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2. But thou, Bethlehem-Ephratah, though thou be little ainong the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth ụnto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old. from everlastilig. 3. Therefore will he give them up* into the hand of their enemies until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth; then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. 4. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide : for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
5. And this ruler shall be peace unto us, when the Assyrian shall come into our land t, and when
Jill he gire them up ] llaving rejected the Messiah, they shall no more be his people, until the time of their mystic birth, namely their restoration and conversion. “ God' will “ give up bis people into the hands of their enemies, or leave a them to be exercised with troubles and afflictions, till the. " appointed time of their deliverance cometh, which shall be “ greater than that from Babylon. This deliverance-will be “ fully completed in the general restoration of the Jewish na“ tion to be expected in the latter ages." Mr. Lowth in loc.
+ Il'hen the Assyrian shall come into our land.] “ I take the "i sense, which Mr. Mede hath given to this passage, to be yet most agreeable to the scope and design of the following part " of the diapter, See his Works, p. 796, where he expounds " the place of the general destruction of some remarkable u enemy or enemies to God and his truth, which should come “ to pass before the consumination of all things; an event
he shall tread down our palaces : and we will raise against himn seven shepherds and eight anointed men *. 6. And they shall waste the land of Assyvia with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof; and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. 7. And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people, as the dew from the Lord, as showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for inan, nor waiteth for the sons of men, 8. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of
"' foretold in several places of Scripture. This enemy is pro" bably called by the name of the Assyrian by Isaiah (chap. xiv. • 25.), as well as by Micah here." Mr. Lowth in loc.
Seven shepherdsmeight anointed men.] “ Some imagine," says Dr. Gray, “ that Micah fortells in this prophecy the vic-. " tories to be obtained by the leaders of the Medes and Baby" lonians who took Nineveh. Others suppose him to speak of “ the seven Maccabees with their eight royal successors, from “ 'Aristobulus to Antigonus." Dr: Gray himself conjectures, that “ it may perhaps bear a reference to some higher tri* umph ;” and refers us to Ezek. xxxviii. and xxxix. wherein the destruction of Gog and Magog is foretold (Key to 0. Test. p. 465.). Though I cannot believe that it relates to the war of Gog and Magog, I think him perfectly right in his general idea that the accomplishment of it is yet future. All these events are to happen at the era of the restoration of the Jeys : how then can they, with any degree of propriety; be referred to times previous even to the first adverd of Christ?
sheep; who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. 9. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
10. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy war-chariots: 11. And I will cut off the fortified cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds : 12. And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand ; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: 13. Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands : 14. And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; and I will destroy thy fortified cities. 15. And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the nations *, such as they have not heard.
· COMMENTARY. Micah begins this prophecy with predicting, in terms similar to a parallel passage in Isaiah t, the glories of the millennian kingdom of Christ.
He declares, that, after God had judged among the people, and rebuked the nations, war and de
* I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the nations.] " When I have purged my people from their corruptions, “ I will severely vindicate their cause, to the utter destruction “ of all their unbeliving ene mies.” Mfr. Lowth in loc. + Isaiah ii. 1-5.
struction should be no more; but that every one should dwell peaceably with his neighbour.
He then proceeds to enter into particulars. He foretells the general restoration of Israel; and, addressing himself to the mystic daughter of Zion, he calls upon her to be in travail, and to bring forth the mighty multitude of her sons * Though she has long gone out of her city, and has been led away captive into the dominions of the Roman Babylon t; yet even there the Lord will convert her and deliver her, and will redeem her from the hand of her enemies. * He next directs our attention to another particular, with which the period immediately preceding the Millennium will be marked. While the daughter of Zion is returning into her own land, many nations, ignorant of the counsel of the Lord, shall league themselves against her. But this confederacy of Antichrist God will gather together to Armageddout, as sheaves of corn are gathered into the floor. Then will he call aloud to the daughter of Zion to arise and thresh, and to beat in pieces many people: then will he make her horn iron, and her hoofs brass': then will he devote 'unto the Lord with a curse of utter destruction the sub
; * Compare Isaiah' xxvi. 17. and Ixvi. 7–12. *
f The literal Babylonian captivity can only be meant in an 'inchoáte sense, for the daughter of Zion has never yet arisén and *threshed her enemies," ji # Rev. xvi. 16. P3
stance stance of those, who have themselves proclaimed an anathema against their opponents. Antichrist vars under the pretext of religion. He goeth forth, a's we learn from Daniel, to devote with a curse many to utter destruction. But this curse of extermination will be retorted upon hiinself: and he will perish with his assembled multitudes at Megiddo; which St. John, to denote the same circumstance that Micah here alludes to, forms into the compound word Armageddon, or the cursing to extermination at Megiddo. Against this enemy, who will lay siege to Jerusalem, who will even be permitted to take it, and who will smite with the rod of tyrannical oppression the tribes of Israel, the daughter of Zion is called upon to gather herself in troops.
It is now necessary however, that the prophet should go back to the times of the first advent, in order to bring upon the stage that mighty deliverer who alone is able to tread the wine-press of God's indignation. He foretells, that, although the goings forth of the Messiah have been from everlasting, the place of his earthly nativity should be the small town of Bethlehem*. The divine ruler cometh to his own, and his own receive him not. Therefore will be
* It is not unworthy of notice, that the Chaldee Paraphrast expressly applies this prophecy to the Messiah, just as the chief priests and scribes (Matt. ji, 3--6) rightly interpreted it to Herod. * Et tu, Bethlehem Ephrata,--ex te coram meproat Dibit Christus."