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Micah Laments Judah’s Sin

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[a] craves.
Faithful men have disappeared[b] from the land;
there are no godly men left.[c]
They all wait in ambush to shed blood;[d]
they hunt their own brother with a net.
They are experts at doing evil;[e]
government officials and judges take bribes,[f]
prominent men announce what they wish,
and then they plan it out.[g]
The best of them is like a thorn;
their godly are like a thorn bush.[h]
Woe[i] to your watchmen;
your appointed punishment is on the way.[j]
The time of their confusion is now.[k]
Do not rely on a friend;
do not trust a companion!
Even with the one who lies in your arms,
do not share secrets![l]
For a son thinks his father is a fool,
a daughter challenges[m] her mother,
and a daughter-in-law her mother-in-law;
a man’s enemies are his own family.[n]
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

My enemies,[o] do not gloat[p] over me!
Though I have fallen, I will get up.
Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.[q]
I must endure[r] the Lord’s fury,
for I have sinned against him.
But then[s] he will defend my cause[t]
and accomplish justice on my behalf.
He will lead me out into the light;
I will witness his deliverance.[u]
10 When my enemies see this, they will be covered with shame.
They say[v] to me, “Where is the Lord your God?”
I will gloat over them;[w]
then they will be trampled down[x]
like mud in the streets.
11 It will be a day for rebuilding your walls;
in that day your boundary will be extended.[y]

A Closing Prayer

12 In that day people[z] will come to you[aa]
from Assyria as far as[ab] Egypt,
from Egypt as far as the Euphrates River,[ac]
from the seacoasts[ad] and the mountains.[ae]
13 The earth will become desolate
because of what its inhabitants have done.[af]
14 Shepherd your people with your rod,[ag]
the flock that belongs to you,[ah]
the one that lives alone in a thicket,
in the midst of a pastureland.[ai]
Allow them to graze in Bashan and Gilead,[aj]
as they did in the old days.[ak]
15 “As in the days when you departed from the land of Egypt,
I will show you[al] miraculous deeds.”[am]
16 Nations will see this and be disappointed by[an] all their strength;
they will put their hands over their mouths
and act as if they were deaf.[ao]
17 They will lick the dust like a snake,
like serpents crawling on the ground.[ap]
They will come trembling from their strongholds
to the Lord our God;[aq]
they will be terrified[ar] of you.[as]
18 Who is a God like you?[at]
Who[au] forgives sin
and pardons[av] the rebellion
of those who remain among his people?[aw]
Who does not stay angry forever,
but delights in showing loyal love?
19 Who[ax] will once again[ay] have mercy on us?
Who will conquer[az] our evil deeds?
Who will hurl[ba] all our[bb] sins into the depths of the sea?[bc]
20 You will be loyal to Jacob
and extend your loyal love to Abraham,[bd]
which you promised on oath to our ancestors[be] in ancient times.[bf]

Footnotes

  1. Micah 7:1 tn Heb “appetite, soul.”
  2. Micah 7:2 tn Or “have perished.”
  3. Micah 7:2 tn Heb “and an upright one among men there is not.”
  4. Micah 7:2 tn Heb “for bloodshed” (so NASB); TEV “for a chance to commit murder.”
  5. 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.”
  6. Micah 7:3 tn Heb “the official asks—and the judge—for a bribe.”
  7. 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.
  8. 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.”
  9. 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.
  10. Micah 7:4 tn Or “has come.”
  11. Micah 7:4 tn Heb “Now will be their confusion.”
  12. Micah 7:5 tn Heb “guard the doors of your mouth.”
  13. Micah 7:6 tn Heb “rises up against.”
  14. Micah 7:6 tn Heb “his house.” Household may include servants as well as family.
  15. Micah 7:8 tn The singular form is understood as collective.
  16. Micah 7:8 tn Or “rejoice” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NCV “don’t laugh at me.”
  17. Micah 7:8 sn Darkness represents judgment; light (also in v. 9) symbolizes deliverance.
  18. Micah 7:9 tn Heb “bear, carry.”
  19. Micah 7:9 tn Heb “until.”
  20. Micah 7:9 tn Or “plead my case” (NASB and NIV both similar); NRSV “until he takes my side.”
  21. Micah 7:9 tn Or “justice, vindication.”
  22. Micah 7:10 tn Heb “who say.” A new sentence was begun here in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  23. Micah 7:10 tn Heb “My eyes will look on them.”
  24. Micah 7:10 tn Heb “a trampled-down place.”
  25. 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.
  26. 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).
  27. 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.
  28. 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”).
  29. Micah 7:12 tn Heb “the River,” referring to the Euphrates River (so also NASB, NIV).
  30. 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”).
  31. 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”).
  32. Micah 7:13 tn Heb “on account of its inhabitants, because of the fruit of their deeds.”
  33. Micah 7:14 tn The Hebrew term שֵׁבֶט (shevet) can refer to a rod, such as a ṣhepherd’s rod, or a “scepter.”
  34. Micah 7:14 tn Heb “the flock of your inheritance.”
  35. 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.
  36. Micah 7:14 sn The regions of Bashan and Gilead, located in Transjordan, were noted for their rich grazing lands.
  37. Micah 7:14 tn Heb “as in the days of antiquity.”
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. Micah 7:16 tn Or “be ashamed of.”
  41. 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.
  42. Micah 7:17 tn Heb “like crawling things on the ground.” The parallelism suggests snakes are in view.
  43. 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.”
  44. Micah 7:17 tn Heb “they will be in dread and afraid.”
  45. Micah 7:17 tn The Lord is addressed directly using the second person.
  46. Micah 7:18 sn The rhetorical question expects the answer, “No one!” The claim is supported by the following description.
  47. 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?”
  48. Micah 7:18 tn Heb “passes over.”
  49. Micah 7:18 tn Heb “of the remnant of his inheritance.”
  50. 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?”
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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).
  56. Micah 7:20 tn More literally, “You will extend loyalty to Jacob, and loyal love to Abraham.”
  57. Micah 7:20 tn Heb “our fathers,” meaning “our forefathers.”
  58. Micah 7:20 tn Heb “from days of old.”

