I rarely watch the regular news channels. If you are wise and have resources like the internet, then you know that France, Germany, and Italy are having violent protests. The reasons are various, as they are in opposition to governmental decisions, taxation, and the aggressiveness of “immigrants” that have been allowed to flood in uncontrolled. We have an unchecked problem here in America as well.
I don’t know about you, but I feel as though there is little I can do that is useful, and so I write. Maybe that’s the condition we find Micah in as we move into chapter five of Micah.
Jerusalem, enemy troops, have surrounded you; they have struck Israel’s ruler in the face with a stick. (Micah 5:1 CEV)
Surrounding you doesn’t always sound so bad unless of course it is associated with the fear of brutal torture and death, as many of the “Christians” have experienced in the nations that suffered through ISIS. Daniel, the prophet, was what we understand to be, one of the valuable ones, but even then, he had to prove himself to Nebuchadnezzar. So, even for Daniel, there were no guarantees. For Micah, there is no guarantee of what will become of him.
Adam Clarke’s commentary gives us some rather startling information when it tells us that Zedekiah wasn’t just struck in the face with a stick.
He (Nebuchadnezzar) hath laid siege against us; (Jerusalem ); they shall smite the judge of Israel (Zedekiah) with a rod upon the cheek – They shall offer him the greatest indignity. They slew his sons before his face; and then put out his eyes, loaded him with chains, and carried him captive to Babylon.
Interesting how God has either turned the focus or, verse one of chapter five is merely the closing lines of chapter 4. Adam Clarke once again confirmed what I thought when he says,
“But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah – I have considered this subject in great detail in the notes on Matthew 2:6, to which the reader will be pleased to refer. This verse should begin this chapter; the first verse belongs to the preceding chapter.”
Now, let’s dive into the meat of what I wanted to talk about, Micah 5:2 and hopefully beyond.
I was not aware that there were two cities called Bethlehem. Quickly we will see the importance of Bethlehem Ephratah.
Bethlehem Ephratah, to distinguish it from another Beth-lehem, which was in the tribe of Zebulun, Joshua 19:15
Micah 5:2 CEV Bethlehem Ephrath, you are one of the smallest towns in the nation of Judah. But the LORD will choose one of your people to rule the nation— someone whose family goes back to ancient times.
From Adam Clarke’s commentary on Matthew 2:1.
“Bethlehem of Judea – This city is mentioned in Judges 17:7, and must be distinguished from another of the same name in the tribe of Zebulon, Joshua 19:15. It is likewise called Ephrath, Genesis 48:7, or Ephratah, Micah 5:2, and its inhabitants Ephrathites, Ruth 1:2; 1Samuel 17:12. It is situated on the downslope of a hill, about six miles from Jerusalem. בית לחם Beth-lechem, in Hebrew, signifies the house of bread. And the name may be considered as very properly applied to that place where Jesus, the Messiah, the true bread that came down from heaven, was manifested, to give life to the world. But לחם lehem also signifies flesh and is applied to that part of the sacrifice which was burnt upon the altar.”
Genesis is mentioned by Adam Clarke, as it contains what would be an oral history delivered by Jacob. Here in Genesis 48:7 we Jacob burying Rachel as he traveled to Ephrath.
Genesis 48:7 NASB “Now as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan on the journey, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”
If we were to consider ancestral lineage, Ruth, the daughter-in-law of Naomi, plays a tremendous role. However, it is her father-in-law that brings our attention to Bethlehem.
Ruth 1:2 NASB The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. Now they entered the land of Moab and remained there.
In a relatively short period of time Boaz marries Ruth.
Ruth 4:13 MKJV And Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife. And when he went in to her, Jehovah made her conceive. And she bore a son.
Odd how the path leading to the birth of Jesus begins and ends in this little town. It makes you wonder if God had everything perfectly planned out.
Ruth 4:17 MKJV And the women, her neighbors, gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi. And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
With that in mind, look at this piece of information, for even the future king, David was born there.
1 Samuel 17:12 NASB Now David was the son of the Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had eight sons. And Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced in years among men.
Micah 5:2 in the NASB, declares
“From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.”
The NIV translation puts it this way:
“out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel,”
I might conclude that this prophecy came to pass with King David, as I just showed you that he came out of Bethlehem; but this prophetic statement, like so many other prophecies of end times events, has multiple occurrences. An example of this would be the destruction of the temple.
In response to the disciples’ question, when that would happen, Jesus did not directly answer their question, but said, “There shall not be left here one stone on another that shall not be thrown down.” This had nothing to do with the calendar, however, only a few years later in 70 AD, the temple was destroyed, but much like our example of David becoming king, this immediate destruction of the temple was not His focus. His discussion covered two chapters in Matthew and included significant events that projected well over two thousand years into the future. While ignoring the millennial reign, He included the final judgment upon the earth. (You find this exchange in the 24th and 25th chapter of Matthew.)
But we have one other clue that diverts us away from King David.
“whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Think about the idea that Jesus, the physical image of the Father, appeared all throughout the Old Testament. One of those places was here in Genesis 18
Genesis 18:1-2 NIV The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. (2) Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
Note that Abraham looked up and saw three men. Although in hindsight, the storyteller addresses one of them as the Lord, I do not think Abraham knew that immediately. A piece of evidence for that would be the next verse.
Genesis 18:3 NIV He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.
tells us that the word lord, as used here in verse 3, is this:
“A masculine noun meaning lord or master. The most frequent usage
is of a human lord, but it is also used of divinity. Generally, it
carries the nuances of authority rather than ownership.”
So, I can perceive Abraham’s address as one made toward authority; a polite gesture in the face of men you do not know.
When we get to verse 17 the tenor of the conversation changed, and here the word Lord means yehōwāh: A noun meaning God. The word refers to the proper name of the God of Israel, particularly the name by which He revealed Himself to Moses (Exodus 6:2-3).
Genesis 18:17-22 NIV Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? (18) Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. (19) For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” (20) Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous (21) that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.” (22) The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.
Abraham stood before yehōwāh. As I said, Jesus told us that no man has seen the Father, and lived; yet Abraham lived. So what did he see? He saw Jesus, the express image of the Father.
John 12:45 MSG Whoever looks at me is looking, in fact, at the One who sent me.
And though most try to avoid the subject of Melchizedek, there are huge clues which lead us back to another, an ancient appearance of Jesus.
Genesis 14:18 NASB And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.
The ISBE informs us that “the name is explained in Hebrews 7:2 as “king of righteousness.” There is only one who holds that title, and his name is Jesus.