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Micah 1-7 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 1

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

I. Oracles of Punishment

Hear, O peoples, all of you,
    give heed, O earth, and all that is in it!
Let the Lord God be witness against you,
    the Lord from his holy temple![a]
For see, the Lord goes out from his place
    and descending, treads upon the heights of the earth.[b]
The mountains melt under him
    and the valleys split open,
Like wax before the fire,
    like water poured down a slope.
All this is for the crime of Jacob,
    for the sins of the house of Israel.[c]
What is the crime of Jacob? Is it not Samaria?
And what is the sin of the house of Judah?
    Is it not Jerusalem?
So I will make Samaria a ruin in the field,
    a place to plant vineyards;
I will throw its stones into the valley,
    and lay bare its foundations.[d]
All its carved figures shall be broken to pieces,
    all its wages shall be burned in the fire,
    and all its idols I will destroy.
As the wages of a prostitute[e] it gathered them,
    and to the wages of a prostitute they shall return.

[f]For this I will lament and wail,
    go barefoot and naked;
I will utter lamentation like the jackals,
    mourning like the ostriches,
For her wound is incurable;
    it has come even to Judah.
It has reached to the gate of my people,
    even to Jerusalem.

10 [g]Do not announce it in Gath,
    do not weep at all;
In Beth-leaphrah
    roll in the dust.
11 Pass by,
    you who dwell in Shaphir!
The inhabitants of Zaanan
    do not come forth from their city.
There is lamentation in Beth-ezel.
    It will withdraw its support from you.
12 The inhabitants of Maroth
    hope for good,
But evil has come down from the Lord
    to the gate of Jerusalem.
13 Harness steeds to the chariots,
    inhabitants of Lachish;
You are the beginning of sin
    for daughter Zion,
For in you were found
    the crimes of Israel.
14 Therefore you must give back the dowry
    to Moresheth-gath;
The houses of Achzib[h] are a dry stream bed
    to the kings of Israel.
15 Again I will bring the conqueror to you,
    inhabitants of Mareshah;
The glory of Israel shall come
    even to Adullam.
16 Make yourself bald, cut off your hair,
    for the children whom you cherish;
Make yourself bald as a vulture,
    for they are taken from you into exile.[i]

Chapter 2

[j]Ah! you plotters of iniquity,
    who work out evil on your beds!
In the morning light you carry it out
    for it lies within your power.
[k]You covet fields, and seize them;
    houses, and take them;
You cheat owners of their houses,
    people of their inheritance.

    Therefore thus says the Lord:
Look, I am planning against this family an evil
    from which you cannot free your necks;
Nor shall you walk with head held high,
    for it will be an evil time.
On that day you shall be mocked,
    and there will be bitter lament:
“Our ruin is complete,
    our fields are divided among our captors,
The fields of my people are measured out,
    and no one can get them back!”[l]
Thus you shall have no one
    in the assembly of the Lord
    to allot to you a share of land.

[m]“Do not preach,” they preach,
    “no one should preach of these things!
    Shame will not overtake us.”
How can it be said, house of Jacob,
    “Is the Lord short of patience;
    are these the Lord’s deeds?”
Do not my words promise good
    to the one who walks in justice?
But you rise up against my people as an enemy:
    you have stripped off the garment from the peaceful,
From those who go their way in confidence,
    as though it were spoils of war.
The women of my people you drive out
    from their pleasant houses;
From their children you take away
    forever the honor I gave them.

10 [n]“Get up! Leave,
    this is no place to rest”;
Because of uncleanness that destroys
    with terrible destruction.
11 If one possessed of a lying spirit
    speaks deceitfully, saying,
“I will preach to you wine and strong drink,”
    that one would be the preacher for this people.

12 [o]I will gather you, Jacob, each and every one,
    I will assemble all the remnant of Israel;
I will group them like a flock in the fold,
    like a herd in its pasture;
    the noise of the people will resound.

13 The one who makes a breach goes up before them;
    they make a breach and pass through the gate;
Their king shall go through before them,
    the Lord at their head.

