Study of the Prophets #20: Micah (Cont.)
This week we pick up at Chapter 2 verse 10: “Arise and go [into exile], because not for this [purpose] is the resting Place [given to you]. Because it has become defiled, it will destroy you absolutely.”
The people are going into exile because of their degenerate acts. The resting Place evil deeds of the people. The Land cannot tolerate sinners (Lev. 18:28). The Torah writes that Israel must not defile the Land they are inheriting. If they do, the Land would spew them out just as it did with the previous evil inhabitants. Just because the Israelites are G-d’s chosen people, they are not exempt from G-d’s judgment. There is a point of no return. If there were a minority of people who sinned against G-d, they would be purged and the nation would continue to live in the Land. However, if the minority becomes a majority, G-d will eject the people from the Land. We see many examples of this in the destruction of Jerusalem and the fact that we as an American nation are still allowed to live in this land although it is not the Land. There will be a point when the sin is so great in this country that things will drastically change and we will no longer be the great nation blessed by G-d as in the 20th century. We are witnessing the trend in national sin just as described by Micah as he prophesied against the sins of Israel and Judah. G-d will destroy the work of their hands. Rashi interprets that the “work of your hands” describes a band of evildoers who got together to defile the Land and commit their sins. When they banded together, their purpose was clear. However, I support the previous explanation provided by R’ Hirsch because we are witnessing an increasing trend in sin in this nation and we have the accounts of the destruction of Jerusalem from which to learn about how sin spreads and G-d’s patience to a point followed by His judgment.
Verse 11: “If a man would be going about, deceiving with wind and falsehood, words of G-d through the prophets.
Verse 12-13: “ I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob. I will surely assemble the remnant of Israel: I will place them together like a flock in a fold; like a herd in its pen, they will teem with people. The one who breaks forth will go before them; they will break forth and pass through; they will go out through the gates; their king will pass in front of them, with Hashem at their head.”
It is interesting that there are a couple of very different interpretations pf these verses. The first two in Targum Yonasan and Rashi, interpret this to be words of encouragement and consolation; an interpretation with which I agree based on the consistency of what is written in the Old and “New” Testaments. G-d is assuring the people that although they will be punished and exiled from the Land, in the End Days he will regather them and bring them back to the Land that will be teeming with people. The only problem with this interpretation is that it does not stipulate between true Israel (true believers) and biological Israel. Indeed, most of the Orthodox Sages did not and do not read the B’rit Chadashah and do not have the insight provided by Yahshua regarding His Word from the letter and spiritual aspects. Radak takes a different view and sees this prophecy as a continuation of the foreboding prophecies foretelling the catastrophic events that the Jewish people will endure. The people will flee and take refuge for fear of the attacking enemy. Alternatively, these verses are a continuation of the false prophecies that indicate God will not punish the people, but will gather them together, remove the yoke of Torah from them, and treat them like any other nation (Malbim).
There are two words used in the sentence “I will surely gather, and I will surely assemble. In Hebrew each of these words has a different meaning. The first infers a gathering from one area and placed in another. The second word infers gathering objects that are scattered all about. Therefore I submit there is a reference to gathering those from the Ten Tribes of the Northern Kingdom who were exiled (Isaiah 11:12), and a reference to the kingdom of Juda which was scattered to the four corners of the earth (Malbim). There will be true believers from both kingdoms who will be included in the remnant, and some from those not of the Twelve Tribes. Only G-d knows who are His and He will not miss gathering even one (Amos 9:9). G-d will gather the nation together into the Land and protect them as the shepherd gathers his sheep into a fold (Rashi; Metzudos). The Land that has been so desolate for so many years will again be filled with people. Noise and commotion will therefore fill its cities (see Ezekiel 11:17; 34:13; 36:24; 37:21; Jeremiah 16:15; 30:3; 31:8; 32:37).
Verse 13: The one who breaks forth is a clear reference to Yahshua who will break through all barriers that have been restraining Israel’s (true believers) return to the Land. He will wage war with the enemy and will capture many of their cities (Targum Yonasan). The people will follow Yahshua and will break all barriers of sin that held them in bondage. When they return to their Land, they will be led by Messiah Yahshua, and YHVH will precede them by returning His Presence to Zion (Metzudos). Note the use of HaShem indicating G-d’s attribute of mercy being used in this narrative.
This is a good place to end this evening’s lesson. Next week we will pick up at Verse 3.
- Tamah Davis