1 I am Micah from Moresheth.[a] And this is the message about Samaria and Jerusalem[b] that the Lord gave to me when Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah[c] were the kings of Judah.
Judgment on Samaria
2 Listen, all of you! Earth and everything on it, pay close attention. The Lord God accuses you from his holy temple.[d] 3 And he will come down to crush underfoot every pagan altar. 4 Mountains will melt beneath his feet like wax beside a fire. Valleys will vanish like water rushing down a ravine. 5 This will happen because of the terrible sins of Israel, the descendants of Jacob. Samaria has led Israel to sin, and pagan altars at Jerusalem have made Judah sin.
6 So the Lord will leave Samaria in ruins— merely an empty field where vineyards are planted. He will scatter its stones and destroy its foundations. 7 Samaria’s idols will be smashed, and the wages of temple prostitutes[e] will be destroyed by fire. Silver and gold from those idols will then be used by foreigners as payment for prostitutes.
Judah Is Doomed
8 Because of this tragedy,[f] I go barefoot and naked. My crying and weeping sound like howling wolves or ostriches. 9 The nation is fatally wounded. Judah is doomed. Jerusalem will fall.
10 Don’t tell it in Gath! Don’t even cry. Instead, roll in the dust at Beth-Leaphrah.[g] 11 Depart naked and ashamed, you people of Shaphir.[h] The town of Bethezel[i] mourns because no one from Zaanan[j] went out to help.[k] 12 Everyone in Maroth[l] hoped for the best, but the Lord sent disaster down on Jerusalem.
13 Get the war chariots ready, you people of Lachish.[m] You led Jerusalem into sin, just as Israel did.[n] 14 Now you will have to give a going-away gift[o] to Moresheth.[p] Israel’s kings will discover that they cannot trust the town of Achzib.[q]
15 People of Mareshah,[r] the Lord will send someone to capture your town. Then Israel’s glorious king will be forced to hide in Adullam Cave.[s] 16 Judah, shave your head as bald as a buzzard and start mourning. Your precious children[t] will be dragged off to a foreign country.
1.1Moresheth: A town in southern Judah not far from Gath. In verse 14 it is called Moresheth-Gath.
1.1Samaria and Jerusalem: Samaria was the capital of the northern kingdom (Israel), and Jerusalem was the capital of the southern kingdom (Judah).
1.1Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah: Jotham, the son of Uzziah, ruled Judah 740-736 B.C.; Ahaz, the son of Jotham, ruled 736-716 B.C.; Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, ruled 716-687 B.C.
1.2holy temple: Possibly the one in heaven, though it may be the Jerusalem temple.
1.7wages of temple prostitutes: At pagan temples, people had sex with prostitutes as a way of worshiping the idols, and the money earned in this way was used to support the pagan religion.
1.8this tragedy: Either the destruction of Samaria (verses 6,7) or the coming destruction of Judah and Jerusalem.
1.10Gath. . . Beth-Leaphrah: Gath was a Philistine city; Beth-Leaphrah is unknown, but in Hebrew it sounds like “House of Dust.”
1.11Shaphir: Mentioned only here in the Old Testament; in Hebrew “Shaphir” means “beautiful.”
1.11Bethezel: Mentioned only here in the Old Testament; in Hebrew “Bethezel” means “house next door.”
1.11Zaanan: Mentioned only here in the Old Testament; in Hebrew “Zaanan” means “one who goes out.”
1.11The town. . . help: Or “No one from Zaanan refused to desert their town, and Bethezel mourns because it is left undefended.”
1.12Maroth: Mentioned only here in the Old Testament; in Hebrew “Maroth” means “bitter.”
1.13Lachish: The chief city of southwest Judah, about thirty miles from Jerusalem.
1.13led. . . sin. . . did: Or “You led Jerusalem and Israel into sin.” In Hebrew “Lachish” sounds like “a team of horses (that pulls a war chariot).” And the sin may be that Lachish led the nation to trust the power of war chariots instead of the Lord. But the sin could be idolatry or some false teachings that were brought in from Egypt by way of Lachish.
1.14going-away gift: The gift (dowry) that a bride’s father gave her when she left the home of her parents to live with the family of her husband. In Hebrew the word for “bride” or “fiancee” sounds like “Moresheth.”
1.14Moresheth: Hebrew “Moresheth-Gath”; the home of Micah (see verse 1).
1.14Achzib: Meaning “lie” or “deception” was near Adullam Cave (verse 15), where David hid from King Saul (see 1 Samuel 22.1,2). Micah probably means that the people of Israel (including their king) will have to run for their lives, but will find that all hope for escape is merely a “lie” (see verse 15).
1.15Mareshah: Sounds something like the Hebrew word for “conqueror” and was only a few miles northeast of Lachish.
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