Micah 5


This chapter begins, according to the opinion of some

commentators, with a prophecy concerning the siege of

Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and the great indignities which

Zedekiah should suffer from the Babylonians, 1.

We have next a most famous prediction concerning the birthplace

of the Messiah, "whose goings forth have been from of old, from


See Mt 2:6.

The Jews obstinately persisting in their opposition to the

Messiah, God will therefore give them up into the hands of

their enemies till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled: and

then all the posterity of Jacob, both Israel and Judah, shall

be converted to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and, along

with the Gentiles, be brought into the large and peaceful

pastures of this Great Shepherd of the sheep, 3, 4.

After this illustrious prophecy, the prophet goes on to

foretell the downfall of the Assyrians, by whom are meant the

enemies of the Church in general, the type being probably put

for the antitype; the miraculous discomfiture of the great

Assyrian army in the reign of Sennacherib strongly shadowing

forth the glorious and no less miraculous triumphs of

Christianity in the latter times, 5, 6.

See Isa 11:16.

Some understand this prophecy of Antiochus and the seven famous

Maccabees, with their eight royal successors, from Aristobulus

to Antigonus; and it is not impossible that these people may

be also intended, for we have often had occasion to remark that

a prophecy of the Old Testament Scriptures has frequently more

than one aspect. The seventh verse was fulfilled by the Jews

spreading the knowledge of the true God during their captivity,

and so paving the way for the gospel; but will be more signally

fulfilled after their conversion and restoration.

See Ro 11:12-15.

The remaining verses contain a prophecy of the final overthrow

of all the enemies of pure and undefiled religion, and of the

thorough purification of the Church of God from the corruptions

of Antichrist, 9-15.


Verse 1. O daughter of troops] The Chaldeans, whose armies were

composed of troops from various nations.

He (Nebuchadnezzar) hath laid siege against us; (Jerusalem;)

they shall smite the judge of Israel (Zedekiah) with a rod upon

the cheek.] They shall offer him the greatest indignity. They slew

his sons before his face; and then put out his eyes, loaded him

with chains, and carried him captive to Babylon.

Verse 2. But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah] I have considered this

subject in great detail in Clarke's notes on "Mt 2:6", to which the

reader will be pleased to refer. This verse should begin this

chapter; the first verse belongs to the preceding chapter.

Bethlehem Ephratah, to distinguish it from another Beth-lehem,

which was in the tribe of Zebulun, Jos 19:15.

Thousands of Judah] The tribes were divided into small portions

called thousands; as in our country certain divisions of counties

are called hundreds.

Whose goings forth have been from of old] In every age, from the

foundation of the world, there has been some manifestation of the

Messiah. He was the hope, as he was the salvation, of the world,

from the promise to Adam in paradise, to his manifestation in the

flesh four thousand years after.

From everlasting] miyemey olam, "From the days of

all time;" from time as it came out of eternity. That is, there

was no time in which he has not been going forth-coming in various

ways to save men. And he that came forth the moment that time had

its birth, was before that time in which he began to come forth to

save the souls that he had created. He was before all things. As

he is the Creator of all things, so he is the Eternal, and no part

of what was created. All being but God has been created.

Whatever has not been created is God. But Jesus is the Creator of

all things; therefore he is God; for he cannot be a part of his

own work.

Verse 3. Therefore will he give them up] Jesus Christ shall give

up the disobedient and rebellious Jews into the hands of all the

nations of the earth, till she who travaileth hath brought forth;

that is, till the Christian Church, represented Re 12:1, under

the notion of a woman in travail, shall have had the fulness of

the Gentiles brought in. Then the remnant of his brethren shall

return; the Jews also shall be converted unto the Lord; and thus

all Israel shall be saved, according to Ro 11:26.

Unto the children of Israel.] Taking in both families, that of

Judah and that of Israel. The remnant of the ten tribes,

wherever they are, shall be brought in under Christ; and though

now lost among the nations of the earth, they will then not only

be brought in among the fulness of the Gentiles, but most probably

be distinguished as Jews.

On this verse Abp. Newcome says, "The sense is, God will not

fully vindicate and exalt his people, till the virgin mother shall

have brought forth her Son; and till Judah and Israel, and all the

true sons of Abraham among their brethren the Gentiles, be

converted to Christianity.

Verse 4. He shall stand and feed] The Messiah shall remain

with his followers, supporting and governing them in the strength

and majesty of the Lord, with all the miraculous interferences of

his power, and all the glories of his grace.

