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Micah 6:6-9


6:6 With what should I 1  enter the Lord’s presence?

With what 2  should I bow before the sovereign God? 3 

Should I enter his presence with burnt offerings,

with year-old calves?

6:7 Will the Lord accept a thousand rams,

or ten thousand streams of olive oil?

Should I give him my firstborn child as payment for my rebellion,

my offspring – my own flesh and blood – for my sin? 4 

6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good,

and what the Lord really wants from you: 5 

He wants you to 6  promote 7  justice, to be faithful, 8 

and to live obediently before 9  your God.

6:9 Listen! The Lord is calling 10  to the city!

It is wise to respect your authority, O Lord! 11 

Listen, O nation, and those assembled in the city! 12 

1 sn With what should I enter the Lord’s presence? The prophet speaks again, playing the role of an inquisitive worshiper who wants to know what God really desires from his followers.

2 tn The words “with what” do double duty in the parallelism and are supplied in the second line of the translation for clarification.

3 tn Or “the exalted God.”

4 tn Heb “the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul.” The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) is often translated “soul,” but the word usually refers to the whole person; here “the sin of my soul” = “my sin.”

5 sn What the Lord really wants from you. Now the prophet switches roles and answers the hypothetical worshiper’s question. He makes it clear that the Lord desires proper attitudes more than ritual and sacrifice.

6 tn Heb “except.” This statement is actually linked with what precedes, “What does he want from you except….”

7 tn Heb “to do,” in the sense of “promote.”

8 tn Heb “to love faithfulness.”

9 tn Heb “to walk humbly [or perhaps, “carefully”] with.”

10 tn Or “the voice of the Lord is calling.” The translation understands קוֹל (qol, “voice”) as equivalent to an imperative.

11 tn Heb “one who sees your name is wisdom.” It is probably better to emend יִרְאֶה (yireh, “he sees”) to יִרְאָה (yirah, “fearing”). One may then translate, “fearing your name is wisdom.” The Lord’s “name” here stands by metonymy for his authority.

12 tn Heb (apparently) “Listen [to] the staff and the one who appointed it.” Verse 10 then begins with עוֹד (yod, “still” or “again”). The translation assumes an emendation to שִׁמְעוּ מַטֶּה וּמוֹעֵד הָעִיר (shimu matteh umoed hair, “listen, O tribe and the assembly of the city”).

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