New English Translation
1 This is the Lord’s message that came to Micah of Moresheth during the time of[a] Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
The Judge is Coming
2 Listen, all you nations![b]
Pay attention, all inhabitants of earth![c]
The Sovereign Lord will act[d] as a witness against you;
the Lord will accuse you[e] from his majestic palace.[f]
3 Look,[g] the Lord is coming out of his dwelling place!
He will descend and march on the earth’s mountaintops![h]
4 The mountains will crumble[i] beneath him,
and the valleys will split apart[j]
like wax before a fire,
like water dumped down a steep slope.
5 All this is because of Jacob’s[k] rebellion
and[l] the sins of the nation[m] of Israel.
And just what is Jacob’s rebellion?
Isn’t it Samaria’s doings?[n]
And what is Judah’s sin?[o]
Isn’t it Jerusalem’s doings?[p]
6 “I will turn Samaria into a heap of ruins in an open field,
into a place for planting vineyards.
I will dump the rubble of her walls[q] down into the valley
and lay bare her foundations.[r]
7 All her carved idols will be smashed to pieces;
all her metal cult statues will be destroyed by fire.[s]
I will make a waste heap[t] of all her images.
Since[u] she gathered the metal[v] as a prostitute collects her wages,
the idols will become a prostitute’s wages again.”[w]
8 For this reason I[x] will mourn and wail;
I will walk around barefoot[y] and without my outer garments.[z]
I will howl[aa] like a wild dog,[ab]
and screech[ac] like an owl.[ad]
9 For Samaria’s[ae] disease[af] is incurable.
It has infected[ag] Judah;
it has spread to[ah] the leadership[ai] of my people
and even to Jerusalem!
10 Don’t spread the news in Gath.[aj]
Don’t shed even a single tear.[ak]
In Beth Leaphrah roll about in mourning in the dust![al]
11 Residents[am] of Shaphir,[an] pass by in nakedness and humiliation!
The residents of Zaanan have not escaped.[ao]
Beth Ezel[ap] mourns,[aq]
“He takes from you what he desires.”[ar]
12 Indeed, the residents of Maroth[as] hope for something good to happen,[at]
though the Lord has sent disaster against the city of Jerusalem.[au]
13 Residents of Lachish,[av] hitch the horses to the chariots!
You[aw] influenced Daughter Zion[ax] to sin,[ay]
for Israel’s rebellious deeds can be traced back[az] to you!
14 Therefore you[ba] will have to say farewell[bb] to Moresheth Gath.
The residents[bc] of Achzib[bd] will be as disappointing
as a dried up well[be] to the kings of Israel.[bf]
15 Residents of Mareshah,[bg] a conqueror will attack you;[bh]
the leaders of Israel shall flee to Adullam.[bi]
16 Shave your heads bald as you mourn for the children you love;[bj]
shave your foreheads as bald[bk] as an eagle,[bl]
for they are taken from you into exile.
Land Robbers Will Lose Their Land
2 Beware wicked schemers,[bm]
those who devise calamity as they lie in bed.[bn]
As soon as morning dawns they carry out their plans,[bo]
because they have the power to do so.
2 They confiscate the fields they desire
and seize the houses they want.[bp]
They defraud people of their homes[bq]
and deprive people of the land they have inherited.[br]
3 Therefore the Lord says this:
“Look, I am devising disaster for this nation![bs]
It will be like a yoke from which you cannot free your neck.[bt]
You will no longer[bu] walk proudly,
for it will be a time of catastrophe.
4 In that day people will sing this taunt song to you—
they will mock you with this lament:[bv]
‘We are completely destroyed;
they sell off[bw] the property of my people.
How they remove it from me![bx]
They assign our fields to the conqueror.’”[by]
5 Therefore no one will assign you land in the Lord’s community.[bz]
6 “Don’t preach with such impassioned rhetoric,” they say excitedly.[ca]
“These prophets should not preach of such things;
we will not be overtaken by humiliation.”[cb]
7 Does the family[cc] of Jacob say,[cd]
“The Lord’s patience[ce] can’t be exhausted—
he would never do such things”?[cf]
To be sure, my commands bring a reward
for those who obey them,[cg]
8 but you rise up as an enemy against my people.[ch]
You steal a robe from a friend,[ci]
from those who pass by peacefully as if returning from a war.[cj]
9 You wrongly evict widows[ck] among my people from their cherished homes.
You defraud their children[cl] of their prized inheritance.[cm]
10 But you are the ones who will be forced to leave![cn]
For this land is not secure;[co]
sin will thoroughly destroy it![cp]
11 If a lying windbag should come and say,[cq]
‘I’ll promise you blessings of wine and beer,’[cr]
he would be just the right preacher for these people![cs]
The Lord Will Restore His People
12 “I will certainly gather all of you, O Jacob,
I will certainly assemble those Israelites who remain.[ct]
I will bring them together like sheep in a fold,[cu]
like a flock in the middle of a pasture;[cv]
they will be so numerous that they will make a lot of noise.[cw]
13 The one who can break through barriers will lead them out;[cx]
they will break out, pass through the gate, and leave.[cy]
Their king will advance[cz] before them;
the Lord himself will lead them.”[da]
God Will Judge Judah’s Sinful Leaders
3 I said,
“Listen, you leaders[db] of Jacob,
you rulers of the nation[dc] of Israel!
You ought to know what is just,[dd]
2 yet you[de] hate what is good[df]
and love what is evil.[dg]
You flay my people’s skin[dh]
and rip the flesh from their bones.[di]
3 You[dj] devour my people’s flesh,
strip off their skin,
and crush their bones.
You chop them up like flesh in a pot[dk]—
like meat in a kettle.
4 Someday these sinful leaders[dl] will cry to the Lord for help,
but he will not answer them.
He will hide his face from them at that time,
because they have done such wicked deeds.”
5 This is what the Lord has said about the prophets who mislead my people,[dm]
“If someone gives them enough to eat,
they offer an oracle of peace.[dn]
But if someone does not give them food,
they are ready to declare war on him.[do]
6 Therefore night will fall, and you will receive no visions;[dp]
it will grow dark, and you will no longer be able to read the omens.[dq]
The sun will set on these prophets,
and the daylight will turn to darkness over their heads.[dr]
7 The prophets[ds] will be ashamed;
the omen readers will be humiliated.
All of them will cover their mouths,[dt]
for they will receive no divine oracles.”[du]
8 But I[dv] am full of the courage that the Lord’s Spirit gives
and have a strong commitment to justice.[dw]
This enables me to confront Jacob with its rebellion
and Israel with its sin.[dx]
9 Listen to this, you leaders of the family[dy] of Jacob,
you rulers of the nation[dz] of Israel!
You[ea] hate justice
and pervert all that is right.
10 You[eb] build Zion through bloody crimes,[ec]
Jerusalem through unjust violence.
11 Her[ed] leaders take bribes when they decide legal cases,[ee]
her priests proclaim rulings for profit,
and her prophets read omens for pay.
Yet they claim to trust[ef] the Lord and say,
“The Lord is among us.[eg]
Disaster will not overtake[eh] us!”
12 Therefore, because of you,[ei] Zion will be plowed up like[ej] a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins,
and the Temple Mount[ek] will become a hill overgrown with brush![el]
Better Days Ahead for Jerusalem
4 And in future days[em] the Lord’s Temple Mount will be the most important mountain of all;[en]
it will be more prominent than other hills.[eo]
People will stream to it.
2 Many nations will come, saying,
“Come on! Let’s go up to the Lord’s mountain,
to the temple of Jacob’s God,
so he can teach us his ways
and we can live by his laws.”[ep]
For instruction will proceed from Zion,
the Lord’s message from Jerusalem.
3 He will arbitrate[eq] between many peoples
and settle disputes between many[er] distant nations.[es]
They will beat their swords into plowshares,[et]
and their spears into pruning hooks.[eu]
Nations will not use weapons[ev] against other nations,
and they will no longer train for war.
4 Each will sit under his own grapevine
or under his own fig tree without any fear.[ew]
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has decreed it.[ex]
5 Though all the nations follow their respective gods,[ey]
we will follow[ez] the Lord our God forever.
Restoration Will Follow Crisis
6 “In that day,” says the Lord, “I will gather the lame
and assemble the outcasts whom I injured.[fa]
7 I will transform the lame into the nucleus of a new nation,[fb]
and those far off[fc] into a mighty nation.
The Lord will reign over them on Mount Zion,
from that day forward and forevermore.[fd]
8 As for you, watchtower for the flock,[fe]
fortress of Daughter Zion[ff]—
your former dominion will be restored,[fg]
the sovereignty that belongs to Daughter Jerusalem.”
