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Micah 6:13-14

13. Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins.

13. Et ego etiam affligam te percutiendo, et te disperdam super peccatis tuis (secundum tua scelera.)

14. Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword.

14. Tu comedes, et non satiaberis; et dejectio tua in medio tui; et apprehendes, et non servabis; et quod servaveris gladio tradam.


God, after having declared that he would be the Judge of the people, speaks now more clearly of their punishment. He says therefore that he was armed with vengeance: for it often happens, when a judge, even one who hates wickedness, is not able to punish, for he dreads the fierceness of those whom he thinks himself unequal to restrain. Hence God intimates here, that there will not be wanting to him a power to punish the people, I will afflict thee, he says, by striking or wounding thee; for so some render the words. 176176     Newcome renders this line differently, —
   Wherefore I will begin go smite thee.

   Following a few MSS. And the Septuagint, he takes the verb here to be החלתי, which means, to begin; but the rendering seems flat, and suits not the passage; and it is not true, for the Lord has often smitten them before. The verb is in the past tense, and this has created a difficulty. The verbs in the following verse, which is connected with this, are all in the future tense, referring to a coming judgment. To remove this difficulty I propose the following version, —

   But even I, who have made thee to grieve by striking thee,
Will make thee wholly desolate on account of thy sins:

   Then the threatened desolation is specified. The verb השמם, making desolate, is evidently a participle connected with אני I, at the beginning of the verse, the rest being an intervening clause: and when a participle follows a nominative case, which often occurs in Hebrew, the auxiliary verb must be supplied in a translation, which in its tense must be regulated by the context, and here by the verse which follows. Piscator renders it Desolabo, and says, that it is an infinitive put for the future. Grief or sorrow had already been produced, but now entire desolation is threatened. — Ed.
The sum of what is said is, — that nothing would be an obstacle to prevent God from inflicting punishment on the people, for there would be no want of power in his case. There is therefore no reason for men to promise themselves any escape when God ascends his tribunal; for were they fortified by all possible means they could not ward off the hand of God.

And he points out what sort of punishment it would be; and he mentions even two kinds in this verse. He says first, Thou shalt eat, and shalt not be satisfied. One of God’s plagues, we know, is famine: and so the Prophet here declares, that the people would be famished, but not through the sterility of the fields. God indeed brings a famine in two ways: now the land yields no fruit; the corn withers, or, being smitten with hail, gives no fruit; and thus God by the sterility of the fields often reduces men to want and famine: then another mode is adopted, by which he can consume men with want, namely, when he breaks the staff of bread, when he takes away from bread its nourishing virtues so that it can no more support men, whatever quantity they may swallow; and this is what experience proves, if only we have eyes to observe the judgments of God. We now see the meaning of this clause, when he says, Thou shalt eat, and shalt not be satisfied; as though he said, “I can indeed, whenever it pleases me, deprive you of all food; the earth itself will become barren at my command: but that ye may more clearly understand that your life is in my hand, a good supply of fruit shall be produced, but it shall not satisfy you. Ye shall then perceive that bread is not sufficient to support you; for by eating ye shall not be able to derive from bread any nourishment.”

He then adds, And thy dejection 177177     Newcome, without the authority of a single MS., but following the Septuagint and Houbigant, has changed ישחך into יחשך, “it shall be dark.” Though the meaning of the passage is not thus materially affected, it is an alteration without sufficient reasons, there being no MS. in its favor, and no necessity arising from the passage itself: indeed, dejection or depression, or casting down, is more suitable to the context, and more emphatical. — Ed. shall be in the midst of thee; that is, though no man from without disturb or afflict thee yet thou shalt pine away with intestine evils. This is the real meaning; and interpreters have not sufficiently considered what the Prophet means, through too much negligence. But the passage ought to be noticed: for the Prophet, after having threatened a famine, not from want, but from the secret curse of God, now adds, Thy dejection shall be in the midst of thee; that is “Though I should rouse against thee no enemies, though evidences of my wrath should not appear, so as to be seen at a distance, yea, though no one should disturb thee, yet thy dejection, thy calamity, shall be in the midst of thee, as though it were cleaving to thy bowels; for thou shalt pine away through a hidden malady, when God shall pronounce his curse on thee.”

He now subjoins another kind of punishment, Thou shalt take hold, 178178     The verb is תסנ, which Henderson considers to be in Hephil, the י being left out, which is sometimes the case: with Drusius and others, he renders it, “remove,” that is not goods, as he says, but wives and children; for if any were for a time removed to a place of safety, they were afterwards to be given up to the sword. Several copies have ש instead of ס, which makes it to be the verb נשג, and this has the meaning of laying hold or apprehending. But either meaning will suit the context. — Ed. but shalt not deliver, and what thou shalt deliver, I will give up to the sword Some read, “A woman shall lay hold,” that is, conceive seed, “and shall not preserve it;” and then, “though she may bring forth in due time, I will yet give up what may be born to the sword.” But this meaning is too strained. Others apply the words to fathers, “Thou, father, shalt lay hold;” that is thou shalt endeavor to preserve thy children, “and thou shalt not preserve them.” But I wonder that interpreters have thus toiled in vain in a matter so simple and plain. For he addresses here the land, or he addresses the city: as though he said, “The city shall take hold,” or embrace, as every one does who wishes to preserve or keep any thing; for what we wish to keep safe, we lay hold on it, and keep it as it were in our arms; “and what thou shalt preserve, I will give up to the sword: thou wilt try all means to preserve thyself and thy people, but thou shalt not succeed: thou shalt then lose all thy labor, for though thou shouldest preserve some, yet the preserved shall not escape destruction.”

If any one prefers to refer what is said to women, with regard to conception, as the third person of the feminine gender is used, let him have his own opinion; for this sense may certainly be admitted, that is, that the Lord would render the women barren, and that what they might bring forth would be given up to the slaughter, inasmuch as the Lord would at length destroy with the sword both the parents and their children.

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