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Micah 1:7

7. And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.

7. Et omnia sculptilia 6565     פסילים, from פסל, to chip or cut with a tool. They were graven or carved images, made of wood, and overlaid with gold or silver.
   “The graven image,” says Bishop Horsley, “Was not a thing wrought in metal by the tool of the workman we should now call an engraver; nor was the molten image an image made of metal. In fact, the graven image and the molten image are the same thing under different names. The images of the ancient idolaters were first cut out of wood by the carpenter, as is very evident from the Prophet Isaiah. This figure of wood was overlaid with plates, either of gold or of silver, or, sometimes perhaps, of an inferior metal. And, in this finished state, it was called a graven image, i.e., a carved image, in reference to the inner solid figure of wood, and a molten, i.e., an overlaid or covered image, in reference to the outward metalline case or covering: and sometimes both epithets are applied to it at once, ‘I will cut off the graven and molten image,’ Nahum 1:14.” See also Deuteronomy 7:25; Isaiah 30:22. — Ed.
ejus diruentur, et omnes mercedes ejus exurentur igne (alii transferunt, donaria,) et omnia idola ejus ponam in vastitatem; quia e mercede meretricis congregavit, et ad mercedem meretricis revertentur.


The Prophet goes on with the same subject, and says, that the ruin of Samaria was at hand, so that its idols would be broken, and also, that its wealth would be destroyed which she had gathered by illegitimate means, and which she thought to be the reward of her idolatry. But God mentions idols here expressly by his Prophet, in order to confirm what we noticed yesterday — that the cause of vengeance was, because Samaria had abandoned itself to ungodly forms of worship, and had departed from the Law. That the Israelites might then understand the cause for which God would so severely punish them, the Prophet here makes express mention of their graven images and idols. God is not indeed angry with stones and wood; but he observes the abuse and the perversion of them, when men pollute themselves by wickedly worshipping such things. This is the reason why God says here that the graven images of Samaria would be broken in pieces, and that its idols would be destroyed.

With regard to the wages, the Prophet no doubt designed to stamp with disgrace all the wealth of Samaria. אתנן, atanen, is properly a gift or a present. But as he twice repeats it, and says, that what Samaria possessed was the reward of an harlot, and then, that it would return to the reward of an harlot, he, in the first place, I have no doubt, upbraids the Israelites, because they, after the manner of harlots and strumpets, had heaped together their great riches: and this was done by Jeroboam, who constructed a new form of worship, in order to secure his own kingdom. The Israelites then began to flourish; and we also know how wealthy that kingdom became, and how proud they were on account of their riches. As, then, the Israelites despised the kingdom of Judah, and thought themselves in every way happy, and as they ascribed all this, as we have seen in Hosea, to their superstitions, Micah speaks here according to their view of things, when he says, Idolatry has been gainful to you, this splendor dazzles your eyes; but your rewards I have already doomed to the burning: they shall then be burnt, and thus perish. Hosea also, as we have seen, made use of the same comparison, — that the children of Israel felicitated themselves in their impiety, like a harlot, who, while she gains many presents from those who admire her beauty, seems not conscious of her turpitude and baseness: such were the Israelites. The Prophets therefore does not say, without reason, Behold, your rewards, by burning, shall perish, or, be consumed with fire. Why so? Because ye have gathered them, he says, from the reward of an harlot, and all this shall return to the reward of an harlot.

This last clause ought to be restricted to the gifts or wealth of Samaria; for it cannot properly be applied to idols or graven images. The import of the whole then is that God would be the avenger of idolatry with regard to the city of Samaria and the whole kingdom of Israel. Besides, as the Israelites boasted that their ungodly forms of worship turned out to their happiness and prosperity, God declares that the whole of this success would be evanescent, like that of the harlot, who amasses great wealth, which soon vanishes away: and we see that thus it commonly happens.

Some explain the passage thus, — that the gifts, with which the Israelites adorned their temples, would return to be the reward of an harlot, that is, would he transferred to Chaldea, and that the Babylonians would, in their turn, adorn with them their idols. But this view is not suitable to the place; for the Prophet does not say that what Samaria had gathered would be a prey or a spoil to enemies but that it would perish by fire. 6666     The view given above is the one embraced by Henderson; but the reason given here is improbable. Newcome mentions the above, and also the following, “She imputed her wealth to her spiritual idolatry, and her conquerors shall distribute it as the reward of harlots in the literal sense.” But inasmuch as it is said, that her rewards would be burnt, it is more consistent to take the last clause as a proverbial expression, signifying the destruction of all the wealth that was ascribed to idolatry as its source.
   “It is common,” says Henry, “that what is squeezed out by one lust, is squandered away by another.” — Ed.
He speaks therefore, proverbially when he says that the produce, from the reward of an harlot, would return to be the reward of an harlot, that is, that it would become nothing; for the Lord sets a curse on such riches as strumpets gain by their baseness, while they prostitute themselves. Since, then, the whole of such wealth is under the curse of God, it must necessarily soon pass away like smoke: and this, in my view, is the real meaning of the Prophet. It now follows —

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