Micah 3 - Outline of Micah (Book Notes menu page)
1. And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel;
[Is it] not for you to know judgment?
2 Who hate the good, and love the evil;
who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
3 Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them;
and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces,
as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
4 Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them:
he will even hide his face from them at that time,
as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.
...Hear... O heads of Jacob... princes... of... Israel...-
As indicated by the outline, the book of Micah consists of three messages. Each message begins with the word "Hear." (1:2; 3:1; 6:1).
Micah's second message is directed to the leaders of the nation.
...is it not for you to know judgment {HB=mishpat, justice}...
Israel's leaders were responsible for judging God's people according to His Law.
They were supposed to diligently discern right from wrong and faithfully administer justice.
...who hate the good, and love the evil...-
How could they exercise justice when their own hearts and lives were contrary to God's purposes?
They could not, and did not...
...who eat the flesh of my people...-
The judges, who were charged with guarding and protecting God's flock, were feeding upon the poor, to fatten themselves. They were taking advantage of average citizens, to advance their own positions of wealth and power (eg., 2:1-2,8-9; cf. Eze 34:2-10).
Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but He will not hear them...-
The LORD's just judgment was about to swallow them (in the Assyrian invasion). When it came, the unjust judges would cry out to God for mercy and deliverance. But He would disregard their pleas, just as they had disregarded His Word and the pleas of His people.
5 Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err,
that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace;
and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
6 Therefore night [shall be] unto you, that ye shall not have a vision;
and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine;
and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded:
yea, they shall all cover their lips; for [there is] no answer of God.
God's judgment would also fall upon the false prophets, who were supposed to give spiritual guidance to the nation.
...the prophets that make my people err... that bite... that cry, Peace...
The smooth words, of the false prophets, were what the people wanted to hear. But they were deadly poison for those that believed them. Like the other leaders, the prophets were feeding upon the gullible to nourish themselves, even as they were leading the nation to certain destruction.
...and He that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against Him.
The pleasant message on their lips was a lie. It did not come from God. In fact it was in direct conflict with the truth of His Word, and contrary to His desire for His people.
Therefore night shall be unto you... the sun shall go down over the prophets...-
Because they had rejected God's Word, they would receive no new word from God. Spiritual darkness would descend upon the nation (as other true prophets also foretold, eg. Amos 8:9-12; Isa 29:10-14; Eze 13:22,23). Between Malachi (the last book of the OT) and the opening of the NT, there were 400 silent years. The sun of spiritual light went down for the nation because they had rejected God's Word. But as Malachi foretold (Mal 4:2), the Sun of Righteousness would arise, for those who would receive it, with the firstcoming of Christ. However, that Sun will not arise with national 'healing' and victory for Israel, until His second coming (Mal 4:2,3).
Then shall the seers {ie., prophets} be ashamed... they shall cover their lips...
During the time of darkness, the prophets would be ashamed because their prophecies will prove to be false. (eg., The many false prophets who encouraged king Ahab to go to battle, were proven liars, after he died in battle, as God's true prophet had predicted. 1Kin 22:1-28)
     Former false prophets would 'cover their lips' in recognition that they had received no word from God. A similar prophecy, from Zechariah (Zech 13:2-5), will be fulfilled at Christ's second coming. False prophets will continue to spue spiritual darkness, until His coming silences the lies which they have spoken concerning Him (Mat 24:11,23-24).
...the prophets... cry, Peace... they shall all cover their lips...-
Prior to the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, the false prophets were assuring the nation that all would be well. The nation should have listened to the prophets of God, who were pronouncing judgment: 'There is no peace... to the wicked' (Isa 57:21).
     The leaders continued in their efforts to secure peace through alliances with other nations, and through military preparations. The false prophets declared that peace was certain. But it was all in vain, because they refused to turn to the LORD in true repentance (eg., Jer 13:15-17).
     Although it is proper to seek peace with our neighbors, there will be no true 'peace on earth' through the diplomatic efforts of our leaders. All men are corrupt. Our sin is the cause of our trouble (Jam 4:1-4). Therefore, sin must first be dealt with. The LORD has graciously provided the means by which sinful men can be made righteous. When we allow Him to do that work within us, we are reconciled to God (Rom 5:1). Only then will the barriers, that divide us from our fellow men, be broken down (Eph 2:14-18).