9 Jerusalem, why are you[fh] now shouting so loudly?[fi]
Has your king disappeared?[fj]
Has your wise leader[fk] been destroyed?
Is this why[fl] pain grips[fm] you as if you were a woman in labor?
10 Twist and strain,[fn] Daughter Zion, as if you were in labor!
For you will leave the city
and live in the open field.
You will go to Babylon,
but there you will be rescued.
There the Lord will deliver[fo] you
from the power[fp] of your enemies.
11 Many nations have now assembled against you.
They say, “Jerusalem must be desecrated,[fq]
so we can gloat over Zion!”[fr]
12 But they do not know what the Lord is planning;
they do not understand his strategy.
He has gathered them like stalks of grain to be threshed[fs] at the threshing floor.
13 “Get up and thresh, Daughter Zion!
For I will give you iron horns;[ft]
I will give you bronze hooves,
and you will crush many nations.”[fu]
You will devote to the Lord the spoils you take from them
and dedicate their wealth to the sovereign Ruler[fv] of the whole earth.[fw]
5 (4:14)[fx] But now slash yourself,[fy] daughter surrounded by soldiers![fz]
We are besieged!
With a scepter[ga] they strike Israel’s ruler[gb]
on the side of his face.
A King Will Come and a Remnant Will Prosper
2 (5:1) As for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,[gc]
seemingly insignificant[gd] among the clans of Judah—
from you a king will emerge who will rule over Israel on my behalf,[ge]
one whose origins[gf] are in the distant past.[gg]
3 So the Lord[gh] will hand the people of Israel[gi] over to their enemies[gj]
until the time when the woman in labor[gk] gives birth.[gl]
Then the rest of the king’s[gm] countrymen will return
to be reunited with the people of Israel.[gn]
4 He will assume his post[go] and shepherd the people[gp] by the Lord’s strength,
by the sovereign authority of the Lord his God.[gq]
They will live securely,[gr] for at that time he will be honored[gs]
even in the distant regions of[gt] the earth.
5 He will give us peace.[gu]
Should the Assyrians try to invade our land
and attempt to set foot in our fortresses,[gv]
we will send[gw] against them seven[gx] shepherd-rulers,[gy]
make that eight commanders.[gz]
6 They will rule[ha] the land of Assyria with the sword,
the land of Nimrod[hb] with a drawn sword.[hc]
Our king[hd] will rescue us from the Assyrians
should they attempt to invade our land
and try to set foot in our territory.
7 Those survivors from[he] Jacob will live[hf]
in the midst of many nations.[hg]
They will be like the dew the Lord sends,
like the rain on the grass,
that does not hope for men to come
or wait around for humans to arrive.[hh]
8 Those survivors from Jacob will live among the nations,
in the midst of many peoples.
They will be like a lion among the animals of the forest,
like a young lion among the flocks of sheep,
which attacks when it passes through.
It rips its prey[hi] and there is no one to stop it.[hj]
9 Lift your hand triumphantly against your adversaries;[hk]
may all your enemies be destroyed![hl]
The Lord Will Purify His People
10 “In that day,” says the Lord,
“I will destroy[hm] your horses from your midst
and smash your chariots.
11 I will destroy the cities of your land
and tear down all your fortresses.
12 I will remove the sorcery[hn] that you practice,[ho]
and you will no longer have omen readers living among you.[hp]
13 I will remove your idols and sacred pillars from your midst;
you will no longer worship what your own hands made.
14 I will uproot your images of Asherah[hq] from your midst
and destroy your idols.[hr]
15 With furious anger I will carry out vengeance
on the nations that do not obey me.”
The Lord Demands Justice, not Ritual
6 Listen to what the Lord says:
“Get up! Defend yourself[hs] before the mountains.[ht]
Present your case before the hills.”[hu]
2 Hear the Lord’s accusation, you mountains,
you enduring foundations of the earth.
For the Lord has a case against his people;
he has a dispute with Israel![hv]
3 “My people, how have I wronged you?[hw]
How have I wearied you? Answer me!
4 In fact, I brought you up from the land of Egypt;
I delivered you from that place of slavery.
I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you.[hx]
5 My people, recall how King Balak of Moab planned to harm you,[hy]
how Balaam son of Beor responded to him.
Recall how you journeyed from Shittim to Gilgal,
so you might acknowledge that the Lord has treated you fairly.”[hz]
6 With what should I[ia] enter the Lord’s presence?
With what[ib] should I bow before the sovereign God?[ic]
Should I enter his presence with burnt offerings,
with year-old calves?
7 Will the Lord accept a thousand rams
or ten thousand streams of olive oil?
Should I give him my firstborn child as payment for my rebellion,
my offspring—my own flesh and blood—for my sin?[id]
8 He has told you,[ie] O man, what is good,
and what the Lord really wants from you:[if]
He wants you to[ig] carry out justice,[ih] to love faithfulness,[ii]
and to live obediently before[ij] your God.
9 Listen! The Lord is calling[ik] to the city!
It is wise to respect your authority, O Lord.[il]
Listen, O nation, and those assembled in the city![im]
10 “I will not overlook,[in] O sinful house, the dishonest gain you have hoarded away[io]
or the smaller-than-standard measure I hate so much.[ip]
11 I do not condone the use of rigged scales,
or a bag of deceptive weights.[iq]
12 The city’s wealthy people readily resort to violence;[ir]
her inhabitants tell lies;
their tongues speak deceptive words.[is]
13 I will strike you brutally[it]
and destroy you because of your sin.
14 You will eat, but not be satisfied.
Even if you have the strength[iu] to overtake some prey,[iv]
you will not be able to carry it away;[iw]
if you do happen to carry away something,
I will deliver it over to the sword.
15 You will plant crops, but will not harvest them;
you will squeeze oil from the olives,[ix] but you will have no oil to rub on your bodies;[iy]
you will squeeze juice from the grapes, but you will have no wine to drink.[iz]
16 You follow Omri’s edicts[ja]
and all the practices of Ahab’s dynasty;[jb]
you follow their policies.[jc]
Therefore I will make you an appalling sight;[jd]
the city’s[je] inhabitants will be taunted derisively,[jf]
and nations will mock all of you.”[jg]
Micah Laments Judah’s Sin
7 Woe is me!
For I am like those gathering fruit
and those harvesting grapes,
when there is no grape cluster to eat
and no fresh figs that my stomach[jh] craves.
2 Faithful men have disappeared[ji] from the land;
there are no godly men left.[jj]
They all wait in ambush to shed blood;[jk]
they hunt their own brother with a net.
3 They are experts at doing evil;[jl]
government officials and judges take bribes,[jm]
prominent men announce what they wish,
and then they plan it out.[jn]
4 The best of them is like a thorn;
their godly are like a thorn bush.[jo]
Woe[jp] to your watchmen;
your appointed punishment is on the way.[jq]
The time of their confusion is now.[jr]
5 Do not rely on a friend;
do not trust a companion!
Even with the one who lies in your arms,
do not share secrets![js]
6 For a son thinks his father is a fool,
a daughter challenges[jt] her mother,
and a daughter-in-law her mother-in-law;
a man’s enemies are his own family.[ju]
7 But I will keep watching for the Lord;
I will wait for the God who delivers me.
My God will listen to me.
Jerusalem Will Be Vindicated
8 My enemies,[jv] do not gloat[jw] over me!
Though I have fallen, I will get up.
Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.[jx]
9 I must endure[jy] the Lord’s fury,
for I have sinned against him.
But then[jz] he will defend my cause[ka]
and accomplish justice on my behalf.
He will lead me out into the light;
I will witness his deliverance.[kb]
10 When my enemies see this, they will be covered with shame.
They say[kc] to me, “Where is the Lord your God?”
I will gloat over them;[kd]
then they will be trampled down[ke]
like mud in the streets.
11 It will be a day for rebuilding your walls;
in that day your boundary will be extended.[kf]
A Closing Prayer
12 In that day people[kg] will come to you[kh]
from Assyria as far as[ki] Egypt,
from Egypt as far as the Euphrates River,[kj]
from the seacoasts[kk] and the mountains.[kl]
13 The earth will become desolate
because of what its inhabitants have done.[km]
14 Shepherd your people with your rod,[kn]
the flock that belongs to you,[ko]
the one that lives alone in a thicket,
in the midst of a pastureland.[kp]
Allow them to graze in Bashan and Gilead,[kq]
as they did in the old days.[kr]
15 “As in the days when you departed from the land of Egypt,
I will show you[ks] miraculous deeds.”[kt]
16 Nations will see this and be disappointed by[ku] all their strength;
they will put their hands over their mouths
and act as if they were deaf.[kv]
17 They will lick the dust like a snake,
like serpents crawling on the ground.[kw]
They will come trembling from their strongholds
to the Lord our God;[kx]
they will be terrified[ky] of you.[kz]
18 Who is a God like you?[la]
Who[lb] forgives sin
and pardons[lc] the rebellion
of those who remain among his people?[ld]
Who does not stay angry forever,
but delights in showing loyal love?
