Micah 7 – “Lament, Trust, and Imprecation”

deep-oceanHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Micah laments the corrupt society around him, places his trust in Yahweh, and asks that Israel be restored and her enemies punished.

II. Photo

Micah puts his trust in Yahweh: “You will hurl all our sins into the depths of the sea.  You will keep faith with Jacob, loyalty to Abraham, as You promised on oath to our fathers in days gone by.” (v. 20)

III. Select Verses

1-2: Woe is me! I am become like leavings of a fig harvest, Like gleanings when the vintage is over, There is not a cluster to eat, Not a ripe fig I could desire. The pious are vanished from the land, None upright are left among men; All lie in wait to commit crimes, One traps the other in his net.

5-6: Trust no friend, Rely on no intimate; Be guarded in speech With her who lies in your bosom.  For son spurns father, Daughter rises up against mother, Daughter-in-law against mother-in-law — A man’s own household Are his enemies.

9: I must bear the anger of the LORD, Since I have sinned against Him, Until He champions my cause And upholds my claim. He will let me out into the light; I will enjoy vindication by Him.

11: A day for mending your walls — That is a far-off day.

16-17: Let nations behold and be ashamed Despite all their might; Let them put hand to mouth; Let their ears be deafened!  Let them lick dust like snakes, Like crawling things on the ground! Let them come trembling out of their strongholds To the LORD our God; Let them fear and dread You!

18-20: Who is a God like You, Forgiving iniquity And remitting transgression; Who has not maintained His wrath forever Against the remnant of His own people, Because He loves graciousness! He will take us back in love; He will cover up our iniquities, You will hurl all our sins Into the depths of the sea.  You will keep faith with Jacob, Loyalty to Abraham, As You promised on oath to our fathers In days gone by.

IV. Outline

1-6. Lament over an evil society

    1-2a. The pious have vanished

    2b-4a. Description of the wicked

    4b. Future punishment

    5-6. Familial defiance

7-10. Psalm of trust and imprecation

    7-8. Affirmation of confidence

    9a. Acceptance of punishment

    9b. Future salvation

    10. The enemies will see and be defeated

    11. Rebuilding the walls

    12-13. Destruction from Egypt to Mesopotamia 

    14-15. Prayer for Israel’s restoration

    16-17. Prayer for Yahweh to shock the nations

    18. Praise

    19-20. Faith in Yahweh’s loyalty

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Photo copied from http://jumbowallpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/deep-ocean-wallpapers.jpg

Micah 6 – “Yahweh’s Punishments for Israel”

olive-oil flowing bottleI. Summary

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.

II. Photo

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.

IV. Outline

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

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Photo copied from http://ricochet.com/var/ezwebin_site/storage/images/media/images/olive-oil/4049530-1-eng-US/olive-oil.jpg

Micah 5 – “Israel will Survive Exile”

LionHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Yahweh will raise up a leader from Bethlehem to bring in the exiles. Assyria will be conquered, the exiles will be strong and powerful, and Yahweh will punish the disobedient nations.

II. Photo

Israel will survive exile: “The remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of the many peoples, like a lion among beasts of the wild, like a fierce lion among flocks of sheep, which tramples wherever it goes and rends, with none to deliver.” (v. 7)

III. Select Verses

1-3: And you, O Bethlehem of Ephrath, Least among the clans of Judah, From you one shall come forth To rule Israel for Me — One whose origin is from of old, From ancient times. Truly, He will leave them [helpless] Until she who is to bear has borne; Then the rest of his countrymen Shall return to the children of Israel. He shall stand and shepherd By the might of the LORD, By the power of the name Of the LORD his God, And they shall dwell [secure]. For lo, he shall wax great To the ends of the earth!

4-5: And that shall afford safety. Should Assyria invade our land And tread upon our fortresses, We will set up over it seven shepherds, Eight princes of men,  Who will shepherd Assyria’s land with swords, The land of Nimrod in its gates. Thus he will deliver [us] From Assyria, should it invade our land, And should it trample our country.

7-8: The remnant of Jacob Shall be among the nations, In the midst of the many peoples, Like a lion among beasts of the wild, Like a fierce lion among flocks of sheep, Which tramples wherever it goes And rends, with none to deliver.  Your hand shall prevail over your foes, And all your enemies shall be cut down!

14:  In anger and wrath Will I wreak retribution On the nations that have not obeyed.

IV. Outline

1-3. A new ruler

    1. A future ruler from Bethlehem

    2. The Israelites will return

    3. The great ruler will bring security

4-5. Eight rulers will conquer Assyria

6-14. Rebuke for the nations

    6. The exiles will not wait

    7-8. The exiles will be strong as lions

    9-14. Oracle: Yahweh will destroy disobedient nations and their idolatry

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Photo copied from http://images.alphacoders.com/167/167153.jpg

Micah 4 – “A Prophecy for World Peace and Jerusalem”

childbirth labor painHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

The people and monarchy will return to Jerusalem and the nations will gather there for prosperity and peace. Jerusalem’s inhabitants will suffer in Babylon but will return victorious.

II. Photo

The pain of exile is necessary: “Writhe and scream, fair Zion, like a woman in travail! For now you must leave the city and dwell in the country — and you will reach Babylon. There you shall be saved, there the LORD will redeem you from the hands of your foes.” (v. 10)

III. Select Verses

1-2: In the days to come, The Mount of the LORD’s House shall stand Firm above the mountains; And it shall tower above the hills. The peoples shall gaze on it with joy,  And the many nations shall go and shall say: “Come, Let us go up to the Mount of the LORD, To the House of the God of Jacob; That He may instruct us in His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.” For instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

3: Thus He will judge among the many peoples, And arbitrate for the multitude of nations, However distant; And they shall beat their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not take up Sword against nation; They shall never again know war.

