10 ‘I loathe my very life;
    therefore I will give free rein to my complaint
    and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.
I say to God: do not declare me guilty,
    but tell me what charges you have against me.
Does it please you to oppress me,
    to spurn the work of your hands,
    while you smile on the plans of the wicked?
Do you have eyes of flesh?
    Do you see as a mortal sees?
Are your days like those of a mortal
    or your years like those of a strong man,
that you must search out my faults
    and probe after my sin –
though you know that I am not guilty
    and that no one can rescue me from your hand?

‘Your hands shaped me and made me.
    Will you now turn and destroy me?
Remember that you moulded me like clay.
    Will you now turn me to dust again?
10 Did you not pour me out like milk
    and curdle me like cheese,
11 clothe me with skin and flesh
    and knit me together with bones and sinews?
12 You gave me life and showed me kindness,
    and in your providence watched over my spirit.

13 ‘But this is what you concealed in your heart,
    and I know that this was in your mind:
14 if I sinned, you would be watching me
    and would not let my offence go unpunished.
15 If I am guilty – woe to me!
    Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head,
for I am full of shame
    and drowned in[a] my affliction.
16 If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion
    and again display your awesome power against me.
17 You bring new witnesses against me
    and increase your anger towards me;
    your forces come against me wave upon wave.

18 ‘Why then did you bring me out of the womb?
    I wish I had died before any eye saw me.
19 If only I had never come into being,
    or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave!
20 Are not my few days almost over?
    Turn away from me so that I can have a moment’s joy
21 before I go to the place of no return,
    to the land of gloom and utter darkness,
22 to the land of deepest night,
    of utter darkness and disorder,
    where even the light is like darkness.’


  1. Job 10:15 Or and aware of

An Appeal for Revelation

10 “I[a] am weary[b] of my life;
I will complain freely without restraint;[c]
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn[d] me;
tell me[e] why you are contending[f] with me.’
Is it good for you[g] to oppress,[h]
to[i] despise the work of your hands,
while[j] you smile[k]
on the schemes of the wicked?

Motivations of God

“Do you have eyes of flesh,[l]
or do you see[m] as a human being sees?[n]
Are your days like the days of a mortal,
or your years like the years[o] of a mortal,
that[p] you must search out[q] my iniquity,
and inquire about my sin,
although you know[r] that I am not guilty,
and that there is no one who can deliver[s]
out of your hand?

Contradictions in God’s Dealings

“Your hands have shaped[t] me and made me,
but[u] now you destroy me completely.[v]
Remember that you have made me as with[w] the clay;
will[x] you return me to dust?
10 Did you not pour[y] me out like milk,
and curdle[z] me like cheese?[aa]
11 You clothed[ab] me with skin and flesh
and knit me together[ac] with bones and sinews.
12 You gave me[ad] life and favor,[ae]
and your intervention[af] watched over my spirit.
13 “But these things[ag] you have concealed in your heart;

I know that this[ah] is with you:[ai]
14 If I sinned, then you would watch me
and you would not acquit me of my iniquity.
15 If I am guilty,[aj] woe[ak] to me,
and if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head;[al]
I am full of shame,[am]
and satiated with my affliction.[an]
16 If I lift myself up,[ao]
you hunt me as a fierce lion,[ap]
and again[aq] you display your power[ar] against me.
17 You bring new witnesses[as] against me,
and increase your anger against me;
relief troops[at] come against me.

An Appeal for Relief

18 “Why then did you bring me out from the womb?
I should have died[au]
and no eye would have seen me!
19 I should have been as though I had never existed;[av]
I should have been carried
right from the womb to the grave!
20 Are not my days few?[aw]
Cease,[ax] then, and leave[ay] me alone[az]
that I may find a little comfort,[ba]
21 before I depart, never to return,[bb]
to the land of darkness
and the deepest shadow,[bc]
22 to the land of utter darkness,
like the deepest darkness,
and the deepest shadow and disorder,[bd]
where even the light[be] is like darkness.”[bf]


