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Micah 1:8-16


1:8 For this reason I 1  will mourn and wail;

I will walk around barefoot 2  and without my outer garments. 3 

I will howl 4  like a wild dog, 5 

and screech 6  like an owl. 7 

1:9 For Samaria’s 8  disease 9  is incurable.

It has infected 10  Judah;

it has spread to 11  the leadership 12  of my people

and has even contaminated Jerusalem! 13 

1:10 Don’t spread the news in Gath! 14 

Don’t shed even a single tear! 15 

In Beth Leaphrah sit in the dust! 16 

1:11 Residents 17  of Shaphir, 18  pass by in nakedness and humiliation! 19 

The residents of Zaanan can’t leave their city. 20 

Beth Ezel 21  mourns, 22 

“He takes from you what he desires.” 23 

1:12 Indeed, the residents of Maroth 24  hope for something good to happen, 25 

though the Lord has sent disaster against the city of Jerusalem. 26 

1:13 Residents of Lachish, 27  hitch the horses to the chariots!

You 28  influenced Daughter Zion 29  to sin, 30 

for Israel’s rebellious deeds can be traced back 31  to you!

1:14 Therefore you 32  will have to say farewell 33  to Moresheth Gath.

The residents 34  of Achzib 35  will be as disappointing

as a dried up well 36  to the kings of Israel. 37 

1:15 Residents of Mareshah, 38  a conqueror will attack you, 39 

the leaders of Israel shall flee to Adullam. 40 

1:16 Shave your heads bald as you mourn for the children you love; 41 

shave your foreheads as bald 42  as an eagle, 43 

for they are taken from you into exile.

1 tn The prophet is probably the speaker here.

2 tn Or “stripped.” The precise meaning of this Hebrew word is unclear. It may refer to walking barefoot (see 2 Sam 15:30) or to partially stripping oneself (see Job 12:17-19).

3 tn Heb “naked.” This probably does not refer to complete nudity, but to stripping off one’s outer garments as an outward sign of the destitution felt by the mourner.

4 tn Heb “I will make lamentation.”

5 tn Or “a jackal”; CEV “howling wolves.”

6 tn Heb “[make] a mourning.”

7 tn Or perhaps “ostrich” (cf. ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT).

8 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Samaria) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

9 tc The MT reads the plural “wounds”; the singular is read by the LXX, Syriac, and Vg.

tn Or “wound.”

10 tn Heb “come to.”

11 tn Or “reached.”

12 tn Heb “the gate.” Kings and civic leaders typically conducted important business at the city gate (see 1 Kgs 22:10 for an example), and the term is understood here to refer by metonymy to the leadership who would be present at the gate.

13 tn Heb “to Jerusalem.” The expression “it has contaminated” do not appear in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied to fill out the parallelism with the preceding line.

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

14 tn Heb “Tell it not in Gath.” The Hebrew word for “tell” (נָגַד, nagad) sounds like the name of the city, Gath (גַּת, gat).

15 tn The Hebrew infinitive absolute before the negated jussive emphasizes the prohibition.

16 tc The translation assumes a masculine plural imperative. If one were to emend בְּבֵית (bÿvet) to בֵית (vet), Beth Leaphrah would then be the addressee and the feminine singular imperative (see Qere) could be retained, “O Beth Leaphrah, sit in the dust.”

tn Heb “roll about in mourning in the dust”; or “wallow about in mourning in the dust.” The verb פָּלַשׁ (palash, “roll about in mourning [in dust]”; HALOT 935 s.v. פלשׁ) is figurative (metonymy) for sitting as an outward sign of mourning.

sn To sit in the dust was an outward sign of mourning. The name Beth Leaphrah means “house of dust.”

17 tn The Hebrew participial form, which is feminine singular, is here used in a collective sense for the all the residents of the town. See GKC 394 §122.s.

18 sn The place name Shaphir means “pleasant” in Hebrew.

19 tn The imperatival form is used rhetorically, emphasizing that the inhabitants of Shaphir will pass by into exile.

20 tn Heb “have not come out”; NIV “will not come out”; NLT “dare not come outside.”

sn The expression can’t leave their city alludes to a siege of the town. The place name Zaanan sounds like the verb “come out” (i.e., “can’t leave”) in Hebrew.

21 sn The place name Beth Ezel means “house of nearness” or “house of proximity” in Hebrew.

