Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Micah 1:8

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I will make a wailing like the dragons - Newcome translates: -

I will make a wailing like the foxes, (or jackals),

And mourning like the daughters of the ostrich.

This beast, the jackal or shiagal, we have often met with in the prophets. Travellers inform us that its howlings by night are most lamentable; and as to the ostrich, it is remarkable for its fearful shrieking and agonizing groanings after night. Dr. Shaw says he has often heard them groan as if they were in the greatest agonies.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Therefore I will - Therefore I would

Wail - (properly, beat, that is, on the breast).

And howl - “Let me alone,” he would say, “that I may vent my sorrow in all ways of expressing sorrow, beating on the breast and wailing, using all acts and sounds of grief.” It is as we would say, “Let me mourn on,” a mourning inexhaustible, because the woe too and the cause of grief was unceasing. The prophet becomes in words, probably in acts too, an image of his people, doing as they should do hereafter. He mourns, because and as they would have to mourn, bearing chastisement, bereft of all outward comeliness, an example also of repentance, since what he did were the chief outward tokens of mourning.

I will (would) go stripped - despoiled.

And naked - He explains the acts, that they represented no mere voluntary mourning. Not only would he, representing them, go bared of all garments of beauty, as we say “half-naked” but despoiled also, the proper term of those plundered and stripped by an enemy. He speaks of his doing, what we know that Isaiah did, by God‘s command, representing in act what his people should thereafter do.: “Wouldest thou that I should weep, thou must thyself grieve the first.” Micah doubtless went about, not speaking only of grief, but grieving, in the habit of one mourning and bereft of all. He prolongs in these words the voice of wailing, choosing unaccustomed forms of words, to carry on the sound of grief.

I will make a wailing like the dragons - (jackals).

And mourning as the owls - (ostriches). The cry of both, as heard at night, is very piteous. Both are doleful creatures, dwelling in desert and lonely places. “The jackals make a lamentable howling noise, so that travelers unacquainted with them would think that a company of people, women or children, were howling, one to another.”

“Its howl,” says an Arabic natural historian, “is like the crying of an infant.” “We heard them,” says another, “through the night, wandering around the villages, with a continual, prolonged, mournful cry.” The ostrich, forsaking its young Job 39:16, is an image of bereavement. Jerome: “As the ostrich forgets her eggs and leaves them as though they were not her‘s, to be trampled by the feet of wild beasts, so too shall I go childless, spoiled and naked.” Its screech is spoken of by travelers as “fearful, aftrighting.”: “During the lonesome part of the night they often make a doleful and piteous noise. I have often heard them groan, as if they were in the greatest agonies.”

Dionysius: “I will grieve from the heart over those who perish, mourning for the hardness of the ungodly, as the Apostle had Romans 9:1 great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart for his brethren, the impenitent and unbelieving Jews. Again he saith, “who is weak and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not?” 2 Corinthians 11:29. For by how much the soul is nobler than the body, and by how much eternal damnation is heavier than any temporal punishment, so much more vehemently should we grieve and weep for the peril and perpetual damnation of souls, than for bodily sickness or any temporal evil.”

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The prophet laments that Israel's case is desperate; but declare it not in Gath. Gratify not those that make merry with the sins or with the sorrows of God's Israel. Roll thyself in the dust, as mourners used to do; let every house in Jerusalem become a house of Aphrah, "a house of dust." When God makes the house dust it becomes us to humble ourselves to the dust under his mighty hand. Many places should share this mourning. The names have meanings which pointed out the miseries coming upon them; thereby to awaken the people to a holy fear of Divine wrath. All refuges but Christ, must be refuges of lies to those who trust in them; other heirs will succeed to every inheritance but that of heaven; and all glory will be turned into shame, except that honour which cometh from God only. Sinners may now disregard their neighbours' sufferings, yet their turn to be punished will some come.