The word of the Lord that came(A) to Micah(B) the Moreshite(C)—what he saw regarding Samaria and Jerusalem in the days of Jotham,(D) Ahaz,(E) and Hezekiah,(F) kings of Judah.

Coming Judgment on Israel

Listen, all you peoples;(G)
pay attention, earth[a] and everyone in it!(H)
The Lord God will be a witness against you,(I)
the Lord, from his holy temple.(J)
Look, the Lord is leaving his place(K)
and coming down to trample
the heights[b] of the earth.(L)
The mountains will melt beneath him,
and the valleys will split apart,
like wax near a fire,(M)
like water cascading down a mountainside.
All this will happen because of Jacob’s rebellion
and the sins of the house of Israel.
What is the rebellion of Jacob?
Isn’t it Samaria?(N)
And what is the high place of Judah?(O)
Isn’t it Jerusalem?
Therefore, I will make Samaria
a heap of ruins(P) in the countryside,
a planting area(Q) for a vineyard.
I will roll her stones(R) into the valley
and expose her foundations.(S)
All her carved images will be smashed(T) to pieces;
all her wages(U) will be burned in the fire,
and I will destroy all her idols.
Since she collected the wages of a prostitute,(V)
they will be used again for a prostitute.

Micah’s Lament

Because of this I will lament and wail;
I will walk barefoot and naked.(W)
I will howl like the jackals(X)
and mourn like ostriches.[c]
For her wound is incurable(Y)
and has reached even Judah;(Z)
it has approached my people’s city gate,(AA)
as far as Jerusalem.

10 Don’t announce it in Gath,(AB)
don’t weep at all.
Roll in the dust in Beth-leaphrah.
11 Depart in shameful nakedness,(AC)
you residents of Shaphir;
the residents of Zaanan(AD) will not come out.
Beth-ezel is lamenting;
its support[d] is taken from you.
12 Though the residents of Maroth
anxiously wait for something good,(AE)
disaster has come from the Lord(AF)
to the gate of Jerusalem.
13 Harness the horses to the chariot,
you residents of Lachish.(AG)
This was the beginning of sin for Daughter Zion
because Israel’s acts of rebellion(AH) can be traced to you.
14 Therefore, send farewell gifts(AI) to Moresheth-gath;
the houses of Achzib(AJ) are a deception(AK)
to the kings of Israel.
15 I will again bring a conqueror
against you who live in Mareshah.(AL)
The nobility[e] of Israel will come to Adullam.(AM)
16 Shave yourselves bald and cut off your hair(AN)
in sorrow for your precious children;
make yourselves as bald as an eagle,
for they have been taken from you into exile.(AO)

Oppressors Judged

Woe to those who dream up wickedness
and prepare evil plans(AP) on their beds!
At morning light(AQ) they accomplish it
because the power is in their hands.(AR)
They covet fields(AS) and seize them;(AT)
they also take houses.
They deprive a man of his home,(AU)
a person of his inheritance.(AV)

Therefore, the Lord says:

I am now planning(AW) a disaster
against this nation;(AX)
you cannot free your necks from it.(AY)
Then you will not walk so proudly(AZ)
because it will be an evil time.(BA)
In that day one will take up(BB) a taunt against you
and lament mournfully,(BC) saying,
“We are totally ruined!(BD)
He measures out the allotted land of my people.
How he removes it from me!
He allots our fields(BE) to traitors.”
Therefore, there will be no one
in the assembly of the Lord
to divide the land by casting lots.[f](BF)

God’s Word Rejected

“Quit your preaching,”(BG) they[g] preach.
“They should not preach these things;(BH)
shame will not overtake us.”[h](BI)
House of Jacob, should it be asked,
“Is the Spirit of the Lord impatient?(BJ)
Are these the things he does?”
Don’t my words bring good(BK)
to the one who walks uprightly?(BL)
But recently my people have risen up
like an enemy:(BM)
You strip off the splendid robe(BN)
from those who are passing through confidently,(BO)
like those returning from war.
You force(BP) the women of my people
out of their comfortable homes,
and you take my blessing[i](BQ)
from their children forever.
10 Get up and leave,
for this is not your place of rest(BR)
because defilement(BS) brings destruction—
a grievous destruction!(BT)
11 If a man comes
and utters empty lies(BU)
“I will preach to you about wine and beer”(BV)
he would be just the preacher for this people!(BW)

The Remnant Regathered

12 I will indeed gather(BX) all of you, Jacob;
I will collect the remnant of Israel.(BY)
I will bring them together like sheep in a pen,
like a flock in the middle of its pasture.
It will be noisy with people.(BZ)
13 One who breaks open the way
will advance before them;
they will break out, pass through the city gate,
and leave by it.
Their King will pass through before them,
the Lord as their leader.

