The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
Hezekiah — The best son, of the worst father. How long Micah prophesied during his reign, we can but conjecture, possibly 'till the fourteenth year of Hezekiah. So this prophet may be supposed to have prophesied sixteen years in Jotham's time, as many under Ahaz, and fourteen under Hezekiah, in all forty-six years. And he survived the captivity of Israel ten years, which he lamented as well as foretold.
 Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.
O earth — This seems to be an appeal to the senseless creatures, or a summons to bring them in evidences for God against those kingdoms.
Therein — Animate or inanimate creatures, all that are on the earth.
Temple — Either from his temple at Jerusalem, or from heaven.
 For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.
The Lord — He comes forth as a judge, to hear, determine, and punish.
His place — Heaven, the place of his glorious throne.
Come down — Shew, by the effects of his power, justice, and wisdom, that he is more eminently present there.
Tread upon — Trample under foot all that is high, excellent, and matter of your glorying.
 And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.
Cleft — Or rent in sunder, broken up and slide away.
 For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem?
Jacob — The sons of Jacob, the ten tribes.
What — Or, who is the spring, and cause of that overflowing transgression? Of Jacob - The kingdom of the ten tribes, the head of which was Samaria, where the kings had their residence, where they worshiped idols, and set an example to the rest of the Israelitish kingdom.
And what — Or, who is the cause of the high places, and the idolatry there practised? Jerusalem - Which was the chief city of that kingdom, and had the same influence over Judah, as Samaria had on the ten tribes.
 Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof.
As an heap — As a heap of ruins.
Of a vineyard — In planting vineyards, they dig up the earth, and cast it up in hillocks; so shall they make this city.
Into the valley — The city was built on a high hill, and a deep valley beneath it.
I will discover — I will raze the walls, fortresses, and public buildings of this city, to the very foundations.
 And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.
The hires — The rich gifts given for the honour and service of the idols by deceived idolaters.
She — The kingdom of Samaria.
It — Their wealth, or the rich presents made to their idols.
Of an harlot — As harlots get rich gifts of their lovers.
They — These rich presents shall be turned by the Assyrians to the service and honour of their idols.
 Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.
Therefore — Because of those dreadful slaughters in Israel and Samaria.
And naked — As one that in bitterness of passion hath cast off his upper garment.
Dragons — Or rather, Jackals, which haunt desolate places, and make a great and hideous noise by night.
 For her wound is incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.
Her wound — The wounds of Samaria, her own sins, and God's just displeasure.
It is come — The contagion of her sins, and the indignation of God against it, have reached to Judah also, yea, to Jerusalem.
 Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust.
Declare ye it not — Lest the Philistines triumph.
Weep ye not — Make no public weeping.
Aphrah — This was farther from the Philistines.
Roll thyself — Express thy sorrow.
 Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir, having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive of you his standing.
Pass ye away — The imperative is here put for the future; they shalt go into captivity.
Saphir — Probably Samaria and Jerusalem.
Naked — Stript by the conquering enemy.
Zaanan — It is thought, this was a considerable garrison full of people and soldiers.
Came not forth — To help their neighbouring town Beth-ezel.
Beth-ezel — A strong town taken by the Assyrians.
His standing — The enemy shall encamp among you, shall stand on your ground, so that you will have no opportunity of coming out to help your neighbours.
 For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.
Maroth — A town in Judea.
But evil — The flood of affliction by the Assyrian, swallowed up other cities, and swelled even to the head city, Jerusalem.
 O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee.
Lachish — A strong fortress on the confines of Judah.
Bind the chariot — To fly from the sword of the enemy.
She — Lachish, which being the nearest to idolatrous Israel, took the infection of them, and conveyed it to Jerusalem.
The transgressions — Not only the idolatry, but other sins also.
Of Israel — Of the ten tribes.
 Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel.
Give presents — The inhabitants of Lachish courted the assistance of the Philistines against the Assyrian.
Moresheth-gath — A known city of the Philistines, called Moresheth-gath, to distinguish it from a town of the same name in the tribe of Judah.
Achzib — This was also a city of the Philistines.
A lie — A lying refuge, a prop that will break under them.
 Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel.
An heir — The Assyrian, who in the right of conquest shall possess thee.
Mareshah — A town of the Philistines.
Adullam — Perhaps this city was considerable enough at that time, to be the glory of Israel.
 Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee.
Thee — O Judea and Israel, tear off thy hair. Shave what thou canst not tear off.
For thy children — For the loss of them, some being slain, others starved, or swept away with pestilence, and the residue carried captive.
As the eagle — One species of which is entirely bald.