Micah 7:20
Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
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(20) Thou wilt perform.—The closing words in the prophecy of Micah are gloriously taken up some centuries later by Zechariah: “As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us, to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life” (Luke 1:54-55).

Micah 7:20. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob — Thou wilt perform to his posterity what thou didst promise to Jacob. And the mercy to Abraham — As the promises given to Abraham were made to him and to his seed after him, so the Scriptures speak of the blessings bestowed upon his children, as if they were actually made good to him their progenitor. Among the promises made to Abraham and the other patriarchs, one important one was, that their seed should possess the land of Canaan. This promise, with those of a spiritual nature, will receive its final accomplishment in the conversion and restoration of the Jewish nation in the latter times. That people are said to be beloved for their fathers’ sakes, Romans 11:28; and therefore we have reason to expect, that the mercies promised to their fathers will be made good to them, in God’s due time; for the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, Romans 11:29.

7:14-20 When God is about to deliver his people, he stirs up their friends to pray for them. Apply spiritually the prophet's prayer to Christ, to take care of his church, as the great Shepherd of the sheep, and to go before them, while they are here in this world as in a wood, in this world but not of it. God promises in answer to this prayer, he will do that for them which shall be repeating the miracles of former ages. As their sin brought them into bondage, so God's pardoning their sin brought them out. All who find pardoning mercy, cannot but wonder at that mercy; we have reason to stand amazed, if we know what it is. When the Lord takes away the guilt of sin, that it may not condemn us, he will break the power of sin, that it may not have dominion over us. If left to ourselves, our sins will be too hard for us; but God's grace shall be sufficient to subdue them, so that they shall not rule us, and then they shall not ruin us. When God forgives sin, he takes care that it never shall be remembered any more against the sinner. He casts their sins into the sea; not near the shore-side, where they may appear again, but into the depth of the sea, never to rise again. All their sins shall be cast there, for when God forgives sin, he forgives all. He will perfect that which concerns us, and with this good work will do all for us which our case requires, and which he has promised. These engagements relate to Christ, and the success of the gospel to the end of time, the future restoration of Israel, and the final prevailing of true religion in all lands. The Lord will perform his truth and mercy, not one jot or tittle of it shall fall to the ground: faithful is He that has promised, who also will do it. Let us remember that the Lord has given the security of his covenant, for strong consolation to all who flee for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them in Christ Jesus.Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob and the mercy to Abraham - What was free mercy to Abraham, became, when God had once promised it, His truth. Abraham also stands for all those, who in him and his Seed should be blessed, those who were "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world" Ephesians 2:12, in no covenant or relation with God, as well as those who were the children of the faith; pagan, as well as Jews. Jacob represents these who were immediately his children, such of the children of Israel, as were also the true Israel and children of faithful Abraham. In both ways the gift to Abraham was mercy, to Jacob, truth. So also Paul saith, "Jesus Christ was a Minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy." Romans 15:8-9 yet mercy and truth Psalm 25:10, together, are all the paths of the Lord; they "met together" Psalm 85:10 in Christ; yea Christ Himself is full of Mercy as well as "Truth" John 1:14 : and woe were it to that soul to whom He were Truth without mercy. Rup.: "For to be saved, we look not so much to the truth of the Judge as to the mercy of the Redeemer." And mercy, in the counsel of God, reacheth wider than truth; for truth is given to Jacob, the father of one nation, Israel; but mercy to Abraham, "the father of many nations" Genesis 17:5; Romans 4:17. Isaac, it may be, is not here mentioned, because all to whom the blessing should come are already spoken of in Jacob and Abraham; in Jacob, all to whom the promise was first made; in Abraham, all nations of the world who should be blessed in his Seed, through the mercy of God overflowing the bounds of that covenant. Isaac is, in his sacrifice, chiefly a type of our Lord Himself.

Which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers - "That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation" Hebrews 6:18.

