1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established on the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills and people shall flow to it.
2 And many nations shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." For the law shall go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3 And he shall judge among many people and rebuke strong nations afar off. And they shall beat their swords into plow-shares and their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
4 But they shall each sit under his vine and under his fig-tree, and no one shall make them afraid. For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it.
5 For all people will each walk in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.
6 "In that day," says the LORD, "I will assemble her who is lame. I will gather her who is driven out and her who I have afflicted.
7 I will make her who was lame a remnant and her who was cast far off a strong nation. And the LORD will reign over them on mount Zion from now on, even forever."
8 And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, it shall come to you, even the former dominion shall come, the kingdom to the daughter of Jerusalem.
9 Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished? For pangs have taken you as a woman in travail.
10 Be in pain and labor to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail. For now you shall go forth from the city and you shall dwell in the field, and you shall go even to Babylon. There you shall be delivered. There the LORD shall redeem you from the hand of your enemies.
11 Now also many nations are gathered against you, who say, "Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion."
12 But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, neither do they understand his counsel, for he will gather them as sheaves into the floor.
13 "Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron and I will make your hooves brass. And you shall beat many people in pieces. And I will consecrate their gain to YAHWEH and their substance to the Lord of the whole earth."
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter contains some gracious promises concerning the glory and happiness of the church of Christ in the last days; as of its stability, exaltation, and increase, and of the spread of the Gospel from it (verses 1-2); and of the peace and security of it, and constant profession and exercise of religion in it (verses 3-5); and of the deliverance of it from affliction and distress, and the ample and everlasting kingdom of Christ in it (verses 6-8); and then follow some prophecies more particularly respecting the Jews; as that, though they should be in distress, and be carried captive into Babylon, they should be delivered from there (verses 9-10); and, though many people should be gathered against them, yet should not be able to prevail over them, but their attempts would issue in their own destruction (verses 11-13).
[v.1a] - From John Calvin's Commentary: "How has it been, that the truth of the gospel has come to us, and that we are made partakers with the ancient people of the same adoption, except that this prophecy has been fulfilled? Then the calling of the Gentiles, and consequently our salvation, is included in this prophecy."
[v.1b] - "in the last days" - From John Calvin's Commentary: "The extremity of days the Prophet no doubt calls the coming of Christ, for then it was that the Church of God was built anew; in short, since it was Christ that introduced the renovation of the world, his advent is rightly called a new age; and hence it is also said to be the extremity of days: and this mode of expression very frequently occurs in Scripture; and we know that the time of the gospel is expressly called the last days and the last time by John (John 2:18), as well as by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 1:2), and also by Paul (2nd Timothy 3:1); and this way of speaking they borrowed from the prophets."
[v.1c] - "flow to it" - This is the literal rendering of the Hebrew, but it can also be read as, "assemble there."
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 3:11-4:1:
Grant, Almighty God that as you have been pleased to erect the throne of your Son among us, we may rely on his protection, and learn to resign ourselves wholly to you, and never turn aside here and there, but with true obedience so submit ourselves to the King who has been appointed by you, that he may own us as his legitimate people, and so glorify your name, that we may not at the same time profane it by an ungodly and wicked life, but testify by our works that we are really your subjects, and that you attain full authority over us, so that your name may be sanctified and your Spirit may really guide us, until at length your Son, who has gathered us when we were awfully gone astray, gather us again to that kingdom, which he as purchased for us by his own blood. Amen.
[v.2] - From John Calvin's Commentary: "The Prophet shows in these words that not only each one would be obedient to God, when called, but that they would also encourage one another: and this ardor is what is justly required in the faithful; they ought to animate and stir on one another; for it is not enough for each of us himself to obey God, but this zeal ought to be added, by which we may strive to produce a mutual benefit... It ought then to be especially noticed, that the Prophet sets here the word of God before us, in order to show that true religion is founded on the obedience of faith, and that God cannot be truly worshiped, except when he himself teaches his people, and prescribes to them what is necessary to be done. Hence when the will of God is revealed to us, we then can truly worship him... And hence we also learn, that there is no other way of raising up the Church of God than by the light of the word, in which God himself, by his own voice, points out the way of salvation. Until then the truth shines, men cannot be united together, so as to form a true Church."