Chapter 3

    [p]And I said:
Hear, you leaders of Jacob,
    rulers of the house of Israel!
Is it not your duty to know what is right,
    you who hate what is good, and love evil?
You who tear their skin from them,
    and their flesh from their bones;
Who eat the flesh of my people,
    flay their skin from them,
    and break their bones;
Who chop them in pieces like flesh in a kettle,
    like meat in a pot.
When they cry to the Lord,
    he will not answer them;
He will hide his face from them at that time,
    because of the evil they have done.

[q]Thus says the Lord regarding the prophets:
    O you who lead my people astray,
When your teeth have something to bite
    you announce peace,
But proclaim war against the one
    who fails to put something in your mouth.
Therefore you shall have night, not vision,
    darkness, not divination;
The sun shall go down upon the prophets,
    and the day shall be dark for them.
Then the seers shall be put to shame,
    and the diviners confounded;
They shall all cover their lips,
    because there is no answer from God.
But as for me, I am filled with power,
    with the spirit of the Lord,
    with justice and with might;
To declare to Jacob his crimes
    and to Israel his sins.

[r]Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob,
    you rulers of the house of Israel!
You who abhor justice,
    and pervert all that is right;
10 Who build up Zion with bloodshed,
    and Jerusalem with wickedness!
11 Its leaders render judgment for a bribe,
    the priests teach for pay,
    the prophets divine for money,
While they rely on the Lord, saying,
    “Is not the Lord in the midst of us?
    No evil can come upon us!”
12 Therefore, because of you,
    Zion shall be plowed like a field,
    and Jerusalem reduced to rubble,
And the mount of the temple
    to a forest ridge.

II. Oracles of Salvation

Chapter 4

[s]In days to come
    the mount of the Lord’s house
Shall be established as the highest mountain;
    it shall be raised above the hills,
And peoples shall stream to it:
    Many nations shall come, and say,
“Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain,
    to the house of the God of Jacob,
That he may instruct us in his ways,
    that we may walk in his paths.”
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
    and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between many peoples
    and set terms for strong and distant nations;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
One nation shall not raise the sword against another,
    nor shall they train for war again.
They shall all sit under their own vines,
    under their own fig trees, undisturbed;
    for the Lord of hosts has spoken.
Though all the peoples walk,
    each in the name of its god,
We will walk in the name of the Lord,
    our God, forever and ever.

[t]On that day—oracle of the Lord
    I will gather the lame,
And I will assemble the outcasts,
    and those whom I have afflicted.
I will make of the lame a remnant,
    and of the weak a strong nation;
The Lord shall be king over them on Mount Zion,
    from now on and forever.

And you, O tower of the flock,[u]
    hill of daughter Zion!
To you it shall come:
    the former dominion shall be restored,
    the reign of daughter Jerusalem.

Now why do you cry out so?
    Are you without a king?
    Or has your adviser perished,
That you are seized with pains
    like a woman in labor?
10 [v]Writhe, go into labor,
    O daughter Zion,
    like a woman giving birth;
For now you shall leave the city
    and camp in the fields;
To Babylon you shall go,
    there you shall be rescued.
There the Lord shall redeem you
    from the hand of your enemies.

11 [w]And now many nations are gathered against you!
    They say, “Let her be profaned,
    let our eyes see Zion’s downfall!”
12 But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord,
    nor understand his plan:
He has gathered them
    like sheaves to the threshing floor.
13 Arise and thresh, O daughter Zion;
    your horn I will make iron
And your hoofs I will make bronze,
    that you may crush many peoples;
You shall devote their spoils to the Lord,[x]
    their riches to the Lord of the whole earth.

14 Now grieve, O grieving daughter![y]
    “They have laid siege against us!”
With the rod they strike on the cheek
    the ruler of Israel.

