For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2002 James Melough

7:1.  “Woe is me!  for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit.”

This appears to describe the frustration and sorrow of the man who was looking for good in Israel: it was as hard to find as were grapes or figs after the gleaners had gathered what was usually left for them after the grape and fig harvests had been gathered in.  The clusters of grapes and the firstripe figs speak of what is good.  The equivalent moral characteristics were not to be found in Israel; nor, in fact, was there to be found even what corresponds to the inferior grapes and figs usually left for the gleaners.  There was no good in Israel.  She had become utterly corrupt and was fit only for the judgment about to break on her guilty head.

7:2.  “The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.”

This confirms what has been discussed above.  Their lust for riches had seared their consciences, so that they would stop at nothing, even murder, to seize what rightfully belonged to another.  They were like hunters, as callously indifferent to the suffering their evil activity caused others, as were hunters to the suffering their activity caused their prey.

7:3.  “That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.”

“... with both hands earnestly” speaks of the vehement diligence with which they pursued evil.  It was what they lived for.  The rulers made laws, and the judges rendered decisions, in favor of those who gave the largest bribe, while the rich and powerful didn’t hesitate to talk openly of their evil schemes to seize what rightfully belonged to others.  Jamieson, Fausset and Brown have commented, “... the great man no sooner has expressed his bad desire ... than the venal judges are ready to wrest the decision of the case according to his wish.” The three classes worked hand-in-glove with one another, and so “wrapped it up,” i.e., accomplished their evil objectives.

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.”

There was not an honest man to be found amongst them, for even the best were like a twisted thorn hedge which injured anyone who come in contact with it.  So was it with the men of Israel: all who had any contact with them suffered harm.

But God was about to put an end to their evil doings.  If the watchmen were their leaders, then the day their watchmen had so carefully schemed to keep away, was about to break in fury on their guilty heads, plunging them into perplexity (confusion: bewilderment).  If, however, as is much more likely, the watchmen were the true prophets, as many believe them to be, then the message is that the judgment foretold by the prophets was about to envelop the wicked nation.

7:5.  “Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.”

No one was to be trusted.  The evil was so pervasive that it was necessary to be wary of confiding in a neighbor, a friend, or even a wife.

7:6.  “For the son dishonoreth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.”

Even the members of a family were ready to betray one another if gain were to accrue from the betrayal.  The picture is of society become utterly corrupt.

All of these things will mark society in the coming Tribulation, and the fact that they are rampant today simply declares that that terrible time of judgment is imminent.

7:7.  “Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.”

Because no one was to be trusted, the prophet’s advice was to follow his example and look only to the Lord, for only He could be trusted, and only He could save the few believers from the machinations of the utterly corrupt people, and sustain them through the coming judgment.  The same advice applies to God’s people during these present evil days.

7:8.  “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.”

This indicates that Micah was aware that the godly would have to share in the judgment that was about to engulf the wicked nation, but with a difference: God would uphold His own, enabling them to rest in the peace of knowing that, “all things work together for good to them that love God,” Ro 8:28.  That same assurance is given also to us.  The enemy therefore was not to rejoice should the prophet and his few believing fellows seem to fall with the rest of the nation: God would ultimately restore the believing remnant of His people; and should they have to endure the dark days that were coming, even in the midst of the darkness they would have the assurance that what was for the destruction of the disobedient, would be used by God for the blessing of the obedient, see Ro 8:28 quoted above.  And ultimately the believing remnant, the new nation that would emerge from the Tribulation, would be restored and blessed in the Millennium.

7:9.  “I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.”

This is the evidence of a truly contrite and repentant heart.  Micah wasn’t guilty of the terrible sins he was called upon to denounce, but he was aware that there is no one who is without sin, as it is written, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Ro 3:23, so he would willingly take his place with the rest of the guilty nation even though his sins were far less heinous than theirs.  Like every other OT believer he had the faith to look forward to that day when the promised Seed of the woman would come and expiate sin by dying in man’s guilty stead, thus enabling God to pardon all the sin of the repentant believer. 

It is to be noted that he says “and execute judgment for me (not against me).  The judgment would be executed against His Divine Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, enabling God on a basis of perfect justice, to pardon all his sin, and bring him “forth to the light” to behold the Divine righteousness.

7:10.  “Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the Lord thy God?  Mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down in the mire of the streets.”

This looks forward to that coming day when the redeemed of the Tribulation era will stand with Christ and see their enemies, and His, banished into hell; and also to that still more distant day when the great white throne will be set up, and the redeemed of all the ages will see every enemy banished into the eternal torment of the lake of fire.

7:11.  “In the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed.”

Another translation makes this verse much clearer than the KJ version, “... in that day shall the boundary of Israel be far extended and the decree [against her] be far removed” - AMP.  The “day” is the Millennium, and in that day Israel’s territory will include more land than she has formerly possessed, see Ge 15:18 relative to God’s promise to Abraham, “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”  (The “river of Egypt” is not the Nile, but the small stream running into the sea between Israel and Egypt).  Her dominion, in fact, will be over the whole earth, and the decree of judgment against her will be taken away, being exchanged for phenomenal blessing.

