Micah 7:4
The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) The day of thy watchmeni.e., the time which thy prophets have foreseen, about which they have continually warned thee. “Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken” (Jeremiah 6:17).

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.The best of them is as a brier - The gentlest of them is a thorn , strong, hard, piercing, which letteth nothing unresisting pass by but it taketh from it, "robbing the fleece, and wounding the sheep." "The most upright", those who, in comparison of others still worse, seem so, "is sharper than a thorn hedge", (literally, the upright, them a thorn hedge.) They are not like it only, but worse, and that in all ways; none is specified, and so none excepted; they were more crooked, more tangled, sharper. Both, as hedges, were set for protection; both, turned to injury. Jerome: "So that, where you would look for help, thence comes suffering." And if such be the best, what the rest?

The day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh - When all, even the good, are thus corrupted, the iniquity is full. Nothing now hinders the "visitation", which "the watchmen", or prophets, had so long foreseen and forewarned of. "Now shall be their perplexity" ; "now", without delay; for the day of destruction ever breakcth suddenly upon the sinner. "When they say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them" 1 Thessalonians 5:3. : "whose destruction cometh suddenly at an instant". They had perplexed the cause of the oppressed; they themselves were tangled together, intertwined in mischief, as a thorn-hedge. They should be caught in their own snare; they had perplexed their paths and should find no outlet.

4. as a brier—or thorn; pricking with injury all who come in contact with them (2Sa 23:6, 7; Isa 55:13; Eze 2:6).

the day of thy watchmen—the day foretold by thy (true) prophets, as the time of "thy visitation" in wrath [Grotius]. Or, "the day of thy false prophets being punished"; they are specially threatened as being not only blind themselves, but leading others blindfold [Calvin].

now—at the time foretold, "at that time"; the prophet transporting himself into it.

perplexity—(Isa 22:5). They shall not know whither to turn.

The best; among all naught, who is least naught passeth for best; and so must it be here, not one good, but the least evil man is by the prophet called the best.

Of them; of people, prophets, judges, great men, and princes.

Is as a brier; mischievous and hurtful to all that meddle with them; and perhaps the prophet alludes to briers infolded in each other, that shall so be devoured at last. The most upright; in the same sense upright as they are said to be best.

Is sharper than a thorn hedge; the same in different words, i.e. hurtful and mischievous to all.

The day of thy watchmen; literally taken for such as on the watchtowers observe whether enemies approach; the day in which they shall give the affrighting intelligence, and sound the alarm. Or else figuratively, watchmen, i.e. governors, prophets, and teachers, either good and faithful, or evil and unfaithful. The day which the true prophets foretold would come, which faithful teachers confirmed, good governors believed, feared, and, as Hezekiah, endeavoured to prevent, will certainly overtake you, that day of evil which your sins have provoked God to appoint. Or else, that day of good, which your false prophets have promised, your corrupt princes, judges, great men do expect and hope for, shall be a day of visitation, grievous punishment, by which the falsehood of flattering prophets shall be discovered, and the truth of Micah, and Isaiah, &c., true prophets, be confirmed.

Cometh, i.e. surely, speedily, and unavoidably on impenitent ones, how many or how great soever.

Now; when the day is come as to Samaria in its captivity by the Assyrian tyrant, and to Jerusalem in the Babylonish captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, and in many other nows intervening between the time of Micah’s minatory predictions and the full accomplishment of them.

Shall be their perplexity; the astonishing, overwhelming sorrows, fears, and confusions which shall wreck these great, notorious, and impudent oppressors, hunters, and sellers of justice. They shall be perplexed because the sore evils foretold by the true prophets of God shall overwhelm them, and because the peace and prosperity promised by the false prophets is unexpectedly turned into troubles, desolation, and utter ruin to their state, cities, and families.

The best; among all naught, who is least naught passeth for best; and so must it be here, not one good, but the least evil man is by the prophet called the best.

Of them; of people, prophets, judges, great men, and princes.

Is as a brier; mischievous and hurtful to all that meddle with them; and perhaps the prophet alludes to briers infolded in each other, that shall so be devoured at last. The most upright; in the same sense upright as they are said to be best.

Is sharper than a thorn hedge; the same in different words, i.e. hurtful and mischievous to all.

The day of thy watchmen; literally taken for such as on the watchtowers observe whether enemies approach; the day in which they shall give the affrighting intelligence, and sound the alarm. Or else figuratively, watchmen, i.e. governors, prophets, and teachers, either good and faithful, or evil and unfaithful. The day which the true prophets foretold would come, which faithful teachers confirmed, good governors believed, feared, and, as Hezekiah, endeavoured to prevent, will certainly overtake you, that day of evil which your sins have provoked God to appoint. Or else, that day of good, which your false prophets have promised, your corrupt princes, judges, great men do expect and hope for, shall be a day of visitation, grievous punishment, by which the falsehood of flattering prophets shall be discovered, and the truth of Micah, and Isaiah, &c., true prophets, be confirmed.

Cometh, i.e. surely, speedily, and unavoidably on impenitent ones, how many or how great soever.

Now; when the day is come as to Samaria in its captivity by the Assyrian tyrant, and to Jerusalem in the Babylonish captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, and in many other nows intervening between the time of Micah’s minatory predictions and the full accomplishment of them.

Shall be their perplexity; the astonishing, overwhelming sorrows, fears, and confusions which shall wreck these great, notorious, and impudent oppressors, hunters, and sellers of justice. They shall be perplexed because the sore evils foretold by the true prophets of God shall overwhelm them, and because the peace and prosperity promised by the false prophets is unexpectedly turned into troubles, desolation, and utter ruin to their state, cities, and families.

The best of them is as a brier,.... Good for nothing but for burning, very hurtful and mischievous, pricking and scratching those that have to do with them:

the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge; which, if a man lays hold on to get over, or attempts to pass through, his hands will be pricked, his face scratched, and his clothes tore off his back; so the best of these princes, judges, and great inch, who put on a show of goodness, and pretended to do justice, yet fetched blood, and got money out of everyone they were concerned with, and did them injury in one respect or another; or the best and most upright of the people of the land in general, that made the greatest pretensions to religion and virtue, yet in their dealings were sharp, and biting, and tricking; and took every fraudulent method to cheat, and overreach, and hurt men in their property:

the day of thy watchmen; either which the true prophets of the Lord, sometimes called watchmen, foretold should come, but were discredited and despised, will now most assuredly come; and it will be found to be true what they said should come to pass: or the day of the false prophets, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; either which they predicted as a good day, and now it should be seen whether it would be so or not; or the day of their punishment, for their false prophecies and deception of the people:

and thy visitation cometh; the time that God would punish the people in general for their iniquities, as! well as their false prophets, princes, judges, and great men; who also may be designed by watchmen:

now shall be their perplexity: the prince, the judge, and the great man, in just retaliation for their perplexing the cause of the poor; or of all the people, who would be surrounded and entangled with calamities and distresses, and not know which way to turn themselves, or how to get out of them.

The best of them is as {e} a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of {f} thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.

(e) They that are of most estimation and are counted most honest among them, are but thorns and briers to prick.

(f) Meaning the prophets and governors.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. The best of them is as a brier] Comp. 2 Samuel 23:6 ‘and good-for-nothing men are all of them as thorns thrust away.’ ‘Thorns’ are in the Bible symbols of sin and its effects, and of the temptations which beset man’s path. But the Hebrew text has not the appearance of being sound.

the day of thy watchmen] i.e. the day foreseen by thy prophets. A prophet is stationed to look out for the approach of the ‘day of Jehovah;’ comp. Isaiah 21:6 (where the same form is used in the Hebrew as here), Jeremiah 6:17 (a different form).

thy visitation] i.e. thy punishment.

now shall be their perplexity] ‘Now,’ i.e. when this day has come. Wild confusion shall prevail, even among the faithful servants of Jehovah, when the long-predicted ‘day of Jehovah’ shall dawn. For the first result to the faithful Israel will be, not happiness, but misery—the chastisement due to past sins. The change of persons from the second to the third is harsh, but not unexampled.