Unjust Leaders Judged

Then I said, “Now listen,(CA) leaders of Jacob,
you rulers of the house of Israel.
Aren’t you supposed to know what is just?(CB)
You hate good and love evil.
You tear off people’s skin(CC)
and strip their flesh from their bones.
You eat the flesh(CD) of my people
after you strip their skin from them
and break their bones.
You chop them up(CE)
like flesh for the cooking pot,
like meat in a cauldron.”
Then they will cry out(CF) to the Lord,
but he will not answer them.
He will hide his face from them at that time(CG)
because of the crimes they have committed.

False Prophets Judged

This is what the Lord says
concerning the prophets
who lead my people astray,(CH)
who proclaim(CI) peace
when they have food to sink their teeth into
but declare war against the one
who puts nothing in their mouths.
Therefore, it will be night(CJ) for you—
without visions;
it will grow dark for you—
without divination.(CK)
The sun will set(CL) on these prophets,
and the daylight will turn black over them.
Then the seers will be ashamed(CM)
and the diviners disappointed.(CN)
They will all cover their mouths[j](CO)
because there will be no answer from God.(CP)

As for me, however, I am filled with power(CQ)
by the Spirit of the Lord,
with justice and courage,
to proclaim to Jacob his rebellion
and to Israel his sin.(CR)

Zion’s Destruction

Listen to this, leaders of the house of Jacob,(CS)
you rulers of the house of Israel,
who abhor justice(CT)
and pervert everything that is right,
10 who build Zion with bloodshed(CU)
and Jerusalem with injustice.
11 Her leaders issue rulings for a bribe,(CV)
her priests teach for payment,(CW)
and her prophets practice divination for silver.
Yet they lean on the Lord, saying,
“Isn’t the Lord(CX) among us?
No disaster will overtake us.”
12 Therefore, because of you,
Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become ruins,(CY)
and the temple’s mountain(CZ)
will be a high thicket.(DA)

The Lord’s Rule from Restored Zion

In the last days(DB)
the mountain of the Lord’s house(DC)
will be established
at the top of the mountains
and will be raised above the hills.
Peoples will stream to it,(DD)
and many nations will come and say,(DE)
“Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the Lord,(DF)
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us about his ways(DG)
so we may walk in his paths.”
For instruction will go out of Zion(DH)
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He will settle disputes among many peoples(DI)
and provide arbitration for strong nations
that are far away.
They will beat their swords into plows
and their spears into pruning knives.
Nation will not take up the sword against nation,
and they will never again train for war.
But each person will sit under his grapevine(DJ)
and under his fig tree
with no one to frighten him.(DK)
For the mouth of the Lord(DL) of Armies
has spoken.
Though all the peoples walk
in the name of their own gods,(DM)
we will walk(DN) in the name of the Lord our God
forever and ever.(DO)

On that day—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
I will assemble the lame
and gather the scattered,(DP)
those I have injured.
I will make the lame into a remnant,(DQ)
those far removed into a strong nation.
Then the Lord will reign over them(DR) in Mount Zion
from this time on and forever.
And you, watchtower for the flock,(DS)
fortified hill[k] of Daughter Zion,
the former rule(DT) will come to you;
sovereignty will come to Daughter Jerusalem.

From Exile to Victory

Now, why are you shouting loudly?(DU)
Is there no king with you?
Has your counselor perished(DV)
so that anguish grips you like a woman in labor?
10 Writhe and cry out,[l](DW) Daughter Zion,
like a woman in labor,
for now you will leave the city(DX)
and camp in the open fields.
You will go to Babylon;
there you will be rescued;(DY)
there the Lord will redeem you(DZ)
from the grasp of your enemies!
11 Many nations have now assembled against you;(EA)
they say, “Let her be defiled,
and let us feast our eyes on Zion.”
12 But they do not know the Lord’s intentions(EB)
or understand his plan,
that he has gathered them
like sheaves to the threshing floor.
13 Rise and thresh,(EC) Daughter Zion,
for I will make your horns iron
and your hooves bronze
so you can crush many peoples.(ED)
Then you[m] will set apart their plunder(EE)
for the Lord,
their wealth for the Lord of the whole earth.

