When you are doing your Bible study, there are a vast number of options you can use, such as Bible translations. All of them have issues, and all of them are translations or transliterations – as most of the time, there is no direct English translation for Hebrew, Assyrian, Greek. There is another factor you need to take into consideration; there was an even more intense version of Hebrew that is lost to us, and there were two versions of the Greek language.
Add this to the list of things that impact your understanding. Rome, as the ruling force, wanted full assimilation and therefore the Hebrew language was outlawed, and Greek was the only language permitted. Many Hebrew documents/scrolls were destroyed, and that act mandated the practice of oral history as the method of passing along history and the law of God. Imagine the difficulties involved in the recreation of this book we call the Bible. With all the possibilities for error, it still carries the power and authority God intended it to convey.
So, when I begin to look at a passage, aside from the information above, I consider the context; examine concordances, like the Strong’s or Word Study Dictionary – to find out what other implications these simple words carry; I compare what I see, understand, and think, to accepted commentators. By the way, most of which have a bent toward the Antichrist coming out of Rome – that was a common and logical theme since the Islamic Caliphate had been effectively disbanded and outlawed globally, and then I compare other translations to see which one more closely conveys what the Holy Spirit has been speaking to my heart.
A friend of mine recently asked me, what commentary should I get to obtain the most out of my Bible study. Oddly, this brother worked in the church for a time and should probably be assisting me. I did not have a good answer as I have about 54 commentaries on my computer, and I rarely stick with just one. I recently learned that Matthew Henry’s commentary was in agreement with something I consider to be a doctrine of the devil, and that certainly taints my opinion of his commentary. I frequent the commentaries of Albert Barnes, Adam Clarke, John Gill, Joseph Benson. I use them because – I have no better way to say this, in comparing my thoughts to theirs, they are in alignment with me. I added the modern pastor John MacArthur to my authors because he is a smart man, but I find his information sadly lacking and he has a definite bent against the Holy Spirit. And, I will add that there are many others, such as the IVP Bible Background Commentary, which has a wealth of information, but it, like some others, can be overwhelming.
A key to teaching that I come to understand: If I don’t know an answer, then saying so is the best thing I can do for you. To babble on does nothing more than create confusion. I fully expect those who deem themselves to be my students to research these things for yourself, as any good Bible student would do.
With that being said, let’s get on with Micah, as
we have made it to
Immediately I see a problem; I will explain.
I typically go to the NASB translation first; it reads like this.
Micah 5:3 NASB Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel.
Whoever this “them” is has been given up until whoever this female entity gives birth to a child. If I am going to understand what is going on here, this verse is little to no help to me and requires detective work.
While the CEV spells out who this “them” persona is, the translators changed the dynamic as the implication now is that Israel will be abandoned until the rest of the family returns to Israel. Look again at the NASB above, and you will see that the action of one event causes the other to happen, while the CEV requires both to occur. Which is it? I have many translations available and could merely do a count and take the majority, but the majority is not always right.
Micah 5:3 CEV The LORD will abandon Israel only until this ruler is born, and the rest of his family returns to Israel.
As I try to answer the question above, I find myself thinking about the Jews and wondering when they came rushing back to the homeland. That is the problem; there was no homeland, that is until 1917 when the Balfour Declaration decreed that Palestine was the Jewish homeland. From Wikipedia: “The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during World War I announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population.” Giving the Jews some documented land to call their own indeed allowed them to call Jerusalem home once again. Sadly, as the effects of wars were coming on, even the United States refused to allow the Jews to immigrate here as they tried to escape the coming holocaust and the aftermath of those horrific years.
One other problem I have to overcome when I read the NASB, is the desire to understand who the “them” is? For me, a logical path would be the Complete Jewish Bible, as it spells out who the “them” is, but here is where I encountered another problem, as the CJB puts verse 3 in front of 2. Now, I have to decide if this transposition of verses is a game changer, and if not, what is it telling me? Verse two from the CJB tells me: “Therefore he will give up [Isra’el] only until she who is in labor gives birth. Then the rest of his kinsmen will return to the people of Isra’el.” In a way, this is an easy out as this version gives us the name Israel instead of merely saying them. F
So let’s see if there is any other validation for Israel being the “them” in this passage.
