Micah 6 Commentary

MICAH: WHO IS LIKE JEHOVAH?
Micah 7:18
RETRIBUTION
Micah 1:1-2:13
KINGDOM
Micah 3:1-5:15
WORSHIP
Micah 6:1-7:20
First Message:
Judgment
Will Come
Second Message:
Blessing
will follow Judgment
Third Message:
An Indictment of Sin &
A Promise of Blessing
Judgment
Micah 1:1-2:11
Promise
Micah 2:12-13
Judgment
Micah 3:1-12
Promise
Micah 4:1-5:15
Judgment
Micah 6:1-7:10
Promise
Micah 7:11-20
Sin
and Judgment
Hope
and Comfort
Controversy
and Pardon
Sin & It's Outcome
Incurable
The King & His Kingdom
Inevitable
First Coming - Mic 5:2-3
Second Coming - Mic 5:4-15
The Lord & His Justice
Inescapable
Message of Destruction for Samaria & Judah Message of Doom
& Deliverance
Message of
Denunciation
God Gathers to
Judge and Deliver
God Judges Rulers and
Comes to Deliver
God Brings Indictments and
Ultimate Deliverance
Question 1:
Is God Responsible for the Destruction we face?
Question 2:
How Do We Know
God is with Us?
Question 3:
What Does God
Want from Us?
About 25 Years
735-710 BC
Approximated

Micah 6:1 Hear now what the LORD is saying, "Arise, plead your case before the mountains, And let the hills hear your voice."

ye Mic 1:2; 1 Samuel 15:16; Jeremiah 13:15; Amos 3:1; Hebrews 3:7,8

contend Deuteronomy 4:26; 32:1; Ps 50:1,4; Isaiah 1:2; Jeremiah 22:29; Ezekiel 36:1,8; Luke 19:40

before Mic 1:4; Isaiah 2:12-14

let Ezekiel 37:4

NOTE: FOR CONTEXT SEE CHART ABOVE - COLUMN LABELED "WORSHIP"

Walter Kaiser's Outline of Micah 6

Have I Mistreated You? (Micah 6:1–3)

Have I Required Too Much From You? (Micah 6:4–8)

Have I Approved of Your Exploiting One Another? (Micah 6:9–12)

Have I Blessed Your Get-Rich-Quick Schemes? (Micah 6:13–16)

Kaiser - The third and final section of this book moves, as did the two preceding sections, from judgment (Micah 6:1–7:10) to salvation (Micah 7:11–20). There are two parts to the judgment message (Micah 6:1–16 and Micah 7:1–10) and one part to the salvation message (Micah 7:11–20).

John Butler's Outline

A. The Reasoning of God (Micah 6:1–5)

B. The Requirements of God (Micah 6:6–8)

C. The Retribution From God (Micah 6:9–16)

Charles Ryrie's OUTLINE OF MICAH

I. The Superscription, Micah 1:1

II. A Message of Destruction for Samaria and Judah, Micah 1:2-2:13

A. The Revelation of the Coming Judgment, Micah Micah 1:2-16

B. The Reasons for the Coming Judgment, Micah 2:1-13

III. A Message of Doom and Deliverance, Micah 3:1-5:15

A. Doom: The Coming Judgment, Micah 3:1-12

1. Judgment on the leaders, Micah 3:1-4

2. Judgment on the false prophets, Micah 3:5-8

3. Judgment on Jerusalem, Micah 3:9-12

B. Deliverance: The Coming Kingdom, Micah 4:1-5:1

1. The glories of the kingdom, Micah 4:1-8

2. The suffering that precedes the kingdom, Micah 4:9-5:1

C. Deliverance: The Coming King, Micah 5:2-15

1. His first coming, Micah 5:2-3

2. His second coming, Micah 5:4-15

IV. A Message of Denunciation, Micah 6:1-7:10

A. God's First Indictment, Micah 6:1-5

B. Israel's First Reply, Micah 6:6-8

C. God's Second Indictment, Mic 6:9-16

D. Israel's Second Reply, Micah 7:1-10

V. Epilogue: Blessings for Israel, Micah 7:11-20

A "COURTROOM" SCENE:
GOD'S LAWSUIT AGAINST JUDAH!

This third cycle of oracles (Mic 6:1-7:20) begins a "cosmic courtroom scene" with the prophet serving as God's attorney issuing a summons to Judah from God the "Plaintiff" (and the Judge!) in this "covenant lawsuit" (Judah like the Northern Kingdom of Israel has repeatedly broken the Mosaic Covenant)! Notice words like "Plead your case," "Hear your voice," "the indictment of the LORD," "the case against His people," "a dispute," etc.

MacArthur notes that this courtroom motif moves "back and forth between 3 speakers: the Lord pleading His case, the people responding under conviction, and the prophet as the lawyer for the plaintiff."

While Micah 4 and Micah 5 speak of a deliverance, a future and a hope, Micah 6 and 7 generally speak of denunciation, of doom and gloom. If Israel (or anyone) fails to respond to the gracious message, God will be forced to speak the message of judgment. However even in Micah 6-7, He is calling His wayward people to return. Indeed, even in the midst of wrath, God remembers mercy (Hab 3:2-note).

Hear (Listen) (Shama)(8085) conveys the basic idea is of perceiving a message or a sound, but also connotes the idea of hearing with attention, reverence and obedient assent. It is a call It's the idea of giving God one's undivided attention. It is not a suggestion but a command and calls for the reader (hearer) to give his full attention! This command reminds us of Jesus' repeated phrase "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Mt 11:15, 13:9, 43, Mk 4:9, Lk 8:8, 14:35). It is most unwise to turn away our ear when the Lord is speaking! Do you (I) ever do this? Do we (I) read a portion of God's precious Word in the morning and totally forget what I have read even before noon? This also reminds me of the warning in Hebrews "Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS." (Heb 3:7-8-note quoting Ps 95:7-8-note cp Heb 3:15-note, Heb 4:7-note) "See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned [them] on earth, much less [shall] we [escape] who turn away from Him who [warns] from heaven." (Heb 12:25-note)

The point is...

Listen!
God is speaking!
This is important!

Hear (shama) was also the introductory call of the previous two major oracles (both also in the form of commands) and all three serve to introduce important messages - see Micah 1:2-note, Micah 3:1-note

Now what the LORD is saying - Micah is but a mouthpiece for Jehovah (a prophet - forth teller) and he is addressing Israel. Israel is to hear Jehovah, for the words Micah speaks are God's words. It is always wise to listen to God's voice.

Arise - This is a command to "Stand up! and is a call to action for "court is now in session" (cf Job 23:4-5). We've all seen the people in the court stand up when the judge enters the room! Moses addressing Israel in the section on blessing and cursing (Dt 28-30) says...

Deut 29:10 “You stand today, all of you, before the LORD your God: your chiefs, your tribes, your elders and your officers, [even] all the men of Israel...15 but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God and with those who are not with us here today

Plead your case - command - Israel defend yourself.

Plead your case (07378)(riyb [see noun riyb used in Mic 6:2]) means to strive, plead, contend, conduct a lawsuit, make a charge. Riyb is found in both biblical and modern Hebrew. This verb is used again in Micah 7:9-note.

