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by Matthew Poole
IT is by custom become necessary, in writing the arguments on the several prophets, to tell of what country the prophet was; and where the Holy Ghost observes it we may not slight it. Our prophet was, no doubt, of the tribe of Judah, but of what note his family was for riches, authority, or credit appears not to us; these might be eminent for any thing I know, but not mentioned, because his call to, his abilities for, and his discharge of the prophetic office, needed no credentials or countenance from any such external advantages. It is unquestionable he came from God; and his whole prophecy is of Divine authority; Jeremiah gave testimony to it, and cites some considerable authority from the opinion of certain elders of that time who held him to be a prophet sent of God, Jeremiah 26:17-19. He was not, as some were, confined to one kingdom, but had his commission enlarged to preach to the kingdom of Israel and Judah, which were now grown old in sin, and universally corrupted with idolatry and impiety, with inhumanity and cruel oppression, with falsehood and deceits, ingratitude to God and forgetfulness of him, vain confidences in the lying promises of false prophets and in their ceremonial services; all which Micah doth (as faithful in his office) openly, severely, and impartially discover, reprove, and threaten in princes, prophets, and all the people of both kingdoms; which are So closely joined by the prophet, that it requires a very steady and quick eye to discern which of the two is most directly concerned in the prophet's discourse, or whether both are equally intended, yet so as in order of time Israel first, and Judah next. His phrase, and connexions, and transitions are many times obscure, and fairly capable of different accounts, as every one will see, who can and will read the Hebrew text, and the paraphrases or commentaries of men learned in that kind of learning. The prophet's style is very lofty, as is his contemporary Isaiah, many times, and I little doubt they were acquainted and conversed with each other: his discourses have a very particular respect to the temper of those times he lived in, and will be clearest understood by those that do distinctly read over and digest the history of Israel and Judah, as they are reported in 1 Kings and 2 Kings from the first apostacy of Israel from God and their revolt from the house of David. But more especially the stories of Judah, through the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah; and of Israel: through the times of Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekah, and Hoshea; in which most of the sins here reproved and threatened did reign, and which were, whilst Micah lived, punished according to his word with sword, famine, pestilence, and captivity: he lived to see Israel made a desolation and a hissing, and survived this dead kingdom about ten years. Judah's calamity followed surely, and not slowly, for within one hundred and thirty or one hundred and thirty-three years Jerusalem was ruined and the Jews carried captives to Babylon. Many passages of our prophet have both their literal and historical reference, and their spiritual and mystical: in this latter I have been sparing, because the design of the present work was to give the plain literal sense, yet I have seldom (if ever) omitted to point out the mystery. If any one see more into this, and be larger in it than the author, let such one know, the author had his reasons why he said so little, though he saw more, of the mystical reference of the words to the Messiah, his birth, his kingdom, the redemption of the elect, the calling of the Gentiles, and other evangelical truths contained in our prophet, who did certainly preach the gospel as well as the law to his hearers.
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13