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Micah 1-7 Common English Bible (CEB)

The Lord is coming!

The Lord’s word that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Judah’s Kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem:

Listen, all you peoples!
        Pay attention, earth, and all that fills it!
    May the Lord God be a witness against you,
            the Lord from his holy temple.
Look! The Lord is coming out from his place;
        he will go down and tread on the shrines of the earth.
Then the mountains will melt under him;
        the valleys will split apart,
            like wax yielding to the fire,
            like waters poured down a slope.
All this is for the crime of Jacob
        and the sins of the house of Israel.
        Who is responsible for the crime of Jacob?[a]
                Isn’t it Samaria?
            Who is responsible for[b] the shrines of Judah?
                Isn’t it Jerusalem?
So I will make Samaria a pile of rubble in the open field,
        a place for planting vineyards.
    I will pour her stones into the valley;
        her foundations I will lay bare.
All her images will be beaten to pieces;
        all her wages will be burned;
    I will make all her idols worthless.
        Since she gathered them from the wages of a prostitute,
            they will again become wages of a prostitute.
On account of this, I will cry out and howl;
        I will go about barefoot and stripped.
    I will cry out like the jackals,
        and mourn like the ostriches.

Destruction looms

Indeed, Zion has been weakened by her wounds!
            It has come as far as Judah;
    he has struck as far as the gate of my people,
            as far as Jerusalem.
10 In Gath tell it not; no need to weep there![c]
        In Beth-le-aphrah, roll yourself in the dust!
11 Pass by (for your sake),[d] inhabitants of Shaphir!
        In nakedness and shame she will not go out, inhabitants of Zaanan.
The cry of Beth-ezel
        will take away from you[e] any place to stand.
12 How she longs for good, inhabitants of Maroth!
        Calamity has come down from the Lord to the gate of Jerusalem.
13 Harness the horses to the chariot, inhabitants of Lachish!
        It was the beginning of sin for Daughter Zion;
            the crimes of Israel have been found in you.
14 Therefore, you will give good-bye gifts to Moresheth-gath;
        the houses of Achzib have become a deception for the kings of Israel.
15 Again I will bring to you the one who conquers, inhabitants of Mareshah;
        the glory of Israel will come as far as Adullam.
16 Make yourself bald and cut off your hair
            because of your cherished children!
        Make yourself as bald as the vulture,
            for they have gone from you into exile.

Oppressors will themselves be ruined

Doom to those who devise wickedness,
        to those who plan evil when they are in bed.
    By the light of morning they do it,
        for they are very powerful.
They covet fields and seize them,
        houses and take them away.
    They oppress a householder
    and those in his house,
        a man and his estate.
Therefore, the Lord proclaims:
    I myself am devising an evil against this family
        from which you will not be able to remove your necks!
    You will no longer be able to go about arrogantly,
        for it will be an evil time.
On that day, a taunt will be raised against you;
        someone will wail bitterly:
        “We are utterly destroyed!
        He exchanges the portion of my people;
            he removes what belongs to me;
            he gives away our fields to a rebel.”
Therefore, you will have no one to set boundary lines
    by lot in the Lord’s assembly.

Leaders unwilling to hear God’s word

“They mustn’t preach!” so they preach.
        “They mustn’t preach of such things!
            Disgrace won’t overtake us.”
    (Should this be said, house of Jacob?)
        “Is the Lord’s patience cut short? Are these his deeds?”
            Don’t my words help the one who behaves righteously?
But yesterday, my people, the Lord rose up as an enemy.[f]
        You strip off the glorious clothes[g]
            from trusting passersby, those who reject war.
You drive out the women of my people,
        each from her cherished house;
        from their young children
            you take away my splendor forever.
10 Rise up and go! This can’t be the resting place;
        because of its uncleanness,
            it destroys and the destruction is horrific.
11 If someone were to go about inspired and say deceitfully:
        “I will preach to you for wine and liquor,”
            such a one would be the preacher for this people!

