Thursday, June 8th, 2023
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Trapp's Complete Commentary Trapp's Commentary
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Micah 4". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ jtc/ micah-4.html. 1865-1868.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Micah 4". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
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Mic 4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
Ver. 1. But in the last days it shall come to pass ] God reserveth his best comforts till the last, as that ruler of the feast did his best wine, John 2:10 , and as the sweetest of the honey lieth at the bottom. These last days are the Gospel days, Hebrews 1:2 , times of reformation, Hebrews 9:10 , of restitution, Acts 3:21 , called the world to come, Hebrews 2:5 , that "new heaven and earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness," 2 Peter 3:13 , that new Jerusalem, that is all of gold, Revelation 21:18 , Ezekiel’s new temple, larger than all the old Jerusalem, and his new Jerusalem, larger than all the land of Canaan, Ezekiel 40:41-49 . Let Popish buzzards blaspheme that description of the temple and city; calling it (as Sanctius doth once and again) insulsam descriptionem, a senseless description; so speaking evil of the things that they know not, Judges 1:10 . We believe and are sure, John 6:69 , that God hath provided some better thing for us than for those under the law, Hebrews 11:40 , viz. that great mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh, 1 Timothy 3:16 , who should again restore the kingdom to Israel, the spiritual kingdom to the Israel of God; as is here foretold in the self same words with those of Isaiah, Isaiah 2:1-2 , whence he is not ashamed to take it.
That the mountain of the house of the Lord ] The Church, 1 Timothy 3:15 , called elsewhere the mountain of the Lord, and his holy hill, Psalms 15:1 ; Psalms 24:3 ; Psa 48:2 Isaiah 30:17 , both for its sublimity, Galatians 4:26 , and firmness, Psalms 46:3 ; Psalms 125:1 : winds and storms move it not; no more can all the power and policy of hell combined prevail against the Church, Matthew 16:18 . She is ανικητος και ακινητος , a kingdom that cannot be shaken; and may, better than the city of Venice, take for her posy Immota manet. May she stand immovable.
Shall be established in the top of the mountains ] Constituetur firmiter, She shall be established more securely, shall be strongly set upon a sure bottom, upon munitions of rocks; yea, upon the Rock of Ages, Matthew 15:18 Jer 31:35 Isaiah 33:16 . Some by "the house of the Lord" here understand the Church; and by the mountain of this house, Christ, whereon it is built, and whom Daniel describeth by that great mountain that filled the whole earth, that stone cut out without hands that smote in pieces the four monarchies, Daniel 2:35 . And hence it is that this mountain of the Lord’s house is exalted above the hills: the Church must needs be above all earthly eminences whatsoever, because founded upon Christ; who therefore cannot be exalted, but she must be lifted up aloft together with him. God, who is rich in mercy, saith that great apostle, "hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus," Ephesians 2:5-6 . The Church is mystical Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:12 , she is his wife, and wherever he is Caius she is Caia; she shineth with his beams and partaketh of his honours; union being the ground of communion.
And people shall flow unto it ] As waters roll and run toward the sea; but that these waters shall flow upward, flow to the mountain, as here, is as wonderful as that the sun should send his beams downward to the earth, when as it is the property of all fire to aspire and fly upwards. This is the Lord’s own work, and it is marvellous in our eyes. The metaphor of flowing importeth the coming of people to Christ by the preaching of the Gospel. 1. Freely, Psalms 110:3 Psalms 110:2 . Swiftly, as the waters of the river Tigris, swift as an arrow out of a bow. See Isaiah 60:8 Isaiah 60:3 . Plentifully, by whole nations turned to the faith, and giving up their names to Christ. 4. Jointly, as Mic 4:2 Zechariah 8:21 Zechariah 8:5 . Zealously, bearing down all obstacles that would dam up their way. 6. Constantly and continually, as rivers run perpetually, by reason of the perennity of their fountains; and are never dried up, though sometimes fuller than some: quin ut fluvii repentinis imbribus augentur, saith Gualther; as rivers swell often with sudden showers, and overflow the banks, so, beyond all expectation, many times doth God take away tyrants, and propagates his truth, enlarging the bounds of his Church with new confluxes of converts.
Mic 4:2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Ver. 2. And many nations shall come and say ] The conversion of the Gentiles is here foretold, a piece of that mystery of godliness, 1 Timothy 3:16 . The Jews usually call Christians in contempt Gozin (the word here used), and Mamzer Goi, bastard Gentiles. But, either they must come under this name themselves or deny that they are the posterity of Abraham, Genesis 12:2 , where God saith, "I will make of thee a great nation."
Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord ] The wicked have their Come, Proverbs 1:11 , and would not go to hell alone. Should not the saints have theirs? should they not get what company they can toward heaven? The Greeks call goodness Kαλον , from καλειν ; and Aγαθον , from Aγαν θεειν , because it doth, as it were, invite and call others to it; and every man is willingly to run after it.
And to the house of the God of Jacob ] To the public ordinances, where we may hear and believe, and be sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, as those Ephesians were, Ephesians 1:13 . We read that Marcellinus, Secundanus, and some others were converted to Christianity by reading Sibylla’s oracles of Christ’s birth; and that by Chaucer’s book some were brought to the knowledge of the truth. But either this was not so, or not ordinary; for faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word preached, which therefore the people of God do so prize as Luther did, who said, He would not take all the world for one leaf of the Bible; and that without the preaching of the word he could not live comfortably in paradise; as with it, he could live and enjoy himself, though it were in hell.
And he will teach us of his ways ] Cathedram in coelis habet qui corda docet, saith Austin. All true converts are taught of God, John 6:45 , and then quam cito discitur quod docetur? saith the same Father: how soon are men discipled! how soon learn they the ways of God, whereby to serve him here, and be saved by him hereafter! For it is false that some contend for; sc. that every man may be saved in his own faith, be it right or wrong. For none can come to the Father but by the Son, John 14:6 . Neither is there any other name but his under heaven, whereby men must be saved, Acts 4:12 . See John 17:3 ; Joh 6:40 Hebrews 11:6 , whatsoever the Huberians affirm of universal election, or the Puccians of a natural faith.
And we will walk in his paths ] Which are all paved with mercy and love; so that the saints run therein and faint not; walk, and are not weary, Isaiah 40:31 . They are all peripatetics, ever in action, Genesis 17:1 ; they are currists caretakers, not quaerists , seekers, saith Luther elegantly; they do not reason, but run the paths of God’s precepts. Nescit tarda molimina Spiritus Sancti gratis (Ambrose).
For the law shall go forth of Zion ] The law, or doctrine, as Proverbs 13:14 . Understand here the gospel, that law of God, Psalms 19:7 , that law of Christ, Galatians 6:2 , that perfect law of liberty, James 1:25 , a counterpane whereof God putteth into the hearts of his people, Jeremiah 31:33 , whereby they become (as it was once said of the Thracians) αυτονομοι , a law to themselves; as being transformed into the same image with the gospel, like as the pearl, by the often beating of the sunbeams upon it, becometh radiant as the sun (Herod.).
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem ] Not from Africa at first (as the brethren of the Rosycross would have it), though it is thought the gospel was received and the Christian faith professed even from the apostles’ time, in that large region of Nubia, in Africa. But repentance and remission of sins was preached "among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem," Luke 24:47 . The Jews were God’s library keepers, and the apostles sent and went from Jerusalem to plant Churches abroad the world, and to gather into one the children of God that were dispersed, John 11:52 .
