Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Micah 2:12 - 2:12

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Micah 2:12 - 2:12

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In Mic 2:12, Mic 2:13 there follows, altogether without introduction, the promise of the future reassembling of the people from their dispersion. Mic 2:12. “I will assemble, assemble thee all together, O Jacob; gather together, gather together the remnant of Israel; I will bring him together like the sheep of Bozrah, like a flock in the midst of their pasture: they will be noisy with men. Mic 2:13. The breaker through comes up before them; they break through, and pass along through the gate, and go out by it; and their King goes before them, and Jehovah at their head.” Micah is indeed not a prophet, prophesying lies of wine and strong drink; nevertheless he also has salvation to proclaim, only not for the morally corrupt people of his own time. They will be banished out of the land; but the captivity and dispersion are not at an end. For the remnant of Israel, for the nation when sifted and refined by the judgments, the time will come when the Lord will assemble them again, miraculously multiply them, and redeem them as their King, and lead them home. The sudden and abrupt transition from threatening to promise, just as in Hos 2:2; Hos 6:1; Hos 11:9, has given rise to this mistaken supposition, that Mic 2:12, Mic 2:13 contain a prophecy uttered by the lying prophets mentioned in Mic 2:10 (Abenezra, Mich., Ewald, etc.). But this supposition founders not only on the שְׁאֵרִית יִשְׂרָאֵל, inasmuch as the gathering together of the remnant of Israel presupposes the carrying away into exile, but also on the entire contents of these verses. Micah could not possibly introduce a false prophet as speaking in the name of Jehovah, and saying, “I will gather;” such a man would at the most have said, “Jehovah will gather.” Nor could he have put a true prophecy like that contained in Mic 2:12, Mic 2:13 into the mouth of such a man. For this reason, not only Hengstenberg, Caspari, and Umbreit, but even Maurer and Hitzig, have rejected this assumption; and the latter observes, among other things, quite correctly, that “the idea expressed here is one common to the true prophets (see Hos 2:2), which Micah himself also utters in Mic 4:6.” The emphasis lies upon the assembling, and hence אֶאֱסֹף and אֲקַבֵּץ are strengthened by infinitive absolutes. But the assembling together presuppose a dispersion among the heathen, such as Micha has threatened in Mic 1:11, Mic 1:16; Mic 2:4. And the Lord will gather together all Jacob, not merely a portion, and yet only the remnant of Israel. This involves the thought, that the whole nation of the twelve tribes, or of the two kingdoms, will be reduced to a remnant by the judgment. Jacob and Israel are identical epithets applied to the whole nation, as in Mic 1:5, and the two clauses of the verse are synonymous, so that יַעֲקֹב כֻּלָּךְ coincides in actual fact with שְׁאֵתִית יִשְׂרָאֵל. The further description rests upon the fact of the leading of Israel out of Egypt, which is to be renewed in all that is essential at a future time. The following clauses also predict the miraculous multiplication of the remnant of Israel (see Hos 2:1-2; Jer 31:10), as experienced by the people in the olden time under the oppression of Egypt (Exo 1:12). The comparison to the flock of Bozrah presupposes that Bozrah's wealth in flocks was well known. Now, as the wealth of the Moabites in flocks of sheep is very evident from 2Ki 3:4, many have understood by בָּצְרָה not the Edomitish Bozrah, but the Moabitish Bostra (e.g., Hengstenberg). Others, again, take botsrâh as an appellative noun in the sense of hurdle or fold (see Hitzig, Caspari, and Dietrich in Ges. Lex. after the Chaldee). But there is not sufficient ground for either. The Bostra situated in the Hauran does not occur at all in the Old Testament, not even in Jer 48:24, and the appellative meaning of the word is simply postulated for this particular passage. That the Edomites were also rich in flocks of sheep is evident from Isa 24:6, where the massacre which Jehovah will inflict upon Edom and Bozrah is described as a sacrificial slaughtering of lambs, he-goats, rams, and oxen; a description which presupposes the wealth of Bozrah in natural flocks. The comparison which follows, “like a flock in the midst of its pasture,” belongs to the last verse, and refers to the multiplication, and to the noise made by a densely packed and numerous flock. The same tumult will be made by the assembled Israelites on account of the multitude of men. For the article in הַדָּבְרוֹ, which is already determined by the suffix, see at Jos 7:21. In Jos 7:13 the redemption of Israel out of exile is depicted under the figure of liberation from captivity. Was Egypt a slave-house (Mic 6:4; cf. Exo 20:2); so is exile a prison with walls and gates, which must be broken through. הַפֹּרֵיץ, the breaker through, who goes before them, is not Jehovah, but, as the counterpart of Moses the leader of Israel out of Egypt, the captain appointed by God for His people, answering to the head which they are said to choose for themselves in Hos 2:2, a second Moses, viz., Zerubbabel, and in the highest sense Christ, who opens the prison-doors, and redeems the captives of Zion (vid., Isa 42:7). Led by him, they break through the walls, and march through the gate, and go out through it out of the prison. “The three verbs, they break through, they march through, they go out, describe in a pictorial manner progress which cannot be stopped by any human power” (Hengstenberg). Their King Jehovah goes before them at their head (the last two clauses of the verse are synonymous). Just as Jehovah went before Israel as the angel of the Lord in the pillar of cloud and fire at the exodus from Egypt (Exo 13:21), so at the future redemption of the people of God will Jehovah go before them as King, and lead the procession (see Isa 52:12).

The fulfilment of this prophecy commenced with the gathering together of Israel to its God and King by the preaching of the gospel, and will be completed at some future time when the Lord shall redeem Israel, which is now pining in dispersion, out of the fetters of its unbelief and life of sin. We must not exclude all allusion to the deliverance of the Jewish nation out of the earthly Babylon by Cyrus; at the same time, it is only in its typical significance that this comes into consideration at all, - namely, as a preliminary stage and pledge of the redemption to be effected by Christ out of the spiritual Babylon of this world.