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Micah 1:1-9

Context
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 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.



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