Mic 4:3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Ver. 3. And he shall judge among many people ] We had before Christ’s prophetic office; here we have his princely, and elsewhere his priestly (wherein both the former are founded), for he is the true Trismegist, a and Melchisedec was a right type of him. He is the only judge, and needs no vicar upon earth, such as the Pope claims to be, Isaiah 37:20 , no such officers to see his laws executed as the ephori were among the Greeks, and the censors among the Romans. This seems to have been the effect of that old prophecy among the Easterlings, that Iudaea profecti rerum potirentur, some that came out of Jewry should conquer all. Vide Sueton. in Vespas., et Tacit. lib. 21. The Lord that "sent the rod of his strength out of Zion," as Micah 4:2 , doth also give him to "rule in the midst of his enemies, while his people are willing in the day of his power, in the beauties of holiness," Psalms 110:3 , willing that Christ should send forth judgment to victory, Matthew 12:20 , that is, perfect his own work of grace begun in their hearts. To which end, as it here followeth,
He shall rebuke (or convince) strong nations] Convince them, I say (by his Spirit), "of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment," John 16:8 : of the loathsomeness of sin, of the necessity of getting righteousness by Christ, and repentance from dead works; that men may serve the living God, and as much as in them is live peaceably with all, Acts 17:30 .
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares ] i.e. Their fierce and fallen natures shall be mansuefied, as Isaiah 11:6-9 , and if they wage war it shall be non nisi coacti, not unless required, either for the just punishment of delinquents, whom they cannot otherwise come at, or for their own necessary defence, and that they may establish peace with truth. But if men would live by the laws of the gospel, they need not wage war or lack peace, either of country or of conscience: but they might take for their motto that of David, Ani shallom, I am peace; and have for their portion that peace, peace, Isaiah 27:3 , even a perfect, sheer, pure peace, a multiplied peace with God, with themselves, and with others: this is a main piece of Christ’s kingdom upon earth, who is the Prince of peace, and came in a time of peace: viz. in the reign of Augustus, when as there was Totius orbis aut pax aut pactio, saith Florus, a general peace or truce throughout the whole world.
Neither shall they learn war any more ] To make a trade or a gain of it, and so to earn a curse, Deuteronomy 27:25 , to delight in it, Psalms 68:30 , and make a sport of it (as Abner did, 2 Samuel 2:14 , and Pyrrhus, King of Epirots), to wage it without weighty reason rashly. If we princes (said our Henry VII) should take every occasion that is offered, the world should never be quiet, but wearied by continual wars. We may also here take warring (as St James doth, Jam 4:1 ) for jarring, and jangling, for private discords and dissensions. Now, these the people of God are so far from learning that they utterly lay them aside, and are kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake forgave them, Ephesians 4:32 .
a Belonging or ascribed to, following, or having the character of Hermes Trismegistus. ŒD
Mic 4:4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make [them] afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken [it].
Ver. 4. But they shall sit every man under his vine ] Feeding upon the fruit that shall even fall into his mouth, saith a Lapide. Sit they shall under Christ, the true vine, saith Hugo, and under the Holy Ghost, as a fig tree, whose fruit is far sweeter than any honey. But these are coined interpretations, saith Gualther. I should rather expound this text by that 91st Psalm; wherein the safe and happy condition of the godly is at large described. Vine yards and fig yards were ordinary in those countries; and hence this proverbial expression, to set forth, doubtless, the spiritual security, and that peace of conscience chiefly, that is granted to Christ’s subjects: a peace far beyond that under Solomon, which is here pointed at; or that under our Queen Elizabeth, not to be passed over without one touch at least upon that string which so many years together sounded so sweetly in the ears of our fathers. Then it was, if ever, that the mountains brought forth peace, and the little hills righteousness, Psalms 72:3 . The great ones defended their inferiors, and the inferiors blessed their superiors; the magistrate righted the subject, and the subject reverenced the magistrate.
And none shall make them afraid ] God, they know, will not hurt them, man cannot: he may take away their heads, but not their crowns; their lives, but not their hopes; for the righteous hath hope in his death; his posy. is not only, Dum spiro spero, while I live, I have hope, but Dum expiro, While I die, also. Let the wicked have a trembling heart and failing eyes while he lives, Deuteronomy 28:65 , and when he dies cry out, as a great man was heard to do, Spes et fortuna valete, Farewell life and hope together. The servant of Christ, as he sits mediis tranquillus in undis calm in the midst of the waves, all his life long, so when he dies, he can call his soul to rest; and sing old Simeon’s Nuno dimittis, "Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace," &c.