Chapter 5

[z]But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah
    least among the clans of Judah,
From you shall come forth for me
    one who is to be ruler in Israel;
Whose origin is from of old,
    from ancient times.
Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time
    when she who is to give birth has borne,[aa]
Then the rest of his kindred shall return
    to the children of Israel.
He shall take his place as shepherd
    by the strength of the Lord,
    by the majestic name of the Lord, his God;
And they shall dwell securely, for now his greatness
    shall reach to the ends of the earth:
    he shall be peace.[ab]
If Assyria invades our country
    and treads upon our land,
We shall raise against it seven shepherds,
    eight of royal standing;
They shall tend the land of Assyria with the sword,
    and the land of Nimrod[ac] with the drawn sword;
They will deliver us from Assyria,
    when it invades our land,
    when it treads upon our borders.

The remnant of Jacob shall be
    in the midst of many peoples,
Like dew coming from the Lord,
    like showers on the grass,
Which wait for no one,
    delay for no human being.
And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations,
    in the midst of many peoples,
Like a lion among beasts of the forest,
    like a young lion among flocks of sheep;
When it passes through it tramples;
    it tears and no one can rescue.
Your hand shall be lifted above your foes,
    and all your enemies shall be cut down.

    [ad]On that day—oracle of the Lord
I will destroy the horses from your midst
    and ruin your chariots;
10 I will destroy the cities of your land
    and tear down all your fortresses.
11 I will destroy the sorcery you practice,
    and there shall no longer be soothsayers among you.
12 I will destroy your carved figures
    and the sacred stones[ae] from your midst;
And you shall no longer worship
    the works of your hands.
13 I will tear out the asherahs from your midst,
    and destroy your cities.
14 I will wreak vengeance in anger and wrath
    upon the nations that have not listened.

III. Announcement of Judgment

Chapter 6

    [af]Hear, then, what the Lord says:
Arise, plead your case before the mountains,
    and let the hills hear your voice!
Hear, O mountains, the Lord’s case,
    pay attention, O foundations of the earth!
For the Lord has a case against his people;
    he enters into trial with Israel.
My people, what have I done to you?
    how have I wearied you? Answer me!
I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
    from the place of slavery I ransomed you;
And I sent before you Moses,
    Aaron, and Miriam.
[ag]My people, remember what Moab’s King Balak planned,
    and how Balaam, the son of Beor, answered him.
Recall the passage from Shittim to Gilgal,
    that you may know the just deeds of the Lord.
[ah]With what shall I come before the Lord,
    and bow before God most high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with myriad streams of oil?
[ai] Shall I give my firstborn for my crime,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
[aj]You have been told, O mortal, what is good,
    and what the Lord requires of you:
Only to do justice and to love goodness,
    and to walk humbly with your God.
[ak]The Lord cries aloud to the city
    (It is prudent to fear your name!):
    Hear, O tribe and city assembly,
10 Am I to bear criminal hoarding
    and the accursed short ephah?[al]
11 Shall I acquit crooked scales,
    bags of false weights?
12 You whose wealthy are full of violence,
    whose inhabitants speak falsehood
    with deceitful tongues in their mouths!
13 I have begun to strike you
    with devastation because of your sins.
14 You shall eat, without being satisfied,
    food that will leave you empty;
What you acquire, you cannot save;
    what you do save, I will deliver up to the sword.
15 You shall sow, yet not reap,
    tread out the olive, yet pour no oil,
    crush the grapes, yet drink no wine.
16 You have kept the decrees of Omri,
    and all the works of the house of Ahab,
    and you have walked in their counsels;
Therefore I will deliver you up to ruin,
    and your citizens to derision;
    and you shall bear the reproach of the nations.

Chapter 7

Woe is me! I am like the one who gathers summer fruit,
    when the vines have been gleaned;
There is no cluster to eat,
    no early fig that I crave.
The faithful have vanished from the earth,
    no mortal is just!
They all lie in wait to shed blood,
    each one ensnares the other.
Their hands succeed at evil;
    the prince makes demands,
The judge is bought for a price,
    the powerful speak as they please.
The best of them is like a brier,
    the most honest like a thorn hedge.
The day announced by your sentinels!
    Your punishment has come;
    now is the time of your confusion.
Put no faith in a friend,
    do not trust a companion;
With her who lies in your embrace
    watch what you say.
For the son belittles his father,
    the daughter rises up against her mother,
The daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,
    and your enemies are members of your household.