Israel’s Misery

What misery is mine!
I am like one who gathers summer fruit
    at the gleaning of the vineyard;
there is no cluster of grapes to eat,
    none of the early figs(A) that I crave.
The faithful have been swept from the land;(B)
    not one(C) upright person remains.
Everyone lies in wait(D) to shed blood;(E)
    they hunt each other(F) with nets.(G)
Both hands are skilled in doing evil;(H)
    the ruler demands gifts,
the judge accepts bribes,(I)
    the powerful dictate what they desire—
    they all conspire together.
The best of them is like a brier,(J)
    the most upright worse than a thorn(K) hedge.
The day God visits you has come,
    the day your watchmen sound the alarm.
    Now is the time of your confusion.(L)
Do not trust a neighbor;
    put no confidence in a friend.(M)
Even with the woman who lies in your embrace
    guard the words of your lips.
For a son dishonors his father,
    a daughter rises up against her mother,(N)
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
    a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.(O)

But as for me, I watch(P) in hope(Q) for the Lord,
    I wait for God my Savior;
    my God will hear(R) me.

Israel Will Rise

Do not gloat over me,(S) my enemy!
    Though I have fallen, I will rise.(T)
Though I sit in darkness,
    the Lord will be my light.(U)
Because I have sinned against him,
    I will bear the Lord’s wrath,(V)
until he pleads my case(W)
    and upholds my cause.
He will bring me out into the light;(X)
    I will see his righteousness.(Y)
10 Then my enemy will see it
    and will be covered with shame,(Z)
she who said to me,
    “Where is the Lord your God?”(AA)
My eyes will see her downfall;(AB)
    even now she will be trampled(AC) underfoot
    like mire in the streets.

11 The day for building your walls(AD) will come,
    the day for extending your boundaries.
12 In that day people will come to you
    from Assyria(AE) and the cities of Egypt,
even from Egypt to the Euphrates
    and from sea to sea
    and from mountain to mountain.(AF)
13 The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants,
    as the result of their deeds.(AG)

Prayer and Praise

14 Shepherd(AH) your people with your staff,(AI)
    the flock of your inheritance,
which lives by itself in a forest,
    in fertile pasturelands.[a](AJ)
Let them feed in Bashan(AK) and Gilead(AL)
    as in days long ago.(AM)

15 “As in the days when you came out of Egypt,
    I will show them my wonders.(AN)

16 Nations will see and be ashamed,(AO)
    deprived of all their power.
They will put their hands over their mouths(AP)
    and their ears will become deaf.
17 They will lick dust(AQ) like a snake,
    like creatures that crawl on the ground.
They will come trembling(AR) out of their dens;
    they will turn in fear(AS) to the Lord our God
    and will be afraid of you.
18 Who is a God(AT) like you,
    who pardons sin(AU) and forgives(AV) the transgression
    of the remnant(AW) of his inheritance?(AX)
You do not stay angry(AY) forever
    but delight to show mercy.(AZ)
19 You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities(BA) into the depths of the sea.(BB)
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
    and show love to Abraham,(BC)
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors(BD)
    in days long ago.(BE)

Footnotes

  1. Micah 7:14 Or in the middle of Carmel

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