New Living Translation
1 The Lord gave this message to Micah of Moresheth during the years when Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah. The visions he saw concerned both Samaria and Jerusalem.
Grief over Samaria and Jerusalem
2 Attention! Let all the people of the world listen! Let the earth and everything in it hear. The Sovereign Lord is making accusations against you; the Lord speaks from his holy Temple. 3 Look! The Lord is coming! He leaves his throne in heaven and tramples the heights of the earth. 4 The mountains melt beneath his feet and flow into the valleys like wax in a fire, like water pouring down a hill. 5 And why is this happening? Because of the rebellion of Israel, yes, the sins of the whole nation. Who is to blame for Israel’s rebellion? Samaria, its capital city! Where is the center of idolatry in Judah? In Jerusalem, its capital!
6“So I, the Lord, will make the city of Samaria a heap of ruins. Her streets will be plowed up for planting vineyards. I will roll the stones of her walls into the valley below, exposing her foundations. 7 All her carved images will be smashed. All her sacred treasures will be burned. These things were bought with the money earned by her prostitution, and they will now be carried away to pay prostitutes elsewhere.”
8 Therefore, I will mourn and lament. I will walk around barefoot and naked.
I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl. 9 For my people’s wound is too deep to heal. It has reached into Judah, even to the gates of Jerusalem.
10 Don’t tell our enemies in Gath, don’t weep at all. You people in Beth-leaphrah, roll in the dust to show your despair. 11 You people in Shaphir, go as captives into exile—naked and ashamed. The people of Zaanan dare not come outside their walls. The people of Beth-ezell mourn, for their house has no support. 12 The people of Maroth anxiously wait for relief, but only bitterness awaits them, as the Lord’s judgment reaches even to the gates of Jerusalem.
13 Harness your chariot horses and flee, you people of Lachish. You were the first city in Judah to follow Israel in her rebellion, and you led Jerusalem into sin. 14 Send farewell gifts to Moresheth-gath; there is no hope of saving it. The town of Aczib has deceived the kings of Israel. 15 O people of Mareshah, I will bring a conqueror to capture your town. And the leaders of Israel will go to Adullam.
16 Oh, people of Judah, shave your heads in sorrow, for the children you love will be snatched away. Make yourselves as bald as a vulture, for your little ones will be exiled to distant lands.
What sorrow awaits you who lie awake at night, thinking up evil plans. You rise at dawn and hurry to carry them out, simply because you have the power to do so. 2 When you want a piece of land, you find a way to seize it. When you want someone’s house, you take it by fraud and violence. You cheat a man of his property, stealing his family’s inheritance.
3 But this is what the Lord says: “I will reward your evil with evil; you won’t be able to pull your neck out of the noose. You will no longer walk around proudly, for it will be a terrible time.”
4 In that day your enemies will make fun of you by singing this song of despair about you: “We are finished, completely ruined. God has confiscated our land, taking it from us. He has given our fields to those who betrayed us.” 5 Others will set your boundaries then, and the Lord’s people will have no say in how the land is divided.
6 “Don’t say such things,” the people respond. “Don’t prophesy like that. Such disasters will never come our way!”
7 Should you talk that way, O family of Israel? Will the Lord’s Spirit have patience with such behavior? If you would do what is right, you would find my words comforting. 8 Yet to this very hour my people rise against me like an enemy! You steal the shirts right off the backs of those who trusted you, making them as ragged as men returning from battle.
9 You have evicted women from their pleasant homes and forever stripped their children of all that God would give them. 10 Up! Begone! This is no longer your land and home, for you have filled it with sin and ruined it completely.
11 Suppose a prophet full of lies would say to you, “I’ll preach to you the joys of wine and alcohol!” That’s just the kind of prophet you would like!
12 “Someday, O Israel, I will gather you; I will gather the remnant who are left. I will bring you together again like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture. Yes, your land will again be filled with noisy crowds! 13 Your leader will break out and lead you out of exile, out through the gates of the enemy cities, back to your own land.Your king will lead you; the Lord himself will guide you.”
Then I said, “Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel. Should you not embrace justice, 2 you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones; 3 who eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot?”
