on Micah 6 :16
The statutes of Omri are kept - Omri, king of Israel, the father of Ahab, was one of the worst kings the Israelites ever had; and Ahab followed in his wicked father's steps. The statutes of those kings were the very grossest idolatry. Jezebel, wife of the latter, and daughter of Ithobaal, king of Tyre, had no fellow on earth. From her Shakespeare seems to have drawn the character of Lady Macbeth; a woman, like her prototype, mixed up of tigress and fiend, without addition. Omri Ahab, and Jezebel, were the models followed by the Israelites in the days of this prophet.
The inhabitants thereof a hissing - לשרקה lishrekah, "for a shriek;" because those who should see them should be both astonished and affrighted at them.
There are few chapters in the prophets, or in the Bible, superior to this for genuine worth and importance. The structure is as elegant as it is impressive; and it is every way worthy of the Spirit of God.
on Micah 6 :16
For the statutes of Omri are kept - Rather, (like the English margin he doth much keep,) And he doth keep diligently for himself. Both ways express much diligence in evil . To "keep God's commandments" was the familiar phrase, in which Israel was exhorted, by every motive of hope and fear, to obedience to God. "I know him," God says of Abraham, "that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do judgment and justice" Genesis 18:19. This was the fundamental commandment immediately after the deliverance from Eyypt upon their first murmuring. "The Lord made there" (at Marah) "for them a statute and ordinance, and said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee which I have brought upon the Egyptians" Exodus 15:25-26.
In this character Ha revealed Himself on Mount Sinai, as "shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments" Exodus 20:6. This was their covenant, "Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God and to walk in His ways, and to keep His statutes and His commandments and His judgments and to hearken unto His voice" Deuteronomy 26:17. This was so often enforced upon them in the law, as the condition upon which they should hold their land, if they kept the covenant (Exodus 19:5; the words of this covenant, Deuteronomy 29:9), the commmandments Leviticus 22:31; Leviticus 26:3; Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 6:17; Deuteronomy 7:11; Deuteronomy 8:6, Deuteronomy 8:11; Deuteronomy 10:13; Deuteronomy 11:1, Deuteronomy 11:8, Deuteronomy 11:22; Deuteronomy 13:5; Deuteronomy 15:5; Deuteronomy 19:9; Deuteronomy 27:1; Deuteronomy 28:9; Deuteronomy 30:10, the judgments Leviticus 18:5, Leviticus 18:26; Leviticus 20:22; Deuteronomy 7:11; Deuteronomy 8:11; Deuteronomy 11:1, the statutes (Leviticus 18:5, Leviticus 18:26; Leviticus 20:8, Leviticus 20:22; Deuteronomy 4:40; Deuteronomy 6:17; Deuteronomy 7:11; Deuteronomy 10:13; Deuteronomy 11:1; Deuteronomy 30:10), the testimonies Deuteronomy 6:17, the charge Leviticus 18:30; Deuteronomy 11:1 of the Lord. Under this term all the curses of the law were threatened, if they "hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord their God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded them" Deuteronomy 28:15.
Under this again the future of good and evil was, in Solomon, set before the house of David; of unbroken succession on his throne, if "thou wilt keep My commandments; but contrariwise, if ye or your children will not keep My commandments and My statutes" 1 Kings 9:4-6, banishment, destruction of the temple, and themselves to be "a proverb and a byword among all people" This was the object of their existence, 1 Kings 9:7. "that they might keep His statutes and observe His laws" Psalm 105:45. This was the summary of their disobedience, "they kept not the covenant of God" Psalm 78:11. And now was come the contrary to all this. They had not kept the commandments of God; and those commandments of man which were the most contrary to the commandments of God, they had kept and did keep diligently. Alas! that the Christian world should be so like them! What iron habit or custom of man, what fashion, is not kept, if it is against the law of God? How few are not more afraid of man than God? Had God's command run, Speak evil one of another, brethren, would it not have been the best kept of all His commandments? God says, speak not evil; custom, the conversation around, fear of man, say, speak evil; man's commandment is kept; God's is not kept. And no one repents or makes restitution; few even cease from the sin.
