Micah 6:14
You shall eat, but not be satisfied; and your casting down shall be in the middle of you; and you shall take hold, but shall not deliver; and that which you deliver will I give up to the sword.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Thy casting down.—The Hebrew word is found only in this passage. It comes from an unused root, meaning to be void, empty. Hence it may be translated hunger.

Thou shalt take hold.—Thou shalt collect thy property for flight, to save it from the enemy; but in vain: it shall be captured.

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.Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied - The correspondence of the punishment with the sin shall shew that it is not by chance, but from the just judgment of God. The curse of God shall go with what they eat, and it shall not nourish them. The word, thou, is thrice repeated . As God had just said, I too, so here, Thou. Thou, the same who hast plundered others, shalt thyself eat, and not be satisfied; "thou shalt sow, and not reap; thou shalt tread the olive, and thou shalt not anoint thee with oil." "Upon extreme but ill-gotten abundance, there followeth extreme want. And whose," adds one, , "seeth not this in our ways and our times is absolutely blind. For in no period have we ever read that there was so much gold and silver, or so much discomfort and indigence, so that those most true words of Christ Jesus seem to have been especially spoken of us, "Take heed, for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" Luke 12:15. And is not this true of us now?

Thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee - Where thou hast laid up thy treasures, or rather thy wickedness, there thou shalt sink down, or give way, from inward decay, in the very center of thy wealth and thy sin. They had said, "Is not the Lord in the midst of us? None evil can come upon us" Micah 3:11. Micah tells them of a different indweller. God had departed from them, and left them to their inherent nothingness. God had been their stay; without God, human strength collapses. Scarcely any destruction is altogether hopeless save that which cometh from within. Most storms pass over, tear off boughs and leaves, but the stem remains. inward decay or excision alone are humanly irrecoverable. The political death of the people was, in God's hands, to be the instrument of their regeneration.

Morally too, and at all times, inward emptiness is the fruit of unrighteous fullness. It is disease, not strength; as even pagan proverbs said; "the love of money is a dropsy; to drink increaseth the thirst," and "amid mighty wealth, poor;" and Holy Scripture, "The rich He sendeth empty away" (Luke 1:53, compare 1 Samuel 2:5). "And truly they must be empty. For what can fill the soul, save God?" Rib.: "This is true too of such as, like the Bishop of Sardis, 'have a name that they live and are dead' Revelation 3:1," Dionysius, "such as do some things good, feed on the word of God, but attain to no fruit of righteousness;" "who corrupt natural and seeming good by inward decay; who appear righteous before men, are active and zealous for good ends, but spoil all by some secret sin or wrong end, as vain-glory or praise of men, whereby they lose the praise of God. Their casting down shall be in the midst of them. The meaning of the whole is the same, whether the word be rendered casting down, that is, downfall (literally, sinking down) or emptiness, especially of the stomach, perhaps from the feeling of "sinking."

Thou shalt take hold - To rescue or remove to a safe place from the enemy, those whom he would take from thee, "but shalt not" wholly deliver; "and that which thou deliverest for a time, will I give up to the sword," that is, the children for whose sake they pleaded that they got together this wealth; as, now too, the idols, for whose sake men toil wrongly all their life, are often suddenly taken away. Their goods too may be said to be given to the sword, that is, to the enemy.

14. eat … not be satisfied—fulfiling the threat, Le 26:26.

thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee—Thou shalt be cast down, not merely on My borders, but in the midst of thee, thy metropolis and temple being overthrown [Tirinus]. Even though there should be no enemy, yet thou shalt be consumed with intestine evils [Calvin]. Maurer translates as from an Arabic root, "there shall be emptiness in thy belly." Similarly Grotius, "there shall be a sinking of thy belly (once filled with food), through hunger." This suits the parallelism to the first clause. But English Version maintains the parallelism sufficiently. The casting down in the midst of the land, including the failure of food, through the invasion thus answering to, "Thou shalt eat, and not be satisfied."

thou shalt take hold, but … not deliver—Thou shalt take hold (with thine arms), in order to save [Calvin] thy wives, children and goods. Maurer, from a different root, translates, "thou shalt remove them," in order to save them from the foe. But thou shalt fail in the attempt to deliver them (Jer 50:37).

that which thou deliverest—If haply thou dost rescue aught, it will be for a time: I will give it up to the foe's sword.

