« Prev Micah 2:6 Next »

Micah 2:6

6. Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.

6. Ne stilletis; stillabunt; non stillabunt illis (hoc est, super eos;) non apprehendet ignominias (sic est ad verbum.)


Here the conciseness of the expressions has made interpreters to differ in their views. Some read thus, Distill ye not,they will distill; that is, the Jews speak against the prophets, and with threats forbid them, as with authority, to address them. The Hebrew word, distill, means the same as to speak; though at the same time it is applied more commonly to weighty addresses than to such as are common and ordinary. If any understands, they will distill, or speak, of the Jews, then the Prophet points out their arrogance in daring to contend with God’s prophets, and in trying to silence and force them to submission. We indeed find that ungodly men act thus, when they wish to take away the liberty of teaching from God’s prophets; for they resist as though they themselves were doubly and treble prophets. So also in this place, Distill ye not, that is, the Jews say, Let not the servants of God prophesy. But some think that a relative is understood, Distill ye not for them who distill; as though he had said, that ungodly men would not bear God’s prophets and thus would prevent and restrain them, as much as they could, from speaking. Others make this distinction, Distill ye not,they shall distill; as though the Jews said the first, and God the second. Distill ye not, — this was the voice of the ungodly and rebellious people, who would cast away from them and reject every instruction: but God on the other side opposed them and said, Nay, they shall distill; ye forbid, but it is not in your power; I have sent them: though ye may rage and glamour a hundred times, it is my will that they should proceed in their course.

We hence see how various are the explanations: and even in the other part of the verse there is no more agreement between interpreters: They shall not distill; respecting this clause, it is sufficiently evident, that God here intimates that there would be now an end to all prophecies. How so? Because he would not render his servants a sport, and subject them to reproach. This is the true meaning: and yet some take another view, as though the Prophet continued his sentence, They shall not distill, lest the people should receive reproaches; for the ungodly think, that if they close the mouths of the prophets, all things would be lawful to them, and that their crimes would be hid, in short, that their vices would not be called to an account; as though their wickedness was not in itself sufficiently reproachful, were God to send no prophets, and no reproof given. No doubt, profane men are so stupid as to think themselves free from every reproach, when God is silent, and when they put away from themselves every instruction. Hence some think, that this passage is to be understood in this sense. But I consider the meaning to be that which I have stated; for he had before said, Distill ye not who distill; that is, Ye prophets, be no longer troublesome to us; why do you stem our ears? We can no longer bear your boldness; be then silent. Thus he expressly introduced the Jews as speaking with authority, as though it was in their power to restrain the prophets from doing their duty. Now follows, as I think, the answer of God, They shall not distill, that he may not get reproaches: Since I see that my doctrine is intolerable to you, since I find a loathing so great and so shameful, I will take away my prophets from you: I will therefore rest, and be hereafter silent. — Why? “Because I effect nothing; nay, I subject my prophets to reproaches; for they lose their labor in speaking, they pour forth words which produce no fruit; for ye are altogether irreclaimable. Nay, as they are reproachfully treated by you, their condition is worse than if they were covered with all the disgrace of having been criminal. Since then I subject my prophets to reproach I will not allow them to be thus mocked by you. They shall therefore give over, they shall prophesy no longer. 8484     Newcome, apparently on the authority of the Septuagint, joins a part of the last verse to this, and gives this rendering,—
   In the congregation of Jehovah prophesy not, O ye that prophesy:
They shall not prophesy to these:
For he shall remove from himself reproaches.

   The last line he applies to the true prophet, that he would not subject himself to disgrace by exercising his office. Henderson’s version is the following: —

   Prophesy not; those shall prophesy
Who will not prophesy of these things:
Reproaches are incessant.

   This is viewed as being altogether the language of the people, interdicting the true prophets, specifying those whom they approved, and deprecating the reproaches cast upon them by the true prophets. Another version, which is materially adopted by Calvin, is admitted by our Author as not unsuitable, but he prefers the one given above. The main objection is to the last line, which in the original is this, —

   לא יׂג כלמות

   The last word is plural, and means reproaches; and the verb יסג is in the third person of the future tense, and may be derived either from סוג, to recede, to depart, or from גסג, to remove, both in a transitive and intransitive sense. Having an objective case, it cannot be the first verb, and must be the second in its transitive meaning. Then the rendering is, He will not, or let him not, or let none remove reproaches. This being the literal rendering of this sentence, we must now consider what version of the former part will correspond best with it. It is that no doubt adopted by Calvin, though the last clause cannot admit of the meaning he attaches to it. The people say, “Prophesy ye not who prophesy;” God answers, “They shall not prophesy to these;” and then the Prophet adds, speaking of God, “He will not remove reproaches;” that is, he will not remove them by his prophets with the view of amending their reproachful conduct.

   The last clause is evidently viewed as an anomalous construction by Henderson; for he renders it as though the plural noun were the nominative case to the verb in the singular number, and this because the latter precedes the former. There may be instances of this in Hebrew, but it is by no means a common usage; though it be so in the Welsh language, which in so many of its peculiarities is very much like Hebrew. This sort of construction is the ordinary one in that language: a plural noun has commonly a verb in the singular number, when placed before it. This sentence in Welsh would be exactly the same as in Hebrew—Nid ymadawa gwaradwyddiadau The noun in the plural number is the nominative case to the preceding verb, which is in the singular number, and the verb too is in the future tense, and is yet understood as having the meaning of the present tense. — Ed.

But the Lord could not have threatened the Jews with any thing worse or more dreadful than with this immunity, — that they should no more hear anything which might disturb them: for it is an extreme curse, when God gives us loose reins, and suffers us, with unbridled liberty, to rush as it were headlong into evils, as though he had delivered us up to Satan to be his slaves. Since it is so, let us be assured that it is an awful threatening, when he says, They shall not distill, lest they should hereafter become objects of reproach.

« Prev Micah 2:6 Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection