Micah

Intro and Chapters

Introduction
    The kings named in the first verse indicate that Micah could not have begun his activity before 759 BC, when Jotham became king in the north, but he could not have begun it later than 722 BC, because that is when the northern kingdom was taken into captivity by the Assyrians. He could not have ended his activity later than 698 BC, which was the end of Hezekiah's reign. He prophesied about the futures of both Jerusalem and Samaria, and his messianic prophecy was quoted by Matthew.1 Otherwise, not much is known about him.
Introduction Footnotes
1. Matt. 2:6 is taken from Micah 5:2, but the version in Matthew is slightly different from both the MT and the LXX.


Chapter 1

The downfall of both the northern and the southern kingdoms predicted.

    1. The word of Yahweh, which came to Micah the Morashtite1 in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, (and) Hezekiah, the kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Israel.
    2. Hear, all you peoples; listen Oh earth and its fullness, and let the Lord Yahweh be a witness against you, the Lord from his Holy Temple.
    3. For behold, Yahweh goes forth from his place, and he descends and treads upon the cultic places of the earth.
    4. And the mountains will dissolve under him, and the valleys will split in two, like wax before the fire, like water poured down a slope.
    5. All this is due to the transgression of Jacob and the sins of the house of Israel. Who transgressed from Jacob? Is it not Samaria? And who (built?) the cultic places of Judah? Was it not Jerusalem?
    6. And I will turn Samaria into a heap in the field for planting vineyards, and I will cast her stones into the valley, and I will uncover her foundations.
    7. And all her graven images will be beaten to pieces, and all her gain (from prostitution) will be burned with fire; and I will turn all of her idols into junk, for she gathered (them) from the money paid to a prostitute, and they will return to (being) the pay of a prostitute.
    8. Therefore I will lament and wail, barefoot2 and naked. I will make a wailing like the jackals, and a mourning like the ostriches.
    9. For she is weakened by her wounds, because she has come to Judah, reaching the gates of my people, even to Jerusalem.
    10. Do not tell of it in Gath.3 Do not weep at all.4 In Beth-le-Aphrah I wallowed in the dust. 5
    11. Go your way naked, Oh inhabitant6 of Shafir;7 the shame will not leave, Oh inhabitant of Zaanan;8 the lamentation of the nearby house will take its attitude from you.
    12. For the inhabitant9 of Maroth10 entreated the favor (of God) for good, but evil came down from Yahweh to the gates of Jerusalem.
    13. Oh inhabitant of Lachish,11 hitch the chariot to horses. It is the beginning of sin for the daughter of Zion, for in you were found the transgressions of Israel.
    14. Therefore you will give a parting gift to Moresheth of Gath. The houses of Achziv12 will be a disappointment13 for the kings of Israel.
    15. I will yet bring the heir to you, Oh inhabitant of Maresha;14 he will come to Adullam, 15 the glory of Israel.
    16. Make (yourself) bald, and shear (your head) because of the children of your pleasure; widen your bald spot like an eagle, for they have gone into exile from you.
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1. Meaning he was from the town of Moresheth-Gath mentioned in verse 14.
2. For this value of שולל cf. BDB sub שולל.
3. Gath was one of the five Philistine city-states, and also the hometown of Goliath. When David was avoiding Saul, he went to Gath and served under the king, Achish. It was most likely located at what is now Tell es-Safi.
4. “At all” is added in order to express the intensifying force of the infinitive absolute, i.e. בכו. However, some have suggested (see. BDB sub בכה) that this is written defectively, and should be בעכו, so that the phrase would read “Do not weep in Acco (Acre).” However, the Peshitta confirms the MT reading.
5. This is another play on words, because the name of the town contains the word “Aphrah” and the Hebrew word for “dust” is aphar.
6. The Hebrew indicates a female inhabitant, but I am not sure of the significance of that fact.
7. The location of this town is not known.
8. This may be identical with Zenan of Joshua 15:37.
9. As in the previous verse, the word here for inhabitant is again feminine.
10. Maroth could be a town in Judah (as noted in the BDB), or it could be viewed as a derivative from the root for “to rebel.” That was apparently the case in the LXX.
11. Lachish was the second most important city (after Jerusalem) in ancient Judea, and was located in the shephelah (western foothills) region of Israel. The departure of the Assyrians from Lachish is mentioned in II Kings 19:8 and Isa. 37:8. The remaining site is known as Tell el-Hesi.
12. This was on the Mediterranean coast of northern Israel, between the border of modern-day Lebanon and the city of Acre (or Acco) in modern Israel.
13. This word for disappointment is achzav and is therefore a wordplay with the name of the town, Achziv.
14. This was located in the southern lowlands of Israel.
15. Adullam, located on a hill overlooking the Elah Valley south of Beth Shemesh in Israel, was one of the royal cities of the Canaanites (Joshua 12:15 and 15:35). Rehoboam fortified the city against the Egyptians (II Chron. 11:7). David went there after being expelled from Gath by King Achish.
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Chapter 2