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts ] And what better assurance can we desire, since God can neither die, lie, nor deny himself; since, secondly, he is the "Lord of hosts," and so armed with power to make good what he hath spoken. Peter had a will to deliver Christ from the Jews, but lacked power. Pilate had power to have done it, but lacked will. God lacked neither of these to do for his people, and to deliver them out of danger. Courage, therefore.
Mic 4:5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
Ver. 5. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god ] They will do so, they are resolved not to alter their religion; as Cicero said, Me ex ea opinione quam a maioribus accepi de cultu deorum, nullius unquam movebit oratio; I will never be dissuaded by any one from that way of Divine worship, which I have received from my forefathers. How wilful at this day are Jews, Papists, Pagans, heretics! And how much easier a matter do we find it to deal with twenty men’s reasons than with one’s man will! A wilful man stands as a stake in the midst of a stream, lets all pass by him, but he stands where he was. Nay, but we will have a king, say they, when they had nothing else to say. Nay, but I will curse howsoever, though against my conscience, said Balaam; and do not the Popish Balaamites as much as this, many of them? As for the vulgar sort of them, they are headlong and headstrong, resolved to retain contra gentes against the people, the senseless superstitions transmitted unto them by their progenitors. But what saith the oracle, Rev 14:7 ? "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and" (whatever your ancestors did) "worship you him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."
And we will walk in the name of the Lord our God ] This was well resolved, and is as well practised by all Christ’s faithful people, who dare not follow a multitude to do evil, Exodus 23:2 ; dare not walk by their fathers’ practice, Joshua 24:2 ; Joshua 24:14-15 , for they consider that no commandment doth so expressly threaten God’s judgments upon posterity as the second. They therefore resolve to walk in the name, that is, by the laws, and under the view of the Lord their God, who is "God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible," as Moses describeth him, in opposition to all other deities, whether so reputed or deputed, Deuteronomy 10:17 .
For ever and ever ] We will not only take a turn or two in his ways, as temporaries, who are hot at hand but soon tire; and give in but we will hold on a constant course of holiness, and not fail to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, Psalms 1:1 ; John 8:12 ; John 10:4 ; John 10:14 ; Revelation 7:17 . As for those apostates that change their God, that change their glory for that which doth not profit, as they therein commit a horrible wickedness, such as the heavens have cause to be astonished at, Jeremiah 2:11-13 ; so they could not choose out for themselves a worse condition, Hebrews 10:37-38 : for what reaon? they put the Son of God to an open shame, Hebrews 6:6 , (like as those that are carted among us are held out as a scorn) and do in effect say, that they have not found him such as they took him for.
Mic 4:6 In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;
Ver. 6. In that day ] sc. of grace and of the gospel. It is called a day, and that day, by an excellence, in regard of revelation, adornation, consolation, distinction, speedy preterition.
Saith the Lord ] Whose word cannot be broken, John 10:25 , and is therefore the best security, 2 Corinthians 1:20 .
Will I assemble her that halteth ] Heb. that goeth sideling, that is maimed, disjointed, lamed, Isaiah 35:3 , torn, Psalms 35:15 , and tired out with long journeys into captivity, as the Jews were by the Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans before Christ’s coming: that they might breathe after those days of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, Malachi 3:1 .
And I will gather her that is driven out ] Or, rejected, thrust away with a force, that is, the Gentiles suffered to walk in their own ways, Acts 14:16 , and carried away unto dumb idols, even as they were led, 1 Corinthians 12:2 .
And her that I have afflicted ] Both Jews and Gentiles, the whole community of people: for God shook all nations then, when the Desire of all nations Christ, Heb 12:26 was to come, Haggai 2:7 ; Haggai 2:22-23 . Junius, after the Septuagint, rendereth it, ut veniant desiderati omnium gentium, So may they come, the desire of all nations, that the saints, those desirable ones, out of all nations may come: for unto Shiloh in a most afflicted time (when the sceptre was departed from Judah, &c.) was the gathering of all people to be, Gen 49:10 Isaiah 26:8-9 , See Isaiah 66:20 : rather in litters (as lame people are carried) should they come, than not at all: rather on one leg, with Jacob, should they wrestle, than not prevail.
