MICAH

New Revised Standard Version
[Micah 1]
Superscription

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

Speeches condemning Judean society and its leaders; the coming of the Lord

2 Hear, you peoples, all of you;
    listen, O earth, and all that is in it;
    and let the Lord GOD be a witness against you,
    the Lord from his holy temple.
3 For lo, the LORD is coming out of his place,
    and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth.
4 Then the mountains will melt under him
    and the valleys will burst open,
    like wax near the fire,
    like waters poured down a steep place.
5 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 is the high place of Judah?
    Is it not Jerusalem?
6 Therefore I will make Samaria a heap in the open country,
    a place for planting vineyards.
    I will pour down her stones into the valley,
    and uncover her foundations.
7 All her images shall be beaten to pieces,
    all her wages shall be burned with fire,
    and all her idols I will lay waste;
    for as the wages of a prostitute she gathered them,
    and as the wages of a prostitute they shall again be used.

A lament for Samaria, and Jerusalem too

8 For this I will lament and wail;
    I will go barefoot and naked;
    I will make lamentation like the jackals,
    and mourning like the ostriches.
9 For her wound is incurable.
    It has come to Judah;
    it has reached to the gate of my people,
    to Jerusalem.
10 Tell it not in Gath,
    weep not at all;
    in Beth-leaphrah
    roll yourselves in the dust.
11 Pass on your way,
    inhabitants of Shaphir,
    in nakedness and shame;
    the inhabitants of Zaanan
    do not come forth;
    Beth-ezel is wailing
    and shall remove its support from you.
12 For the inhabitants of Maroth
    wait anxiously for good,
    yet disaster has come down from the LORD
    to the gate of Jerusalem.
13 Harness the steeds to the chariots,
    inhabitants of Lachish;
    it was the beginning of sin
    to daughter 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 deception
    to the kings of Israel.
15 I will again bring a conqueror upon you,
    inhabitants of Mareshah;
    the glory of Israel
    shall come to Adullam.
16 Make yourselves bald and cut off your hair
    for your pampered children;
    make yourselves as bald as the eagle,
    for they have gone from you into exile.

[Micah 2]
The Lord will punish the land barons

1 Alas for those who devise wickedness
    and evil deeds on their beds!
    When the morning dawns, they perform it,
    because it is in their power.
2 They covet fields, and seize them;
    houses, and take them away;
    they oppress householder and house,
    people and their inheritance.
3 Therefore thus says the LORD:
    Now, I am devising against this family an evil
    from which you cannot remove your necks;
    and you shall not walk haughtily,
    for it will be an evil time.
4 On that day they shall take up a taunt song against you,
    and wail with bitter lamentation,
    and say, "We are utterly ruined;
    the LORD alters the inheritance of my people;
    how he removes it from me!
    Among our captors he parcels out our fields."
5 Therefore you will have no one to cast the line by lot
    in the assembly of the LORD.

The prophet responds to criticism

6 "Do not preach" – thus they preach –
    "one should not preach of such things;
    disgrace will not overtake us."
7 Should this be said, O house of Jacob?
    Is the LORD's patience exhausted?
    Are these his doings?
    Do not my words do good
    to one who walks uprightly?
8 But you rise up against my people as an enemy;
    you strip the robe from the peaceful,
    from those who pass by trustingly
    with no thought of war.
9 The women of my people you drive out
    from their pleasant houses;
    from their young children you take away
    my glory forever.
10 Arise and go;
    for this is no place to rest,
    because of uncleanness that destroys
    with a grievous destruction.
11 If someone were to go about uttering empty falsehoods,
    saying, "I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,"
    such a one would be the preacher for this people!

A shift to an oracle of encouragement

12 I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob,
    I will gather the survivors of Israel;
    I will set them together
    like sheep in a fold,
    like a flock in its pasture;
    it will resound with people.
13 The one who breaks out will go up before them;
    they will break through and pass the gate,
    going out by it.
    Their king will pass on before them,
    the LORD at their head.

