on Micah 3 :10
They build up Zion with blood - They might cry out loudly against that butchery practiced by Pekah, king of Israel, and Pul coadjutor of Rezie, against the Jews. See on Micah 2:9 (note). But these were by no means clear themselves; for if they strengthened the city, or decorated the temple, it was by the produce of their exactions and oppressions of the people.
I do not know a text more applicable than this to slave-dealers; or to any who have made their fortunes by such wrongs as affect the life of man; especially the former, who by the gains of this diabolic traffic have built houses etc.; for, following up the prophet's metaphor, the timbers, etc., are the bones of the hapless Africans; and the mortar, the blood of the defenceless progeny of Ham. What an account must all those who have any hand in or profit from this detestable, degrading, and inhuman traffic, give to Him who will shortly judge the quick and dead!
on Micah 3 :10
They build up - (literally, building, sing.) Zion with blood This may be taken literally on both sides, that, the rich built their palaces, "with wealth gotten by bloodshed , by rapine of the poor, by slaughter of the saints," as Ezekiel says, 'her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves, to shed blood, to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain' Ezekiel 22:27. Or by blood he may mean that they indirectly took away life, in that, through wrong judgments, extortion, usury, fraud, oppression, reducing wages or detaining them, they took away what was necessary to support life. So it is said; 'The bread of the needy is their life, he that defraudeth him thereof is a man of blood. He that taketh away his neighbor's living slayeth him, and he that defraudeth the laborer of his hire is a bloodshedder' (Ecclus. 34:21, 22). Or it may be, that as David prayed to God, 'Build Thou the walls of Jerusalem, asking Him thereby to maintain or increase its well-being' Psalm 51:18, so these men thought to promote the temporal prosperity of Jerusalem by doings which were unjust, oppressive, crushing to their inferiors.
So Solomon, in His degenerate days, made the yoke upon his people and his service grievious 1 Kings 12:4. So ambitious monarchs by large standing-armies or filling their exchequers drain the life-blood of their people. The physical condition and stature of the poorer population in much of France was lowered permanently by the conscriptions under the first Emperor. In our wealthy nation, the term poverty describes a condition of other days. We have had to coin a new name to designate the misery, offspring of our material prosperity. From our wealthy towns, (as from those of Flanders,) ascends to heaven against us , "the cry of 'pauperism' that is, the cry of distress, arrived at a condition of system and of power, and, by an unexpected curse, issuing from the very development of wealth. The political economy of unbelief has been crushed by facts on all the theaters of human activity and industry."
Truly we "build up Zion with blood," when we cheapen luxuries and comforts at the price of souls, use Christian toil like brute strength, tempt men to dishonesty and women to other sin, to eke out the scanty wages which alone our selfish thirst for cheapness allows, heedless of every thing save of our individual gratification, or the commercial prosperity, which we have made our god. Most awfully was "Zion built with blood," when the Jews shed the innocent Blood, that John 11:48 the Romans might not take away their place and nation. But since He has said, "Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it not unto Me" Matthew 25:45, and, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" Acts 9:4, when Saul was persecuting Christ's members, then, in this waste of lives and of souls, we are not only wasting the Price of His Blood in ourselves and others, but are slaying Christ anew, and that, from the same motives as those who crucified Him 1 Corinthians 8:12. When ye sin (against the members, ye sin against Christ. Our commercial greatness is the Price of His Blood Matthew 27:6. In the judgments on the Jews, we may read our own national future; in the woe on those through whom the weak brother perishes for whom Christ died 1 Corinthians 8:11, we, if we partake or connive at it, may read our own.
on Micah 3 :10
3:10 They - The heads and great ones enlarge, beautify, and fortify, the house in Zion, particularly the temple and the royal palace. Blood - With wealth, which they made themselves masters of by violence, taking away the life of the owners.