The Book of Micah

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The Book of Micah

  • Author: Micah
  • Place Written: Judah
  • When Written: c. 735-700 B.C.E.


The word of Jehovah that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

The Coming Destruction

Hear, you peoples, all of you;
    pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it,
and let Jehovah God be a witness against you,
    Jehovah[1] from his holy temple.
For look, Jehovah is coming out of his place,
    and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth.
And the mountains will melt under him,
    and the valleys will split apart,
like wax before the fire,
    like waters poured down a steep place.
All this is for the transgression of Jacob
    and for the sins of the house of Israel.
What is the transgression of Jacob?
    Is it not Samaria?
And what are the high places[2] of Judah?
    Are they not Jerusalem?
Therefore I will make Samaria a heap in the open country,
    a place for planting vineyards,
and I will pour down her stones into the valley
    and I will lay bare her foundations.
All her graven images shall be beaten to pieces,
    all her wages of her prostitution shall be burned with fire,
    and all her idols I will lay waste,
for from the wages of prostitution she gathered them,
    and to the wages of prostitution they shall return.

For this I will lament and wail;
    I will go stripped and naked;
I will make lamentation like the jackals,
    and mourning like the ostriches.
For her wound is incurable,
    and it has come to Judah;
it has reached the gate of my people,
    to Jerusalem.

10 Tell it not in Gath;
    weep not at all;
at Beth-le-aphrah
    roll yourselves in the dust.
11 Pass on your way,
    inhabitants[3] of Shaphir,
    in nakedness and shame;
the inhabitants[4] of Zaanan
    do not come out;
the lamentation of Beth-ezel
    shall take its support away from you.
12 For the inhabitants[5] of Maroth
    wait anxiously for good,
because disaster has come down from Jehovah
    to the gate of Jerusalem.
13 Harness the chariot to the team of horses,
    inhabitants[6] of Lachish;
it was the beginning of sin
    to the daughter of Zion,
for in you were found
    the transgressions of Israel.
14 Therefore you shall give parting gifts
    to Moresheth-gath;
the houses of Achzib shall be a deceitful thing
    to the kings of Israel.
15 I will bring on you the one who takes possession,
    you inhabitants[7] of Mareshah;
the glory of Israel
    shall come to Adullam.
16 Make yourselves bald and cut off your hair,
    for the sons of your delight;
make yourselves as bald as the eagle,
    for they shall be taken away from you into exile.


Woe to the Oppressors

Woe to those who devise what is harmful
    and work evil on their beds!
When the morning dawns, they perform it,
    because it is in the power of their hand.
They covet fields and seize them,
    and houses, and take them away;
they oppress a man and his house,
    a man and his inheritance.
Therefore thus says Jehovah:
look, against this family I am devising a calamity,
    from which you cannot remove your necks,[8]
and you shall not walk haughtily,
    for it will be a time of calamity.
In that day they shall take up a proverb against you
    and bitterly lament,
and say, “We are utterly ruined;
    he changes the portion of my people;
how he removes it from me!
    To the unfaithful one he allots our fields.”
Therefore you will have none to cast the line by lot
    in the assembly of Jehovah.

“Stop preaching!” thus they preach,
    “one should not preach these things;
    disgrace will not overtake us.”
Is it being said, O house of Jacob?
    Is the Spirit of Jehovah impatient?
    Are these his deeds?
Do not my words bring good
    to him who walks uprightly?
But lately my people have risen up as an enemy;
you strip the honorable ornament from the outer garment from those who pass by trustingly
    like those having turned back from war.
The women of my people you drive out
    from their delightful houses;
from their children you take away
    my splendor forever.
10 Arise and go,
    for this is no place of rest,
because of uncleanness there is destruction
    with a grievous destruction.
11 If a man walks after wind and deception and tells lies,
    saying, “I will preach to you about wine and strong drink,”
    then he would be a preacher for this people!
12 I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob;
    I will gather the remnant of Israel;
I will put them together
    like sheep in a fold,
like a flock in the midst of its pasture,
    they will be noisy with men.
13 The one breaking out will go before them;
    they will break out and pass through the gate,
    going out by it.
Their king passes on before them,
    Jehovah at their head.


Rulers and Prophets Denounced

And I said:
Hear, you heads of Jacob
    and rulers of the house of Israel!
Is it not for you to know justice?
 you who hate the good and love the evil,
who tear their skin from them[9]
    and their flesh from off their bones,
who eat the flesh of my people,
    and flay their skin from off them,
and smashing their bones in pieces
    and chop them up like meat in a pot,
    like flesh in a cauldron.[10]

Then they will cry to Jehovah,
    but he will not answer them;
he will hide his face from them at that time,
    because of their evil deeds.

Thus says Jehovah concerning the prophets
    who lead my people astray,
who proclaim “Peace”
    when they have something to eat,
but sanctify war against him
    who puts nothing into their mouths.
Therefore you shall have night, without vision,
    and only darkness to you, without divination.
The sun shall go down on the prophets,
    and the day shall be black over them;
the seers shall be put to shame,
    and the diviners shall be disappointed;
they shall all cover their lips,
    for there is no answer from God.
But as for me, I am filled with power,
    with the Spirit of Jehovah,
    and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression
    and to Israel his sin.

Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob
    and rulers of the house of Israel,
who detest justice
    and who make crooked all that is straight,
10 who build Zion with blood
    and Jerusalem with unrighteousness.
11 Its heads give judgment for a bribe;
    its priests teach for a price;
    its prophets practice divination for money;
yet they lean on Jehovah and say,
    “Is not Jehovah in the midst of us?
    No calamity shall come upon us.”
12 Therefore because of you
    Zion shall be plowed as a field;
Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins,
    and the mountain[11] of the house as a high place in a forest.


The Mountain of Jehovah

It shall come about in the last days
    that the mountain of the house of Jehovah
shall be established above the top of the mountains,
    and it shall be lifted up above the hills;
and peoples shall stream to it,
and many nations shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah,
    to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
    and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
    and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between many peoples,
    and shall decide for strong nations far away;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war anymore;
but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
    and no one shall make them afraid,
    for the mouth of Jehovah of armies[12] has spoken.
For all the peoples walk
    each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God
    forever and ever.

Jehovah Shall Restore Zion

In that day, declares Jehovah,
    I will assemble the one[13] who limps
and gather those who have been driven away
    and those whom I have afflicted;
and the one[14] who limps I will make the remnant,
    and those who were cast off, a strong nation;
and Jehovah will reign over them in Mount Zion
    from now on and forever.

And you, O tower of the flock,
    hill of the daughter of Zion,
to you shall it come,
    the former dominion shall come,
    the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.

Now why do you cry aloud?
    Is there no king in you?
Has your counselor perished,
    that pain seized you like a woman giving birth?
10 Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion,
    like a woman giving birth,
for now you shall go out from the city
    and dwell in the open country;
    you shall go to Babylon.[15]
There you shall be rescued;
    there Jehovah will redeem you
    from the hand of your enemies.

11 Now many nations
    are assembled against you,
saying, “Let her be defiled,
    and let our eyes set upon Zion.”
12 But they do not know
    the thoughts of Jehovah;
they do not understand his plan,
    that he has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.
13 Arise and thresh,
    O daughter of Zion,
for I will make your horn iron,
    and I will make your hoofs copper;
you shall beat in pieces many peoples;
    and shall devote their gain to Jehovah,
    their wealth to Jehovah of the whole earth.


The Ruler to Be Born in Bethlehem

[16]Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;
    siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
    on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    the one too little to be among the kinsmen of Judah,
from you one will go out for me
    to be ruler in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
    from the days of long ago.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
    when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
    to the sons of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of Jehovah,
    in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
    to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace.

When the Assyrian comes into our land
    and treads in our palaces,
then we will raise against him seven shepherds
    and eight princes of men;
they shall shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword,
    and the land of Nimrod at its entrances;
and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian
    when he comes into our land
    and treads within our territory.

