Micah 6:11
Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) Shall I count them pure?—Rather, Can I be innocent with the deceitful balances? The enactments about weights were very stringently expressed in the Law, both affirmatively and negatively: e.g., in Leviticus 19:35-36, “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have.” And, “thou shalt not have in thy house divers weights,” . . . and “divers measures, a great and small” (Deuteronomy 25:13-14).

6:9-16 God, having showed how necessary it was that they should do justly, here shows how plain it was that they had done unjustly. This voice of the Lord says to all, Hear the rod when it is coming, before you see it, and feel it. Hear the rod when it is come, and you are sensible of the smart; hear what counsels, what cautions it speaks. The voice of God is to be heard in the rod of God. Those who are dishonest in their dealings shall never be reckoned pure, whatever shows of devotion they may make. What is got by fraud and oppression, cannot be kept or enjoyed with satisfaction. What we hold closest we commonly lose soonest. Sin is a root of bitterness, soon planted, but not soon plucked up again. Their being the people of God in name and profession, while they kept themselves in his love, was an honour to them; but now, being backsliders, their having been once the people of God turns to their reproach.Shall I count them pure? - Rather, (as the English margin) "Shall I be pure?" The prophet takes for the time their person and bids them judge themselves in him. If it would defile me, how are ye, with all your other sins, not defiled? All these things were expressly forbidden in the law. "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in mete-yard, in weight or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah and a just him, shall ye have" Leviticus 19:35-36; and, "Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteousness are an abomination unto the Lord thy God" (Deuteronomy 25:13, Deuteronomy 25:15-16, add Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11; Proverbs 20:10). Yet are not these things common even now? 11. Shall I count them pure—literally, "Shall I be pure with?" &c. With the pure God shows Himself pure; but with the froward God shows Himself froward (Ps 18:26). Men often are changeable in their judgments. But God, in the case of the impure who use "wicked balances," cannot be pure, that is, cannot deal with them as He would with the pure. Vatablus and Henderson make the "I" to be "any one"; "Can I (that is, one) be innocent with wicked balances?" But as "I," in Mic 6:13, refers to Jehovah, it must refer to Him also here.

the bag—in which weights used to be carried, as well as money (De 25:13; Pr 16:11).

Shall I? it may have some reference to the prophet, as speaking of himself, appointed of God to be a reprover and impartial censurer of the sins of this people; When I am so to judge of them by their doings, shall I flatter them, and say they are better than they are? but it better refers to God himself.

Count them pure; approve, justify, or acquit them, as if they were righteous, and not worthy to be punished? Shall I let them escape who are such unjust persons? This question implieth a strong negation.

The wicked balances: this kind is put for all the rest, wherewith things bought and sold were apportioned, and by which buyers and sellers were ascertained how much they bought.

The bag; in which they both kept their weights at home, and carried them about with them.

Deceitful weights, Heb. stones of deceit; they did (as in many places with us men do) use stones for weights, and this unjust people did cheat both at home and abroad, both the balance and its weights were deceitful, and condemned, Leviticus 19:35,36 Deu 25:13-16.

Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances,.... These are the words either of the prophet, or rather of God, signifying that he could not, and would not, allow, countenance, and approve of persons that used false scales or balances; or justify and reckon them just, as they would be thought to be, but condemn them, and pronounce them very wicked men, and deserving of punishment here and hereafter:

and with the bag of deceitful weights? or "stones" (o); which were used in weighing goods, and which were deceitful, when a heavier was used in buying, and a lighter in selling. So the Targum,

"and with the bag, in which are weights greater and lesser;''

condemned in Deuteronomy 25:13.

(o) "lapidum doli", Piscator; "lapidum fraudis", Montanus.

Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. Shall I count them pure …] This rendering is barely defensible, even if we alter the vowel-points. It was dictated by the very natural feeling that the speaker ought to be the same person as in Micah 6:10. Keil thinks that the reading of the Hebrew text may be justified, if we suppose the speaker to be the prophet speaking as the representative of the human conscience. The text-reading is, Can I be pure, &c., which, according to this commentator, means ‘Can a man be pure?’ It is simpler, however, and in accordance with what we know of the confusions of Hebrew pronunciation, to follow the Septuagint, the Peshito, and the Targum, and restore the third person instead of the first; unless, looking at Micah 6:12, we prefer to read the verb in the second person, ‘Canst thou (O Jerusalem) be pure.’ For the prophet continues, ‘The rich men thereof’ (i.e. of Jerusalem).