Baker - Riyb means to conduct a lawsuit or legal case and all that it involves. The Lord conducts His case against the leaders of His people (Isa 3:13). He relents in His case from accusing humankind, knowing how weak they are (Isa. 57:16). David pleaded with the Lord to give him vindication in his case (1Sa 24:15) as did Israel when God contended for them (Mic. 7:9). The word means to contend or to strive for some reason in a non-legal setting as well. The servants of Isaac and Abimelech contended over wells they had dug or claimed to own (Ge 26:21). Two men could quarrel and come to blows (Ex 21:18; Jdg. 11:25). Jacob and Laban disputed with one another (Ge 31:36). The people of Israel complained bitterly against the Lord at Meribah (Nu 20:13). The word means to raise complaints or accusations against others. The tribes of Israel complained because some of their women were taken and given as wives to the Benjamites (Jdg. 21:22). An arrogant Israel would dare to bring charges against the Lord (Isa. 45:9; Jer. 2:29; 12:1). The tribe of Levi contended with the Lord at Meribah as well (Dt. 33:8; cf. Nu 20:13). The causative stem of this verb means to bring a case against (i.e., to oppose). The Lord will judge those who oppose Him (1Sa 2:10).

Vine - Riyb It appears in the text for the first time in Ge 26:20 (the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled)” Such “striving” with words is found frequently in the biblical text (Ge. 31:36; Ex. 17:2). Sometimes contentious words lead to bodily struggle and injury (Ex 21:18). The prophets use riyb frequently to indicate that God has an indictment, a legal case, against Israel (Isa. 3:13). In one of his visions, Amos noted: “ the Lord GOD was calling to contend [with them] by fire” (Amos 7:4 = “calling for a judgment”).

Contend (Webster) - to strive or vie in contest or rivalry or against difficulties. To strive, or to strive against; to struggle in opposition. To strive; to use earnest efforts to obtain, or to defend and preserve.

Rib is translated in NAS as argue(2), complain(2), contend(22), contended(9), contends(1), dispute(1), ever strive(1), filed(1), find fault(1), have a quarrel(1), judge(1), plead(9), plead my case(1), plead your case(1), pleaded(2), pleads(1), quarrel(2), quarreled(3), quarrels(1), reprimanded(2), strive(1), vigorously plead(1).

Rib - 60x in the OT - Ge 26:20-22; 31:36; Ex 17:2; 21:18; Nu 20:3, 13; Dt 33:7-8; Jdg 6:31-32; 8:1; 11:25; 21:22; 1Sa 2:10; 24:15; 25:39; 2Chr 19:8; Neh 5:7; 13:11, 17, 25; Job 9:3; 10:2; 13:8, 19; 23:6; 31:13; 33:13; 40:2; Ps 35:1; 43:1; 74:22; 103:9; 119:154; Pr 3:30; 22:23; 23:11; 25:8-9; Isa 1:17; 3:13; 27:8; 45:9; 49:25; 50:8; 51:22; 57:16; Jer 2:9, 29; 12:1; 50:34; 51:36; Lam 3:58; Hos 2:2; 4:4; Amos 7:4; Mic 6:1; 7:9

Here are representative uses of riyb in the Psalms...

Ps 35:1 A Psalm of David. Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; Fight against those who fight against me.

Ps 43:1 Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!

Ps 74:22 Do arise, O God, [and] plead Thine own cause; Remember how the foolish man reproaches Thee all day long.

Ps 103:9 He will not always strive [with us;] Nor will He keep [His anger] forever.

Ps 119:154 Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Thy word.

Before the mountains and let the hills hear your voice - The creation in a sense is called to be witness to this courtroom drama. Kaiser says "its as the judge, with the prophet Micah as His counsel. The jury on this case is a rather unusual assemblage as well, for the ancient hills and mountains are called to hear the complaint that God has raised against the defendants, His people Israel..

NET Note - "As in some ancient Near Eastern treaties, the mountains are personified as legal witnesses that will settle the dispute between God and Israel."

Kaiser - The mountains and the hills will serve as the jury, since they were present when Yahweh ratified His covenant with His people (Deut. 4:26; 30:19; 31:28) and served as witnesses to that covenant (Deut. 32:1; Ps. 50:4; Is. 1:2). In the Near East literature, mountains serve as witnesses in other treaties, so it is not unusual here. Obviously, however, to appeal in this way to the mountains in the context of a lawsuit is a gripping rhetorical device that emphasizes how serious the situation is and how solemnly Judah—and we who read this text—should take these proceedings.

Patterson - Yahweh calls the mountains to witness the trial because they have “stood” over humanity from the beginning of creation and have “seen” the history of Israel and all humanity unfold. The cosmic witnesses serve to validate the legal proceedings and testify (since heaven and earth are invoked) as witnesses in Moses’s song of witness sealing the covenant at Sinai (Deut 31:19; 32:1; cf. Hillers 1984:77).

Spurgeon - As men were hardened, and turned away their ears, the prophet was bidden to speak to the mountains, those mountains which had been disfigured with the shrines of idols, with altars on every high hill, or, perhaps, those higher hills that were never cultivated, and that remained untouched by the defiling hand of men. God makes an appeal to these ancient things.

Swindoll - Much of Micah’s book revolves around two significant predictions: one of judgment on Israel and Judah (Micah 1:1–3:12), the other of the restoration of God’s people in the millennial kingdom (Micah 4:1–5:15). Judgment and restoration inspire fear and hope, two ideas wrapped up in the final sequence of Micah’s prophecy, a courtroom scene in which God’s people stand trial before their Creator for turning away from Him and from others (Micah 6:1–7:20). In this sequence, God reminds the people of His good works on their behalf, how He cared for them while they cared only for themselves. But rather than leave God’s people with the fear and sting of judgment, the book of Micah concludes with the prophet’s call on the Lord as his only source of salvation and mercy (Micah 7:7), pointing the people toward an everlasting hope in their everlasting God. (Book of Micah)

Micah 6:2 "Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth, because the LORD has a case against His people; even with Israel He will dispute.

  • foundations Deuteronomy 32:22; 2 Samuel 22:8,16; Ps 104:5; Proverbs 8:29; Jeremiah 31:37
  • controversy Isaiah 1:18; 5:3; 43:26; Jeremiah 2:9,29-35; 25:31; Ezekiel 20:35,36; Hosea 4:1; Hosea 12:2

Micah is speaking as God's "attorney."

Listen (Shama)(08085) (see comments on Mic 3:1-note) Again a command.

Kaiser - Four indictments arise out of these four questions:

A. Have I Mistreated You? Micah 6:1–3

B. Have I Required Too Much From You? Micah 6:4–8

C. Have I Approved of Your Exploiting One Another? Micah 6:9–12

D. Have I Blessed Your Get-Rich-Quick Schemes? Micah 6:13–16

You mountains...you enduring foundations of the earth (cf Mic 1:2) - This pictures the mountains and foundations personified as witnesses to hear God's charges against Israel (cf Dt 4:25-26; Is 1:2-note, Dt 31:19, 32:1)! Why the mountains? Possibly because the Mosaic covenant (which they had repeatedly broken) had been cut originally at Mt Sinai and it was there that the written tablets were placed in the Ark of the Covenant. In Deut 31:26 Moses had instructed Israel to “Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you."

Spurgeon - It was wonderful condescension on God’s part that he should deign to come as a defendant before the august court of the mountains, and in the presence of the deep foundations of the earth. It is a noble conception, in poetry most excellent; in grandeur, worthy of God. He made his appeal to the ancient hills to hear his pleading while he condescended to argue and ask his people why they had rejected their God, and turned aside to idols. Then he pleaded with Israel.

Indictment (07379)(riyb from riyb = to strive or contend) is a masculine noun which means a strife, contention or dispute and in other contexts refers to lawsuits.