  1. Job 10:1 tn The Hebrew has נַפְשִׁי (nafshi), usually rendered “my soul.”
  2. Job 10:1 tn The verb is pointed like a Qal form but is originally a Niphal from קוּט (qut). Some wish to connect the word to Akkadian cognates for a meaning “I am in anguish,” but the meaning “I am weary” fits the passage well.
  3. Job 10:1 tn The verb עָזַב (ʿazav) means “to abandon.” It may have an extended meaning of “to let go” or “to let slip.” But the expression “abandon to myself” means to abandon all restraint and give free course to the complaint.
  4. Job 10:2 tn The negated jussive is the Hiphil jussive of רָשַׁע (rashaʿ); its meaning then would be literally “do not declare me guilty.” The negated jussive stresses the immediacy of the request.
  5. Job 10:2 tn The Hiphil imperative of יָדַע (yadaʿ) would more literally be “cause me to know.” It is a plea for God to help him understand the afflictions.
  6. Job 10:2 tn The verb is רִיב (riv), meaning “to dispute; to contend; to strive; to quarrel”—often in the legal sense. The precise words chosen in this verse show that the setting is legal. The imperfect verb here is progressive, expressing what is currently going on.
  7. Job 10:3 tn Or “Does it give you pleasure?” The expression could also mean, “Is it profitable for you?” or “Is it fitting for you?”
  8. Job 10:3 tn The construction uses כִּי (ki) with the imperfect verb—“that you oppress.” Technically, this clause serves as the subject, and “good” is the predicate adjective. In such cases one often uses an English infinitive to capture the point: “Is it good for you to oppress?” The LXX changes the meaning considerably: “Is it good for you if I am unrighteous, for you have disowned the work of your hands.”
  9. Job 10:3 tn Heb “that you despise.”
  10. Job 10:3 tn Now, in the second half of the verse, there is a change in the structure. The conjunction on the preposition followed by the perfect verb represents a circumstantial clause.
  11. Job 10:3 tn The Hiphil of the verb יָפַע (yafaʿ) means “shine.” In this context the expression “you shine upon” would mean “have a glowing expression,” be radiant, or smile.
  12. Job 10:4 tn Here “flesh” is the sign of humanity. The expression “eyes of flesh” means essentially “human eyes,” i.e., the outlook and vision of humans.
  13. Job 10:4 sn The verb translated “see” could also include the figurative category of perceive as well. The answer to Job’s question is found in 1 Sam 16:7: “The Lord sees not as a man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
  14. Job 10:4 sn In this verse Job asks whether or not God is liable to making mistakes or errors of judgment. He wonders if God has no more insight than his friends have. Of course, the questions are rhetorical, for he knows otherwise. But his point is that God seems to be making a big mistake here.
  15. Job 10:5 tn The Hebrew has repeated here “like the days of,” but some scholars think that this was an accidental replacement of what should be here, namely, “like the years of.” D. J. A. Clines notes that such repetition is not uncommon in Job, but suggests that the change should be made for English style even if the text is not emended (Job [WBC], 221). This has been followed in the present translation.sn The question Job asks concerns the mode of life and not just the length of it (see Job 7:1). Humans spend their days and years watching each other and defending themselves. But there is also the implication that if God is so limited like humans he may not uncover Job’s sins before he dies.
  16. Job 10:6 tn The clause seems to go naturally with v. 4: do you have eyes of flesh…that you have to investigate? For that reason some like Duhm would delete v. 5. But v. 5 adds to the premise: are you also like a human running out of time that you must try to find out my sin?
  17. Job 10:6 tn The imperfect verbs in this verse are best given modal nuances. Does God have such limitations that he must make such an investigation? H. H. Rowley observes that Job implies that God has not yet found the iniquity, or extracted a confession from him (Job [NCBC], 84).
  18. Job 10:7 tn Heb עַל־דַּעְתְּךָ (ʿal daʿtekha, “upon your knowledge”). The use of the preposition means basically “in addition to your knowledge,” or “in spite of your knowledge,” i.e., “notwithstanding” or “although” (see GKC 383 §119.aa, n. 2).
  19. Job 10:7 tn Heb “and there is no deliverer.”sn The fact is that humans are the work of God’s hands. They are helpless in the hand of God. But it is also unworthy of God to afflict his people.
  20. Job 10:8 tn The root עָצַב (ʿatsav) is linked by some to an Arabic word meaning “to cut out, hew.” The derived word עֲצַבִּים (ʿatsabbim) means “idols.” Whatever the precise meaning, the idea is that God formed or gave shape to mankind in creation.
  21. Job 10:8 tn The verb in this part is a preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive. However, here it has merely an external connection with the preceding perfects, so that in reality it presents an antithesis (see GKC 327 §111.e).
  22. Job 10:8 tn Heb “together round about and you destroy me.” The second half of this verse is very difficult. Most commentators follow the LXX and connect the first two words with the second colon as the MT accents indicate (NJPS, “then destroyed every part of me”), rather than with the first colon (“and made me complete,” J. E. Hartley, Job [NICOT], 185). Instead of “together” some read “after.” Others see in סָבִיב (saviv) not so much an adjectival use but a verbal or adverbial use: “you turn and destroy” or “you destroy utterly (all around).” This makes more sense than “turn.” In addition, the verb form in the line is the preterite with vav consecutive; this may be another example of the transposition of the copula (see 4:6). For yet another option (“You have engulfed me about altogether”), see R. Fuller, “Exodus 21:22: The Miscarriage Interpretation and the Personhood of the Fetus,” JETS 37 (1994): 178.
