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Micah 2

Land Robbers Will Lose their Land

2:1 Those who devise sinful plans are as good as dead, 1 

those who dream about doing evil as they lie in bed. 2 

As soon as morning dawns they carry out their plans, 3 

because they have the power to do so.

2:2 They confiscate the fields they desire,

and seize the houses they want. 4 

They defraud people of their homes, 5 

and deprive people of the land they have inherited. 6 

2:3 Therefore the Lord says this: “Look, I am devising disaster for this nation! 7 

It will be like a yoke from which you cannot free your neck. 8 

You will no longer 9  walk proudly,

for it will be a time of catastrophe.

2:4 In that day people will sing this taunt song to you –

they will mock you with this lament: 10 

‘We are completely destroyed;

they sell off 11  the property of my people.

How they remove it from me! 12 

They assign our fields to the conqueror.’ 13 

2:5 Therefore no one will assign you land in the Lord’s community. 14 

2:6 ‘Don’t preach with such impassioned rhetoric,’ they say excitedly. 15 

‘These prophets should not preach of such things;

we will not be overtaken by humiliation.’ 16 

2:7 Does the family 17  of Jacob say, 18 

‘The Lord’s patience 19  can’t be exhausted –

he would never do such things’? 20 

To be sure, my commands bring a reward

for those who obey them, 21 

2:8 but you rise up as an enemy against my people. 22 

You steal a robe from a friend, 23 

from those who pass by peacefully as if returning from a war. 24 

2:9 You wrongly evict widows 25  among my people from their cherished homes.

You defraud their children 26  of their prized inheritance. 27 

2:10 But you are the ones who will be forced to leave! 28 

For this land is not secure! 29 

Sin will thoroughly destroy it! 30 

2:11 If a lying windbag should come and say, 31 

‘I’ll promise you blessings of wine and beer,’ 32 

he would be just the right preacher for these people! 33 

The Lord Will Restore His People

2:12 I will certainly gather all of you, O Jacob,

I will certainly assemble those Israelites who remain. 34 

I will bring them together like sheep in a fold, 35 

like a flock in the middle of a pasture; 36 

they will be so numerous that they will make a lot of noise. 37 

2:13 The one who can break through barriers will lead them out 38 

they will break out, pass through the gate, and leave. 39 

Their king will advance 40  before them,

The Lord himself will lead them. 41 

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1 tn Heb “Woe to those who plan sin.” The Hebrew term הוֹי (hoy, “woe”; “ah”) was a cry used in mourning the dead.

2 tn Heb “those who do evil upon their beds.”

3 tn Heb “at the light of morning they do it.”

4 tn Heb “they desire fields and rob [them], and houses and take [them] away.”

5 tn Heb “and they oppress a man and his home.”

6 tn Heb “and a man and his inheritance.” The verb עָשַׁק (’ashaq, “to oppress”; “to wrong”) does double duty in the parallel structure and is understood by ellipsis in the second line.

7 tn Heb “clan” or “extended family.”

8 tn Heb “from which you will not remove your neck.” The words “It will be like a yoke” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

9 tn Or “you will not.”

10 tc The form נִהְיָה (nihyah) should be omitted as dittographic (note the preceding וְנָהָה נְהִי vÿnahah nÿhiy).

tn Heb “one will lament [with] a lamentation [and] say.”

11 tn Or “exchange.” The LXX suggests a reading יִמַּד (yimmad) from מָדַד (madad, “to measure”). In this case one could translate, “the property of my people is measured out [i.e., for resale].”

12 tn Heb “how one removes for me.” Apparently the preposition has the nuance “from” here (cf. KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

13 tc The Hebrew term שׁוֹבֵב (shovev, “the one turning back”) elsewhere has the nuance “apostate” (cf. NASB) or “traitor” (cf. NIV). The translation assumes an emendation to שָׁבָה (shavah, “captor”).

tn Heb “to the one turning back he assigns our fields.”

14 tn Heb “therefore you will not have one who strings out a measuring line by lot in the assembly of the Lord.”

sn No one will assign you land in the Lord’s community. When judgment passes and the people are restored to the land, those greedy ones who disregarded the ancient land allotments will not be allowed to participate in the future redistribution of the land.

15 tn Heb “‘Do not foam at the mouth,’ they foam at the mouth.” The verb נָטַף (nataf) means “to drip.” When used of speech it probably has the nuance “to drivel, to foam at the mouth” (HALOT 694 s.v. נטף). The sinful people tell the Lord’s prophets not to “foam at the mouth,” which probably refers in a derogatory way to their impassioned style of delivery. But the Lord (who is probably still speaking here, see v. 3) sarcastically refers to their impassioned exhortation as “foaming at the mouth.”

16 tc If one follows the MT as it stands, it would appear that the Lord here condemns the people for their “foaming at the mouth” and then announces that judgment is inevitable. The present translation assumes that this is a continuation of the quotation of what the people say. In this case the subject of “foam at the mouth” is the Lord’s prophets. In the second line יִסַּג (yissag, a Niphal imperfect from סוּג, sug, “to remove”) is emended to יַסִּגֵנוּ (yassigenu; a Hiphil imperfect from נָסַג/נָשַׂג, nasag/nasag, “to reach; to overtake”).

tn Heb “they should not foam at the mouth concerning these things, humiliation will not be removed.”

17 tn Heb “house” (so many English versions); CEV “descendants.’

18 tc The MT has אָמוּר (’amur), an otherwise unattested passive participle, which is better emended to אָמוֹר (’amor), an infinitive absolute functioning as a finite verb (see BDB 55 s.v. אָמַר).

