Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Micah 4:8 - 4:8

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Micah 4:8 - 4:8


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The prophecy turns from the highest glorification of Zion to the throne of Zion, which had been founded by David, and swept away with the destruction of Jerusalem (Mic 3:12), and predicts its restoration in the future. Consequently the reign of Jehovah upon Mount Zion, promised in Mic 4:7, is still further defined as effected through the medium of the Davidico-Messianic dominion. Mic 4:8. “And thou flock-tower, hill of the daughter Zion, to thee will the former dominion reach and come, the reign over the daughter Jerusalem.” This announcement is attached primarily to Mic 4:6 and Mic 4:7. As the remnant of Israel gathered together out of the dispersion will become a strong nation, so shall the reign of the daughter Zion be also restored. The address to the flock-tower, the hill of the daughter Zion, shows that these two notions express the same thing, looked at from two sides, or with two different bearings, so that the flock-tower is more precisely defined as the “hill of the daughter Zion.” Now, as the daughter Zion is the city of Zion personified as a virgin, the hill of the daughter Zion might be understood as denoting the hill upon which the city stood, i.e., Mount Zion. But this is precluded by Isa 32:14, where hill and watch-tower (‛ōphel vâbhachan) are mentioned in parallelism with the palace ('armōn), as places or buildings which are to serve as dens for ever. From this it is obvious that ‛ōphel was a place either at the side or at the top of Zion. If we compare with this 2Ch 27:3 and 2Ch 33:14, according to which Jotham built much against the wall of the Ophel (hâ‛ōphel), and Manasseh encircled the Ophel with a wall, and made it very high, Ophel must have been a hill, possibly a bastion, on the south-eastern border of Zion, the fortification of which was of great importance as a defence to the city of Zion against hostile attacks.

(Note: The opinion that Ophel is the whole of the southern steep rocky promontory of Moriah, from the southern end of the temple ground to its extreme point (Robinson, Schultz, Williams), viz., the Ophla or Ophlas of Josephus, as Arnold (Herzog's Cycl.) and Winer (Bibl. R.W.) suppose, would be in perfect harmony with this. At the same time, all that can be inferred with any certainty from the passages from Josephus which as cited in support of it (viz., Wars of the Jews, v. 6, 1; cf. vi. 6, 3 and v. 4, 2) is, that the place called Ophla was in the neighbourhood of the valley of Kidron and of the temple mountain. The question then arises, whether the Ophla of Josephus is identical with the Ophel of the Old Testament, since Josephus does not mention the Ophel in his list of the hills of Jerusalem, but simply mentions Ophla as a special locality (see Reland, Pal. p. 855). And lastly, the situation of the Ophel, upon which the Nethinim dwelt (Neh 3:26), is still a matter of dispute, Bertheau supposing it to be the habitable space to the east of the eastern side of the temple area.)

Consequently migdal-‛ēder cannot be the flock-tower in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem, which is mentioned in Gen 35:21, but can only be a (or rather the) tower of the Davidic palace, or royal castle upon Zion, namely the town mentioned in Neh 3:25, which stood out against the upper king's house, by the court of the prison (cf. Neh 3:26). For the prison, which also belonged to the king's house, according to Jer 32:2, formed a portion of the royal castle, according to the custom of the East. And that it had a lofty tower, is evident from Son 4:4 : “Thy neck is like David's tower, built for an armoury: a thousand shields hang thereon, all heroes' weapons;” according to which the tower of the royal castle was ornamented with the weapons or shields of David's heroes (1Ch 12:1). And the tower of the king's castle was so far specially adapted to represent the sovereignty of David, “that by its exaltation above Zion and Jerusalem, by the fact that it ruled the whole city, it symbolized the Davidic family, and its rule over the city and all Israel” (Caspari). This tower, which is most likely the one called bachan (the watch-tower) in Isaiah (l.c.), is called by Micah the flock-tower, probably as a play upon the flock-tower by which the patriarch Jacob once pitched his tent, because David, the ancestor of the divinely-chosen royal house, had been called from being the shepherd of a flock to be the shepherd of the nation of Israel, the flock of Jehovah (Jer 13:17; cf. 2Sa 7:8; Psa 78:70). This epithet was a very natural one for the prophet to employ, as he not only describes the Messiah as a shepherd in Mic 5:3, but also represents Israel as the sheep of Jehovah's inheritance in Mic 7:14, and the flock-tower is the place where the shepherd takes up his position to see whether any danger threatens his flock (cf. 2Ch 26:10; 2Ch 27:4). עָדֶיךָ תֵאהֶת, “unto thee shall it come.”

(Note: Luther's rendering, “thy golden rose will come,” arose from his confounding עָדֶיךָ (from עד, unto) with עֶדְיְךָ, thine ornament.)

עָדֶיךָ affirms more than אֵלֶיךָ, to thee: expressing the conquest of every obstacle that blocks up the way to the goal. תֵּאהֶת is separated from what follows, and exhibited as independent not only by the athnach, but also by the change of tense occurring in בָּאָה: “to thee will it come,” sc. what the prophet has in his mind and mentions in the next clause, but brings into special prominence in וּבָאָה. הם הָרִאשֹׁנָה, the former (first) reign, is the splendid rule of David and Solomon. This predicate presupposes that the sovereignty has departed from Zion, i.e., has been withdrawn from the Davidic family, and points back to the destruction of Jerusalem predicted in Mic 3:12. This sovereignty is still more precisely defined as kingship over the daughter of Jerusalem (ל before בַת is a periphrasis of the gen. obj.). Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom, represents as the object sovereignty over the whole kingdom. This is to be restored to the hill of Zion, i.e., to the royal castle upon the top of it.