And they shall abide] After this the Jews shall no more go

astray, but shall remain one people with the Gentiles, under the

one Shepherd and Bishop of all souls.

Newcome translates, "They shall be converted" for instead of

veyashebu, he reads veyashubu, which gives him

the translation above. This is the reading of three MSS. of

Kennicott's and De Rossi's, with the Syriac, Chaldee, and


For now shall he be great] The Messiah shall be great, as

bringing salvation to the ends of the earth. All nations shall

receive his religion, and he shall be universal King.

Verse 5. And this man shall be the peace] This clause should be

joined to the preceding verse, as it finishes the prophecy

concerning our blessed Lord, who is the Author and Prince of

Israel; and shall finally give peace to all nations, by bringing

them under his yoke.

When the Assyrian shall come] This is a new prophecy, and

relates to the subversion of the Assyrian empire.

Then shall we raise against him seven shepherds] Supposed to

mean the seven Maccabees, Mattathias, and his five sons, and

Hyrcanus, the son of Simon.

Eight principal men.] Eight princes, the Asmonean race;

beginning with Aristobulus, and ending with Herod, who was married

to Mariamne.-Sharpe. Perhaps seven and eight are a definite

for an indefinite number, as Ec 11:2; Job 5:19. The prophet

means the chiefs of the Medes and Babylonians, the prefects of

different provinces who took Nineveh, whose number may have been

what is here specified.-Newcome.

Calmet considers this as referring to the invasion of Judea by

Cambyses, when the Lord raised up against him the seven magi. He

of them who passed for king of the Persians was the Smerdis of

Herodotus, the Oropastes of Trogus, and the Artaxerxes of Ezra.

These magi were put to death by seven Persian chiefs; who, having

delivered the empire from them, set one of themselves, Darius, the

son of Hystaspes, upon the throne.

Verse 6. The land of Nimrod] Assyria, and Nineveh its capital;

and Babylon, which was also built by Nimrod, who was its first

king, Ge 10:11, 12, in the


In the entrances thereof] At its posts or watergates; for it

was by rendering themselves masters of the Euphrates that the

Medes and Persians took the city, according to the prediction of

Jeremiah, Jer 51:32, 36.

Calmet thinks that this refers to the deliverance of the land

from Cambyses by his death, and the insurrection of the eight

princes mentioned above, who made themselves masters of the whole

Babylonian empire, &c. Perhaps it is best to refer it to the

invasion of Judea by Nebuchadnezzar; and the final destruction of

the Babylonish empire by Cyrus, who took Babylon, slew Belshazzar,

and possessed himself of the kingdom.

Verse 7. The remnant of Jacob] From the reign of Darius

Hystaspes (Ahasuerus, husband of Esther) the Jews were greatly

favoured. Those who continued in Persia and Chaldea were greatly

honoured under the protection of Mordecai and Esther.-Calmet.

But others consider this as applying to the Maccabees.

As a dew from the Lord] Even during their captivity many of the

Jews were the means of spreading the knowledge of the one true

God; see Da 2:47; 3:29; 4:34; 6:26. This may be

the dew from the Lord mentioned here. When the Messiah appeared,

the Gospel was preached by them; and it shall again be propagated

by their future glorious restoration, Ro 11:12, 25.

The grass, that tarrieth not for man] Which grass springs up

without the attention and culture of man; leish, even the

best and most skilful of men.

Nor waiteth for the sons of men.] libney adam, for

the sons of Adam, the first transgressor. The dew and the showers

descend on the earth and water it, in order to render it fruitful;

and the grass springs up independently either of the worth or

wickedness of man. All comes through God's bounty, who causes

his sun to shine on the just and the unjust, and his rain to

descend on the evil and the good.

Verse 8. As a lion] In this and the following verse the

victories of the Maccabees are supposed to be foretold.

Verse 9. All thine enemies shall be cut off.] The Assyrians, who

had destroyed Israel; and the Babylonians, who had ruined Judah.

Verse 10. I will cut off thy horses] Thou shalt have no need of

cavalry in thine armies; God will fight for you.

Verse 11. I will-throw down all thy strongholds] Thou shalt have

no need of fortified cities; I will be thy defense.

Verse 12. I will cut off witchcrafts] Thou shalt seek help only

in Jehovah thy God. They have had neither soothsayers, images,

groves, nor high places, from the captivity to the present day.

Verse 13. Thy graven images also will I cut off] Thou shalt be

no more an idolatrous people.

Verse 15. I will execute vengeance-upon the heathen] And he did

so; for the empires of the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and others, the

sworn enemies of the Jews, have long since been utterly destroyed.

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