on Micah 7 :1
Wo is me! - This is a continuation of the preceding discourse. And here the prophet points out the small number of the upright to be found in the land. He himself seemed to be the only person who was on God's side; and he considers himself as a solitary grape, which had escaped the general gathering. The word קץ kayits, which is sometimes used for summer, and summer fruits in general, is here translated late figs; and may here, says Bishop Newcome, be opposed to the early ripe fig of superior quality. See on Hosea 9:10 (note), and Amos 8:1 (note), Amos 8:2 (note). He desired to see the first-ripe fruit - distinguished and eminent piety; but he found nothing but a very imperfect or spurious kind of godliness.
on Micah 7 :1
Woe - o is me! for I am, as when they have gathered the summer fruits , as the grape-gleanings of the vintage "The vineyard of the Lord of hosts," Isaiah said at the same time, "is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plants" Isaiah 5:7. Isaiah said, brought forth wild grapes; Micah, that there are but gleanings, few and poor.
It is as though Satan pressed the vineyard of the Lord, and made the most his prey, and few were left to those who glean for Christ; "the foxes have eaten the grapes" Sol 2:15. Some few remain too high out of their reach, or hidden behind the leaves, or, it may be , falling in the time of gathering, fouled, sullied, marred and stained, yet left." So in the gleaning there may be three sorts of souls; "two or three in the top of the uppermost bough" Isaiah 17:6, which were not touched; or those unripe, which are but imperfect and poor; or those who had fallen, yet were not wholly carried away. These too are all sought with difficulty; they had escaped the gatherer's eye, they are few and rare; it might seem at first sight, us though there were none. There is no cluster to eat; for the vintage is past, the best is but as a sour grape which sets the teeth on edge.
My soul desired the first-ripe fig. These are they which, having survived the sharpness of winter, ripen early, about the end of June; they are the sweetest ; but he longed for them in vain. He addressed a carnal people, who could understand only carnal things, on the side which they could understand. Our longings, though we pervert them, are God's gift. As they desired those things which refresh or recruit the thirsty body, as their whole self was gathered into the craving for that which was to restore them, so was it with him. Such is the longing of God for man's conversion and salvation; such is the thirst of His ministers; such their pains in seeking, their sorrow in not finding. Dionysius: "There were none, through whose goodness the soul of the prophet might spiritually be refreshed, in joy at his growth in grace, as Paul saith to Philemon, "refresh my bowels in the Lord" Plm 1:20. So our Lord saith in Isaiah, "I said, I have labored in vain, I hate spent my strength for nought and in vain" Isaiah 49:4. "Jesus was grieved at the hardness of their hearts" Mark 3:5.
Rib.: "The first-ripe fig may be the image of the righteous of old, as the Patriarchs or the Fathers, such as in the later days we fain would see."
on Micah 7 :1
7:1 Woe is me - The land is brought in complaining, that whereas it was once well stored, now it hath few good in it. As the grape - gleanings - In Israel and Judah, which in bringing forth good men, should have been a fruitful vine full of clusters: just, compassionate and humble men, are as grapes after the vintage is gathered. Desired - But in vain.