Micah 7:11
In the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) In that day shall the decree be far removed.—The “decree” was something “definite,” as an appointed law or statute, and this should be far removed. Some interpret this prophecy to mean the removal of the law of separation between Jews and Gentiles; others explain it as predicting that the decree of God concerned not the Jews only, but distant nations who should press into the kingdom of God. And this explanation coincides with the effect of the decree, which was to bring to Jerusalem people from “the ends of the world.”

7:8-13 Those truly penitent for sin, will see great reason to be patient under affliction. When we complain to the Lord of the badness of the times, we ought to complain against ourselves for the badness of our hearts. We must depend upon God to work deliverance for us in due time. We must not only look to him, but look for him. In our greatest distresses, we shall see no reason to despair of salvation, if by faith we look to the Lord as the God of our salvation. Though enemies triumph and insult, they shall be silenced and put to shame. Though Zion's walls may long be in ruins, there will come a day when they shall be repaired. Israel shall come from all the remote parts, not turning back for discouragements. Though our enemies may seem to prevail against us, and to rejoice over us, we should not despond. Though cast down, we are not destroyed; we may join hope in God's mercy, with submission to his correction. No hinderances can prevent the favours the Lord intends for his church.On this confession of unworthiness and trust the message of joy bursts in, with the abruptness and conciseness of Hosea or Nahum:

A day to build thy fences; (that is, cometh;)

That day, far shall be the degree;

That day, and he shall come quite to thee;

And there follows, in a longer but still remarkably measured and interrupted cadence,

the statement of the length and breadth from which the people shall come to her;

Up to and from Assyria and the cities of strong-land (Egypt;)

Up to and from strong-land and even to river (the Euphrates;)

And sea from sea, and mountain to mountain.

It is not human might or strength which God promises to restore. He had before predicted, that the kingdom of the Messiah should stand, not through earthly strength Micah 5:9-13. He promises the restoration, not of city walls, but of the fence of the vineyard of God, which God foretold by Isaiah that He would "break down" Isaiah 5:5. It is a peaceful renewal of her estate under God's protection, like that, with the promise whereof Amos closed his prophecy; "In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof" Amos 9:11. This decree, which he says shall be far away, might in itself be the decree either of God or of the enemy. The sense is the same, since the enemy was but the instrument of God. Yet it seems more in accordance with the language of the prophets, that it should be the decree of man. For the decree of God for the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of His people was accomplished, held its course, was fulfilled.

The destruction, captivity, restoration, were parts of one and the same decree of God, of which the restoration was the last accomplished in time. The restoration was not the removal, but the complete fulfillment, of the decree. He means then probably, that the decree of the enemy, whereby he held her captive, was to remove and be far off, not by any agency of her's . The people were to stream to her of themselves. One by one, shall all thy banished, captive, scattered, children be brought quite home unto thee from all parts of the earth, whither they have been driven, "from Assyria, and from strong-land". The name Matsor, which he gives to Egypt, modifying its ordinary dual name Mitsraim, is meant, at once to signify "Egypt" , and to mark the strength of the country; as, in fact, , "Egypt was on all sides by nature strongly guarded."

A country, which was still strong relatively to Judah, would not, of itself, yield up its prey, but held it straitly; yet it should have to disgorge it. Isaiah and Hosea prophesied, in like way, the return of Israel and Judah from Assyria and from Egypt. "And from strong-land even to the river" Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 27:13; Hosea 11:11 (Euphrates); the ancient, widest, boundary of the promised land; "and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain" Genesis 15:18; Exodus 23:31; Deuteronomy 1:7; Deuteronomy 11:24, Joshua 1:4; 1 Kings 4:21, 1 Kings 4:24. These last are too large to be the real boundaries of the land. If understood geographically, it would by narrowig those which had just been spoken of, from Egypt to the Euphratcs. Joel likens the destruction of the Northern army to the perishing of locusts in the two opposite seas, the Dead sea and the Mediterranean Joel 2:20; but the Dead sea was not the entire Eastern boundary of all Israel. Nor are there any mountains on the South, answering to Mount Libanus on the North. Not the mountains of Edom which lay to the South-East, but the desert Exodus 23:31; Numbers 34:3; Deuteronomy 11:24 was the Southern boundary of Judah. In the times too of their greatest prosperity, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Syria, had been subject to them.