8: And you, O Migdal-eder, Outpost of Fair Zion, It shall come to you: The former monarchy shall return — The kingship of Fair Jerusalem.

10: Writhe and scream, Fair Zion, Like a woman in travail! For now you must leave the city And dwell in the country — And you will reach Babylon. There you shall be saved, There the LORD will redeem you From the hands of your foes.

11-13: Indeed, many nations Have assembled against you Who think, “Let our eye Obscenely gaze on Zion.”  But they do not know The design of the LORD, They do not divine His intent: He has gathered them Like cut grain to the threshing floor.  Up and thresh, Fair Zion! For I will give you horns of iron And provide you with hoofs of bronze, And you will crush the many peoples. You will devote their riches to the LORD, Their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.

IV. Outline

1a. The future temple in Jerusalem

1b-2. The nations will come to learn

3. Peace amongst the nations

4. Peace and prosperity for individuals

5. Each nation has its own god

6-8. The people and monarchy will return to Jerusalem

9-10. Pain and redemption in Babylon

11-14. Jerusalem’s conquerors will provide the city with its future riches

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Photo copied from http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_GLq3ixHj4F0/Sx3zof2fcFI/AAAAAAAAAAM/0N-mgiF0EPQ/s320/childbirth.jpg

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.

Photo copied from http://dlund42179.deviantart.com/art/Dark-Sunset-1680-x-1050-182501510

Micah 2 – “Doom for the Wicked; The Gathering of Israel”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Micah challenges the wicked and prophesies the gathering of the people.

II. Photo
God will gather in the people: “I will make them all like sheep of Bozrah, like a flock inside its pen.” (v. 12)

III. Select Verses    
3: Assuredly, thus said the LORD: I am planning such a misfortune against this clan that you will not be able to free your necks from it. You will not be able to walk erect; it will be such a time of disaster.
6-8: “Stop preaching!” they preach. “That’s no way to preach; Shame shall not overtake [us].  Is the House of Jacob condemned? Is the LORD’s patience short? Is such His practice?” To be sure, My words are friendly To those who walk in rectitude;  But an enemy arises against My people. You strip the mantle with the cloak Off such as pass unsuspecting, Who are turned away from war.
9: You drive the women of My people away From their pleasant homes; You deprive their infants Of My glory forever.
11: If a man were to go about uttering Windy, baseless falsehoods: “I’ll preach to you in favor of wine and liquor” — He would be a preacher [acceptable] to that people.
12-13:  I will assemble Jacob, all of you; I will bring together the remnant of Israel; I will make them all like sheep of Bozrah, Like a flock inside its pen — They will be noisy with people.  One who makes a breach Goes before them; They enlarge it to a gate And leave by it. Their king marches before them, The LORD at their head.

IV. Outline
1-2. Description of the wicked
3-5. Prophecy of doom
6-11. Response to doubters and false prophets
12-13. The ingathering of Israel

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Photo copied from http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_W19ZkFqGT-M/S8BGZXGYXwI/AAAAAAAAEOU/wsxxCzlGdwk/s1600/B+Range+yards+.jpg

Micah 1 – “Doom for Samaria and Judah”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Micah speaks of doom for Samaria and Judah.

II. Photo
Micah goes to extremes: “Because of this I will lament and wail; I will go stripped and naked!” (v. 9)

III. Select Verses    
1: The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morashtite, who prophesied concerning Samaria and Jerusalem in the reigns of Kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah.
5: All this is for the transgression of Jacob, And for the sins of the House of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob But Samaria, And what the shrines of Judah But Jerusalem?
6-7: So I will turn Samaria Into a ruin in open country, Into ground for planting vineyards; For I will tumble her stones into the valley And lay her foundations bare. All her sculptured images shall be smashed, And all her harlot’s wealth be burned, And I will make a waste heap of all her idols, For they were amassed from fees for harlotry, And they shall become harlots’ fees again.
8: Because of this I will lament and wail; I will go stripped and naked! I will lament as sadly as the jackals, As mournfully as the ostriches.
9: For her wound is incurable, It has reached Judah, It has spread to the gate of my people, To Jerusalem.

IV. Outline
1. Introduction to prophecy
2a. Call to listen
2b-4. The coming of God
5. The sins of Judah and Samaria
6-7. Doom for Samaria
8. Micah’s mournful existence
9. The spread of Samaria’s sin
10-16. Doom for twelve cities around Jerusalem

V. Comment
In vv. 10-16, Micah speaks of doom and captivity for twelve cities. As Ralph L. Smith notes, “There is a word-play on the names of the cities. The word-plays are not to be taken lightly. The prophet was very serious in describing the misfortune that was coming on his home territory. It is difficult to discover the pun intended with every city… The historical situation to which this language refers is probably Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah in 701 BC According to 2 Kgs 18:13–16 and Sennacherib’s own accounts, the Assyrian king came into Palestine attacking Tyre which was one of the leaders of the rebellion against the empire. Sennacherib then marched against Ashkelon and Ekron putting down their resistance. He met and defeated an Egyptian army at Eltekeh, near Ekron, then turned on Judah. He reports that he reduced forty-six cities of Judah and deported their population. He shut up Hezekiah, king of Judah and the remnant of his troops in Jerusalem “like a bird in a cage” (Bright 269). The twelve cities mentioned in Micah 1:10–15 were in the path of Sennacherib’s march to Jerusalem.” (21, 20-21)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Smith, Ralph L. Micah-malachi. Waco, Tex: Word Books, 1984.
Photo copied from http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/212/6/9/Open_Land_by_silentdreams08.jpg