Destruction in Israel and Judah
The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw [through divine revelation] concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
Hear, O peoples, all of you;
Listen closely, O earth and all that is in it,
And let the Lord God be witness [giving a testimony of the judgment] against you,
The Lord from His holy temple [in the heavens].
For behold, the Lord is coming down from His place
He shall come down and tread [in judgment] on the high places of the earth.
The mountains shall melt under Him
And the valleys shall be split
Like wax before the fire,
Like waters poured down a steep place.
All this is because of the rebellion and apostasy of [a]Jacob
And for the sins of the house of Israel (the Northern Kingdom).
What is the rebellion and apostasy of Jacob?
Is it not [the abandonment of God in order to worship the idols of] Samaria?
What are the high places [of idolatry] in Judah (the Southern Kingdom)?
Are they not Jerusalem [the capital and center of corruption]?
Therefore I [the Lord] shall make Samaria a [b]heap of ruins [and of stones and arable land] in the open country,
A place for planting vineyards;
And I will pour her stones down into the ravine
And lay bare her foundations.
All her idols shall be broken in pieces,
All her earnings [from her idolatry] shall be burned with fire,
And all her images I shall make desolate;
For from the earnings of a prostitute she collected them,
And to the earnings of a prostitute they shall return.
Because of this I [Micah] must lament (mourn over with expressions of grief) and wail,
I must go barefoot and naked [without outer garments as if robbed];
I must wail like the jackals
And lament [with a loud, mournful cry] like the ostriches.
For Samaria’s wound is incurable,
For it has come to Judah;
The enemy has reached the gate of my people,
Even to Jerusalem.
[c]Announce it not in Gath [in Philistia],
Weep not at all [and in this way betray your grief to Gentiles];
In Beth-le-aphrah (House of Dust) roll in the dust [among your own people].
Go on your way [into exile—stripped of beauty, disarmed], inhabitants of Shaphir (Beautiful), in shameful nakedness.
The inhabitant of Zaanan (Go Out) does not go out [of the house];
The wailing of Beth-ezel (House of Removal) will take away from you its support.
For the inhabitant of Maroth (Bitterness)
Writhes in pain [at its losses] and waits anxiously for good,
Because a catastrophe has come down from the Lord
To the gate of Jerusalem.
Harness the chariot to the team of horses [to escape the invasion],
O inhabitant of Lachish—
She was the beginning of sin
To the Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem)—
Because in you were found
The rebellious acts of Israel.
Therefore you will give parting gifts
On behalf of Moresheth-gath (Micah’s home);
The houses of Achzib (Place of Deceit) will become a deception
To the kings of Israel.
Moreover, I will bring on you
The one who takes possession,
O inhabitant of Mareshah (Prominent Place).
The glory (nobility) of Israel will enter Adullam [seeking refuge].
Make yourself bald [in mourning]—shave off your hair
For the children of your delight;
Remain as bald as the eagle,
For your children will be taken from you into exile.
- Micah 1:5 I.e. an alternate name for Israel. The capital city was Samaria.
- Micah 1:6 Omri king of Israel (the Northern Kingdom—the ten tribes) purchased the hill on which he built Samaria, his capital city, for two talents of silver. It served both as a center for the worship of idols and as the capital of Israel until it was captured by Sargon king of Assyria in 721 b.c. This victory marked the end of the kingdom of the ten tribes.
- Micah 1:10 Micah uses a play on words as he denounces the cities in vv 10-15.
Woe to Oppressors
Woe (judgment is coming) to those who devise wickedness
And plot evil on their beds!
When morning comes, they practice evil
Because it is in the power of their hands.
They covet fields and seize them,
And houses, and take them away.
They oppress and rob a man and his house,
A man and his inheritance.
Therefore, thus says the Lord,
“Behold, I am planning against this family a disaster (exile)
[Like a noose] from which you cannot remove your necks;
Nor will you be able to walk haughtily and erect,
For it will be an evil time [of subjugation to the invaders].
“On that day they shall take up a [taunting, deriding] parable against you
And wail with a doleful and bitter song of mourning and say,
‘We are completely destroyed!
God exchanges the inheritance of my people;
How He removes it from me!
He divides our fields to the rebellious [our captors].’
“Therefore, you will have no one stretching a measuring line [dividing the common land]
For you by lot in the assembly of the Lord.
‘Do not speak out,’ so they speak out.
But if they do not speak out concerning these things,
Reproaches will not be turned back.
“Is it being said, O house of Jacob:
‘Is the Spirit of the Lord impatient?
Or are these [prophesied judgments] His doings?’
Do not My words do good
To the one walking uprightly?
“But lately My people have stood up as an enemy [and have made Me their antagonist].
You strip the ornaments off the garment
Of those unsuspecting passers-by,
Like those returned from war.
“You evict the women (widows) of My people,
Each one from her pleasant house;
From her [young, fatherless] children you take away My splendor and blessing forever [by putting them among the pagans, away from Me].
“Arise and depart [because the captivity is inevitable],
For this [land] is not the place of rest
Because of the defilement that brings destruction,
A painful and terrible destruction.
“If a man walking in a false spirit [spouting deception]
Should lie and say,
‘I will prophesy to you [O Israel] of wine and liquor (greed, sensual pleasure),’
He would be the acceptable spokesman of this people.
