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Israel Is Corrupt

I feel so empty inside—
like someone starving
    for grapes or figs,
after the vines and trees
    have all been picked clean.
No one is loyal to God;
    no one does right.
Everyone is brutal
and eager to deceive
    everyone else.
People cooperate to commit crime.
Judges and leaders demand bribes,
    and rulers cheat in court.[a]
The most honest of them
    is worse than a thorn patch.

Your doom has come!
Lookouts sound the warning,
    and everyone panics.
Don’t trust anyone,
    not even your best friend,
and be careful what you say
    to the one you love.

Sons refuse to respect
    their own fathers,
daughters rebel against
    their own mothers,
and daughters-in-law despise
    their mothers-in-law.
Your family is now your enemy.
But I trust the Lord God
    to save me,
and I will wait for him
    to answer my prayer.

The Nation Turns to God

My enemies, don’t be glad
    because of my troubles!
I may have fallen,
    but I will get up;
I may be sitting in the dark,
    but the Lord is my light.
I have sinned against the Lord.
And so I must endure his anger,
    until he comes to my defense.
But I know that I will see him
making things right for me
    and leading me to the light.

10 You, my enemies, said,
    “The Lord God is helpless.”
Now each of you
will be disgraced
    and put to shame.
I will see you trampled
    like mud in the street.

A Bright Future

11 Towns of Judah, the day is coming
when your walls will be rebuilt,
    and your boundaries enlarged.
12 People will flock to you
    from Assyria and Egypt,
from Babylonia[b]
    and everywhere else.
13 Those nations will suffer disaster
    because of what they did.

Micah’s Prayer and the Lord’s Answer

14 Lead your people, Lord!
    Come and be our shepherd.
Grasslands surround us,
    but we live in a forest.
So lead us to Bashan and Gilead,[c]
and let us find pasture
    as we did long ago.

15 I, the Lord, will work miracles
just as I did
when I led you
    out of Egypt.
16 Nations will see this
and be ashamed
because
    of their helpless armies.
They will be in shock,
    unable to speak or hear,
17 because of their fear of me,
    your Lord and God.
Then they will come trembling,
crawling out of their fortresses
    like insects or snakes,
    lapping up the dust.

No One Is Like God

The people said:

18 Our God, no one is like you.
We are all that is left
    of your chosen people,
and you freely forgive
    our sin and guilt.
You don’t stay angry forever;
you’re glad to have pity
19     and pleased to be merciful.
You will trample on our sins
    and throw them in the sea.
20 You will keep your word
and be faithful to Jacob
    and to Abraham,
as you promised our ancestors
    many years ago.

Footnotes

  1. 7.3 court: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 3.
  2. 7.12 Babylonia: The Hebrew text has “the river,” meaning the Euphrates River, which stood for Babylonia.
  3. 7.14 Bashan and Gilead: Two regions east of the Jordan River, known for their fertile pasturelands.

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