Micah 3 – “Rebuke for Israel’s Leaders and Prophets”

dark sunsetHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Micah likens the leaders of Israel to cannibals, rebukes them for their corruption, and announces the end of prophecy.

II. Photo

Micah announces the end of prophecy: “The sun shall set on the prophets, and the day shall be darkened for them.” (v. 6)

III. Select Verses

2-3: But you hate good and love evil. You have devoured My people’s flesh; You have flayed the skin off them, And their flesh off their bones. And after tearing their skins off them, And their flesh off their bones, And breaking their bones to bits, You have cut it up as into a pot, Like meat in a caldron.

6: Assuredly, It shall be night for you So that you cannot prophesy, And it shall be dark for you So that you cannot divine; The sun shall set on the prophets, And the day shall be darkened for them.

8: But I, I am filled with strength by the spirit of the LORD, And with judgment and courage, To declare to Jacob his transgressions And to Israel his sin.

9-12:  Hear this, you rulers of the House of Jacob, You chiefs of the House of Israel, Who detest justice And make crooked all that is straight,  Who build Zion with crime, Jerusalem with iniquity!  Her rulers judge for gifts, Her priests give rulings for a fee, And her prophets divine for pay; Yet they rely upon the LORD, saying, “The LORD is in our midst; No calamity shall overtake us.”  Assuredly, because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field, And Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, And the Temple Mount A shrine in the woods.

IV. Outline

1-4. Rebuke for Israel’s leaders

    1. Confrontation with Israel’s leaders

    2-3. Condemnation

    4. Future punishment

5-7. Rebuke for the prophets

    5. Introduction

    6. Oracle: the end of prophecy

    7. Summary statement

    8. Micah’s divine justification for rebuke

9-12. Rebuke for Israel’s leaders

    9a. Confrontation with Israel’s leaders

    9b-11. Condemnation: financial and religious corruption

    12. Future punishment for Jerusalem

V. Comment

Micah 3 is composed of three individual units: rebuke for Israel’s leaders (vv. 1-4), rebuke for Israel’s prophets (vv. 5-8), and further rebuke for Israel’s leaders. Regarding the structure of Micah, Delbert R. Hillers writes: “Like some other prophetic books, Micah is made up of short poems. Whether a given poem is clear and pungent, or obscure and puzzling, it tends to be self-contained. It does not necessarily follow from what goes before or lead into what comes after. There is little obvious architecture to the book. Some units seem to have been grouped together on a catchword principle (e.g., the repeated initial ‘attah and ‘attah in chaps. 4 and 5)—a most superficial organizing principle!” (ABD IV:807)

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Delbert R. Hillers, “Micah, Book of,” Anchor Bible Dictionary IV:807-809.

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