[v.3a] - From John Calvin's Commentary: "The Prophet here describes the fruit of Divine truth,— that God would restore all nations to such gentleness, that they would study to cultivate fraternal peace among themselves, and that all would consult the good of others, having laid aside every desire for doing harm. As then he has lately showed, that the Church of God could not be otherwise formed than by the Word, and that the legitimate worship of God cannot be set up and continued, except where God is honored with the obedience of faith; so now he shows that Divine truth produces this effect,— that they, who before lived in enmity towards one another and burned with the lust of doing harm, being full of cruelty and avarice, will now, having their disposition changed, devote themselves wholly to acts of kindness."
[v.3b] - "And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off" - From John Calvin's Commentary: "It is to be added, that there is not the least doubt, but that this is to be applied to the person of Christ. Micah speaks of God, without mentioning Christ by name; for he was not yet manifested in the flesh: but we know that in his person has this been fulfilled,— that God has governed the universe, and subjected to himself the people of the whole world. We hence conclude that Christ is true God; for he is not only a minister to the Father, as Moses, or any one of the Prophets; but he is the supreme King of his Church."
[v.3c] - "pruning-hooks" - Or, "scythes."
[v.3d] - "neither shall they learn war anymore" - This may also be read as, "neither shall they accustom themselves to war anymore."
[v.3e] - From John Calvin's Commentary: "This passage ought to be remembered; for we here learn, that there is not growing among us the real fruit of the Gospel, unless we exercise mutual love and benevolence, and exert ourselves in doing good. Though the Gospel is at this day purely preached among us, when yet we consider how little progress we make in brotherly love, we ought justly to be ashamed of our indolence. God proclaims daily that he is reconciled to us in his Son; Christ testifies, that he is our peace with God, that he renders him propitious to us, for this end, that we may live as brothers together. We indeed wish to be deemed the children of God, and we wish to enjoy the reconciliation obtained for us by the blood of Christ; but in the meantime we tear one another, we sharpen our teeth, our dispositions are cruel. If then we desire really to prove ourselves to be the disciples of Christ, we must attend to this part of divine truth, each of us must strive to do good to his neighbors. But this cannot be done without being opposed by our flesh; for we have a strong propensity to self-love, and are inclined to seek too much our own advantages. We must therefore put off these inordinate and sinful affections, that brotherly kindness may succeed in their place."
[v.4a] - From John Calvin's Commentary: "Micah goes on here with the same subject,— that when the minds of men shall be disposed to acts of kindness, everyone shall enjoy God's blessing without being disturbed. There seems indeed to be two things here included,— that acts of hostility shall cease,— and that real happiness cannot exist among men, except Christ rules among them by the doctrine of his Gospel. And the same thing the prophets teach elsewhere, that is, that every one shall live without fear; and this they do, in order to show that men ever live in a miserable dread, except when they are safe under the protection of God."
[v.4b] - Reference, Leviticus 26:6.
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 2-4:
Grant, Almighty God, that since, at the coming of Christ your Son, you really performed what your servants, the Prophets, had previously so much foretold, and since you daily invite us to the unity of faith, that with united efforts we may truly serve you,— O grant, that we may not continue torn asunder, everyone pursuing his own perverse inclinations, at a time when Christ is gathering us to you; nor let us only profess with the mouth and in words, that we are under your government, but prove that we thus feel in real sincerity: and may we then add to the true and lawful worship of your name brotherly love towards one another, that with united efforts we may promote each other's good, and that our adoption may thus be proved and be more and more confirmed, that we may ever be able with full confidence to call on you as our Father through Christ our Lord. Amen.
[v.5] - "The nations were then walking in the name of their multiplied gods; but at the time alluded to, both Gentiles and Jews would walk together in the name of Yahweh." —John Owen
[v.6-7] - John Calvin gave a very concise statement concerning these two verses. He said that just as our death is in God's hand, so also is our salvation.
[v.6] - "her who is lame" - According to John Owen, this refers to "the depressed, weak, or afflicted and miserable state of the Church that is here set forth."
[v.7] - "And the LORD will reign over them on mount Zion from now on, even forever" - Reference, Psalm 2:6, 125:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 7:14, 27; Joel 3:17; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15.