  23. Job 10:9 tn The preposition “like” creates a small tension here. So some ignore the preposition and read “clay” as an adverbial accusative of the material (GKC 371 §117.hh but cf. 379 §119.i with reference to beth essentiae: “as it were, by clay”). The NIV gets around the problem with a different meaning for the verb: “you molded me like clay.” Some suggest the meaning was “as [with] clay” (in the same manner that we have “as [in] the day of Midian” [Isa 9:4]).
  24. Job 10:9 tn The text has a conjunction: “and to dust….”
  25. Job 10:10 tn The verb נָתַךְ (natakh) means “to flow,” and in the Hiphil, “to cause to flow.”
  26. Job 10:10 tn This verb קָפָא (qafaʾ) means “to coagulate.” In the Hiphil it means “to stiffen; to congeal.”
  27. Job 10:10 tn The verbs in v. 10 are prefixed conjugations; since the reference is to the womb, these would need to be classified as preterites. sn These verses figuratively describe the formation of the embryo in the womb.
  28. Job 10:11 tn The skin and flesh form the exterior of the body and so the image of “clothing” is appropriate. Once again the verb is the prefixed conjugation, expressing what God did.
  29. Job 10:11 tn This verb is found only here (related nouns are common) and in the parallel passage of Ps 139:13. The word סָכַךְ (sakhakh), here a Poel prefixed conjugation (preterite), means “to knit together.” The implied comparison is that the bones and sinews form the tapestry of the person (compare other images of weaving the life).
  30. Job 10:12 tn Heb “you made with me.”
  31. Job 10:12 tn E. Dhorme (Job, 150) suggests that the relation between these two words is like a hendiadys. In other words, “life,” which he says is made prominent by the shift of the copula, specifies the nature of the grace. He renders it “the favor of life.” D. J. A. Clines at least acknowledges that the expression “you showed loyal love with me” is primary. There are many other attempts to improve the translation of this unusual combination.
  32. Job 10:12 tn The noun פְּקֻדָּה (pequddah), originally translated “visitation,” actually refers to any divine intervention for blessing on the life. Here it would include the care and overseeing of the life of Job. “Providence” may be too general for the translation, but it is not far from the meaning of this line. The LXX has “your oversight.”
  33. Job 10:13 sn “These things” refers to the affliction that God had brought on Job. They were concealed by God from the beginning.
  34. Job 10:13 sn The meaning of the line is that this was God’s purpose all along. “These things” and “this” refer to the details that will now be given in the next few verses.
  35. Job 10:13 sn The contradiction between how God had provided for and cared for Job’s life and how he was now dealing with him could only be resolved by Job with the supposition that God had planned this severe treatment from the first as part of his plan.
  36. Job 10:15 sn The verbs “guilty” and “innocent” are actually the verbs “I am wicked,” and “I am righteous.”
  37. Job 10:15 tn The exclamation occurs only here and in Mic 7:1.
  38. Job 10:15 sn The action of lifting up the head is a symbol of pride and honor and self-respect (Judg 8:28)—like “hold your head high.” In 11:15 the one who is at peace with God lifts his head (face).
  39. Job 10:15 tn The expression שְׂבַע קָלוֹן (sevaʿ qalon) may be translated “full of shame.” The expression literally means “sated of ignominy” (or contempt [קַלַל, qalal]).
  40. Job 10:15 tn The last clause is difficult to fit into the verse. It translates easily enough: “and see my affliction.” Many commentators follow the suggestion of Geiger to read רְוֶה (reveh, “watered with”) instead of רְאֵה (reʾeh, “see”). This could then be interpreted adjectivally and parallel to the preceding line: “steeped/saturated with affliction.” This would also delete the final yod as dittography (E. Dhorme, Job, 152). But D. J. A. Clines notes more recent interpretations that suggest the form in the text is an orthographic variant of raweh meaning “satiated.” This makes any emendation unnecessary (and in fact that idea of “steeped” was not helpful any way because it indicated imbibing rather than soaking). The NIV renders it “and drowned in my affliction” although footnoting the other possibility from the MT, “aware of my affliction” (assuming the form could be adjectival). The LXX omits the last line.
  41. Job 10:16 tn The MT has the third person of the verb, “and he lifts himself up.” One might assume that the subject is “my head”—but that is rather far removed from the verb. It appears that Job is talking about himself in some way. Some commentators simply emend the text to make it first person. This has the support of Targum Job, which would be expected since it would be interpreting the passage in its context (see D. M. Stec, “The Targum Rendering of WYG’H in Job X 16, ” VT 34 [1984]: 367-8). Pope and Gordis make the word adjectival, modifying the subject: “proudly you hunt me,” but support is lacking. E. Dhorme thinks the line should be parallel to the two preceding it, and so suggests יָגֵּעַ (yageaʿ, “exhausted”) for יִגְאֶה (yigʾeh, “lift up”). The contextual argument is that Job has said that he cannot raise his head, but if he were to do so, God would hunt him down. God could be taken as the subject of the verb if the text is using enallage (shifting of grammatical persons within a discourse) for dramatic effect. Perhaps the initial third person was intended with respect within a legal context of witnesses and a complaint, but was switched to second person for direct accusation.