4 Then they will cry out to the Lord, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done.
5 This is what the Lord says:
“As for the prophets who lead my people astray, they proclaim ‘peace’ if they have something to eat, but prepare to wage war against anyone who refuses to feed them.
6 “Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them. 7 The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God.”
8 But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.
9 Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; 10 who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness.
11 Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say, “Is not the Lord among us? No disaster will come upon us.”
12 Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.
2 Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 3 He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. 4 Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. 5 All the nations may walk in the name of their gods, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.
The Lord’s Plan
6 “In that day,” declares the Lord, “I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief. 7 I will make the lame my remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The Lord will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever.
8 “As for you, watchtower of the flock, stronghold of Daughter Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to Daughter Jerusalem.”
9 Why do you now cry aloud—have you no king? Has your ruler perished, that pain seizes you like that of a woman in labor? 10 Writhe in agony, Daughter Zion, like a woman in labor, for now you must leave the city to camp in the open field. You will go to Babylon; there you will be rescued. There the Lord will redeem you out of the hand of your enemies.
11 But now many nations are gathered against you. They say, “Let her be defiled, let our eyes gloat over Zion!” 12 But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.
13 “Rise and thresh, Daughter Zion, for I will give you horns of iron; I will give you hooves of bronze, and you will break to pieces many nations.” You will devote their ill-gotten gains to the Lord, their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.
A Promised Ruler From Bethlehem
Marshal your troops now, city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod.
2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.
4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
5 And he will be our peace when the Assyrians invade our land and march through our fortresses. We will raise against them seven shepherds, even eight commanders, who will rule the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod with drawn sword.
He will deliver us from the Assyrians when they invade our land and march across our borders.
7 The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples, like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for anyone or depend on man. 8 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 flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue. 9 Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed.
10 “In that day,” declares the Lord, “I will destroy your horses from among you and demolish your chariots. 11 I will destroy the cities of your land and tear down all your strongholds. 12 I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells. 13 I will destroy your idols and your sacred stones from among you; you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands. 14 I will uproot from among you your Asherah poles when I demolish your cities. 15 I will take vengeance in anger and wrath on the nations that have not obeyed me.”
The Lord’s Case Against Israel
Listen to what the Lord says: “Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say.
2 “Hear, you mountains, the Lord’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the Lord has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel.
3 “My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. 4 I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam. 5 My people, remember what Balak king of Moab plotted and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”
6 With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
9 Listen! The Lord is calling to the city—and to fear your name is wisdom—
“Heed the rod and the One who appointed it. 10 Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house, and the short ephah, which is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights 12 Your rich people are violent; your inhabitants are liars and their tongues speak deceitfully. 13 Therefore, I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sins. 14 You will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty. You will store up but save nothing, because what you save I will give to the sword. 15 You will plant but not harvest; you will press olives but not use the oil, you will crush grapes but not drink the wine. 16 You have observed the statutes of Omri and all the practices of Ahab’s house; you have followed their traditions.
“Therefore I will give you over to ruin and your people to derision; you will bear the scorn of the nations.”
What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave. The faithful have been swept from the land; not one upright person remains. Everyone lies in wait to shed blood; they hunt each other with nets. 3 Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire—they all conspire together. 4 The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge. The day God visits you has come, the day your watchmen sound the alarm. Now is the time of your confusion. 5 Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips. 6 For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.
7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. 9 Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath, until he pleads my case and upholds my cause. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. 10 Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who said to me, “Where is the Lord your God?” My eyes will see her downfall; even now she will be trampled underfoot like mire in the streets.
11 The day for building your walls will come, the day for extending your boundaries.
In that day people will come to you from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, even from Egypt to the Euphrates and from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.
13 The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants, as the result of their deeds.
14 Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance which lives by itself in a forest, in fertile pasturelands. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in days long ago.
15 “As in the days when you came out of Egypt, I will show them my wonders.”
16 Nations will see and be ashamed, deprived of all their power. They will put their hands over their mouths and their ears will become deaf. 17 They will lick dust like a snake, like creatures that crawl on the ground. They will come trembling out of their dens; they will turn in fear to the Lord our God and will be afraid of you. 18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. 19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. 20 You will be faithful to Jacob, and show love to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in days long ago.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.)
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