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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/324

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MICHEL


278


MICHEL


me." In the cnsuini; l)atlU' Achal) was spveroly wounded by a chance arrow ami died the same day. See the commentaries on the Mooksof Kinj^s l)ySli inner in •• Edinhurgh Century Bihle " ; W. 10. Barnes iCam- bridge, I'JOS); Kiltel (dot tin-ten, I'.KH)); Kloster- mann (.Municli, 1SS7); cf. \V. li. Harper, "Comni. on Amos and Hosca" (I'xlinburgh, I'.IO.')), Iv sc].

III. iMicheas (Hebr. Mikliah; Jer., xxvi, LS: Mikha- yah kdh.). the author of the book which holds the sixth place in the collection of the Twelve Minor Prophets, was born at Moresh^th (IVIich., i, 1; .Jer., xxvi, IS), a locality not far from the town of (ieth (Mich., i, 14). Jeru.salem was the scene of his minis- try, and it occurretl, as we learn from the title of hLs book, under the Kings Joathan (c. 740-735 b. c), Achaz (78.5-727?), and Kzechias (727-69S?). We do not, however, appear to possess any of his addresses prior to the reign of ICzechias. He was thus a con- temporary of the Prophet Isaias. His book falls into three parts: (1) The first part consists of chapters i-iii. Micheas begins by announcing the impending destruction of Samaria as a punishment for its sins, and Jeru.salem also is threatened. In chapter ii the prophet develoi)s his threats against the Kingdom of Juda and gives his reasons for them. In chapter iii he utters his reproaches with greater distinctness against the chief culprits: the prophets, the priests, the princes, and the judges. Because of their transgressions, Sion shall be ploughed as a field, etc. (iii, 12). This pas- sage was (juoted by the defenders of Jeremias against those who wished to punish with death the boldness with which the latter had annoimced God's chastise- ments: Micheas of .Morasthi was not punished with death, but, on the contrary, Ezechias and the people did penance and the Lord withdrew his threat against Jerusalem (Jer., xxvi, 18 sq.). There is a general con- sensus of opinion to attribute to the Prophet Micheas the authorship of this part of the book; serious doubts have l^een expres.sed only concerning ii, 11 and 12. Chapters i-iii mu-sl have been composed shortly be- fore the destruction of the Kingdom of Samaria by the Assyrians (722 B. c).

(2) In the second part (iv-v), we have a discourse announcing the future conversion of the nations to the law of Yahweh and describing the Messianic peace, an era to Ix; inaugurated by the triumph of Israel over all its enemies, symbolized by the Assyrians. In v, 1 sq. (Hebr., 2 sq.), the prophet introduces the Messianic king whose place of origin is to te Bethlehem-Eph- rata; Yahweh will only give up his people "till the time wherein she that travaileth shall bring forth", an allusion to the well-known passage of Is., vii, 14. Several recent critics have maintained that chapters iv-v, either wholly or in part, are of post-exilic origin. But their arguments, principally based on considera- tions inspired by certain theories on the history of the Messianic doctrine, are not convincing. Neither is it necessary to suppose that in iv, S, the comparison of the citadel of Sion with the "tower of the flock" alludes to the ruinous condition of Judea and Jerusa- lem at the time of the composition of the address ; this comparison mer<dy refers to the moral situation held towards the rest of the country by the capital, whence Yahweh Ls presumed to keep watch. The connexion of ideas, it is true, is interrupted in iv, 10, and in v, 4-5 (Vulg. 5-6), both of which may Ije later additions. A characteristic trait of Micheas's style in chapter i is found in the puns on the names of localities, and it is noticeable that an entirely similar pun can be seen in v, i (Hebr., iv, 14), particularly when the LXX version LS taken into account. The reading supposed by the LXX suggests a very .satisfactory interpretation of this difficult passage: ".'Vnd now, surround thyself with a wall (gndhir), Beth-(!ader. " The difference of tone and contents clearly show that iv-v must have been composed in other circumstances than i-iii. They probably date from shortly after the fall of Samaria


in 722 n. c. In i-iii Micheas had expressed the fear that after the conquest of Samaria I lie Assyrian army would invade Judea; but ^'ahweli willidrew His threat (,ler., xxvi, lit), and the enemy left Palestine without attacking Jerusalem. Chapters iv-v have preserved us an echo of the joy caused in Jerusalem by the removal of the danger.