From Defeated Ruler to Conquering King

Now, daughter who is under attack,
you slash yourself in grief;
a siege is set against us!
They are striking the judge(EF) of Israel
on the cheek with a rod.
Bethlehem Ephrathah,(EG)
you are small among the clans of Judah;
one will come from you(EH)
to be ruler over Israel for me.(EI)
His origin[n] is from antiquity,(EJ)
from ancient times.
Therefore, Israel will be abandoned(EK) until the time
when she who is in labor(EL) has given birth;
then the rest of the ruler’s brothers(EM) will return
to the people of Israel.(EN)
He will stand and shepherd them(EO)
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majestic name of the Lord his God.
They will live securely,
for then his greatness will extend
to the ends of the earth.(EP)
He will be their peace.(EQ)
When Assyria invades our land,(ER)
when it marches against our fortresses,
we will raise against it seven shepherds,
even eight leaders of men.
They will shepherd(ES) the land of Assyria with the sword,
the land of Nimrod(ET) with a drawn blade.[o]
So he will rescue us(EU) from Assyria
when it invades our land,
when it marches against our territory.

The Glorious and Purified Remnant

Then the remnant of Jacob(EV)
will be among many peoples
like dew from the Lord,(EW)
like showers on the grass,(EX)
which do not wait for anyone
or linger for mankind.
Then the remnant of Jacob
will be among the nations, among many peoples,
like a lion among animals of the forest,(EY)
like a young lion among flocks of sheep,
which tramples(EZ) and tears(FA) as it passes through,
and there is no one to rescue them.(FB)
Your hand will be lifted up against your adversaries,(FC)
and all your enemies will be destroyed.

10 In that day—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
I will remove your horses from you(FD)
and wreck your chariots.
11 I will remove the cities of your land(FE)
and tear down all your fortresses.(FF)
12 I will remove sorceries from your hands,(FG)
and you will not have any more fortune-tellers.
13 I will remove your carved images(FH)
and sacred pillars from you
so that you will no longer worship
the work of your hands.
14 I will pull up the Asherah poles(FI) from among you(FJ)
and demolish your cities.[p]
15 I will take vengeance in anger and wrath(FK)
against the nations that have not obeyed me.

God’s Lawsuit against Judah

Now listen to what the Lord is saying:

Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your complaint.[q]
Listen to the Lord’s lawsuit,(FL)
you mountains and enduring foundations of the earth,(FM)
because the Lord has a case against his people,(FN)
and he will argue it against Israel.
My people,(FO) what have I done to you,(FP)
or how have I wearied you?(FQ)
Testify against me!
Indeed, I brought you up(FR) from the land of Egypt
and redeemed you(FS) from that place of slavery.(FT)
I sent Moses,(FU) Aaron, and Miriam(FV) ahead of you.
My people,
remember what King Balak of Moab(FW) proposed,
what Balaam son of Beor answered him,(FX)
and what happened from the Acacia Grove[r](FY) to Gilgal(FZ)
so that you may acknowledge
the Lord’s righteous acts.(GA)

What should I bring before the Lord(GB)
when I come to bow before God on high?
Should I come before him with burnt offerings,(GC)
with year-old calves?
Would the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams(GD)
or with ten thousand streams of oil?
Should I give my firstborn for my transgression,(GE)
the offspring of my body for my own sin?

Mankind, he has told each of you what is good(GF)
and what it is the Lord requires of you:(GG)
to act justly,(GH)
to love faithfulness,(GI)
and to walk humbly with your God.(GJ)

Verdict of Judgment

The voice of the Lord calls out to the city[s]
(and it is wise to fear your name):
“Pay attention to the rod
and the one who ordained it.[t]
10 Are there still[u] the treasures of wickedness(GK)
and the accursed short measure(GL)
in the house of the wicked?
11 Can I excuse wicked scales
or bags of deceptive weights?(GM)
12 For the wealthy of the city are full of violence,(GN)
and its residents speak lies;(GO)
the tongues in their mouths are deceitful.(GP)

13 “As a result, I have begun to strike you severely,[v](GQ)
bringing desolation because of your sins.(GR)
14 You will eat but not be satisfied,(GS)
for there will be hunger within you.
What you acquire, you cannot save,(GT)
and what you do save,
I will give to the sword.[w]
15 You will sow but not reap;(GU)
you will press olives
but not anoint yourself with oil;
and you will tread grapes
but not drink the wine.(GV)
16 The statutes of Omri
and all the practices of Ahab’s house
have been observed;
you have followed their policies.(GW)
Therefore, I will make you a desolate place(GX)
and the city’s[x] residents an object of contempt;[y](GY)
you will bear the scorn of my people.”[z](GZ)