Scripture does not record, what was the special aggravation of the sin of Omri, since the accursed worship of Baal was brought in by Ahab , his son. But, as usual, "like father, like son." The son developed the sins of the father. Some special sinfulness of Omri is implied, in that Athaliah, the murderess of her children, is called after her grandfather, Omri, not after her father, Ahab 2 Kings 8:26; 2 Chronicles 22:2. Heresiarchs have a deeper guilt than their followers, although the heresy itself is commonly developed later. Omri settled for a while the kingdom of Israel, after the anarchy which followed on the murder of Elah, and slew Zimri, his murderer.
Yet before God, he did worse than all before him, and be walked in all the way of Jeroboam 1 Kings 16:25-26. Yet this too did not suffice Judah; for it follows, And all the doings of the house of Ahab, who again "did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him and served Baal" 1 Kings 30-33; Ahab, to whom none "was like in sin, who did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord" 1 Kings 21:25. These were they, whose statutes Judah now kept, as diligently and accurately as if it had been a religious act. They kept, not the statutes of the Lord, "but the statutes of Omri;" they kept, as their pattern before their eyes, all the doings of the house of Ahab, his luxury, oppression, the bloodshedding of Naboth; and they walked onward, not, as God bade them, humbly with Him, but in their counsels. And what must be the end of all this? that I should make thee a desolation. They acted, as though the very end and object of all their acts were that, wherein they ended, their own destruction and reproach .
Therefore ye shall bear the reproach of My people - The title of the people of God must be a glory or a reproach. Judah had gloried in being God's people, outwardly, by His covenant and protection; they Were envied for the outward distinction. They refused to be so inwardly, and gave themselves to the hideous, desecrating, worship of Baal. Now then what had been their pride, should be the aggravation of their punishment. Now too we hear of people everywhere zealous for a system, which their deeds belie. Faith, without love, (such as their character had been,) feels any insult to the relation to God, which by its deeds it disgraces. Though they had themselves neglected God, yet it was a heavy burden to them to bear the triumph of the pagan over them, that God was unable to help them, or had cast them off "These are the people of the Lord and are gone forth, out of His land" Ezekiel 36:20. "Wherefore should they say among the pagan, where is their God?" (see the notes at Joel 2:17). "We are confounded, because we have heard reproach, shame hath covered our faces, for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the Lord's house" Jeremiah 51:51. "We are become a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us" Psalm 79:4. "Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us. Thou makest us a byword among the pagan, a shaking of the head among the people. My confusion is daily before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me, for the voice of him that slandereth and blasphemeth, by reason of the enemy and the avenger" Psalm 44:13-16.
The words, "the reproach of My people," may also include "the reproach wherewith God in the law Deuteronomy 28:36 threatened His people if they should forsake Him," which indeed comes to the same thing, the one being the prophecy, the other the fulfillment. The word hissing in itself recalled the threat to David's house in Solomon; "At this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished and hiss" 1 Kings 9:8. Micah's phrase became a favorite expression of Jeremiah . So only do God's prophets denounce. It is a marvelous glimpse into man's religious history, that faith, although it had been inoperative and was trampled upon without, should still survive; nay, that God, whom in prosperity they had forsaken and forgotten, should be remembered, when He seemed to forget and to forsake them. Had the captive Jews abandoned their faith, the reproach would have ceased. The words, "ye shall bear the reproach" of My people are," at once, a prediction of their deserved suffering for the profanation of God's Name by their misdeeds, and of their persverance in that faith which, up to that Time, they had mostly neglected.
on Micah 6 :16
6:16 The statutes - The idolatrous worship was set up by Omri in the royal city. Ye - O house of Israel. That I should make thee - This will be the event. Thereof - Of the land. The reproach - The reproach threatened in the law, if my people forsake me.