Yahweh convicts the people of disobedience, describes the punishments he has already brought, and vows to bring more in the future. Micah teaches the people to focus on their deeds, not their offerings.
Micah downplays the importance of offerings: “Would the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriads of streams of oil? … He has told you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk modestly with your God.” (vv. 7-8)
III. Select Verses
2-5: Hear, you mountains, the case of the LORD — You firm foundations of the earth! For the LORD has a case against His people, He has a suit against Israel. “My people! What wrong have I done you? What hardship have I caused you? Testify against Me. In fact, I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. “My people, Remember what Balak king of Moab Plotted against you, And how Balaam son of Beor Responded to him. [Recall your passage] From Shittim to Gilgal — And you will recognize The gracious acts of the LORD.”
6-8: With what shall I approach the LORD, Do homage to God on high? Shall I approach Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old? Would the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, With myriads of streams of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, The fruit of my body for my sins? 8 “He has told you, O man, what is good, And what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice And to love goodness, And to walk modestly with your God.
13-15: I, in turn, have beaten you sore, Have stunned [you] for your sins: You have been eating without getting your fill, And there is a gnawing at your vitals; You have been conceiving without bearing young, And what you bore I would deliver to the sword. You have been sowing, but have nothing to reap; You have trod olives, but have no oil for rubbing, And grapes but have no wine to drink.
16: Yet you have kept the laws of Omri, And all the practices of the House of Ahab, And have followed what they devised. Therefore I will make you an object of horror And her inhabitants an object of hissing; And you shall bear the mockery of peoples.
1-8. Yahweh’s lawsuit against Israel 1. Micah’s introduction 2-5. Oracle proper 2. Yahweh introduces his case against Israel 3. Assertion of Yahweh’s innocence 4-5. Recollection of Yahweh’s kindness 6-8. Micah’s lesson: Yahweh desires good behavior, not offerings 9-16. Yahweh’s punishments for Israel 9a. Micah’s introduction 9b-16. Oracle proper 9b-12. Decision to punish the city for its sins 13-15. Description of punishment 16a. Continuous sinning 16b. Future punishment
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VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
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