When riyb/rib is used with in the context of a legal-judicial setting, it almost always with God as subject (the "Attorney"). Later in Micah 7:9 it is God Who pleads the case (rib/riyb). Several Ps reflects an appeal by the psalmist for God to plead his case (Ps 35:23; 43:1; 74:22; 119:154). We see similar uses in Pr 22:23, 23:11, Lam 3:58, Jer 50:34. Jer 11:20, Jer 20:12. In summary, we see Yahweh as an "Attorney" (sometimes as a "Defender" and other times as a "Prosecutor") for men and for nations. Now that's an "Attorney" I would want defending me but not prosecuting me! Here in Micah Jehovah has a case (suit) against His covenant people (they have broken covenant!) and we see this same idea repeated in Micah 7:9, Hos 4:1, 12:2. In Jer 25:31 Jehovah has a case against the nations. In an interesting use, Jer 50:34 and Jer 51:36 depict Jehovah as pleading Judah's case against Babylon who will be held responsible for her treatment of Judah.

Riyb is used of conflicts among men (Ge 13:7 [Lxx = mache = physical combat and fig. of "word battles!"], Dt 19:17, 21:5, 25:1, Pr 20:3). David uses it of attacks directed at him Ps 55:9). The first use in a lawsuit sense is 1Sa 24:15 (cp 1Sa 25:39, of Absalom hearing a case or suit - 2Sa 15:2 [Lxx = krisis], 2Sa 15:4 [Lxx = antilogia = literally speak against).

Robert Culver notes that Riyb/rib "appears in reference to an argument over land-use rights (Gen. 13:7); the logical dispute the Lord has with sinners (Jer. 25:31); any general state of contention between individuals (Prov. 20:3); the clamoring of people for station or possessions (2Sa 22:44); and open hostilities with an enemy (Judg. 12:2). Israel is commanded not to pervert justice in a lawsuit (Ex. 23:2). Similarly, the word is used in a legal sense to refer to an argument or case made in one’s defense (Dt. 21:5; Pr. 18:17; Mic. 7:9)." (TWOT)

The root verb rib meaning to strive or contend and has the following senses which are parallel by the noun we are studying in this section (all of the Scriptures noted are the verb form): (1) To strive as in physical combat (2). Verbal combat = to quarrel, to chide one another (Ge 31:36, Ex 17:2, Ge 26:20; Neh. 13:25) Lxx renders these uses with machomai, which has also the sense of verbal quarrelling, and others by loidoreo means to subject one to verbal abuse, and to to reproach, vilify, speak in a highly insulting manner. This is an action severely reprimanded in the NT (1Co 15:11; 1Co 6:10; 1Ti 5:14; Mt 5:11). (3) Legal disputes (see discussion above).

Strife (English meaning) is a bitter sometimes violent conflict or dissension; an act of contention, a fight, a struggle (physical or intellectual). Strife often emphasizes a struggle for superiority, rather than simply describing mutual incompatibility.

Dispute (English meaning) = Strife or contest in words or by arguments; an attempt to prove and maintain one’s own opinions or claims, by arguments or statements, in opposition to the opinions, arguments or claims of another; controversy in words. They had a dispute on the lawfulness of slavery, a subject which, one would think, could admit of no dispute.

Lxx of riyb here in Micah 6:2 = krisis = separation or division and then to decide a question of legal right or wrong and thus determine the innocence or guilt of the accused, assigning appropriate punishment or retribution. In Micah 7:9 the Lxx uses the cognate of krisis = krima.

NAS Translates riyb/rib -- adversary(1), case(11), cause(9), complaint(2), contend(1), contention(1), contentions(3), controversy(1), dispute(11), disputes(1), indictment(1), lawsuit(1), plea(1), plead his case(1), quarrel(2), strife(13), suit(2).

Riyb - 62x in 61v -

Gen 13:7; Ex 17:7; 23:2f, 6; Deut 1:12; 17:8; 19:17; 21:5; 25:1; Jdg 12:2; 1 Sam 24:15; 25:39; 2Sa 15:2, 4; 22:44; 2Chr 19:8, 10; Job 13:6; 29:16; 31:13, 35; 33:19; Ps 18:43; 31:20; 35:23; 43:1; 55:9; 74:22; 119:154; Pr 15:18; 17:1, 14; 18:6, 17; 20:3; 22:23; 23:11; 25:9; 26:17, 21; 30:33; Isa 1:23; 34:8; 41:11, 21; 58:4; Jer 11:20; 15:10; 20:12; 25:31; 50:34; 51:36; Lam 3:36, 58; Ezek 44:24; Hos 4:1; 12:2; Mic 6:2; 7:9; Hab 1:3

Because - Always be alert to conjunctions like "because" and "for" which serve to introduce an explanation. These words provide an excellent opportunity for us to pause (slow down) and ponder (meditate upon) what the Lord is saying, because it will usually force us to re-read the preceding passage or passages which gives us the context to help answer the question of what is being explained. You may think that this is pedantic or a waste of time, but I can assure you that re-reading of the text from an "active" (interrogating reporter) viewpoint rather than our usual "passive" (bystander) viewpoint can lead to some surprising insights as our Teacher the Spirit enlightens the text.

Has a case (07379)(riyb from rib = to strive or contend) - see notes above. Jehovah has a complaint against His people. Later Yahweh will act as prosecuting attorney (Mic 6:6–8, 9–12) and pass sentence as judge (Mic 6:13–16).

Against His people...even with Israel - And although Micah is primarily a prophet to the Southern kingdom of Judah, the entire "chosen nation" is not immune to God's impartial judgment on sin.

He will dispute (yakach) means to argue, convince, convict, judge, reprove, decide, dispute. In other words "God will argue His case against Israel." The Lxx translates yakach with the rare verb dielegcho which means to engage in a dispute, to argue a case, to convict of falsehood.

This same verb (yakach) is used in Jehovah's invitation to disobedient Judah "Come now, and let us reason (yakach; Lxx = dielegcho) together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

Micah 6:3 "My people, what have I done to you, and how have I wearied you? Answer Me.

O my Mic 6:5; Ps 50:7; 81:8,13

what Jeremiah 2:5,31

wherein Isaiah 43:22,23

testify Ps 51:4; Romans 3:4,5,19

God is speaking in Micah 6:3-4.

Spurgeon - “What but good, what but mercy, have I done unto thee?”

Butler - God wants Israel to declare God’s faults which justify their departure from him. Of course, Israel has no just argument but this is just the way of God’s actions to show their guilt before Him and to justify His judgment upon them.

Kaiser - Rather than charge them directly, the Lord asks two questions to determine if His people likewise have something they feel they should charge God with. The Lord’s two questions are: “What have I done to you?” and “How have I wearied you?” (v. 3).

My people, what have I done to you, and how have I wearied you? Answer Me. - They have no answer to God's pithy rhetorical question!

My people - In spite of their wanton rebellion against His authority, Jehovah continued to use the personal possessive pronoun "My" (cp "your God" in Micah 6:8) -- my, my, what a testimony to His steadfast allegiance to the covenant He cut with them at Sinai.

Barker - He begins by asking questions that are reminiscent of “What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?” (Isa 5:4) and “I have not burdened you … nor wearied you” (Isa 43:23) and ultimately “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt 11:30).

The truth be told, God has not wearied Israel. Israel has wearied God. In Jeremiah God says "I am full of the wrath of the LORD: I am weary with holding [it] in. “Pour [it] out on the children in the street, And on the gathering of young men together; For both husband and wife shall be taken, The aged and the very old." (Jer 6:11) Israel as God's "wife" has pursued harlotry, while God the ever faithful Husband pursued Israel.