Thou shalt eat; both literally and figuratively taken, for using what they have. So God threatens, Leviticus 26:26. So God did punish the Jews, See Poole "Hag 1.6". But not be satisfied; not be filled with sweetness or strength in the eating, or using of what thou hast; thy sins shall bring either bitterness or insufficiency upon all thou hast, by both all shall be made useless to thee.

Thy casting down; thy destruction, partly by thy dissensions, conspiracies, and violences within thyself, and partly by the enemies breaking in upon thee, and bringing the war into thine own bowels.

Shall be in the midst of thee; thou shalt be weakened at home by thine own hands, and be wasted utterly by thine enemy, besieging thee in thy cities, and taking them.

Thou shalt take hold: though there is some variety of readings here, yet the plainest and most obvious sense is as we render it, whether you refer this laying hold to persons, as wife, children, or friends, whom (though they endeavour to save out of the enemies’ hand, yet) they shall not be able to save; or if referred to things, goods, their most valuable and most portable goods and wealth: as men in distress and fleeing out of the reach of enemies, pack up their best movables, lay hold on their children, and carry them away into some remoter place, or strong hold; so it is likely this people did when invaded, Jeremiah 35:11.

But shalt not deliver: where thou lodgest thy children, and layest up thy wealth thither the enemy shall pursue thee, there besiege thee and thine; or if thou flee into other countries, it shall not be a safe refuge to thee.

That which thou deliverest; which thou dost for a little while, for a few weeks or months, preserve from the enemy, that thou thinkest is safe.

Will I give up, by unexpected and unthought of accidents to you, yet guided by the unerring and unresistible hand of Divine wisdom and power; shall be given up, fall into the hands of enemies, so that any considerate eye may see God’s hand in it.

To the sword; to be cut off by either domestic and civil wars, or by the invading, conquering, and wasting troops of the Assyrians.

Thou shalt eat; both literally and figuratively taken, for using what they have. So God threatens, Leviticus 26:26. So God did punish the Jews, See Poole "Hag 1.6". But not be satisfied; not be filled with sweetness or strength in the eating, or using of what thou hast; thy sins shall bring either bitterness or insufficiency upon all thou hast, by both all shall be made useless to thee.

Thy casting down; thy destruction, partly by thy dissensions, conspiracies, and violences within thyself, and partly by the enemies breaking in upon thee, and bringing the war into thine own bowels.

Shall be in the midst of thee; thou shalt be weakened at home by thine own hands, and be wasted utterly by thine enemy, besieging thee in thy cities, and taking them.

Thou shalt take hold: though there is some variety of readings here, yet the plainest and most obvious sense is as we render it, whether you refer this laying hold to persons, as wife, children, or friends, whom (though they endeavour to save out of the enemies’ hand, yet) they shall not be able to save; or if referred to things, goods, their most valuable and most portable goods and wealth: as men in distress and fleeing out of the reach of enemies, pack up their best movables, lay hold on their children, and carry them away into some remoter place, or strong hold; so it is likely this people did when invaded, Jeremiah 35:11.

But shalt not deliver: where thou lodgest thy children, and layest up thy wealth thither the enemy shall pursue thee, there besiege thee and thine; or if thou flee into other countries, it shall not be a safe refuge to thee.

That which thou deliverest; which thou dost for a little while, for a few weeks or months, preserve from the enemy, that thou thinkest is safe.

Will I give up, by unexpected and unthought of accidents to you, yet guided by the unerring and unresistible hand of Divine wisdom and power; shall be given up, fall into the hands of enemies, so that any considerate eye may see God’s hand in it.

