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Micah 5:1-2

Context

5:1 (4:14) 1  But now slash yourself, 2  daughter surrounded by soldiers! 3 

We are besieged!

With a scepter 4  they strike Israel’s ruler 5 

on the side of his face.

A King Will Come and a Remnant Will Prosper

5:2 (5:1) As for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, 6 

seemingly insignificant 7  among the clans of Judah –

from you a king will emerge who will rule over Israel on my behalf, 8 

one whose origins 9  are in the distant past. 10 

1 sn Beginning with 5:1, the verse numbers through 5:15 in the English Bible differ by one from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 5:1 ET = 4:14 HT, 5:2 ET = 5:1 HT, 5:3 ET = 5:2 HT, etc., through 5:15 ET = 5:14 HT. From 6:1 the verse numbers in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible are again the same.

2 tn The Hebrew verb גָדַד (gadad) can be translated “slash yourself” or “gather in troops.” A number of English translations are based on the latter meaning (e.g., NASB, NIV, NLT).

sn Slash yourself. Slashing one’s body was a form of mourning. See Deut 14:1; 1 Kgs 18:28; Jer 16:6; 41:5; 47:5.

3 tn Heb “daughter of a troop of warriors.”

sn The daughter surrounded by soldiers is an image of the city of Jerusalem under siege (note the address “Daughter Jerusalem” in 4:8).

4 tn Or “staff”; KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “rod”; CEV “stick”; NCV “club.”

sn Striking a king with a scepter, a symbol of rulership, would be especially ironic and humiliating.

5 tn Traditionally, “the judge of Israel” (so KJV, NASB).

6 sn Ephrathah is either an alternate name for Bethlehem or the name of the district in which Bethlehem was located. See Ruth 4:11.

map For location of Bethlehem see Map5 B1; Map7 E2; Map8 E2; Map10 B4.

7 tn Heb “being small.” Some omit לִהְיוֹת (lihyot, “being”) because it fits awkwardly and appears again in the next line.

8 tn Heb “from you for me one will go out to be a ruler over Israel.”

9 tn Heb “his goings out.” The term may refer to the ruler’s origins (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) or to his activities.

10 tn Heb “from the past, from the days of antiquity.” Elsewhere both phrases refer to the early periods in the history of the world or of the nation of Israel. For מִקֶּדֶם (miqqedem, “from the past”) see Neh 12:46; Pss 74:12; 77:11; Isa 45:21; 46:10. For מִימֵי עוֹלָם (mimeyolam, “from the days of antiquity”) see Isa 63:9, 11; Amos 9:11; Mic 7:14; Mal 3:4. In Neh 12:46 and Amos 9:11 the Davidic era is in view.

sn In riddle-like fashion this verse alludes to David, as the references to Bethlehem and to his ancient origins/activities indicate. The passage anticipates the second coming of the great king to usher in a new era of national glory for Israel. Other prophets are more direct and name this coming ideal ruler “David” (Jer 30:9; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Hos 3:5). Of course, this prophecy of “David’s” second coming is actually fulfilled through his descendant, the Messiah, who will rule in the spirit and power of his famous ancestor and bring to realization the Davidic royal ideal in an even greater way than the historical David (see Isa 11:1, 10; Jer 33:15).



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