The Book of Micah with Brit-Am/Hebrew Awareness Commentary
Continued from Micah ch.2.
Micah (ESV) 3:
1 And I said:
'Hear, you heads of Jacob
and rulers of the house of Israel!
Is it not for you to know justice?'
The Malbim understands in this case "Heads of Jacob" to be the Ten Tribes and "House of Israel" to be Judah.
Daat Mikra (Moshe Ziedel) holds the same view, see 3:8 below.
2 you who hate the good and love the evil,
who tear the skin from off my people
and their flesh from off their bones,
They were doing the opposite of what they had been told to do. Compare a parallel message in the Book of Amos:
Amos (ESV) 5:
14 Seek good, and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the LORD, the God of Hosts, will be with you,
as you have said.
15 Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
Getting back to Micah 3:
3 who eat the flesh of my people,
and flay their skin from off them,
and break their bones in pieces
and chop them up like meat in a pot,
like flesh in a cauldron.
The Sages (Midrash Torat Cohanim,"BeChukotai 26:17) said that the worst enemies of the Hebrews come from their own people.
So too, in World War-2 there were Jews who helped the Germans. Dr Hilell Ziedman has an article on this in an anthology of Torah articles concerning the Holocaust ("HaShoah" - Auraita, 21, 5771, p. 518).
Those Jews who helped the Germans came mostly from the Secular Intellectual and Criminal classes.
According to Ziedman, no Religious Jews cooperated in the oppression of other Jews.
4 Then they will cry to the LORD,
but he will not answer them;
he will hide his face from them at that time,
because they have made their deeds evil.
5 Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets
who lead my people astray,
who cry 'Peace'
when they have something to eat,
but declare war against him
who puts nothing into their mouths.
6 Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision,
and darkness to you, without divination.
The sun shall go down on the prophets,
and the day shall be black over them;
7 the seers shall be disgraced,
and the diviners put to shame;
they shall all cover their lips,
for there is no answer from God.
8 But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the Spirit of the LORD,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression
and to Israel his sin.
Daat Mikra says that "Jacob" here means the Ten Tribes whereas "Israel" refers to Judah.
his transgression. Hebrew: "Pisha-o." deliberate sin.
his sin. Hebrew "Chatat-o." omission, bad mistake.
Daat Mikra understands the implication to be that the Ten Tribes were primarily responsible for the evil whereas Judah had let the Ten Tribes lead him astray.
9 Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob
and rulers of the house of Israel,
who detest justice
and make crooked all that is straight,
The Sages said that when the Judges are corrupt disasters comes upon the community.
They also said that the Divine Presence will not return to Israel until they remove the bad Judges and Policemen from ruling over them (Talmud, Shabat, 139;a).
10 who build Zion with blood
and Jerusalem with iniquity.
According to the simple literal sense Zion is an area around Jerusalem and the intention is to Judah.
The prophecies may have been relevant in Second Temple times and/or concerning Judah in the future.
On the other hand, Midrash Tanchuma opines that Zion symbolizes Joseph.
The Prophecies may therefore be pertinent not only to Judah but also to the Lost Ten Tribes in their places of Exile.
This will become more clear as we progress in our study of this Book of Micah.
11 Its heads give judgment for a bribe;
its priests teach for a price;
its prophets practice divination for money;
yet they lean on the LORD and say,
'Is not the LORD in the midst of us?
No disaster shall come upon us.'
12 Therefore because of you
Zion shall be plowed as a field;
Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins,
and the mountain of the house a wooded height.
These verses have symbolic implications. Even on the literal level however they are correct.
The Temple Mount is now under Islamic control. They have two large mosques there, as well as many administrative buildings, public toilets, a kind of park, a football field, and a school.
"the mountain of the house a wooded height," should be translated as,
The Temple Mountain [shall become like] the High Places of the Forest.
The High Places (in Hebrew "Bamot") were elevated areas where either idolatry was practiced or sacrifice offered to God in an unacceptable and licentious fashion.
Rabbi Moshe David Valley said this has been fulfilled by the non-Jewish buildings now present on the Temple Mount site.
Continued at Micah ch.4.