A Remnant Shall Be Like the Dew and Like the Lion

Then the remnant of Jacob shall be
    in the midst of many peoples
like dew from Jehovah,
    like showers on the grass,
which delay not for a man
    nor wait for the sons of men.
And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations,
    in the midst of many peoples,
like a lion among the beasts of the forest,
    like a young lion among the flocks of sheep,
which, when it goes through, treads down
    and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver.
Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries,
    and all your enemies shall be cut off.

The Land Shall be Cleansed

10 And in that day, declares Jehovah,
    I will cut off your horses from among you
    and will destroy your chariots;
11 and I will cut off the cities of your land
    and throw down all your strongholds;
12 and I will cut off sorceries from your hand,
    and you shall have no more fortune-tellers;
13 and I will cut off your carved images
    and your sacred pillars from your midst,
and you shall bow down no more
    to the work of your hands;
14 and I will root out your Asherah poles[17] from your midst
    and destroy your cities.
15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath
    on the nations that did not obey.


The Indictment of Jehovah

Hear what Jehovah says:
Arise, plead your case before the mountains,
    and let the hills hear your voice.
Hear, you mountains, the indictment of Jehovah,
    and you enduring foundations of the earth,
for Jehovah has an indictment against his people,
    and against Israel he will contend.

“O my people, what have I done to you?
    And how have I wearied you? Answer me!
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt
    and redeemed you from the house of slavery,
and I sent before you Moses,
    Aaron, and Miriam.
O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised,
    and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him,
and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
    that you may know the righteous acts of Jehovah.”

What Does Jehovah Require?

“With what will I come before Jehovah,
    and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with year-old calves?
Will Jehovah take delight in thousands of rams,
    with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does Jehovah require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk modestly with your God?

Destruction of the Wicked

The voice of Jehovah calls out to the city;
    and it is sound wisdom to fear your name:
“Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it.
10  Are there still the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,
    and the scant measure[18] that is accursed?
11 Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales
    and with a bag of deceitful weights?
12 For her rich men are full of violence;
    and her inhabitants speak lies,
    and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
13 Therefore I shall wound you by striking you,
    making you desolate because of your sins.
14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied,
    and there shall be hunger within you;
you shall remove, but not carry off,
    and what you carry off I will give to the sword.
15 You shall sow, but shall not reap;
    you shall tread olives, but shall not anoint yourselves with oil;
    you shall tread grapes, but shall not drink wine.
16 For you observe the statutes of Omri,
    and all the works of the house of Ahab;
    and you have walked in their counsels,
that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing;
    so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”


Wait for the God of Salvation

Woe is me! For I am like one who,
    when the summer fruit has been gathered,
    when the grapes have been gleaned:
there is no cluster to eat,
    no first-ripe fig that my soul craves.
The loyal one has perished from the earth,
    among men there is no one upright;
they all lie in wait for blood,
    and each hunts the other with a net.
Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well;
    the prince and the judge ask for a bribe,
and the great man utters the evil craving of his soul;
    thus they weave it together.
The best of them is like a thorn,
    the most upright of them a thorn hedge.
The day of your watchmen, of your punishment, has come;
    now shall be their confusion.
Put no trust in a neighbor;
    have no confidence in a friend;
guard the doors of your mouth
    from her who lies in your arms;
for the son despises his father,
    the daughter rises up against her mother,
the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
    a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.
But as for me, I will look to Jehovah;
    I will wait for the God of my salvation;
    my God will hear me.

God’s People Vindicated

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
    though I fall, I shall rise;
though I dwell in darkness,
    Jehovah will be a light for me.
I will bear the indignation of Jehovah
    because I have sinned against him,
until he pleads my cause
    and executes judgment for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
    I shall look upon his righteousness.
10 Then my enemy will see,
    and shame will cover her who said to me,
    “Where is Jehovah your God?”
My eyes will look upon her;
    now she will be trampled down
    like the mire of the streets.

11 A day for the building of your walls!
    On that day your boundary will be extended.
12 On that day they will come to you,
    from Assyria and the cities of Egypt,
and from Egypt to the River,[19]
    from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.
13 But the earth will be desolate
    because of its inhabitants,
    for the fruit of their deeds.