The false prophet’s “peace” will be destruction

12 I’ll surely gather Jacob—all of you!
        I’ll surely assemble you, those who are left of Israel!
        I’ll put them together like sheep in Bozrah,[h]
            like a flock in its pen,
            noisy with people.
13 The one who breaks out will go before them;
        they will break out and pass through the gate;
        they will leave by it.
        They will pass on,
            their king before them,
            the Lord at their head.

Micah justifies the coming destruction

But I said:
Hear, leaders of Jacob,
        rulers of the house of Israel!
    Isn’t it your job to know justice?—
        you who hate good and love evil,
            who tear the skin off them, and the flesh off their bones,
        who devour the flesh of my people,
            tear off their skin,
            break their bones in pieces,
            and spread them out as if in a pot,
                like meat in a kettle.
Then they will cry out to the Lord,
        but he won’t answer them.
He will hide his face from them at that time,
        because of their evil deeds.
The Lord proclaims concerning the prophets,
        those who lead my people astray,
        those who chew with their teeth
            and then proclaim “Peace!”
            but stir up war against the one who puts nothing in their mouths:
Therefore, it will become night for you,
        without vision, only darkness
        without divination!
The sun will set on the prophets;
        the day will be dark upon them.
Those seeing visions will be ashamed,
        and the diviners disgraced;
    they will all cover their upper lips,[i]
        for there will be no answer from God.
But me! I am filled with power,
            with the spirit of the Lord,
            with justice and might,
        to declare to Jacob his wrongdoing and to Israel his sin!
Hear this, leaders of the house of Jacob,
        rulers of the house of Israel,
    you who reject justice and make crooked all that is straight,
10         who build Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with injustice!
11 Her officials give justice for a bribe,
        and her priests teach for hire.
Her prophets offer divination for silver,
        yet they rely on the Lord, saying,
            “Isn’t the Lord in our midst?
                Evil won’t come upon us!”
12 Therefore, because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field,
        Jerusalem will become piles of rubble,
            and the temple mount will become an overgrown mound.

A peaceable world

But in the days to come,
        the mountain of the Lord’s house
            will be the highest of the mountains;
        it will be lifted above the hills;
            peoples will stream to it.
Many nations will go and say:
    “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the Lord,
            to the house of Jacob’s God,
        so that he may teach us his ways
            and we may walk in God’s paths!”
Instruction will come from Zion
        and the Lord’s word from Jerusalem.
God will judge between the nations
        and settle disputes of mighty nations,
            which are far away.
They will beat their swords into iron plows
        and their spears into pruning tools.
Nation will not take up sword against nation;
        they will no longer learn how to make war.
All will sit underneath their own grapevines,
        under their own fig trees.
    There will be no one to terrify them;
        for the mouth of the Lord of heavenly forces has spoken.

An assertion of enduring loyalty

Each of the peoples walks in the name of their own god;
        but as for us, we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
            forever and always.

Dominion in Zion

On that day, says the Lord,
        I will gather the lame;
        I will assemble those who were driven away
            and those whom I have harmed.
I will make the lame into survivors,
        those driven away into a mighty nation.
    The Lord will rule over them on Mount Zion
        from now on and forever.
As for you, Tower of Eder,[j] hill of Daughter Zion,
    as for you it will come,
        the former dominion will come,
        the royal power belonging to Daughter Zion.

God is in control

Now why do you cry out so loudly?
    Isn’t the king in you?
    Or has your counselor perished,
        so that pain has seized you like that of a woman in labor?
10 Writhe and scream, Daughter Zion, like a woman in labor!
        Now you will leave the city and dwell in the open field;
            you will go to Babylon.
        There you will be rescued;
            there the Lord will redeem you from the power of your enemies.
11 Now many nations may gather against you;
        they say, “Let her be defiled,”
        or “Let our eyes look with desire at Zion.”
12 But they don’t know the plans of the Lord;
            they can’t understand his scheme,
        namely, that he will bring them like grain to the threshing floor!
13 Arise and thresh, Daughter Zion,
        for I will make your horn out of iron;
        your hooves I will make out of bronze.
    You will crush many peoples;
        you will dedicate their ill-gotten gains to the Lord,
        their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.

