Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Micah 7:11 - 7:11

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Micah 7:11 - 7:11

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The confident expectation rises in Mic 7:11 ff. into an assurance of the promise; the words of the prophet in the name of the church rising into an address to Zion, confirm its hope by the promise of the restoration of Zion, and the entrance of crowds of people into the city of God. Mic 7:11. “A day to build thy walls (cometh); in that day will the ordinance be far away. Mic 7:12. In that day will they come to thee from Asshur and the cities of Egypt, and from Egypt to the river, and (to) sea from sea, and (from) mountain to mountain. Mic 7:13. And the earth will become a desert because of its inhabitants, for the fruit of their doings.” Mic 7:11 consists of two clauses; for we may easily supply to yōm “is” or “will be” = come. The daughter Zion is addressed (cf. Mic 4:8) not as a church, but as a city, as the centre and representative of the kingdom of God. As such, she is compared to a vineyard, as in Isa 5:1-7; Isa 27:2-4; Psa 80:9-10. The word gâdēr, which is generally used for the hedge or wall around a vineyard, points to this (see Isa 5:5; Num 22:24; Ecc 10:8). יוֹן הַהוּא is an adverbial accusative; in that day will חֹק be far away. The meaning of this word is very difficult to find, and can hardly be settled with any certainty. The explanation of chōq, as signifying the law imposed upon Israel by the heathen oppressors (Chald., Hengstenberg, etc.), cannot be sustained, as this meaning cannot be established from Psa 104:20, and is not suggested by the context. So, again, the explanation, “On that day will the goal set (for Israel), or the boundary fixed (for it), be a far distant one (i.e., then will the boundaries of the land of Israel lie in the far distance, or be advanced to the remotest distance:” Hitzig, Caspari, and others), introduces a meaning into the words which they do not possess. Even if chōq does denote a fixed point or a limit of either space or time, it never signifies the boundary of a nation; and râchaq, to be far off, is not equivalent to being advanced to a great distance. Chōq is apparently used here for the ordinance or limit which God has appointed to separate Israel from the nations; not a land-boundary, but the law of Israel's separation from the nations.

This law will be far away, i.e., will be removed or set aside (yirach is only chosen for the sake of the assonance with chōq), inasmuch as numerous crowds, as is added in Mic 7:12 by way of explanation, will then stream to Zion, or come to the people of God, out of all lands (cf. Mic 4:1-2). For this is what Mic 7:12 refers to, and not the return to Zion of the Israelites who have been scattered in the heathen lands. יָבוֹא (impersonal), one comes, they come: not “return,” יָשׁוּב, which must have been the expression used if the return of the Israelites out of their captivity had been meant. The heathen who cherish a desire for the God of Zion and His law (Mic 4:2) will come to Israel; not to Israel as still living in their midst (Caspari), but to the Israel that has already returned, and whose walls have been rebuilt (Mic 7:11). The building of the walls of Zion involves the gathering together of the dispersed nation, or rather presupposes it. Heathen will come “from Asshur and the cities of Egypt,” i.e., from the two mightiest empires in the time of the prophet. Mâtsōr, the poetical name of Egypt, as in Isa 19:6; Isa 37:25; and “cities of Egypt,” because that land or kingdom was especially rich in cities. The further definitions individualize the idea of the totality of the lands and provinces, the correlative members being transposed and incomplete in the last two sentences, so that the preposition עַד must be supplied to וְיָם, and the preposition מִן to הָהָר. From Egypt to the river (Euphrates) includes the lands lying between these two terminal points; and in the expressions, “sea from sea, and mountain to mountain,” seas and mountains are mentioned in the most general manner, as the boundaries of lands and nations; so that we have not to think of any particular seas and mountains, say the Western (or Mediterranean) Sea, and the Eastern (the Dead or the Galilean) Sea, as being the western and eastern boundaries of Palestine, and of Lebanon and Sinai as the northern and southern boundaries, but must adhere firmly to the general character of the expression: “from one sea and one mountain to another sea and mountain,” i.e., from every land situated between seas and mountains, that is to say, from all the lands and provinces of the earth. The coming out of all lands is not to be understood as denoting simply passing visits to Canaan or Zion, but as coming to connect themselves with the people of God, to be received into fellowship with them. There is a parallel to this promise in the promise contained in Isa 19:18-25, that in the Messianic times Egypt and Asshur will turn to Jehovah. This takes place because the earth will become a desert, on account of the evil deeds of its inhabitants. Whilst Zion is rebuilt, and the people of God are multiplied, by the addition of the godly Gentiles out of all the countries of the earth, the judgment falls upon the sinful world. This statement of Mic 7:13 is simply attached to what precedes it by וְהָיְתָה, in order to complete the promise of the restoration of Zion, by adding the fate which will befal the earth (i.e., the earth outside Canaan); but it actually contains the motive for the coming of the crowds to Zion. הָאָרֶץ cannot be the land of Israel (Canaan) here, in support of which appeal has been made to Lev 26:33 and Isa 1:7; for the context neither leads to any such limitation as that הָאָרֶץ could be taken in the sense of אַרְצְכֶן (in Leviticus and Isaiah), nor allows of our thinking of the devastation of Canaan. When the day shall have come for the building of the walls of Zion, the land of Israel will not become a desert then; but, on the contrary, the devastation will cease. If the devastation of Canaan were intended here, we should have either to take והיתה as a pluperfect, in violation of the rules of the language, or arbitrarily to interpolate “previously,” as Hitzig proposes. עַל יֹשְׁבֶיהָ is defined more precisely by מִפְּרִי מַעַלְלֵיהֶם. The doings are of course evil ones, and the deeds themselves are the fruit (cf. Isa 3:10).