IV. Confidence in God’s Future

But as for me, I will look to the Lord,
    I will wait for God my savior;
    my God will hear me!
[am]Do not rejoice over me, my enemy![an]
    though I have fallen, I will arise;
    though I sit in darkness, the Lord is my light.
I will endure the wrath of the Lord
    because I have sinned against him,
Until he pleads my case,
    and establishes my right.
He will bring me forth to the light;
    I will see his righteousness.
10 When my enemy sees this,
    shame shall cover her:
She who said to me,
    “Where is the Lord, your God?”
My eyes shall see her downfall;
    now she will be trampled[ao] underfoot,
    like mud in the streets.
11 [ap]It is the day for building your walls;
    on that day your boundaries shall be enlarged.
12 It is the day when those from Assyria to Egypt
    shall come to you,
And from Tyre even to the River,
    from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain;
13 And the earth shall be a waste
    because of its inhabitants,
    as a result of their deeds.

14 [aq]Shepherd your people with your staff,
    the flock of your heritage,
That lives apart in a woodland,
    in the midst of an orchard.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
    as in the days of old;
15 As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
    show us wonderful signs.
16 The nations will see and will be put to shame,
    in spite of all their strength;
They will put their hands over their mouths;
    their ears will become deaf.
17 They will lick the dust like a snake,
    like crawling things on the ground;
They will come quaking from their strongholds;
    they will tremble in fear of you, the Lord, our God.
18 [ar]Who is a God like you, who removes guilt
    and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
    but instead delights in mercy,
19 And will again have compassion on us,
    treading underfoot our iniquities?
You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins;
20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
    and loyalty to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our ancestors
    from days of old.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:2 The prophet summons all the peoples to hear the divine accusations against them. What follows in 1:2–3:12 is a series of prophecies of punishment addressed to the capital cities of both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, Samaria and Jerusalem. The prophecies indict the leaders and main officials, including prophets. Because of the corruption and selfishness of their leaders, Samaria and Jerusalem will fall to their enemies.
  2. 1:3 The Lord comes in a theophany which has devastating effects on the natural world (1:4).
  3. 1:5 Although the summons (1:2) had been addressed to all people, the Lord speaks against Israel and Judah, identifying their crimes with the respective capital cities of Samaria and Jerusalem. Only Samaria, however, is scheduled for destruction in the announcement of punishment (vv. 6–7).
  4. 1:6 The punishment of Samaria will be a military disaster such as the one that actually came at the hands of the Assyrian army in 722/721 B.C.
  5. 1:7 The wages of a prostitute: as often in the prophets, prostitution is a metaphor for idolatry (Hos 1–3; 4:14). They shall return: i.e., Samaria’s idols shall come to nothing just as the wages of a prostitute are counted as nothing.
  6. 1:8–16 The prophet laments and wails, singing a funeral song or dirge over the city of Jerusalem. Finally (1:16) he calls upon the people of Jerusalem to join in the mourning.
  7. 1:10–15 Not all of the cities and villages in this long list can be located with certainty. However, those which can be identified, including the prophet’s hometown, lie southwest of Jerusalem. In the Hebrew, wordplays on the names of these cities abound. The territory involved corresponds to that decimated by the Assyrian king Sennacherib in 701 B.C., during the reign of Hezekiah. Do not weep at all: some commentators and translators understand the Hebrew differently. They argue that the translation “in (unknown place name) weep!” fits the context better.
  8. 1:14 The houses of Achzib: there is a wordplay here. In the Hebrew, the word translated here as “dry stream bed” is ’achzab; this word is sometimes translated as “deception” or “disappointment.”
  9. 1:16 Shaving the head was a sign of mourning; cf. Is 3:24; Am 8:10.
  10. 2:1–5

    The cry “Ah” (hoy) begins a typical prophetic speech that is usually continued, as here (vv. 1–2), by a description of the addressees in terms of their unrighteous activities. This description is an indictment which gives the reasons for punishment announced to a particular group of people (vv. 3–5). The prophet spells out the crimes; the Lord announces the punishment, which corresponds to the crime: those who take the land of others will have their own land taken.