“I shall most certainly assemble all of you, O Jacob;
I shall surely gather the remnant of Israel.
I shall bring them together like sheep in the fold [multiplying the nation];
Like a flock in the midst of its pasture.
The place will swarm with many people and hum loudly with noise.
“The [a]breaker [the Messiah, who opens the way] shall go up before them [liberating them].
They will break out, pass through the gate and go out;
So their King goes on before them,
The Lord at their head.”
- Micah 2:13 The prophets repeatedly revealed the full extent of God’s coming judgment and salvation. God would punish His rebellious people but would afterward redeem them. Israel would be sent into exile, but a remnant of the people would return. The Messiah, the One who breaks open the way, shall lead them back and shall restore the kingdom of David.
And I said,
“Hear now, heads of Jacob
And rulers of the house of Israel.
Is it not for you to know and administer justice?
“You who hate good and love evil,
Who tear the skin off my people
And their flesh from their bones;
You who eat the flesh of my people,
Strip off their skin from them,
Break their bones
And chop them in pieces as for the pot,
Like meat in a kettle.”
Then they will cry to the Lord,
But He will not answer them;
Instead, He will even hide His face from them at that time [withholding His mercy]
Because they have practiced and tolerated and ignored evil acts.
Thus says the Lord concerning the [false] prophets who lead my people astray;
When they have something good to bite with their teeth,
They call out, “Peace,”
But against the one who gives them nothing to eat,
They declare a holy war.
Therefore it will be night (tragedy) for you—without vision,
And darkness (cataclysm) for you—without foresight.
The sun shall go down on the [false] prophets,
And the day shall become dark and black over them.
The seers shall be ashamed
And the diviners discredited and embarrassed;
Indeed, they shall all cover their mouths [in shame]
Because there is no answer from God.
But in fact, I am filled with power,
With the Spirit of the Lord,
And with justice and might,
To declare to Jacob his transgression
And to Israel his sin.
Now hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob
And rulers of the house of Israel,
Who hate and reject justice
And twist everything that is straight,
Who build Zion with blood [and extortion and murder]
And Jerusalem with violent injustice.
Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe,
Her priests teach for a fee,
And her prophets foretell for money;
Yet they lean on the Lord, saying,
“Is not the Lord among us?
No tragedy or distress will come on us.”
Therefore, on account of you
[a]Zion shall be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem shall become [b]a heap of ruins,
And the mountain of the house [of the Lord] shall become like a densely wooded hill.
- Micah 3:12 Zion (City of David) was the elevated area between the Tyropoeon and Kidron valleys (southeastern area of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus). The city was the capital of Israel (the united kingdom) during the reigns of David and Solomon, and the site of Solomon’s temple.
- Micah 3:12 In 586 b.c. Jerusalem (including Solomon’s temple) was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar ruler of Babylon (Chaldean Dynasty).
Peaceful Latter Days
But it shall come about in the last days
That the mountain of the house of the Lord
Shall be established as the highest and chief of the mountains;
It shall be above the hills,
And peoples shall flow [like a river] to it.
And many nations shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob,
That He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law shall go forward from Zion,
And the word of the Lord [the revelation about Him and His truth] from Jerusalem.
And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for strong and distant nations.
Then they shall hammer their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks [so that the implements of war may become the tools of agriculture];
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Nor shall they ever again train for war.
Each of them shall sit [in security and peace] under his vine
And under his fig tree,
With no one to make them afraid,
For the mouth of the [omnipotent] Lord of hosts has spoken it.
For all the peoples [now] walk
Each in the name of his god [in a transient relationship],
As for us, we shall walk [securely]
In the name of the Lord our [true] God forever and ever.
“In that day,” says the Lord,
“I shall assemble the lame,
And gather the outcasts [from foreign captivity],
Even those whom I have caused pain.
“I shall make the lame a [godly] remnant
And the outcasts a strong nation;
And the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion
From this time on and forever.
“As for you [Jerusalem], tower of the flock [of Israel],
Hill and stronghold of the Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem’s inhabitants),
To you the former dominion shall come,
The kingdom of the Daughter of Jerusalem [when the Messiah reigns in Jerusalem, and the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled].
“Now, why do you cry out loudly?
Is there no king among you?
Has your counselor perished?
For agony has gripped you like a woman in childbirth.
“Writhe in pain and labor to give birth,
O Daughter of Zion,
Like a woman in childbirth;
For now you shall go out of the city,
Live in the field,
And go to Babylon.
There you will be rescued;
There the Lord shall redeem you
From the hand of your enemies.
“Now many [conquering] nations are assembled against you,
Who say, ‘Let her be profaned [through Gentile presence and the temple’s destruction],
And let our eyes gaze on and gloat over Zion.’
“But they (Gentile nations) do not know the thoughts of the Lord,
Nor do they understand His purpose and plan;
For He has gathered them (Gentiles) like sheaves to the threshing floor [for destruction].
“Arise and thresh, O Daughter of Zion!
For I will make your horn iron
And I will make your hoofs bronze;
That you may beat many peoples in pieces [trampling down your enemies],
That you may devote to the Lord their unjust gain (pagan possessions)
And their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.