[v.8a] - "tower of the flock" - Concerning this tower, Adam Clarke said, "I believe Jerusalem, or the temple, or both, are meant." John Calvin essentially is in agreement with that, for he said it refers to "the holy city," or Jerusalem.
[v.8b] - "it shall come to you, even the former dominion shall come" - From John Calvin's Commentary: "It is not indeed to be doubted, but that the people of God had become objects of mockery, and that hypocrites and heathens thought that what David had testified respecting the perpetuity of his kingdom was a mere delusion. 'Behold your kingdom,' he said, 'shall continue as long as the sun and the moon,' (Psalm 72; a paraphrasing of various passages in that Psalm): but soon after the death of Solomon, a small portion only was reserved for his posterity, and at length the kingdom itself and its dignity disappeared. This is the reason that the Prophet now says, that the former kingdom would come... There is indeed no doubt, but that by the former kingdom he understands its most flourishing condition, recorded in Scripture, under David and Solomon."
[v.8c] - "the kingdom to the daughter of Jerusalem" - From John Calvin's Commentary: "He expressly mentions the daughter of Jerusalem, because the kingdom of Israel had obscured the glory of the true kingdom. Hence the Prophet testifies here that God was not unmindful of his promise, and that he would restore to Jerusalem the dignity which it had lost, and unite the whole people into one body, that they might be no more divided, but that one king would rule over the whole race of Abraham. But this was not fulfilled, we are certain, at the coming of Christ, in a manner visible to men: we must therefore bear in mind what Micah has previously taught,— that this kingdom is spiritual; for he did not ascribe to Christ a golden scepter, but a doctrine, 'Come, and let us ascend to the mount of Yahweh, and he will teach us of his ways;' and then he added, 'From Zion shall go forth a law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.' This, then, ought ever to be remembered,— that God has not rendered Jerusalem glorious in the sight of men, as it was formerly, nor has he enriched it with influence and wealth and earthly power; but he has yet restored the sovereign authority; for he has not only subjected to himself the ten tribes which had formerly revolted, but also the whole world."
[v.10] - "God then, in whose power is victory, can overcome many and innumerable deaths." —John Calvin
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 5-10:
Grant, Almighty God, that since under the guidance of your Son we have been united together in the body of your Church, which has been so often scattered and torn asunder,— O grant, that we may continue in the unity of faith, and perseveringly fight against all the temptations of this world, and never deviate from the right course, whatever new troubles may daily arise: and though we are exposed to many deaths, let us not yet be seized with fear, such as may extinguish in our hearts every hope; but may we, on the contrary, learn to raise up our eyes and minds, and all our thoughts, to your great power, by which you quicken the dead, and raise from nothing things which are not, so that though we may be daily exposed to ruin, our souls may ever aspire to eternal salvation, until you at length really show yourself to be the fountain of life, when we shall enjoy that endless felicity, which has been obtained for us by the blood of your only-begotten Son our Lord. Amen.
[v.11] - "look upon" - "To look on, is a Hebrew idiom, and means often to triumph or exalt over another, or to gain the upper hand. See Psalm 22:17, 118:7." —John Owen
[v.12] - "But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, neither do they understand his counsel" - Reference, Isaiah 55:8; Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 11:33-34.
[v.13a] - "Arise" - From John Calvin's Commentary: "The Prophet reminds us, that there is no reason for the faithful wholly to despair, when they find themselves thus cast down, for their restoration is in the hand and power of God, as it is the peculiar office of God to raise the dead. And this same truth ought to be applied for our use, whenever we are so cast down, that no strength, no vigor, remains in us. How then can we rise again? By the power of God, who by his voice alone can restore us to life, which seemed to be wholly extinct."
[v.13b] - "horn" - "Horn, in Scripture, means often elevation, dignity, power, strength. It means evidently the last (i.e., strength) here. Zion was made strong to thrash the nations, and supplied with strong hoofs to tread on them." —John Owen
[v.13c] - "beat... in pieces" - Or, "thrash out." "To thrash and to thrash out, is to conquer and to bring thoroughly under subjection." —John Owen
[v.11-13] - Calvin's prayer for these verses is included with the first two verses of the next chapter. Therefore, the prayer is in the next chapter.