5

Then the remnant of Jacob shall be
in the midst of many peoples
like dew from the Lord,
like showers on the grass,
which delay not for a man
nor wait for the children of man. --Micah 5:7, ESV

I am wondering what is meant here by "in the midst of many peoples." The word used for "in the midst" is בְּקֶ֙רֶב֙ (bə·qe·reḇ) is often simply used to mean "inside" according to Brown-Driver-Briggs; however, the analogy to dew and showers, makes me wonder if the intended meaning is not just "inside" the peoples---potentially as a nation among the nations---but "dispersed among" the peoples (i.e. a lasting remnant dispersed among the nations).

If the meaning is merely "inside" and this is referring to Israel as a nation among nations, then this verse seems about the impregnability of Israel's strength when bolstered under the LORD's hand. If the meaning is supposed to implicate dispersion, then this verse would seem to be about the sure preservation of God's people, even in apparent oppression. The first meaning would be about the insurmountability of strength, the second about certain hope in the midst of weakness. Thanks!

1

In the LORD’s covenant with Abraham he makes this amazing prophetic promise:

[Gen 28:14 NLT] (14) Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread in all directions--to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.

That is, the “going” of Abraham was a covenant promise and was the means by which “all the families of the earth will be blessed”:

…In the Old Testament Abraham presents the type of a simple Bedouin sheik who wanders from place to place in search of pasture for his herds, a kindhearted, righteous, and God-fearing man whom God chose on account of his faithful and righteous character to be the father of a nation peculiarly favored by Him in the possession of the coveted land of Canaan. Once he is spoken of as a "prophet" (Gen. xx. 7). Incidentally we learn that his father, Terah, was an idolater, like the rest of the Chaldeans (Josh. xxiv. 2); but how Abraham became a worshiper of the Lord, or why God singled him out and led him forth to Canaan, is left to surmise. No sooner, however, did the Jewish people come into closer contact with nations of higher culture, especially with the Greeks in Alexandria, than the figure of Abraham became the prototype of a nation sent forth to proclaim the monotheistic faith to the world while wandering from land to land. Accordingly, the divine promise (Gen. xii. 3, xxii. 18) is understood to mean: " . . . in thee [instead of "with thee"] shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (see LXX. ad loc.)…

Saints are not always so much “sent out” as “pushed out”, such as in times of persecution, as we see in Acts:

[Act 5:36 NKJV] (36) "For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing.

[Act 8:4 NKJV] (4) Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.

[Act 11:19 NKJV] (19) Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.

1

Brown-Driver-Briggs is right to suggest "inside," but I think my translations for בְּקֶ֙רֶב֙ (bə·qe·reḇ) would be 'within', then 'among', and sometimes 'through' depending on the situation. In most cases, I would use 'within'

The ESV is not always consistent in how it translates בְּקֶ֙רֶב֙ (bə·qe·reḇ).


Gen 45:6 - "in"

Num 5:27 - "among"

Joshua 1:11 - "through the midst"

Joshua 3:2 - "through"

1 Samuel 16:13 - "in the midst'. This is a strange one. I may use 'in the presence of'

Psalm 101:2 - "within"


In most cases, the ESV uses "in the mist"

The use of "in the mist" is a form of poetic license. I would not say it is a mistranslation because the term still represents "inside," "in," "among," "within." It's just more poetic. Some translations piggyback off the KJV. You will notice that most of the time, the KJV uses "in the mist" ESV and many others use "in the mist."

Now to the second part of your question. I lean toward your observation of "dispersion" and "preservation" that the people of Isreal are scattered or sprinkled among other nations. I can see where this could mean both strength and preservation. That even near the end of the Old Testament, God continues to keep his promises to Abraham.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.