A Time for Patient Waiting
In the eighth century B.C.E. a deplorable situation existed among the Israelites. The prophet Micah declared: “Too bad for me, for I have become like the gatherings of summer fruit, like the gleaning of a grape gathering! There is no grape cluster to eat, no early fig, that my soul would desire! The loyal one has perished from the earth, and among mankind there is no upright one. All of them, for bloodshed they lie in wait. They hunt, everyone his own brother, with a dragnet. Their hands are upon what is bad, to do it well; the prince is asking for something, and the one who is judging does so for the reward, and the great one is speaking forth the craving of his soul, his very own; and they interweave it. Their best one is like a brier, their most upright one is worse than a thorn hedge.”—Mic. 7:1-4.
Evidently Micah speaks of himself as if he were the nation personified. The nation resembled an orchard or a vineyard from which the fruit has been gathered. Not a cluster of grapes remains. There is not even one desirable early fig. This was a fitting comparison because loyal and upright people were hard to find. The majority were out for the blood of their fellowman. Fierce was the competition. There was no concern for the welfare of others. Love was totally lacking. To further their own ends, people schemed to entrap their fellows, hunting them as with a dragnet. Their hands were fully employed in doing bad. In this they proved very adept, they ‘did it well.’
The moral decay had reached the highest levels of society. The princes or leaders of the nation ‘asked for something,’ greedily looking for a gratuity. Judges accepted bribes and perverted justice. Wealthy and prominent men expressed their wishes, and the judges complied with their desires. In this way, princes, judges and other influential men cooperated together in wicked scheming, ‘interweaving it.’ Even the best among them was like a prickly brier or a thorn hedge. Both the brier and the thorn hedge can rip clothes and painfully snag the flesh of the one passing by. So, too, lawless men in the time of Micah were treacherous, prickly and hurtful. On account of such a deplorable situation, Micah could say to the Israelites: “The day of your watchmen, of your being given attention, must come. Now will occur the confounding of them.” (Mic. 7:4) The “watchmen” were the prophets. So, ‘the day of the watchmen’ may designate the time when Jehovah would take action against the wicked in fulfillment of what the prophets had proclaimed. The execution of Jehovah’s judgment would ‘confound’ or bewilder the lawless people.
The corruption was so great that not even family relationships united people in bonds of love. The prophet could, therefore, address fellow Israelites with the words: “Do not put your faith in a companion. Do not put your trust in a confidential friend. From her who is lying in your bosom guard the openings of your mouth [that is, watch what you say]. For a son is despising a father; a daughter is rising up against her mother; a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his household.”—Mic. 7:5, 6.
Think of it a man’s friends—wife, father, mother and children could not be trusted. Within his own household, he would have enemies.
Such a state of affairs simply could not continue. It called for the God of justice, Jehovah, to act. Meanwhile patient waiting was in order. The prophecy states: “But as for me, it is for Jehovah that I shall keep on the lookout. I will show a waiting attitude for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.”—Mic. 7:7.
We today should likewise be willing to wait patiently for Jehovah God to act against all unrighteousness. His adverse judgment against the present system of things will be executed just as surely as was his judgment against lawless Israelites, and that right soon!