19 Who[le] will once again[lf] have mercy on us?
Who will conquer[lg] our evil deeds?
Who will hurl[lh] all our[li] sins into the depths of the sea?[lj]
20 You will be loyal to Jacob
and extend your loyal love to Abraham,[lk]
which you promised on oath to our ancestors[ll] in ancient times.[lm]
- Micah 1:1 tn Heb “in the days of” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV).
- Micah 1:2 tn Heb “O peoples, all of them.”
- Micah 1:2 tn Heb “O earth and that which fills it”; cf. KJV “and all that therein is.”
- 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).
- 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.”
- 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).
- 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).
- Micah 1:3 tn Or “high places” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
- 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).
- 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.
- Micah 1:5 sn Jacob is an alternate name for Israel (see Gen 32:28).
- Micah 1:5 tn Heb “and because of.”
- Micah 1:5 tn Heb “house.”
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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).
- Micah 1:6 tn Heb “her stones.” The term “stones” is a metonymy for the city walls whose foundations were constructed of stone masonry.
- Micah 1:6 tn Heb “I will uncover her foundations.” The term “foundations” refers to the lower courses of the stones of the city’s outer fortification walls.
- Micah 1:7 tn Heb “and all her prostitute’s wages will be burned with fire.”sn The precious metal used by Samaria’s pagan worship centers to make idols is compared to a prostitute’s wages because Samaria had been unfaithful to the Lord and prostituted herself to pagan gods such as Baal.
- Micah 1:7 tn Heb “I will make desolate” (so NASB).
- Micah 1:7 tn Or “for” (KJV, NASB, NRSV).
- Micah 1:7 tn No object is specified in the Hebrew text; the words “the metal” are supplied from the context.
- Micah 1:7 tn Heb “for from a prostitute’s wages she gathered, and to a prostitute’s wages they will return.” When the metal was first collected it was comparable to the coins a prostitute would receive for her services. The metal was then formed into idols, but now the Lord’s fiery judgment would reduce the metal images to their original condition.
- Micah 1:8 tn The prophet is probably the speaker here.
- Micah 1:8 tn Or “stripped.” The precise meaning of this Hebrew word is unclear. It may refer to walking barefoot (see 2 Sam 15:30) or to partially stripping oneself (see Job 12:17-19).
- Micah 1:8 tn Heb “naked.” This probably does not refer to complete nudity, but to stripping off one’s outer garments as an outward sign of the destitution felt by the mourner.
- Micah 1:8 tn Heb “I will make lamentation.”
- Micah 1:8 tn Or “a jackal”; CEV “howling wolves.”
- Micah 1:8 tn Heb “[make] a mourning.”
- Micah 1:8 tn Or perhaps “ostrich” (cf. ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT).
- Micah 1:9 tn Heb “her.”
- Micah 1:9 tc The MT reads the plural “wounds/plagues”; the singular is read by the LXX, Syriac, and Vg.
- Micah 1:9 tn Heb “come to.”
- Micah 1:9 tn Or “reached.”
- Micah 1:9 tn Heb “the gate.” Kings and civic leaders typically conducted important business at the city gate (see 1 Kgs 22:10 for an example), and the term is understood here to refer by metonymy to the leadership who would be present at the gate.
- Micah 1:10 tn Heb “Tell it not in Gath.” The Hebrew word for “tell” (נָגַד, nagad) sounds like the name of the city, Gath (גַּת, gat).
- Micah 1:10 tn The Hebrew infinitive absolute before the negated jussive emphasizes the prohibition.
- Micah 1:10 tc The translation assumes a masculine plural imperative. If one were to emend בְּבֵית (bevet) to בֵית (vet), Beth Leaphrah would then be the addressee and the feminine singular imperative (see Qere) could be retained, “O Beth Leaphrah, sit in the dust.”tn Or “wallow.” The verb פָּלַשׁ (palash, “roll about [in dust])” refers to a cultural behavior associated with mourning.sn The name Beth Leaphrah means “house of dust.”
- Micah 1:11 tn The feminine singular participle is here used in a collective sense for all the residents of the town. See GKC 394 §122.s.
- Micah 1:11 sn The place name Shaphir means “pleasant” in Hebrew.
- Micah 1:11 tn Heb “have not gone out.” NIV “will not come out”; NLT “dare not come outside.” sn The place name Zaanan sounds like the verb “go out” in Hebrew.
- Micah 1:11 sn The place name Beth Ezel means “house of nearness” or “house of proximity” in Hebrew.
- Micah 1:11 tn Heb “the lamentation of Beth Ezel.” The following words could be the lamentation offered up by Beth Ezel (subjective genitive) or the mourning song sung over it (objective genitive).
- Micah 1:11 tc The form עֶמְדָּתוֹ (ʿemdato) should be emended to חֲמַדְּתוֹ (khamadto, “his (the conqueror’s) desire”).tn The precise meaning of the line is uncertain. The translation assumes: (a) the subject of the third masculine singular verb יִקַּח (yiqqakh, “he/it takes”) is the conqueror, (b) the second masculine plural suffix (“you”) on the preposition מִן (min, “from”) refers to the residents of Shaphir and Zaanan, (c) the final form עֶמְדָּתוֹ should be emended to חֲמַדְּתוֹ, “his (the conqueror’s) desire.”
- Micah 1:12 sn The place name Maroth sounds like the Hebrew word for “bitter.”
- Micah 1:12 tc The translation assumes an emendation of חָלָה (khalah; from חִיל, khil, “to writhe”) to יִחֲלָה (yikhalah; from יָחַל, yakhal, “to wait”).tn Heb “[the residents of Maroth] writhe [= “anxiously long for”?] good.”
- Micah 1:12 tn Heb “though disaster has come down from the Lord to the gate of Jerusalem.”
- Micah 1:13 sn The place name Lachish sounds like the Hebrew word for “team [of horses].”
- Micah 1:13 tn Heb “she”; this has been translated as second person (“you”) in keeping with the direct address to the residents of Lachish in the previous line.
- Micah 1:13 sn The epithet Daughter Zion pictures the city of Jerusalem as a young lady.
- Micah 1:13 tn Heb “She was the beginning of sin for Daughter Zion.”
- Micah 1:13 tn Heb “for in you was found the transgressions of Israel.”
- Micah 1:14 tn The subject of the feminine singular verb is probably Lachish.
- Micah 1:14 tn Heb “you will give a dowry to”; NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “give parting gifts to.” Lachish is compared to a father who presents wedding gifts to his daughter as she leaves her father’s home to take up residence with her husband. In similar fashion Lachish will bid farewell to Moresheth Gath, for the latter will be taken by the invader.
- Micah 1:14 tn Heb “houses.” By metonymy this refers to the people who live in them.
- Micah 1:14 sn The place name Achzib (אַכְזִיב, ʾakhziv, “place on the dried up river”; see HALOT 45 s.v. אַכְזָב) creates a word play on the similar sounding term כָּזָב (kazav, “lie, deception”; HALOT 468 s.v. כָּזָב). Like the dried up river upon which its name was based, the city of Achzib would fail to help the kings of Israel in their time of need.
- Micah 1:14 tn Or “will be a deception.” The term אַכְזָב (ʾakhzav) is often translated “deception,” derived from the verb I כָּזָב (“to deceive, lie”; HALOT 467-68 s.v. I כזב). However, it probably means “what is dried up,” since (1) the noun elsewhere refers to an empty well or dried river in summer (Jer 15:18; cf. Job 6:15-20) (HALOT 45 s.v. אַכְזָב); (2) the place-name “Achzib” (אַכְזִיב) literally means “place on the אַכְזָב [dried up river]” (HALOT 45 s.v. אַכְזָב); and (3) it is derived from the verb II כָּזָב (“to dry up [brook]”; Isa 58:11), which also appears in Mishnaic Hebrew and Arabic. The point of the metaphor is that Achzib will be as disappointing to the kings of Israel as a dried up spring in the summer is to a thirsty traveler in the Jordanian desert.
