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Micah 1

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Introduction

1:1 This is the prophetic message that the Lord gave to 1  Micah of Moresheth. He delivered this message 2  during the reigns of 3  Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. The prophecies pertain to 4  Samaria 5  and Jerusalem. 6 

The Judge is Coming

1:2 Listen, all you nations! 7 

Pay attention, all inhabitants of earth! 8 

The sovereign Lord will testify 9  against you;

the Lord will accuse you 10  from his majestic palace. 11 

1:3 Look, 12  the Lord is coming out of his dwelling place!

He will descend and march on the earth’s mountaintops! 13 

1:4 The mountains will disintegrate 14  beneath him,

and the valleys will be split in two. 15 

The mountains will melt 16  like wax in a fire,

the rocks will slide down like water cascading down a steep slope. 17 

1:5 All this is because of Jacob’s rebellion

and 18  the sins of the nation 19  of Israel.

How has Jacob rebelled, you ask? 20 

Samaria epitomizes their rebellion! 21 

Where are Judah’s pagan worship centers, you ask? 22 

They are right in Jerusalem! 23 

1:6 “I will turn Samaria 24  into a heap of ruins in an open field –

vineyards will be planted there! 25 

I will tumble 26  the rubble of her stone walls 27  down into the valley,

and tear down her fortifications to their foundations. 28 

1:7 All her carved idols will be smashed to pieces;

all her metal cult statues will be destroyed by fire. 29 

I will make a waste heap 30  of all her images.

Since 31  she gathered the metal 32  as a prostitute collects her wages,

the idols will become a prostitute’s wages again.” 33 

1:8 For this reason I 34  will mourn and wail;

I will walk around barefoot 35  and without my outer garments. 36 

I will howl 37  like a wild dog, 38 

and screech 39  like an owl. 40 

1:9 For Samaria’s 41  disease 42  is incurable.

It has infected 43  Judah;

it has spread to 44  the leadership 45  of my people

and has even contaminated Jerusalem! 46 

1:10 Don’t spread the news in Gath! 47 

Don’t shed even a single tear! 48 

In Beth Leaphrah sit in the dust! 49 

1:11 Residents 50  of Shaphir, 51  pass by in nakedness and humiliation! 52 

The residents of Zaanan can’t leave their city. 53 

Beth Ezel 54  mourns, 55 

“He takes from you what he desires.” 56 

1:12 Indeed, the residents of Maroth 57  hope for something good to happen, 58 

though the Lord has sent disaster against the city of Jerusalem. 59 

1:13 Residents of Lachish, 60  hitch the horses to the chariots!

You 61  influenced Daughter Zion 62  to sin, 63 

for Israel’s rebellious deeds can be traced back 64  to you!

1:14 Therefore you 65  will have to say farewell 66  to Moresheth Gath.

The residents 67  of Achzib 68  will be as disappointing

as a dried up well 69  to the kings of Israel. 70 

1:15 Residents of Mareshah, 71  a conqueror will attack you, 72 

the leaders of Israel shall flee to Adullam. 73 

1:16 Shave your heads bald as you mourn for the children you love; 74 

shave your foreheads as bald 75  as an eagle, 76 

for they are taken from you into exile.

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1 tn Heb “The word of the Lord which came to.”

2 tn The words “he delivered this message” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarification.

3 tn Heb “in the days of” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV).

4 tn Heb “which he saw concerning.”

5 map For location see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

6 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

7 tn Heb “O peoples, all of them.”

8 tn Heb “O earth and all its fullness”; KJV “and all that therein is.”

