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Micah 7:5-6

5. Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.

5. Ne fidatis amico, ne speretis in consiliario (vel, duce;) ab ea quae dormit in sinu tuo custodi aperturas oris tui:

6. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.

6. Quia filius contumelia afficit patrem, filia surgit contra matrem suam, nurus contra socrum suam; inimici viri domestici ejus (homines domus ejus, ad verbum.)


The Prophet pursues the subject we discussed yesterday, — that liberty, in iniquity, bad arrived to its highest point, for no faithfulness remained among men; nay, there was no more any humanity; for the son performed not his duty towards his father, nor the daughter-in-law towards her mother-in-law; in short, there was then no mutual love and concord. He does not here speak of that false confidence, by which many deceive themselves, who rely on mortals, and transfer to them the glory which belongs to God. Those therefore without any reason, philosophize here, who say, that we ought not to trust in men; for this was not the design of the Prophet. But our Prophet complains of his times according to the tenor of Ovid’s description of the iron age, who says -

A guest is not safe from his host;
Nor a brother-in-law from a son-in-law; and brotherly love is rare:
A husband seeks the death of his wife, and she, of her husband;
Cruel stepmothers mingle the lurid poison;
The son, before the day, inquires into the years of his father.”
187187     See Ov. Met. Lib. I. 144-148.

So also our Prophet says, that there was no regard to humanity among men; for the wife was ready to betray her husband, the son treated his father with reproach; in short, they had all forgotten humanity or natural affection. We now then understand what the Prophet means by saying, Trust not a friend; 188188     Ne fidatis amico: it is rather, Believe not in a friend, that is, in what he says, אל-תאמינו ברע. The next expression is that which signifies reliance, trust or confidence. אלוף, is a leader; ηγουμενος in Sept., one who leads the way. Diodati gives its true meaning, — “A conductor, the most trusty friend, who is one’s usual counselor in every difficulty and perplexity.” Jerome refers to scriptural instances as to the persons here mentioned: the friend, Ahitophel and Judas, — the counselor, Abimelek, who was made king by the men of Sichem, and oppressed them, — domestics, Absalom and the wives of Esau. The word used for “dishonoring” is very strong; מנבל, one who counts a thing worthless or abominable; it means not only to dishonor, but to regard with disdain and contempt. “The contempt and violation of the laws of domestic duties,” Henry justly observes, “are a sad symptom of an universal corruption of manners. Those are never likely to come to good who are undutiful to their parents, and study to be provoking to them and cross them.” — Ed. that is, if any one hopes for any thing from a friend, he will be deceived; for nothing can be found among men but perfidy.

Put no faith in a counselor So I render the word אלוף, aluph; some translate it, an elder brother; but there is no necessity to constrain us to depart from the proper and true meaning of the word. As then the Prophet had spoken of an associate or a friend, so he now adds a counselor. And it proves what he had in view, when he says in the next clause, that no enemies are worse than domestics. We hence see that the Prophet simply means, that the men of his age were not only avaricious and cruel to one another, but that without any regard to human feelings the son rebelled against his father, and thus subverted the whole order of nature; So that they had none of those affections, which seem at the same time to be incapable of being extinguished in men. Let us now proceed —

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