Argue the case between God and thy people; and speak as if thou wouldest make the mountains hear thee, to testify for me. Hear, O ye mountains — God often appeals to inanimate creatures for the justice of his proceedings, thereby to upbraid the stupidity of men; the Lord’s controversy — Or the Lord’s cause or matter of complaint. Here the prophet begins to execute what he had been commanded in the preceding verse. And ye strong foundations of the earth — He alludes to a fabric raised on immoveable foundations, but, strictly speaking,

“The earth self-balanced on her centre hangs.”

For the Lord hath a controversy with his people — He will enter into judgment with them, for their impieties, as being injurious to his honour, and for which his justice demands satisfaction.6:1-5 The people are called upon to declare why they were weary of God's worship, and prone to idolatry. Sin causes the controversy between God and man. God reasons with us, to teach us to reason with ourselves. Let them remember God's many favours to them and their fathers, and compare with them their unworthy, ungrateful conduct toward him.Hear ye now what the Lord saith - If ye will not hear the rebuke of man, hear now at last the word of God. "Arise thou, Micah." The prophet was not willing to be the herald of woe to his people; but had to arise at the bidding of God, that he might not "be rebellious like that rebellious house" Ezekiel 2:8. Stand up; as one having all authority to rebuke, and daunted by none. He muses the hearer, as shewing it to be a very grave urgent matter, to be done promptly, urgently, without delay. "Contend thou before (better, as in the English margin with) the mountains." Since man, who had reason, would not use his reason, God calls the mountains and hills, who Romans 8:20 unwillingly, as it were, had been the scenes of their idolatry, as if he would say (Lap.), "Insensate though ye be, ye are more sensible than Israel, whom I endowed with sense; for ye feel the voice and command of God your Creator and obey Him; they do not. I cite you, to represent your guilty inhabitants, that, through you, they may hear My complaint to be just, and own themselves guilty, repent, and ask forgiveness." "The altars and idols, the blood of the sacrifices, the bones and ashes upon them, with unuttered yet clear voice, spoke of the idolatry and guilt of the Jews, and so pronounced God's charge and expostulation to be just. Ezekiel is bidden, in like way, to prophesy against "the mountains of Israel Ezekiel 6:2-5, "I will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places, and your altars shall be desolate." : "Lifeless nature without voice tells the glory of God; without ears it hears what the Lord speaks." Psalm 19:3; Luke 19:40. CHAPTER 6

Mic 6:1-16. Appeal before All Creation to the Israelites to Testify, if They Can, if Jehovah Ever Did Aught but Acts of Kindness to Them from the Earliest Period: God Requires of Them Not So Much Sacrifices, as Real Piety and Justice: Their Impieties and Coming Punishment.

1. contend thou—Israel is called by Jehovah to plead with Him in controversy. Mic 5:11-13 suggested the transition from those happy times described in the fourth and fifth chapters, to the prophet's own degenerate times and people.

before the mountains—in their presence; personified as if witnesses (compare Mic 1:2; De 32:1; Isa 1:2). Not as the Margin, "with"; as God's controversy is with Israel, not with them.God’s controversy with his people for ingratitude, Micah 6:1-5. What service is acceptable to him, Micah 6:6-9. He reproveth them for their injustice, Micah 6:10-15, and idolatry, Micah 6:16.

Hear ye: see Micah 1:2.

Now; whilst the Lord is willing to debate with you, before it be too late for you.

What the Lord saith: though it is a man like yourselves who speaketh, yet he comes from the Lord, and with the Lord’s message, and it is the Lord who speaketh by Micah.

Arise: this is God’s command to Micah, who is bidden to arise; so Jonah, Micah 1:2, See Poole "Jonah 1:2". Prophets, as other men, could be content to sit at ease, and neither be troubled by others or troublesome to others; and perhaps the little success of Micah’s preaching had occasioned him to retire and sit down; now God rouseth him, Get up, prepare thyself, contend thou; plead, Micah, the present cause, argue the case that is between thy God plaintiff, and thy people delinquents.

Before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice; plead openly, vehemently, let there be witnesses to hear the case, which is so clear on God’s side, and so full against thy people, that the very mountains and hills, on which they have sinned against me notoriously, on which I have blessed them abundantly, had they eyes, and ears, and voice, would testify that I have planted them with vines, olives, fig trees, and clothed them with grass and flocks, and stored them with springs, and beautified them with cedars, oaks, and all pleasant trees of the forest; this I have done upon the mountains and hills for my people, and there they have made their groves, set up their idols, sacrificed to devils, and committed other lewdnesses not to be named. O Micah, speak as if thou wouldst make mountains hear thee to testify for me, Deu 32:1 Isaiah 1:2.

