Micah 7:1
Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK

(1) Woe is me!—Micah gives here a fearful picture of the demoralised state of society in Judah which had called down the vengeance of God. As the early fig gathered in June is eagerly sought for by the traveller, so the prophet sought anxiously for a good man; but his experience was that of the Psalmist: “The godly man ceaseth; the faithful fail from among the children of men.”

Micah 7:1-2. Wo is me, &c. — Judea, or rather the prophet himself, is here introduced as complaining, that though good men once abounded in the land, there were now few or none to be found. I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, &c. — I am like one who gathers up the ears of corn after the harvest, or grapes after the vintage: who meets with very few. There is no cluster, &c. — Good men, that used to be found in clusters, are now as the grape-gleanings of the vintage, here and there a berry. No societies of pious men are to be found, assembling together for the purposes of devotion and mutual edification: those that are such, are individuals, unconnected with, and standing aloof from each other. And these are but very imperfectly pious, like the small withered grapes, the refuse, left behind, not only by the gatherer, but by the gleaner. My soul desired the first ripe fruit — I wish to see such worthy good men as lived in the former ages, were the ornaments of the primitive times, and as far excelled the best of the present age, as the first and full ripe fruits do those of the later growth, that never come to maturity. To meet with such as these would be a refreshment, to me like that which a thirsty traveller receives when he finds the early fruits in the summer season. The good man — Hebrew, חסיד, the pious, kind, merciful, and beneficent; is perished out of the earth — Rather, out of the land, namely, Judea. There are few or none that are so truly and consistently pious as to delight in doing good to others, or making them as happy as lies in their power. And there is none upright — “As the early fig, of excellent flavour, cannot be found in the advanced season of summer, or the choice cluster of grapes after vintage, so neither can the good and upright man be discovered by diligent searching in Israel.” — Newcome. They hunt every man his brother, &c. — They make a prey, each one of his neighbour, or those they have to do with, and use all arts to deceive and injure them.

7:1-7 The prophet bemoans himself that he lived among a people ripening apace for ruin, in which many good persons would suffer. Men had no comfort, no satisfaction in their own families or in their nearest relations. Contempt and violation of domestic duties are a sad symptom of universal corruption. Those are never likely to come to good who are undutiful to their parents. The prophet saw no safety or comfort but in looking to the Lord, and waiting on God his salvation. When under trials, we should look continually to our Divine Redeemer, that we may have strength and grace to trust in him, and to be examples to those around us.Woe - o is me! for I am, as when they have gathered the summer fruits , as the grape-gleanings of the vintage "The vineyard of the Lord of hosts," Isaiah said at the same time, "is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plants" Isaiah 5:7. Isaiah said, brought forth wild grapes; Micah, that there are but gleanings, few and poor.

It is as though Satan pressed the vineyard of the Lord, and made the most his prey, and few were left to those who glean for Christ; "the foxes have eaten the grapes" Sol 2:15. Some few remain too high out of their reach, or hidden behind the leaves, or, it may be , falling in the time of gathering, fouled, sullied, marred and stained, yet left." So in the gleaning there may be three sorts of souls; "two or three in the top of the uppermost bough" Isaiah 17:6, which were not touched; or those unripe, which are but imperfect and poor; or those who had fallen, yet were not wholly carried away. These too are all sought with difficulty; they had escaped the gatherer's eye, they are few and rare; it might seem at first sight, us though there were none. There is no cluster to eat; for the vintage is past, the best is but as a sour grape which sets the teeth on edge.

My soul desired the first-ripe fig. These are they which, having survived the sharpness of winter, ripen early, about the end of June; they are the sweetest ; but he longed for them in vain. He addressed a carnal people, who could understand only carnal things, on the side which they could understand. Our longings, though we pervert them, are God's gift. As they desired those things which refresh or recruit the thirsty body, as their whole self was gathered into the craving for that which was to restore them, so was it with him. Such is the longing of God for man's conversion and salvation; such is the thirst of His ministers; such their pains in seeking, their sorrow in not finding. Dionysius: "There were none, through whose goodness the soul of the prophet might spiritually be refreshed, in joy at his growth in grace, as Paul saith to Philemon, "refresh my bowels in the Lord" Plm 1:20. So our Lord saith in Isaiah, "I said, I have labored in vain, I hate spent my strength for nought and in vain" Isaiah 49:4. "Jesus was grieved at the hardness of their hearts" Mark 3:5.

