Micah 5:2-5a

Micah 5:2-5a
Advent C4


But you, O BethlehemA of Ephrathah,B
    who areC one of the littleD clansE of Judah,F

Notes on verse 2a

A “Bethlehem” = Beth lechem. From bayit (house, court, family, palace, temple); {probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively)} + lechem (bread, food, loaf; food for people or for animals); {from lacham (to eat, feed on; figuratively, to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction)}. This is Bethlehem, meaning “house of bread.”
B “Ephrathah” = Ephrath. 10x in OT. From the same as apher (covering, ashes, bandage); from the same as epher (ashes or dust – properly something strewn) OR from parah (to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase; bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense) OR from parar (to divide, split) OR from apar (to be exhausted). This is Ephrath or Ephrathah. It is a female name and the name of several places, including Bethlehem. It may mean “fruitfulness,” “exhausted,” “worthless,” or “fruitful.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Ephrath.html
C “are” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
D “little” = tsair. From tsaar (to be brought low, small, little one; figuratively, be insignificant or ignoble). This is little, young, least, younger, few in number, low in value.
E “clans” = eleph. Perhaps from the same as eleph (herd, cattle); from alaph (to learn, speak, associate with). This is thousand.
F “Judah” = Yehudah. Probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, meaning “praised.”

from you shall come forthG for me
    one who is to ruleH in Israel,I

Notes on verse 2b

G “come forth” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
H “rule” = mashal. This is to rule, reign, govern, have authority, wield.
I “Israel” = Yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.

whose originJ is from of old,K
    from ancientL days.M

Notes on verse 2c

J “origin” = motsaah. Related to “come forth” in v2. 2x in OT. From motsa (going forth as an act or the site from which something goes forth; exiting a place or the place where one exits; a source or a produce; a spring or fountain; the dawn as the rising of the sin, an export, gate mine, and so on); from yatsa (see note G above). This is going forth, sewer, latrine.
K “old” = qedem. Perhaps from qadam (to come in front or be in front; to meet, anticipate, confront, receive, or rise; sometimes to meet for help). This is front, formerly, before, east, eternal, everlasting, antiquity.
L “ancient” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
M “days” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.

ThereforeN he shall give them upO until the timeP
    when she who is in laborQ has brought forth;R

Notes on verse 3a

N “therefore” = ken. Perhaps from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is to set upright. Generally used figuratively to mean thus, so, afterwards, rightly so.
O “give…up” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
P “time” = eth. Probably from anah (to answer, sing, announce); from ad (forever, all, old); from adah (to pass on, advance, decorate oneself). This is a period or season. It can also mean whenever or continually.
Q “is in labor” = yalad. This is to bear or bring forth. It can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage. This is often used for birth or begetting.
R “brought forth” = yalad. Same as “is inlabor” in v3. See note Q above.

then the restS of his kindredT shall returnU
    to the peopleV of Israel.

Notes on verse 3b

S “rest” = yether. From yathar (to jut over, remain behind, preserve, to excel). This is a remainder or excess. It can imply abundant or superiority. Additionally, it can be cord a free-hanging rope.
T “kindred” = ach. This is brother, kindred, another, other, like. It is literally brother, but it can also be someone who is similar, resembling, or related to.
U “return” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
V “people” = ben. Related to “Bethlehem” in v2. From banah (see note A above). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.

And he shall standW and feedX his flock in the strengthY of the Lord,Z

Notes on verse 4a

W “stand” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
X “feed” = ra’ah. This is to tend a flock, pasture, or graze. It can mean to rule or to associate with someone. Figuratively, it can be ruler or teacher.
Y “strength” = oz. From azaz (to be strong, become fixed, be bold, prevail, be impudent; it means to be stout literally or figuratively. A Late Hebrew word). This is strength in the sense of force, majesty, praise, material and physical strength, the abstract notion of security. It can also speak of social or political power.
Z “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “are” in v2. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.

    in the majestyAA of the nameBB of the Lord his God.CC

Notes on verse 4b

AA “majesty” = ga’own. From the same as ga’avah (majesty, excellency, pride, arrogance, ornament); from gaah (to rise up, be exalted, triumph; figuratively, be majestic). This is majesty, pride, redemption, pomp, excellency, swelling, or arrogance.
BB “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
CC “God” = Elohim. Related to “Israel” in v2. See note I above.

And they shall live secure,DD for now he shall be greatEE
    to the endsFF of the earth;GG
5 and he shall be the one of peace.HH

Notes on verses 4c-5a

DD “live secure” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
EE “be great” = gadal. This is to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing.
FF “ends” = ephes. From aphes (to finish, fail, stop, come to nothing, disappear). This is an end, ceasing, no further. It is often used to refer to the ends of the earth.
GG “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
HH “peace” = shalom. From shalam (to be complete or sound; to have safety mentally, physically, or extending to one’s estate; so, if these things are safe and complete, the implication is that one would be friendly; and, if being friendly, one would make amends and that friendship would be reciprocated). This is completeness, soundness, welfare, favor, friend, good health. It is to be safe and figuratively well, happy, at peace, friendly. Abstractly, it includes the ideas of welfare and prosperity (not in excessive wealth, but in having enough).

    If the AssyriansII comeJJ into our landKK
    and treadLL upon our soil,MM

Notes on verse 5b

II “Assyrians” = Ashshur. From Akkadian Ashshur (“City of God Ashshur”) OR related to Hebrew ashar (to go straight, advance, proceed, direct, guide, be level, be honest, be blessed or happy). This is Assyria, referring to the place and its inhabitants. It is also a name – Ashshur, a descendant of Shem. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyria#Nomenclature.
JJ “come” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
KK “land” = erets. Same as “earth” in v4. See note GG above.
LL “tread” = darak. This is to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process. So, also an archer.
MM “soil” = armon. Root might mean to be high in elevation. So, this is any kind of fortified building like a citadel, castle, tower, or palace.

we will raiseNN against them sevenOO shepherdsPP
    and eightQQ installed as rulers.RR, SS

Notes on verse 5c

NN “raise” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
OO “seven” = sheba. This is seven or by sevenfold. It can also be used to imply a week or an indefinite number. Symbolically, this is the number of fullness, sacredness, perfection.
PP “shepherds” = ra’ah. Same as “feed” in v4. See note X above.
QQ “eight” = shemoneh. Perhaps from shamen (to shine, which implies being oily, growing fat); from shaman (to grow fat, shine, be oily). This is eight or eighth. It can refer to abundance as being more than 7, the number of sacred fullness.
RR “rulers” = nsiyk. 6x in OT. From nasak (to pour out or melt; used especially for libations or for the process of making cast metal; can also be used figuratively for anointing a king). This is a drink offering idol made of poured metal, or a leader as a anointed one.
SS {untranslated} = adam. Perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.

Image credit: “View of Bethlehem by Night” by Josef Langl.

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