(;$) Chapters vi -vii, which form the lliird part, arc cast in a dramatic shape. Yaliweli interpellates the people and reproaches them with ingratitude (vi, 3-5). The people ask by what offerings they can expiate their sin (vi, C-7). The prophet answers that Yahweh claims the observance of the moral law rather than sacrifices (vi, 8). But this law has been shamefully violated by the nation, which has thus brought on it- self God's punishment (vi, 9 sqq.). The present writer has suggested (" Les Douze Petits Prophetes", Paris, 1908, 4(35) that the passage vii, llb-13, be so transposed as to follow vii, 6; in this way the justifi- cation of the punishments assumes a connected form in vi,9-vii,6 + llb-13. The rest of chapter vii (7-11" + 14 sqq.) contains a prayer in which the fallen city expresses hope in a coming restoration and confidence in God.

The opinions of critics are much divided on the composition of these chapters. Several consider them a mere collection of detached fragments of more or less recent origin ; but the analysis just given shows that there is a satisfactory connexion between them. The chief reason why critics find it difficult to attribute to Micheas the authorship of chapters vi-vii, or at least of a large portion, is because they identify the fallen city of vii, 7 sqq., with Jerusalem. But the prophet never mentions Jerusalem, and there is no proof that Jerusalem is the city intended. On the contrary, certain traits are better explained on the supposition that the city in the prophet's mind is Samaria; see especially vi, 16, and vii, 14. According to this hypothesis, the prophet in vi-vii, 6 + llb-13, casts a retrospective look at the causes which brought about the fall of Samaria, and in vii, 7-1 1^+ 14 sqq., he expresses his desires for its return to the Lord's favour. As in the historical situation thus supposed there is nothing which does not exactly tally with the circumstances of Micheas's time, as there is no dis- agreement in ideas between Micheas i, sqq., and vi-vii, as on the contrary real affinities in style and vocabulary exist between Micheas i, sqq., and vi-vii, it seems unnecessary to deny to the Prophet Micheas the authorship of these two chapters.

Cheyne, Micah with notes and introduction (Cambridge, 1902); Reinke, Der Prophet Micha (Giessen, 1874); Ryssel, Untersuchungen iiber die Textgestalt und die Echtheit des Bitches Micha (Leipzig, 1887); Stade, Bemerkungen iiber d. Buch Micha in Zeitschrift fiir alttestamentl. Wissenschaft, I (1881), 161 sq.; Ill (1883), 1 sqq.; Horton in Century Bilile Com- mentaries on the Minor Prophets, s. v. Hosea-Micah. Sec Aggeus; Malachias.

A. Van Hoonackeb.

Michel, Jean, a French dramatic poet of the fif- teenth century, who revised and enlarged the mystery of the Passion composed by Arnoul Gr^ban. There are three Michels mentioned in connexion with this work. Some consider Bishop Jean Michel of Angers as it author, but this opinion can hardly be maintained. None of his biographers speak of his contributions to the mystery of the Passion; moreover, he died in 1447 and therefore could not have revised the work of Gr^ban, which first appeared about 1450. A catalogue containing the names of the coimsellors of the Paris Parliament mentions a " Maistre Jehan Michel ", first physician of King Charles VIII, who was made a counsellor in 1491. We also read in " Le Ver- ger d'Honneur" by Andr6 de La Vigne, a contem- porary poet, "On 23 August, 1495, there died at Chieri (Piedmont) Maistre Jehan Michel, first physi- cian of the king, most excellent doctor in medicine". The third .lean Michel, also a doctor, was the physician