Micah 7:3 MEANING

Micah 7:3
(3) That they may do evil with both hands earnestly.--Literally, well. Dr. Benisch, in his Old Testament newly translated under the supervision of the Rev. the Chief Rabbi of the United Congregations of the British Empire (1852), avoids the oxymoron of doing "evil" "well" by translating the passage, "concerning the evil which their hands should amend," which satisfactorily harmonises with the rest of the passage.

So they wrap it up.--Literally, twist it, and pervert the course of justice.

Verse 3. - That they may do evil, etc. rather, both hands are upon (equivalent to "busy with") evil to do it thoroughly. This clause and the rest of the verse are very obscure Cheyne supposes the text to be corrupt. Henderson renders, "For evil their hands are well prepared;" so virtually Hitzig, Pusey, and the Septuagint. Caspari agrees rather with the Vulgate (Malum manuum suarum dicunt bonum)," Hands are (busy) upon evil to make (it seem) good," which looks to that extremity of iniquity when men "call evil good, and good evil" (Isaiah 5:20). The general meaning is that they are ready enough to do evil, and, as the next clause says, can be bribed to do anything. The prince asketh; makes some nefarious demand of the judge, some perversion of justice at his hands, as in the case of Naboth (1 Kings 21.). The judge asketh (is ready) for a reward. The judge is willing to do what the prince wishes, if he is bribed for it. LXX., Ὁ κριτής εἰρηνικοὺς λόγους ἐλάλησε, "The judge speaks words of peace" (comp. Micah 3:11; Isaiah 1:23; Zephaniah 3:8). He uttereth his mischievous desire; or, the mischief of his soul. The rich man speaks out unblushingly the evil that he has conceived in his heart, the wicked design which he meditates. So they wrap it up; better, and they weave it together. The prince, the judge, and the rich man weave their evil plan together, to make it strong and right in others' eyes. The passage is altered in meaning by a different grouping of the Hebrew letters, thus: "The prince demandeth (a reward) to do good; and the judge, for the recompense of a great man, uttereth what he himself desireth. And they entangle the good more than briars, and the righteous more than a thorn hedge." The LXX. carries on the sense to the next verse, Καὶ ἐξελοῦμαι τὰ ἀγαθὰ αὐτῶν ὠς σὴς ἐκτρώγων, "And I will destroy their goods as a consuming moth."

7:1-7 The prophet bemoans himself that he lived among a people ripening apace for ruin, in which many good persons would suffer. Men had no comfort, no satisfaction in their own families or in their nearest relations. Contempt and violation of domestic duties are a sad symptom of universal corruption. Those are never likely to come to good who are undutiful to their parents. The prophet saw no safety or comfort but in looking to the Lord, and waiting on God his salvation. When under trials, we should look continually to our Divine Redeemer, that we may have strength and grace to trust in him, and to be examples to those around us.That they may do evil with both hands earnestly,.... Or "well" (t), strenuously, diligently, to the utmost of their power, labouring at it with all their might and main; as wicked men generally are more industrious, and exert themselves more to do evil than good men do to do good; and even weary themselves to commit iniquity: or, "instead of doing good", as Marinus in Aben Ezra, take a great deal of pains to do evil; work with both hands at it, instead of doing good. The Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "they prepare their hands for evil"; the Syriac version is, "their hands are read? to evil, and they do not do good"; with which agrees the Targum,

"they do evil with their hands, and do not do good.''

Some make the sense to depend on what goes before and follows; "to do evil, both hands" are open and ready, and they hurt with them; "but to do, good the prince asketh, and the judge for a reward" (u); forward enough to do evil, but very backward to do any good office;

the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and, if they do it, must be bribed, and have a reward for it, even persons of such high character; but this sense is not favoured by, the accents; besides, by what follows, it seems as if the "prince", by whom may be meant the king upon the throne, and the "judge" he that sits upon the bench under him, sought for bribes to do an ill thing; to give a cause wrong against a poor man, and in favour of a rich man that will bribe high:

and the great man he uttereth his mischievous desire; the depravity, corruption, and perverseness of his soul; who is either some great man at court, that, being encouraged by the example of the prince and judge, openly and publicly requires a bribe also to do an ill thing; and without any shame or blushing promises to do it on that consideration; or a counsellor at the bar, who openly declares that he will speak in such a cause, though a bad one, and defend it, and not doubt of carrying it; or else this is some rich wicked man, that seeks to oppress his poor neighbour, and, being favoured by the prince and judge he has bribed, does without fear or shame speak out the wickedness of his heart, and what an ill design he has against his neighbour, whose mischief, hurt, and ruin, he seeks:

so they wrap it up together; or, "twist it together" (w); as cords are, which thereby become strong; slid so these three work up this mischievous business, and strengthen and establish it; and such a threefold cord of wickedness is not easily broken or unravelled: or, "they perplex it" (x); as thick branches of trees are implicated and wrapped together; so these agree to puzzle and perplex a cause, that they may have some show of carrying it with justice and truth. So the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "they trouble it"; confound the matter, and make it dark, dubious, and difficult. The Targum is, "they corrupt it"; or deprave it; put an ill sense on things, and make a wrong construction of them.

(t) "bene", Drusius. (u) So Grotius. (w) "contorquent", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius; "contorquere solent", Burkius; "contortuplicant", Junius, Grotius; so R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 38. 2.((x) "A radice quae intricare significat, atque confusum reddere, atque perplexum", Sanctius,

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