- Finis Dake tells us it is Israel but merely says this is because of the rejection of the Judge of Israel at His first advent. That did not help my mind, so I am not sold.
look at the context.
I stated in my previous post on Micah 5:1, this verse does not
appear to belong here, it apparently belongs in chapter 4; however,
it does help to create a context.
So what is happening to Israel, the southern nation?
Micah 5:1 CEV Jerusalem, enemy troops have surrounded you; they have struck Israel’s ruler in the face with a stick.
This was most likely Nebuchadnezzar’s troops that surrounded Israel, and the ruler being struck was Zedekiah. There is an ugly interaction between Zedekiah and a prophet named Micaiah. You can read about it here – 1 Kings 22:13-28. What I want you to see is two verses in particular. 1 Kings 22:24, but Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee? 1 Kings 22:27 “ And say, Thus saith the king (Zedekiah,) Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with the bread of affliction and with water of affliction until I come in peace. Unfortunately, Zedekiah never returned.
Regarding judgment, Zedekiah’s came exactly as Micaiah had said; for they killed his sons before his eyes and put his eyes out.
If Israel was abandoned until “this” unknown ruler is born, what did that look like for Israel? Although Israel had been released from Babylonian captivity, that doesn’t mean that they were free to govern themselves. By the time Jesus came along Israel was under the control of yet another ruling force, the Romans. Quickly, if that is possible, let’s name off some of those who controlled the region now called Israel.
- By 1420 Israel is under the first Assyrian dynasty. This Assyrian rule continues until 612 BC. Note: The Assyrian rule was brutal, and one of the reasons that Jonah wanted nothing to do with them.
- Ruler-ship then transferred to the Neo-Babylonian reign under Nabopolassar, and then Nebuchadnezzar who reigned from 605 – 526BC Both the Northern and Southern kingdoms were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar.
- While under the rule of Belshazzar, a Babylonian, the Persian Empire overtook the Babylonian’s in 550 BC. The Persian Empire reigned until 358BC. In 539 BC the Neo-Babylonian empire fell entirely to the Persian Empire, now under the rule of Cyrus.
- While under the rule of Darius 111, 335-330BC the Medo/Persian empire fell to Alexander the Great and the Grecian Empire. 359BC was already feeling the Grecian influence under the rule of Philip of Macedonia; however, Alexander the Great exerted his power in 336 and ruled until his death in 323BC. On a timeline, I can see that Alexander ruled over Palestine from 333-323 BC. Alexander made Israel a Greek province in 333BC. What this tells me, is that while Israel may have still been in Babylon, Alexander was already in Palestine.
- With the death of Alexander, the kingdom was divided between his four generals. Eventually, the territory comes to rest in the hands of two generals, Seleucus in the North, and Ptolemy in the South, this primarily put Ptolemy in charge of Egypt and the Northern African nations.
- This “Grecian” rule continued, in some form until 64BC While Rome had been making steady inroads into the region with its Punic wars, it did not gain a solid foothold until 110BC. The Seleucid empire, although ending in 64BC, had been under attack by Julius Caesar since 100BC.
- If we take this timeline up to the destruction of the temple in 70AD, we are talking about 1490 years of having foreign nations and entities ruling over Jerusalem. By 1917 Jerusalem was under British ruler-ship and it continued, even though inroads like the 1917 Balfour declaration had been established, all the way to 1948 when Israel declared its independence from British rule, and itself a nation.
So what we saw in Micah 5:3 continued for well over 3,400 years of foreign powers ruling over God’s land.
“Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel.”
In 1948 the dispersed began to return and continue to this day in 2019.
Once again, the passage is:
Micah 5:3 KJV Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travails has brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
- “he” is Jehovah.
- “them” is the Jewish people.
- “she” is Israel.
- What was brought forth? 1. Is Jesus, but the more logical answer is; 2. Israel, the nation.
- “the remnant” – God has always had someone standing on the ground in Israel, and they were the remnant.
- “his brethren” is the Jewish people.
The (NET.) translation of 5:3 –
So the LORD will hand the people of Israel over to their enemies until the time when the woman in labor gives birth. Then the rest of the king’s countrymen will return to be reunited with the people of Israel.
The personage indicated by the phrase “he” was Jesus, and the time has come. Although Israel would not receive Him, the one who brought in the beginnings of the everlasting kingdom walked among the Jewish people, just as he will do once again.