In Micah 2:12-13 Micah predicts the arrival of the messiah whom he refers to as "the breaker" (הַפֹּרֵץ֙):

KJV Micah 2: 12I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of you; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the middle of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men. 13The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.

Was a "breaker" a profession at that time? "Do you remember Irving? He was a breaker at the quarry. Don't you remember him?" Was it a military position?

I did find this but it seems to be a completely different Hebrew word:

...The formal acquittance by which a bond is canceled is known as "shober" (literally, "breaker"), and is in form a "sheṭar"; that is, attested by two witnesses...

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    Micah 2:13 is, I think, a case of so called progressive/climatic parallelism: breaker ... - king... - the Lord... If this is right, then "breaker" is only describing the person, or more precisley that what that person is doing (see other translations as well, ESV for instance). I think הַפֹּרֵץ is not about profession or a military position, it is to be read as part of that parallelism. Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 13:54
  • I'm reminded of Paul: 1Co 11:3 "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." YHVH is always superior to the Christ and the Christ is always superior to the brethren and husbands are always superior to their wives. How unlike the Church today where Christ is "eternally co-equal" to God and woman are "co-equal" to their husbands, who are told to submit to their wives!
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 13:14
  • @ConstantinJinga seems unlikely to me. There's lots of text in between the supposedly parallel fragments. יהוה, though translated as "lord" is just a proper name. The climax only exists in the translation. There is also no external indication that פרץ might operate in this context, nor is it clear what it would mean.
    – user2672
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 6:40
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    @Keelan Yes, you might be right. Actually I think the structure is more complex, it involves breaker - king - Lord, but the pronouns are very important too. I haven't got enough time to check up the Hebrew text, that's a pitty. 2:13 deserves quite a lot of attention, it is all so interesting. Curious to see if climax appears in the Greek. Will see ASAP. Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 14:16

4 Answers 4


As far as I know, a הַפֹּרֵיץ wasn’t a profession/military title. However, it is probable that someone who barge in something was called הַפֹּרֵיץ. One thing does not rule out the other. Yet, in the TaNaKh (Hebrew Bible), פרץ was also a proper name. We found a typical example of this usage in Gen 38:29 when Tamar said to his newborn baby מה־פרצת עליך פרץ “How have you breach for yourself a breach?”, and then she called him ‘Perez’ (פרץ).

So, although this term doesn’t indicate (in the Hebrew Bible) a specific profession, a person may perform the action the conceptual root points.

For example, starting from the time of the baptism/anointing of Jesus the Messiah, he made ‘a breakthrough’ helping men to free themselves from the chains of spiritual error and slavery under the sin. The apostle Paul spoke of the need of humankind to be set free from the “bondage of corruption.” (Rom 8:21, Webster). Jesus Christ told Jews who had believed in him:

If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” (Joh 8:31-32, Tree of Life Version).

To those who thought they had freedom just because they were Abraham’s fleshly descendants, he pointed out that they were slaves of sin, and he said:

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (Joh 8:36, ibid; compare Rom 6:18, 22).

Keil & Delitzsch’ s Commentary on the OT (on Mic 2:13) presents a similar idea, citing also two correlated passages of the prophet Isaiah:

“הַפֹּרֵיץ, the breaker through, who goes before them, is not Jehovah, but, as the counterpart of Moses the leader of Israel out of Egypt, the captain appointed by God for His people, answering to the head which they are said to choose for themselves in Hos 2:2, a second Moses, viz., Zerubbabel, and in the highest sense Christ, who opens the prison-doors, and redeems the captives of Zion (vid., Isa 42:7). Led by him, they break through the walls, and march through the gate, and go out through it out of the prison. “The three verbs, they break through, they march through, they go out, describe in a pictorial manner progress which cannot be stopped by any human power” (Hengstenberg). Their King Jehovah goes before them at their head (the last two clauses of the verse are synonymous). Just as Jehovah went before Israel as the angel of the Lord in the pillar of cloud and fire at the exodus from Egypt (Exo 13:21), so at the future redemption of the people of God will Jehovah go before them as King, and lead the procession (see Isa 52:12).