Verse 11. - Shall I count them pure? literally, Shall I be pure? The clause is obscure. The Authorized Version regards the speaker as the same as in ver. 10, and translates with some violence to the text. It may be that the prophet speaks as the representative of the awakened transgressor, "Can I be guiltless with such deceit about me?" But the sudden change of personification and of state of feeling is very harsh. Hence some follow Jerome in regarding God as the speaker, and rendering, "Shall I justify the wicked balance?" others, the Septuagint, Syriac, and Chaldee, Αἰ δικαιωθήσεται ἐν ζυγῷ ἄνομος; "Shall the wicked be justified by the balance?" Cheyne is inclined to read the verb in the second person, "Canst thou (O Jerusalem) be pure?" since in the next verse the prophet proceeds, "the rich men thereof" (i.e. of Jerusalem). If we retain the present reading, "Can I be innocent?" we must consider the question as put, for effect's sake, in the mouth of one of the rich oppressors. Jerome's translation is contrary to the use of the verb, which is always intransitive in kal. Micah 6:11The threatening words commence in Micah 6:10; Micah 6:10-12 containing a condemnation of the prevailing sins. Micah 6:10. "Are there yet in the house of the unjust treasures of injustice, and the ephah of consumption, the cursed one? Micah 6:11. Can I be clean with the scale of injustice, and with a purse with stones of deceit? Micah 6:12. That their rich men are full of wickedness, and their inhabitants speak deceit, and their tongue is falseness in their mouth." The reproof is dressed up in the form of a question. In the question in Micah 6:10 the emphasis is laid upon the עוד, which stands for that very reason before the interrogative particle, as in Genesis 19:12, the only other place in which this occurs. אשׁ, a softened form for ישׁ, as in 2 Samuel 14:19. Treasures of wickedness are treasures acquired through wickedness or acts of injustice. The meaning of the question is not, Are the unjust treasures not yet removed out of the house, not yet distributed again? but, as Micah 6:10 and Micah 6:11 require, Does the wicked man still bring such treasures into the house? does he still heap up such treasures in his house? The question is affirmative, and the form of a question is chosen to sharpen the conscience, as the unjust men to whom it is addressed cannot deny it. איפת רזון, ephah of consumption or hungriness, analogous to the German expression "a hungry purse," is too small an ephah (cf. Deuteronomy 25:14; Amos 8:5); the opposite of א שׁלמה (Deuteronomy 25:15) or א צדק (Leviticus 19:36), which the law prescribed. Hence Micah calls it זעוּמה equals זעוּם יהוה in Proverbs 22:14, that which is smitten by the wrath of God (equivalent to cursed; cf. Numbers 23:7; Proverbs 24:24). Whoever has not a full ephah is, according to Deuteronomy 25:16, an abomination to the Lord. If these questions show the people that they do not answer to the demands made by the Lord in Micah 6:8, the questions in Micah 6:11 also teach that, with this state of things, they cannot hold themselves guiltless. The speaker inquires, from the standpoint of his own moral consciousness, whether he can be pure, i.e., guiltless, if he uses deceitful scales and weights, - a question to which every one must answer No. It is difficult, however, to decide who the questioner is. As Micah 6:9 announces words of God, and in Micah 6:10 God is speaking, and also in Micah 6:12, Micah 6:13, it appears as though Jehovah must be the questioner here. But אזכּה does not tally with this. Jerome therefore adopts the rendering numquid justificabo stateram impiam; but זכה in the kal has only the meaning to be pure, and even in the piel it is not used in the sense of niqqh, to acquit. This latter fact is sufficient to overthrow the proposal to alter the reading into piel. Moreover, "the context requires the thought that the rich men fancy they can be pure with deceitful weights, and a refutation of this delusive idea" (Caspari). Consequently the prophet only can raise this question, namely as the representative of the moral consciousness; and we must interpret this transition, which is so sudden and abrupt to our ears, by supplying the thought, "Let every one ask himself," Can I, etc. Instead of רשׁע we have the more definite mirmh in the parallel clause. Scales and a bag with stones belong together; 'ăbhanı̄m are the stone weights (cf. Leviticus 19:36; Deuteronomy 25:13) which were carried in a bag (Proverbs 16:11). In Micah 6:12 the condemnation of injustice is widened still further. Whereas in the first clause the rich men of the capital (the suffix pointing back to עיר in Micah 6:9), who are also to be thought of in Micah 6:10, are expressly mentioned, in the second clause the inhabitants generally are referred to. And whilst the rich are not only charged with injustice or fraud in trade, but with châmâs, violence of every kind, the inhabitants are charged with lying and deceit of the tongue. Leshōnâm (their tongue) is not placed at the head absolutely, in the sense of "As for their tongue, deceit is," etc. Such an emphasis as this is precluded by the fact that the preceding clause, "speaking lies," involves the use of the tongue. Leshōnâm is the simple subject: Their tongue is deceit or falsehood in their mouth; i.e., their tongue is so full of deceit, that it is, so to speak, resolved into it. Both clauses express the thought, that "the inhabitants of Jerusalem are a population of liars and cheats" (Hitzig). The connection in which the verse stands, or the true explanation of אשׁר, has been a matter of dispute. We must reject both the combination of Micah 6:12 and Micah 6:13 ("Because their rich men, etc., therefore I also," etc.), and also the assumption that Micah 6:12 contains the answer to the question in Micah 6:10, and that אשׁר precedes the direct question (Hitzig): the former, because Micah 6:12 obviously forms the conclusion to the reproof, and must be separated from what precedes it; the latter, because the question in Micah 6:11 stands between Micah 6:10 and Micah 6:12, which is closely connected with Micah 6:10, and Micah 6:12 also contains no answer to Micah 6:10, so far as the thought is concerned, even if the latter actually required an answer. We must rather take אשׁר as a relative, as Caspari does, and understand the verse as an exclamation, which the Lord utters in anger over the city: "She, whose rich men are full," etc. "Angry persons generally prefer to speak of those who have excited their wrath, instead of addressing their words to them."
Links
Micah 6:11 Interlinear
Micah 6:11 Parallel Texts


Micah 6:11 NIV
Micah 6:11 NLT
Micah 6:11 ESV
Micah 6:11 NASB
Micah 6:11 KJV

Micah 6:11 Bible Apps
Micah 6:11 Parallel
Micah 6:11 Biblia Paralela
Micah 6:11 Chinese Bible
Micah 6:11 French Bible
Micah 6:11 German Bible

Bible Hub








Micah 6:10
Top of Page
Top of Page