Rib.: "The first-ripe fig may be the image of the righteous of old, as the Patriarchs or the Fathers, such as in the later days we fain would see."


Mic 7:1-20. The Universality of the Corruption; the Chosen Remnant, Driven from Every Human Confidence, Turns to God; Triumphs by Faith over Her Enemies; Is Comforted by God's Promises in Answer to Prayer, and by the Confusion of Her Enemies, and So Breaks Forth into Praises of God's Character.

1. I am as when, &c.—It is the same with me as with one seeking fruits after the harvest, grapes after the vintage. "There is not a cluster" to be found: no "first-ripe fruit" (or "early fig"; see on [1155]Isa 28:4) which "my soul desireth" [Maurer]. So I look in vain for any good men left (Mic 7:2).The church, complaining of the scarcity of good men, Micah 7:1,2, and the general corruption, Micah 7:3,4, putteth not confidence in man, but in God, Micah 7:5-7. She triumpheth in hopes of restoration after affliction, Micah 7:8-13. She prayeth to God, Micah 7:4. God answereth her with promises of confounding her enemies, Micah 7:15-17. God’s mercies to his people, Micah 7:18-20.

All are agreed in the scope and meaning of these words, that they are designed a complaint for the great scarcity of men that feared God, did justice, and loved mercy; and so the prophet begins with a pathetical complaint,

Woe is me! ordinarily this phrase is minatory, but here it is lamentation, as every eye may see who discerns the propriety of the Hebrew.

For I; either the prophet in his own person, or else in the person of the good man; or, by a usual figure, the land may be brought in, complaining, that whereas it was once well stored, now it hath few right good in it.

Am as when they have gathered the summer fruits; all the fair, goodly, and ripe fruit gathered, none left, or none but evil fruit, such as the labourers thought not worth gathering up. So is the harvest of Israel and Judah too; though I and other prophets have sown good seed abundantly, yet goodness comes up very thin and scarce: so Isaiah 24:13,16.

As the grape-gleanings of the vintage, the same complaint in a like elegant metaphor, drawn from the vintage-gatherer, who leaves but few scattering single grapes. So Israel and Judah, which in bringing forth good men should have been as a fruitful vine full of clusters, but barren they have been, and are; and good men, i.e. just, compassionate, and humble men, are as grapes after the vintage is gathered.

There is no cluster to eat; such good men’s converse would as much delight, refresh, and encourage me, as a fair cluster of grapes doth a thirsty and hungry person, but there is not one such cluster.

My soul desired; it speaks a vehement desire.

The first-ripe fruit; it is an ellipsis or aposiopesis, and to be supplied thus, but there was, or I found, none.

Woe is me!.... Alas for me unhappy man that I am, to live in such an age, and among such a people, as I do! this the prophet says in his own name, or in the name of the church and people of God in his time; so Isaiah, who was contemporary with him, Isaiah 6:5; see also Psalm 120:5;

for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage; when there are only an apple or a pear or two, or such sort of fruit, and such a quantity of it left on the top of the tree, or on the outermost branches of it, after the rest are gathered in; or a few single grapes here and there, after the vintage is over; signifying either that he was like Elijah left alone, or however that the number of good men were very few; or that there were very few gathered in by his ministry, converted, taught, and instructed by it; or those that had the name of good men were but very indifferent, and not like those who were in times past; but were as refuse fruit left on trees, and dropped from thence when rotten, and when gathered up were good for little, and like single grapes, small and withered, and of no value; see Isaiah 17:6;

there is no cluster to eat; no large number or society of good men to converse with, only here and there a single person; and none that have an abundance of grace and goodness in them, and a large experience of spiritual and divine things; few that attend the ministry of the word; they do not come in clusters, in crowds; and fewer still that receive any advantage by it;

my soul desired the first ripe fruit; the company and conversation of such good men as lived in former times; who had the firstfruits of the Spirit, and arrived to a maturity of grace, and a lively exercise of it; and who were, in the age of the prophet, as scarce and rare as first ripe fruits, and as desirable as such were to a thirsty traveller; see Hosea 9:10. The Targum is,

"the prophet said, woe unto me, because I am as when good men fail, in a time in which merciful men perish from the earth; behold, as the summer fruits, as the gleanings after the vintage, there is no man in whom there are good works; my soul desires good men.''

Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the {a} summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit.

(a) The Prophet takes upon himself the voice of the earth, which complains that all her fruits are gone, so that none are left: that is, that there is no godly man remaining, for all are given to cruelty and deceit, so that none spares his own brother.

