on Micah 2 :4
Take up a parable against you - Your wickedness and your punishment shall be subjects of common conversation; and a funeral dirge shall be composed and sung for you as for the dead. The lamentation is that which immediately follows: We be utterly spoiled; and ends, Are these his doings? Micah 2:7.
on Micah 2 :4
In that day shall one take up a parable against you - The mashal or likeness may, in itself, be any speech in which one thing is likened to another:
1) "figured speech,"
2) "proverb," and, since such proverbs were often sharp sayings against others,
3) "taunting figurative speech."
But of the person himself it is always said, he "is made, becomes a proverb" Deuteronomy 28:37; 1 Kings 9:7; 2 Chronicles 7:20; Psalm 44:15; Psalm 69:12; Jeremiah 24:9; Ezekiel 14:8. To take up or utter such a speech against one, is, elsewhere, followed by the speech itself; "Thou shalt take up this parable against the king of Babylon, and say, ..." Isaiah 14:4. "Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and say, ..." Habakkuk 2:6. Although then the name of the Jews has passed into a proverb of reproach (Jerome, loc. cit.), this is not contained here. The parable here must be the same as the doleful lamentation, or dirge, which follows. No mockery is more cutting or fiendish, than to repeat in jest words by which one bemoans himself. The dirge which Israel should use of themselves in sorrow, the enemy shall take up in derision, as Satan does doubtless the self-condemnation of the damned. Ribera: "Men do any evil, undergo any peril, to avoid shame. God brings before us that deepest and eternal shame," the shame and everlasting contempt, in presence of Himself and angels and devils and the good Psalm 52:6-7; Isaiah 66:24, that we may avoid shame by avoiding evil.
And lament with a doleful lamentation - The words in Hebrew are varied inflections of a word imitating the sounds of woe. It is the voice of woe in all languages, because the voice of nature. Shall wail a wail of woe, It is the funeral dirge over the dead Jeremiah 31:15, or of the living doomed to die Ezekiel 32:18; it is sometimes the measured mourning of those employed to call forth sorrow Amos 5:16; Jeremiah 9:17, Jeremiah 9:19, or mourning generally 1 Samuel 7:2; Jeremiah 9:18. Among such elegies, are still Zion-songs, (elegies over the ruin of Zion,) and mournings for the dead. The word woe is thrice repeated in Hebrew, in different forms, according to that solemn way, in which the extremest good or evil is spoken of; the threefold blessing, morning and evening, with the thrice-repeated name of God Numbers 6:24-26, impressing upon them the mystery which developed itself, as the divinity of the Messiah and the personal agency of the Holy Spirit were unfolded to them. The dirge which follows is purposely in abrupt brief words, as those in trouble speak, with scarce breath for utterance. First, in two words, with perhaps a softened inflection, they express the utterness of their desolation. Then, in a threefold sentence, each clause consisting of three short words, they say what God had done, but name Him not, because they are angry with Him. God's chastisements irritate those whom they do not subdue .
The portion of my people He changeth;
How removeth He (it) as to me!
To a rebel our fields He divideth.
They act the patriot. They, the rich, mourn over "the portion of my people" (they say) which they had themselves despoiled: they speak, (as men do,) as if things were what they ought to be: they hold to the theory and ignore the facts. As if, because God had divided it to His people, therefore it so remained! as if, because the poor were in theory and by God's law provided for, they were so in fact! Then they are enraged at God's dealings. He removeth the portion as to me; and to whom giveth He our fields?
"To a rebel!" the Assyrian, or the Chaldee. They had deprived the poor of their portion of "the Lord's land" . And now they marvel that God resumes the possession of His own, and requires from them, not the fourfold Exodus 22:1; 2 Samuel 12:6; Luke 19:8 only of their spoil, but His whole heritage. Well might Assyrian or Chaldee, as they did, jeer at the word, renegade. They had not forsaken their gods; - but Israel, what was its whole history but a turning back? "Hath a nation changed their gods, which yet are no gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit" Jeremiah 2:11.
Such was the meaning in their lips. The word "divideth" had the more bitterness, because it was the reversal of that first "division" at the entrance into Canaan. Then, with the use of this same word Numbers 26:53, Numbers 26:55-56; Joshua 13:7; Joshua 14:5; Joshua 18:2, Joshua 18:5, Joshua 18:10; Joshua 19:51, the division of the land of the pagan was appointed to them. Ezekiel, in his great symbolic vision, afterward prophesied the restoration of Israel, with the use of this same term Ezekiel 47:21. Joel spoke of the parting of their land, under this same term, as a sin of the pagan (Joel 4:2, (Joel 3:3 in English)). Now, they say, God "divideth our fields," not to us, but to the pagan, whose lands He gave us. It was a change of act: in impenitence, they think it a change of purpose or will. But what lies in that, we be "utterly despoiled?" Despoiled of everything; of what they felt, temporal things; and of what they did not feel, spiritual things.
Despoiled of the land of promise, the good things of this life, but also of the Presence of God in His Temple, the grace of the Lord, the image of God and everlasting glory. "Their portion" was changed, as to themselves and with others. As to themselvcs, riches, honor, pleasure, their own land, were changed into want, disgrace, suffering, captivity; and yet more bitter was it to see others gain what they by their own fault had forfeited. As time went on, and their transgression deepened, the exchange of the portion of that former people of God became more complete. The casting-off of the Jews was the grafting-in of the Gentiles Acts 13:46. Seeing ye judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo! we turn to the Gentiles. And so they who were "no people" Romans 10:19, became the people of God, and they who were His people, became, for the time, "not My people" Hosea 1:9 : and "the adoption of sons, and the glory, and the covenants, and the lawgiving, and the service of God, and the promises" Romans 9:4-5, came to us Gentiles, since to us Christ Himself our God blessed forever came, and made us His.
How hath He removed - The words do not say what He removed. They thought of His gifts, the words include Himself. They say "How?" in amazement. The change is so great and bitter, it cannot be said. Time, yea eternity cannot utter it. "He hath divided our fields." The land was but the outward symbol of the inward heritage. Unjust gain, kept back, is restored with usury Proverbs 1:19; it taketh away the life of the owners thereof. The vineyard whereof the Jews said, the inheritance shall be ours, was taken from them and given to others, even to Christians. So now is that awful change begun, when Christians, leaving God, their only unchanging Good, turn to earthly vanities, and, for the grace of God which He withdraws, have these only for their fleeting portion, until it shall be finally exchanged in the Day of Judgment Luke 16:25. Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and thou art tormented.
on Micah 2 :4
2:4 A parable - A taunting proverb. And lament - Your friends for you, and you for yourselves. He - God. Portion - Their wealth, plenty, freedom, joy and honour, into poverty, famine, servitude, grief and dishonour. How - How dreadfully hath God dealt with Israel; removing their persons into captivity, and transferring their possession to their enemies? Turning away - Turning away from us in displeasure. God hath divided our fields among others.