- Micah 1:14 sn Because of the enemy invasion, Achzib would not be able to deliver soldiers for the army and/or services normally rendered to the crown.
- Micah 1:15 sn The place name Mareshah sounds like the Hebrew word for “conqueror.”
- Micah 1:15 tn Heb “Again a conqueror I will bring to you, residents of Mareshah.” The first person verb is problematic, for the Lord would have to be the subject (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). But the prophet appears to be delivering this lament and the Lord is referred to in the third person in v. 12. Consequently many emend the verb to a third person form (יָבוֹא, yavoʾ) and understand the “conqueror” as subject.
- Micah 1:15 tn Heb “to Adullam the glory of Israel will go.” This probably means that the nation’s leadership will run for their lives and, like David of old, hide from their enemy in the caves of Adullam. Cf. NIV’s “He who is the glory of Israel will come to Adullam,” which sounds as if an individual is in view, and could be understood as a messianic reference.
- Micah 1:16 tn Heb “over the sons of your delight.”
- Micah 1:16 tn Heb “make wide your baldness.”
- Micah 1:16 tn Or “a vulture” (cf. NIV, TEV); CEV “a buzzard.” The Hebrew term נֶשֶׁר (nesher) refers to the griffon vulture or eagle.
- Micah 2:1 tn Heb “those who think up evil.”
- Micah 2:1 tn Heb “upon their beds.”
- Micah 2:1 tn Heb “at the light of morning they do it.”
- Micah 2:2 tn Heb “they desire fields and rob [them], and houses and take [them] away.”
- Micah 2:2 tn Heb “and they oppress a man and his home.”
- Micah 2:2 tn Heb “and a man and his inheritance.” The verb עָשַׁק (ʿashaq, “to oppress”; “to wrong”) does double duty in the parallel structure and is understood by ellipsis in the second line.
- Micah 2:3 tn Heb “clan” or “extended family.”
- Micah 2:3 tn Heb “from which you will not remove your neck.” The words “It will be like a yoke” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Micah 2:3 tn Or “you will not.”
- Micah 2:4 tc The form נִהְיָה (nihyah) should be omitted as dittographic (note the preceding וְנָהָה נְהִי venahah nehi).tn Heb “one will lament [with] a lamentation [and] say.”
- Micah 2:4 tn Or “exchange.” The LXX suggests a reading יִמַּד (yimmad) from מָדַד (madad, “to measure”). In this case one could translate, “the property of my people is measured out [i.e., for resale].”
- Micah 2:4 tn Heb “how one removes for me.” Apparently the preposition has the nuance “from” here (cf. KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
- Micah 2:4 tc The Hebrew term שׁוֹבֵב (shovev, “the one turning back”) elsewhere has the nuance “apostate” (cf. NASB) or “traitor” (cf. NIV). The translation assumes an emendation to שָׁבָה (shavah, “captor”).tn Heb “to the one turning back he assigns our fields.”
- Micah 2:5 tn Heb “therefore you will not have one who strings out a measuring line by lot in the assembly of the Lord.”sn No one will assign you land in the Lord’s community. When judgment passes and the people are restored to the land, those greedy ones who disregarded the ancient land allotments will not be allowed to participate in the future redistribution of the land.
- Micah 2:6 tn Heb “‘Do not foam at the mouth,’ they foam at the mouth.” The verb נָטַף (nataf) means “to drip.” When used of speech it probably has the nuance “to drivel, to foam at the mouth” (HALOT 694 s.v. נטף). The sinful people tell the Lord’s prophets not to “foam at the mouth,” which probably refers in a derogatory way to their impassioned style of delivery. But the Lord (who is probably still speaking here, see v. 3) sarcastically refers to their impassioned exhortation as “foaming at the mouth.”
- Micah 2:6 tc If one follows the MT as it stands, it would appear that the Lord here condemns the people for their “foaming at the mouth” and then announces that judgment is inevitable. The present translation assumes that this is a continuation of the quotation of what the people say. In this case the subject of “foam at the mouth” is the Lord’s prophets. In the second line יִסַּג (yissag, a Niphal imperfect from סוּג, sug, “to remove”) is emended to יַסִּגֵנוּ (yassigenu; a Hiphil imperfect from נָסַג/נָשַׂג, nasag/nasag, “to reach; to overtake”).tn Heb “they should not foam at the mouth concerning these things, humiliation will not be removed.”
- Micah 2:7 tn Heb “house” (so many English versions); CEV “descendants.’
- Micah 2:7 tc The MT has אָמוּר (ʾamur), an otherwise unattested passive participle, which is better emended to אָמוֹר (ʾamor), an infinitive absolute functioning as a finite verb (see BDB 55 s.v. אָמַר).
- Micah 2:7 tn The Hebrew word רוּחַ (ruakh) often means “Spirit” when used of the Lord, but here it seems to have an abstract sense, “patience.” See BDB 925 s.v. 3.d.
- Micah 2:7 tn Heb “Has the patience of the Lord run short? Or are these his deeds?” The rhetorical questions expect the answer, “No, of course not.” The people contest the prophet’s claims that the Lord’s judgment is falling on the nation.
- Micah 2:7 tn Heb “Do not my words accomplish good for the one who walks uprightly?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course they do!” The Lord begins his response to the claim of the house of Jacob that they are immune to judgment (see v. 7a). He points out that the godly are indeed rewarded, but then he goes on to show that those in the house of Jacob are not godly and can expect divine judgment, not blessing (vv. 8-11). Some emend “my words” to “his words.” In this case, v. 7b is a continuation of the immediately preceding quotation. The people, thinking they are godly, confidently ask, “Do not his [God’s] words accomplish good for the one who walks uprightly?”
- Micah 2:8 tc Heb “Recently my people rise up as an enemy.” The MT is problematic in light of v. 9, where “my people” are the object of oppression, not the perpetrators of it. The form וְאֶתְמוּל (veʾetmul, “and recently”) is probably the product of fusion and subsequent suppression of an (ע) ʿayin. The translation assumes an emendation to וְאַתֶּם עַל (veʾattem ʿal, “and you against [my people]”). The second person plural pronoun fits well with the second plural verb forms of vv. 8b-10. If this emendation is accepted, then יְקוֹמֵם (yeqomem, the Polel imperfect of קוּם [qum]) should be emended to קָמִים (qamim; a Qal participle from the same root).
- Micah 2:8 tc Heb “From the front of a garment glory [or perhaps, “a robe”] you strip off,” but this makes little if any sense. The term מִמּוּל (mimmul, “from the front of”) is probably the product of dittography (note the preceding word, which ends in [ם] mem) and subsequent suppression of ע (ʿayin). The translation assumes an emendation to מֵעַל (meʿal, “from upon”). The translation also assumes an emendation of שַׂלְמָה אֶדֶר (salmah ʾeder, “a garment, glory [or robe]”) to שֹׁלְמִים אֲדֶרֶת (sholemim ʾaderet, “[from] a friend the robe [you strip off]”). The MT’s אֶדֶר (ʾeder) is the result of improper division (the article has erroneously been attached to the preceding word) and haplography (of the final tav, which also begins the following word).
- Micah 2:8 tc The passive participle שׁוּבֵי (shuve) is unattested elsewhere and should be emended to a participle שָׁבִים (shavim).tn Heb “from those passing by peacefully, returnees from war.” Actual refugees, however, are probably not in view. The second line compares those who pass by peacefully with individuals returning from war. The battle is over and they do not expect their own countrymen to attack them.
- Micah 2:9 tn Heb “women.” This may be a synecdoche of the whole (women) for the part (widows).
- Micah 2:9 tn Heb “her little children” or “her infants”; ASV, NRSV “young children.”
- Micah 2:9 tn Heb “from their children you take my glory forever.” The yod (י) ending on הֲדָרִי (hadari) is usually taken as a first person common singular suffix (“my glory”). But it may be the archaic genitive ending (“glory of”) in the construct expression “glory of perpetuity,” that is, “perpetual glory.” In either case, this probably refers to the dignity or honor the Lord bestowed on each Israelite family by giving them a share of his land to be inherited perpetually from one generation to another within each family. The term הָדָר (hadar) may refer to possessions that a person prizes (Lam 1:6).
- Micah 2:10 tn Heb “Arise and go!” These imperatives are rhetorical. Those who wrongly drove widows and orphans from their homes and land inheritances will themselves be driven out of the land (cf. Isa 5:8-17). This is an example of poetic justice.
- Micah 2:10 tn Heb “for this is no resting place.” The Lord speaks to the oppressors.
- Micah 2:10 tn Heb “uncleanness will destroy, and destruction will be severe.”