7:12.  “In that day also he shall come even to thee from Assyria, and from the fortified cities, and from the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain.”

This verse also is made much clearer by another translation, “Citizens of many lands will come and honor you - from Assyria to Egypt, and from Egypt to the Euphrates, from sea to sea and from distant hills and mountains” - Taylor.  It continues to emphasize the honor and glory that will be Israel’s in the Millennium.

7:13.  “Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings.”

Here the prophet turns from the contemplation of Israel’s millennial glory, to the declaration of the fact that that day of blessing will be preceded by one of destructive desolation, that judgment devastating the land in the great Tribulation, i.e., the final three and a half years of the seven year Tribulation era.  Nor will the destruction be confined to Israel: it will embrace the whole world, for the wickedness of the nations is as great as Israel’s, so that they must therefore experience the same punishment.

7:14.  “Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.”

This is Micah’s plea to God on behalf of Israel.  He beseeches the Lord to shepherd them as a literal shepherd does his flock with his rod or crook, the rod being used here as a synonym for God’s Word, the Scriptures.  “... the flock of thine heritage” is the description of Israel as the nation which God has appointed to inherit His richest blessing.

Their dwelling “solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel fruitful field,” appears to speak of their being scattered and isolated amongst the nations, where they have been for the past two thousand years, and where they will remain until the end of the Tribulation - except for the comparatively small number who have returned to Palestine since 1948.

“... let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,” places renowned for their rich pastures.  This seems to be the prophet’s continued plea for God to bring them into the enjoyment of millennial blessing.

7:15.  “According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvelous things.”

It seems that the speaker here is God responding with the assurance that as He had once brought them out of Egypt into Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey, so would He again bring them out from their long dispersion amongst the Gentiles, back to Canaan, but a Canaan burgeoning with good things in the Millennium.

7:16.  “The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf.”

This appears to be God’s revelation, given through the prophet, of other wonders of Israel’s blessing in the Millennium: the nations will be ashamed of their own puny power as they find themselves become subservient to the nation they had so long despised: Israel blessed and empowered by Divine omnipotence.  They will be reduced to silence, and made deaf to all the former boasting concerning their own power, when God sets Israel before them as their head, glorified by Him, and endowed with His might.

7:17.  “They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of thee.”

In that day at the end of the Tribulation, when they will be arraigned before the Lord Jesus Christ, the unconverted will grovel in the  dust as they will be compelled to come out of their hiding places, terrified in the presence of the One they had mocked when He was unseen, but Who will then stand before them as their Judge, the mighty Lion of Judah, the redeemed remnant of Israel and of the nations, standing with Him, the objects of His love and blessing, having bowed before Him in repentant submission when they saw Him only by faith.

7:18.  “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”

The prophet, awed by his contemplation of God’s pardoning love and grace, is impelled to exclaim, “Who is a God like unto thee...?”  A cause for greater wonder is the means whereby it was made possible for Him to pardon sin and yet not compromise His Own moral integrity.  The love that led Him to give His only Son to die in man’s guilty stead will evoke the wondering worship of the redeemed eternally, as will the equally great love of that Son in being willing to come down to earth and take man’s guilty place at Calvary, thereby establishing a basis of perfect justice upon which God’s pardoning grace rests.

“... and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage” reminds us, however, that the pardon is linked to man’s will.  “... the remnant of his heritage” is the believing remnant of Israel and of the nations.  Apart from man’s willingness to repent, and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, that pardon, procured at incalculable cost, becomes worthless, reflecting the unrepentant sinner’s evaluation of Christ Himself!

It was on Christ at Calvary that God’s righteous anger against sin burned itself out, making it possible for Him to extend mercy to every repentant sinner.

7:19.  “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

Micah continues to speak of God’s compassion, the words “he will subdue our iniquities” meaning simply that God will tread all the believer’s sins beneath His feet, so that they will be seen no more.

“... thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” continues to emphasize the completeness of God’s forgiveness: the believer’s sins are put away, never again to be recalled.  But there may be a deeper significance to this than is at first apparent.  In the Psalms Christ’s sufferings are frequently likened to His sinking down under overwhelming flood waters, see e.g., Ps 42:7; 69:1,2,14,15; 88:6,7,16,17.  Our sins were cast into the depths of the sea when they were laid upon Christ, and He sank down into the depths of death in our stead under the weight of our sins.

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.”

The book concludes with Micah’s assurance that just as God’s promises of eternal punishment will be fulfilled when every unbeliever will be cast from the great white throne into the eternal torment of the lake of fire, so also will all his promises of eternal blessing given to the patriarchs, and all other believers, be fulfilled: first in the Millennium, and eternally in the new heavens and new earth.



     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough