Micah 1


Little is known of Micah except his approximate time and place.  As mentioned in the first verse below, he prophesied during a period bounded approximately by the years 739 BCE to 693 BCE and probably hailed from the town of Moresheth-gath in Judah.  He was presumably a younger contemporary of Isaiah.

דְּבַר־יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר הָיָה אֶל־מִיכָה הַמֹּרַשְׁתִּי בִּימֵי יֹותָם אָחָז יְחִזְקִיָּה מַלְכֵי יְהוּדָה אֲשֶׁר־חָזָה   1:1                עַל־שֹׁמְרֹון וִירוּשָׁלִָם׃

Mica. 1:1   The word of the Lord that occurred to Micah, the Morashtite, in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw regarding Samaria and Jerusalem:

                                                                                                                            [Return to Mica. 7:14]

The name of Hezekiah is spelled six different ways in the bible.  The spelling in this verse (with the initial yad) appears in 42 other places beginning with 2Kin. 20:10, so is probably the most frequent of the spellings.  However, until this point, it shows up only four times.  Almost all of the remainder (but for Ezra 2:16) are in 1Chronicles and 2Chronicles.  Interesting, no?  I suspect it could tell us something about the period in which various books were written.

שִׁמְעוּ עַמִּים כֻּלָּם הַקְשִׁיבִי אֶרֶץ וּמְלֹאָהּ וִיהִי אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה בָּכֶם לְעֵד אֲדֹנָי מֵהֵיכַל קָדְשֹׁו׃   1:2

Mica. 1:2   Hear, Peoples, all of them!

                           Pay attention, earth, and those filling it!

                    Now the Master, the Lord, is by them for a Witness,

                           the Master, from His holy Temple.

כִּי־הִנֵּה יְהוָה יֹצֵא מִמְּקֹומֹו וְיָרַד וְדָרַךְ עַל־(בָּמֹותֵי) [בָּמֳתֵי] אָרֶץ׃   1:3

Mica. 1:3   For, behold, the Lord is coming forth from His place,

                           and He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth.

The word in the parentheses, translated as high places, has a vav that may be an error.  The correction is in the brackets.  I find this spelling in several locations in the bible, and it may not be an error.

וְנָמַסּוּ הֶהָרִים תַּחְתָּיו וְהָעֲמָקִים יִתְבַּקָּעוּ כַּדֹּונַג מִפְּנֵי הָאֵשׁ כְּמַיִם מֻגָּרִים בְּמֹורָד׃   1:4

Mica. 1:4   And the mountains will melt under Him,

                            and the valleys shall be split,

                     like wax before the fire,

                             like water running down on a steep slope.

בְּפֶשַׁע יַעֲקֹב כָּל־זֹאת וּבְחַטֹּאות בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל מִי־פֶשַׁע יַעֲקֹב הֲלֹוא שֹׁמְרֹון וּמִי בָּמֹות יְהוּדָה הֲלֹוא   1:5 יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃

Mica. 1:5   All this is because of the transgression of Jacob,

                             and because of the sins of the house of Israel.

                   Whose is the transgression of Jacob,

                              is it not of Samaria?

                    And whose are the high places of Judah,

                             are not they of Jerusalem?

וְשַׂמְתִּי שֹׁמְרֹון לְעִי הַשָּׂדֶה לְמַטָּעֵי כָרֶם וְהִגַּרְתִּי לַגַּי אֲבָנֶיהָ וִיסֹדֶיהָ אֲגַלֶּה׃   1:6

Mica. 1:6   “So I shall make Samaria into a heap of the field,

                              into a vineyard planting place,

                    and I shall pour down its stones into the valley,

                              and uncover its foundations.”

וְכָל־פְּסִילֶיהָ יֻכַּתּוּ וְכָל־אֶתְנַנֶּיהָ יִשָּׂרְפוּ בָאֵשׁ וְכָל־עֲצַבֶּיהָ אָשִׂים שְׁמָמָה כִּי מֵאֶתְןַן זֹונָה קִבָּצָה   1:7         וְעַד־אֶתְןַן זֹונָה יָשׁוּבוּ׃

Mica. 1:7   “And all its graven images shall be crushed fine,

                              and all its hired prostitutes shall be burned in fire,

                    and all its idols I shall lay desolate.

                              Since it was gathered of the hire of a harlot,

                    so to the hire of a harlot they shall return.”

עַל־זֹאת אֶסְפְּדָה וְאֵילִילָה אֵילְכָה (שִׁילַל) [שֹׁולָל] וְעָרֹום אֶעֱשֶׂה מִסְפֵּד כַּתַּנִּים וְאֵבֶל כִּבְנֹות יַעֲנָה׃   1:8

Mica. 1:8   I shall lament and wail over this,

                               go barefoot and naked,

                    produce a wailing like jackals

                               and a mourning like the daughters of an owl.

Is the Lord still speaking or is it now Micah?  The Lord goes barefoot and naked?  Does Micah go astray in his zeal to describe the Lord’s great “sadness” at the destruction of His people?  Or is he speaking of himself?  I suspect the latter, so I’ve placed no quote marks around the verse.  On a far more mundane level, there is an error in spelling in the parentheses, a yad where there should be a vav.  The correction is in the brackets.

כִּי אֲנוּשָׁה מַכֹּותֶיהָ כִּי־בָאָה עַד־יְהוּדָה נָגַע עַד־שַׁעַר עַמִּי עַד־יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃   1:9

Mica. 1:9   “For so woeful are to be its wounds

                               that it goes all the way to Judah,

                    reaches as far as the gate of My people,

                               to Jerusalem.”

בְּגַת אַל־תַּגִּידוּ בָּכֹו אַל־תִּבְכּוּ בְּבֵית לְעַפְרָה עָפָר (הִתְפַּלָּשְׁתִּי) [הִתְפַּלָּשִׁי]׃   1:10

Mica. 1:10   Do not announce in Gath,

                               do not weep of its bewailing.

                      Roll in dust in Beth-le-aphrah.

Three points to note in this verse:  Starting here and continuing to v. 1:15, Micah mentions several towns, presumably near his home town.  Secondly, there is also a strange error in spelling in the parentheses.  The word as spelled translates to something like I roll in dust, which appears to be wrong.  The correction, omitting the tav, is in the brackets.  Finally, the first two imperatives (translated as Do not announce and do not weep) are masculine plural, but the final one, Roll in dust, is feminine singular.  There could be a second error in the word, a yad in place of a vav, that correction making the verb masculine plural.  Or I imagine that Micah wanted to include everyone in the first two and then conclude with an imperative to the nation itself.  However, this latter possibility seems improbable, as the verb is addressed only to those in Beth-le-aphrah.

עִבְרִי לָכֶם יֹושֶׁבֶת שָׁפִיר עֶרְיָה־בֹשֶׁת לֹא יָצְאָה יֹושֶׁבֶת צַאֲןָן מִסְפַּד בֵּית הָאֵצֶל יִקַּח םִכֶּם עֶמְדָּתֹו׃   1:11

Mica. 1:11   Pass by yourself, inhabitant of Shaphir,

                               a nakedness, a shame!

                      No inhabitant comes out of Zaanan;

                               the wailing of Beth-ezel will have taken his standing place from you.

כִּי־חָלָה לְטֹוב יֹושֶׁבֶת מָרֹות כִּי־יָרַד רָע מֵאֵת יְהוָה לְשַׁעַר יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃   1:12

Mica. 1:12   Inhabitant of Maroth surely becomes weak for goodness,

                               for misery descends from the Lord to the gate of Jerusalem.

רְתֹם הַמֶּרְכָּבָה לָרֶכֶשׁ יֹושֶׁבֶת לָכִישׁ רֵאשִׁית חַטָּאת הִיא לְבַת־צִיֹּון כִּי־בָךְ נִמְצְאוּ פִּשְׁעֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   1:13

Mica. 1:13   Attach the chariot to steed,

                               inhabitant of Lachish!

                       It was the beginning of sin

                               for the daughter of Zion.

                       For the transgressions of Israel

                               have been found in you.

לָכֵן תִּתְּנִי שִׁלּוּחִים עַל מֹורֶשֶׁת גַּת בָּתֵּי אַכְזִיב לְאַכְזָב לְמַלְכֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   1:14

Mica. 1:14   Therefore you shall bestow parting gifts upon Moresheth-gath:

                               The houses of Achzib shall be a deceitful thing to the kings of Israel.

Achzib is a town located in the low-lying hills of the plain of Judah.

עֹד הַיֹּרֵשׁ אָבִי לָךְ יֹושֶׁבֶת מָרֵשָׁה עַד־עֲדֻלָּם יָבֹוא כְּבֹוד יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   1:15

Mica. 1:15   “I will yet bring the possessor to you,

                                inhabitant of Mareshah;

                      as the glory of Israel shall go far as Adullam.”

Adullam is where the cave in which David hid was located (see 1Sam. 22:1).  It seems the implication of the last part of this verse is that the kings of Israel and Judah will have to find refuge in the same cave.

קָרְחִי וָגֹזִּי עַל־בְּנֵי תַּעֲנוּגָיִךְ הַרְחִבִי קָרְחָתֵךְ כַּנֶּשֶׁר כִּי גָלוּ מִמֵּךְ׃   1:16

Mica. 1:16   Make yourself bald,

                                and shear over the sons of your delight!

                       Enlarge your baldness, like a vulture!

                                For they go into exile from you.

Apparently shaving the head was still a sign of mourning in Micah’s time.  Bible commentators state that although this custom appears to be alluded to as well in Isaiah and Amos, the custom was prohibited in Deut. 14:1.  I’m not sure that was the prohibition stated there, though.  The pertinent part of the verse there reads (my translation) “you must not ... make baldness between your eyes in regard to a death.”  I assume this refers to the eyebrows, not the head.  Why else would the words between your eyes be found there?


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