9 tn Heb “May the sovereign Lord testify against you.” The verb וִיהִי (vihiy) is jussive, which normally conveys a volitional sense of an urgent request or prayer (“may he testify!”). However, GKC 325-26 §109.k notes that here the jussive form is used without any volitional sense for the ordinary imperfect, as a rhythmic shortening at the beginning of a sentence, thus removed as far as possible from the principal accent (cf. Gen 49:17; Deut 28:8; 1 Sam 10:5; 2 Sam 5:24; Hos 6:1; 11:4; Amos 5:14; Zeph 2:13; Zech 9:5; Pss 72:16-17; 104:31; Job 18:12; 20:23, 26, 28; 27:8; 33:21; 34:37; Ruth 3:4). Thus, the translation here renders the jussive as an ordinary imperfect. Some translations render it in a traditional jussive sense: (1) urgent request: “And let my Lord God be your accuser” (NJPS); or (2) dependent purpose/result: “that the Sovereign Lord may witness against you” (NIV).

10 tn Heb “the Lord from his majestic palace.” Since the verb is omitted it is unclear whether the implied term be supplied from the preceding line (“he will testify against you”) or the following line (“he is leaving”). So the line may be rendered “the Lord will accuse you from his majestic temple” or “the Lord will come forth from his majestic temple.” Most translations render it literally, but some remove the ambiguity: “the Lord God accuses you from his holy temple” (CEV); “He speaks from his holy temple” (TEV).

11 tn Or “his holy temple” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). This refers to the Lord’s dwelling in heaven, however, rather than the temple in Jerusalem (note the following verse, which describes a theophany).

12 tn Or “For look.” The expression כִּי־הִנֵּה (ki-hinneh) may function as an explanatory introduction (“For look!”; Isa 26:21; 60:2; 65:17, 18: 66:15; Jer 1:15; 25:29; 30:10; 45:5; 46:27; 50:9; Ezek 30:9; 36:9; Zech 2:10; 3:8), or as an emphatic introduction (“Look!”; Jdgs 3:15; Isa 3:1; Jer 8:17; 30:3; 49:15; Hos 9:6; Joel 3:1 [HT 4:1]; Amos 4:2, 13; 6:11, 14; 9:9; Hab 1:6; Zech 2:9 [HT 2:13]; Zech 3:9; 11:16).

13 tn Or “high places” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

14 tn Or “melt” (NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). This is a figurative description of earthquakes, landslides, and collapse of the mountains, rather than some sort of volcanic activity (note the remainder of the verse).

15 sn The mountains will disintegrate…the valleys will be split in two. This imagery pictures an earthquake and accompanying landslide.

16 tn The words “the mountains will melt” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The simile extends back to the first line of the verse.

17 tn The words “the rocks will slide down” are supplied in the translation for clarification. This simile elaborates on the prior one and further develops the imagery of the verse’s first line.

18 tn Heb “and because of.” This was simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.

19 tn Heb “house.”

20 tn Heb “What is the rebellion of Jacob?”

21 tn Heb “Is it not Samaria?” The negated rhetorical question expects the answer, “It certainly is!” To make this clear the question has been translated as a strong affirmative statement.

22 tn Heb “What are Judah’s high places?”

23 tn Heb “Is it not Jerusalem?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “It certainly is!”

sn In vv. 2-5 Micah narrows the scope of God’s judgment from the nations (vv. 2-4) to his covenant people (v. 5). Universal judgment is coming, but ironically Israel is the focal point of God’s anger. In v. 5c the prophet includes Judah within the scope of divine judgment, for it has followed in the pagan steps of the northern kingdom. He accomplishes this with rhetorical skill. In v. 5b he develops the first assertion of v. 5a (“All of this is because of Jacob’s rebellion”). One expects in v. 5c an elaboration of the second assertion in v. 5a (“and the sins of the nation of Israel”), which one assumes, in light of v. 5b, pertains to the northern kingdom. But the prophet specifies the “sins” as “high places” and makes it clear that “the nation of Israel” includes Judah. Verses 6-7 further develop v. 5b (judgment on the northern kingdom), while vv. 8-16 expand on v. 5c (judgment on Judah).

map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.

24 map For location see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

25 tn Heb “into a planting place for vineyards.”

26 tn Heb “pour” (so NASB, NIV); KJV, NRSV “pour down”; NAB “throw down”; NLT “roll.”

27 tn Heb “her stones.” The term stones is a metonymy for the city walls whose foundations were constructed of stone masonry.