From the days of old - Alb.: From eternity, in the counsel of God; in promise, from the foundation of the world, as is said in the hymn of Zacharias, "As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began" Luke 1:70. Pococke: The inspired hymns of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Zachariah take up the words of the prophet, and shew that they are already fulfilled in Christ, although they shall be more and more fulfilled unto the world's end, as Jew and Gentile are brought into His fold; "He remembering His mercy, as He spake to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever" Luke 1:54-55. "To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remnember His holy covenant, the oath which He sware to our father Abraham that He would grant unto us" Luke 1:72-74.

"I too," Jerome subjoins, "sealing the labor of my little work by calling upon the Lord, will say at the close of this tract, O God, who is like unto Thee? Take away the iniquity of Thy servant, pass by the sin of my decayed soul, and send not Thine anger upon me, nor rebuke me in Thy indignation; for Thou art full of pity and great are Thy mercies. Rcturn and have mercy upon me; drown mine iniquities, and cast them into the depth of the sea, that the bitterness of sin may perish in the bitter waters. Grant the truth which Thou didst promise to Thy servant Jacob, and the mercy which Thou didst pledge to Abraham Thy friend, and free my soul, as Thou didst sware to my fathers in the days of old; "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Then shall mine enemy see and be crowned with confusion, who now saith unto me, where is now thy God?" Ezekiel 33:11. Amen, Amen, O Good Lord Jesus.

20. perform the truth—the faithful promise.

to Jacob … Abraham—Thou shalt make good to their posterity the promise made to the patriarchs. God's promises are called "mercy," because they flow slowly from grace; "truth," because they will be surely performed (Lu 1:72, 73; 1Th 5:24).

sworn unto our fathers—(Ps 105:9, 10). The promise to Abraham is in Ge 12:2; to Isaac, in Ge 26:24; to Jacob, in Ge 28:13. This unchangeable promise implied an engagement that the seed of the patriarchs should never perish, and should be restored to their inheritance as often as they turned wholly to God (De 30:1, 2).

Thou, O God of mercy, wisdom, power, and faithfulness, whoever are honoured with being thine instruments and servants in doing somewhat herein, the work is thine, thou wilt raise up a deliverer, Cyrus shall be thine anointed to do this great work.

Wilt perform, Heb. give, actually bestow what thou hast in mercy promised.

The truth; nothing so certain as the word of God, it is the truth by way of eminency, his promise is yea and amen.

To Jacob; the posterity of Jacob; he was that plain-hearted man who now gives name to all the upright and honest among his seed, which God will never finally cast off; though now carried captive, they shall be restored, rebuilt, and re-established, shall flourish, as Micah 7:10-12, and this as they are a type of a more gloriously redeemed people.

The mercy: it was mere grace in God to promise Abraham and his seed such excellent privileges, which Abraham’s natural seed did inherit; but both this seed and this mercy looked beyond the natural descendants of Abraham, and beyond their return to the land of Canaan whence they were carried. The mercy to Abraham was, that in his seed all nations should be blessed and holpen, Luke 1:51,55,68.

To Abraham; not only as father to Israel after the flesh, but to him as father of the faithful.

Which thou hast sworn; not that there was on God’s part any need of such confirmation, but that on our part all doubt might be removed, and we by the immutable things of God might have strong consolation, as Hebrews 6:18.

Unto our fathers; because this mercy was frequently repeated in the promises to the fathers after Abraham’s time, by which promises a mercy to be perpetuated in Abraham’s seed, till the redemption of the Israel of God by the Messiah, (of which all temporal deliverances of Israel were figures,) should be effected. From the days of old; ever since Abraham’s days, and God’s gracious adopting his seed to be the peculiar people of God: into this we do, as Israel did, resolve our assurance of final deliverance. Amen.

Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob,.... That is, the promise made to Jacob, the Lord would faithfully perform and make good to his posterity, natural and spiritual, especially to those who are Israelites indeed;

and the mercy to Abraham; the gracious promises made to him, which sprung from mere grace and mercy; all respecting his natural and spiritual seed; and especially the promise of the coming of the Messiah, that seed of his in which all nations of the earth were to be blessed; and which is the eminent instance of the mercy and grace of God to Jews and Gentiles, that walk in the steps of Abraham; see Luke 1:68;

which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old; or the promises both of multiplying the seed of Abraham, and of giving them the land of Canaan, and of the Messiah springing from them, were confirmed by an oath, Genesis 22:16. The Targum is,

"thou wilt give the truth of Jacob to his sons, as thou hast sworn to him in Bethel; the goodness of Abraham to his seed after him, as thou hast sworn to him between the pieces; thou wilt remember to us the binding of Isaac, who was bound upon the altar before thee; thou wilt do with us the good things which thou hast sworn to our fathers, from the days of old;''

which Kimchi interprets of the three fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Thou wilt perform the {u} truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

(u) The Church is assured that God will perform the truth of his merciful promise, which he had made long ago to Abraham, and to all that would apprehend the promise by faith.

20. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob …] For the saints of old still ‘live unto God’ (i.e. in the sight of God they are alive), and still take an interest in the affairs of their successors; comp. Jeremiah 31:15, Luke 16:25-31, John 8:56, Revelation 6:9-11. This was not only a popular belief at the Christian era (comp. Matthew 27:47; Matthew 27:49), but is endorsed by our Lord and by the New Testament writers. ‘Truth’ here means ‘faithfulness;’ the promises alluded to are such as Genesis 22:16-18; Genesis 28:13-14.

Verse 20. - Thou wilt perform (literally, give) the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham. Jacob and Abraham are mentioned as the chiefs and representatives of the chosen family; and "the truth" (i.e. God's faithfulness to his promises) and "mercy" are equally given to both, separately assigned only for the sake of the parallelism. Knabenbaner compares such passages as Psalm 114:1, "When Israel went forth out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language" (Psalm or. 6; Isaiah 41:8; Isaiah 63:16, etc.). The general meaning, therefore, is that God will perform the promises made to the forefathers, as Luke 1:72, etc. Hast sworn, as in Genesis 22:16. etc.; Genesis 28:13, etc.; Deuteronomy 7:12. With the close of the ode Hengstenberg compares Romans 11:33-36. Thus the checkered prophecy ends with the glow of faith and happy hope.

Micah 7:20"Who is a God like Thee? removing guilt and passing over iniquity to the remnant of His inheritance. He retaineth not His anger for ever, for He delighteth in mercy. Micah 7:19. He will have compassion upon us again, tread down our transgressions; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:20. Mayest Thou show truth to Jacob, mercy to Abraham, which Thou hast sworn to our fathers from the days of old." מי אל כּמוך looks back to Exodus 15:11; but whether Micah also plays upon his own name is doubtful. Like the first redemption of Israel out of Egypt, the second or still more glorious redemption of the people of God furnishes an occasion for praising the incomparable nature of the Lord. But whereas in the former Jehovah merely revealed Himself in His incomparable exaltation above all gods, in the restoration of the nation which had been cast out among the heathen because of its sins, and its exaltation among the nations, He now reveals His incomparable nature in grace and compassion. The words נשׂא עון וגו are formed after Exodus 34:6-7, where the Lord, after the falling away of Israel from Him by the worship of the golden calf, reveals Himself to Moses as a gracious and merciful God, who forgives guilt and sin. But this grace and compassion are only fully revealed in the restoration and blessing of the remnant of His nation by Jesus Christ. (For Micah 7:18, see Psalm 103:9.) As One who delighteth in mercy, He will have compassion upon Israel again (yâshūbh used adverbially, as in Hosea 14:8, etc.), will tread down its sins, i.e., conquer their power and tyranny by His compassion, and cast them into the depths of the sea, as He once conquered the tyrant Pharaoh and drowned him in the depths of the sea (Exodus 15:5, Exodus 15:10). This believing assurance then closes with the prayer (tittēn is optative) that the Lord will give His rescued nation truth and mercy ('ĕmeth and chesed, after Ezekiel 34:6), i.e., give them to enjoy, or bestow upon them, what He had sworn to the patriarchs (Genesis 22:16). Abraham and Jacob are mentioned instead of their family (cf. Isaiah 41:8).

With this lofty praise of the Lord, Micah closes not only the last words, but his whole book. The New Testament parallel, as Hengstenberg has correctly observed, is Romans 11:33-36; and the μυστήριον made known by the apostle in Romans 11:25. gives us a view of the object and end of the ways of the Lord with His people.

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