Everyone is evil (Mic 7:3-7:4)

“Their hands are skilled

To do evil.

The official

Asks for a bribe.

The judge

Asks for a bribe.

The powerful

Dictate

What they desire.

Thus,

They pervert justice.

The best of them is

Like a brier.

The most upright

Of them is

Like a thorn hedge.

The day of their sentinels,

Of their punishment,

Has come.

Now their confusion

Is at hand.”

Micah thought that everyone was evil.  The officialsand judges did things only if they got bribes.  The powerful people did whatever they wanted to do, since they all perverted justice.  The best and most upright of them were like a briar patch or a thorn hedge.  The day of punishment was announced.  Thus, they were in a state of confusion.

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No more just people (Mic 7:1-7:2)

“Woe is me!

I have become

Like one

After the summer fruit

Has been gathered.

I have become

Like one

After the vintage

Has been gleaned.

There is no cluster to eat.

There is no first-ripe fig

For which I hunger.

The faithful have disappeared

From the land.

There is no one left

Who is upright.

They all lie in wait

For blood.

They hunt each other

With nets.”

Micah started this lament with a woeful thought about himself.  He was lonely, because the late summer fruits had been harvested.  All the vineyards had been picked and gleaned.  There was nothing left to eat.  It did not make any difference, because Micah had no appetite for fig clusters or anything.  All the faithful people had disappeared from the land.  There was not even one good upright person left.  They were all waiting to steal from each other.  They were hungry for the blood of others, so that they were hunting each other with nets.

They example of northern Israel (Mic 6:16-6:16)

“You have kept

The statutes of Omri.

You have kept

All the works

Of the house of Ahab.

You have followed

Their counsels.

Therefore,

I will make you

A desolation.

I will make your inhabitants

An object of hissing.

Thus,

You shall bear

The scorn of my people.”

The statutes of King Omri (885-874 BCE) and King Ahab (874-853 BCE), the kings of northern Israel, favored the Baal worship and various injustices in Samaria.  They had followed the bad counsels of these northern kings of Israel.  Thus, Yahweh was going to make them a desolation.  The people of the north would become an object of hissing, as they bore the scorn of Yahweh’s people.

Yahweh’s punishment (Mic 6:13-6:15)

“Therefore,

I have begun

To strike you down.

I will make you desolate,

Because of your sins.

You shall eat,

But not be satisfied.

There shall be

A gnawing hunger

Within you.

You shall put away,

But not save.

What you save,

I will hand over to the sword.

You shall sow,

But not reap.

You shall tread olives,

But not anoint yourselves

With oil.

You shall tread grapes,

But not drink wine.”

With great irony, Yahweh, via Micah, pointed out that his punishment for these wicked people in the city would be unrewarded labor.  In other words, Yahweh was going to strike them down and make them desolate because of their sins.  They would eat, but not be satisfied because of a continual gnawing hunger.  They would try to save money, but none would be put away, because what little they had saved would be turned over to the robbers with swords.  They would sow seeds, but not be around for the harvest reaping.  They would tread grapes and olives, but they would not be able to anoint themselves with oil or drink any wine.  They were just wasting their time.

The wickedness of the city (Mic 6:9-6:12)

“The voice of Yahweh

Cries to the city.

It is sound wisdom

To fear your name.

‘Hear!

O tribe!

Hear!

Assembly of the city!

Can I forget

The treasures of wickedness

In the house of the wicked?

Can I forget

The scant measure

That is accursed?

Can I tolerate

Wicked scales?

Can I tolerate

A bag of dishonest weights?

Your wealthy

Are full of violence!

Your inhabitants

Speak lies!

They have tongues of deceit

In their mouths!”

The voice of Yahweh would cry out to the city.  The wisdom of the city assembly should be to fear his name.  These city folks should listen to Yahweh.  How could Yahweh forget the treasures of wickedness of these wicked people?  How could he forget the accursed ones?  How could Yahweh tolerate wicked scales with dishonest weights?  The rich wealthy people were full of violence, while the common folk inhabitants of the city spoke nothing but lies, since they had deceitful tongues.

Justice and sacrificial offerings (Mic 6:6-6:8)

“‘With what shall I come

Before Yahweh?

Shall I bow myself

Before God on high?

Shall I come before him

With burnt offerings?

Shall I come before him

With calves a year old?

Will Yahweh be pleased

With thousands of rams?

Will Yahweh be pleased

With ten thousand rivers of oil?

Shall I give

My first-born

For my transgression?

Shall I give

The fruit of my body

For the sin of my soul?’

O mortal!

He has showed you

What is good!

What does Yahweh

Require of you?

But you are

To do justice,

To love kindness,

To walk humbly

With your God!”

Yahweh, via Micah, once again showed the relationship between worship and justice.  Much like the written prophets, Amos, chapter 5, Hosea, chapter 2, and Isaiah, chapters 7 and 30, the emphasis was on justice over sacrificial gifts.  Micah asked what kind of gifts he should bring to Yahweh, the high God.  Would Yahweh be happy with burnt offerings of one-year old calves?  Would 1,000 rams please him?  Would 10,000 rivers of oil be enough for Yahweh?  Should he offer up his firstborn son to save his soul?  Micah pointed out what Yahweh required.  Yahweh wanted them to do justice and love kindness.  Very simply, they were to walk humbly with their God, Yahweh.

Yahweh recalls his saving action in Canaan (Mic 6:5-6:5)

“O my people!

Remember now

What King Balak

Of Moab devised!

Remember now

What Balaam,

The son of Beor,

Answered him!

Remember now

What happened

From Shittim

To Gilgal!

Thus,

You may know

The saving acts

Of Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Micah, wanted his people to remember his saving acts when they first came to Canaan.  They were to remember King Balak of Moab and his interaction with the prophet Balaam, as in Numbers, chapters 22-24, when they were first approaching Canaan.  Then they were also to remember what happened between Shittim and Gilgal.  Gilgal was the first camp in Canaan, while Shittim was the last camp in their invasion of this country, as outlined in Numbers, chapter 25.  Remembering these events was very important.