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The Lord’s Challenge to His People

The Lord said to his people:

Come and present your case
    to the hills and mountains.
Israel, I am bringing charges
    against you—
I call upon the mountains
and the earth’s firm foundation
    to be my witnesses.

My people, have I wronged you
in any way at all?
    Please tell me.
I rescued you from Egypt,
    where you were slaves.
I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam
    to be your leaders.
Don’t forget the evil plans
    of King Balak of Moab
or what Balaam son of Beor[a]
    said to him.
Remember how I, the Lord,
    saved you many times
on your way from Acacia
    to Gilgal.[b]

True Obedience

What offering should I bring
when I bow down to worship
    the Lord God Most High?
Should I try to please him[c]
by sacrificing
    calves a year old?
Will thousands of sheep
or rivers of olive oil
    make God satisfied with me?
Should I sacrifice to the Lord
my first-born child
as payment
    for my terrible sins?
The Lord God has told us
what is right
    and what he demands:
“See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
    and humbly obey your God.”

Cheating and Violence

I am the Lord,
and it makes sense to respect
    my power to punish.
So listen to my message
    for the city of Jerusalem:[d]
10 You store up stolen treasures
    and use dishonest scales.[e]
11 But I, the Lord, will punish you
for cheating with weights
    and with measures.
12 You rich people are violent,
    and everyone tells lies.

13 Because of your sins,
I will wound you
and leave you
    ruined and defenseless.
14 You will eat,
    but still be hungry;
you will store up goods,
    but lose everything—
I, the Lord, will let it all
    be captured in war.
15 You won’t harvest what you plant
or use the oil
    from your olive trees
or drink the wine
    from grapes you grow.

16 Jerusalem, this will happen
    because you followed
the sinful example
    of kings Omri and Ahab.[f]
Now I will destroy you
    and your property.
Then the people of every nation
    will make fun and insult you.

Footnotes

  1. 6.5 Balak. . . Beor: See Numbers 22-24.
  2. 6.5 Acacia to Gilgal: Acacia was where the Israelites camped after the experience with Balaam (see Numbers 25.1; Joshua 2.1; 3.1); Gilgal was where they camped while waiting to attack Jericho (see Joshua 4.19—5.12).
  3. 6.6 try to please him: This refers to what are traditionally called “burnt sacrifices,” which were offered as a way of pleasing the Lord.
  4. 6.9 Jerusalem: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 9.
  5. 6.10 scales: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 10.
  6. 6.16 Omri and Ahab: King Ahab was the son of Omri and the husband of the evil Jezebel. Almost two centuries before Micah, the prophet Elijah had spoken against the idolatry and the other sinful practices that Ahab had encouraged in Israel (see 1 Kings 16.21-34; 18.1-18; 21.1-26).