The prophet lists some of the sins of Israel

    1. Oh, those who contemplate iniquity and evil deeds upon their beds! With the light of morning they perform it because it is within their power.
    2. And they covet fields, and they rob (them), and (they also covet) houses, and they take away (the valuables from them), and they oppress a man and his household, and a man and his inheritance.
    3. Therefore, thus says Yahweh, behold, I am contemplating evil against this family, from which you will not be able to remove your necks, nor will you walk haughtily, for it is a time of evil.
    4. In that day he will take up a parable against you, and he will wail a lamentation (and) say, They have robbed us! He is changing part of my people. How will he restore it to me? Taking away the fields he divides (them).
    5. Therefore you will not have anyone who casts a cord by lot in the congregation of Yahweh.
    6. Do not preach. Preaching, they do not preach to these.1 The reproaches do not stop.
    7. (Oh you) who are said to be the house of Jacob. Has Yahweh become impatient? Are these his doings? Will not my words be good for him who walks uprightly?
    8. And yesterday my people were raising up (. . .?) as an enemy in front of the garment and mantle that you strip from those who pass by in confidence, returning (from) the war.2
    9. You drive the women of my people away from their delightful houses (and) from their infants – you are taking away my eternal glory!
    10. Arise and go, for this is not a resting place for you to destroy with uncleanness and a grievous destruction.
    11. If a man (claims to be) walking in the spirit and has told a lie, (saying) - I will preach to you for wine and liquor – he will be a preacher for this people.
    12. Oh Jacob, I will certainly collect all of you; I will certainly gather the remnant of Israel together, (and) I will place them like sheep in a fold, like a flock in the midst of its pasture, they will be stirred up by a man.
    13. The one who breaks through has risen up before them; they have broken through and have passed through the gate, and they have gone out, and their king passed before them, and Yahweh was at their head.
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1. In other words, preaching to these people is a waste of time. Back
2. I have put this whole verse in Italics because the Hebrew seems to be so corrupted that one cannot be sure of the original message. For suggestions on reconstructing the verse, see the footnotes in the BHS. Back
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Chapter 3

Yahweh scolds the leaders of Israel and their false prophets

    1. And I said, Hear now, Oh you leaders of Jacob, and officers of the house of Israel! Is it not for you to know judgment?
    2. (You) who hate good and love evil, who seize their skin from upon them, and their flesh from upon their bones.
    3. And who ate the remnant of my people, and stripped their skin from upon them, and broke their bones in pieces, and spread them out as in a pot, and the flesh within a cauldron;
    4. Then they will cry out to Yahweh, but he will not answer them, and he will hide his face from them at that time, since they were evil in their doings.
    5. Thus says Yahweh concerning the prophets who mislead my people, who bite with their teeth and call for peace, but if anyone does not donate according to their instructions,1 they consecrate2 war against him.
    6. Therefore it is night for you because of a (false) vision, and darkness for you because of divination, and the sun is setting upon the prophets, and the day darkens upon them.
    7. And the seers will be ashamed, and the diviners will be put to shame, and they will all cover their mouths, 3 for it is not an answer from God.
    8. But I am filled with power from the spirit of Yahweh, and justice and strength to tell to Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
    9. Hear this, Oh leaders of the house of Jacob, and listen Oh house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all that is upright.
    10. He builds Zion with blood and Jerusalem with injustice.
    11. Her leaders judge for bribes, and her priests teach for a price, and her prophets divine for money, but they (appear to) rely on Yahweh saying, Is not Yahweh in our midst? No evil will come upon us.
    12. Therefore, because of you Zion will be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem will become ruins, and the Temple Mount (will be) like the cultic places in the forest.
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1. Lit. "mouth."
2. This hints at the concept of conducting what one might call a "holy war," even though it is done for unrighteous purposes.
3. Lit. "lips."
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Chapter 4