- Micah 2:11 tn Heb “if a man, coming [as] wind and falsehood, should lie”; NASB “walking after wind and falsehood”; NIV “a liar and a deceiver.”
- Micah 2:11 tn Heb “I will foam at the mouth concerning wine and beer.”
- Micah 2:11 tn Heb “he would be the foamer at the mouth for this people.”
- Micah 2:12 tn Heb “the remnant of Israel.”
- Micah 2:12 tc The MT reads בָּצְרָה (batsrah, “Bozrah”) but the form should be emended to בַּצִּרָה (batsirah, “into the fold”). See D. R. Hillers, Micah (Hermeneia), 38.
- Micah 2:12 tc The MT reads “its pasture,” but the final vav (ו) belongs with the following verb. See GKC 413 §127.i.
- Micah 2:12 tn Heb “and they will be noisy [or perhaps, “excited”] from men.” The subject of the third feminine plural verb תְּהִימֶנָה (tehimenah, “they will be noisy”) is probably the feminine singular צֹאן (tsoʾn, “flock”). (For another example of this collective singular noun with a feminine plural verb, see Gen 30:38.) In the construction מֵאָדָם (meʾadam, “from men”) the preposition is probably causal. L. C. Allen translates “bleating in fear of men” (Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah [NICOT], 300), but it is possible to take the causal sense as “because of the large quantity of men.” In this case the sheep metaphor and the underlying reality are mixed.
- Micah 2:13 tn Heb “the one who breaks through goes up before them.” The verb form is understood as a perfect of certitude, emphasizing the certainty of this coming event.
- Micah 2:13 tn The three verb forms (a perfect and two preterites with vav [ו] consecutive) indicate certitude.sn The “fold” from which the sheep/people break out is probably a reference to their place of exile.
- Micah 2:13 tn The verb form (a preterite with vav [ו] consecutive) indicates certitude.
- Micah 2:13 tn Heb “the Lord [will be] at their head.”
- Micah 3:1 tn Heb “heads.”
- Micah 3:1 tn Heb “house.”
- Micah 3:1 tn Heb “Should you not know justice?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course you should!”
- Micah 3:2 tn Heb “the ones who.”
- Micah 3:2 tn Or “good.”
- Micah 3:2 tn Or “evil.”
- Micah 3:2 tn Heb “their skin from upon them.” The referent of the pronoun (“my people,” referring to Jacob and/or the house of Israel, with the Lord as the speaker) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Micah 3:2 tn Heb “and their flesh from their bones.”sn Micah compares the social injustice perpetrated by the house of Jacob/Israel to cannibalism, because it threatens the very lives of the oppressed.
- Micah 3:3 tn Heb “who.”
- Micah 3:3 tc The MT reads “and they chop up as in a pot.” The translation assumes an emendation of כַּאֲשֶׁר (ka’asher, “as”) to כִּשְׁאֵר (kishʾer, “like flesh”).
- Micah 3:4 tn Heb “they,” referring to the indicted leaders in vv. 1-3.
- Micah 3:5 tn Heb “concerning the prophets, those who mislead my people.” Some prefer to begin the quotation after “the Lord has said” (cf. NIV). But when the preposition עַל (ʿal, “about”) occurs with this introductory formula it regularly indicates who is being spoken about. (When a person is not the object of the preposition, it may begin the quote, meaning “because.”) Including the first person pronominal suffix (in “my people”) after a third person introduction may sound awkward, but also occurs in Jer 14:15; 23:2 (and perhaps Jer 12:14, a text critical question). Hillers prefers to add הוֹי (hoy, “woe, ah”) at the beginning of the quotation, after the graphically similar יְהוָה (yehvah; see D. R. Hillers, Micah [Hermeneia], 44). The phrase הוֹי עַל (hoy ʿal, “woe upon”) occurs in Jer 50:27 and Ezek 13:3 (with “the prophets” following the preposition in the latter instance).
- Micah 3:5 tn Heb “those who bite with their teeth and cry out, ‘peace.’” The phrase “bite with the teeth” is taken here as idiomatic for eating. Apparently these prophets were driven by mercenary motives. If they were paid well, they gave positive oracles to their clients, but if someone could not afford to pay them, they were hostile and delivered oracles of doom.
- Micah 3:5 tn Heb “but [as for the one] who does not place [food] in their mouths, they prepare for war against him.”
- Micah 3:6 tn Heb “it will be night for you without a vision.”sn The coming of night (and darkness in the following line) symbolizes the cessation of revelation.
- Micah 3:6 tn Heb “it will be dark for you without divination.”sn The reading of omens (Heb “divination”) was forbidden in the law (Deut 18:10), so this probably reflects the prophets’ view of how they received divine revelation.
- Micah 3:6 tn Heb “and the day will be dark over them.”
- Micah 3:7 tn Or “seers.”
- Micah 3:7 tn Or “the mustache,” or perhaps “the beard.” Cf. KJV, NAB, NRSV “cover their lips.”
- Micah 3:7 tn Heb “no divine response” or “no answer from God.”
- Micah 3:8 sn The prophet Micah speaks here and contrasts himself with the mercenaries just denounced by the Lord in the preceding verses.
- Micah 3:8 tn Heb “am full of power, the Spirit of the Lord, and justice and strength.” The appositional phrase “the Spirit of the Lord” explains the source of the prophet’s power. The phrase “justice and strength” is understood here as a hendiadys, referring to the prophet’s strong sense of justice.
- Micah 3:8 tn Heb “to declare to Jacob his rebellion and to Israel his sin.” The words “this enables me” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Micah 3:9 tn Heb “house.”
- Micah 3:9 tn Heb “house.”
- Micah 3:9 tn Heb “who.” A new sentence was begun here in the translation for stylistic reasons (also at the beginning of v. 10).
- Micah 3:10 tn Heb “who.”
- Micah 3:10 tn Heb “bloodshed” (so NAB, NASB, NIV); NLT “murder.”
- Micah 3:11 sn The pronoun Her refers to Jerusalem (note the previous line).
- Micah 3:11 tn Heb “judge for a bribe.”
- Micah 3:11 tn Heb “they lean upon” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV); NAB “rely on.”
- Micah 3:11 tn Heb “Is not the Lord in our midst?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course he is!”
- Micah 3:11 tn Or “come upon” (so many English versions); NCV “happen to us”; CEV “come to us.”
- Micah 3:12 tn The plural pronoun refers to the leaders, priests, and prophets mentioned in the preceding verse.
- Micah 3:12 tn Or “into” (an adverbial accusative of result).
- Micah 3:12 tn Heb “the mountain of the house” (so KJV, ASV, NRSV).
- Micah 3:12 tn Heb “a high place of overgrowth.”
- Micah 4:1 sn Cf. Isa 2:2. See the note at Gen 49:1.
- Micah 4:1 tn Heb “will be established as the head of the mountains.”
- Micah 4:1 tn Heb “it will be lifted up above the hills.”
- Micah 4:2 tn Heb “and we can walk in his paths.”
- Micah 4:3 tn Or “judge.”
- Micah 4:3 tn Or “mighty” (NASB); KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV “strong”; TEV “among the great powers.”
- Micah 4:3 tn Heb “[for many nations] to a distance.”
- Micah 4:3 sn Instead of referring to the large plow as a whole, the plowshare is simply the metal tip which actually breaks the earth and cuts the furrow.
- Micah 4:3 sn This implement was used to prune the vines, i.e., to cut off extra leaves and young shoots (M. Klingbeil, NIDOTTE 1:1117-18). It was a short knife with a curved hook at the end sharpened on the inside like a sickle.
- Micah 4:3 tn Heb “take up the sword.”
- Micah 4:4 tn Heb “and there will be no one making [him] afraid.”
- Micah 4:4 tn Heb “for the mouth of the Lord…has spoken.”
- Micah 4:5 tn Heb “walk each in the name of his god.” The term “name” here has the idea of “authority.” To “walk in the name” of a god is to recognize the god’s authority as binding over one’s life.
- Micah 4:5 tn Heb “walk in the name of.”
- Micah 4:6 sn The exiles of the nation are compared to lame and injured sheep.
- Micah 4:7 tn Heb “make the lame into a remnant.”
- Micah 4:7 tn The precise meaning of this difficult form is uncertain. The present translation assumes the form is a Niphal participle of an otherwise unattested denominative verb הָלָא (halaʾ, “to be far off”; see BDB 229 s.v.), but attractive emendations include הַנַּחֲלָה (hannakhalah, “the sick one[s]”) from חָלָה (khalah) and הַנִּלְאָה (hannilʾah, “the weary one[s]”) from לָאָה (laʾah).
