Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Micah-Chapter 2

Micah 2.1-13 tells us about more charges being brought by Yehovah against the people, starting with the government and then to the religious leaders, for their sins of covetousness, oppression, and injustice, which were deliberate. The evil that was coming cannot be avoided and would destroy their pride. They will lament because they will not be able to enjoy the ancestral portion of their land. This chapter also has allusions to the Messiah, the kingdom of God, and eschatology relating to the coming of Yeshua at the end of the birth-pains.

v 1…Woe to those who scheme iniquity, who work out evil in their beds (to deprive the common people of their inheritance given to them by the Lord, etc)! When morning comes (now comes the execution of their scheming), they do it, for it is in the power of their hands (literally “For their hand is for a god” meaning they know of no higher power than themselves).

v 2…They covet fields and then seize them (by force or injustice), and houses, and take them away. They rob a man and his house, a man and his inheritance (their hereditary portion).

v 3…Therefore, thus says the Lord (Yehovah), “Behold (take note and see), I am planning against this family a calamity (just as they reflect on evil, Yehovah will bring evil) from which you cannot remove your necks; and you will not walk haughtily (helpless and led off as saves), for it will be an evil time.

v 4…On that day they (Israel’s enemies like the Assyrians) will take up against you a taunt (a proverb, parable) and utter a bitter lamentation and say (using Israel’s words in derision and jeering), “We are completely destroyed (laid waste)! He exchanges (causes to pass over) the portion (heritage of Canaan) of my people; how he removes it from me (cause to depart)! To the apostate (the faithless heathen like the Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, and the False Messiah eventually) he (Yehovah) apportions our fields (the withdrawal of the land is just punishment for the wicked great ones who robbed the people of their inheritances).

v 5…Therefore, you will have no one stretching a measuring line for you by lot in the assembly (kahal) of the Lord (they won’t have the land anymore, but spiritually the wicked will have no further lot in the inheritance of Yehovah because they will be separated from the eschatological kahal).

v 6…Drip not (prophecy, not the false prophets tell the true prophets who predict coming judgments), they drip: if they drip not this (true prophets do not prophesy), the shame will not depart.’

v 7…You, called house of Jacob; is the spirit of the Lord impatient (short, rough)? Are these his doings (is Yehovah wrathful, does he not have patience and have long-suffering)? Do not my words do good to the one walking uprightly (Yehovah has threatened the people through the prophets because they were unrighteous).

v 8…Recently (yesterday) my people have arisen as an enemy-‘You strip (rob) the robe (inner one) from before the outer robe (not content with just the outer robe, they rob the inner robe also-Deut 24.10-13) from those who pass by trustingly (confidently), averted from war (or conflict, a peaceful disposition).

v 9…The women (widows) of my people you evict (seizing their property). Each one from her pleasant house. From her children (orphans) you take up splendor forever (they took all the gifts of God off of them).’

v 10…Arise and go (you cast others out, now I cast you out), for this is no place of rest (what Canaan was supposed to be) because of the uncleanness that brings destruction, a painful destruction.

v 11…If a man walking after wind and falsehood (a false prop0het) had told lies (to you) and said, “I will speak out to you concerning wine and liquor (you will have an abundant supply), he would be spokesman (a “dropper” or prophet) to this people (you would listen).

v 12…I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob (even now he promises a glorious future hope), I will surely gather the remnant of Israel (after they have been banished); I will put them together liken sheep in a fold (Hebrew “Bozrah”-Isa 16.1-5, 63.1-6), like a flock in the midst of its pasture. They will be noisy with men.

v 13…The breaker (“poretz” and alluding to John the Baptist and the coming Elijah character in the birth-pains) goes up before them; they break out, pass through the gate and go out by it. So their king goes on before them; and the Lord at their head.”

There is a midrash on verses 12-13 that will explain the words of Yeshua in Matt 11.12. We want to quote from the book, “Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus” by David Bivin and Roy Blizzard, p. 84-87. This excerpt from the book will explain how Micah 2.12-13 was understood in the first century By Yeshua and the people, and how it relates to the kingdom of God.

“Matthew 11.12: And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

This saying is certainly difficult to understand. It is not just ordinary Christians who have been stumped by it. There seems to be no satisfactory explanation of this verse even in scholarly literature. Apparently, a great deal of violence is connected with the Kingdom of Heaven. However, that does not agree very well with the rest of the teachings of Jesus. Many and varied have been the attempts on the part of ministers and scholars alike to explain this passage.

