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Micah 1:2-5 New English Translation (NET Bible)

The Judge is Coming

Listen, all you nations![a]
Pay attention, all inhabitants of earth![b]
The Sovereign Lord will act[c] as a witness against you;
the Lord will accuse you[d] from his majestic palace.[e]
Look,[f] the Lord is coming out of his dwelling place!
He will descend and march on the earth’s mountaintops![g]
The mountains will crumble[h] beneath him,
and the valleys will split apart[i]
like wax before a fire,
like water dumped down a steep slope.

All this is because of Jacob’s[j] rebellion
and[k] the sins of the nation[l] of Israel.
And just what is Jacob’s rebellion?
Isn’t it Samaria’s doings?[m]
And what is Judah’s sin?[n]
Isn’t it Jerusalem’s doings?[o]


  1. Micah 1:2 tn Heb “O peoples, all of them.”
  2. Micah 1:2 tn Heb “O earth and that which fills it”; cf. KJV “and all that therein is.”
  3. Micah 1:2 tc The MT has the jussive form verb וִיהִי (vihi, “may he be”), while the Dead Sea Scrolls have the imperfect form יהיה (yihyeh, “he will be”). The LXX uses a future indicative. On the basis of distance from the primary accent, GKC 325-26 §109.k attempts to explain the form as a rhythmical shortening of the imperfect rather than a true jussive. Some of the examples in GKC may now be explained as preterites, while others are text-critical problems. And some may have other modal explanations. But other examples are not readily explained by these considerations. The text-critical decision and the grammatical explanation in GKC would both lead to translating as an imperfect. Some translations render it in a jussive sense, either as request: “And let my Lord God be your accuser” (NJPS), or as dependent purpose/result: “that the Sovereign Lord may witness against you” (NIV).
  4. Micah 1:2 tn Heb “the Lord from his majestic palace.” The verb is supplied from the previous line by the convention of ellipsis and double duty. Cf. CEV “the Lord God accuses you from his holy temple,” TEV “He speaks from his holy temple.”
  5. Micah 1:2 tn Or “his holy temple” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). This refers to the Lord’s dwelling in heaven, however, rather than the temple in Jerusalem (note the following verse, which describes a theophany).
  6. Micah 1:3 tn Or “For look.” The expression כִּי־הִנֵּה (ki-hinneh) may function as an explanatory introduction (“For look!”; Isa 26:21; 60:2; 65:17, 18: 66:15; Jer 1:15; 25:29; 30:10; 45:5; 46:27; 50:9; Ezek 30:9; 36:9; Zech 2:10; 3:8), or as an emphatic introduction (“Look!”; Jdgs 3:15; Isa 3:1; Jer 8:17; 30:3; 49:15; Hos 9:6; Joel 3:1 [4:1 HT]; Amos 4:2, 13; 6:11, 14; 9:9; Hab 1:6; Zech 2:9 [2:13 HT]; Zech 3:9; 11:16).
  7. Micah 1:3 tn Or “high places” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
  8. Micah 1:4 tn Or “melt” (NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). This is a figurative description of earthquakes, landslides, and collapse of the mountains, rather than some sort of volcanic activity (note the remainder of the verse).
  9. Micah 1:4 tn Or “rupture.” This may refer to the appearance of a valley after the blockage of a landslide has effectively divided it.
  10. Micah 1:5 sn Jacob is an alternate name for Israel (see Gen 32:28).
  11. Micah 1:5 tn Heb “and because of.”
  12. Micah 1:5 tn Heb “house.”
  13. Micah 1:5 tn Heb “Is it not Samaria?” The capital city, Samaria, represents the policies of the government and trend-setting behaviors of her people. The rhetorical question expects a positive answer, “Yes, it is.”
  14. Micah 1:5 tc The MT reads, “What are Judah’s high places?” while the LXX, Syriac, and Targum read, “What is Judah’s sin?” Whether or not the original text was “sin,” the passage certainly alludes to Judah’s sin as a complement to Samaria’s. “High places” are where people worshiped idols; they could, by metonymy, represent pagan worship. Smith notes, however, that, “Jerusalem was not known for its high places,” and so follows the LXX as representing the original text (R. Smith, Micah [WBC], 16). Given the warning in v. 3 that the Lord will march on the land’s high places (“mountain tops,” based on the same word but a different plural form), this may be a way of referring to that threat while evoking the notion of idolatry.
  15. Micah 1:5 tn Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, represents the nation’s behavior. The rhetorical question expects an affirmative answer.sn In vv. 2-5 Micah narrows the scope of God’s judgment from the nations (vv. 2-4) to his covenant people (v. 5). Universal judgment is coming, but ironically Israel is the focal point of God’s anger. In v. 5c the prophet includes Judah within the scope of divine judgment, for Judah has followed in the pagan steps of the northern kingdom. He accomplishes this with rhetorical skill. In v. 5b he develops the first assertion of v. 5a (“All of this is because of Jacob’s rebellion”). One expects in v. 5c an elaboration of the second assertion in v. 5a (“and the sins of the nation of Israel”), which one assumes, in light of v. 5b, pertains to the northern kingdom. But the prophet makes it clear that “the nation of Israel” includes Judah. Verses 6-7 further develop v. 5b (judgment on the northern kingdom), while vv. 8-16 expand on v. 5c (judgment on Judah).
New English Translation (NET)

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