    Those who plot iniquity and have the power to do it are wealthy landowners. The evil which they do consists in coveting the fields and houses of others and taking them.

  11. 2:2

    To covet the “house” and other property of the neighbor was a violation of the Decalogue (Ex 20:17; 34:24; Dt 5:21).

    The Lord, as owner of the earth, allotted the land by tribes and families to the people of Israel (Jos 13–19). Losing one’s inheritance diminished one’s place in the community and threatened the family’s economic viability and existence. According to Micah, those who used their power to expand their estates at the expense of weaker Israelites took more than land from them: they were tampering with the divine order.

  12. 2:4 Those who take land from the less powerful will in turn have their land taken away by invaders.
  13. 2:6–11 This unit is a disputation, an argument in which the prophet is debating with his opponents. The words of the opponents are given to us only as the prophet quotes them. The opponents accuse Micah of being a false prophet, and he reacts by accusing them of injustice and of preferring prophets and preachers who speak lies (v. 11).
  14. 2:10 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  15. 2:12–13 This announcement of salvation to the “remnant of Israel” stands out dramatically in the context, and is probably a later addition to the words of Micah, coming from the time of the Babylonian exile. The content of the promise and the images are similar to those found in Second Isaiah, the great poet of Israel’s salvation and restoration (see Is 40:11; 43:5).
  16. 3:1–4 This prophecy of punishment has an introductory call to hear (v. 1a–b) and two major parts, the indictment or reasons for punishment (vv. 1c–3) and the announcement of judgment (v. 4). The prophet accuses the leaders and rulers of Israel of treating the people so badly that their actions are comparable to cannibalism. Those who, above all, should know and maintain justice are the most corrupt of all. In the time of trouble the Lord will withdraw (v. 4); that is, God will abandon the leaders to their fate and refuse to answer their prayers.
  17. 3:5–8 This prophecy of punishment concerns and is addressed to false prophets. The prophets in Jerusalem who mislead the people are corrupt because their word can be bought (v. 5). Therefore such prophets, seers, and diviners shall be disgraced, put to shame, left in the dark without vision or answer (vv. 6–7). But Micah is convinced that he is filled with power and the spirit of the Lord, which corresponds to justice and might (v. 8).
  18. 3:9–12 This is the most comprehensive of Micah’s prophecies of punishment concerning the leaders in Jerusalem. The indictment (vv. 9–11) includes all political and religious leaders. They combine corruption and greed with a false confidence that the Lord is on their side. But the announcement of judgment (v. 12) is not limited to the punishment of the leaders but includes Mount Zion where the Temple stands and the entire city, thus encompassing the entire population.
  19. 4:1–4 This magnificent prophecy of salvation is almost identical to Is 2:2–5, with the exception of its last verse. See also Jl 4:9–10, which transforms the promise into a call to war. It is not known if Micah or an editor of the book picked up the announcement from his contemporary Isaiah or if Isaiah borrowed it from Micah. Perhaps both Isaiah and Micah depended upon another, more ancient tradition. The ground of the prophetic hope voiced here is the justice and grace of the God who has chosen Israel. The basis for peace shall be a just order where all are obedient to the divine will. While the vision is a universal one, including all peoples and nations (vv. 3–4), its center and wellspring is the Temple of the Lord of Israel on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
  20. 4:6–8 An announcement of salvation proclaiming that the Lord will restore the lame and afflicted people of God as a nation on Mount Zion. Oracle of the Lord: a phrase used extensively in prophetic books to indicate divine speech.
  21. 4:8 Tower of the flock: in Hebrew migdal-eder, a place name in Gn 35:21.
  22. 4:10 Frequently the prophets personify the city of Jerusalem as a woman, and here as a woman in labor.
  23. 4:11–13 The nations who have ridiculed Zion (v. 11) will be threshed like grain (v. 13).
  24. 4:13 Devote their spoils to the Lord: the fulfillment of the ancient ordinance of the holy war in which all plunder taken in the war was “put under the ban,” i.e., belonged to the Lord.
  25. 4:14 Grieve, O grieving daughter!: the Hebrew actually reflects the ancient Near Eastern mourning practice of afflicting oneself with cuts and gashes, as evidence of grief. A literal rendering would be “gash yourself, O woman who gashes.”