28 tn Heb “I will uncover her foundations.” The term “foundations” refers to the lower courses of the stones of the city’s outer fortification walls.

29 tn Heb “and all her prostitute’s wages will be burned with fire.”

sn The precious metal used by Samaria’s pagan worship centers to make idols are here compared to a prostitute’s wages because Samaria had been unfaithful to the Lord and prostituted herself to pagan gods, such as Baal.

30 tn Heb “I will make desolate” (so NASB).

31 tn Or “for” (KJV, NASB, NRSV).

32 tn No object is specified in the Hebrew text; the words “the metal” are supplied from the context.

33 tn Heb “for from a prostitute’s wages she gathered, and to a prostitute’s wages they will return.” When the metal was first collected it was comparable to the coins a prostitute would receive for her services. The metal was then formed into idols, but now the Lord’s fiery judgment would reduce the metal images to their original condition.

34 tn The prophet is probably the speaker here.

35 tn Or “stripped.” The precise meaning of this Hebrew word is unclear. It may refer to walking barefoot (see 2 Sam 15:30) or to partially stripping oneself (see Job 12:17-19).

36 tn Heb “naked.” This probably does not refer to complete nudity, but to stripping off one’s outer garments as an outward sign of the destitution felt by the mourner.

37 tn Heb “I will make lamentation.”

38 tn Or “a jackal”; CEV “howling wolves.”

39 tn Heb “[make] a mourning.”

40 tn Or perhaps “ostrich” (cf. ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT).

41 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Samaria) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

42 tc The MT reads the plural “wounds”; the singular is read by the LXX, Syriac, and Vg.

tn Or “wound.”

43 tn Heb “come to.”

44 tn Or “reached.”

45 tn Heb “the gate.” Kings and civic leaders typically conducted important business at the city gate (see 1 Kgs 22:10 for an example), and the term is understood here to refer by metonymy to the leadership who would be present at the gate.

46 tn Heb “to Jerusalem.” The expression “it has contaminated” do not appear in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied to fill out the parallelism with the preceding line.

map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.

47 tn Heb “Tell it not in Gath.” The Hebrew word for “tell” (נָגַד, nagad) sounds like the name of the city, Gath (גַּת, gat).

48 tn The Hebrew infinitive absolute before the negated jussive emphasizes the prohibition.

49 tc The translation assumes a masculine plural imperative. If one were to emend בְּבֵית (bÿvet) to בֵית (vet), Beth Leaphrah would then be the addressee and the feminine singular imperative (see Qere) could be retained, “O Beth Leaphrah, sit in the dust.”

tn Heb “roll about in mourning in the dust”; or “wallow about in mourning in the dust.” The verb פָּלַשׁ (palash, “roll about in mourning [in dust]”; HALOT 935 s.v. פלשׁ) is figurative (metonymy) for sitting as an outward sign of mourning.

sn To sit in the dust was an outward sign of mourning. The name Beth Leaphrah means “house of dust.”

50 tn The Hebrew participial form, which is feminine singular, is here used in a collective sense for the all the residents of the town. See GKC 394 §122.s.

51 sn The place name Shaphir means “pleasant” in Hebrew.

52 tn The imperatival form is used rhetorically, emphasizing that the inhabitants of Shaphir will pass by into exile.

53 tn Heb “have not come out”; NIV “will not come out”; NLT “dare not come outside.”

sn The expression can’t leave their city alludes to a siege of the town. The place name Zaanan sounds like the verb “come out” (i.e., “can’t leave”) in Hebrew.

54 sn The place name Beth Ezel means “house of nearness” or “house of proximity” in Hebrew.

55 tn Heb “the lamentation of Beth Ezel.” The following words could be the lamentation offered up by Beth Ezel (subjective genitive) or the mourning song sung over it (objective genitive).

