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Micah 3:1-5

Context
God Will Judge Judah’s Sinful Leaders

3:1 I said,

“Listen, you leaders 1  of Jacob,

you rulers of the nation 2  of Israel!

You ought to know what is just, 3 

3:2 yet you 4  hate what is good, 5 

and love what is evil. 6 

You flay my people’s skin 7 

and rip the flesh from their bones. 8 

3:3 You 9  devour my people’s flesh,

strip off their skin,

and crush their bones.

You chop them up like flesh in a pot 10 

like meat in a kettle.

3:4 Someday these sinners will cry to the Lord for help, 11 

but he will not answer them.

He will hide his face from them at that time,

because they have done such wicked deeds.”

3:5 This is what the Lord says: “The prophets who mislead my people

are as good as dead. 12 

If someone gives them enough to eat,

they offer an oracle of peace. 13 

But if someone does not give them food,

they are ready to declare war on him. 14 

1 tn Heb “heads.”

2 tn Heb “house.”

3 tn Heb “Should you not know justice?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course you should!”

4 tn Heb “the ones who.”

5 tn Or “good.”

6 tn Or “evil.”

7 tn Heb “their skin from upon them.” The referent of the pronoun (“my people,” referring to Jacob and/or the house of Israel, with the Lord as the speaker) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

8 tn Heb “and their flesh from their bones.”

sn Micah compares the social injustice perpetrated by the house of Jacob/Israel to cannibalism, because it threatens the very lives of the oppressed.

9 tn Heb “who.”

10 tc The MT reads “and they chop up as in a pot.” The translation assumes an emendation of כַּאֲשֶׁר (kaasher, “as”) to כִּשְׁאֵר (kisher, “like flesh”).

11 tn Heb “then they will cry out to the Lord.” The words “Someday these sinners” have been supplied in the translation for clarification.

12 tn Heb “concerning the prophets, those who mislead my people.” The first person pronominal suffix is awkward in a quotation formula that introduces the words of the Lord. For this reason some prefer to begin the quotation after “the Lord says” (cf. NIV), but this leaves “concerning the prophets” hanging very awkwardly at the beginning of the quotation. It is preferable to add הוֹי (hoy, “woe, ah”) at the beginning of the quotation, right after the graphically similar יְהוָה (yÿhvah; see D. R. Hillers, Micah [Hermeneia], 44). The phrase הוֹי עַל (hoyal, “woe upon”) occurs in Jer 50:27 and Ezek 13:3 (with “the prophets” following the preposition in the latter instance).

13 tn Heb “those who bite with their teeth and cry out, ‘peace.’” The phrase “bite with the teeth” is taken here as idiomatic for eating. Apparently these prophets were driven by mercenary motives. If they were paid well, they gave positive oracles to their clients, but if someone could not afford to pay them, they were hostile and delivered oracles of doom.

14 tn Heb “but [as for the one] who does not place [food] in their mouths, they prepare for war against him.”



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