Call to arms; the future is secure

[k] Now muster your troops, Daughter Troop![l]
        They have laid siege against us;
        with a rod they will strike the cheek of the judge of Israel.
As for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
    though you are the least significant of Judah’s forces,
        one who is to be a ruler in Israel on my behalf will come out from you.
    His origin is from remote times, from ancient days.
Therefore, he will give them up
        until the time when she who is in labor gives birth.
        The rest of his kin will return to the people of Israel.
He will stand and shepherd his flock[m] in the strength of the Lord,
        in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
        They will dwell secure,
        because he will surely become great throughout the earth;
        he will become one of peace.[n]
When Assyria invades our land and treads down our fortresses,
        then we will raise up against him seven shepherds and eight human princes.
They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword,
        the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword.
    He will rescue us from Assyria
        when he invades our land
            and treads within our territory.
Then the few remaining in Jacob will be amid many peoples
        like dew from the Lord,
        like spring showers upon the grass,
            which does not hope for humans or wait for human ones.
Then the few remaining in Jacob will be among the nations,
            amid many peoples,
        like a lion among the creatures of the forest,
        like a young lion among flocks
            of sheep, which when it passes by, tramples and tears to pieces
                with no one to deliver.
Your hand will be lifted over your foes;
        all your enemies will be cut off.

Doom for Israel’s enemies

10 On that day—says the Lord
        I will cut down your horses in your midst;
        I will destroy your chariots!
11 I will cut down the cities of your land;
        I will tear down your defenses!
12 I will demolish the sorceries you perform;
        you will have no more diviners!
13 I will cut down your images
        and your sacred pillars in your midst.
        You will no longer bow down to the works of your hands!
14 I will tear down your sacred poles[o] in your midst;
        I will destroy your cities!
15 I will exact vengeance in anger
        and in wrath on the nations that don’t obey!

God’s dispute with Israel

Hear what the Lord is saying:
Arise, lay out the lawsuit before the mountains;
        let the hills hear your voice!
Hear, mountains, the lawsuit of the Lord!
        Hear, eternal foundations of the earth!
The Lord has a lawsuit against his people;
        with Israel he will argue.
“My people, what did I ever do to you?
        How have I wearied you? Answer me!
I brought you up out of the land of Egypt;
        I redeemed you from the house of slavery.
        I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam before you.
My people, remember what Moab’s King Balak had planned,
        and how Balaam, Beor’s son, answered him!
        Remember everything[p] from Shittim to Gilgal,
        that you might learn to recognize the righteous acts of the Lord!”

What does the Lord require?

With what should I approach the Lord
        and bow down before God on high?
Should I come before him with entirely burned offerings,
        with year-old calves?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
        with many torrents of oil?
Should I give my oldest child for my crime;
        the fruit of my body for the sin of my spirit?
He has told you, human one, what is good and
        what the Lord requires from you:
            to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.

Punishment is near

The voice of the Lord calls out to the city;
        wisdom appears when one fears your name.[q]
        Hear, tribe, and who appointed her![r]
10 Are the treasures of wickedness still in the house of wickedness,
        while the shorted basket[s] is denounced?[t]
11 Can I approve wicked scales and a bag of false weights
12     in a city[u] whose wealthy are full of violence
        and whose inhabitants speak falsehood
            with lying tongues in their mouths?
13 So I have made you sick by striking you!
        I have struck you because of your sins.
14 You devour, but you aren’t satisfied;
        a gnawing emptiness is within you.
    You put something aside,
        but you don’t keep it safe.
        That which you do try to keep safe,
            I will give to the sword.
15 You sow, but you don’t gather.
    You tread down olives, but you don’t anoint with oil;
        you tread grapes, but don’t drink wine.
16 Yet you[v] have kept the policies of Omri,
        all the practices of the house of Ahab;
    you have followed their counsels.
    Therefore, I will make you a sign of destruction,
            your[w] inhabitants an object of hissing!
You must bear the reproach of my people.

