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Micah 4:5

5. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.

5. Quia omnes populi ambulabunt, quisque in nomine dei sui; nos autem ambulabimus in nomine Jehovae Dei nostri in seculum et usque.


Micah, after having spoken of the restoration of the Church, now confirms the same truth, and shows that the faithful would have reason enough to cleave constantly to their God, and to despise all the superstitions of the world, and that though they may be tossed here and there by contrary opinions, they will yet continue in true religion. This verse then is connected with the kingdom of Christ; for until we are gathered, and Christ shines among us and rules us by his word, there can be in us no constancy, no firmness. But when under the auspices of Christ, we join together in one body the Church, such then becomes the constancy of our faith, that nothing can turn us from the right course, though new storms were at any time to arise, by which the whole world might be shaken, and though it were to happen that the universe should be agitated or pass away. We now understand what the Prophet means.

He therefore says, All nations shall walk every one in the name of his god. This sentence must be thus explained, — “Though nations be divided into various sects, and each be addicted to their own superstitions, yet we shall continue firm in the pure worship of God and in unity of faith.” But this question occurs, how could the Prophet say that there would be such discords in the world, when he had shortly before spoken of the Church being gathered and united together? for he had said, Come shall all nations, and each will say, Come, let us ascend into the mount of Jehovah. There seems to be here some sort of inconsistency, — that all nations would come to mount Zion, and yet that every people would have their own gods. But the solution is not difficult: the Prophet in this verse strengthens the faithful, until Christ should be revealed to the world: nor is there any doubt but the Prophet intended to sustain the confidence of the godly, who might have otherwise been overwhelmed a hundred times with despair. When the children of Israel were driven into exile, when their inheritance was taken away from them, when the temple had been demolished, when, in a word, no visible religion existed, they might, as I have said, have desponded, had not this promise come to their minds, — that God would restore mount Zion, and gather a Church from the whole world. But there was also need of some confirmation, and this is what the Prophet now subjoins. Hence he says, “Since the Lord gives you hope of so glorious a restoration, you ought to feel confidence. and, in reliance on his promise, to continue in his true worship, how much soever the Gentiles may serve their own idols, and boast that they have the true God. However, then, every one of the nations may take pride in their superstitions, you ought not to fluctuate, nor turn here and there, like reeds, which are tossed to and fro, as the wind changes; but ye shall continue firm and steady in your course; for ye know that God is true, who has once for all adopted you, and has promised that your salvation will be the object of his care, even when the world shall think you to be ruined and lost.”

We hence see that what the Prophet had in view was to raise up into confidence the minds of the godly in the midst not only of troubles, but of utter confusion. All nations then shall walk, that is, when the temple and the city shall be demolished, and the people be led into distant exile, the ungodly will, at the same time, triumph, every one will extol his own gods: though our God should not then appear, there will yet be no reason why we should be discouraged; but we ought to recomb on his word. We shall then walk in the name of our God, and that for ever and ever; that is, though it should happen that the world should a hundred times be turned and turned over again, there shall yet be no change in our minds: for as the truth of God is eternal, so also our faith ought to be constant and never to vary. Now the difficulty is removed, and we see how these two things agree, — that all nations shall come and with one consent worship God, and yet that to each of them there would be their own gods: for the diversity of time must be here regarded, when all nations would walk every one in the name of his god. 125125     Marckius views this passage differently. He considers that the converted Gentiles are meant here, — that when turned from their idols and their superstitions, they shall profess the true God, as revealed in the Gospel, and that each nation will regard him as its own God: however various in outward circumstances, they shall yet acknowledge the God revealed in his Word as their own. This view most certainly harmonizes better with the context than that of Calvin, which is commonly adopted. There is another, which is the same nearly in meaning, but founded on a different rendering of the words. The Jewish commentator Abarbanel, as quoted by Marckius, gives this version: —
   “Nam omnes populi, qui ambulabant quisque in nomine dei sui, et now ambulabimus in nomine Jehovae Dei nostri.”

