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Micah 3:5-7

Context

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

are as good as dead. 1 

If someone gives them enough to eat,

they offer an oracle of peace. 2 

But if someone does not give them food,

they are ready to declare war on him. 3 

3:6 Therefore night will fall, and you will receive no visions; 4 

it will grow dark, and you will no longer be able to read the omens. 5 

The sun will set on these prophets,

and the daylight will turn to darkness over their heads. 6 

3:7 The prophets 7  will be ashamed;

the omen readers will be humiliated.

All of them will cover their mouths, 8 

for they will receive no divine oracles.” 9 

1 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).

2 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.

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

4 tn Heb “it will be night for you without a vision.”

sn The coming of night (and darkness in the following line) symbolizes the cessation of revelation.

5 tn Heb “it will be dark for you without divination.”

sn The reading of omens (Heb “divination”) was forbidden in the law (Deut 18:10), so this probably reflects the prophets’ view of how they received divine revelation.

6 tn Heb “and the day will be dark over them.”

7 tn Or “seers.”

8 tn Or “the mustache,” or perhaps “the beard.” Cf. KJV, NAB, NRSV “cover their lips.”

9 tn Heb “for there will be no answer from God.”



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