The rule of the Messiah "from sea to sea" had already been predicted by Solomon , enlarging the boundaries of the promised land to the whole compass of the world, from the sea, their bound westward, to the further encircling sea beyond all habitable land, in which, in fact, our continents are large islands . To this, Micah adds a new description, "from mountain to mountain", including, probably, all subdivisions in our habitable earth, as the words, "sea to sea", had embraced it as a whole. For, physically and to sight, mountains are the great natural divisions of our earth. Rivers are but a means of transit. The Euphrates and the Nile were the centers of the kingdoms which lay upon them. Each range of mountains, as it rises on the horizon, seems to present an insuperable barrier. No barrier should avail to hinder the inflow to the Gospel. As Isaiah foretold that all obstacles should be removed, "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low" Isaiah 40:4, so Micah prophesies, "from mountain to mountain they shall come".

The words are addressed as a promise and consolation to the Jews, and so, doubtless, the restoration of the Jews to their own land after the captivity is foretold here, as Micah had already foretold it Micah 4:10. But is the whole limited to this? He says, with remarkable indefiniteness, there shall come . He does not say, who "shall come." But he twice sets two opposite boundaries, from which men should come; and, since these boundaries, not being coincident, cannot be predicted of one and the same subject, there must be two distinct incomings. The Jews were to come from those two countries, whither its people were then to be carried captive or would flee. From the boundaries of the world, the world was to come.

continued...

11. thy walls … be built—under Cyrus, after the seventy years' captivity; and again, hereafter, when the Jews shall be restored (Am 9:11; Zec 12:6).

shall the decree be far removed—namely, thy tyrannical decree or rule of Babylon shall be put away from thee, "the statutes that were not good" (Eze 20:25) [Calvin]. Ps 102:13-16; Isa 9:4. The Hebrew is against Maurer's translation, "the boundary of the city shall be far extended," so as to contain the people flocking into it from all nations (Mic 7:12; Isa 49:20; 54:2).

These words are variously expounded, but the plainest and most suiting with the letter and history to me seems to be this:

In the day that thy walls are to be built; O Jerusalem, the days shall certainly come, that thy walls, overthrown and razed by the Babylonians, shall be rebuilt; which was first in part fulfilled under Cyrus, but more fully under Darius Hystaspes, and Darius Longimanus, who commissioned Nehemiah to repair the walls of Jerusalem.

Shall the decree; either the decree of Artaxerxes, who is also called Cambyses, and who forbade the building of the temple, or else the decree of Darius Hystaspes, reviving Cyrus’s decree for the return of all the Jews that would return.

Be far removed; for ever cease; if referred to Cambyses’s decree, this shall no more hinder; or else, shall be dispersed far and wide among all the provinces, if you mean Cyrus’s decree that all may return.

In the day that thy walls are to be built,.... These words are not spoken to the enemy, as some think; either the Chaldeans, the walls of whose city, Babylon, being demolished by the Persians, it would be a long day or time before they were rebuilt and when their power of sending their decrees abroad among the nations would be far off: or to the enemy that should think to build up their walls with the spoils of Israel, in the time of Gog and Magog, and when their decree determined over the nations and Israel would also be far off; but they are the words of the prophet to the church and people of God, comforting them with observing, that there would be a day when the walls of Jerusalem, and the temple, which would lie in ruins during their captivity, would be rebuilt; and which was fulfilled in the times of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah; and so the Targum,

"that time the congregation of Israel shall be built;''

and which had a further accomplishment, in a spiritual sense, in the first times of the Gospel, when the church of Christ was built up, and established in the world and will still have a greater completion in the latter day, when the tabernacle of David, or church of Christ, shall be raised that is fallen, and its breaches closed, and ruins repaired, Amos 9:11;

in that day shall the decree be far removed; which, as it literally respects Jerusalem, and the rebuilding of that after seventy years captivity, may signify either the decree of God concerning that captivity, which would then cease, according to the time fixed by it; or the cruel laws and edicts of the Babylonians, which should no more bind and press the Jews, and be as a heavy yoke upon them; those statutes, which were not good, that were given them. So the Targum,