   The words will no doubt admit of this construction; for it is often the case in Hebrew, that אשר, who, is understood before a verb in the future tense, especially when it has the meaning of the present, as here, for the preceding “ambulabant,” might be rendered “ambulant,” without any inconstancy in the meaning. I would therefore render the verse thus, —

   For all the nations,
Who walk each in the name of its god,
And we ourselves,
Shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God,
For ever and ever.

   The nations were then walking in the name of their multiplied gods; but at the time alluded to, both Gentiles and Jews would walk together in the name of Jehovah. There is thus an entire correspondence between all the parts of this remarkable passage, which extends from the first verse to the seventh inclusive; a part of which, extending only to the end of the third verse, is to be found in Isaiah. — Ed.

By saying, איש בשם אלהיו, aish beshem Aleiu, he touches, in an indirect way, on that variety which exists among men. Though all of them pertinaciously follow and defend their own superstitions yet each one fabricates a goal for himself. Thus it happens, that nothing is certain, for they follow only their own inventions. But this the Prophet meant only to touch by the way. His main object was that which I have stated, — that though the Church of God would be small, and should find a great multitude opposed to it, it ought not yet to succumb. We know how violent a thing is public consent; for when the majority conspire together, the small number, who entertain a different opinion, are, as it were instantly swallowed up. It is not then without reason that the Prophet exhorts the faithful here to an invincible firmness of mind, that they might triumph over all the nations. However small, then, might be the faithful in number, the Prophet wished them to look down, as it were from a higher place, not only on a large multitudes but on all mankind. Though then all nations walk, etc.: nor is the word כל, cal, all, superfluous, — though all nations shall walk, etc. There was then but one nation, the offspring of Abraham, among whom true religion existed; and it was a dreadful devastation, when God suffered the royal city and the temple to be pulled down, and the whole body of the people to be torn asunder, to be driven away here and there, so that no kingdom and no kind of civil community remained. Hence the Prophet intimates here, that though the faithful should find that in number and dignity they were far surpassed by their enemies, they yet should not despair. “Though then all the nations walked, every one in the name of their god, — though every people set up their superstitions against you, and all conspired against you together, yet stand ye firm and proceed in your course, and this not for a short time, but for ever and ever.” 126126     לעולם ועד, “for ages and perpetually.” עולם means most commonly an indefinite, rather than an infinite time. The verb signifies to be hidden or concealed; and so the noun means an undefined and unknown period. “For ages,” would perhaps be its best version; whether these ages be limited or unlimited must depend on the context. Here עד is added to show that these ages would be endless, or to the end of time: for עד is “still,” unceasing futurity, that which is perpetual, still the same. The Levitical dispensation was לעולם “for ages,” but the new state of things promised here is to be, not only for ages, but also perpetually, that is to the end of time, while the world lasts. — Ed. Now this passage shows that faith depends not on the suffrages of men, and that we ought not to regard what any one may think, or what may be the consent of all; for the truth of God alone ought to be deemed sufficient by us. How much soever, then, the whole world may oppose God, our faith ought not to be changeable, but remain firm on this strong foundation, — that God, who cannot deceive, has spoken. This is one thing. Then, in the second place, it must be added, that this firmness ought to be perpetual. Though then Satan may excite against us new troubles, since we have hitherto stood firm as to our faith in God’s word, let us proceed in the same course to the end. And the Prophet designedly added this verse; because he saw that the people would be subject to various and long-continued temptations. It was a long captivity: hence languor might have, as it were, wasted away all the confidence which the people then had. And further, after they returned from exile, we know how often and how grievously their faith was tried, when all their neighbors inimically assailed them, and when they were afterwards oppressed by cruel tyranny. This was the reason why the Prophet said that the children of God are to walk perpetually and to the end in his name

Though he gives the name of gods to the idols of the nations he yet shows that there is a great and striking difference; for the nations worship their own gods, which they had invented: or how did they derive their majesty and their power, except from the false imagination of men? But the Prophet says, We will walk in the name of Jehovah our God. He hence shows that the power and authority of God is not founded on any vain device of men, for he of himself exists, and will exist, though he were denied by the whole world. And this also confirms what I have already stated, — that the faithful ought thus to embrace the word of God, as they know that they have not to do with men, the credit of whom is doubtful and inconstant, but with him who is the true God, who cannot lie, and whose truth is immutable. Let us proceed —

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