Alexander McLaren (Expositions of Holy Scriptures) also present the same idea:

So I make no apology for taking the words before us as having their only real accomplishment in the office and working of Jesus Christ. He is ‘the Breaker which is come up before us.’ He it is that has broken out the path on which we may travel, and in whom, in a manner which the Prophet dreamed not of, ‘the Lord is at the head’ of us, and our King goes before us. So that my object is simply to take that great name, the Breaker, and to see the manifold ways in which in Scripture it is applied to the various work of Jesus Christ in our redemption. […] I follow entirely the lead of corresponding passages in other portions of Scripture, and to begin with, I ask you to think of that great work of our Divine Redeemer by which He has broken for the captives the prison-house of their bondage.”

The same conclusion was reached from the following commentators: F. B. Meyer (Through the Bible day by day), John Gill (Exposition of the Bible), Matthew Henry (Commentary on the Whole Bible), Jamieson-Fausset-Brown’s Commentary, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible.


Looking at the Hebrew critical text from the Leningrad Codex and seeing as though the LXX reading is not very helpful here, I am not sure that the term for 'breaker' (Heb. ha'phoresh or הַפֹּרֵץ֙) is referring to a specific trade, at least in this context; that being said, a case can be made for two interpretations of the phrase and the imagery behind it (in my view) and I'll get to that later.

Some modern translations have rendered ha'phoresh as 'the one breaking open the way,' or the 'one that breaketh.' The root for the Hebrew is parats or פָּרַץ, meaning in the simplest form 'to break' (either breaking out as in scattering or dispersing or in the negative sense of overhwelming or pressuring).

Since this prophecy uses the image of sheep that are fenced in by strangers, I think it would make sense for ha'phoresh to refer to or bring to mind the image of a ram who has broken the fence or discovered a break in it and leaves to explore the surrounding area, inadvertently becoming the catalyst for an exodus of the sheep from their pen.

However it could also be, given YHWH's promise to assemble his people, that the 'one breaking' is eliciting the image of a servant sent by his master to fetch the sheep, who, sawing a hole in or merely opening the gate of the fence, leads the sheep out like Moses of old. But, given that sheep are of simple minds and members of their herds, I think that the first of my interpretations make more sense, but either or yet another is possible.

Speaking of yet another interpretation, it might be that the breaker is better translated like 'the one spreading out,' which is evocative of Moses and the judges, yet also fits with 2:13's saying that the sheep left through the gates of their enclosure, which (at least in English and as far as I can see) doesn't make sense if the fence was breached by a ram or a person. Perhaps the idea that the author was going for was that the sheep have gotten too numerous for their pen and are being led out of the gate by one who spreads them out, which may imply that the Jews anticipated exile in Assyria, after which they will become too much trouble for the Assyrians and God will lead them out back into their fatherland (perhaps even as a united people at the foot of Zion).

To fully answer your question, the term ha'phoresh is not (in my view) referring to an actual line of work of someone who breaks fences open.


Breaker...or A leader who acts in an unorthodox way. Its kinda like how equifax had that security breach. It was a big surprise because someone hacked into a "secure" place. Well this leader is going to be like an enemy to the land because he will defy the security of the land. ummmm like if someone just walked up during the national anthem of a Superbowl, took over; and began preaching the real Jesus. or if someone came on the Oscars unannounced and changed everyone's hearts from the actors to the speaker/leader. Yea this leader will bring an uproar to Gods remnant (church,sheep/lost sheep found even). Like Martin Luther King..He was a breaker of white laws. He just stepped on in with His voice and scattered the present security of whites. Not breaking real laws..but unsaid laws. Social laws. Yea He will break it.

ref Romans 11:26 Isiaih 59:20

A deliverer or liberator of people previously isolated, deceived, confused or in bondage

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    Welcome to the site. When you have a minute please take the site tour: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour I don't see where you got your information. Can you please point to the lexicon or article or what have you from which you got this information? Or are these just ideas that came into your mind?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 20:58

Isaiah 56:7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Temple where the living God is surely expands and grows. Before Jesus ascended, the promise that He gave was that when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be my witnesses from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. This commandment that Jesus gave is very similar to the action of the Israelites moving and going toward the Promise land according the “Lord’s command” and the “presence of the Holy Spirit” which is the pillar of clouds. I believe that this year, the word from Micah 2:13 that God gave us to be gate openers and way openers will continue to be fulfilled through our lives. Water that is stuck or remaining in one place will surely smell, die, and lose life. Let us also not stay in one place.


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