  26. 5:1–6 Salvation will come through a “messiah,” an anointed ruler. The Book of Micah shares with Isaiah the expectation that God will deliver Israel through a king in the line of David. Bethlehem-Ephrathah is the home of the Davidic line.
  27. 5:2 These words are sometimes understood as a reference to Isaiah’s Emmanuel oracle, given some thirty years earlier (Is 7:14). The Gospel of Matthew reports that the chief priests and scribes cite this passage as the ancient promise of a messiah in the line of David to be born in Bethlehem (Mt 2:5–6).
  28. 5:4 Peace: he will not only symbolize but also bring about harmony and wholeness.
  29. 5:5 Nimrod: the legendary ancestor of the Mesopotamians; cf. Gn 10:10–12.
  30. 5:9–13 The Lord will destroy all those features of the nation’s life that have stood between the people and their God. These false supports include horses, chariots, fortifications, and forbidden practices such as sorcery and idolatry.
  31. 5:12–13 Sacred stones…asherahs: the Hebrew asherah is a sacred pole. All forms of idolatry (standing stones and sacred poles were part of forbidden cult practices) were violations of Israel’s covenant with the Lord.
  32. 6:1–5 The Lord, through the prophet, initiates a legal case against the people. The initial calls (vv. 1–2) signal the beginning of a trial, and the proclamation that the Lord intends to enter into a legal dispute with Israel. One would expect accusations to follow such an introduction, but instead the Lord speaks in self-defense, reciting mighty acts done in behalf of Israel (vv. 3–5).
  33. 6:5 The Lord calls for the people to remember the saving events of the past, from the encounters with Balak and Balaam (Nm 22:23) during the wandering in the wilderness to the entrance into the promised land (“from Shittim to Gilgal,” Jos 3–5).
  34. 6:6–8 These verses continue the previous unit (6:1–5), the dialogue between the Lord and the people in the pattern of a trial. The Lord has initiated proceedings against them, and they ask how to re-establish the broken relationship with God (vv. 6–7), and are given an answer (v. 8). The form of the passage borrows from a priestly liturgical pattern. When worshipers came to the temple, they inquired of the priest concerning the appropriate offering or sacrifice, and the priest answered them (see Ps 15; 24; Is 1:10–17; Am 5:21–24).
  35. 6:7 The questions reach their climax with the possibility of child sacrifice, a practice known in antiquity (cf. 2 Kgs 16:3; 21:6).
  36. 6:8 To do justice refers to human behavior in relationship to others. To love goodness refers to the kind of love and concern which is at the heart of the covenant between the Lord and Israel; it is persistently faithful. To walk humbly with your God means to listen carefully to the revealed will of God.
  37. 6:9–16 The language of the trial resumes as the Lord accuses the people of their sins (vv. 9–12, 16a) and announces their punishment (vv. 13–15, 16b). The city is Jerusalem, and those addressed are its inhabitants. Their wickedness includes cheating in business with false weights and measures, violence, lies, and following the practices of the Israelite kings Omri and Ahab (v. 16a), whose reigns came to symbolize a time of syncretistic worship. The punishment, which has already begun, will include a series of disasters. Finally, the Lord will destroy the city and see that its inhabitants are ridiculed (v. 16b).
  38. 6:10 Ephah: see note on Is 5:10.
  39. 7:8–20 The book concludes with a collection of confident prayers for deliverance, affirmations of faith, and announcements of salvation. Most of these verses bear the marks of use in worship, and probably arose in the exilic or postexilic periods.
  40. 7:8–10 An individual, possibly personified Jerusalem, expresses confidence that the Lord will deliver her from her enemy (cf. Ps 23).
  41. 7:10 She who said…she will be trampled: in the Old Testament, cities are often personified as women. Here, the prophet is speaking of the enemies’ cities.
  42. 7:11–13 An announcement of salvation to Zion. The walls of Jerusalem will be rebuilt, its inhabitants who are now scattered from Assyria to Egypt shall return, but the other peoples will suffer for their evil deeds.
  43. 7:14–17 A prayer that God will care for the people as in ancient days (v. 14) is answered (vv. 15–17) when the Lord promises to do marvelous things. The nations shall be afraid and turn to the Lord.
  44. 7:18–20 The final lines of the book contain a hymn of praise for the incomparable God, who pardons sin and delights in mercy. Thus the remnant, those left after the exile, is confident in God’s compassion and in the ancient promises sworn to the ancestors.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ben Sira 47:1-11 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 47

