OT Encounters: Concerning the Prophets

By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament text for this Sunday, November 5, 2017, comes from the prophet Micah in the Book of the Twelve. The text is Micah 3:5-12, which is the end of the first significant “Law” portion of his short book. Micah ends this section with strong judgement against the “prophets” and the “rulers” of Israel. It is important to remember that Micah is a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah as we see many of the same themes and similar language. Some would argue that Micah borrowed from Isaiah; others would say that Isaiah borrowed from Micah. Ultimately, this is neither important nor a problem. Certainly, the LORD is unlikely to give contradictory or competing prophecies toward His One people through two prophets. It comes as no surprise that these contemporaries deliver a similar, consistent message to the people of God.

3:5 hamathim—root: taah –Hiphil: “Cause to go astray; cause to err” Participle use—“The ones who cause to go astray”

       Hanoshkim—root: nashak—“to bite” Participle—“The ones who bite”

       Beshinehem—root: shen “tooth” “with their teeth”

“The ones who bite with their teeth and call out ‘Peace!’, but declares war upon him who does not give (food) into his mouth.”

3:6 mechazon—root: chazon—“vision”

       Chashcah—root: chashaak—“to grow dark; to be dim”

       Miqesom—root: qasam—“to practice divination; to predict”

       Qadar “to become dark; to be dark”

3:7 chozeh—“seer” “the seers shall be shamed…”

       Wechaphru—root: chaphar—“to be ashamed: disgraced”

      Haqosmim—root: qasam—“to predict; practice divination” Participle used as a noun—“the ones who practice divination”

    Weatu—root: atah—“to hide” with ‘sapam’  “moustache” “They will cover/hide over moustache” (Idea: lips covered by hands so they cannot speak what they do not know)

Note that “seers” and “diviners” have negative connotations in Scripture, whereas “prophets” have a positive connotation unless designated as evil or bad. The prophecy of Micah addresses “evil prophets” (vs. 5) and then points out that they are not even real prophets; they are seers and diviners to whom the LORD does NOT reveal things. See how Micah sets himself up as different from the others (vs.8).

3:8 geburah—“strength; might”

       Pisho—root: pasha—“transgression; wrongdoing”

Now, in verse 9, Micah moves from the prophets to the rulers in continuing his condemnations.

3:9 hamathaavim—root: tab—piel “to abhor; detest; to treat as an abomination”

       Yeaqeshu—root: aqash—piel “to twist; make crooked”

3:10 beawlah—“iniquity; injustice; malice”

3:11 shochad—“bribe”

         Mechir—“price; purchase price”

         Yoru—root: yarah—hiphil “to teach; instruct”

         Yishaenu—root: sham—niphal “to support oneself; depend; lean upon”

3:12 biglalkem—from galal  “because of; on account of”

         Thecharesh—root: charash—“to be ploughed”

         Iyiyn—from iy  “heap of ruins”

         Yaar—“thicket; woods; forest”

“The mountain of the house”—A reference to Mt. Zion, the place of the house of God, the Temple.

Even though we have seen some very strong Law in these verses and in previous verses, the next chapters contain equally strong Gospel: the restoration of Israel and how the LORD will accomplish it.