Spurgeon on how have I wearied you - He asks them to give any reason whatever why they had turned away from him. Beloved friends, have any of you, who are the people of God, grown cold in your love to him? Are you neglecting the service of the Most High? Are you beginning to trust in an arm of flesh? Are you seeking your pleasures in the world? Have you lost the love of your espousal, your first love to your blessed Lord? Then hear him plead with you. Be not as Israel was, but let the Lord speak to you rather than to the hills: “What have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.” O Lord, we have nothing to testify against thee! We have very much to testify for thee; and we blush to think that we have not done so oftener. Oh, that we had felt more love to thee, and had borne a bolder and more consistent testimony to thy love, thy grace, thy faithfulness!

Wearied (03811)(laah = primary root) is a verb means to become impatient, be (become) weary, be frustrated. Laah can refer either to physical or psychological weariness.

The first use of laah in Genesis 19:11 describes the men physically wearying themselves trying to break in to Lot's door to violate the angelic visitors, their strong lusts causing them to be impatient, frustrated, even exhausted (Is this not what our lusts (epithumia) do to us? Weary us! Frustrate us! Fallen flesh can never be satiated fully! Only Jesus fully satisfies our deepest longings!) In Isa 1:14-note God says of Israel's celebration of feasts which He had appointed "I am weary of bearing them." In Ezekiel 24:12 God says of Jerusalem "She has wearied [Me] with toil, Yet her great rust has not gone from her; [Let] her rust [be] in the fire!" God says to His prophet Jeremiah "If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, Then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?" (Jer 12:5) Jeremiah observes that the people of Judah "weary themselves committing iniquity." (Jer 9:5 - That is what committing sin did to them and what it will do to all of us beloved. Oh, to be forewarned, is to be forearmed...spiritually speaking!) In a frightening verse Jeremiah says "I am full of the wrath of the LORD; I am weary with holding it in." (Jer 6:11) Isaiah writes "Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well?

Do we try Jehovah's patience with our repeated sin -- confessing, sinning again, confessing, sinning again...the same sin? Just a question to ponder! For me and thee!

Archer - The word “wearied” (lāāh, “to be weary”) when used in the causative stem (Hiphil), as it is here, signifies to wear down (Job 16:7), to cause someone to become impatient (Isa 7:13), or to become physically tired (Isa 12:5).

Laah is translated in the Lxx of Mic 6:3 by the verb pareuochleo which means to cause trouble in a matter, to make something more difficult, to add extra difficulties, to annoy, to trouble, to cause unnecessary trouble (Only in Acts 15:19 in NT).

TWOT adds that "Often the idiom of “being weary” with something serves as a dramatic, poetic way of asserting that there is an objectionable excess of what causes weariness. The Hebrews were wearied by “too many” pagan, religious advisors (Isa 47:13). Attempting to hold in God’s message of wrath was too much for Jeremiah to bear (Jer 6:11). God himself was weary from too much relenting (Jer 15:6)."

Swanson on laah - 1. (qal) not be able, formally, be weary, i.e., not have the capacity to carry out a function or task, as an extension of being weary or tired, and so unable to respond with potency (Ge 19:11); (nif) not be able (Ex 7:18; Jer 6:11; 15:6); 2. (qal) become emotionally tired, i.e., be in a state which will manifest negative emotions or attitudes such as impatience or discouragement (Job 4:2, 5); (nif) become weary (Isa 1:14; Isa 16:12; 47:13; Jer 9:4; 20:9); (hif) cause emotional weariness (Job 16:7; Isa 7:13; Eze 24:12; Mic 6:3); 3. (hif) wear out, i.e., cause one to be physically tired (Jer 12:5); 4. (nif) lazy, formally, weary, i.e., refuse to engage in necessary activity as a lifestyle, as an extension of being physically tired (Pr 26:15); 5. (nif) lack, formally, be weary, i.e., be in a state of need, as an extension of being physically tired (Ps 68:9) (Dictionary of Biblical Languages w- Semantic Domains)

Weary means to be exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, or freshness. Having the strength much exhausted by toil or violent exertion; tired; fatigued. It means having one’s patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted. Having the patience exhausted, or the mind yielding to discouragement.

Laah translated (NAS): become impatient (1), exhausted (1), find difficulty (1 = Ex 7:18), impatient (1), parched (1 = Ps 68:9), tired (2), try the patience (2), wearied (4), wearies (1), weary(5).

Laah - 18v Notice the prominent use in the prophets - Ge 19:11; Ex 7:18; Job 4:2, 5; 16:7; Ps 68:9; Pr 26:15; Isa 1:14; 7:13; 16:12; 47:13; Jer 6:11; 9:5; 12:5; 15:6; 20:9; Ezek 24:12; Mic 6:3

G Campbell Morgan The last message of Micah was ad-dressed to the chosen people, and was concerned with the controversy between them and Jehovah. It is highly dramatic. The prophet summoned Israel to hear, and the mountains also; and then the controversy proceeded. In reading this message it is of the utmost importance to distinguish between the alternating voices of Jehovah, the people, and the prophet. This the reader will do. It opens with a plaintive appeal by Jehovah, of which these are the first words. What a radiant revelation they afford of the love of Jehovah for His people; and the unutterable wrong of their infidelity: They had turned their back on Him, they had grown weary of Him. They had broken His law, neglected His word; and sought to govern themselves, and to find sustenance in debased forms of life. Jehovah appealed to them to declare what He had done to them to cause this infidelity; by what action or attitude of His their weariness of Him had been caused. Necessarily there was no answer to this, except that their deflection was the result of something in themselves, rather than something in Him. The question is a very arresting one, and a very searching one. It is ever the inquiry of God when His people prove unfaithful; and whenever they will hear it, and face it, there must result the sense of the wrong and shame of their infidelity. His ways have ever been those of love, redeeming from bond-age, and defeating the evil consultations ,of those who would harm us. Thus the heinousness of all our wanderings is revealed. (Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)

Micah 6:4 Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt and ransomed you from the house of slavery, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam.

  • I brought Exodus 12:51; 14:30,31; 20:2; Deuteronomy 4:20,34; 5:6; 9:26; Nehemiah 9:9-11; Ps 78:51-53; 106:7-10; 136:10,11; Isaiah 63:9-12; Jeremiah 32:21; Ezekiel 20:5-9; Amos 2:10; Acts 7:36
  • and redeemed Deuteronomy 7:8; 15:15; 24:18; 2 Samuel 7:23
  • Moses Exodus 15:20,21; Numbers 12:1

FOUR PROOFS OF GOD'S
TENDER CARE FOR ISRAEL

Barker - Far from “wearying” them, (Jehovah) has expressed His providential care for them at many times, in different ways, and through different leaders and mediators. He refers to these expressions as his “righteous acts.”

1. DELIVERANCE FROM SLAVERY

Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt and ransomed (redeemed) you from the house of slavery - Walter Kaiser says "This statement appears 125 times in the Old Testament (Ed: Not the exact Scriptural quote but similarly worded phrase that speaks of "brought up from the land of Egypt")."

And so we see the first piece of evidence of God's tenderness and lovingkindness to Israel (in spite of their spiritual harlotry - Jer 2:20, Jer 3:1KJV, etc) and that what He asks of them is not unfair. Jehovah had paid the price to ransom Israel from Egyptian bondage, the Passover Lamb foreshadowing the payment of the ransom price (Mk 10:45, Jn 19:30-note) by the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29, 1Pe 1:18-19-note).

Barker - Essentially the Lord is saying, “I have not weighted you down; instead, I have brought you up out of slavery into settlement in the promised land.” The whole exodus event is often cited in the Old Testament as the supreme demonstration of the Great King’s grace, love, power, and care for his people. Therefore they should respond with grateful love, faith, faithfulness, and obedience to the stipulations of their Suzerain’s covenant with them. Such a function of their deliverance from Egypt began as early as the exodus event itself in conjunction with the giving of the law (the Sinaitic covenant) at Mount Sinai (Ex 20:2).