- Micah 4:7 tn Heb “from now until forever.”
- Micah 4:8 tn Heb “Migdal Eder.” Some English versions transliterate this phrase, apparently because they view it as a place name (cf. NAB).
- Micah 4:8 sn The city of David, located within Jerusalem, is addressed as Daughter Zion. As the home of the Davidic king, who was Israel’s shepherd (Ps 78:70-72), the royal citadel could be viewed metaphorically as the watchtower of the flock.
- Micah 4:8 tn Heb “to you it will come, the former dominion will arrive.”
- Micah 4:9 tn The Hebrew form is feminine singular, indicating that Jerusalem, personified as a young woman, is now addressed (see v. 10). In v. 8 the tower/fortress was addressed with masculine forms, so there is clearly a shift in addressee here. “Jerusalem” has been supplied in the translation at the beginning of v. 9 to make this shift apparent.
- Micah 4:9 tn Heb “Now why are you shouting [with] a shout.”
- Micah 4:9 tn Heb “Is there no king over you?”
- Micah 4:9 tn Traditionally, “counselor” (cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). This refers to the king mentioned in the previous line; the title points to the king’s roles as chief strategist and policy maker, both of which required extraordinary wisdom.
- Micah 4:9 tn Heb “that.” The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) is used here in a resultative sense; for this use see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 73, §450.
- Micah 4:9 tn Heb “grabs hold of, seizes.”
- Micah 4:10 tn Or perhaps “scream”; NRSV, TEV, NLT “groan.”
- Micah 4:10 tn Or “redeem” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
- Micah 4:10 tn Heb “hand.” The Hebrew idiom is a metonymy for power or control.
- Micah 4:11 tn Heb “let her be desecrated.” The referent (Jerusalem) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Micah 4:11 tn Heb “and let our eye look upon Zion.” This is a Hebrew idiom for a typically smug or condescending look by someone in a superior position.
- Micah 4:12 tn The words “to be threshed” are not in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied in the translation to make it clear that the Lord is planning to enable “Daughter Zion” to “thresh” her enemies.
- Micah 4:13 tn Heb “I will make your horn iron.”
- Micah 4:13 sn Jerusalem (Daughter Zion at the beginning of the verse; cf. 4:8) is here compared to a powerful ox which crushes the grain on the threshing floor with its hooves.
- Micah 4:13 tn Or “the Lord” (so many English versions); Heb “the master.”
- Micah 4:13 tn Heb “and their wealth to the master of all the earth.” The verb “devote” does double duty in the parallelism and is supplied in the second line for clarification.sn In vv. 11-13 the prophet jumps from the present crisis (which will result in exile, v. 10) to a time beyond the restoration of the exiles when God will protect his city from invaders. The Lord’s victory over the Assyrian armies in 701 b.c. foreshadowed this.
- Micah 5:1 sn Beginning with 5:1, the verse numbers through 5:15 in the English Bible differ by one from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 5:1 ET = 4:14 HT, 5:2 ET = 5:1 HT, 5:3 ET = 5:2 HT, etc., through 5:15 ET = 5:14 HT. From 6:1 the verse numbers in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible are again the same.
- Micah 5:1 tn The Hebrew verb גָדַד (gadad) can be translated “slash yourself” or “gather in troops.” A number of English translations are based on the latter meaning (e.g., NASB, NIV, NLT).sn Slash yourself. Slashing one’s body was a form of mourning. See Deut 14:1; 1 Kgs 18:28; Jer 16:6; 41:5; 47:5.
- Micah 5:1 tn Heb “daughter of a troop of warriors.”sn The daughter surrounded by soldiers is an image of the city of Jerusalem under siege (note the address “Daughter Jerusalem” in 4:8).
- Micah 5:1 tn Or “staff”; KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “rod”; CEV “stick”; NCV “club.”sn Striking a king with a scepter, a symbol of rulership, would be especially ironic and humiliating.
- Micah 5:1 tn Traditionally, “the judge of Israel” (so KJV, NASB).
- Micah 5:2 sn Ephrathah is either an alternate name for Bethlehem or the name of the district in which Bethlehem was located. See Ruth 4:11.
- Micah 5:2 tn Heb “being small.” Some omit לִהְיוֹת (liheyot, “being”) because it fits awkwardly and appears again in the next line.
- Micah 5:2 tn Heb “from you for me one will go out to be a ruler over Israel.”
- Micah 5:2 tn Heb “his goings out.” The term may refer to the ruler’s origins (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) or to his activities.
- Micah 5:2 tn Heb “from the past, from the days of antiquity.” Elsewhere both phrases refer to the early periods in the history of the world or of the nation of Israel. For מִקֶּדֶם (miqqedem, “from the past”) see Neh 12:46; Pss 74:12; 77:11; Isa 45:21; 46:10. For מִימֵי עוֹלָם (mime ʿolam, “from the days of antiquity”) see Isa 63:9, 11; Amos 9:11; Mic 7:14; Mal 3:4. In Neh 12:46 and Amos 9:11 the Davidic era is in view.sn In riddle-like fashion this verse alludes to David, as the references to Bethlehem and to his ancient origins/activities indicate. The passage anticipates the second coming of the great king to usher in a new era of national glory for Israel. Other prophets are more direct and name this coming ideal ruler “David” (Jer 30:9; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Hos 3:5). Of course, this prophecy of “David’s” second coming is actually fulfilled through his descendant, the Messiah, who will rule in the spirit and power of his famous ancestor and bring to realization the Davidic royal ideal in an even greater way than the historical David (see Isa 11:1, 10; Jer 33:15).
- Micah 5:3 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Micah 5:3 tn Heb “them”; the referent (the people of Israel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Micah 5:3 tn The words “to their enemies” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Micah 5:3 sn The woman in labor. Personified, suffering Jerusalem is the referent. See 4:9-10.
- Micah 5:3 sn Gives birth. The point of the figurative language is that Jerusalem finally finds relief from her suffering. See 4:10.
- Micah 5:3 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Micah 5:3 tn Heb “to the sons of Israel.” The words “be reunited with” are supplied in the translation for clarity.sn The rest of the king’s countrymen are the coming king’s fellow Judahites, while the people of Israel are the northern tribes. The verse pictures the reunification of the nation under the Davidic king. See Isa 11:12-13; Jer 31:2-6, 15-20; Ezek 37; Hos 1:11; 3:5.
- Micah 5:4 tn Heb “stand up”; NAB “stand firm”; NASB “will arise.”
- Micah 5:4 tn The words “the people” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Micah 5:4 tn Heb “by the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.”
- Micah 5:4 tn The words “in peace” are supplied in the translation for clarification. Perhaps וְיָשָׁבוּ (veyashavu, “and they will live”) should be emended to וְשָׁבוּ (veshavu, “and they will return”).
- Micah 5:4 tn Heb “be great.”
- Micah 5:4 tn Or “to the ends of.”
- Micah 5:5 tn Heb “and this one will be peace”; ASV “and this man shall be our peace” (cf. Eph 2:14).
- Micah 5:5 tc Some prefer to read “in our land,” emending the text to בְּאַדְמָתֵנוּ (beʾadmatenu).
- Micah 5:5 tn Heb “raise up.”
- Micah 5:5 sn The numbers seven and eight here symbolize completeness and emphasize that Israel will have more than enough military leadership and strength to withstand the Assyrian advance.
- Micah 5:5 tn Heb “shepherds.”
- Micah 5:5 tn Heb “and eight leaders of men.”
- Micah 5:6 tn Or perhaps “break”; or “defeat.”
- Micah 5:6 sn According to Gen 10:8-12, Nimrod, who was famous as a warrior and hunter, founded Assyria.
- Micah 5:6 tc The MT reads בִּפְתָחֶיהָ (biftakheha) “in her gates,” but the text should be emended to בַּפְּתִיחָה (bappetikhah) “with a drawn sword.”
- Micah 5:6 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the coming king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Micah 5:7 tn Heb “the remnant of” (also in v. 8).
- Micah 5:7 tn Heb “will be.”
- Micah 5:7 tn This could mean “(scattered) among the nations” (cf. CEV, NLT) or “surrounded by many nations” (cf. NRSV).
- Micah 5:7 tn Heb “that does not hope for man, and does not wait for the sons of men.”sn Men wait eagerly for the dew and the rain, not vice versa. Just as the dew and rain are subject to the Lord, not men, so the remnant of Israel will succeed by the supernatural power of God and not need the support of other nations. There may even be a military metaphor here. Israel will overwhelm their enemies, just as the dew completely covers the grass (see 2 Sam 17:12). This interpretation would be consistent with the image of v. 7.