Micah Prays and Praises God

14 Shepherd your people with your staff,
    the flock of your inheritance,
the one who dwell alone in a forest
    in the midst of a garden land;
let them feed on Bashan and Gilead
    as in the days of old.
15 As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,
    I will show them wonderful things.
16 The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might;
they shall lay their hands on their mouths;
    their ears shall be deaf;
17 they shall lick the dust like a serpent,
    like the crawling things of the earth;
they shall come trembling out of their citadel fortresses;[20]
    they shall turn in dread to Jehovah our God,
    and they shall be in fear of you.

God’s Loyal Love and Compassion

18 Who is a God like you, pardoning error[21]
    and passing over transgression[22]
    for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
    because he delights in lovingkindness.
19 He will again have compassion on us;
    he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
    into the depths of the sea.
20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob
    and Loyal love to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our forefathers
    from the days of old.

[1] This is one of the 134 scribal changes from יהוה [JHVH] to אדני [Adonai]. The earliest MSS have the Tetragrammaton.

[2] MT VG “the high places” LXX “the sin of the house” SYR “the sin”

[3] Lit inhabitress

[4] Lit inhabitress

[5] Lit inhabitress

[6] Lit inhabitress

[7] Lit inhabitress

[8] That is, you cannot escape

[9] That is, God’s people

[10] A large metal pot with a lid and handle, used for cooking over an open fire.

[11] That is, the temple mount

[12] Jehovah of armies: (Heb. jhvh tsaba) literally means an army of soldiers, or military forces (Gen. 21:22; Deut. 20:9). It can also be used figuratively, “the sun and the moon and the stars, all the armies of heaven.” (Deut. 4:19) In the plural form, it is also used of the Israelites forces as well. (Ex. 6:26; 7:4; Num. 33:1; Psa. 44:9) However, the “armies” in the expression “Jehovah of armies” is a reference to the angelic forces primarily, if not exclusively. MT AT VG “Jehovah of armies” LXX “Jehovah Almighty”

[13] Lit her

[14] Lit her

[15] LXX VG “Babylon” MT AT SYR “Babel”

[16] MT LXX SYR end chap. 4 here; AT LXXBr VG begin chap. 5 with this vs.

[17] Asherah poles:  The Hebrew word (אֲשֵׁרָה Asherah) refers to (1) a sacred wooden pole used in the worship of Asherah, a Canaanite goddess of fertility, or (2) an Asherah image of the goddess. These were upright poles made of wood.​ – Deut. 16:21; Judges 6:26; 1Ki 15:13.

[18] Lit shrunken or incomplete ephah

[19] That is, the Euphrates

[20] Citadel fortress: (אַרְמוֹן armon) A military defensive building, small and relatively tall, is a part of a palace area. – 1 Ki 16:18; Ps. 122:7; Isa. 13:22; Amos 1:4.

[21] Error: (עָווֹן avon) The Hebrew word avon essentially relates to erring, acting illegally or wrongly. This aspect of sin refers to committing a perverseness, wrongness, lawlessness, law breaking, which can also include the rejection of the sovereignty of God. It also focuses on the liability or guilt of one’s wicked, wrongful act. This error may be deliberate or accidental; either willful deviation of what is right or unknowingly making a mistake. (Lev. 4:13-35; 5:1-6, 14-19; Num. 15:22-29; Ps 19:12, 13) Of course, if it is intentional; then, the consequence is far more serious. (Num. 15:30-31) Error is in opposition to the truth, and those willfully sinning corrupt the truth, a course that only brings forth flagrant sin. (Isa 5:18-23) We can be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. – Ex 9:27, 34-35; Heb. 3:13-15.

[22] Transgression: (פֶּשַׁע pesha) Sin can take the form of a “transgression.” This is an overstepping, namely, to exceed a moral limit or boundary. Biblically speaking, this would be crossing the line and saying, feeling, thinking or doing something that is contrary to God’s personality, standards, ways, will and purposes, as set out in the Scriptures. It is breaking God’s moral law.–Num. 14:41; Deut. 17:2, 3; Josh. 7:11, 15; 1 Sam 15:24; Isa 24:5; Jer. 34:18; Rom. 2:23; 4:15; 5:14; Gal. 3:19; 1 Tim. 2:14; Heb. 2:2; 9:15.

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