"at that time the decrees of the nations shall cease;''

or the decree of Artaxerxes, forbidding and hindering the rebuilding of the city: but if the phrase "far removed" signifies its being divulged and spread far abroad, as it is interpreted by some; then it may refer to the decree of Cyrus for rebuilding the city and temple; and which was revived and confirmed by Darius Hystaspis, and by Darius Longimanus, and which was published everywhere; and by means of which the Jews from all parts were encouraged to come up to their own land, and proselytes with them; and which sense suits well with what follows: and as this, in a spiritual sense, may have regard to the church of Christ in Gospel times, it may signify the removal of human laws, traditions, rites, and ceremonies, respecting religious things, among the Gentiles, and their giving way to those of God and Christ; or the promulgation of the Gospel in all parts, called a decree, Psalm 2:6; because a revelation of the decrees of God, respecting the salvation of men, and to which it owes its efficacy; by means of which many would be brought to the church, and the kingdom of Christ be enlarged, and spread everywhere, as follows:

In {i} the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall {k} the decree be far removed.

(i) That is, when God will show himself to be a deliverer of his Church, and a destroyer of his enemies.

(k) Meaning the cruel empire of the Babylonians.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. Here the soliloquy of believing and repentant Israel ceases, and a prophetic announcement begins.

In the day that thy walls] Rather, There cometh a day to build thy walls. The image is that of a vineyard, the walls of which have been thrown down (as Isaiah 5:5). The word rendered ‘walls’ is different from that which means the wall of a city.

shall the decree be far removed] But what decree? Rather, shall the bound be afar off, i.e. the boundaries of the land of Israel shall be widely extended. Comp. Isaiah 33:17 ‘thine eyes shall behold a land of distances’ (= a widely extended territory).

Verse 11. - The prophet here addresses Zion, and announces her restoration. In the day that thy walls are to be built; rather, a day for building thy walls (gader) cometh. Zion is represented as a vineyard whose fence has been destroyed (Isaiah 5:5, 7). The announcement is given abruptly and concisely in three short sentences. In that day shall the decree be far removed. The decree (Zephaniah 2:2) is explained by Hengstenberg and many commentators, ancient and modern, to he that of the enemy by which they held Israel captive. Keil and others suppose the law to be meant which separated Israel from all other nations, the ancient ordinance which confined God's people and the blessings of the theocracy to narrow limits. This is now to be set aside (comp. Ephesians 2:11-16), when heathen nations flock to the city of God. Oaspari, Hitzig, Cheyne, and others translate, "shall the bound be afar off," i.e. the boundaries of the land of Israel shall be widely extended (comp. Isaiah 33:17, which Cheyne explains, "Thine eyes shall behold a widely extended territory"). Wordsworth obtains much the same meaning by taking the verb in the sense of "promulgated," and referring the "decree," as in Psalm 2:7, 8, to God's purpose of giving to Messiah the utmost parts of the earth for a possession. The building, of the walls does not indicate the narowing of the limits of the theocratic kingdom. Whether chok be taken to signify "decree" (lex, Vulgate) or "boundary," the effect of its removal afar is seen by the next verse to be the entrance of foreign nations into the kingdom of God. The LXX. favours the first interpretation, Ἀποτρίψεται [ἀπώσεται, Alex.] νόμιμά σου [σου ομιτ, Alex.] ἡ ἡμέρα ἐκείνη, "That day shall utterly abolish thy ordinances." Micah 7:11The confident expectation rises in Micah 7:11 ff. into an assurance of the promise; the words of the prophet in the name of the church rising into an address to Zion, confirm its hope by the promise of the restoration of Zion, and the entrance of crowds of people into the city of God. Micah 7:11. "A day to build thy walls (cometh); in that day will the ordinance be far away. Micah 7:12. In that day will they come to thee from Asshur and the cities of Egypt, and from Egypt to the river, and (to) sea from sea, and (from) mountain to mountain. Micah 7:13. And the earth will become a desert because of its inhabitants, for the fruit of their doings." Micah 7:11 consists of two clauses; for we may easily supply to yōm "is" or "will be" equals come. The daughter Zion is addressed (cf. Micah 4:8) not as a church, but as a city, as the centre and representative of the kingdom of God. As such, she is compared to a vineyard, as in Isaiah 5:1-7; Isaiah 27:2-4; Psalm 80:9-10. The word gâdēr, which is generally used for the hedge or wall around a vineyard, points to this (see Isaiah 5:5; Numbers 22:24; Ecclesiastes 10:8). יון ההוּא is an adverbial accusative; in that day will חק be far away. The meaning of this word is very difficult to find, and can hardly be settled with any certainty. The explanation of chōq, as signifying the law imposed upon Israel by the heathen oppressors (Chald., Hengstenberg, etc.), cannot be sustained, as this meaning cannot be established from Psalm 104:20, and is not suggested by the context. So, again, the explanation, "On that day will the goal set (for Israel), or the boundary fixed (for it), be a far distant one (i.e., then will the boundaries of the land of Israel lie in the far distance, or be advanced to the remotest distance:" Hitzig, Caspari, and others), introduces a meaning into the words which they do not possess. Even if chōq does denote a fixed point or a limit of either space or time, it never signifies the boundary of a nation; and râchaq, to be far off, is not equivalent to being advanced to a great distance. Chōq is apparently used here for the ordinance or limit which God has appointed to separate Israel from the nations; not a land-boundary, but the law of Israel's separation from the nations.