- Micah 5:8 tn The words “its prey” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Micah 5:8 tn Heb “and there is no deliverer.”
- Micah 5:9 tn Heb “let your hand be lifted against your adversaries.”
- Micah 5:9 tn Heb “be cut off.”
- Micah 5:10 tn Heb “cut off” (also in the following verse).
- Micah 5:12 tn Heb “magic charms” (so NCV, TEV); NIV, NLT “witchcraft”; NAB “the means of divination.” The precise meaning of this Hebrew word is uncertain, but note its use in Isa 47:9, 12.
- Micah 5:12 tn Heb “from your hands.”
- Micah 5:12 tn Heb “and you will not have omen-readers.”
- Micah 5:14 tn Or “Asherah poles.”sn Asherah was a leading deity of the Canaanite pantheon, wife/sister of El and goddess of fertility. She was commonly worshiped at shrines in or near groves of evergreen trees, or, failing that, at places marked by wooden poles. These were to be burned or cut down (Deut 12:3; 16:21; Judg 6:25, 28, 30; 2 Kgs 18:4). The Lord states that he will destroy these images, something the Israelites themselves should have done but failed to do.
- Micah 5:14 tn The MT reads “your cities,” but many emend the text to צִרֶיךָ (tsirekha, “your images”) or עֲצַבֶּיךָ (ʿatsbbekha, “your idols”).
- Micah 6:1 tn Or “plead your case” (NASB, NIV, NRSV); NAB “present your plea”; NLT “state your case.”sn Defend yourself. The Lord challenges Israel to defend itself against the charges he is bringing.
- Micah 6:1 sn As in some ancient Near Eastern treaties, the mountains are personified as legal witnesses that will settle the dispute between God and Israel.
- Micah 6:1 tn Heb “let the hills hear your voice.”
- Micah 6:2 tn The prophet briefly interrupts the Lord’s statement (see vv. 1, 3) to summon the mountains as witnesses. Though the prophet speaks, the quotation marks have been omitted to clarify that it is not the Lord still speaking.
- Micah 6:3 tn Heb “My people, what have I done to you?”
- Micah 6:4 tn Heb “before you.”
- Micah 6:5 tn Heb “remember what Balak…planned.”
- Micah 6:5 tn Heb “From Shittim to Gilgal, in order to know the just acts of the Lord.” Something appears to be missing at the beginning of the line. The present translation supplies the words, “Recall how you went.” This apparently refers to how Israel crossed the Jordan River (see Josh 3:1; 4:19-24).
- Micah 6:6 sn With what should I enter the Lord’s presence? The prophet speaks again, playing the role of an inquisitive worshiper who wants to know what God really desires from his followers.
- Micah 6:6 tn The words “with what” do double duty in the parallelism and are supplied in the second line of the translation for clarification.
- Micah 6:6 tn Or “the exalted God.”
- Micah 6:7 tn Heb “the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul.” The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) is often translated “soul,” but the word usually refers to the whole person; here “the sin of my soul” = “my sin.” sn Since child sacrifice is forbidden in scripture (Deut 12:31; 18:10), the speaker is revealed to not be in earnest but perhaps sarcastic.
- Micah 6:8 sn Now the prophet switches roles and answers the question of the hypothetical worshiper. He rebukes the extravagant surface remark by pointing to general character qualities that are lacking in Israel.
- Micah 6:8 tn Heb “is seeking from you.”
- Micah 6:8 tn Heb “except.” This statement is actually linked with what precedes, “What does he want from you except….”
- Micah 6:8 tn Or “to act justly.”
- Micah 6:8 tn Or “to love faithfully.” The Hebrew word חֶסֶד (khesed) is complex, sometimes translated “lovingkindness,” faithfulness,” or “loyal love.” It has also been understood as covenant loyalty. חֶסֶד is either the object or the manner of the infinitive “to love.”
- Micah 6:8 tn Heb “to walk humbly [or perhaps, “carefully”] with.”
- Micah 6:9 tn Or “the voice of the Lord is calling.” The translation understands קוֹל (qol, “voice”) as equivalent to an imperative.
- Micah 6:9 tn Heb “one who sees your name is wisdom.” It is probably better to emend יִרְאֶה (yirʾeh, “he sees”) to יִרְאָה (yirʾah, “fearing”). One may then translate, “fearing your name is wisdom.” The Lord’s “name” here stands by metonymy for his authority.
- Micah 6:9 tc The MT reads, “Listen, tribe (or staff) and who appointed it.” Verse 10 then begins with עוֹד (ʿod, “still” or “again”). The LXX reads, “who will set the city in order?” The translation assumes an emendation of וּמִי יְעָדָהּ. עוֹד (umi yeʿadah. ʿod…, “and who appointed it. Still…”) to וּמוֹעֵד הָעִיר(umoʿed haʿir, “and the assembly of the city”).
- Micah 6:10 tn The meaning of the first Hebrew word in the line is unclear. Possibly it is a combination of the interrogative particle and אִשׁ (ʾish), an alternate form of יֵשׁ (yesh, “there is/are”). One could then translate literally, “Are there treasures of sin [in] the house of the sinful?” The translation assumes an emendation to הַאֶשֶּׁה (haʾesheh, from נָשָׁא, nashaʾ, “to forget”), “Will I forget?” The rhetorical question expects an answer, “No, I will not forget.”
- Micah 6:10 tn Heb “the treasures of sin”; NASB “treasures of wickedness”; NIV “ill-gotten treasures.”
- Micah 6:10 tn Heb “the accursed scant measure.”sn Merchants would use a smaller than standard measure so they could give the customer less than he thought he was paying for.
- Micah 6:11 tn Heb “Do I acquit sinful scales, and a bag of deceptive weights?” The rhetorical question expects an answer, “No, I do not,” and has been translated as a declarative statement for clarity and emphasis.sn Merchants also used rigged scales and deceptive weights to cheat their customers. See the note at Amos 8:5.
- Micah 6:12 tn Heb “are full of violence.”
- Micah 6:12 tn Heb “and their tongue is deceptive in their mouth.”
- Micah 6:13 tn Heb “and I, even I, will make you sick, [by] striking you.”
- Micah 6:14 tc The first Hebrew term in the line (וְיֶשְׁחֲךָ, veyeshkhakha) is obscure. HALOT 446 s.v. יֶשַׁח understands a noun meaning “filth,” which would yield the translation, “and your filth is inside you.” The translation assumes an emendation to כֹּחַוְיֶשׁ (veyesh koakh, “and [if] there is strength inside you”).
- Micah 6:14 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term וְתַסֵּג (vetasseg) is unclear. The translation assumes it is a Hiphal imperfect from נָסַג/נָשַׂג (nasag/nasag, “reach; overtake”) and that hunting imagery is employed. (Note the reference to hunger in the first line of the verse.) See D. R. Hillers, Micah (Hermeneia), 80.
- Micah 6:14 tn The Hiphal of פָּלַט (palat) is used in Isa 5:29 of an animal carrying its prey to a secure place.
- Micah 6:15 tn Heb “you will tread olives.” Literally treading on olives with one’s feet could be harmful and would not supply the necessary pressure to release the oil. See O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 119. The Hebrew term דָּרַךְ (darakh) may have an idiomatic sense of “press” here, or perhaps the imagery of the following parallel line (referring to treading grapes) has dictated the word choice.
- Micah 6:15 tn Heb “but you will not rub yourselves with oil.”
- Micah 6:15 tn Heb “and juice, but you will not drink wine.” The verb תִדְרֹךְ (tidrokh, “you will tread”) must be supplied from the preceding line.
- Micah 6:16 tn Heb “the edicts of Omri are kept.”
- Micah 6:16 tn Heb “the house of Ahab.”
- Micah 6:16 tn Heb “and you walk in their plans.”sn The Omride dynasty, of which Ahab was the most infamous king, had a reputation for implementing unjust and oppressive measures. See 1 Kgs 21.
- Micah 6:16 tn The Hebrew term שַׁמָּה (shammah) can refer to “destruction; ruin,” or to the reaction it produces in those who witness the destruction.
- Micah 6:16 tn Heb “her.”
- Micah 6:16 tn Heb “[an object] of hissing,” which was a way of taunting someone.
- Micah 6:16 tc The translation assumes an emendation of the MT’s עַמִּי (ʿammi, “my people”) to עַמִּים (ʿammim, “nations”).tn Heb “and the reproach of my people you will bear.” The second person verb is plural here, in contrast to the singular forms used in vv. 13-15.