The key to its understanding turns out to be an old rabbinic interpretation (midrash) of Micah 2.13 discovered by Professor David Flusser. Micah 2.12-13 reads: I will gather all of you, Jacob; I will collect the remnant of Israel. I will put them all together like sheep in a fold, like a flock inside a pen. It will be noisy and crowded with people. The breach-maker (poretz) goes through before them. Then they break out. Passing through the gate, they leave by it. Their king passes through before them, their Lord at their head.

These verses are full of rich imagery. It is the picture of a shepherd penning his sheep for the night. He quickly builds a fold by throwing up a makeshift rock fence against the side of a hill. The next morning, to let the sheep out, he makes a hole or a breach in the fence by tossing some of the stones aside. He steps through his “gate” with the sheep following close behind. They have been penned up all night and can hardly wait to get out of their cramped quarters. Of course, they push and shove, several trying to get through at once, literally breaking through, further breaching the little gate in their eagerness to get out and into the green pasture.

Finally, they burst out into the open spaces, rushing headlong after the shepherd. In Micah 2.13 the “breach-maker” and the king are of course the same person, but in the rabbinic literature discovered by Professor Flusser, they are two different persons: the breach-maker is interpreted as Elijah, and their “king” as the Messiah, the Branch of the Son of David.

Now we can begin to understand what Jesus is saying. He is not only hinting at Micah 2.13 but also at a well-0known rabbinic interpretation of it. “The Kingdom of Heaven,” he says, is breaking forth (not suffering violence), and every person in it is breaking forth (literally, ‘those who are breaking out break out in it, or by means of it,’ not ‘the violent take it by force). Two tremendous things are now happening simultaneously: the Kingdom is bursting forth into the world (like water from a broken dam), and individuals within the Kingdom are finding liberty and freedom.

In Matt 11.12, as in the midrash, Elijah, or John the Baptist, is the breach-maker, the Poretz. He makes a breach in the rock fence and goes through first. He has opened the way. He is Elijah of Mal 3.1 and 4.5-6, who goes before the Lord to prepare his way. As in the Midrash, Jesus, the King, follows John. Jesus is the Lord himself, who leads the sheep through the gate. It is a powerful image.

Jesus is again teaching his disciples about the Kingdom of Heaven, his movement. It started when Jesus began calling disciples, during John’s active ministry, ‘the days of John the Baptist.” Since then, the Kingdom of Heaven has been “breaking out.” Notice that this is further proof that the Kingdom is not futuristic. The Kingdom is something that has been in existence since the time of John the Baptist.

The Kingdom is breaking out, and members of the Kingdom are breaking out. In Micha and also in the midrash, it is the Lord and his sheep who are breaking out. Jesus alters that figure slightly so that it is the Kingdom and its sheep who are breaking out. Though Jesus does not refer directly to his own role as the shepherd leading the sheep out, no listener could possibly misunderstand Jesus’ stunning assertion-I am the Lord. Elijah had come and opened the way, and the Lord himself was leading a noisy multitude out to freedom.”

Eschatologically, this may also allude to when Yeshua returns and gathers the believers among the Jewish people and non-Jews who have fled to the Jordanian wilderness from the False Messiah (Rev 12.1-17). He gathers the remnant from Bozrah, the Petra area where they have been for three and a half years, and the Jordanian wilderness north to Pella area, and advances to Jerusalem from the southeast after arriving at Mount Sinai on Rosh Ha Shannah, and arriving on the Mount of Olives on Yom Kippur (Deut 33.2; Isa 40.3; Hos 2.14-23; Hab 3.3-4 (Teman), 7.7-19 (Midian); Sela or Pera in Isa 42.10-13; Judges 5.4-5 (Seir, Edom); Zech 9.14; Isa 9.14; Isa 63.1-6, 16.1-5; Hos 13.15; Ezek 25.1-14; Zech 14.1-5; Song 8.5; Matt 24.27-31; Zeph 1.7-9, 2.8-11; Isa 27.12-13; Joel 2.15-16.

What happens when Yeshua arrives in Jerusalem? He goes to the Mount of Olives and the Shofar ha Gadol blows because it is a Yom Kippur. There is an earthquake and the mount splits causing a valley to Azal twelve miles away, and people flee the False Messiah, but he will be captured and killed. Angels are sent and they gather the unbelievers remaining in the world for judgment in Jerusalem (Matt 24.29-31; Luke 17.33; Matt 25.31-46; Matt 13.24-30). They are judged. After that, the righteous who have survived the birth pains are gathered and judged. They will go into the Messianic Kingdom with their physical bodies.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

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