Kaiser - With what irony our Lord now invites His people to bring any and all charges they may have against Him! God is willing to set all things right. God has not been unjust to the people of Judah; nor has He asked too much from them. Any suggestion that He has constitutes sheer ingratitude on the part of the nation....Micah, ever the punster and one who played with words, warns that instead of God “wearying” them (hel´ëtîkä, Mic 6:3), he “brought” them “up” (he`élìtîkä, Mic 6:4) out of Egypt. It was this very environment of grace that laid the foundations for the requirements of the Law in Exodus 20:1.

Spurgeon - God constantly refers to Israel’s coming out of Egypt; on every great occasion he begins, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” And to his people the Lord still says, “I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of slavery.” Is it not so? Do we not still delight in his redeeming work, in the sprinkling of the blood of the Paschal Lamb, and in the high hand and outstretched arm with which the Lord delivered us from the bondage of our sin? Remember that thou also wast a bondman; forget not who bought thee, and with what price; remember who delivered thee, and led thee out, and with what mighty power. Remember this, and let thy cold love burn up again, and let thine indifference turn to enthusiasm. O Lord, revive thy people!

Ransomed (redeemed) (06299)(padah) means to redeem, ransom, buy and by the payment of a price to free or release someone from bondage, often implying a delivering or rescue of a person in distress. The Lxx translates padah with the verb lutroo which means to free a slave, debtor or prisoner by paying the ransom price. To redeem means to liberate or rescue from captivity or bondage or from obligation by paying an equivalent. To ransom is to pay the price demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity.

Patterson - Yahweh paid the ransom for freeing Israel from slavery in Egypt and making the nation his “firstborn” child (cf. NIDOTTE 3.578). Israel’s debt to Yahweh as a ransomed people was covenant obedience, not extravagant ritual sacrifices (Micah 6:6–7)....Not only did God ransom Israel from slavery in Egypt, he gave them a plurality of leadership for organization and oversight in the process of transforming the Hebrew slaves into the people of Yahweh.

2. PROVISION OF GODLY LEADERS

I sent before you Moses (see Mal 4:4-note, Ex 3:10), Aaron (see Ex 4:14-16; Ex 29:29-30), and Miriam (see Ex 15:20–21). - It is interesting that Micah is the only OT prophet to mention Aaron. The point of this accusation is that God had given them wise leaders to lead them out of Egypt. Through Moses they received the Law, through Aaron they received atonement and through Miriam the prophetess and songstress they were led in praise to Yahweh.

Spurgeon - The Lord further says to his people, “I sent before thee Moses (the lawgiver), Aaron (the priest), and Miriam (the prophetess);” one to teach thee, another to plead for thee, and to sacrifice for thee, and the third to sing for thee, to sing thy song of gladness at the Red Sea. God has given to his people many ministries in divers forms; and they are all concentrated in his Son, who is everything to us. Oh, by the greatness of his gifts to us, let us come back to our former love to him, and to something more than that!

Patterson - Moses, Aaron, and Miriam were the children of Amram and Jochebed, descendants of Levi (Ex 6:20; 1Chr 6:3). Moses was called and commissioned by God to be Israel’s deliverer and lawgiver, and he embodies the Sinai experience for Israel (Ex 3:10; cf. Mal 4:4). Moses’ epitaph is that of a unique prophet of God, one who knew the Lord “face to face” (Dt 34:10). Aaron was the older brother of Moses and the first high priest of Israel (Ex 4:14–16; 29:29–30). He was appointed as a spokesman for Moses and is best known for his role in the golden calf episode after the Exodus from Egypt (Ex 32:1ff). Micah is the only OT prophet to mention Aaron. Andersen and Freedman (2000:521) note that Aaron is an OT character without a story of his own, that is, “there are no Aaron stories without Moses.” Miriam was the sister of Aaron and Moses, and she is mentioned only twice outside the Pentateuch (Micah 6:4; 1Chr 6:3). She was a prophetess and a singer, and her association with the victory hymn commemorating the Exodus may account for her presence in Micah’s list (Ex 15:20–21).

Barker - Even in the eighth century B.C. God had provided gifted leaders for his people: a godly king like Hezekiah and good prophets such as Isaiah, Micah, and Hosea. But they rebelled against such spiritual leaders, both past and present.

Micah 6:5 My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and from Shittim to Gilgal, so that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD.

  • remember Deuteronomy 8:2,18; 9:7; 16:3; Ps 103:1,2; 111:4; Ephesians 2:11
  • Balak Numbers 22:1-25; 31:16; Deuteronomy 23:4,5; Joshua 24:9,10; Revelation 2:14
  • Balaam Numbers 31:8; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11
  • Shittim Numbers 22:41; 23:13,14,27; 25:1; 33:49; Joshua 4:19; 5:9,10; 10:42,43
  • know Judges 5:11; Ps 36:10; 71:15,16,19; 143:11; Romans 3:25,26; 1 John 1:9

3. CURSING TURNED TO BLESSING

My people (also in Mic 6:3) - Notice how Jehovah, although clearly "jilted" by Israel's spiritual harlotry, still tenderly refers to her (His "wife" - Jer 31:32, Hos 2:19, Isa 54:5 cp Je 2:2,3:14) as His personal possession. Clearly this is not based on her merit, but on His faithfulness to covenant.

Kaiser - Even as God renders judgment against the people of Judah, He does not suggest a distance in His relationship with them, as He does in the book of Haggai, where He calls them “this people” (Hag. 1:2). Nevertheless, this is clearly a picture of an outraged love, as in Isaiah 5 and Hosea 11. Or, to quote Isaiah 1:2, “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me.”

God reminds Israel of how He had been for them and not against them. God had always been faithful to His covenant obligations to Israel, defending and enabling them.

Remember now what Balak ("devastator" or "one who lays waste) king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered him - Balak conspired with the leaders of Midian to hire Balaam to curse Israel. God did not allow Balaam to curse Israel, instructing Balaam that he could only bless them (Nu 23:11, 25; 24:10). For the full story of Balak and Balaam read Nu 22:1-24:25. Note that the events of Numbers 22-24 took place while Israel was camped at Shittim. The NT condemns Balaam for his greed as a prophet seeking to profit from his oracles of divine revelation (2Pet 2:15-16-note; Jude 1:11-note).

Guzik explains - After meeting with King Balak of Moab, Balaam prophesied over Israel four times. As he spoke forth God’s word, he did not curse Israel - but he blessed them each time. When he was unsuccessful in cursing Israel, Balaam answered Balak on how to bring Israel under a curse. Instead of trying to have a prophet curse them, the Moabites lead them into fornication and idolatry, and God will curse them. Balak did just that, sending his young women into the camp of Israel to lead Israel into sexual immorality and idolatry. Because of their sin, God did curse Israel - He brought a plague of judgment upon Israel that killed 24,000.

Remember (a command) (02142)(zakar = זָכַר) means to bring to mind or think of again (an image or idea from the past into the mind), recall information or events, keep in mind for attention or consideration with a focus on responding in an appropriate manner. To call to mind past events which affect present state, thought or action. Zakar basically describes a process of mentioning or recalling either silently, verbally, or by means of a memorial sign or symbol. The first use is Ge 8:1 where "God remembered Noah" (cp Abraham = Ge 19:29, Rachel = Ge 30:22) and in Ge 9:1-2 God promised He would remember His covenant (the memorial sign = the rainbow; cp Ex 2:24). Joseph remembered the dreams he had of his brothers bowing down to him, an event fulfilled in his present circumstance (Ge 42:9). The Israelites complained to Moses as they remembered the variety of food that had been available to them while in Egypt, in contrast to the manna that they were now fed daily (Nu 11:5).