22 tn Heb “the lamentation of Beth Ezel.” The following words could be the lamentation offered up by Beth Ezel (subjective genitive) or the mourning song sung over it (objective genitive).

23 tc The form עֶמְדָּתוֹ (’emdato) should be emended to חֲמַדְּתוֹ (khamadto, “his (the conqueror’s) desire”).

tn The precise meaning of the line is uncertain. The translation assumes: (a) the subject of the third masculine singular verb יִקַּח (yiqqakh, “he/it takes”) is the conqueror, (b) the second masculine plural suffix (“you”) on the preposition מִן (min, “from”) refers to the residents of Shaphir and Zaanan, (c) the final form עֶמְדָּתוֹ should be emended to חֲמַדְּתוֹ, “his (the conqueror’s) desire.”

24 sn The place name Maroth sounds like the Hebrew word for “bitter.”

25 tc The translation assumes an emendation of חָלָה (khalah; from חִיל, khil, “to writhe”) to יִחֲלָה (yikhalah; from יָחַל, yakhal, “to wait”).

tn Heb “[the residents of Maroth] writhe [= “anxiously long for”?] good.”

26 tn Heb “though disaster has come down from the Lord to the gate of Jerusalem.”

27 sn The place name Lachish sounds like the Hebrew word for “team [of horses].”

28 tn Heb “she”; this has been translated as second person (“you”) in keeping with the direct address to the residents of Lachish in the previous line.

29 sn The epithet Daughter Zion pictures the city of Jerusalem as a young lady.

30 tn Heb “She was the beginning of sin for Daughter Zion.”

31 tn Heb “for in you was found the transgressions of Israel.”

32 tn The subject of the feminine singular verb is probably Lachish.

33 tn Heb “you will give a dowry to”; NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “give parting gifts to.” Lachish is compared to a father who presents wedding gifts to his daughter as she leaves her father’s home to take up residence with her husband. In similar fashion Lachish will bid farewell to Moresheth Gath, for the latter will be taken by the invader.

34 tn Heb “houses.” By metonymy this refers to the people who live in them.

35 sn The place name Achzib (אַכְזִיב, ’akhziv, “place on the dried up river”; see HALOT 45 s.v. אַכְזָב) creates a word play on the similar sounding term כָּזָב (kazav, “lie, deception”; HALOT 468 s.v. כָּזָב). Like the dried up river upon which its name was based, the city of Achzib would fail to help the kings of Israel in their time of need.

36 tn Or “will be a deception.” The term אַכְזָב (’akhzav) is often translated “deception,” as derived from the verb I כָּזָב (“to deceive, lie”; HALOT 467-68 s.v. I כזב). However, it probably means “what is dried up,” since (1) the noun elsewhere refers to an empty well or dried river in summer (Jer 15:18; cf. Job 6:15-20) (HALOT 45 s.v. אַכְזָב); (2) the place-name “Achzib” (אַכְזִיב) literally means “place on the אַכְזָב [dried up river]” (HALOT 45 s.v. אַכְזָב); and (3) it is derived from the verb II כָּזָב (“to dry up [brook]”; Isa 58:11), which also appears in Mishnaic Hebrew and Arabic. The point of the metaphor is that Achzib will be as disappointing to the kings of Israel as a dried up spring in the summer is to a thirsty traveler in the Jordanian desert.

37 sn Because of the enemy invasion, Achzib would not be able to deliver soldiers for the army and/or services normally rendered to the crown.

38 sn The place name Mareshah sounds like the Hebrew word for “conqueror.”

39 tn Heb “Again a conqueror I will bring to you, residents of Mareshah.” The first person verb is problematic, for the Lord would have to be the subject (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). But the prophet appears to be delivering this lament and the Lord is referred to in the third person in v. 12. Consequently many emend the verb to a third person form (יָבוֹא, yavo’) and understand the “conqueror” as subject.

40 tn Heb “to Adullam the glory of Israel will go.” This probably means that the nation’s leadership will run for their lives and, like David of old, hide from their enemy in the caves of Adullam. Cf. NIV’s “He who is the glory of Israel will come to Adullam,” which sounds as if an individual is in view, and could be understood as a messianic reference.

41 tn Heb “over the sons of your delight.”

42 tn Heb “make wide your baldness.”

43 tn Or “a vulture” (cf. NIV, TEV); CEV “a buzzard.” The Hebrew term נֶשֶׁר (nesher) refers to the griffon vulture or eagle.

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