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Micah 1:16

Micah 1:16

Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children
Which is said, either with respect to Mareshah, or to Adullam, or to the whole land, as Kimchi observes; rather to the latter; and that either to Israel, or to Judah, or both; the prophecy in general being concerning them both, ( Micah 1:1 ) ; making baldness, whether by plucking off the hair, or by shaving it, was used in token of mourning, ( Job 1:20 ) ( Jeremiah 7:29 ) ; and so it is designed to express it here: the inhabitants of the land are called to lamentation and weeping for their children taken from them, whom they dearly loved, and brought up in a delicate manner. The Targum is,

``pluck off thy hair, and cast it upon the children of thy delight;''
and Sanctius observes; that it was a custom with the Gentiles to cut off their hair, and cast it into the graves of their kindred and friends at their interment, to which be thinks the prophet alludes: enlarge thy baldness as the eagle;
when it moults, and cast off all its feathers, as it does in old age, and so renews its youth; to which the allusion seems to be in ( Psalms 103:5 ) ( Isaiah 40:31 ) ; or every year, as birds of prey usually do at the beginning of the spring. The Jewish writers F25 say this happens to it every ten years; when, finding its feathers heavy and unfit for flying, it makes a tour to the sun with all its force it can, to get as near it as possible; and, having heated its plumage excessively, it casts itself into the sea for cooling, and then its feathers fall off, and new ones succeed; and this it does until it is a hundred years old; and to its then state of baldness, while it is moulting, is the allusion here; unless it can be thought any respect is had to that kind of eagle which is called the bald one. In Virginia F26 there are three sorts of eagles; one is the grey eagle, about the size of a kite; another the black eagle, resembling those in England; and a third the bald eagle, so called because the upper part of the neck and head are covered with a sort of white down: but the former sort of baldness seems to be intended, which is at certain stated times, and not what always is, and is only partial; for it denotes such an universal baldness to be made, as to take in all the parts of the body where any hair grows; as expressive of the general devastation that should be made, which would be the cause of this great mourning: for they are gone into captivity from thee;
that is, the delicate children of Israel and Judah, and so were as dead unto them, or worse: this was accomplished in Israel or the ten tribes, partly by Tiglathpileser, and more completely by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, ( 2 Kings 15:29 ) ( 17:6 ) ; and in Judah or the two tribes, when Sennacherib came and took their fenced cities; and doubtless some of the inhabitants and their children were carried captive by him, though not Jerusalem; and therefore cannot be addressed here, as some do interpret the words, unless the prophecy is to be extended to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
FOOTNOTES:

F25 Saadiah Gaon apud Kimchi & Ben Melech in Psal. ciii. 5. & lsa. xl. 31.
F26 See Harris's Voyages and Travels, vol. 2. p. 229. Lowthorp's Philosoph. Transact. abridged, vol. 3. p. 589.
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