on Micah 6 :5
Remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted - He sent for Balaam to curse your fathers; but by my influence he was obliged to bless them. See Numbers 22 (note) and Numbers 23 (note), and the notes there, where this subject is largely considered.
From Shittim unto Gilgal - From the encampment at Shittim, Numbers 25:1, on the way to that of Gilgal, Joshua 4:19. Balaam gave different answers in the interval between these places. We may suppose that the encampments of Israel advanced slowly to that part of Jordan which was opposite to Gilgal. The Chaldee has, "Were there not wonderful things done in your behalf from the valley of Shittim to the house of Gilgal?" See Joshua 3:1; Joshua 4:20. Thus there will be a reference to the miraculous passage over Jordan. See Newcome.
That ye may know the righteousness - The just, equitable, and merciful dealing of the Most High. Recollect those things, that ye may have a proper impression of this. There are many interpretations given of this rather obscure clause; what I have proposed seems to me the most simple.
This is the sum of the address; and here the case of the plaintiff terminates, the prisoners being called to show why the sentence of the law should not be pronounced. I make no apology for using any forensic terms, as the passages before us refer to a case brought into a court to be judged, and the terms in the original are all such as are proper for a court of justice; and the thing itself is called the Lord's controversy, ריב יהוה rib Yehovah, Jehovah's suit at law. And hence it is said, He will plead, litigate, with Israel.
on Micah 6 :5
Remember now - The word translated now is a very tender one, like our "do now remember" or "do remember," beseeching instead of commanding. Dionysius: "I might command, but I speak tenderly, that I may lead thee to own the truth." "What Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him." God did not only raise up Moses, Aaron, Miriam, out of their brethren, but He turned the curse of the alien Balaam into a blessing; and that, not for their righteousness, (for even then they were rebellious,) but against their deserts, out of His own truth and righteousness. Not that the curse of Balaam could in itself have hurt them; but, in proportion to his reputation, it would have infused great energy into their enemies: and its reversal must have struck a great panic into them and into others. Human might having failed in Sihon and Og, Balak sought superhuman. God showed them by their own diviner, that it was against them. Even after they had seduced Israel, through Balaam's devilish counsel, Midian seems to have been stricken by God with panic, and not to have struck a blow Numbers 31:49.
From Shittim unto Gilgal - The words are separated by the Hebrew accent from what went before. It is then probably said in concise energy for, "Remember too front Shittim to Gilgal," that is, all the great works of God "from Shittim" , the last encampment of Israel out of the promised land, where they so sinned in Baal-peor, "unto Gilgal," the first in the promised land, which they entered by miracle, where the Ark rested amid the victories given them, where the Covenant was renewed, and "the reproach of Egypt was rolled away" Joshua 5:9. Remember all, from your own deep sin and rebellion to the deep mercy of God.
That ye may know the righteousness - (righteousnesses) of the Lord His Faithfulness in performing His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God speaketh of His promises, not as what they were in themselves, mere mercy, but as what they became, through that gracious and free promise, righteousness, in that He had bound Himself to fulfill what He had, out of mere grace, promised. So in the New Testament He saith, "God is not unrighteous that He should forget your works and labor which proeeedeth of love" Hebrews 6:10; and, "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins" 1 John 1:9. Micah speaks, by a rare idiom, of the righteousnesses of the Lord, each act of mercy being a separate effluence of His Righteousness. The very names of the places suggest the righteous acts of God, the unrighteous of Israel. : "But we too, who desire with unveiled face to behold the glory of the Lord, and have Abraham really for our father, let us, when we have sinned, hear God pleading against us, and reproving us for the multitude of His benefits. For we too once served Pharaoh and the people of Egypt, laboring in works of mire and clay; and He redeemed us who gave Himself a Redemption for all; that we, the redeemed of the Lord, "whom He redeemed out of the hand of the enemy and gathered from the lands, might say, His mercy endureth forever" Psalm 107:1-3. He sent also before our face Moses, the spiritual Law, and Aaron the High Priest, not bearing the typical Ephod and Urim, but having in His Forehead the seal of holiness which God the Father sealed; and Miriam, the foreshewing of prophets. Recollect we too what he thought against us who willed to devour us, the true Balak, Satan, who laid snares for us through Balaam, the destroyer of the people, fearing lest we should cover his land and occupy it, withdrawing the earthly-minded from his empire."
on Micah 6 :5
6:5 Shittim - This is the place where Balak began by the women of Midian to debauch Israel as Baalim had counselled, and so continued to do, even to Gilgal, all along the borders of his dominion. The righteousness - His mercy, justice and veracity.