To the sword; to be cut off by either domestic and civil wars, or by the invading, conquering, and wasting troops of the Assyrians. Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied,.... Either not having enough to eat, for the refreshing and satisfying of nature; or else a blessing being withheld from food, though eaten, and so not nourishing; or a voracious and insatiable appetite being given as a curse; the first sense seems best:

and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; meaning they should be humbled and brought down, either by civil discords and wars among themselves, or through the enemy being suffered to come into the midst of their country, and make havoc there; which would be as a sickness and disease in their bowels. So the Targum,

"thou shalt have an illness in thy bowels.''

The Syriac version is,

"a dysentery shall be in thine intestines;''

a secret judgment wasting and destroying them;

and thou shall take hold, but shall not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword; the sense is, that they should take hold of their wives and children, and endeavour to save them from the sword of the enemy, and being carried captive: or should "remove" them (p), as the word is sometimes used, in order to secure them from them; or should "overtake" (q); the enemy, carrying them captive; but should not be able by either of these methods to save them from being destroyed, or carried away by them; and even such as they should preserve or rescue for a while, yet these should be given up to the sword of the enemy, the same or another. Aben Ezra and Kimchi interpret this of their women conceiving, and not bringing forth; and, if they should, yet what they brought forth should be slain by the sword (r). But the Targum and Jarchi incline to the former sense.

(p) "et amovebis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Tarnovius; "summovebis", Drusius, so Ben Melech; "et removebis", Burkius. (q) "Assequeris", Syr. (r) R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 35. 2.

Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and {k} thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; and thou {l} shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword.

(k) You will be consumed with inward grief and evils.

(l) Meaning that the city would go about to save her men, as they that lay hold of that which they would preserve.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14, 15. Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied] The description in these two verses again reminds us of Deuteronomy, and of that portion of Leviticus which most recalls Deuteronomy (see Deuteronomy 28:39, and Leviticus 26:25-26).

thy casting down] The meaning of the Hebrew is very uncertain. Thy emptiness is the rendering which has the best support of recent authorities; if we adopt it, we must substitute ‘remain’ for ‘be’—it is emptiness of the stomach which is meant. But the rendering is precarious, and the text, as so often, is probably corrupt. We might restore, ‘thy leanness shall be in the midst of thee’ (i.e. of the people).

thou shalt take hold] Rather, thou shalt remove (thy goods). The prospect held out is that the enemy will fall so suddenly upon the Jews, that they will not be able to remove their property or family to a place of security; or if they should, by a rare good fortune, succeed in saving a little, it should soon become the prey of the foe (comp. Isaiah 23:12, Jeremiah 44:12).Verse 14. - Thou shalt eat, etc. The punishment answers to the sin (which proves that it comes from God), and recalls the threats of the Law (Leviticus 26:25, etc.; Deuteronomy 28:29, etc.; comp. Hosea 4:10; Haggai 1:6). Thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; i.e. thy humiliation, thy decay and downfall, shall occur in the very centre of thy wealth and strength, where thou hast laid up thy treasure and practised thy wickedness. But the meaning of the Hebrew is very uncertain, and the text may be corrupt. The LXX. had a different reading, συσκοτάσει εν σοι, "darkness shall be in thee." The Syriac and Chaldee interpret the word rendered "casting down" (ישח, which is found nowhere else) of some disease like dysentery. It is most suitable to understand this clause as connected with the preceding threat of hunger, and to take the unusual word in the sense of "emptiness." Thus, "Thy emptiness (of stomach) shall remain in thee." Jeremiah (Jeremiah 52:6)speaks of the famine in the city at the time of its siege. Thou shalt take hold; rather, thou shalt remove (thy goods). This is the second chastisement. They should try to take their goods and families out of the reach of the enemy, but should not be able to save them. The LXX. interprets the verb of escaping by flight. That which thou deliverest. If by chance anything is carried away, it shall fall into the hands of the enemy (comp. 2 Kings 25:4, 5; Jeremiah 52:7, 8). Obadiah 1:3 contains a consequence which follows from Obadiah 1:2. Edom will be unable to avert this fate: its lofty rocky castles will not preserve it from the overthrow which has been decreed by the Lord, and which He will carry out through the medium of the nations. Edom has therefore been deceived by its proud reliance upon these rocky towers. שׁכני, which the connecting sound י attached to the construct state (see at Genesis 31:39), is a vocative. הגוי סלע are rocky towers, though the primary meaning of חגוי is open to dispute. The word is derived from the root חגה, which is not used in Hebrew (like קצוי from קצה), and is found not only here and in the parallel passage of Jeremiah, but also in the Sol 2:14, where it occurs in parallelism with סתר, which points to the meaning refugium, i.e., asylum. This meaning has also been confirmed by A. Schultens (Anim-adv. ad Jes. xix. 17) and by Michaelis (Thes. s.v. Jes.), from the Arabic ḥj'a, confugit, and maḥjâ'u, refugium.