While in exile in Babylon, the faithful remembered Zion (Ps 137:1). The Israelites were to remember God's dealings with Pharaoh and the Egyptians (Dt 7:18), God's guidance for forty years in the wilderness (Dt. 8:2) and God's provision for past generations (Dt. 32:7). The Israelites were accused of not remembering God's mighty acts (Ps 78:42; 106:7). One of the sins which Israel confessed after the exile was the sin of forgetting the works of God (Neh. 9:17). Forgetting in this sense means ignoring the covenant and its obligations for the people. In Ps 79:8 zakar is used in a prayer for God not to remember sins (and so to forgive them - Ps 97:9).

Spurgeon - Balak endeavored to get Balaam to curse the people of God; but they could not be overcome by human power. He sought to destroy them by superhuman agency; but Balaam’s curses turned to blessings. God would not permit the false prophet to curse Israel; and he has in our case turned the curse of the great adversary into a blessing. He has delivered us, and our trials have strengthened us, and taught us more of God. Will we not remember this?

Kenneth Barker - We now know even more about Balaam, thanks to archaeology: "In 1975 about a dozen panels were discovered which had tumbled down from the walls of a temple at Deir Alla in Transjordan. The inscriptions are written in cursive Aramaic script. They date from the eighth or seventh century B.C. and contain a non-biblical account about Balaam and his visions, prophecies, and acts. He is called “seer of the gods” and evidently came to have a prominent role in the religious traditions of the region east of the Jordan." (New American Commentary)

4. DELIVERANCE FROM SHITTIM TO GILGAL

From Shittim (also known as Acacia) (located on East side of Jordan - see map) to Gilgal (located on west side of Jordan - see map) - After 40 years of wilderness wandering Israel's last camp on the east side of the Jordan before entering the Promised Land was at Shittim (Josh 2:1) and the first camp in the Promised Land after crossing the Jordan was at Gilgal (Josh 4:19, 5:9-10).

While not directly stated, the mention of the two juxtaposed locations certainly suggests an allusion to God's miraculous parting of the raging Jordan River to allow Israel to traverse safely from Shittim to Gilgal. Joshua had even been instructed to place MEMORIAL STONES as a sign to help Israel remember, but even this failed to jog their memory! (Josh 6:2-9 - "So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.")

Wiersbe agrees with the allusion to the Jordan crossing writing that "The phrase “from Shittim unto Gilgal” (Micah 6:5) reminded the people of Israel’s crossing of the Jordan River and entering the Promised Land (Josh. 3–4). The same God who opened and closed the Red Sea also opened and closed the Jordan River so His people might claim their inheritance. He did for them what they couldn’t do for themselves, but they didn’t remember. It’s good for God’s people to know the past and remember with gratitude all that God had done for them. The word “remember” is found at least fourteen times in the Book of Deuteronomy, and frequently the Jews were instructed to teach their children the mighty deeds of the Lord (Ex. 10:2; 13:8, 14; Deut. 6:20ff; Josh. 22:24; Ps. 78:1–8). While we don’t live in the past, we must learn from the past or we’ll commit the same mistakes. Philosopher George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Because Israel forgot God’s mercies (Ps. 106:7), they also ignored God’s commandments. The result was a hard heart that deliberately rebelled against God’s will. God had every right to ask them, “What have I done to you that you should treat Me this way?”

Barker - So the Lord was faithful to fulfill his promise not only to bring Israel “up out of Egypt” but also to bring them into the promised land. His purpose in all this was that they would “know the righteous acts of the LORD.”

It is a healthy spiritual practice to recall God's past deliverances and faithfulness especially when we find ourselves in present circumstances that are trying and confusing. David gives us a good "template" to follow

Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, [bless] His holy name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; (Ps 103:1-2)

Not all the memories related to Shittim would have been "positive" for "While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel." (Nu 25:1-3) and "twenty-three thousand fell in one day." (1Cor 10:8)

PURPOSE OF THE FOUR
PROVIDENTIAL PROOFS

So that - Be alert to this strategic phrase which is used to express purpose and begs the question of "What is the purpose?" and "What must be accomplished to fulfill the purpose?" Other translations such as ESV (Mic 6:5ESV) are not as obvious because they have only the single word "that" which fulfills the same function as "in order that." "So that" occurs 992x in the NAS, so there are numerous opportunities to interrogate this terms of purpose or result .

You might know the righteous acts of the LORD. - God's righteous (He does what is "right") acts were to demonstrate His covenant faithfulness to Israel. These proofs (and innumerable other acts of gracious providence not mentioned) were given to Israel not that she might KNOW ABOUT Jehovah, but that she might come to truly KNOW HIM! There is a vast difference.

Know (03045)(yada) means to know by experience, to know intimately (Lxx = ginosko means to know by experience). The manifold acts by God on Israel's behalf (e.g., turning a curse to a blessing, etc) were to teach Israel about Yahweh's faithfulness to them. This would also serve to highlight by way of contrast, the magnitude of their unfaithfulness and serve as the basis for His indictment.

Barker - These saving deeds of the Lord demonstrated his righteous character. He was in the right; they were the ones who were in the wrong.

Righteous (06666)(tsedaqah) basically speaks of conformity of something or someone to an ethical or moral standard, the ultimate standard of course being God Himself (Isa 5:16). The first us of tsedaqah is in Genesis describing the great event when Abraham "believed in Jehovah and He reckoned (credited) it to him as righteousness." (Ge 15:6)

"The word righteous means basically “rightness” and could apply to the secular as well as religious spheres of life. Judges were to be “righteous” in a legal sense (Lev 19:15). In reference to God’s activities, however, the word underlines God’s faithfulness to his standard, i.e., the covenant obligations. God’s great acts on behalf of Israel are seen as more than simply God’s coming to the aid of his people. They are seen as manifestations of God’s righteousness as he maintains his faithfulness to the covenant promise." (McComiskey)

The Lxx translates tsedaqah with dikaiosune which is the quality of being upright. In its simplest sense dikaiosune conveys the idea of conformity to a standard or norm and in Biblical terms the "standard" is God and His perfect, holy character. In this sense righteousness is the opposite of hamartia (sin), which is defined as missing of the mark set by God. Dikaiosune is rightness of character before God and rightness of actions before men. Righteousness of God could be succinctly stated as all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides through Christ.

Kaiser observes that "The word “righteousness” is a plural word in the Hebrew text. This is extremely rare, happening only five times (Jdg. 5:11 [bis]; 1Sa 12:7; Ps 103:6; Da 9:16) in the OT. It points to the righteous results that have come from all of God’s works on His people’s behalf. These results were to have had the purpose of demonstrating that God’s Word was “correct, straight, faithful,” i.e., “righteous.”

Spurgeon - Shittim was the last encampment on the further side of Jordan, Gilgal the first in the promised land; therefore they are united here with God’s righteousnesses to his people, for the word is in the plural. It is a remarkable idiom: “That ye may know the righteousnesses of the Lord.” He is righteous always, in every way, towards everything, and under every aspect. I wish we knew this, for sometimes we begin to think that he deals harshly with us. When we are severely tried, we begin to doubt the righteousness of the Lord. Remember all that he has done to you from the first day to the last, “that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord.” Now the plaintiff takes up the case, but he, too, turns defendant, and asks what he can do to bring about a reconciliation.

Micah 6:6 With what shall I come to the LORD and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves?