Verse 4. - The best of them is as a briar; hard and piercing, catching and holding all that passes by. The plant intended by the word chedek is a thorny one used for hedges (Proverbs 15:19). Under another aspect thorns are a symbol of what is noxious and worthless (2 Samuel 23:6), or of sin and temptation. The most upright is sharper (worse) than a thorn hedge. Those who seem comparatively upright are more injurious, tangled, and inaccessible than a hedge of thorns. In punishment of all this corruption, the prophet points to the day of judgment. The day of thy watchmen. The day of retribution foretold by the prophets (Isaiah 21:6; Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 3:17). And (even) thy visitation; in apposition with the day, the time, and explanatory of punishment. Cometh; is come - the perfect tense denoting the certainty of the future event. Septuagint, Οὐαὶ αἱ ἐκδικήσεις σου ἥκασι, "Woe! thy vengeance is come." Now shall be their perplexity. When this day of the Lord comes, there shall be confusion (Isaiah 22:5); it shall bring chastise ment before deliverance. The prophet here, as elsewhere, changes from the second to the third person, speaking of the people gene rally. Septuagint, Νῦν ἔσονται κλαυθμοὶ αὐτῶν "Now shall be their weeping;" so the Syriac. Pusey notes the paronomasia here. They were as bad as a thorn hedge (merucah); they shall fall into perplexity (mebucah). Micah 7:4And even the best men form no exception to the rule. Micah 7:4. "Their best man is like a briar; the upright man more than a hedge: the day of thy spies, thy visitation cometh, then will their confusion follow. Micah 7:5. Trust not in the neighbour, rely not upon the intimate one; keep the doors of thy mouth before her that is thy bosom friend. Micah 7:6. For the son despiseth the father, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the people of his own house." טובם, the good man among them, i.e., the best man, resembles the thorn-bush, which only pricks, hurts, and injures. In ישׁר the force of the suffix still continues: the most righteous man among them; and מן before ממּסוּכה is used in a comparative sense: "is more, i.e., worse, than a thorn-hedge." The corruption of the nation has reached such a terrible height, that the judgment must burst in upon them. This thought comes before the prophet's mind, so that he interrupts the description of the corrupt condition of things by pointing to the day of judgment. The "day of thy watch-men," i.e., of thy prophets (Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 3:17; Ezekiel 33:7), is explained in the apposition peqŭddâthekhâ (thy visitation). The perfect בּאה is prophetic of the future, which is as certain as if it were already there. עתּה, now, i.e., when this day has come (really therefore equals "then"), will their confusion be, i.e., then will the wildest confusion come upon them, as the evil, which now envelopes itself in the appearance of good, will then burst forth without shame and without restraint, and everything will be turned upside down. In the same sense as this Isaiah also calls the day of divine judgment a day of confusion (Isaiah 22:5). In the allusion to the day of judgment the speaker addresses the people, whereas in the description of the corruption he speaks of them. This distinction thus made between the person speaking and the people is not at variance with the assumption that the prophet speaks in the name of the congregation, any more than the words "thy watchmen, thy visitation," furnish an objection to the assumption that the prophet was one of the watchmen himself. This distinction simply proves that the penitential community is not identical with the mass of the people, but to be distinguished from them. In Micah 7:5 the description of the moral corruption is continued, and that in the form of a warning not to trust one another any more, neither companion (רע) with whom one has intercourse in life, nor the confidential friend ('allūph), nor the most intimate friend of all, viz., the wife lying on the husband's bosom. Even before her the husband was to beware of letting the secrets of his heart cross his lips, because she would betray them. The reason for this is assigned in Micah 7:6, in the fact that even the holiest relations of the moral order of the world, the deepest ties of blood-relationship, are trodden under foot, and all the bonds of reverence, love, and chastity are loosened. The son treats his father as a fool (nibbēl, as in Deuteronomy 32:15). "The men of his house" (the subject of the last clause) are servants dwelling in the house, not relations (cf. Genesis 17:23, Genesis 17:27; Genesis 39:14; 2 Samuel 12:17-18). This verse is applied by Christ to the period of the κρίσις which will attend His coming, in His instruction to the apostles in Matthew 10:35-36 (cf. Luke 12:53). It follows from this, that we have not to regard Micah 7:5 and Micah 7:6 as a simple continuation of the description in Micah 7:2-4, but that these verses contain the explanation of עתּה תהיה מבוּכתם, in this sense, that at the outbreak of the judgment and of the visitation the faithlessness will reach the height of treachery to the nearest friends, yea, even of the dissolution of every family tie (cf. Matthew 24:10, Matthew 24:12).
Links
Micah 7:4 Interlinear
Micah 7:4 Parallel Texts


Micah 7:4 NIV
Micah 7:4 NLT
Micah 7:4 ESV
Micah 7:4 NASB
Micah 7:4 KJV

Micah 7:4 Bible Apps
Micah 7:4 Parallel
Micah 7:4 Biblia Paralela
Micah 7:4 Chinese Bible
Micah 7:4 French Bible
Micah 7:4 German Bible

Bible Hub






Micah 7:3
Top of Page
Top of Page