New American Bible (Revised Edition)
1 [a]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.
2 [b]You covet fields, and seize them;
houses, and take them;
You cheat owners of their houses,
people of their inheritance.
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.
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.