  42. Job 10:16 sn There is some ambiguity here: Job could be the lion being hunted by God, or God could be hunting Job like a lion hunts its prey. The point of the line is clear in either case.
  43. Job 10:16 tn The text uses two verbs without a coordinating conjunction: “then you return, you display your power.” This should be explained as a verbal hendiadys, the first verb serving adverbially in the clause (see further GKC 386-87 §120.g).
  44. Job 10:16 tn The form is the Hitpael of פָּלָא (palaʾ, “to be wonderful; to be surpassing; to be extraordinary”). Here in this stem it has the sense of “make oneself admirable, surpassing” or “render oneself powerful, glorious.” The text is ironic; the word that described God’s marvelous creation of Job is here used to describe God’s awesome destruction of Job.
  45. Job 10:17 tn The text has “you renew/increase your witnesses.” This would probably mean Job’s sufferings, which were witness to his sins. But some suggested a different word here, one that is cognate to Arabic ʾadiya, “to be an enemy; to be hostile”: thus “you renew your hostility against me.” Less convincing are suggestions that the word is cognate to Ugaritic “troops” (see W. G. E. Watson, “The Metaphor in 10, 17, ” Bib 63 [1982]: 255-57).
  46. Job 10:17 tn The Hebrew simply says “changes and a host are with me.” The “changes and a host” is taken as a hendiadys, meaning relieving troops (relief troops of the army). The two words appear together again in 14:14, showing that emendation is to be avoided. The imagery depicts blow after blow from God—always fresh attacks.
  47. Job 10:18 tn The two imperfect verbs in this section are used to stress regrets for something which did not happen (see GKC 317 §107.n).
  48. Job 10:19 sn This means “If only I had never come into existence.”
  49. Job 10:20 tn Heb “are not my days few; cease/let it cease….” The versions have “the days of my life” (reading יְמֵי חֶלְדִּי [yeme kheldi] instead of יָמַי וַחֲדָל [yamay vakhadal]). Many commentators and the RSV, NAB, and NRSV accept this reading. The Kethib is an imperfect or jussive, “let it cease/ it will cease.” The Qere is more intelligible for some interpreters—“cease” (as in 7:16). For a discussion of the readings, see D. W. Thomas, “Some Observations on the Hebrew Root הדל,” VTSup 4 [1957]: 14). But the text is not impossible as it stands.
  50. Job 10:20 tn Taking the form as the imperative with the ו (vav), the sentence follows the direct address to God (as in v. 18 as well as 7:16). This requires less changes. See the preceding note regarding the plausibility of the jussive. The point of the verse is clear in either reading—his life is short, and he wants the suffering to stop.
  51. Job 10:20 tn In the different suggestions for the line, the י (yod) of this word is believed to belong to the preceding word making “my life.” That would here leave an imperative rather than an imperfect. But if the Qere is read, then it would be an imperative anyway, and there would be no reason for the change.
  52. Job 10:20 tn Heb “put from me,” an expression found nowhere else. The Qere has a ו (vav) and not a י (yod), forming an imperative rather than an imperfect. H. H. Rowley suggests that there is an ellipsis here, “hand” needing to be supplied. Job wanted God to take his hand away from him. That is plausible, but difficult.
  53. Job 10:20 tn The verb בָּלַג (balag) in the Hiphil means “to have cheer [or joy]” (see 9:27; Ps 39:14 HT [39:13 ET]). The cohortative following the imperatives shows the purpose or result—“in order that.”
  54. Job 10:21 sn The verbs are simple, “I go” and “I return,” but Job clearly means before he dies. A translation of “depart” comes closer to communicating this. The second verb may be given a potential imperfect translation to capture the point. The NIV offered more of an interpretive paraphrase: “before I go to the place of no return.”
  55. Job 10:21 tn See Job 3:5.
  56. Job 10:22 tn The word סֵדֶר (seder, “order”) occurs only here in the Bible. G. R. Driver found a new meaning in Arabic sadira, “dazzled by the glare” (“Problems in the Hebrew text of Job,” VTSup 3 [1955]: 76-77); this would mean “without a ray of light.” This is accepted by those who see chaos out of place in this line. But the word “order” is well attested in later Hebrew (see J. Carmignac, “Précisions aportées au vocabulaire d’hébreu biblique par La guerre des fils de lumière contre les fils de ténèbres,” VT 5 [1955]: 345-65).
  57. Job 10:22 tn The Hebrew word literally means “it shines”; the feminine verb implies a subject like “the light” (but see GKC 459 §144.c).
  58. Job 10:22 tn The verse multiplies images for the darkness in death. Several commentators omit “as darkness, deep darkness” (כְּמוֹ אֹפֶל צַלְמָוֶת, kemo ʾofel tsalmavet) as glosses on the rare word עֵיפָתָה (ʿefatah, “darkness”) drawn from v. 21 (see also RSV). The verse literally reads: “[to the] land of darkness, like the deep darkness of the shadow of death, without any order, and the light is like the darkness.”

The Lord’s case against Israel

Listen to what the Lord says:

‘Stand up, plead my case before the mountains;
    let the hills hear what you have to say.

‘Hear, you mountains, the Lord’s accusation;
    listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth.
For the Lord has a case against his people;
    he is lodging a charge against Israel.

‘My people, what have I done to you?
    How have I burdened you? Answer me.
I brought you up out of Egypt
    and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you,
    also Aaron and Miriam.
My people, remember
    what Balak king of Moab plotted
    and what Balaam son of Beor answered.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,
    that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.’

With what shall I come before the Lord
    and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

Israel’s guilt and punishment

Listen! The Lord is calling to the city –
    and to fear your name is wisdom –
    ‘Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.[b]
10 Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house,
    and the short ephah,[c] which is accursed?
11 Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales,
    with a bag of false weights?
12 Your rich people are violent;
    your inhabitants are liars
    and their tongues speak deceitfully.
13 Therefore, I have begun to destroy you,
    to ruin[d] you because of your sins.
14 You will eat but not be satisfied;
    your stomach will still be empty.[e]
You will store up but save nothing,
    because what you save[f] I will give to the sword.
15 You will plant but not harvest;
    you will press olives but not use the oil,
    you will crush grapes but not drink the wine.
16 You have observed the statutes of Omri
    and all the practices of Ahab’s house;
    you have followed their traditions.
Therefore I will give you over to ruin
    and your people to derision;
    you will bear the scorn of the nations.’[g]


  1. Micah 6:8 Or prudently
  2. Micah 6:9 The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain.
  3. Micah 6:10 An ephah was a dry measure.
  4. Micah 6:13 Or Therefore, I will make you ill and destroy you; / I will ruin
  5. Micah 6:14 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  6. Micah 6:14 Or You will press toward birth but not give birth, / and what you bring to birth
  7. Micah 6:16 Septuagint; Hebrew scorn due to my people

The Lord Demands Justice, not Ritual

Listen to what the Lord says:

“Get up! Defend yourself[a] before the mountains.[b]
Present your case before the hills.”[c]
Hear the Lord’s accusation, you mountains,
you enduring foundations of the earth.
For the Lord has a case against his people;
he has a dispute with Israel![d]
“My people, how have I wronged you?[e]
How have I wearied you? Answer me!
In fact, I brought you up from the land of Egypt;
I delivered you from that place of slavery.
I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you.[f]
My people, recall how King Balak of Moab planned to harm you,[g]
how Balaam son of Beor responded to him.
Recall how you journeyed from Shittim to Gilgal,
so you might acknowledge that the Lord has treated you fairly.”[h]
With what should I[i] enter the Lord’s presence?

With what[j] should I bow before the sovereign God?[k]
Should I enter his presence with burnt offerings,
with year-old calves?
Will the Lord accept a thousand rams
or ten thousand streams of olive oil?
Should I give him my firstborn child as payment for my rebellion,
my offspring—my own flesh and blood—for my sin?[l]
He has told you,[m] O man, what is good,
and what the Lord really wants from you:[n]
He wants you to[o] carry out justice,[p] to love faithfulness,[q]
and to live obediently before[r] your God.
Listen! The Lord is calling[s] to the city!

It is wise to respect your authority, O Lord.[t]
Listen, O nation, and those assembled in the city![u]
10 “I will not overlook,[v] O sinful house, the dishonest gain you have hoarded away[w]
or the smaller-than-standard measure I hate so much.[x]
11 I do not condone the use of rigged scales,
or a bag of deceptive weights.[y]
12 The city’s wealthy people readily resort to violence;[z]
her inhabitants tell lies;
their tongues speak deceptive words.[aa]
13 I will strike you brutally[ab]
and destroy you because of your sin.
14 You will eat, but not be satisfied.
Even if you have the strength[ac] to overtake some prey,[ad]
you will not be able to carry it away;[ae]
if you do happen to carry away something,
I will deliver it over to the sword.
15 You will plant crops, but will not harvest them;
you will squeeze oil from the olives,[af] but you will have no oil to rub on your bodies;[ag]
you will squeeze juice from the grapes, but you will have no wine to drink.[ah]
16 You follow Omri’s edicts[ai]
and all the practices of Ahab’s dynasty;[aj]
you follow their policies.[ak]
Therefore I will make you an appalling sight;[al]
the city’s[am] inhabitants will be taunted derisively,[an]
and nations will mock all of you.”[ao]


  1. Micah 6:1 tn Or “plead your case” (NASB, NIV, NRSV); NAB “present your plea”; NLT “state your case.”sn Defend yourself. The Lord challenges Israel to defend itself against the charges he is bringing.
  2. Micah 6:1 sn As in some ancient Near Eastern treaties, the mountains are personified as legal witnesses that will settle the dispute between God and Israel.
  3. Micah 6:1 tn Heb “let the hills hear your voice.”
  4. Micah 6:2 tn The prophet briefly interrupts the Lord’s statement (see vv. 1, 3) to summon the mountains as witnesses. Though the prophet speaks, the quotation marks have been omitted to clarify that it is not the Lord still speaking.
  5. Micah 6:3 tn Heb “My people, what have I done to you?”
  6. Micah 6:4 tn Heb “before you.”
  7. Micah 6:5 tn Heb “remember what Balak…planned.”
  8. Micah 6:5 tn Heb “From Shittim to Gilgal, in order to know the just acts of the Lord.” Something appears to be missing at the beginning of the line. The present translation supplies the words, “Recall how you went.” This apparently refers to how Israel crossed the Jordan River (see Josh 3:1; 4:19-24).
  9. Micah 6:6 sn With what should I enter the Lord’s presence? The prophet speaks again, playing the role of an inquisitive worshiper who wants to know what God really desires from his followers.
  10. Micah 6:6 tn The words “with what” do double duty in the parallelism and are supplied in the second line of the translation for clarification.
  11. Micah 6:6 tn Or “the exalted God.”
  12. Micah 6:7 tn Heb “the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul.” The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) is often translated “soul,” but the word usually refers to the whole person; here “the sin of my soul” = “my sin.” sn Since child sacrifice is forbidden in scripture (Deut 12:31; 18:10), the speaker is revealed to not be in earnest but perhaps sarcastic.
  13. Micah 6:8 sn Now the prophet switches roles and answers the question of the hypothetical worshiper. He rebukes the extravagant surface remark by pointing to general character qualities that are lacking in Israel.
  14. Micah 6:8 tn Heb “is seeking from you.”
  15. Micah 6:8 tn Heb “except.” This statement is actually linked with what precedes, “What does he want from you except….”
  16. Micah 6:8 tn Or “to act justly.”
  17. Micah 6:8 tn Or “to love faithfully.” The Hebrew word חֶסֶד (khesed) is complex, sometimes translated “lovingkindness,” faithfulness,” or “loyal love.” It has also been understood as covenant loyalty. חֶסֶד is either the object or the manner of the infinitive “to love.”
  18. Micah 6:8 tn Heb “to walk humbly [or perhaps, “carefully”] with.”
  19. Micah 6:9 tn Or “the voice of the Lord is calling.” The translation understands קוֹל (qol, “voice”) as equivalent to an imperative.
  20. Micah 6:9 tn Heb “one who sees your name is wisdom.” It is probably better to emend יִרְאֶה (yirʾeh, “he sees”) to יִרְאָה (yirʾah, “fearing”). One may then translate, “fearing your name is wisdom.” The Lord’s “name” here stands by metonymy for his authority.
  21. Micah 6:9 tc The MT reads, “Listen, tribe (or staff) and who appointed it.” Verse 10 then begins with עוֹד (ʿod, “still” or “again”). The LXX reads, “who will set the city in order?” The translation assumes an emendation of וּמִי יְעָדָהּ. עוֹד (umi yeʿadah. ʿod…, “and who appointed it. Still…”) to וּמוֹעֵד הָעִיר(umoʿed haʿir, “and the assembly of the city”).
  22. Micah 6:10 tn The meaning of the first Hebrew word in the line is unclear. Possibly it is a combination of the interrogative particle and אִשׁ (ʾish), an alternate form of יֵשׁ (yesh, “there is/are”). One could then translate literally, “Are there treasures of sin [in] the house of the sinful?” The translation assumes an emendation to הַאֶשֶּׁה (haʾesheh, from נָשָׁא, nashaʾ, “to forget”), “Will I forget?” The rhetorical question expects an answer, “No, I will not forget.”
  23. Micah 6:10 tn Heb “the treasures of sin”; NASB “treasures of wickedness”; NIV “ill-gotten treasures.”
  24. Micah 6:10 tn Heb “the accursed scant measure.”sn Merchants would use a smaller than standard measure so they could give the customer less than he thought he was paying for.
  25. Micah 6:11 tn Heb “Do I acquit sinful scales, and a bag of deceptive weights?” The rhetorical question expects an answer, “No, I do not,” and has been translated as a declarative statement for clarity and emphasis.sn Merchants also used rigged scales and deceptive weights to cheat their customers. See the note at Amos 8:5.
  26. Micah 6:12 tn Heb “are full of violence.”
  27. Micah 6:12 tn Heb “and their tongue is deceptive in their mouth.”
  28. Micah 6:13 tn Heb “and I, even I, will make you sick, [by] striking you.”
  29. Micah 6:14 tc The first Hebrew term in the line (וְיֶשְׁחֲךָ, veyeshkhakha) is obscure. HALOT 446 s.v. יֶשַׁח understands a noun meaning “filth,” which would yield the translation, “and your filth is inside you.” The translation assumes an emendation to כֹּחַוְיֶשׁ (veyesh koakh, “and [if] there is strength inside you”).
  30. Micah 6:14 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term וְתַסֵּג (vetasseg) is unclear. The translation assumes it is a Hiphal imperfect from נָסַג/נָשַׂג (nasag/nasag, “reach; overtake”) and that hunting imagery is employed. (Note the reference to hunger in the first line of the verse.) See D. R. Hillers, Micah (Hermeneia), 80.
  31. Micah 6:14 tn The Hiphal of פָּלַט (palat) is used in Isa 5:29 of an animal carrying its prey to a secure place.
  32. Micah 6:15 tn Heb “you will tread olives.” Literally treading on olives with one’s feet could be harmful and would not supply the necessary pressure to release the oil. See O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 119. The Hebrew term דָּרַךְ (darakh) may have an idiomatic sense of “press” here, or perhaps the imagery of the following parallel line (referring to treading grapes) has dictated the word choice.
  33. Micah 6:15 tn Heb “but you will not rub yourselves with oil.”
  34. Micah 6:15 tn Heb “and juice, but you will not drink wine.” The verb תִדְרֹךְ (tidrokh, “you will tread”) must be supplied from the preceding line.
  35. Micah 6:16 tn Heb “the edicts of Omri are kept.”
  36. Micah 6:16 tn Heb “the house of Ahab.”
  37. Micah 6:16 tn Heb “and you walk in their plans.”sn The Omride dynasty, of which Ahab was the most infamous king, had a reputation for implementing unjust and oppressive measures. See 1 Kgs 21.
  38. Micah 6:16 tn The Hebrew term שַׁמָּה (shammah) can refer to “destruction; ruin,” or to the reaction it produces in those who witness the destruction.
  39. Micah 6:16 tn Heb “her.”
  40. Micah 6:16 tn Heb “[an object] of hissing,” which was a way of taunting someone.
  41. Micah 6:16 tc The translation assumes an emendation of the MT’s עַמִּי (ʿammi, “my people”) to עַמִּים (ʿammim, “nations”).tn Heb “and the reproach of my people you will bear.” The second person verb is plural here, in contrast to the singular forms used in vv. 13-15.

Favouritism forbidden

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself,’[a] you are doing right. But if you show favouritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as law-breakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’[b] also said, ‘You shall not murder.’[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a law-breaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith and deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.


  1. James 2:8 Lev. 19:18
  2. James 2:11 Exodus 20:14; Deut. 5:18
  3. James 2:11 Exodus 20:13; Deut. 5:17
  4. James 2:20 Some early manuscripts dead
  5. James 2:23 Gen. 15:6

Prejudice and the Law of Love

My brothers and sisters,[a] do not show prejudice[b] if you possess faith[c] in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.[d] For if someone[e] comes into your assembly[f] wearing a gold ring and fine clothing, and a poor person enters in filthy clothes, do you pay attention to the one who is finely dressed and say,[g] “You sit here in a good place,”[h] and to the poor person, “You stand over there,” or “Sit on the floor”?[i] If so, have you not made distinctions[j] among yourselves and become judges with evil motives?[k] Listen, my dear brothers and sisters![l] Did not God choose the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor![m] Are not the rich oppressing you and dragging you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme the good name of the one you belong to?[n] But if you fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture,[o]You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”[p] you are doing well. But if you show prejudice, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as violators.[q] 10 For the one who obeys the whole law but fails[r] in one point has become guilty of all of it.[s] 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,”[t] also said, “Do not murder.”[u] Now if you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a violator of the law. 12 Speak and act as those who will be judged by a law that gives freedom.[v] 13 For judgment is merciless for the one who has shown no mercy. But mercy triumphs over[w] judgment.

Faith and Works Together

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters,[x] if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can this kind of faith[y] save him?[z] 15 If a brother or sister[aa] is poorly clothed and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,” but you do not give them what the body needs,[ab] what good is it? 17 So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead being by itself. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.”[ac] Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by[ad] my works. 19 You believe that God is one; well and good.[ae] Even the demons believe that—and tremble with fear.[af]

20 But would you like evidence,[ag] you empty fellow,[ah] that faith without works is useless?[ai] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that his faith was working together with his works and his faith was perfected by works. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Now Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness,”[aj] and he was called God’s friend.[ak] 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And similarly, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.