  • Wherewith 2 Samuel 21:3; Matthew 19:16; Luke 10:25; John 6:26; Acts 2:37; 16:30; Romans 10:2,3
  • bow Ps 22:29; 95:6; Ephesians 3:14
  • the high Genesis 14:18-22; Daniel 3:26; 4:9; 5:18,21; Mark 5:7; Acts 16:17
  • with Leviticus 1:3-17; Numbers 23:1-4,14,15,29,30; Hebrews 10:4-10
  • of a year old - Heb. sons of a year. Exodus 12:5

ISRAEL'S REPLY:
A BARRAGE OF QUESTIONS

Micah 6:6-7

The NET Note explains that in this verse Micah "speaks again, playing the role of an inquisitive worshiper who wants to know what God really desires from his followers."

Barker - Either they speak as a corporate personality (“I”), as occasionally in the Ps, or a representative (perhaps Micah?) speaks for them.

Kaiser notes that "Their questions were meant to excuse their failures, but, instead, only betrayed the fact that the people did not really understand how serious the case against them was."

With what shall I come to (before) the LORD and bow myself before the God on high? - Micah 6:8 is God's answer! Notice their focus is on external, religious "works" which they can think they can do to appease God's wrath. They thought the answer was to carry out some ritual, in a sense thinking that God could be bought off by objects rather than obedience! Their real problem is that they did not come with hearts were broken and contrite. As has been well God always inspects the heart of the giver before He looks at the gift itself (That was true in the OT and it is still true today! What about your worship? Do you go out sinning wantonly on Saturday night and come into the sanctuary on Sunday to sing upbeat praise music?) In Joel God called for His disobedient people to "rend your heart and not your garments." (Joel 2:13) David (under conviction of sin - Ps 51:1-3) spoke to the inadequacy of external works offered to appease God declaring...

For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. (Ps 51:16-17)

Wiersbe - Now the people replied to God (Micah 6:6–7). Instead of confessing their sins or standing mute because their mouths had been shut by their sense of guilt (Ro 3:19), they asked what they could do to get rid of their sins. Their request shows how shallow their spiritual life really was and that they were ignorant of the enormity of their sin and the high cost of forgiveness. They were like the rich young ruler who didn’t really see himself as a condemned sinner before God (Mark 10:17–27), but they were not like the people at Pentecost who were cut to the heart and cried out, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

More literally the text reads - "With what do I come before Jehovah?" The NET has "With what should I enter the LORD's presence?" The idea is what can (should) I bring that I might please Him and worship Him? Note how their answers focus solely on ritual activities and not upon their heart attitude! That is always the danger of doing something "religious" mechanically, be it reciting the Lord's prayer (or any "standard" prayer for that matter, e.g. see Mt 6:7-note) or even taking communion (because that is what we're supposed to do), and forgetting to examine our heart. James says "If anyone (that means ANYONE! Pastor, priest or parishioner! No exclusions) thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his [own] heart, this man’s religion is worthless. This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of [our] God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, [and] to keep oneself unstained by the world." (James 1:26-27-note) James' "definition" of "real religion" sounds a lot like Micah's (Jehovah's) "definition" in Micah 6:8. Neither OT nor NT religion can be practiced without a new ("circumcised") heart which gives us the indwelling gift (and power) of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33, Ro 5:5-note, 1Cor 6:19-20-note) Who enables us to do the acts described by James and Micah (see Ezek 36:26,27-note, Php 2:13-note).

Come before (06923)(qadam - קָדַם - verb related to qedem = front, before, earlier, east) means to come or to be in front, to meet, to confront. It refers to an act resulting in being in front of something, either spatially or temporally (Ps 119:147). Qadam is often used in the negative sense of confronting (e.g., Ps 18:5, 18; 2Ki 19:32; Amos 9:10; Job 30:27). It carries the sense of getting in someone’s face, confronting him or her (Ps. 17:13; Amos 9:10). Qadam can describe God bringing blessings to someone (Ps 21:3; 59:10; 79:8). Finally, qadam is also used of prayer and worship, as here in Micah 6:6 (also Ps 88:13; 95:2). In Jonah 4:2 it means to say or do something earlier or before. The Psalmist writes "My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Thy word." (Ps 119:148)

Swanson - 1. (piel) come to meet, i.e., approach and come near to the point of engaging another person (Dt 23:5; Ne 13:2; Job 3:12; Ps 21:4; 79:8; Isa 21:14), note: the encounter following the meeting can be friendly or hostile; 2. (piel) happen, formally, confront, i.e., have an event happen, with an implication of an antagonistic encounter (2Sa 22:6; Job 30:27; Ps 18:6); 3. (piel) confront, i.e., have a hostile encounter with an opponent (2Sa 22:19; Ps 17:13; Ps 18:19); 4. (piel) come in front, i.e., come to and be in a spatial position which is the front of an object perceived to have a front and back area (2Ki 19:32; Ps 59:11; 68:26; 88:14; 89:15; 95:2; Isa 37:33; Mic 6:6); 5. (piel) do early, i.e., do something in the very early morning, likely before the sun rises, as an extension of looking to the east where the sun rises (Ps 119:147,148; Jonah 4:2); 6. (hif) have a claim against, formally, come before, i.e., have a legal claim for another party to make payment, as an extension of making a presentation to a person (Job 41:3); 7. (hif) happen, formally, meet, i.e., have an event happen as a figurative extension of coming near or approaching a person in linear movement (Am 9:10)

Qadam is translated (NAS) - anticipate(1), before(2), come(2), come to meet(1), come before(3), comes before(1), confront(3), confronted(4), forestall(1), given(1), go(1), meet(5), receive(1), rise(1), went(1).

Qadam - 27v -

Dt 23:4 (meet); 2Sa 22:6, 19 (confronted), 2Kgs 19:32; Neh 13:2; Job 3:12; 30:27; 41:11; Ps 17:13; 18:5, 18; 21:3; 59:10; 68:25; 79:8; 88:13; 89:14; 95:2, 6; 96:6; 119:147-148; Isa 21:14; 37:33; Amos 9:10; Jonah 4:2; Mic 6:6.

God on high - Literally "God of the Height" a reference to His heavenly dwelling place (2Sa 22:17, Job 16:19, Ps 92:8, 93:4, 102:19, Isa 33:5, 16, Isa 57:15, Jer 17:12) How can such a God be reached? How can He be worshiped?

Bow (03721)(kapap) means to assume a posture which in the religious sense symbolizes a humbling of oneself (cp Isa 58:5).

Outward pious actions do not impress God
when our daily conduct is defilement.

-John Butler

Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings - Young's Literal = "Do I come before Him with burnt-offerings?" (cf Lev 1:3-4) These offerings were sin offerings, and were entirely consumed by fire. But if sin offering were unaccompanied by internal change, they were worthless.

Barker makes an interesting comment - The burnt offering was wholly consumed and was intended to express one’s devotion, commitment, and complete surrender to God. Yet such total commitment is the one thing the offerers were still withholding from the Lord. Calves a year old were regarded as the best sacrificial animals at the right age (Lev 9:3).

 

With yearling calves - That is, "year old calves." These could be offered after one week old - Lev 9:3, 22:27 and were considered the best. These words are spoken by Israel, who appeals to offerings and sacrifices to "make up" for her sins in lieu of obedience (cf 1Sa 15:22; Ps 51:16-17-note). Balaam is condemned for his greedy desire to profit as a prophet! (2Pe 2:15-16-note; Jude 1:11, cf Rev 2:14-note).