Mic 4:7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.
Ver. 7. And I will make her that halted a remnant ] Yea, a renowned remnant, Zephaniah 3:19 . Not many Jews were converted in comparison to the Gentiles; hence they are called a remnant. They both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets; they have also persecuted us, saith the apostle, or cast us out, as by an ostracism; and they "please not God, and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles," 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 . Thus the generality of them then: and so to this day they continue cross, and cursing Christ and his followers thrice a day in their synagogues (Jerome in Isaiah. Buxtorf. Synag.). Howbeit at this present time, also, there is a "remnant according to the election of grace," Romans 11:5 , and that remnant became the seminary of the Christian Church.
And her that was cast far off a strong nation ] Numerous and valorous. Vide fidem et passionero martyrum, et de genre robusta non ambiges, saith Jerome here: Consider the faith and patience of the martyrs, and you will easily yield them to be a strong nation indeed. Christians have showed as glorious power in the faith of martyrdom as in the faith of miracles. They can do that which others cannot turn their hands to; they can suffer wrongs best of any; compel them to go a mile, they will be content to go two, yea, as far as the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace will carry them. There is nothing that they dare not undertake and undergo for the glory of their God. This courage in Christians heathens counted obstinace (Tertull. in Apolog.), but they knew not the power of the Spirit nor the privy armour of proof that the saints have about their hearts, which maketh them insuperable, more than conquerors.
And the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion ] i.e. In the Christian Church, out of which went the law, that is, the gospel, Micah 4:2 . See Isaiah 40:9 ; Isaiah 52:7 Hebrews 12:22 . There shall Christ reign, and so he did ever: but now he shall declare himself to be "Messiah the Prince," Daniel 9:25 , Lord and Christ, Acts 2:36 , Saviour and Sovereign. As King Hebrews 1:1-14 . Of rebels makes them subjects, willing to be ruled by him; 2. He preserves them in that privilege by his Spirit; 3. He gives them laws far better than those of the twelve tables in Rome, which yet far exceeded (saith Cicero) all the learned libraries of the philosophers in worth and weight; 4. He sweetly inclineth their wills to yield universal obedience thereunto, and to cross themselves so they may please him; 5. He rewards them with comfort and peace here, and with life eternal hereafter; 6. He destroys all the enemies of his Church, and then at last delivers up the kingdom to his Father, 1 Corinthians 15:24 , not his essential kingdom as God, but his economical kingdom as mediator.
Mic 4:8 And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
Ver. 8. And thou, O tower of the flock ] That is, O Church of Christ, who is often compared to a shepherdess in the Canticles; here to a Migdaleder, or tower of the flock (that flock of Christ which hath golden fleeces, precious souls), in reference either to that tower, Genesis 25:21 , built for the safety and service of shepherds, or else to the sheep gate in Jerusalem (whereof read, Nehemiah 3:1 ; Neh 12:39 ), so called from the sheep market, which, for the couvenience of the temple, was near to it; as was also the sheep pool, called Bethesda, John 5:2 , where the sacrifices were washed. The world is a field, the Church a fold in that field; and a strong fold (strong as a tower), yea, a stronghold, ophel, as it is styled in the next words; and that of the daughter of Zion, that is, of the Christian Church, the inviolable security whereof is here noted.
Unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion ] Such as was in David’s days and Solomon’s; large, rich, peaceable, prosperous, terrible to other nations. This was carnally understood by the Jews, who therefore dream to this day of an earthly kingdom, and have in their synagogues a crown ready to set upon the head of their Messiah whenever he shall come: neither were Christ’s disciples without a tincture of this Pharisaical leaven; whence their often inquiries, when the kingdom of God shall come? and their frivolous contests among themselves, who should be the greatest in Christ’s kingdom? who should sit at his right hand and at his left? &c., as if there should have been in Christ’s kingdom (as in Solomon’s) a distribution here of honours and offices. And this groundless conceit hung as bullets of lead at their eyelids; that they could not look up to see that Christ’s kingdom was spiritual, and not of this present world.
The kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem ] This the Jews (mistaking it as before) pray earnestly that it may come, cito, citius, citissime, quickly, more quickly, most quickly bimberah, bejamenu (Buxtor. Syn. Jud.), with speed, and even in our days; often throwing open their windows to behold their king, and to receive their long looked for preferment in his earthly monarchy.
Mic 4:9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? [is there] no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.
Ver. 9. Now why dost thou cry out aloud? ] Shout and howl? q.d. hast thou any such cause to be so unreasonably and outrageously impatient, so long as Christ is thy king and counsellor? What if there now be no king in thee? what if thy counsellor perished? A woeful case, I confess, and great confusion must needs be the issue of it; as it happened in Jerusalem after Josiah was slain: confer Hosea 3:4 . See Trapp on " Hos 3:4 " But yet there is hope in Israel concerning this thing; neither need the saints be so excessively dejected with outward crosses so long as Christ is with them and for them. If Seneca could say to his friend Polybius, Fas tibi non est salvo Caesare, de fortuna tua queri, Be thy case never so miserable, thou hast no cause to complain, so long as Caesar is in safety; how much less ground of mourning or murmuring have Christ’s subjects, so long as he liveth and reigneth! Gaudeo quod Christus Dominus est, alioqui totus desperassem, I rejoice because Christ est Lord, otherwise, I am in total dispair, writeth Miconius to Calvin, of the Church’s enemies: I am glad that Christ is Lord of all, for otherwise I should have had no hope of help at all. David in deep distress comforteth himself in the Lord his God, 1Sa 30:6 Psalms 119:94 , "I am thine, save me," saith he, q.d. my professed subjection to thee calleth for thy care and protection of me, and here he stays himself. Kings and counsellors are great stays to a state, but Christ is not tied to them. These are but particular good things, as is health against sickness, wealth against poverty, &c., but Christ is a universal good, all-sufficient and satisfactory; every way proportionable and fitting to our souls and several necessities. Why then do we cry aloud as utterly undone? why sing we not rather with David when at greatest under, "The Lord liveth, and blessed be the God of my salvation. It is God that avengeth me, and delivereth me from the violent man," Psalms 18:46 . He is King of all the earth. He is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working. It was a learned man’s motto, Blessed be God, that he is God; and blessed be Christ, that he reigns for ever; that counsel is his, and sound wisdom; that he hath understanding, he hath strength, Proverbs 8:14 .
For pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail ] They have, but they needed not, hadst thou but turned into thy counting house, and considered thy manifold privileges in Christ, thy king and counsellor. We often punish ourselves by our passions, as the lion that beats himself with his own tail. Sed o bene (saith an interpreter here) quod sint hi dolores saltem similes parturientium, It is yet a happiness that the Church’s pangs, though bitter, yet are no worse than as those of a woman in travail (Tarnovius). For, 1. The pains of travail seldom bring death, but life both to mother and child; so do afflictions to the saints, 2Co 4:17 Hebrews 12:9 . Hebrews 12:2 . Travail comes not by chance, nor for long continuance; neither doth affliction, John 7:30 ; Luke 22:53 . Luke 22:3 . Travail is unavoidable, and must be patiently borne; so must affliction; or else we lose the fruit of it, Act 14:22 2 Timothy 3:12 2 Timothy 3:4 . Sharp though it be, yet it is short; so mourning lasteth but till morning, Psalms 30:6 ; Psalms 73:24 ; Psa 135:14 John 16:22 Jeremiah 10:24 . Jeremiah 10:5 . As the travailing woman hath the help of other women; so hath the afflicted, of God, angels, and men. 6. Lastly, as she remembereth the sorrow no more for joy of a man child born into the world; so is it here, Joh 16:20 Romans 8:17-18 .
Mic 4:10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.