[Micah 3]
The Lord will punish the judicial leaders

1 And I said:
    Listen, you heads of Jacob
    and rulers of the house of Israel!
    Should you not know justice? –
2 you who hate the good and love the evil,
    who tear the skin off my people,
    and the flesh off their bones;
3 who eat the flesh of my people,
    flay their skin off them,
    break their bones in pieces,
    and chop them up like meat in a kettle,
    like flesh in a caldron.

The Lord will punish the religious leaders

4 Then they will cry to the LORD,
    but he will not answer them;
    he will hide his face from them at that time,
    because they have acted wickedly.

5 Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets
    who lead my people astray,
    who cry "Peace"
    when they have something to eat,
    but declare war against those
    who put nothing into their mouths.
6 Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision,
    and darkness to you, without revelation.
    The sun shall go down upon the prophets,
    and the day shall be black over them;
7 the seers shall be disgraced,
    and the diviners put to shame;
    they shall all cover their lips,
    for there is no answer from God.
8 But as for me, I am filled with power,
    with the spirit of the LORD,
    and with justice and might,
    to declare to Jacob his transgression
    and to Israel his sin.

Summary: Its leadership corrupt, Jerusalem is doomed

9 Hear this, you rulers of the house of Jacob
    and chiefs of the house of Israel,
    who abhor justice
    and pervert all equity,
10 who build Zion with blood
    and Jerusalem with wrong!
11 Its rulers give judgment for a bribe,
    its priests teach for a price,
    its prophets give oracles for money;
    yet they lean upon the LORD and say,
    "Surely the LORD is with us!
    No harm 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 of the house a wooded height.

[Micah 4]
The ideal age

1 In days to come
    the mountain of the LORD's house
    shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
    and shall be raised up above the hills.
    Peoples shall stream to it,
2 and many nations shall come and say:
    "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
    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 instruction,
    and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3 He shall judge between many peoples,
    and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
    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 any more;
4 but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
    and no one shall make them afraid;
    for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.

5 For all the peoples walk,
    each in the name of its god,
    but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God
    forever and ever.

6 In that day, says the LORD,
    I will assemble the lame
    and gather those who have been driven away,
    and those whom I have afflicted.
7 The lame I will make the remnant,
    and those who were cast off, a strong nation;
    and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion
    now and forevermore.

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

The Lord will rescue the exiles

9 Now why do you cry aloud?
    Is there no king in you?
    Has your counselor perished,
    that pangs have seized you like a woman in labor?
10 Writhe and groan, O daughter Zion,
    like a woman in labor;
    for now you shall go forth from the city
    and camp in the open country;
    you shall go to Babylon.
    There you shall be rescued,
    there the LORD will redeem you
    from the hands of your enemies.

Israel will crush its enemies

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

[Micah 5]

1 Now you are walled around with a wall;
    siege is laid against us;
    with a rod they strike the ruler of Israel
    upon the cheek.

A messianic poem

2 But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
    who are one of the little clans of Judah,
    from you shall come forth for me
    one who is to rule in Israel,
    whose origin is from of old,
    from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
    when she who is in labor has brought forth;
    then the rest of his kindred shall return
    to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD,
    in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
    And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
    to the ends of the earth;
5 and he shall be the one of peace.

Assyria will be defeated

    If the Assyrians come into our land
    and tread upon our soil,
    we will raise against them seven shepherds
    and eight installed as rulers.
6 They shall rule the land of Assyria with the sword,
    and the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword;
    they shall rescue us from the Assyrians
    if they come into our land
    or tread within our border.

Israel gains the upper hand

7 Then the remnant of Jacob,
    surrounded by many peoples,
    shall be like dew from the LORD,
    like showers on the grass,
    which do not depend upon people
    or wait for any mortal.
8 And among the nations the remnant of Jacob,
    surrounded by many peoples,
    shall be like a lion among the animals of the forest,
    like a young lion among the flocks of sheep,
    which, when it goes through, treads down
    and tears in pieces, with no one to deliver.
9 Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries,
    and all your enemies shall be cut off.

But before reconstruction, demolition

10 In that day, says the LORD,
    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 soothsayers;
13 and I will cut off your images
    and your pillars from among you,
    and you shall bow down no more
    to the work of your hands;
14 and I will uproot your sacred poles from among you
    and destroy your towns.
15 And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance
    on the nations that did not obey.