The prophet laments

I’m doomed!
    I’ve become like one who,
        even after the summer fruit has been gathered,
        after the ripened fruits have been collected,
            has no cluster of grapes to eat,
            no ripe fig that I might desire.
Faithful ones have perished from the land;
        there is no righteous one among humanity.
    All of them lie in wait for bloodshed;
        they hunt each other with nets.
Their hands are skilled at doing evil.
    Official and judge alike ask for a bribe;
        the powerful speak however they like;
            this is how they conspire.
The good among them are like a briar;
        those who do the right thing are like a thorny thicket.
            (A day for your lookouts![x]
            Your punishment has arrived.
            The confusion of the wicked[y] is nearby.)
Don’t rely on a friend;
        put no trust in a companion;
        guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your embrace.
Son disrespects father;
        a daughter rises up against her mother,
        a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
        the enemies of a man are those of his own household.
But me! I will keep watch for the Lord;
        I will wait for the God of my salvation;
            my God will hear me.

Zion speaks

Do not rejoice[z] over me, my enemy,
        because when I fall, I will rise;
            if I sit in darkness, the Lord is my light.
I must bear the raging of the Lord,
    for I have sinned against him,
        until he decides my case and provides justice for me.
    He will bring me out into the light;
        I will see by means of his righteousness.
10     Then my enemy will see;
        shame will cover her who said to me:
            “Where is the Lord your God?”
    My eyes will see her ruin;[aa]
        now she will become something to be trampled,
            like mud in the streets.

Micah responds to Zion

11 A day for the building of your walls!
        On that day, the boundary will be distant.
12         On that day, they will come to you from Assyria and the cities of Egypt,
            from Egypt to the River,
            from sea to sea,
            and from mountain to mountain.
13 And the earth will become desolate because of her inhabitants,
        because of the fruit of their actions.

Micah intercedes for the people

14 Shepherd your people with your staff,
        the sheep of your inheritance,
        those dwelling alone in a forest in the midst of Carmel.
    Let them graze in Bashan and Gilead, as a long time ago.

God agrees

15 As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,
        I will show Israel wonderful things.

The prophet continues

16 Nations will see and be ashamed of all their strength;
        they will cover their mouths;
        their ears will be deaf.
17 They will lick dust like the snake,
        like things that crawl on the ground.
They will come trembling from their strongholds to the Lord our God;
        they will dread and fear you!
18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity,
        overlooking the sin of the few remaining for his inheritance?
    He doesn’t hold on to his anger forever;
        he delights in faithful love.
19 He will once again have compassion on us;
        he will tread down our iniquities.
You will hurl all our sins into the depths of the sea.
20 You will provide faithfulness to Jacob, faithful love to Abraham,
        as you swore to our ancestors a long time ago.

Footnotes:

  1. Micah 1:5 Heb lacks responsible for.
  2. Micah 1:5 Heb lacks responsible for.
  3. Micah 1:10 Heb lacks there.
  4. Micah 1:11 You (plural)
  5. Micah 1:11 You (feminine singular)
  6. Micah 2:8 Heb lacks the Lord.
  7. Micah 2:8 Heb uncertain
  8. Micah 2:12 See Isa 34:6; 63:1.
  9. Micah 3:7 Or mustache or beard
  10. Micah 4:8 Or tower of the flock
  11. Micah 5:1 4:14 in Heb
  12. Micah 5:1 Heb uncertain
  13. Micah 5:4 Heb lacks his flock.
  14. Micah 5:5 Or this will ensure peace.
  15. Micah 5:14 Heb asherim
  16. Micah 6:5 Heb lacks everything.
  17. Micah 6:9 Heb uncertain
  18. Micah 6:9 Heb uncertain
  19. Micah 6:10 Or ephah, approximately twenty quarts of grain
  20. Micah 6:10 Heb uncertain
  21. Micah 6:12 Heb lacks in a city.
  22. Micah 6:16 Or he
  23. Micah 6:16 Or her
  24. Micah 7:4 Heb uncertain
  25. Micah 7:4 Heb lacks the wicked.
  26. Micah 7:8 Rejoice (feminine singular)
  27. Micah 7:10 Heb lacks ruin.
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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