Micah 6 – God’s Complaint & Hannibal’s Elephants

Finger Pointing Up0 Hannibal is at the GatesA similar phrase to “Hannibal is at the Gates!” is “The devils’ going to get you.”  The purpose of both of them is the same and the reality of anything happening is nil on both counts too.

The devil has no more power than Hannibal has, unless you let him.  You decide, who do you want to walk with:

“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (1 Cor 10:21).

So many people think they can do that and they will be in for a big surprise when Jesus comes back.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:21-23).4 Compassion

It appears that You are begging people to accept You because you are in dire need of us, and that there is a joke.  You don’t need anybody or anything.

Anyone that reads the Bible should know how much You love people.  I’m sure the devil, he’s such a loser, does his best to convince people that You are not the Almighty.  And I’m sure many believe the lie that the devil tells; the lie he throws out in the air.

But if people would take a step back and look at all of You they would see that you are not begging for assistance, You are pleading us to save our own lives.  The compassion You have for us is beyond our ability to perform or even comprehend.

Anyway, there was a town mentioned in Chapter one, 16 miles southwest of Jerusalem, that caught my eyes, so tomorrow we will look at…

Micah 6
God’s Complaint

1 Balaam Inscription Recreation
Balaam Inscription Recreation (resin cast, about 10 by 8 inches). Discovered in 1967 at Tall Deir Alla in Jordan. Opening sentence is “The sayings of Balaam, son of Beor, the man who was a seer of the gods.” See Num 22-24.

1 Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.

6:1-2 – “Mountains…foundations of the earth’ – in animate objects were called on as third-party witnesses because of their enduring nature and because they were witnesses to His covenant.

That makes you really wonder about what kind of  a God we have.  As far as we know mountains don’t talk or breath, they have no life, but with God:

“For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Lk 1:37).

2 Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD’S controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.

“Plead with” – this is legal language with the idea of disputing with Israel rather than compassionate begging.

3 O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.

4 For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

5 O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD.

6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?

2 Gilgal Sharon Jaljulia
Gilgal (Sharon), Jaljulia
This Arab village is identified with the Biblical Gilgal of the Sharon, one of the Kings that were defeated by the Israelites: “the king of the nations of Gilgal” (Josh 12:23).

The same thought is expressed in 1 Sam 15:22; Ps 51:16; Hos 6:6; Isa 1:11-15.  Micah doesn’t deny the desirability of sacrifices but shows that it does no good to offer them without obedience.

7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

“Do justly and to love mercy” – the kind of obedience God expects from everyone.  It’s important to recognize 6:1-8 as a disputation or court conflict.  The Speaker in vv. 6-7 isn’t asking sincerely how to come to the Lord.  All of his questions imply that he can, through human effort, satisfy his accuser in court.

Micah’s threefold response is as much condemnatory as it is invitational.  Throughout his book his opponents have been characterized by various forms of arrogance or pride.

9 The LORD’S voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.

10 Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable?

11 Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?

12 For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

3 Gilgal Argaman
Gilgal Argaman
An Iron-age ceremonial site which was recently excavated in the Jordan valley near Moshav Argaman. It is likely that this site was erected by the Israelites, leaded by Joshua, and was their first camp after crossing the Jordan.

 13 Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins.

14 Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword.

15 Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine, but shalt not drink wine.

16 For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.

“Omri…Ahab” – 1 Kgs 16:25, 30 says that they did more evil than all the kings who preceded them.  Omri emphasized militarism, internationalism, materialism and heathenism.

Hannibal’s Elephants

It was written  that Hannibal taught the Romans the meaning of fear. It has been said that for generations, Roman housekeepers would tell their children brutal tales of Hannibal when they misbehaved.  

5 Hannibal counting
Hannibal counting the signet rings of Roman nobles killed during the battle.

In fact, Hannibal became such a figure of terror that whenever disaster struck, the Roman Senators would exclaim “Hannibal ad portas” (“Hannibal is at the Gates!”) to express their fear or anxiety.

This famous Latin phrase evolved into a common expression that is often still used when a client arrives through the door or when one is faced with calamity.

When Hannibal and his army set out from Spain to cross the Alps into Italy, they brought along some three dozen war elephants.  These functioned much like tanks today, using their bulk to smash through enemy lines.

Elephants were not indigenous to Spain, though, so where they came from remains a matter of debate.  The only species native to North Africa was fairly small and would have been of limited use.

Hannibal’s animals might have come from sub-Saharan Arica, but elephants from there are not easily trained, especially in the skills required for battle.

Indian elephants, on the other hand, can be trained and were widely used in warfare.  Persians employed some against Alexander the Great, and his general Seleucus brought hundreds back to the Middle East from the Indus Valley.  Those may have been the ancestors of the animals Hannibal used.

Crossing the Alps was as difficult for Hannibal’s elephants as it was for his troops, who had to cope with cold nights, steep icy paths, and hostile tribesmen.

6 Titus Livius Patavinus
Titus Livius Patavinus (59 B.C .– 17 A.D.) – known as Livy in English – was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people.

“The elephants proved both a blessing and a curse,” wrote the Roman historian Livy, “for though getting them along the narrow and precipitous tracks caused serious delay, they were nonetheless a protection to the troops, as the natives, never having seen such creatures before, were afraid to come near them.”

About 20 elephants survived the trek and made it to Italy to battle the Romans. Only one elephant, named Surus (“the Syrian”), was still alive when Hannibal’s long Italian campaign ended.

…Adullam.

 

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