Wailing for the countryside of Judah (Mic 1:8-1:9)

“I will lament!

I will wail!

I will go barefoot!

I will go naked!

I will make lamentations

Like the jackals!

I will mourn

Like the ostriches!

Her wound is incurable.

It has come to Judah.

It has reached

To the gate

Of my people,

To Jerusalem.”

Next Micah lamented and wailed about the countryside around Jerusalem.  Micah was going to go barefooted and naked in his lamentation, just like the jackals or the ostriches that put their head in the sand.  This was an incurable wound to Judah that had reached the gates of Jerusalem, the holy people.

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Against Samaria (Mic 1:5-1:7)

“All this is for

The transgression

Of Jacob.

This is for

The sins

Of the house of Israel.

What is the transgression

Of Jacob?

Is it not Samaria?

What is the high place

Of Judah?

Is it not Jerusalem?

Therefore,

I will make Samaria

A heap in the open country.

I will make it

A place for planting vineyards.

I will pour down

Her stones

Into the valley.

I will uncover

Her foundations.

All her images

Shall be beaten to pieces.

All her wages

Shall be burned with fire.

I will lay waste

To all her idols.

She gathered them

As the wages of a prostitute.

They shall again be used

As the wages of a prostitute.”

Yahweh was coming because of the transgressions of Jacob, the sins of the house of northern Israel at the very place of Samaria.  The high place of Judah was Jerusalem.  Thus, Yahweh, was going to make Samaria like a heap in an open field or a place for vineyards.  He was going to take all their stones and throw them in the valley, as he would uncover their foundations.  All the idol images would be smashed to pieces, so that all their idols gods would be destroyed.  The wages of the temple prostitutes would be burned.  Whatever wages they had gained would be used against them.

Title (Mic 1:1-1:1)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Micah

Of Moresheth,

In the days of Jotham,

Ahaz,

Hezekiah,

Kings of Judah.

He saw things

Concerning Samaria

As well as Jerusalem.”

In typical prophetic fashion, the word of Yahweh came to Micah.  Instead of listing his father, this work mentions where he was from, the town of Moresheth, a small town southwest of Jerusalem.  He prophesized during the reigns of the southern kings of Judah, King Jotham (740-736 BCE), King Ahaz (736-716 BCE), and King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE), after the time of Isaiah and right in the middle of the exile of the northern kingdom of Israel.  His prophecies were about Samaria and Jerusalem, the cities and their surrounding areas.  This was a pretty straight forward title with enough information about the prophet Micah.

The near-death experience of Jonah (Jon 2:4-2:6)

“Then I said.

‘I am driven away

From your sight.

How shall I look again

Upon your holy Temple?

The waters closed in

Over me.

The deep surrounded me.

Weeds were wrapped

Around my head.

At the roots

Of the mountains,

I went down

To the land.

The bars closed

Upon me forever.

Yet you brought up

My life

From the Pit.

O Yahweh!

My God!’”

The experience of drowning or nearly drowning is like a near-death experience. Jonah had been driven away from the sight of Yahweh because he had decided to run away from the task that Yahweh had asked him to do. He would never again look at the holy Temple in Jerusalem. As the sea waters closed in on him on every side, sea weeds were wrapped around his head. He actually felt like he was buried at the bottom of a mountain with the bars closed in on forever. He had gone down to the sea. like in Davy Jones locker. However, Yahweh, his God, brought him to life. He saved him from the Pit, the shadow like afterlife.

The indictment of Edom (Ob 1:12-1:14)

“You should not

Have gloated

Over your brother

On the day of his misfortune!

You should not

Have rejoiced

Over the people of Judah

On the day of his misfortune!

You should not

Have boasted

On the day of distress!

You should not

Have entered

The gate of my people

On the day of their calamity!

You should not

Have joined in the gloating

Over Judah’s disaster

On the day of his calamity!

You should not

Have looted his goods

On the day of his calamity!

You should not

Have stood at crossings

To cut off his fugitives!

You should not

Have handed over

His survivors

On the day of distress!”

Yahweh, via Obadiah, listed the various things that Edom did on the day of the invasion of Jerusalem.  First, they gloated over their brother Judah.  Then they rejoiced at the problems of the people of Judah.  These Edomites even boasted and entered the gates of Jerusalem.  They joined with the others, as they looted the goods of the people in Jerusalem.  They kept others from escaping.  They even handed over the survivors to the foreign attackers.  They were really complicit in this attack on Jerusalem.

The terrible actions of Edom (Ob 1:10-1:11)

“The slaughter

With the violence

Done to your brother Jacob

Means that shame

Shall cover you!

You shall be cut off forever!

On the day

That you stood aside,

On the day

That strangers

Carried off his wealth,

On the day

That foreigners

Entered his gates,

On the day

That they cast lots

For Jerusalem,

You too were

Like one of them.”

For all the violence and slaughter that was done to Edom’s brother Jacob, shame would come upon the Edomites.  They would be cut off forever.  In other words, these Edomites were as guilty as the strangers who attacked Jerusalem.  On that day of attack on the holy city, when the foreigners and strangers entered the gates of Jerusalem and took their wealth, the Edomites were like the attackers who were casting lots for Jerusalem.  They were just like these invaders in their complicity.  They did nothing to help the people of Jerusalem and Judah.

Against Judah (Am 2:4-2:5)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Judah,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they have rejected

The law of Yahweh.

They have not kept

His statutes.

But they have been

Led astray

By the same lies

After which their ancestors

Walked.

So,

I will send a fire

On Judah.

It shall devour

The strongholds

Of Jerusalem.’”

Next, Yahweh turned to Judah, his most favorite territory. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab. He also used the same non-forgiving numeric formula of 3 and 4, as in Proverbs, chapter 30. Judah had rejected the law of Yahweh, as they had failed to keep its statutes. They had been led astray by the same lies that their ancestors had followed. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire on Judah. In particular, he would devour their fortresses in Jerusalem.