     But of course, false prophets and false teachers, empowered by a spirit that is not from God, will war against those who proclaim the Gospel of Peace, just as they opposed Micah and other true prophets of God (Rom 10:15-17; 2Pet 2:1,2).
8. But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might,
to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
Micah knew the LORD, and was sure that God's Spirit was...
  • instructing him, to gave him right 'judgment' (ie., discernment between truth and error), in contrast to that of the nation's leaders (v.1) and prophets (v.5).
  • empowering him, with the 'might' of the LORD. Zech 4:6; 1Cor 2:1-5; 2Cor 10:3-5
  • speaking through him, 'to declare' {ie., to make known} the sin which was the root of their problem.
Micah, like all true believers, stood in opposition to forces that are at war with God.
We also need to know the LORD and the power of His Spirit, if we are stand for Him, today (Eph 6:10-18). Otherwise, we will be swayed to follow 'politically correct' human standards, or 'powerfully effective' fleshly ministry methods. Micah was out numbered, out voted, and disregarded as weird and foolish. But He spoke for God, and God's Word always prevails.
9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel,
that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.
10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire,
and the prophets thereof divine for money:
yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say,
[Is] not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
Here, Micah reviews the charges against the nation's sinful leaders (v.1-7),
and specifically applies those charges against the leaders of the southern kingdom (in Jerusalem).
Hear this... ye heads... ye princes...- The LORD addresses them by their characteristics:
  • [ye] who abhor {hate} justice...
  • [ye] who pervert {twist} equity {that which is straight and right}.
  • they 'build' {'establish'} Zion {the center of the LORD's kingdom} with bloodshed and injustice.
  • they judge for 'reward' {'bribes'}. Isa 1:23
  • the priests teach for hire {wages, financial gain}.
    The priests were supported through general offerings, and were supposed to freely give themselves to teaching God's Word to the people. Lev 10:11
  • the prophets divine for money.
    (Like Balaam, paid prophets are expected to say what they are paid to say.)
    The love of money distorts the message from many pulpits, even to the present day. 1Tim 6:10; 1Pet 5:2
         As the covetous leaders built their empire, they let nothing stand in their way, sometimes resorting to murder and the destruction of other men's livelihoods (v.10; as in 2:1,2). The ministries of false teachers can also be lucrative. Many religious organizations have been built on 'blood money,' at the cost of eternal loss for those who have bought into their errors.
...Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
Weren't they God's chosen people? Didn't God dwell in the Temple in the midst of His city?
But they were blind to the fact that the holy God could not condone their sin, and could no longer dwell in their midst (Jer 6:8; 7:4,8-14).
To these ungodly leaders, God's true prophet spoke boldly...
12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed [as] a field,
and Jerusalem shall become heaps,
and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.
This is the same judgment which had been pronounced upon Samaria (1:6).
It is possible that the northern kingdom had already been taken captive by Assyria (in 726 BC), at the time of this pronouncement of judgment upon Jerusalem.
     Shortly before the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon (in 586 BC), the prophet Jeremiah was brought before the rulers and charged with treason, for declaring that Jerusalem would soon be destroyed. A few elders stood in his defense and reminded the rulers that Jeremiah's words were consistent with Micah's prior prophecy (Jer 26:18). Though Jeremiah's life was spared, the nation did not repent, and the city was destroyed as foretold.
What a dismal picture!
In chapters 1 and 2, the terrors and sorrows of the impending judgment were lightened by brief glimpses of God's future blessing upon Israel, when their King will come in His glory.
  • in 1:15, in a message traced by the names of certain villages, we glimpsed the Heir, to whom the people and the land belong, who will restore the dispossessed nation to their rightful place, and give them dominion over their enemies.
  • in 2:13, at a future time when Jerusalem is besieged and without hope, 'the Breaker' will come to break the stranglehold of the nations. He as the LORD and King will go out before His people, to defeat their enemies in battle.
But where is that glimpse of hope in ch. 3? Micah's second message (which began in ch.3), continues in ch. 4-5. In the very next verses, the hope of the Messianic Kingdom is not merely glimpsed, but breaks forth in blinding glory (4:1-4)

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