Micah 7:14-20

7:14 Shepherd your people with your shepherd’s rod,

the flock that belongs to you,

the one that lives alone in a thicket,

in the midst of a pastureland.

Allow them to graze in Bashan and Gilead,

as they did in the old days.

7:15 “As in the days when you departed from the land of Egypt,

I will show you miraculous deeds.”

7:16 Nations will see this and be disappointed by all their strength,

they will put their hands over their mouths,

and act as if they were deaf.

7:17 They will lick the dust like a snake,

like serpents crawling on the ground. 10 

They will come trembling from their strongholds

to the Lord our God; 11 

they will be terrified 12  of you. 13 

7:18 There is no other God like you! 14 

You 15  forgive sin

and pardon 16  the rebellion

of those who remain among your people. 17 

You do not remain angry forever, 18 

but delight in showing loyal love.

7:19 You will once again 19  have mercy on us;

you will conquer 20  our evil deeds;

you will hurl our 21  sins into the depths of the sea. 22 

7:20 You will be loyal to Jacob

and extend your loyal love to Abraham, 23 

which you promised on oath to our ancestors 24 

in ancient times. 25 

tn Or “with your scepter” (the Hebrew term can mean either “rod” or “scepter”).

tn Heb “the flock of your inheritance.”

tn Or “in the midst of Carmel.” The Hebrew term translated “pastureland” may be a place name.

sn The point seems to be that Israel is in a vulnerable position, like sheep in a thicket populated by predators, while rich pastureland (their homeland and God’s blessings) is in view.

sn The regions of Bashan and Gilead, located in Transjordan, were noted for their rich grazing lands.

tn Heb “as in the days of antiquity.”

tn Heb “him.” This probably refers to Israel in a collective sense. Because the switch from direct address to the third person is awkward, some prefer to emend the suffix to a second person form. In any case, it is necessary to employ a second person pronoun in the translation to maintain the connection for the English reader.

sn I will show you miraculous deeds. In this verse the Lord responds to the petition of v. 14 with a brief promise of deliverance.

tn Or “be ashamed of.”

tn Heb “and their ears will be deaf.” Apparently this means the opposing nations will be left dumbfounded by the Lord’s power. Their inability to respond will make them appear to be deaf mutes.

10 tn Heb “like crawling things on the ground.” The parallelism suggests snakes are in view.

11 tn Thetranslationassumesthatthe phrase אֶל־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ (’el-yÿhvahelohenu, “to the Lord our God”) goes with what precedes. Another option is to take the phrase with the following verb, in which case one could translate, “to the Lord our God they will turn in dread.”

12 tn Heb “they will be in dread and afraid.”

13 tn The Lord is addressed directly using the second person.

14 tn Heb “Who is a God like you?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “No one!”

15 tn Heb “one who.” The prayer moves from direct address (second person) in v. 18a to a descriptive (third person) style in vv. 18b-19a and then back to direct address (second person) in vv. 19b-20. Due to considerations of English style and the unfamiliarity of the modern reader with alternation of persons in Hebrew poetry, the entire section has been rendered as direct address (second person) in the translation.

16 tn Heb “pass over.”

17 tn Heb “of the remnant of his inheritance.”

18 tn Heb “he does not keep hold of his anger forever.”

19 tn The verb יָשׁוּב (yashuv, “he will return”) is here used adverbially in relation to the following verb, indicating that the Lord will again show mercy.

20 tn Some prefer to read יִכְבֹּס (yikhbos, “he will cleanse”; see HALOT 459 s.v. כבס pi). If the MT is taken as it stands, sin is personified as an enemy that the Lord subdues.

21 tn Heb “their sins,” but the final mem (ם) may be enclitic rather than a pronominal suffix. In this case the suffix from the preceding line (“our”) may be understood as doing double duty.

22 sn In this metaphor the Lord disposes of Israel’s sins by throwing them into the waters of the sea (here symbolic of chaos).

23 tn More literally, “You will extend loyalty to Jacob, and loyal love to Abraham.

24 tn Heb “our fathers.” The Hebrew term refers here to more distant ancestors, not immediate parents.

25 tn Heb “which you swore [or, “pledged”] to our fathers from days of old.”