Ver. 10. Be in pain and labour to briny forth, &c. ] Be sensible of thine ensuing captivity, and take on; but yet with hope of a gracious deliverance in due time. See Trapp on " Mic 4:9 " It is no less a fault to despise the chastening of the Lord than to faint when thou art rebuked, Hebrews 12:5 . The hypocrite in heart heapeth up wrath, saith Elihu, and why? he crieth not when God bindeth him, Job 36:13 . The wicked, saith Hannah, are silent in darkness, and shall therefore lie down in sorrow, 1Sa 2:9 Isaiah 50:10 . This is not patience, but pertinace, the strength of stones and flesh of brass, Job 6:12 . It is not valour, but apathy, stupidity, and indolence, much complained of in Scripture, and threatened with a succession of sorrows, Leviticus 26:18 ; Leviticus 26:28 , seven more, and seven more, and seven to that. Three times in that chapter God raiseth his note of threatening, and he raiseth it by sevens, and those are discords in music. Such sayings will be heavy, songs, and their execution heavy pangs; worse than those of a woman in travail.
For now shalt thou go forth out of the city ] This now occured not out of a hundred years after. Foul weather seldom rotteth in the air. Time weareth not out God’s threatenings, Nullum tempus occurrit Regi, nedum Deo: Time can be no prejudice to the Ancient of days; sooner or later his word shall be accomplished. When the sins of the Amorites are full they shall be sure of their payment. The bottle of wickedness, when once filled with those bitter waters, will sink to the bottom.
And thou shalt dwell in the field ] Sub dio, under daylight, having no canopy over thee but the azured sky; so little account is made of poor captives: if they may have the open air to breathe in, though they lie without doors, it is better than a stinking dungeon, or to be shut up close under hatches among the excrements of nature, as Barbarossa’s Christian prisoners taken in Greece were; so that all the way as he went home with them to Constantinople, every hour almost some of them were cast dead overboard.
And thou shalt go even to Babylon ] There to dwell among plants and hedges, making flowerpots for a foreign prince. "There they dwelt with the king for his work," 1 Chronicles 4:23 .
There shalt thou be delivered, there the Lord shall redeem thee ] This "there" is as emphatic as that "yet" so often repeated Zechariah 1:17 . See Trapp on " Zec 1:17 " It seemed improbable to many, and to some impossible, that ever they should return out of Babylon. But God effected it, to the great astonishment of his poor people, who were like them that dream, Psa 126:1 and could scarcely believe their own eyes. God loves to deliver those that are forsaken of their hopes. Ad nos ergo transferamus promissionem istam, saith Gualther upon the text. Let us apply this promise to ourselves; and as often as we are pinched with poverty, or tormented with diseases, or cast out into banishment, or are in any great danger by water or land, or under terrors of conscience, let us think we hear God thus speaking to us, "There shalt thou be delivered: there will I redeem thee."
Mic 4:11 Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.
Ver. 11. Now also many nations are gathered, &c. ] That is, they shall lie once gathered, when the Babylonians, who are lords of the world, shall muster many nations against thee. Would any man take the Church’s picture, saith Luther? then let him paint a silly poor maid, sitting in a wood or wilderness, compassed about with hungry lions, wolves, boars, and bears, and with all manner of cruel and hurtful beasts and in the midst of a great many furious men assaulting her every moment and minute, for this is her condition in the world.
That say, Let her be defiled ] sc. with blood and slaughter. Or, let her be condemned as a hypocrite, let her be stoned as an adulteress; so the Trent translation. Thus they pretend, as Rabshakeh did, that they were sent by God against a hypocritical nation, that had broken their faith with God and men. The like craft and cruelty was used in the Parisian massacre, and gunpowder plot; God and man, said they (in that blind letter, that brought all to light), have agreed to punish the wickedness of this age. Those that would kill a dog give out that he was mad first, saith the French proverb. Whom no man looketh after, Jeremiah 30:17 .
