Micah 5


‘Marshal your troops now, city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labour bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace when the Assyrians invade our land and march through our fortresses. We will raise against them seven shepherds, even eight commanders, who will rule the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod with drawn sword. He will deliver us from the Assyrians when they invade our land and march across our borders.’ Micah 5:1-6

A Promised Ruler From Bethlehem

Here we read that God will assemble the exiles and call them back. Israel would eventually be redeemed out of the nations to which they would be sent in captivity.

Notice the birthplace of Messiah is mentioned, that is, Bethlehem, Matthew 2:4-6 / Isaiah 7:14 / Isaiah 9:6-7. Bethlehem means House of Bread, and Jesus is the Bread of Life, John 6:35.

Ephratah was the original older settlement that was eventually absorbed into the larger village of Bethlehem, Genesis 35:19. Bethlehem was the first home of David, Psalm 89:19-37 and the Ephrathites were descendants of David, 1 Samuel 17:12 / Ruth 1:2.

Although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He didn’t originate there, He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, John 1:1-2 / Revelation 22:13.

The One who would rule would give the people of God, the Israelites, over to the hands of the nations. This is a link with the throne, the house of David. The meaning goes further than human origin, the Messiah is working through history for the redemption of the people.

Hailey, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The prophet was looking to the birth of Messiah and the kingdom that began on Pentecost. The ‘great sign’ seen by John on Patmos, a woman arrayed with the sun, having the moon under her feet and a crown of stars upon her brow, who gave birth to the man-child, is this same woman, Revelation 12:1-6.’

The Messiah will shepherd His flock, Matthew 2:5-6 / John 10:27-30, and His people will live in security. His greatness will go to the ends of the earth, that is, Christ Kingship would go throughout the world, Malachi 1:11 / Malachi 1:14 / Luke 17:20-21, and those who have faith in Him will submit to His rule, Philippians 2:5-11.

Notice again that the Messiah will bring peace, Luke 2:14 / Luke 10:36 / Romans 5:1 / Romans 14:17 / Philippians 4:7 / Ephesians 2:14.

When the Assyrians invade the land is used as a metaphor to demonstrate the resistance to any invasion into the church. The Assyrians being Israel’s most powerful enemy at that time, are made the representative of all of Israel’s enemies of all ages, who shall receive their final destruction in the Messiah’s coming, Ezekiel 38.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘For since this plainly relates to the time after Christ’s coming, and, to say the least, after the captivity in Babylon and deliverance, Micah 4:10 from it, which itself followed the dissolution of the Assyrian Empire, the Assyrians cannot be the literal people, who had long since ceased to be In Isaiah too the Assyrian is the type of antichrist and of Satan.’

The shepherds are manifestly inferior, spiritual, shepherds, acting under the One Shepherd, by His authority, and He in them. The commanders of men are most naturally a civil power, Joshua 13:21 / Psalms 83:12 / Ezekiel 32:30.

The number seven symbolises perfection or completeness, indicating that whatever emergency arises, the Messiah would meet it with perfect sufficiency, even with more than enough, eight commanding men, indicating an over-abundance of resources.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the fortresses.

‘At its posts or water gates, for it was by rendering themselves masters of the Euphrates that the Medes and Persians took the city, according to the prediction of Jeremiah, Jeremiah 51:32 / Jeremiah 51:36.’

The land of Nimrod is in Assyria, and Nineveh was its capital, Babylon, which was also built by Nimrod, who was its first king, Genesis 10:11-12.

Clarkes, in his commentary, says the following concerning verse 6.

‘Perhaps it is best to refer it to the invasion of Judea by Nebuchadnezzar and the final destruction of the Babylonish empire by Cyrus, who took Babylon, slew Belshazzar, and possessed himself of the kingdom.’

‘The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for anyone or depend on man. The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue. Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed.’ Micah 5:7-9

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘These, though very many in themselves, are yet but a remnant only of the unconverted mass, yet this, ‘the remnant, who shall be saved’, Romans 9:27, who believe in Christ, ‘the little flock’, Luke 12:32, of whom were the Apostles and their disciples, ‘shall be, in the midst of many people’, whom they won to the faith.

The immediate context concerning the remnant is speaking about the remnant of all twelve tribes who would return from captivity. In the future context, this is speaking about the remnant of those nations would be freed from sin, and so, they would become the light of God in the world. God’s people will be like dew on the ground and showers on the grass, Matthew 5:13.

The terrible metaphor of destruction ‘as a lion and a young lion’ would indeed come to pass, as executed by God Himself, not by his humble and faithful children.

All the enemies of Christ and His church, all the kings of the earth that shall gather against them, the beast and false prophet, with all their followers, Revelation 19:19, will be defeated.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following, concerning verse 9.

‘In this, and the following verse the victories of the Maccabees are supposed to be foretold.’

‘In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will destroy your horses from among you and demolish your chariots. I will destroy the cities of your land and tear down all your strongholds. I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells. I will destroy your idols and your sacred stones from among you; you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands. I will uproot from among you your Asherah poles when I demolish your cities. I will take vengeance in anger and wrath on the nations that have not obeyed me.” Micah 5:10-15

The people being destroyed are the Assyrians who destroyed Israel and the Babylonians who brought Judah to ruin.

Hailey, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The instruments of carnal warfare, all classes of wizards, and the idols of the land will be cut off. God’s vengeance will be on those who hearken not.’

Jamieson, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The Church will never be safe, till she is stripped of all creature-trusts, and rests on Jehovah alone.’

God is going to destroy those who practise witchcraft, Hosea 4:12 / Acts 19:18-20 / Revelation 9:21, and those who cast spells, Deuteronomy 18:10, and practice idolatry.

He will uproot the Asherah poles, Deuteronomy 16:21, this was the place where they worshipped the sex-goddesses of the pagans, 1 Kings 15:13. Asherah was a Canaanite goddess, the worship of which was celebrated with licentious rites, the same as Ashteroth of the Phoenicians, and Ishtar of the Assyrians.

Any nation that doesn’t obey God, will face His anger and wrath, Romans 1:18.

Henry, in his commentary, says the following.

‘I will execute vengeance upon the heathen who have not heard, so some read it, or who would not hear and receive the doctrine of Christ. God will give his Son either the hearts or the necks of his enemies, and make them either his friends or his footstool.’

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