Micah 7:11
In the day that your walls are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed.
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(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.


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.

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." This warning is supported in Obadiah 1:15 by an announcement of the day of the Lord, in which Edom and all the enemies of Israel will receive just retribution for their sins against Israel. Obadiah 1:15. "For the day of Jehovah is near upon all nations. As thou hast done, it will be done to thee; what thou hast performed returns upon thy head. Obadiah 1:16. For as ye have drunken upon my holy mountain, all nations will drink continually, and drink and swallow, and will be as those that were not." כּי (for) connects what follows with the warnings in Obadiah 1:12-14, but not also, or exclusively, with Obadiah 1:10, Obadiah 1:11, as Rosenmller and others suppose, for Obadiah 1:2-14 are not inserted parenthetically. "The day of Jehovah" has been explained at Joel 1:15. The expression was first formed by Obadiah, not by Joel; and Joel, Isaiah, and the prophets that follow, adopted it from Obadiah. The primary meaning is not the day of judgment, but the day on which Jehovah reveals His majesty and omnipotence in a glorious manner, to overthrow all ungodly powers, and to complete His kingdom. It was this which gave rise to the idea of the day of judgment and retribution which predominates in the prophetic announcements, but which simply forms one side of the revelation of the glory of God, as our passage at once shows; inasmuch as it describes Jehovah as not only judging all nations and regarding them according to their deeds (cf. Obadiah 1:15, and Obadiah 1:16), but as providing deliverance upon Zion (Obadiah 1:17), and setting up His kingdom (Obadiah 1:21). The retribution will correspond to the actions of Edom and of the nations. For גּמלך וגו, compare Joel 3:4, Joel 3:7, where (Joel 3:2-7) the evil deeds of the nations, what they have done against the people of God, are described. In Obadiah 1:16 Obadiah simply mentions as the greatest crime the desecration of the holy mountain by drinking carousals, for which all nations are to drink the intoxicating cup of the wrath of God till they are utterly destroyed. In shethı̄them (ye have drunk) it is not the Judaeans who are addressed, as many commentators, from Ab. Ezra to Ewald and Meier, suppose, but the Edomites. This is required not only by the parallelism of כּאשׁר שׁתיתם (as ye have drunk) and בּאשׁר שׁתיתם על הת (as thou hast done), but also by the actual wording and context. בּאשׁר שׁתיתם על הר cannot mean "as ye who are upon my holy mountain have drunk;" and in the announcement of the retribution which all nations will receive for the evil they have done to Judah, it is impossible that either the Judaeans should be addressed, or a parallel drawn between their conduct and that of the nations. Moreover, throughout the whole of the prophecy Edom only is addressed, and never Judah. Mount Zion is called "my holy mountain," because Jehovah was there enthroned in His sanctuary. The verb shâthâh is used in the two clauses in different senses: viz., shethı̄them, of the drinking carousals which the Edomites held upon Zion, like yishtū in Joel 3:3; and shâthū, in the apodosis, of the drinking of the intoxicating goblet (cf. Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15; Jeremiah 49:12, etc.), as the expression "they shall be as though they had not been" clearly shows. At the same time, we cannot infer from the words "all nations will drink," that all nations would succeed in taking Zion and abusing it, but that they would have to taste all the bitterness of their crime; for it is not stated that they are to drink upon Mount Zion. The fact that the antithesis to שׁתיתם is not תּשׁתּוּ ("ye will drink") but ישׁתּוּ כּל־הגּוים, does not compel us to generalize shethı̄them, and regard all nations as addressed implicite in the Edomites. The difficulty arising from this antithesis cannot be satisfactorily removed by the remark of Caspari, that in consequence of the allusion to the day of the Lord upon all nations in Obadiah 1:15, the judgment upon all nations and that upon the Edomites were thought of as inseparably connected, or that this induced Obadiah to place opposite to the sins of the Edomites, not their own punishment, but the punishment of all nations, more especially as, according to Obadiah 1:11, it must necessarily be assumed that the foreign nations participated in the sin of Edom. For this leaves the question unanswered, how Obadiah came to speak at all (Obadiah 1:15) of the day of the Lord upon all nations. The circumstance that, according to Obadiah 1:11, heathen nations had plundered Jerusalem, and committed crimes like those for which Edom is condemned in Obadiah 1:12-14, does not lead directly to the day of judgment upon all nations, but simply to a judgment upon Edom and the nations which had committed like sins. The difficulty is only removed by the assumption that Obadiah regarded Edom as a type of the nations that had risen up in hostility to the Lord and His people, and were judged by the Lord in consequence, so that what he says of Edom applies to all nations which assume the same or a similar attitude towards the people of God. From this point of view he could, without reserve, extend to all nations the retribution which would fall upon Edom for its sins. They should drink tâmı̄d, i.e., not at once, as Ewald has rendered it in opposition to the usage of the language, but "continually." This does not mean, however, that "there will be no time in which there will not be one of the nations drinking the intoxicating cup, and being destroyed by drinking thereof; or that the nations will come in turn, and therefore in a long immeasurable series, one after the other, to drink the cup of intoxication," as Caspari supposes, but "continually, so that the turn never passes from the heathen to Judah, Isaiah 51:22-23" (Hitzig). This drinking is more precisely defined as drinking and swallowing (לוּע, in Syriac, to devour or swallow, hence לע, a throat, so called from the act of swallowing, Proverbs 23:2), i.e., drinking in full draughts; and the effect, "they will be like such as have not been, have never existed" (cf. Job 10:19), i.e., they will be utterly destroyed as nations.
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