Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Micah 2:6 - 2:6

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Micah 2:6 - 2:6


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As such a prophecy as this met with violent contradiction, not only from the corrupt great men, but also from the false prophets who flattered the people, Micah indicates it by showing that the people are abusing the long-suffering and mercy of the Lord; and that, by robbing the peaceable poor, the widows, and the orphans, they are bringing about the punishment of banishment out of the land. Mic 2:6. “Drip not (prophesy not), they drip: if they drip not this, the shame will not depart. Mic 2:7. Thou, called house of Jacob, is the patience of Jehovah short, then? or is this His doing? Are not my words good to him that walketh uprightly?” הַטִּיף, to drip, to cause words to flow, used of prophesying, as in Amo 7:16. The speakers in Mic 2:6 are not the Jews generally, or the rich oppressors who have just been punished and threatened. The word yattı̄phū does not agree with this, since it does not mean to chatter, but to prophesy, as Mic 2:11 and also the primary passage Deu 32:2 show. But Micah could not call the rich men's speaking prophesying. It is rather false prophets who are speaking, - namely, those who in the word 'al-tattı̄phū (prophesy not) would prohibit the true prophets from predicting the judgments of the Lord. The second hemistich is rendered by most of the modern commentators, “they are not to chatter (preach) of such things; the reproaches cease not,” or “there is no end to reproaching” (Ewald, Hitzig, Maurer, and Caspari). But this is open to the following objections: (1) That הִטִּיף לְ in Mic 2:11 means to prophesy to a person (not concerning or of anything); (2) that sūg or nâsag means to depart, not to cease; (3) that even the thought, “the reproaches to not cease,” is apparently unsuitable, since Micah could not well call a prohibition against prophesying an incessant reproach; and to this we may add, (4) the grammatical harshness of taking לֹא יַטִּיפוּ as an imperative, and the following לֹא יִסַּג as an indicative (a simple declaration). Still less can the rendering, “they (the true prophets) will not chatter about this, yet the reproach will not depart” (Ros., Rückert), be vindicated, as such an antithesis as this would necessarily be indicated by a particle. The only course that remains, therefore, is that adopted by C. B. Michaelis and Hengstenberg, viz., to take the words as conditional: if they (the true prophets) do not prophesy to these (the unrighteous rich in Mic 2:1, Mic 2:2 : Hengstenberg), or on account of these things (Michaelis), the shame will not depart, i.e., shameful destruction will burst incessantly upon them. On the absence of the conditional אִם, see Ewald, p. 357, b. Such addresses as these do not please the corrupt great men; but they imagine that such threats are irreconcilable with the goodness of Jehovah. This is the connection of Mic 2:7, in which the prophet meets the reproach cast upon his threatening words with the remark, that God is not wrathful, and has no love for punishing, but that He is stirred up to wrath by the sins of the nation, and obliged to punish. הֶאָמוּר is not an exclamation, “O, what is said! = O for such talk as this!” (Ewald, Umbreit, Caspari); for it cannot be shown that the participle is ever used in this way, and it cannot be supported from הָפְכְּכֶם in Isa 29:16, especially as here a second vocative would follow. Nor is it a question: Num dicendum? Dare one say this?” (Hitzig). For although he might be an interrogative particle (cf. Eze 28:9), the passive participle cannot express the idea of daring, in support of which Hitzig is quite wrong in appealing to Lev 11:47 and Psalm 22:32. הֶאָמוּר is not doubt a vocative, but it is to be taken in connection with bēth-Ya‛aqōb: thou who art called house of Jacob. There is very little force in the objection, that this would have required הֶאָמוּר לְךָ ב י, since אָמַר, when used in the sense of being called or being named, is always construed with לְ of the person bearing the name. The part. paül of 'âmar only occurs here; and although the niphal, when used in this sense, is generally construed with לְ, the same rule may apply to אָמַר as to קָרָא in the sense of naming, - namely, that in the passive construction the לְ may either be inserted or omitted (cf. Isa 56:7; Isa 54:5; Deu 3:13), and הֶאָמוּר may just as well be used in the sense of dicta (domus) as הַנִּקְרָאִים in Isa 48:1 in the sense of vocati = qui appellantur. The whole nation is addressed, although the address points especially to the unrighteous great men. Is Jehovah indeed wrathful? i.e., has He not patience, does He not exercise long-suffering? Qātsar rūăch must not be explained according to Exo 6:9, but according to Pro 14:27. Or are these ('ēlleh, the punishments threatened) His deeds? i.e., is He accustomed, or does He only like to punish? The answer to these questions, or speaking more correctly, their refutation, follows in the next question, which is introduced with the assuring הֲלוֹא, and in which Jehovah speaks: My words deal kindly with him that walks uprightly. The Lord not only makes promises to the upright, but He also grants His blessing. The words of the Lord contain their fulfilment within themselves. In הַיָּשָׁר הֹולֵךְ, it is for the sake of emphasis that yâshâr stands first, and the article properly belongs to hōlēkh; but it is placed before yâshâr to bind together the two words into one idea. The reason why the Lord threatens by His prophets is therefore to be found in the unrighteousness of the people.