[Micah 6]
A prophetic sampler moves from legal indictment of Israel's guilt to
liturgical affirmation of God's mercy; a divine lawsuit

1 Hear what the LORD says:
    Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
    and let the hills hear your voice.
2 Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the LORD,
    and you enduring foundations of the earth;
    for the LORD has a controversy with his people,
    and he will contend with Israel.
3 "O my people, what have I done to you?
    In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
4 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.
5 O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
    what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
    and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
    that you may know the saving acts of the LORD."

6 "With what shall I come before the LORD,
    and bow myself before God on high?
    Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with 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?"
8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
    and what does the LORD require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Jerusalem, the corrupt city, is cursed

9 The voice of the LORD cries to the city
    (it is sound wisdom to fear your name):
    Hear, O tribe and assembly of the city!
10 Can I forget the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,
    and the scant measure that is accursed?
11 Can I tolerate wicked scales
    and a bag of dishonest weights?
12 Your wealthy are full of violence;
    your inhabitants speak lies,
    with tongues of deceit in their mouths.
13 Therefore I have begun to strike you down,
    making you desolate because of your sins.
14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied,
    and there shall be a gnawing hunger within you;
    you shall put away, but not save,
    and what you save, I will hand over to the sword.
15 You shall sow, but not reap;
    you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;
    you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri
    and all the works of the house of Ahab,
    and you have followed their counsels.
    Therefore I will make you a desolation, and your inhabitants an object of hissing;
    so you shall bear the scorn of my people.

[Micah 7]
A lament for a desperate society

1 Woe is me! For I have become like one who,
    after the summer fruit has been gathered,
    after the vintage has been gleaned,
    finds no cluster to eat;
    there is no first-ripe fig for which I hunger.
2 The faithful have disappeared from the land,
    and there is no one left who is upright;
    they all lie in wait for blood,
    and they hunt each other with nets.
3 Their hands are skilled to do evil;
    the official and the judge ask for a bribe,
    and the powerful dictate what they desire;
    thus they pervert justice.
4 The best of them is like a brier,
    the most upright of them a thorn hedge.
    The day of their sentinels, of their punishment, has come;
    now their confusion is at hand.
5 Put no trust in a friend,
    have no confidence in a loved one;
    guard the doors of your mouth
    from her who lies in your embrace;
6 for the son treats the father with contempt,
    the daughter rises up against her mother,
    the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
    your enemies are members of your own household.
7 But as for me, I will look to the LORD,
    I will wait for the God of my salvation;
    my God will hear me.

A final liturgy

8 Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy;
    when I fall, I shall rise;
    when I sit in darkness,
    the LORD will be a light to me.
9 I must bear the indignation of the LORD,
    because I have sinned against him,
    until he takes my side
    and executes judgment for me.
    He will bring me out to the light;
    I shall see his vindication.
10 Then my enemy will see,
    and shame will cover her who said to me,
    "Where is the LORD your God?"
    My eyes will see her downfall;
    now she will be trodden down
    like the mire of the streets.

11 A day for the building of your walls!
    In that day the boundary shall be far extended.
12 In that day they will come to you
    from Assyria to Egypt,
    and from Egypt to the River,
    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 doings.

14 Shepherd your people with your staff,
    the flock that belongs to you,
    which lives alone in a forest
    in the midst of a garden land;
    let them feed in Bashan and Gilead
    as in the days of old.
15 As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,
    show us marvelous 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 dust like a snake,
    like the crawling things of the earth;
    they shall come trembling out of their fortresses;
    they shall turn in dread to the LORD our God,
    and they shall stand in fear of you.

18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
    and passing over the transgression
    of the remnant of your possession?
    He does not retain his anger forever,
    because he delights in showing clemency.
19 He will again have compassion upon us;
    he will tread our iniquities under foot.
    You will cast all our sins
    into the depths of the sea.
20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob
    and unswerving loyalty to Abraham,
    as you have sworn to our ancestors
    from the days of old.