Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Micah 7:4 - 7:4

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Micah 7:4 - 7:4


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And even the best men form no exception to the rule. Mic 7:4. “Their best man is like a briar; the upright man more than a hedge: the day of thy spies, thy visitation cometh, then will their confusion follow. Mic 7:5. Trust not in the neighbour, rely not upon the intimate one; keep the doors of thy mouth before her that is thy bosom friend. Mic 7:6. For the son despiseth the father, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the people of his own house.” טוֹבָם, the good man among them, i.e., the best man, resembles the thorn-bush, which only pricks, hurts, and injures. In יָשָׁר the force of the suffix still continues: the most righteous man among them; and מִן before מִמְּסוּכָה is used in a comparative sense: “is more, i.e., worse, than a thorn-hedge.” The corruption of the nation has reached such a terrible height, that the judgment must burst in upon them. This thought comes before the prophet's mind, so that he interrupts the description of the corrupt condition of things by pointing to the day of judgment. The “day of thy watch-men,” i.e., of thy prophets (Jer 6:17; Eze 3:17; Eze 33:7), is explained in the apposition peqŭddâthekhâ (thy visitation). The perfect בָּאָה is prophetic of the future, which is as certain as if it were already there. עַתָּה, now, i.e., when this day has come (really therefore = “then”), will their confusion be, i.e., then will the wildest confusion come upon them, as the evil, which now envelopes itself in the appearance of good, will then burst forth without shame and without restraint, and everything will be turned upside down. In the same sense as this Isaiah also calls the day of divine judgment a day of confusion (Isa 22:5). In the allusion to the day of judgment the speaker addresses the people, whereas in the description of the corruption he speaks of them. This distinction thus made between the person speaking and the people is not at variance with the assumption that the prophet speaks in the name of the congregation, any more than the words “thy watchmen, thy visitation,” furnish an objection to the assumption that the prophet was one of the watchmen himself. This distinction simply proves that the penitential community is not identical with the mass of the people, but to be distinguished from them. In Mic 7:5 the description of the moral corruption is continued, and that in the form of a warning not to trust one another any more, neither companion (רֵעַ) with whom one has intercourse in life, nor the confidential friend ('allūph), nor the most intimate friend of all, viz., the wife lying on the husband's bosom. Even before her the husband was to beware of letting the secrets of his heart cross his lips, because she would betray them. The reason for this is assigned in Mic 7:6, in the fact that even the holiest relations of the moral order of the world, the deepest ties of blood-relationship, are trodden under foot, and all the bonds of reverence, love, and chastity are loosened. The son treats his father as a fool (nibbēl, as in Deu 32:15). “The men of his house” (the subject of the last clause) are servants dwelling in the house, not relations (cf. Gen 17:23, Gen 17:27; Gen 39:14; 2Sa 12:17-18). This verse is applied by Christ to the period of the κρίσις which will attend His coming, in His instruction to the apostles in Mat 10:35-36 (cf. Luk 12:53). It follows from this, that we have not to regard Mic 7:5 and Mic 7:6 as a simple continuation of the description in Mic 7:2-4, but that these verses contain the explanation of עַתָּה תִהְיֶה מְבוּכָתָם, in this sense, that at the outbreak of the judgment and of the visitation the faithlessness will reach the height of treachery to the nearest friends, yea, even of the dissolution of every family tie (cf. Mat 24:10, Mat 24:12).