    1. And it will come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the house of Yahweh will be established in the top of the mountains, and it will be lifted up above the hills, and the nations 1 will flow unto it.2
    2. And many nations3 will go and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths, for from Zion will go forth the gospel,4 and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.
    3. And he will judge between many peoples and reprove mighty nations afar off; and they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. A nation will not lift up the sword against (another) nation, neither will they teach 5 war any more.
    4. And they will sit, (each) man under his vine, and under his fig tree, and none will make them afraid,6 for the mouth of Yahweh of the Heavenly Hosts has spoken it.
    5. For all the peoples will go, each man in the name of his God, and we will go in the name of Yahweh, our God, forever and ever.
    6. In that day, says Yahweh, I will heal the cripple, and I will gather the outcast, and those whom I harmed.
    7. And I will put the one who is lame into a remnant, and the one who has been removed far off into a mighty nation, and Yahweh will reign over them on Mount Zion from now and forever.
    8. And you, the watch tower of the flock, the fortified hill of the daughter of Zion, it will come to you, even the former dominion; the kingdom will come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
    9. Now, why do you cry out in distress? Do you have no king? Has your counselor perished? For pangs have seized you like a woman in labor.
    10. Be in pain and push, Oh daughter of Zion, like a woman in labor, for now you will go forth from the city and dwell in the field, and you will go to Babylon. There you will be delivered. There Yahweh will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.
    11. And now, many nations have gathered together against you saying, Let her be polluted, and our eyes will look upon Zion.
    12. But they did not know the thoughts of Yahweh, nor did they understand his counsel, for he has gathered them like fallen grain to the threshing floor.
    13. Arise and thresh, Oh daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron and I will make your hooves bronze; and you will crush many nations, and I will devote their plunder to Yahweh, and their wealth to the Lord of all the earth. 7
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1. The word here for “nations” is 'amim, which is sometimes used to describe the nations descended from Israel.
2. Micah 4:1-3 corresponds to Isaiah 2:2-4. However, whereas Micah uses those verses to lead into a brief description of the Millennium, where “every man will sit under his own vine” etc., Isaiah uses those verses as a point of departure for castigating Israel for having gone astray.
3. The word here for “nations” is goyim. Many assume this word always refers to gentiles, but it is occasionally used for the house of Israel, especially by Malachi.
4. The word here is torah and is translated in the KJV as “law,” but it does not mean law in the sense of “statute” or “prescribed behavior.” Rather, torah, is from the root “to teach” and refers to instruction in the ways of God, and therefore corresponds to the LDS understanding of “Gospel.” In fact, if one looks up the English word “gospel” in Shimon Zilberman's 1993 English-Hebrew/Hebrew-English dictionary, one will find that the first Hebrew word offered as a translation of gospel is torah (תורה).
5. The KJV translates the word here as “learn,” but the form has the Masoretic pointing of a pi'el form, and thus must be translated as “teach.”
6. Or “terrify them.”
7. Cf. III Nephi 20:19.
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Chapter 5