56 tc The form עֶמְדָּתוֹ (’emdato) should be emended to חֲמַדְּתוֹ (khamadto, “his (the conqueror’s) desire”).

tn The precise meaning of the line is uncertain. The translation assumes: (a) the subject of the third masculine singular verb יִקַּח (yiqqakh, “he/it takes”) is the conqueror, (b) the second masculine plural suffix (“you”) on the preposition מִן (min, “from”) refers to the residents of Shaphir and Zaanan, (c) the final form עֶמְדָּתוֹ should be emended to חֲמַדְּתוֹ, “his (the conqueror’s) desire.”

57 sn The place name Maroth sounds like the Hebrew word for “bitter.”

58 tc The translation assumes an emendation of חָלָה (khalah; from חִיל, khil, “to writhe”) to יִחֲלָה (yikhalah; from יָחַל, yakhal, “to wait”).

tn Heb “[the residents of Maroth] writhe [= “anxiously long for”?] good.”

59 tn Heb “though disaster has come down from the Lord to the gate of Jerusalem.”

60 sn The place name Lachish sounds like the Hebrew word for “team [of horses].”

61 tn Heb “she”; this has been translated as second person (“you”) in keeping with the direct address to the residents of Lachish in the previous line.

62 sn The epithet Daughter Zion pictures the city of Jerusalem as a young lady.

63 tn Heb “She was the beginning of sin for Daughter Zion.”

64 tn Heb “for in you was found the transgressions of Israel.”

65 tn The subject of the feminine singular verb is probably Lachish.

66 tn Heb “you will give a dowry to”; NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “give parting gifts to.” Lachish is compared to a father who presents wedding gifts to his daughter as she leaves her father’s home to take up residence with her husband. In similar fashion Lachish will bid farewell to Moresheth Gath, for the latter will be taken by the invader.

67 tn Heb “houses.” By metonymy this refers to the people who live in them.

68 sn The place name Achzib (אַכְזִיב, ’akhziv, “place on the dried up river”; see HALOT 45 s.v. אַכְזָב) creates a word play on the similar sounding term כָּזָב (kazav, “lie, deception”; HALOT 468 s.v. כָּזָב). Like the dried up river upon which its name was based, the city of Achzib would fail to help the kings of Israel in their time of need.

69 tn Or “will be a deception.” The term אַכְזָב (’akhzav) is often translated “deception,” as derived from the verb I כָּזָב (“to deceive, lie”; HALOT 467-68 s.v. I כזב). However, it probably means “what is dried up,” since (1) the noun elsewhere refers to an empty well or dried river in summer (Jer 15:18; cf. Job 6:15-20) (HALOT 45 s.v. אַכְזָב); (2) the place-name “Achzib” (אַכְזִיב) literally means “place on the אַכְזָב [dried up river]” (HALOT 45 s.v. אַכְזָב); and (3) it is derived from the verb II כָּזָב (“to dry up [brook]”; Isa 58:11), which also appears in Mishnaic Hebrew and Arabic. The point of the metaphor is that Achzib will be as disappointing to the kings of Israel as a dried up spring in the summer is to a thirsty traveler in the Jordanian desert.

70 sn Because of the enemy invasion, Achzib would not be able to deliver soldiers for the army and/or services normally rendered to the crown.

71 sn The place name Mareshah sounds like the Hebrew word for “conqueror.”

72 tn Heb “Again a conqueror I will bring to you, residents of Mareshah.” The first person verb is problematic, for the Lord would have to be the subject (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). But the prophet appears to be delivering this lament and the Lord is referred to in the third person in v. 12. Consequently many emend the verb to a third person form (יָבוֹא, yavo’) and understand the “conqueror” as subject.

73 tn Heb “to Adullam the glory of Israel will go.” This probably means that the nation’s leadership will run for their lives and, like David of old, hide from their enemy in the caves of Adullam. Cf. NIV’s “He who is the glory of Israel will come to Adullam,” which sounds as if an individual is in view, and could be understood as a messianic reference.

74 tn Heb “over the sons of your delight.”

75 tn Heb “make wide your baldness.”

76 tn Or “a vulture” (cf. NIV, TEV); CEV “a buzzard.” The Hebrew term נֶשֶׁר (nesher) refers to the griffon vulture or eagle.



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