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Micah 1:2

2. Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.

2. Audite populi omnes, ausculta terra et plenitudo ejus, et sit Dominus Jehova vobis (vel, inter vos, vel, contra vos, potius) in testem, et Dominus e palatio (vel, templo) sanctitatis suae.


The Prophet here rises into an elevated style, being not content with a simple and calm manner of speaking. We hence may learn, that having previously tried the disposition of the people, he knew the stubbornness of almost all classes: for except he was persuaded that the people would be rebellious and obstinate, he would certainly have used some mildness, or have at least endeavored to lead them of their own accord rather than to drive them thus violently. There is then no doubt but that the obstinacy of the people and their wickedness were already fully known to him, even before he began to address one word to them. But this difficulty did not prevent him from obeying God’s command. He found it necessary in the meantime to add vehemence to his teaching; for he saw that he addressed the deaf, yea, stupid men, who were destitute of every sense of religion, and who had hardened themselves against God, and had not only fallen away through want of thought, but had also become immersed in their sins, and were wickedly and abominably obstinate in them. Since then the Prophet saw this, he makes here a bold beginning, and addresses not only his own nation, for whom he was appointed a Teacher; but he speaks to the whole world.

For what purpose does he say, Hear, all ye people? 6262     שמעו עמים כלם, “Hear, ye peoples, all of them.” Were it not for a similar anomaly as to number in the following line, “Give ear, thou earth, and its fullness,” we might think that כלן is here a mistake for כלכם, as it is evidently the case in 1 Samuel 6:4, and Job 17:10; for in these two places there are several MSS. Which have כלכם, though here there is no variety. Some, to get rid of the difficulty, have suggested that כלם here is to be construed as an adverb, “universally,” regarding it as assuming the same form with חנם, “gratuitously,” and ריקם, “vainly.” But such irregularity is common in Hebrew; there is therefore no need of having recourse to such expedients.
   The word עמים, peoples, may be rendered nations: for, notwithstanding the dissent of Drusius, what Horsley says seems to be correct, that עם in the plural number designates the heathen nations, as distinguished from the people of Israel. The verse literally is this, —

   Hear, ye nations, all of them;
Give ear, thou earth,
even its fullness;
And the Lord Jehovah shall be against you a witness
The Lord from the temple of his holiness.

   — Ed.
It was not certainly his object to proclaim indiscriminately to all the truth of God for the same end: but he summons here all nations as witnesses or judges, that the Jews might understand that their impiety would be made evident to all, except they repented, and that there was no reason for them to hope that they could conceal their baseness, for God would expose their hidden crimes as it were on an open stage. We hence see how emphatical are the words, when the Prophet calls on all nations and would have them to be witnesses of the judgment which God had resolved to bring on his people.

He afterwards adds, Let also the earth give ear and its fullness We may take the earth, by metonymy, for its inhabitants; but as it is added, and its fullness, the Prophet, I doubt not, meant here to address the very earth itself, though it be without reason. He means that so dreadful would be the judgment of God, as to shake created things which are void of sense; and thus he more severely upbraids the Jews with their stupor, that they heedlessly neglected the word of God, which yet would shake all the elements by its power.

He then immediately turns his discourse to the Jews: after having erected God’s tribunal and summoned all the nations, that they might form as it were a circle of a solemn company, he says, There will be for me the Lord Jehovah against you for a witness the Lord from the temple of his holiness. By saying that God would be as a witness for him, he not only affirms that he was sent by God, but being as it were inflamed with zeal, he appeals here to God, and desires him to be present, that the wickedness and obstinacy of the people might not be unpunished; as though he said, “Let God, whose minister I am, be with me, and punish your impiety; let him prove that he is the author of this doctrine, which I declare from his mouth and by his command; let him not suffer you to escape unpunished, if ye do not repent.”

We now then perceive the meaning of the Prophet, when he says that God would be for him a witness; as though he had said, that there was no room here to trifle; for if the Jews thought to elude God’s judgment they greatly deceived themselves; inasmuch as when he has given a command to his servants to treat with his people, he is at the same time present as a judge, and will not suffer his word to be rejected without immediately undertaking his own cause.

Nor is this addition superfluous, The Lord from the temple of his holiness: for we know how thoughtlessly the Jews were wont to boast that God dwelt in the midst of them. And this presumption so blinded them that they despised all the Prophets; for they thought it unlawful that any thing should be said to their disgrace, because they were the holy people of God, his holy heritage and chosen nation. Inasmuch then as the Lord had adopted them, they falsely boasted of his favors. Since then the Prophet knew that the people insolently gloried in those privileges, with which they had been honored by God, he now declares that God would be the avenger of impiety from his temple; as though he said, Ye boast that God is bound to you, and that he has so bound up his faith to you as to render his name to you a sport: he indeed dwells in his temple; but from thence he will manifest himself as an avenger, as he sees that you are perverse in your wickedness. We hence see that the Prophet beats down that foolish arrogance, by which the Jews were inflated; yea, he turns back on their own heads what they were wont boastingly to bring forward. After having made this introduction, to awaken slumbering men with as much vehemence as he could, he subjoins —

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