I The title and preface, ver. 1, 2. Warning of desolating judgments at hand, ver. 3-7, The prophet's sorrow, and the general sorrow for them, ver. 8-16.
Verse 1. Hezekiah - The best son, of the worst father. How long Micah prophesied during his reign, we can but conjecture, possibly 'till the fourteenth year of Hezekiah. So this prophet may be supposed to have prophesied sixteen years in Jotham's time, as many under Ahaz, and fourteen under Hezekiah, in all forty-six years. And he survived the captivity of Israel ten years, which he lamented as well as foretold.
Verse 2. O earth - This seems to be an appeal to the senseless creatures, or a summons to bring them in evidences for God against those kingdoms. Therein - Animate or inanimate creatures, all that are on the earth. Temple - Either from his temple at Jerusalem, or from heaven.
Verse 3. The Lord - He comes forth as a judge, to hear, determine, and punish. His place - Heaven, the place of his glorious throne. Come down - Shew, by the effects of his power, justice, and wisdom, that he is more eminently present there. Tread upon - Trample under foot all that is high, excellent, and matter of your glorying.
Verse 4. Cleft - Or rent in sunder, broken up and slide away.
Verse 5. Jacob - The sons of Jacob, the ten tribes. What - Or, who is the spring, and cause of that overflowing transgression? Of Jacob - The kingdom of the ten tribes, the head of which was Samaria, where the kings had their residence, where they worshiped idols, and set an example to the rest of the Israelitish kingdom. And what - Or, who is the cause of the high places, and the idolatry there practiced? Jerusalem - Which was the chief city of that kingdom, and had the same influence over Judah, as Samaria had on the ten tribes.
Verse 6. As an heap - As a heap of ruins. Of a vineyard - In planting vineyards, they dig up the earth, and cast it up in hillocks; so shall they make this city. Into the valley - The city was built on a high hill, and a deep valley beneath it. I will discover - I will raze the walls, fortresses, and publicbuildings of this city, to the very foundations.
Verse 7. The hires - The richgifts given for the honour and service of the idols by deceived idolaters. She - The kingdom of Samaria. It - Their wealth, or the rich presents made to their idols. Of an harlot - As harlots get richgifts of their lovers. They - These rich presents shall be turned by the Assyrians to the service and honour of their idols.
Verse 8. Therefore - Because of those dreadful slaughters in Israel and Samaria. And naked - As one that in bitterness of passion hath cast off his upper garment. Dragons - Or rather, Jackals, which haunt desolate places, and make a great and hideous noise by night.
Verse 9. Her wound - The wounds of Samaria, her own sins, and God's just displeasure. It is come - The contagion of her sins, and the indignation of God against it, have reached to Judah also, yea, to Jerusalem.
Verse 10. Declare ye it not - Lest the Philistines triumph. Weep ye not - Make no public weeping. Aphrah - This was farther from the Philistines. Roll thyself - Express thy sorrow.
Verse 11. Pass ye away - The imperative is here put for the future; they shalt go into captivity. Saphir - Probably Samaria and Jerusalem. Naked - Stript by the conquering enemy. Zaanan - It is thought, this was a considerable garrisonfull of people and soldiers. Came not forth - To help their neighbouring town Beth-ezel. Beth-ezel - A strong town taken by the Assyrians. His standing - The enemy shall encamp among you, shall stand on your ground, so that you will have no opportunity of coming out to help your neighbours.
Verse 12. Maroth - A town in Judea. But evil - The flood of affliction by the Assyrian, swallowed up other cities, and swelled even to the head city, Jerusalem.
Verse 13. Lachish - A strong fortress on the confines of Judah. Bind the chariot - To fly from the sword of the enemy. She - Lachish, which being the nearest to idolatrous Israel, took the infection of them, and conveyed it to Jerusalem. The transgressions - Not only the idolatry, but other sins also. Of Israel - Of the ten tribes.
Verse 14. Give presents - The inhabitants of Lachish courted the assistance of the Philistines against the Assyrian. Moresheth-gath - A known city of the Philistines, called Moresheth-gath, to distinguish it from a town of the same name in the tribe of Judah. Achzib - This was also a city of the Philistines. A lie - A lying refuge, a prop that will break under them.
Verse 15. An heir - The Assyrian, who in the right of conquest shall possess thee. Mareshah - A town of the Philistines. Adullam - Perhaps this city was considerable enough at that time, to be the glory of Israel.
Verse 16. Thee - O Judea and Israel, tear off thy hair. Shave what thou canst not tear off. For thy children - For the loss of them, some being slain, others starved, or swept away with pestilence, and the residue carried captive. As the eagle - One species of which is entirely bald.