And let our eyes look upon Zion ] Let us feed our eyes with such a delightful spectacle; and say, as that cruel Charles IX of France did, when he saw the streets strewed with the bodies of the massacred Protestants, and the rivers dyed with their blood, O pulchrum spectaculum! O brave sight! or as the Queen mother of Scotland, when she beheld the dead carcases of her Lutheran subjects, said, that she never saw a goodlier piece of arras a in all her days. See the accomplishment of this prophecy in the Lamentations, Psalms 137:1-9 , and in the Book of Nehemiah.
a A rich tapestry fabric, in which figures and scenes are woven in colours. ŒD
Mic 4:12 But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.
Ver. 12. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord ] Nothing like their thoughts, Isaiah 55:8 . Confer Isa 10:7-8 Zechariah 11:15-16 . His thoughts are fatherly, while theirs are butcherly. The physician in setting leeches to his patient seeks his good; he aims not at filling the leech’s gorge; neither will he set more on him than will make for his health. God by his wisdom, and according to his eternal counsel (which the wicked understand not), ordereth and draweth the blind and brute motions of the worst creatures to his own honour and his Church’s good; as the huntsman doth the rage of the dog to his pleasure, or the mariner the blowing of the wind to his voyage, or the artist the heat of the fire to his work, or the physician the blood thirstiness of the leech to a cure (Dr Reynolds). "Surely," saith the Psalmist, speaking of Sennacherib’s cruelty in the siege of Jerusalem, "the wrath of man shall praise thee" (eventually, though not intentionally): "the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain," Psalms 76:10 . Let the enemies think and project as they please, let them rage and resolve upon your utter ruin; "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord; thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end; to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest," Jer 29:11 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 . "For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength," Isaiah 30:15 . "And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the Lord their God, and I will hear them," Zechariah 10:6 . Surely as it was said of old, neither shall Rome fall while Scipio standeth, neither shall Scipio live when Rome falleth; so may it more truly be affirmed of Christ, that he and his people shall stand and fall together. But "he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth," Job 19:25 , yea, he shall set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth, Revelation 10:2 , as Lord of sea and land, maugre the malice of all that sought to supplant him, who shall therehence fall, and never rise up again, Amos 8:14 .
Mic 4:13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.
Ver. 13. Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion ] "Go in this thy might" (wherewith thou so lustily threshest out thy wheat by the winepress, said the angel to Gideon, Jdg 6:14 ), and thresh the Midianites another while, "thou shalt smite them as one man," Judges 6:16 ; thresh them as the sheaves of the floor, that lie ready for the flail, or, as the custom of those countries was, Deu 25:4 1 Corinthians 9:9 1 Timothy 5:18 , for oxen to tread out, or the wheel to turn over, Isaiah 28:28 .
For I will make thine horn iron, &c. ] So that thou shalt do great exploits, by mine assistance, against Sennacherib, Antiochus, and other enemies subdued and threshed down to straw by the valiant Maccabees. Spiritualiter etiam hoc intelligendum, saith Sa. here; this is also spiritually to be understood of converting people to the faith, separata palea infidelitatis. This the apostles did vigorously and effectually, being furnished by Christ with horns of iron and hoofs of brass; with spiritual courage and mettle, whereby they did soon beat in pieces many people, and brought them to Christ by the obedience of faith, together with all their wealth and substance, which they cheerfully consecrate unto the Lord of the whole earth. This was typified of old by the tabernacle built with the spoils of the Egyptians; and by David’s dedicating to the Lord the gold and silver which in great abundance he had taken from the enemies, 2 Samuel 8:11 . It is prophesied of Tyre, that being converted, she should find another manner of merchandise than formerly, viz. to feed and clothe God’s poor with durable clothing, Isaiah 23:18 . The centurion, when once he became a proselyte, built the Jewish synagogues, that had been thrown down by Antiochus, Luke 7:5 . Constantine the Great was bountiful to the Church above measure, insomuch as that he was by the heathens in scorn called Pupillus, orphan, as if he had wanted a guardian to overrule and order his expenses. Sed refriguit hoc studium hodie in magistratibus plerisque, as Gualther here complaineth, and not without cause. The Church is not only scanted, but spoiled of her revenues; and that which was piously consecrated is impiously converted to other uses, &c. Thus he.