The Book Of MICAH
Micah is one of the eighth-century prophets--a contemporary of Isaiah
and a little later than Hosea and Amos. Like these other prophets, Micah
speaks against false worship and for social justice. He proclaims harsh
judgments against his own people (the nation of Judah) and is
particularly offended by the leaders in business, government, and
religion. Micah comes from a small town outside Jerusalem and addresses
the centers of power as an outsider. He even boldly predicts the
destruction of the holy city of Jerusalem. The book also provides words
of hope beyond the judgment.
Micah would be worth our attention for the three best-known passages
(4:1-4; 5:2-5a; 6:6-8), even if the rest of the book, with its harsh
judgments, were left unused (as is usually the case). Harsh words of
judgment are not what most people crave to hear, but these too come to
us in the prophets as the word of God. Micah's critique of preachers who
say only what people want to hear and society's general reluctance to
recognize that there are consequences to bad behavior make Micah's words
an important message for our time as well as his own.
Micah wrote a good bit of what is contained in his book, but some
passages, especially those that seem to be addressed to people who have
already suffered a disaster, most likely come from a much later time.
Micah lived at the end of the eighth century B.C.E., about the same time
as Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah. The earliest words from Micah seem to come
just before the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C.E.
(1:2-7). Other parts of Micah appear to be written in the time of the
Babylonian exile (after 586 B.C.E.) and later as some of the exiles
Micah is a book of judgment against God's people, mixed with words of
hope that promise the possibility of renewal even after disaster comes.
The prophetic books are often hard to read. Most have little or no
narrative. They are a collection of messages from God to the people by
way of the prophet. In Micah there are abrupt changes from condemnation
to hope and back again that make it difficult to follow. Start with the
three best-known passages (4:1-4; 5:2-5a; 6:6-8). Then pick and choose
whatever section looks interesting, knowing that there is often no
apparent continuity from one passage to the next.
AUTHOR: Daniel Simundson, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament
The Book Of MICAH
word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of
Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning
Samaria and Jerusalem.
all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the
Lord GOD be witness against you, the LORD from his holy temple.
3 For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.
4 And the
mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as
wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep
5 For the
transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of
Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what
are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem?
I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a
vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I
will discover the foundations thereof.
7 And all
the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires
thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I
lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they
shall return to the hire of an harlot.
8 Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.
9 For her wound is incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.
10 Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust.
ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir, having thy shame naked: the
inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he
shall receive of you his standing.
12 For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.
13 O thou
inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she is the
beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of
Israel were found in thee.
14 Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel.
15 Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel.
thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness
as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee.
1 Woe to
them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the
morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their
they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them
away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.
thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil,
from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go
haughtily: for this time is evil.
4 In that
day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful
lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion
of my people: how hath he removed it from me! turning away he hath
divided our fields.
5 Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the LORD.
6 Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.
7 O thou
that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened?
are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh
8 Even of
late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the
garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war.
9 The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever.
10 Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.
11 If a
man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy
unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of
12 I will
surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant
of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the
flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason
of the multitude of men.
breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed
through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass
before them, and the LORD on the head of them.
1 And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?
2 Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and
they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as
flesh within the caldron.
shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even
hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves
ill in their doings.
saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that
bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into
their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall
be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down
over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall
all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.
truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and
of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his
this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the
house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.
10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire,
and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the
LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall
become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the
1 But in
the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of
the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall
be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain
of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us
of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth
of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3 And he
shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and
they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into
pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither
shall they learn war any more.
they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none
shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken
5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
6 In that
day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will
gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;
7 And I
will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a
strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from
henceforth, even for ever.
thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion,
unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come
to the daughter of Jerusalem.
9 Now why
dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor
perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.
10 Be in
pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in
travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt
dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou
be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine
11 Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.
they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his
counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.
and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I
will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people:
and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto
the Lord of the whole earth.
gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege
against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the
thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of
Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler
in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath
brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the
children of Israel.
4 And he
shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the
name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be
great unto the ends of the earth.
this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land:
and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him
seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of
Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the
Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our
7 And the
remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the
LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor
waiteth for the sons of men.
8 And the
remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many
people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among
the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and
teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
9 Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
10 And it
shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy
horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:
11 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds:
12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:
graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the
midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.
14 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities.
15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
1 Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.
ye, O mountains, the LORD's controversy, and ye strong foundations of
the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will
plead with Israel.
3 O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.
4 For I
brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the
house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
5 O my
people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam
the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know
the righteousness of the LORD.
shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall
I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of
rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit
of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He hath
shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of
thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy
9 The LORD's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.
10 Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable?
11 Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?
the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof
have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
13 Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins.
shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down shall be in the
midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that
which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword.
shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but
thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine, but shalt not drink
the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab,
and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and
the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the
reproach of my people.
1 Woe is
me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the
grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul
desired the firstripe fruit.
good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among
men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother
with a net.
they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the
judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his
mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.
best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn
hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be
5 Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.
6 For the
son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother,
the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the
men of his own house.
7 Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.
8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.
9 I will
bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him,
until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me
forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.
she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which
said unto me, Where is the LORD thy God? mine eyes shall behold her: now
shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.
11 In the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed.
that day also he shall come even to thee from Assyria, and from the
fortified cities, and from the fortress even to the river, and from sea
to sea, and from mountain to mountain.
13 Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings.
thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell
solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan
and Gilead, as in the days of old.
15 According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvellous things.
nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay
their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf.
shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes
like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and
shall fear because of thee.
18 Who is
a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the
transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger
for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our
iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the
20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.