The prediction that the Messiah will come forth from Bethlehem

    1. Now you will gather yourself into troops, Oh daughter of troops. He has laid siege to us. They will strike the cheek of the judges of Israel with a rod. 1
    2. And you, Oh Bethlehem-Ephratah, being the smallest of the clans of Judah, from you will come forth to me a ruler in Israel, and his roots are of old, (even) from eternity.
    3. Therefore, he will give them (over) until the time that the woman in labor gives birth, and the rest of his brothers will return unto the children of Israel.
    4. And he will stand and shepherd (them) in the strength of Yahweh; in the pride of the name of Yahweh, his God, and they will dwell (peacefully), for now he will become great, (even) unto the ends of the earth.
    5. And this will be peace; for the Assyrian will come into our land, and tread upon our spacious buildings, but we will raise up against him seven shepherds and eight leaders of men.
    6. And they will break the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod at its gates, but he will save (us) from Assyria, for he will come into our land, and tread upon our borders.
    7. And it will come to pass, that a remnant of Jacob will be among many peoples like dew from Yahweh, like copious showers upon the grass, which does not wait for a man, and does not wait for the sons of men.
    8. And it will come to pass2 that the remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, if it passes through, both treads down and tears in pieces, and no one can save (them).
    9. Your hand will be raised above your oppressors, and all your enemies will be cut off. 3
    10. And it will come to pass in that day, says Yahweh, that I will cut off your horses from your midst, and I will destroy your chariots.
    11. And I will cut off the cities of your land, and I will break down all your fortresses.
    12. And I will cut off sorcery from your hand, and you will have no soothsayers.
    13. And I will cut off your graven images and your maṣṣeboth4 from your midst, and you will not bow down to the work of your hands any more.
    14. And I will uproot your asherim5 from your midst, and I will destroy your enemies.
    15. And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the gentiles, who have not obeyed.
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1. In the MT, this verse is verse 14 of chapter 4, therefore the verse numbers of chapter 5 are off by one.
2. Both here and in the preceding verse (verses 6 and 7 in the MT, but 7 and 8 in the English text), the first word in the verse is wehayah, which is from the root "to be" and can either stand alone and mean "and it came to pass" or be connected to a following noun, which would then be the subject of the entire phrase. Both the KJV and the Chabad translation have assumed the latter to be the case (that it is the verb for the subject "remnant"), but that is impossible, because the verb form is masculine, while "remnant" in Hebrew is feminine. Therefore, it can only be interpreted as an introductory phrase, viz. "and it will come to pass."
3. For verses 8 and 9 compare III Nephi 20:16-17.
4. The maṣṣeboth were upright stones which often were used in pagan religious services. In some cases, in Mesopotamia, they may have had pictures on them.
5. These were probably sacred trees or poles. Cf. Wilson 1995 and BDB sub אשרה.
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Chapter 6

Israel is instructed to walk in humility with God

    1. Hear now what Yahweh says: Arise, contend with the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.
    2. Hear, Oh mountains, the controversy of Yahweh; and you everlasting ones, the foundations of the earth; for Yahweh has a controversy with his people, and he will argue with Israel.
    3. Oh my people, what have I done to you? And how have I wearied you? Answer me!
    4. For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of servitude; and I sent Moses, Aaron and Miriam before you.
    5. Oh my people, remember now from Shittim1 to Gilgal,2 what Balak, the king of Moab planned, and what Balaam, the son of Beor, answered him; so that you might know the righteous deeds of Yahweh.
    6. With what shall I approach Yahweh (and) bow before the (most) high God? Shall I approach him with burnt offerings? With yearling calves?
    7. Will Yahweh be pleased with thousands of rams? With ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my belly for the sin of my soul?
    8. He has told you, Oh man, what is good. And what does Yahweh demand of you but to do justice, and to love charity 3 and to walk in humility with your God?
    9. The voice of Yahweh calls to the city, and your name will see sound wisdom. Hear, Oh staff, and the one who appointed it: 4
    10. Are the treasures of wickedness still in the house of the wicked? And is a scanty measure denounced?
    11. Shall I consider them pure who use scales of wickedness and a pouch of deceitful weights?
    12. For the wealthy in it (i.e. the city) are full of violence, and its inhabitants have spoken lies, and their tongues are deceitful in their mouths.
    13. Yes, I have smitten you sorely, and made (you) desolate because of your sins.
    14. You will eat and not be satisfied, and there will be dysentery inside you;5 and you will remove (it), but not rescue, and that which you rescue, I will give over to the sword.
    15. You will sow, but not reap. You will tread the olives, but not anoint yourself, and (you will produce) new wine, but not drink (aged) wine.
    16. And you keep6 the laws of Omri, and every deed of the house of Ahab, and you walk in their counsels so that I make of you an astonishment, and its inhabitants an object of derision. But you will bear the disgrace of my people.
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1. Shittim (meaning acacias) is mentioned in Num. 25:1 and 33:49 as a place where the Israelites camped, and appears to have been located on the east side of the Jordan river, opposite Jericho. It was later Peraea, a few miles northeast of the Dead Sea, now Abil-ez-Zeit in Jordan.
2. See footnote concerning Gilgal in Amos 4:4.
3. The word here, hesed, refers to what we know as the pure love of Christ, not to giving alms.
4. This verse in not at all clear in the Hebrew. The Syriac (Peshitta) gives the following translation: “The voice of the Lord is upon the city: He preaches doctrine to those who fear his name. Listen, Oh tribe, who will give testimony?”
5. The Hebrew word ישחך is very problematic. See the footnotes in the BHS for some of the proposed emendations. In any case, it appears that the people will eat, but what they eat will make them sick. The Syriac clearly uses the word for “dysentery,” so I have appropriated that for use here.
6. This represents an emendation of the verb form in the MT according to DBD sub שמר under Hithp.
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Chapter 7