19 tn The Hebrew word רוּחַ (ruach) often means “Spirit” when used of the Lord, but here it seems to have an abstract sense, “patience.” See BDB 925 s.v. 3.d.

20 tn Heb “Has the patience of the Lord run short? Or are these his deeds?” The rhetorical questions expect the answer, “No, of course not.” The people contest the prophet’s claims that the Lord’s judgment is falling on the nation.

21 tn Heb “Do not my words accomplish good for the one who walks uprightly?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course they do!” The Lord begins his response to the claim of the house of Jacob that they are immune to judgment (see v. 7a). He points out that the godly are indeed rewarded, but then he goes on to show that those in the house of Jacob are not godly and can expect divine judgment, not blessing (vv. 8-11). Some emend “my words” to “his words.” In this case, v. 7b is a continuation of the immediately preceding quotation. The people, thinking they are godly, confidently ask, “Do not his [God’s] words accomplish good for the one who walks uprightly?”

22 tc Heb “Recently my people rise up as an enemy.” The MT is problematic in light of v. 9, where “my people” are the object of oppression, not the perpetrators of it. The form וְאֶתְמוּל (vÿetmul, “and recently”) is probably the product of fusion and subsequent suppression of an (ע) ayin. The translation assumes an emendation to וְאַתֶּם עַל (vÿattemal, “and you against [my people]”). The second person plural pronoun fits well with the second plural verb forms of vv. 8b-10. If this emendation is accepted, then יְקוֹמֵם (yÿqomem, the imperfect of קוּם [qum]) should be emended to קָמִים (qamim; a participle from the same root).

23 tc Heb “From the front of a garment glory [or perhaps, “a robe”] you strip off,” but this makes little if any sense. The term מִמּוּל (mimmul, “from the front of”) is probably the product of dittography (note the preceding word, which ends in [ם] mem) and subsequent suppression of ע (ayin). The translation assumes an emendation to מֵעַל (meal, “from upon”). The translation also assumes an emendation of שַׂלְמָה אֶדֶר (salmaheder, “a garment, glory [or robe]”) to שֹׁלְמִים אֲדֶרֶת (sholÿmimaderet, “[from] a friend the robe [you strip off]”). The MT’s אֶדֶר (’eder) is the result of misdivision (the article has erroneously been attached to the preceding word) and haplography (of the final tav, which also begins the following word).

24 tc The passive participle שׁוּבֵי (shuvey) is unattested elsewhere and should be emended to a participle שָׁבִים (shavim).

tn Heb “from those passing by peacefully, returnees from war.” Actual refugees, however, are probably not in view. The second line compares those who pass by peacefully with individuals returning from war. The battle is over and they do not expect their own countrymen to attack them.

25 tn Heb “women.” This may be a synecdoche of the whole (women) for the part (widows).

26 tn Heb “her little children” or “her infants”; ASV, NRSV “young children.”

27 tn Heb “from their children you take my glory forever.” The yod (י) ending on הֲדָרִי (hadariy) is usually taken as a first person common singular suffix (“my glory”). But it may be the archaic genitive ending (“glory of”) in the construct expression “glory of perpetuity,” that is, “perpetual glory.” In either case, this probably refers to the dignity or honor the Lord bestowed on each Israelite family by giving them a share of his land to be inherited perpetually from one generation to another within each family. The term הָדָר (hadar) may refer to possessions that a person prizes (Lam 1:6).

28 tn Heb “Arise and go!” These imperatives are rhetorical. Those who wrongly drove widows and orphans from their homes and land inheritances will themselves be driven out of the land (cf. Isa 5:8-17). This is an example of poetic justice.

29 tn Heb “for this is no resting place.” The Lord speaks to the oppressors.

30 tn Heb “uncleanness will destroy, and destruction will be severe.”

31 tn Heb “if a man, coming [as] wind and falsehood, should lie”; NASB “walking after wind and falsehood”; NIV “a liar and a deceiver.”

32 tn Heb “I will foam at the mouth concerning wine and beer.”

33 tn Heb “he would be the foamer at the mouth for this people.”

34 tn Heb “the remnant of Israel.”

35 tc The MT reads בָּצְרָה (batsrah, “Bozrah”) but the form should be emended to בַּצִּרָה (batsirah, “into the fold”). See D. R. Hillers, Micah (Hermeneia), 38.

36 tc The MT reads “its pasture,” but the final vav (ו) belongs with the following verb. See GKC 413 §127.i.

37 tn Heb “and they will be noisy [or perhaps, “excited”] from men.” The subject of the third feminine plural verb תְּהִימֶנָה (tÿhimenah, “they will be noisy”) is probably the feminine singular צֹאן (tson, “flock”). (For another example of this collective singular noun with a feminine plural verb, see Gen 30:38.) In the construction מֵאָדָם (meadam, “from men”) the preposition is probably causal. L. C. Allen translates “bleating in fear of men” (Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah [NICOT], 300), but it is possible to take the causal sense as “because of the large quantity of men.” In this case the sheep metaphor and the underlying reality are mixed.

38 tn Heb “the one who breaks through goes up before them.” The verb form is understood as a perfect of certitude, emphasizing the certainty of this coming event.

39 tn The three verb forms (a perfect and two preterites with vav [ו] consecutive) indicate certitude.

sn The “fold” from which the sheep/people break out is probably a reference to their place of exile.

40 tn The verb form (a preterite with vav [ו] consecutive) indicates certitude.

41 tn Heb “the Lord [will be] at their head.”

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