A New Trial against Israel
My People, What Have I Done to You?
1 Listen to what the Lord has to say:
Arise and state your case before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your voice.
2 Hearken, you mountains, to the Lord’s accusations;
listen, you foundations that support the earth.
For the Lord has a case against his people;
he intends to present it to Israel.
3 O my people, what, have I done to you?
How have I wearied you? Answer me!
4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
I redeemed you from the place of slavery,
and I sent as your leaders
Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
5 My people, remember the plan
that Balak, the king of Moab, devised,
and what Balaam, the son of Beor, answered him.
Recall also your journey from Shittim[a] to Gilgal
so that you may know the saving justice of the Lord.
6 With what will I come before the Lord
when I bow down before God on high?
Will 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 oil?
Should I offer my firstborn son for my transgressions,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?[b]
8 The Lord has told you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
Only this: to do what is right, to show mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.[c]
Those Who Commit Fraud Will Themselves Be Frustrated
9 Consider carefully what the Lord cries out to the city,
for to fear his name is a mark of wisdom:
10 “Listen, you tribe of assembled citizens!
How can I ignore the false measure
and the accursed short bushel?
11 Can I overlook rigged scales
or a bag of fraudulent weights?
12 The wealthy men of the city are steeped in violence;
its inhabitants are liars
and their tongues speak deceitfully.
13 Therefore, I intend to strike you with devastation
because of your sins.
14 You will eat but not be satisfied,
for your stomach will continue to experience hunger.
You will acquire but be unable to save,
and what you do save,
I will deliver up to the sword.
15 You will sow
but you will not reap;
you will press the olives
but you will not anoint yourself with oil;
you will tread the grapes
but you will not drink the wine.
16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri
and all the practices of the house of Ahab;
you have adopted all their policies.
Therefore, I will make your land desolate
and your citizens an object of scorn.
From this time on
you will endure the scorn of other nations.”
- Micah 6:5 Balak wanted Balaam to curse the Israelites, but God made Balaam change the curse into a blessing (see Num 22–24). Shittim and Gilgal recall the entrance into the Promised Land (see Jos 3–4).
- Micah 6:7 Sacrifice of the firstborn seems to have been frequently practiced at this time, the idea being to obtain the divine favor by offering the firstfruits of human life. The Prophets protested strongly against this aberration of the religious sense (see 2 Ki 16:3; Jer 7:31; Ezek 20:26).
- Micah 6:8 Even if this magnificent verse were the only memorable passage in the Book of Micah, the Book would be worth reading and rereading; the verse is one of the richest summations of prophetic preaching (Isa 19:19; Hos 6:6; Am 5:21-22).