Israelites will be gathered from their Assyrian exile

    1. Woe unto me! For I was like the summer gleanings, like the second gleanings of the vintage.1 There is no bunch (of grapes) to eat. My soul has desired the first ripe fig.
    2. The pious have perished from the land, and the upright among men are gone. They all lie in wait for blood, each man has hunted his brother with a net.
    3. Their hands are upon evil, to do it thoroughly. The prince asks and the judge (receives) payment, and the great (man) speaks what is in his heart, but they pervert it. 2
    4. The best of them is like a brier; the upright is (worse) than a thorn bush. The day you have been waiting for – that of your visitation – is coming. Now will be their confusion.
    5. Do not believe a friend; do not trust a companion. Guard the openings of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom.
    6. For a son despises his father; a daughter rises up against her mother; a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man's enemies are the people of his (own) house.
    7. But I will wait for Yahweh. I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.
    8. Do not rejoice against me, Oh my enemy. When I fell I got up. When I sit in darkness, Yahweh is my light.
    9. I will bear the fury of Yahweh, for I have sinned against him. He will plead my cause and he will make my judgment. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness.
    10. And you have seen her who is my enemy, and shame has covered her who says to me, where is Yahweh, your God? My eyes will gaze upon her. Now she will become something trodden down, like the mud in the streets.
    11. The day to build your fences is the day (when) the boundary will be far away.
    12. And in that day they3 will come to you from Assyria and the fortified cities, and from the fortress to the (Euphrates) river4 and the western sea, and (from) a mountain (to) the mountain. 5
    13. And the land will become desolate for its inhabitants because of the fruit of their deeds.
    14. Lead your people with your rod; the flock of your inheritance who dwell alone in the forest, in the midst of Carmel. Let them graze in Bashan6 and Gilead as in bygone days.
    15. As in the days when you left the land of Egypt, I will show him marvelous things.
    16. Nations will see and be intimidated by all their might. They will put their hands on their mouths; their ears will be deaf.
    >17. They will lick the dust like a snake, like those which crawl on the earth. They will tremble from their enclosures; they will fear Yahweh, and they will be in awe of you.
    18. Who is a God like you? Who forgives iniquity and passes over the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? He does not hold onto his anger for ever, for he delights in charity.7
    19. He will come back and have mercy on us. He will subdue our iniquities and cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
    20. You8 will give truth to Jacob, (and) charity to Abraham, as you swore to our fathers in days of old.
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1. This phrase is a metaphor for “remnant.”
2. Or “weave it.” This is a bit uncertain.
3. As we have seen previously, the singular subject is often used in a plural sense, and it is likely that we should also read this verse in that sense, since it seems to be dealing with the gathering of Israelites, as even Rashi indicates.
4. The word nahar means "river" but is often used to indicate the Euphrates specifically, since it was the river par excellence for the inhabitants of the Ancient Near East from the Levant to Mesopotamia.
5. Since he is referring to Israelites returning from Assyria, I have to assume that in this last segment he is saying that they will come from the mountains of northern Iraq to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
6. For information on Bashan, see the footnote to Isa. 2:13.
7. Again, this means the charity which is the pure love of Christ.
8. This now addresses the Lord.
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