Israel’s Moral Decline

How sad for me!
For I am like one who—
when the summer fruit has been gathered
after the gleaning of the grape harvest(HA)
finds no grape cluster to eat,
no early fig, which I crave.(HB)
Faithful people have vanished from the land;(HC)
there is no one upright among the people.(HD)
All of them wait in ambush to shed blood;(HE)
they hunt each other with a net.(HF)
Both hands are good(HG) at accomplishing evil:
the official and the judge demand a bribe;(HH)
when the powerful man communicates his evil desire,
they plot it together.
The best of them is like a brier;(HI)
the most upright is worse than a hedge of thorns.(HJ)
The day of your watchmen,
the day of your punishment, is coming;(HK)
at this time their panic is here.(HL)
Do not rely on a friend;(HM)
don’t trust in a close companion.
Seal your mouth
from the woman who lies in your arms.
Surely a son considers his father a fool,(HN)
a daughter opposes her mother,
and a daughter-in-law is against her mother-in-law;
a man’s enemies are the men of his own household.
But I will look to the Lord;(HO)
I will wait for the God of my salvation.(HP)
My God will hear me.(HQ)

Zion’s Vindication

Do not rejoice over me,(HR) my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will stand up;(HS)
though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light.(HT)
Because I have sinned against him,
I must endure the Lord’s fury
until he champions my cause(HU)
and establishes justice for me.(HV)
He will bring me into the light;(HW)
I will see his salvation.[aa](HX)
10 Then my enemy will see,
and she will be covered with shame,
the one who said to me,
“Where is the Lord your God?” (HY)
My eyes will look at her in triumph;
at that time she will be trampled
like mud in the streets.(HZ)

11 A day will come for rebuilding your walls;(IA)
on that day your boundary will be extended.(IB)
12 On that day people will come to you(IC)
from Assyria and the cities of Egypt,
even from Egypt to the Euphrates River
and from sea to sea
and mountain to mountain.
13 Then the earth will become a wasteland(ID)
because of its inhabitants
and as a result of their actions.(IE)

Micah’s Prayer Answered

14 Shepherd your people(IF) with your staff,(IG)
the flock that is your possession.
They live alone(IH) in a woodland
surrounded by pastures.
Let them graze in Bashan and Gilead(II)
as in ancient times.(IJ)

15 I will perform miracles for them[ab]
as in the days of your exodus
from the land of Egypt.(IK)
16 Nations will see and be ashamed
of[ac] all their power.
They will put their hands over their mouths,(IL)
and their ears will become deaf.
17 They will lick the dust like a snake;(IM)
they will come trembling out of their hiding places(IN)
like reptiles slithering on the ground.(IO)
They will tremble in the presence of the Lord our God;(IP)
they will stand in awe of you.

18 Who is a God like you,(IQ)
forgiving iniquity and passing over rebellion(IR)
for the remnant of his inheritance?(IS)
He does not hold on to his anger forever(IT)
because he delights in faithful love.(IU)
19 He will again have compassion on us;
he will vanquish our iniquities.(IV)
You will cast all our[ad] sins
into the depths of the sea.(IW)
20 You will show loyalty to Jacob(IX)
and faithful love to Abraham,
as you swore to our ancestors(IY)
from days long ago.

Footnotes

  1. 1:2 Or land
  2. 1:3 Or high places
  3. 1:8 Or eagle owls; lit daughters of the desert
  4. 1:11 Lit its standing place; Hb obscure
  5. 1:15 Lit glory
  6. 2:5 Lit Lord stretching the measuring line by lot
  7. 2:6 = the prophets
  8. 2:6 Text emended; MT reads things. Shame will not depart
  9. 2:9 Perhaps the land
  10. 3:7 Lit mustache
  11. 4:8 Or flock, Ophel
  12. 4:10 Hb obscure
  13. 4:13 LXX, Syr, Tg; MT reads I
  14. 5:2 Lit His going out
  15. 5:6 Aq, Vg; MT, Sym read Nimrod at its gateways
  16. 5:14 Or shrines
  17. 6:1 Lit voice
  18. 6:5 Or from Shittim
  19. 6:9 = Jerusalem
  20. 6:9 Or attention, you tribe. Who has ordained it?; Hb obscure
  21. 6:10 Hb obscure
  22. 6:13 LXX, Aq, Theod, Syr, Vg; MT reads I have made you sick by striking you down
  23. 6:14 Hb obscure
  24. 6:16 Lit and its
  25. 6:16 Lit residents a hissing
  26. 6:16 LXX reads of the peoples
  27. 7:9 Or righteousness
  28. 7:15 = Israel
  29. 7:16 Or ashamed in spite of
  30. 7:19 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Vg; other Hb mss read their

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