1. Woe is me …] The speaker in Micah 7:1-4, or at any rate in Micah 7:1, is not the prophet, but the true Israel, i.e. Israel within Israel, personified. He is like a garden at the time of the fruit-harvest, which has many delightful fruits, but of course no early figs; or, like a vineyard, after the grape-gathering. This the prophet expresses by saying that Israel is become ‘like the gatherings of the fruit-harvest, like the gleanings of the vintage,’ which in point of fact amount to nothing at all.

my soul desired …] Rather, ‘no early fig which my soul desireth.’

Micah 7:1-6. These verses should be read in connexion with Chap. 6.

Verses 1-6. § 5. Israel's penitential acknowledgment of the general corruption. Verse 1. - Woe is me! (Job 10:15). Micah threatens no more; he represents repentant Israel confessing its corruption and lamenting the necessity of punishment. I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits; literally, I am as the gatherings of the fruit harvest. The point of comparison is only to be inferred from the context. At the fruit. harvest no early figs are to be found, and (in the next clause) after the vintage no more grapes; so in Israel there is none righteous left. The Septuagint gives a plainer exposition, Ἐγενήθην ὡς συνάγων καλάμην ἐν ἀμητῷ, "I became as one that gathereth straw in harvest;" so the Vulgate, Factus sum sicut qui collegit in autumno racemos vindimiae, joining the two clauses together. My soul desired the first ripe fruit; better, nor early fig which my soul desired. The holiness and grace of more primitive times are wholly absent from this later period (see Hosea 9:10, where a similar figure is used; compare also Christ's dealing with the barren fig tree, Matthew 21:18, etc.). The first ripe figs were proverbially sweet and good (see Isaiah 28:4; Jeremiah 24:2; and Hosea, loc cit.). Micah 7:1That the prophet is speaking in Micah 7:1 ff. not in his own name, but in the name of the church, which confesses and bemoans its rebellion against the Lord, is indisputably evident from Micah 7:7 ff., where, as all the expositors admit, the church speaks of itself in the first person, and that not "the existing corrupt Israelitish church," as Caspari supposes, but the penitential, believing church of the future, which discerns in the judgment the chastising hand of its God, and expresses the hope that the Lord will conduct its conflict with its foe, etc. The contents of Micah 7:1-6, also, do not point to the prophet in distinction from the congregation, but may be understood throughout as the confession of sin on the part of the latter. Micah 7:1. "Woe to me! for I have become like a gathering of fruit, like a gleaning of the vintage: Not a grape to eat! an early fig, which my soul desired." אללי, which only occurs again in Job 10:15, differs from הוי, and is "vox dolentis, gementis, et ululantis magis quam minantis" (March); and כּי is not "that," but "for," giving the reason for אללי. The meaning of הייתי כאס is not, "it has happened to me as it generally happens to those who still seek for early figs at the fruit gathering, or for bunches of grapes at the gleaning of the vintage" (Caspari and others); for כּאספי קיץ does not mean as at the fruit-gathering, but like the fruit-gathering. The nation or the church resembles the fruit-gathering and gleaning of the vineyard, namely, in this fact, that the fruit-gathering yields not more early figs, and the gleaning of the vintage yields no more grapes to eat; that is to say, its condition resembles that of an orchard in the time of the fruit-gathering, when you may find fruit enough indeed, but not a single early fig, since the early figs ripen as early as June, whereas the fruit-gathering does not take place till August (see at Isaiah 28:4). The second simile is a still simpler one, and is very easily explained. אספי is not a participle, but a noun - אסף the gathering (Isaiah 32:10); and the plural is probably used simply because of עוללת, the gleaning, and not with any allusion to the fact that the gleaning lasts several days, as Hitzig supposes, but because what is stated applies to all gatherings of fruit. קיץ, fruit; see at Amos 8:1. אוּתה is to be taken in a relative sense, and the force of אין still extends to בּכּוּרה (compare Genesis 30:33). The figure is explained in Micah 7:2 ff.
Micah 7:1 Interlinear
Micah 7:1 Parallel Texts

Micah 7:1 NIV
Micah 7:1 NLT
Micah 7:1 ESV
Micah 7:1 NASB
Micah 7:1 KJV

Micah 7:1 Bible Apps
Micah 7:1 Parallel
Micah 7:1 Biblia Paralela
Micah 7:1 Chinese Bible
Micah 7:1 French Bible
Micah 7:1 German Bible

Bible Hub

Micah 6:16
Top of Page
Top of Page