- Micah 7:1 tn Heb “appetite, soul.”
- Micah 7:2 tn Or “have perished.”
- Micah 7:2 tn Heb “and an upright one among men there is not.”
- Micah 7:2 tn Heb “for bloodshed” (so NASB); TEV “for a chance to commit murder.”
- Micah 7:3 tn Heb “their hands [reach] to evil to do [it] well,” or with slight emendation “their hands are skillful at doing evil.”
- Micah 7:3 tn Heb “the official asks—and the judge—for a bribe.”
- Micah 7:3 tn More literally, “the great one announces what his appetite desires and they weave it together.” Apparently this means that subordinates plot and maneuver to make sure the prominent man’s desires materialize.
- Micah 7:4 tc The MT reads יָשָׁר מִמְּסוּכָה (yashar mimmesukhah) “a godly [person] from a thorn bush.” Theoretically the preposition מִן (min, “from”) could be comparative (“more than”), but it would need an attributive adjective for this meaning. Most likely this is a case of wrong word division, where the מ (mem) is not מִן (min, “from”), but is actually a third masculine plural pronominal suffix, similar to the first clause (“their best”). The line would read יְשָׁרָם מְסוּכָה (yesharam mesukhah) “their upright person is a thorn bush.”
- Micah 7:4 tc The text is uncertain at several points. Where the MT reads יוֹם (yom, “day [of]”), the LXX reads οὐαὶ (ouai, “woe”) implying הוֹי (hoi, “woe”). The watchmen may be actual sentries or symbolic of true of false prophets. If reading with the MT, the “day of your watchmen,” might be the day they are on the lookout for, or the day they have announced. Reading “woe” either warns the sentries on the lookout or rebukes false prophets.
- Micah 7:4 tn Or “has come.”
- Micah 7:4 tn Heb “Now will be their confusion.”
- Micah 7:5 tn Heb “guard the doors of your mouth.”
- Micah 7:6 tn Heb “rises up against.”
- Micah 7:6 tn Heb “his house.” Household may include servants as well as family.
- Micah 7:8 tn The singular form is understood as collective.
- Micah 7:8 tn Or “rejoice” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NCV “don’t laugh at me.”
- Micah 7:8 sn Darkness represents judgment; light (also in v. 9) symbolizes deliverance.
- Micah 7:9 tn Heb “bear, carry.”
- Micah 7:9 tn Heb “until.”
- Micah 7:9 tn Or “plead my case” (NASB and NIV both similar); NRSV “until he takes my side.”
- Micah 7:9 tn Or “justice, vindication.”
- Micah 7:10 tn Heb “who say.” A new sentence was begun here in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Micah 7:10 tn Heb “My eyes will look on them.”
- Micah 7:10 tn Heb “a trampled-down place.”
- Micah 7:11 sn Personified Jerusalem declares her confidence in vv. 8-10; in this verse she is assured that she will indeed be vindicated.
- Micah 7:12 tn Heb “he.” The referent has been specified as “people,” referring either to the nations (coming to God with their tribute) or to the exiles of Israel (returning to the Lord).
- Micah 7:12 tn The masculine pronominal suffix suggests the Lord is addressed. Some emend to a feminine form and take Jerusalem as the addressee.
- Micah 7:12 tc The MT reads וְעָרֵי (veʿarey, “and the cities [of Egypt]”), but the parallel line indicates this needs emendation to וְעַד (veʿad, “even to”).
- Micah 7:12 tn Heb “the River,” referring to the Euphrates River (so also NASB, NIV).
- Micah 7:12 tn Heb “and sea from sea.” Many prefer to emend this to מִיָּם עַד יָם (miyyam ʿad yam, “from sea to sea”).
- Micah 7:12 tn Heb “and mountain of the mountain.” Many prefer to emend this to וּמֵהַר עַד הַר (umehar ʿad har, “and mountain to mountain”).
- Micah 7:13 tn Heb “on account of its inhabitants, because of the fruit of their deeds.”
- Micah 7:14 tn The Hebrew term שֵׁבֶט (shevet) can refer to a rod, such as a ṣhepherd’s rod, or a “scepter.”
- Micah 7:14 tn Heb “the flock of your inheritance.”
- Micah 7:14 tn Or “in the midst of Carmel.” The Hebrew term translated “pastureland” may be a place name.sn The point seems to be that Israel is in a vulnerable position, like sheep in a thicket populated by predators, while rich pastureland (their homeland and God’s blessings) is in view.
- Micah 7:14 sn The regions of Bashan and Gilead, located in Transjordan, were noted for their rich grazing lands.
- Micah 7:14 tn Heb “as in the days of antiquity.”
- Micah 7:15 tn Heb “him.” This probably refers to Israel in a collective sense. Because the switch from direct address to the third person is awkward, some prefer to emend the suffix to a second person form. In any case, it is necessary to employ a second person pronoun in the translation to maintain the connection for the English reader.
- Micah 7:15 sn I will show you miraculous deeds. In this verse the Lord responds to the petition of v. 14 with a brief promise of deliverance.
- Micah 7:16 tn Or “be ashamed of.”
- Micah 7:16 tn Heb “and their ears will be deaf.” Apparently this means the opposing nations will be left dumbfounded by the Lord’s power. Their inability to respond will make them appear to be deaf mutes.
- Micah 7:17 tn Heb “like crawling things on the ground.” The parallelism suggests snakes are in view.
- Micah 7:17 tn The translation assumes that the phrase אֶל־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ (ʾel yehvah ʾelohenu, “to the Lord our God”) goes with what precedes. Another option is to take the phrase with the following verb, in which case one could translate, “to the Lord our God they will turn in dread.”
- Micah 7:17 tn Heb “they will be in dread and afraid.”
- Micah 7:17 tn The Lord is addressed directly using the second person.
- Micah 7:18 sn The rhetorical question expects the answer, “No one!” The claim is supported by the following description.
- Micah 7:18 tn Heb “one who,” a substantival participle. The descriptions in the rest of vv. 18-19 fill out the rhetorical question, “Who is a God like you?” That is, they provide descriptions of God as reasons that make him without equal. This context uses two participles, e.g. “who forgives” and “who pardons,” and then independent clauses with third person verbs. A similar construction occurs in Ps 113:5-9, with participles and a third person finite verb in v. 7. Here, making the two participles grammatically dependent on the rhetorical question and then switching to the third person is confusing English style. It masks that all these descriptions are serving the same function as a list of unique qualities of God, who is addressed in the second person. To tie these together in English, all the descriptions can be made into second person statements (so NIV), though this does not clarify the distinction of when the original text deliberately switches back to second person in v. 20. Another approach would be to translate the third person clauses as indefinite and dependent, e.g. “Who is…like you, someone who does X, someone who does Y?” Or the interrogative force can be be extended, e.g. “Who is the one who does not stay angry?”
- Micah 7:18 tn Heb “passes over.”
- Micah 7:18 tn Heb “of the remnant of his inheritance.”
- Micah 7:19 tn The interrogative force of the previous verse is continued here, part of a list of attributes reinforcing the question, “Who is like God?”
- Micah 7:19 tn The verb יָשׁוּב (yashuv, “he will return”) is here used adverbially in relation to the following verb, indicating that the Lord will again show mercy.
- Micah 7:19 tn Some prefer to read יִכְבֹּס (yikhbos, “he will cleanse”; see HALOT 459 s.v. כבס pi). If the MT is taken as it stands, sin is personified as an enemy that the Lord subdues.
- Micah 7:19 tc The MT reads וְתַשְׁלִיך (vetashlik, “and you will throw”), while the LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate read “he will throw,” implying וְהַשְׁלִיך (vehashlik). Being conceptually tied to the previous verb, this one should be part of the list begun in v. 18, so the third person form is expected. Also the vav plus perfect consecutive is more typical than vav plus imperfect in this setting.
- Micah 7:19 tc Heb “their sins.” The LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate read “our sins.” The shape of the letters in the first person plural suffix נו (nun and vav) look very much like ם (a final mem), which makes the third person plural suffix. Confusing the two is not an uncommon copying error. It may also be an enclitic ם rather than a pronominal suffix. In that case the suffix from the preceding line (“our”) may be understood as doing double duty.
- Micah 7:19 sn In this metaphor the Lord disposes of Israel’s sins by throwing them into the waters of the sea (here symbolic of chaos).
- Micah 7:20 tn More literally, “You will extend loyalty to Jacob, and loyal love to Abraham.”
- Micah 7:20 tn Heb “our fathers,” meaning “our forefathers.”
- Micah 7:20 tn Heb “from days of old.”