This law will be far away, i.e., will be removed or set aside (yirach is only chosen for the sake of the assonance with chōq), inasmuch as numerous crowds, as is added in Micah 7:12 by way of explanation, will then stream to Zion, or come to the people of God, out of all lands (cf. Micah 4:1-2). For this is what Micah 7:12 refers to, and not the return to Zion of the Israelites who have been scattered in the heathen lands. יבוא (impersonal), one comes, they come: not "return," ישׁוּב, which must have been the expression used if the return of the Israelites out of their captivity had been meant. The heathen who cherish a desire for the God of Zion and His law (Micah 4:2) will come to Israel; not to Israel as still living in their midst (Caspari), but to the Israel that has already returned, and whose walls have been rebuilt (Micah 7:11). The building of the walls of Zion involves the gathering together of the dispersed nation, or rather presupposes it. Heathen will come "from Asshur and the cities of Egypt," i.e., from the two mightiest empires in the time of the prophet. Mâtsōr, the poetical name of Egypt, as in Isaiah 19:6; Isaiah 37:25; and "cities of Egypt," because that land or kingdom was especially rich in cities. The further definitions individualize the idea of the totality of the lands and provinces, the correlative members being transposed and incomplete in the last two sentences, so that the preposition עד must be supplied to וים, and the preposition מן to ההר. From Egypt to the river (Euphrates) includes the lands lying between these two terminal points; and in the expressions, "sea from sea, and mountain to mountain," seas and mountains are mentioned in the most general manner, as the boundaries of lands and nations; so that we have not to think of any particular seas and mountains, say the Western (or Mediterranean) Sea, and the Eastern (the Dead or the Galilean) Sea, as being the western and eastern boundaries of Palestine, and of Lebanon and Sinai as the northern and southern boundaries, but must adhere firmly to the general character of the expression: "from one sea and one mountain to another sea and mountain," i.e., from every land situated between seas and mountains, that is to say, from all the lands and provinces of the earth. The coming out of all lands is not to be understood as denoting simply passing visits to Canaan or Zion, but as coming to connect themselves with the people of God, to be received into fellowship with them. There is a parallel to this promise in the promise contained in Isaiah 19:18-25, that in the Messianic times Egypt and Asshur will turn to Jehovah. This takes place because the earth will become a desert, on account of the evil deeds of its inhabitants. Whilst Zion is rebuilt, and the people of God are multiplied, by the addition of the godly Gentiles out of all the countries of the earth, the judgment falls upon the sinful world. This statement of Micah 7:13 is simply attached to what precedes it by והיתה, in order to complete the promise of the restoration of Zion, by adding the fate which will befal the earth (i.e., the earth outside Canaan); but it actually contains the motive for the coming of the crowds to Zion. הארץ cannot be the land of Israel (Canaan) here, in support of which appeal has been made to Leviticus 26:33 and Isaiah 1:7; for the context neither leads to any such limitation as that הארץ could be taken in the sense of ארצכן (in Leviticus and Isaiah), nor allows of our thinking of the devastation of Canaan. When the day shall have come for the building of the walls of Zion, the land of Israel will not become a desert then; but, on the contrary, the devastation will cease. If the devastation of Canaan were intended here, we should have either to take והיתה as a pluperfect, in violation of the rules of the language, or arbitrarily to interpolate "previously," as Hitzig proposes. על ישׁביה is defined more precisely by מפּרי מעלליהם. The doings are of course evil ones, and the deeds themselves are the fruit (cf. Isaiah 3:10).

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