Nathan, David, and Solomon

After him came Nathan[a]
    who served in David’s presence.
Like the choice fat of sacred offerings,
    so was David in Israel.
He played with lions as though they were young goats,
    and with bears, like lambs of the flock.
As a youth he struck down the giant
    and wiped out the people’s disgrace;
His hand let fly the slingstone
    that shattered the pride of Goliath.
For he had called upon the Most High God,
    who gave strength to his right arm
To defeat the skilled warrior
    and establish the might of his people.
Therefore the women sang his praises
    and honored him for “the tens of thousands.”
When he received the royal crown, he battled
    and subdued the enemy on every side.
He campaigned against the hostile Philistines
    and shattered their power till our own day.
With his every deed he offered thanks
    to God Most High, in words of praise.
With his whole heart he loved his Maker
    and daily had his praises sung;
10 He added beauty to the feasts
    and solemnized the seasons of each year
09 With string music before the altar,
    providing sweet melody for the psalms
10 So that when the Holy Name was praised,
    before daybreak the sanctuary would resound.
11 The Lord forgave him his sins
    and exalted his strength forever;
He conferred on him the rights of royalty
    and established his throne in Israel.

Footnotes:

  1. 47:1–11 An idealized portrait of David; cf. 1 Chronicles.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Luke 1:1-25 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I. The Prologue[a]

Chapter 1

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.

II. The Infancy Narrative[b]

Announcement of the Birth of John. In the days of Herod, King of Judea,[c] there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child,[d] because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years. Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. 10 Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, 11 the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. 12 Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid,[e] Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of [the] Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink.[f] He will be filled with the holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, 16 and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah[g] to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.” 18 Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel,[h] who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. 20 But now you will be speechless and unable to talk[i] until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”

21 Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. 22 But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute. 23 Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. 24 After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, 25 “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.”

Announcement of the Birth of Jesus.[j]

Footnotes:

  1. 1:1–4 The Gospel according to Luke is the only one of the synoptic gospels to begin with a literary prologue. Making use of a formal, literary construction and vocabulary, the author writes the prologue in imitation of Hellenistic Greek writers and, in so doing, relates his story about Jesus to contemporaneous Greek and Roman literature. Luke is not only interested in the words and deeds of Jesus, but also in the larger context of the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises of God in the Old Testament. As a second- or third-generation Christian, Luke acknowledges his debt to earlier eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, but claims that his contribution to this developing tradition is a complete and accurate account, told in an orderly manner, and intended to provide Theophilus (“friend of God,” literally) and other readers with certainty about earlier teachings they have received.
  2. 1:5–2:52 Like the Gospel according to Matthew, this gospel opens with an infancy narrative, a collection of stories about the birth and childhood of Jesus. The narrative uses early Christian traditions about the birth of Jesus, traditions about the birth and circumcision of John the Baptist, and canticles such as the Magnificat (Lk 1:46–55) and Benedictus (Lk 1:67–79), composed of phrases drawn from the Greek Old Testament. It is largely, however, the composition of Luke who writes in imitation of Old Testament birth stories, combining historical and legendary details, literary ornamentation and interpretation of scripture, to answer in advance the question, “Who is Jesus Christ?” The focus of the narrative, therefore, is primarily christological. In this section Luke announces many of the themes that will become prominent in the rest of the gospel: the centrality of Jerusalem and the temple, the journey motif, the universality of salvation, joy and peace, concern for the lowly, the importance of women, the presentation of Jesus as savior, Spirit-guided revelation and prophecy, and the fulfillment of Old Testament promises. The account presents parallel scenes (diptychs) of angelic announcements of the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus, and of the birth, circumcision, and presentation of John and Jesus. In this parallelism, the ascendency of Jesus over John is stressed: John is prophet of the Most High (Lk 1:76); Jesus is Son of the Most High (Lk 1:32). John is great in the sight of the Lord (Lk 1:15); Jesus will be Great (a LXX attribute, used absolutely, of God) (Lk 1:32). John will go before the Lord (Lk 1:16–17); Jesus will be Lord (Lk 1:43; 2:11).
  3. 1:5 In the days of Herod, King of Judea: Luke relates the story of salvation history to events in contemporary world history. Here and in Lk 3:1–2 he connects his narrative with events in Palestinian history; in Lk 2:1–2 and Lk 3:1 he casts the Jesus story in the light of events of Roman history. Herod the Great, the son of the Idumean Antipater, was declared “King of Judea” by the Roman Senate in 40 B.C., but became the undisputed ruler of Palestine only in 37 B.C. He continued as king until his death in 4 B.C. Priestly division of Abijah: a reference to the eighth of the twenty-four divisions of priests who, for a week at a time, twice a year, served in the Jerusalem temple.
  4. 1:7 They had no child: though childlessness was looked upon in contemporaneous Judaism as a curse or punishment for sin, it is intended here to present Elizabeth in a situation similar to that of some of the great mothers of important Old Testament figures: Sarah (Gn 15:3; 16:1); Rebekah (Gn 25:21); Rachel (Gn 29:31; 30:1); the mother of Samson and wife of Manoah (Jgs 13:2–3); Hannah (1 Sm 1:2).
  5. 1:13 Do not be afraid: a stereotyped Old Testament phrase spoken to reassure the recipient of a heavenly vision (Gn 15:1; Jos 1:9; Dn 10:12, 19 and elsewhere in Lk 1:30; 2:10). You shall name him John: the name means “Yahweh has shown favor,” an indication of John’s role in salvation history.
  6. 1:15 He will drink neither wine nor strong drink: like Samson (Jgs 13:4–5) and Samuel (1 Sm 1:11 LXX and 4QSama), John is to be consecrated by Nazirite vow and set apart for the Lord’s service.
  7. 1:17 He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah: John is to be the messenger sent before Yahweh, as described in Mal 3:1–2. He is cast, moreover, in the role of the Old Testament fiery reformer, the prophet Elijah, who according to Mal 3:23 (Mal 4:5) is sent before “the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.”
  8. 1:19 I am Gabriel: “the angel of the Lord” is identified as Gabriel, the angel who in Dn 9:20–25 announces the seventy weeks of years and the coming of an anointed one, a prince. By alluding to Old Testament themes in Lk 1:17, 19 such as the coming of the day of the Lord and the dawning of the messianic era, Luke is presenting his interpretation of the significance of the births of John and Jesus.
  9. 1:20 You will be speechless and unable to talk: Zechariah’s becoming mute is the sign given in response to his question in v 18. When Mary asks a similar question in Lk 1:34, unlike Zechariah who was punished for his doubt, she, in spite of her doubt, is praised and reassured (Lk 1:35–37).
  10. 1:26–38 The announcement to Mary of the birth of Jesus is parallel to the announcement to Zechariah of the birth of John. In both the angel Gabriel appears to the parent who is troubled by the vision (Lk 1:11–12, 26–29) and then told by the angel not to fear (Lk 1:13, 30). After the announcement is made (Lk 1:14–17, 31–33) the parent objects (Lk 1:18, 34) and a sign is given to confirm the announcement (Lk 1:20, 36). The particular focus of the announcement of the birth of Jesus is on his identity as Son of David (Lk 1:32–33) and Son of God (Lk 1:32, 35).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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