Hear ye now what the Lord saith,.... Here begins a new discourse, and with an address of the prophet to the people of Israel, to hear what the Lord had to say to them by way of reproof for their sins now, as they had heard before many great and precious promises concerning the Messiah, and the happiness of the church in future time; to hear what the Lord now said to them by the prophet, and what he said to the prophet himself, as follows:

arise; O Prophet Micah, and do thine office; sit not still, nor indulge to sloth and ease; show readiness, diligence, activity, zeal, and courage in my service, and in carrying a message from me to my people:

contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice; open the cause depending between me and my people; state the case between us before the mountains and hills; and exert thyself, and lift up thy voice loudly, and with so much vehemence, that, if it was possible, the very mountains and hills might hear thee; the Lord hereby suggests that they would as soon hear as his people; thus upbraiding their stupidity, as he elsewhere does; see Isaiah 1:2. Kimchi and Ben Melech render it, to the mountains, which is much to the same sense with our version; call and summon them as witnesses in this cause; let the pleadings be made before them, and let them be judges in this matter; as they might be both for God, and against his people: the mountains and hills clothed with grass, and covered with flocks and herds; or set with all manner of fruit trees, vines, olives, and figs; or adorned with goodly cedars, oaks, and elms; were witnesses of the goodness of God unto them, and the same could testify against them; and, had they mouths to speak, could declare the abominations committed on them; how upon every high mountain and hill, and under every green tree, they had been guilty of idolatry. The Targum, and many versions (q), render it, "with the mountains"; and the Vulgate Latin version, and others, "against the mountains" (r); the inhabitants of Judea, that being a mountainous country, especially some parts of it. Some by "mountains" understand the great men of the land, king, princes, nobles; and, by "hills", lesser magistrates, with whom the Lord's controversy chiefly was; they not discharging their offices aright, nor setting good examples to the people. Some copies of the Targum, as the king of Spain's Bible, paraphrase it,

"judge or contend with the fathers, and let the mothers hear thy voice;''

which Kimchi thus explains, as if it was said, let the fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the mothers Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah, hear what their children hath rendered to the Lord; let them be, as it were, called out of their graves to hear the ill requital made to the Lord for all his goodness.

(q) "cum istis montiibus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Tarnovius; "cum montibus", Montanus, Munster, Cocceius, Burkius. (r) "Adversum montes", V. L. Grotius.

Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the {a} mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.

(a) He took the high mountains and hard rocks as witnesses against the obstinacy of his people.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1–5. The first part of a controversy between Jehovah and His people

1. before the mountains] The mountains have witnessed all Israel’s past history, the favours conferred upon him, and his base return. Comp. Deuteronomy 32:1, Isaiah 1:2.Verse 1-ch. 7:20. - Part III. In this address, which is later than the preceding parts, the prophet sets forth the way of salvation: PUNISHMENT IS THE CONSEQUENCE OF SIN; REPENTANCE IS THE ONLY GROUND FOR HOPE OF PARTICIPATING IN THE COVENANT MERCIES. Verses 1-5. - 1. God's controversy with his people for their ingratitude. Verse 1. - Hear ye now. The whole nation is addressed and bidden to give heed to God's pleading. Arise, contend thou. These are God's words to Micah, bidding him put himself in his people's place, and plead as advocate before the great inanimate tribunal. Before the mountains; i.e. in the presence of the everlasting hills, which have as it were witnessed God's gracious dealings with his people from old time and Israel's long ingratitude (comp. Micah 1:2). To strengthen this threat, Amos proceeds, in Amos 9:5, Amos 9:6, to describe Jehovah as the Lord of heaven and earth, who sends judgments upon the earth with omnipotent power. Amos 9:5. "And the Lord Jehovah of hosts, who toucheth the earth, and it melteth, and all the inhabitants of thereupon mourn; and the whole of it riseth like the Nile, and sinketh like the Nile of Egypt. Amos 9:6. Who buildeth His stories in heaven, and His vault, over the earth hath He founded it; who calleth to the waters of the sea, and poureth them out over the earth: Jehovah is His name." This description of God, who rules with omnipotence, is appended, as in Amos 4:13 and Amos 5:8, without any link of connection whatever. We must not render it, "The Lord Jehovah of hosts is He who toucheth the earth;" but we must supply the connecting thought, "And He who thus directeth His eye upon you is the Lord Jehovah of hosts, who toucheth the earth, and it melteth." The melting or dissolving of the earth is, according to Psalm 46:7, an effect produced by the Lord, who makes His voice heard in judgments, or "the destructive effect of the judgments of God, whose instruments the conquerors are" (Hengstenberg), when nations reel and kingdoms totter. The Lord therefore touches the earth, so that it melts, when He dissolves the stability of the earth by great judgments (cf. Psalm 75:4). "Israel could not fail to test the truth of these words by painful experience, when the wild hordes of Assyria poured themselves over the western parts of Asia" (Hengstenberg). The following words, depicting the dissolution of the earth, are repeated, with very inconsiderable alterations, from Amos 8:8; we have merely the omission of ונגרשׁה, and the kal שׁקעה substituted for the niphal נשׁקה. In Amos 9:6 there is evidently an allusion to the flood. God, who is enthroned in heaven, in the cloud-towers built above the circle of the earth, possesses the power to pour the waves of the sea over the earth by His simple word. Ma‛ălōth is synonymous with עליּות in Psalm 104:3 : upper rooms, lit., places to which one has to ascend. 'Aguddâh, an arch or vault: that which is called râqı̄ă‛, the firmament, in other places. The heaven, in which God builds His stories, is the heaven of clouds; and the vault, according to Genesis 1:7, is the firmament of heaven, which divided the water above the firmament from the water beneath it. Consequently the upper rooms of God are the waters above the firmament, in or out of which God builds His stories (Psalm 104:3), i.e., the cloud-tower above the horizon of the earth, which is raised above it like a vault. Out of this cloud-castle the rain pours down (Psalm 104:13); and out of its open windows the waters of the flood poured down, and overflowed the earth (Genesis 7:11). When God calls to the waters of the sea, they pour themselves over the surface of the earth. The waves of the sea are a figurative representation of the agitated multitude of nations, or of the powers of the world, which pour their waves over the kingdom of God (see at Amos 7:4).
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