(Note: The renderings adopted on the authority of the ancient versions, such as clefts of the rock, scissurae, jagged rocks, fissures (ὀπαί, lxx), caves, which are derived either from the supposed connection between חגה and חקה, and the Arabic chjj, fidit, laceravit, or from the Arabic wajaḥ, antrum (with the letters transposed), have far less to sustain them. For the meanings assigned to these Arabic words are not the primary meanings, but derivative ones. The former signifies literally propulit, the latter confugit, iv. effecit ut ad rem confugeret; and Arabic mawjaḥun means refugium, asylum.)

In the expression מרום שׁבתּו the ב is to be considered as still retaining its force from חגוי onwards (cf. Isaiah 28:7; Job 15:3, etc.). The emphasis rests upon high; and hence the abstract noun mârōm, height, instead of the adjective. The Edomites inhabited the mountains of Seir, which have not yet been carefully explored in detail. They are on the eastern side of the Ghor (or Arabah), stretching from the deep rocky valley of the Ahsy, which opens into the southern extremity of the Dead Sea, and extending as far as Aela on the Red Sea, and consist of mighty rocks of granite and porphyry, covered with fresh vegetation, which terminate in the west, towards the deeply intersected sand-sea of the Ghor and Arabah, in steep and lofty walls of sandstone. The mountains are hardly accessible, therefore, on the western side; whereas on the east they are gradually lost in the broad sandy desert of Arabia, without any perceptible fall (see Burckhardt in v. Raumer's Pal. pp. 83-4, 86; and Robinson's Palestine, ii. p. 551ff.). They also abound in clefts, with both natural and artificial caves; and hence its earliest inhabitants were Horites, i.e., dwellers in caves; and even the Edomites dwelt in caves, at least to some extent.

(Note: Jerome observes on Obadiah 1:6 : "And indeed ... throughout the whole of the southern region of the Idumaeans, from Eleutheropolis to Petra and Hala (for this is a possession of Esau), there are small dwellings in caves; and on account of the great heat of the sun, since it is a southern province, subterranean huts are used.")

The capital, Sela (Petra), in the Wady Musa, of whose glory at one time there are proofs still to be found in innumerable remains of tombs, temples, and other buildings, was shut in both upon the east and west by rocky walls, which present an endless variety of bright lively colours, from the deepest crimson to the softest pale red, and sometimes passing into orange and yellow; whilst on the north and south it was so encircled by hills and heights, that it could only be reached by climbing through very difficult mountain passes and defiles (see Burckhardt, Syr. p. 703; Robinson, Pal. ii. p. 573; and Ritter, Erdk. xiv. p. 1103); and Pliny calls it oppidum circumdatum montibus inaccessis. Compare Strabo, xvi. 779; and for the different roads to Petra, Ritter, p. 997ff.

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