  1. James 2:1 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
  2. James 2:1 tn Or “partiality.”
  3. James 2:1 tn Grk “do not have faith with personal prejudice,” with emphasis on the last phrase.
  4. James 2:1 tn Grk “our Lord Jesus Christ of glory.” Here δόξης (doxēs) has been translated as an attributive genitive.
  5. James 2:2 tn The word for “man” or “individual” here is ἀνήρ (anēr), which often means “male” or “man (as opposed to woman).” But as BDAG 79 s.v. 2 says, “equivalent to τὶς someone.”
  6. James 2:2 tn Grk “synagogue.” Usually συναγωγή refers to Jewish places of worship (e.g., Matt 4:23, Mark 1:21, Luke 4:15, John 6:59). The word can be used generally to refer to a place of assembly, and here it refers specifically to a Christian assembly (BDAG 963 s.v. 2.b.).
  7. James 2:3 tn Grk “and you pay attention…and say,” continuing the “if” clauses from v. 2. In the Greek text, vv. 2-4 form one long sentence.
  8. James 2:3 tn Or “sit here, please.”
  9. James 2:3 tn Grk “sit under my footstool.” The words “on the floor” have been supplied in the translation to clarify for the modern reader the undesirability of this seating arrangement (so also TEV, NIV, CEV, NLT). Another option followed by a number of translations is to replace “under my footstool” with “at my feet” (NAB, NIV, NRSV).
  10. James 2:4 tn Grk “have you not made distinctions” (as the conclusion to the series of “if” clauses in vv. 2-3).
  11. James 2:4 tn Grk “judges of evil reasonings.”
  12. James 2:5 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
  13. James 2:6 tn This is singular: “the poor person,” perhaps referring to the hypothetical one described in vv. 2-3.
  14. James 2:7 tn Grk “that was invoked over you,” referring to their baptism in which they confessed their faith in Christ and were pronounced to be his own. To have the Lord’s name “named over them” is OT imagery for the Lord’s ownership of his people (cf. 2 Chr 7:14; Amos 9:12; Isa 63:19; Jer 14:9; 15:16; Dan 9:19; Acts 15:17).
  15. James 2:8 tn Grk “according to the scripture.”
  16. James 2:8 sn A quotation from Lev 19:18 (also quoted in Matt 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14).
  17. James 2:9 tn Or “transgressors.”
  18. James 2:10 tn Or “stumbles.”
  19. James 2:10 tn Grk “guilty of all.”
  20. James 2:11 sn A quotation from Exod 20:14 and Deut 5:18.
  21. James 2:11 sn A quotation from Exod 20:13 and Deut 5:17.
  22. James 2:12 tn Grk “a law of freedom.”
  23. James 2:13 tn Grk “boasts against, exults over,” in victory.
  24. James 2:14 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.
  25. James 2:14 tn Grk “the faith,” referring to the kind of faith just described: faith without works. The article here is anaphoric, referring to the previous mention of the noun πίστις (pistis) in the verse. See ExSyn 219.
  26. James 2:14 sn The form of the question in Greek expects a negative answer.
  27. James 2:15 tn It is important to note that the words ἀδελφός (adelphos) and ἀδελφή (adelphē) both occur in the Greek text at this point, confirming that the author intended to refer to both men and women. See the note on “someone” in 2:2.
  28. James 2:16 tn Grk “what is necessary for the body.”
  29. James 2:18 tn There is considerable doubt about where the words of the “someone” end and where James’ reply begins. Some see the quotation running to the end of v. 18; others to the end of v. 19. But most punctuate as shown above. The “someone” is then an objector, and the sense of his words is something like, “Some have faith; others have works; don’t expect everyone to have both.” James’ reply is that faith cannot exist or be seen without works.
  30. James 2:18 tn Or “from.”
  31. James 2:19 tn Grk “you do well.”
  32. James 2:19 tn Grk “believe and tremble.” The words “with fear” are implied.
  33. James 2:20 tn Grk “do you want to know.”
  34. James 2:20 tn Grk “O empty man.” Here the singular vocative ἄνθρωπε (anthrōpe, “man”) means “person” or even “fellow.” Cf. BDAG 82 s.v. ἄνθρωπος 8 which views this as an instance of rhetorical address in a letter; the pejorative sense is also discussed under the previous heading (7).
  35. James 2:20 tc Most witnesses, including several significant ones (א A C2 P Ψ 5 33 81 436 442 1611 1735 1852 2344 2492 M al sy bo), have νεκρά (nekra, “dead”) here, while P74 reads κενή (kenē, “empty”). Both variants are most likely secondary, derived from ἀργή (argē, “useless”). The reading of the majority is probably an assimilation to the statements in vv. 17 and 26, while P74’s reading picks up on κενέ (kene) earlier in the verse. The external evidence (B C* 323 945 1175 1243 1739 sa) for ἀργή is sufficient for authenticity; coupled with the strong internal evidence for the reading (if νεκρά were original, how would ἀργή have arisen here and not in vv. 17 or 26?), it is strongly preferred.
  36. James 2:23 sn A quotation from Gen 15:6.
  37. James 2:23 sn An allusion to 2 Chr 20:7; Isa 41:8; 51:2; Dan 3:35 (LXX), in which Abraham is called God’s “beloved.”