Dr. S Lewis Johnson has an interesting observation on the offering of "year old calves" - A calf could be offered from the time that it was about seven or eight days old. (Ed: It's eight days = Lev 22:27 - "ox" = bull). But obviously, if the calf is allowed to live for one year, it has become considerably more valuable. And so to offer a sacrifice of a calf that is a year old is a more valuable sacrifice than just an offering of a calf. So when he says “with calves of a year old” he expressing not only a burnt offering, but a burnt offering of an animal that is of some value. Then he says, “Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams?” Can you imagine an individual, convinced of his sin, bringing to the court of the tabernacle thousands of rams? Is that what we have to do in order to bow before the Lord or in order to come before him in order to worship Him? (Micah - What Does God Require)

Butler - Expensive offerings are not impressive. Christ confirmed this when he noted the widow’s offering in contrast to the rich men’s offerings (Luke 21:1–4).

Henrietta Mears - God’s Chosen People had ignored Him. So He told them to remember how good He had been to them and how He had kept His covenant with them (see Micah 6:3). The people, suffering from a guilty conscience, asked how they could please God. Frantically they asked if burnt offerings would do (see Micah 6:6–7). Men and women are always trying to get back into the good graces of God with some outward religious service or some worldly rather than spiritual thing. But remember, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17). God wants righteous conduct and a real personal experience of Him in each life. Because of unrighteous conduct, the people had to suffer unbelievable consequences. God is a righteous Judge (see Micah 1:3, 5; 3:12). What does the apostle Paul tell us to do in return for God’s mercies? Read Romans 12:1–2. The best way to get back into God’s graces is to accept God’s grace. (What the Bible Is All About: Bible Handbook)

Micah 6:7 Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

  • pleased 1 Samuel 15:22; Ps 10:8-13; 50:9; 51:16; Isaiah 1:11-15; 40:16; Jeremiah 7:21,22; Hosea 6:6; Amos 5:22
  • rivers Job 29:6
  • shall Judges 11:31,39; 2Kings 3:27; 2Ki 16:3-4; 21:6; 2Ki 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5; Ezekiel 16:20,21; 23:37
  • body - Heb. belly. Philemon 1:12

Barker - The worshipers “up the ante,” so to speak, by wondering whether a greater quantity of offerings would please the Lord. “Thousands” and “ten thousand” are examples of hyperbole

Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams - Is He pleased with the quantity of our offering independent of the quality? Answer? No! He is pleased primarily with the quality of our offering! Man looks at the external, but God looks at the internal, at the heart (1Sa 16:7). Rams were acceptable for sin offerings (Lev 5:15, 6:6, 16:3), but they did not replace the offerer first "offering" his heart and mind and will to God (cp 2Cor 8:5, Heb 13:15-16). As Samuel explained to disobedient Saul

“Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, [And] to heed than the fat of rams." “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from [being] king.” (1Sa 15:22-23, for context read Saul's reply to Samuel's accusation of disobedience - 1Sa 15:19-21).

Worship that doesn’t produce a godly life
is not true worship at all.

-W. Wiersbe

Delight (07521)(ratsah = רָצָה) means to be pleased with, well-disposed toward, favorable toward (Ge 33:10; Am 5:22), to take pleasure, to favor, to accept (see this sense in Lev 7:18). The Septuagint (Lxx) translates ratsah with the verb prosdechomai, which means to accept favorably, to receive one into companionship, to give access or receive to oneself. It depicts one "putting out the welcome mat" so to speak, something God does not do despite the magnitude of their offerings (e.g., first-born child).

Ratsah is used in the context of sacrifices to describe them as acceptable - "And he shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf." (Lev 1:4)

Thousands...ten thousand - These large quantities are exaggerated in order to emphasize the futility of sacrifice without obedience.

Dr. S Lewis Johnson on ten thousand rivers of oil (Lev 2:1, 4, 15) - Now, this is not another offering, but this is embellishment of the one offering, because it is customary to pour oil on offerings. So here we have thousands of rams, and we have ten thousands of rivers of oil. And then finally he reaches the climax, and it’s a “hysterical ghastly crescendo” someone has said. The acme of religious zeal is to offer someone of myself, “Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” So he has talked about burnt offerings. He has talked about a calf of a year old. He’s talked about thousands of rams, ten thousands of rivers of oil, and then at the climax of this, the gift of his own firstborn, the fruit of his body as a sacrifice for his sin. That’s astonishing, and it’s meant to be. What the prophet is trying to show is that no matter how you think of sacrifice, no matter how many animals you think about, no matter what the value of the sacrifice may be, it’s insufficient alone. So he wants it to be astonishing. (Micah - What Does God Require)

Shall I present my first-born for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? - In these question beginning in Micah 6:6, we see an increase in the things offered finally culminating in the most precious, one's first-born! While they may be asking that if we could offer the most precious thing in the world (first-born), would even that be enough to allow them to come to the LORD and bow? Clearly the answer is an emphatic divine "NO!" Even such an extreme measure could never please God, because He prohibited child sacrifice (Dt 12:31). For them to even raise this hypothetical possibility shows how far from the truth Israel had wandered, for such an abomination was expressly prohibited (Lev 18:21; Deut 18:10, cp Jer 7:31; 19:5; 32:32). The Ammonites sacrificed their children to their god, Molech (Lev 20:2–5; 1 Kgs 11:5). The detestable practice spread to Phoenicia, Canaan, and even to the Israelites themselves on occasion. Indeed tragically, some of the leaders actually did offer their sons, which imitated the pagan practice of human sacrifices the abominable idol Molech; Moloch.

But he (Ahaz King of Judah the Southern Kingdom) walked in the way of the kings of Israel (the Northern Kingdom), and even made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had driven out from before the sons of Israel. And he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree. (2Ki 16:3-4, cp 1Ki 3:27, 16:3, Isa 57:5)

And he (Manasseh) made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD provoking [Him to anger.] (2Kgs 21:6)

Pusey - “They would offer everything (even what God forbade) excepting only what alone he asked for, their heart, its love and its obedience.”

Spurgeon - The people will give God everything but what be wants. They begin, you see, by saying that they will bring burnt offerings; they are ready to do that. The axe shall fall upon the head of numberless young bullocks, such as God demanded under the law. The people are ready enough for that sacrifice; and as for rams, they will shed their blood by thousands. If oil is wanted for the meat offering, rivers of it shall flow. When they have offered what God would have, they offer what he would not have, what God abhorred and loathed, for they offered to give their firstborn for their transgressions. They insulted Jehovah with the sacrifices of Moloch, with human slaughter, offering their children to obtain atonement for their sins. They were willing to go even that length, and to do anything but what God wants; and men will still give to God anything but what he asks for; majestic edifices, gorgeous services, ecstatic music, gold and silver; anything but what the Lord demands.

Barker summarizes - The truth taught in this passage is basically the same as that expressed in 1 Sam 15:22; Pss 40:6–8; 50:8–15, 23; 51:16–19; Isa 1:11–15; Jer 6:19–20; 7:22–23; Hos 6:6; Amos 5:21–24; Zech 7:4–10.

Sin of my soul = "my sin" NET Note explains "The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nephesh) is often translated “soul,” but the word usually refers to the whole person; here “the sin of my soul” = “my sin.”"

Rebellious acts (06588)(pesha' = פֶּשַׁע) is derived from the verb pasha' (06586) which means to break a relationship between parties (civil or religious). And so the noun pesha' signifies willful deviation against a constituted authority (civil or religious), in this passage, clearly Jehovah (cp pesha' in 1Ki 12:19). In His opening charges against Judah in Isaiah, Jehovah declares "Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; For the LORD speaks, “Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted (verb form - pasha') against Me." (Isa 1:2)

Of over 90 uses of pesha' in the OT (first use Ge 31:36), over 80 are translated as transgression (singular or plural). Webster defines transgression as "The act of passing over or beyond any law or rule of moral duty; the violation of a law or known principle of rectitude; breach of command."

The Septuagint (Lxx) renders pesha' in Micah 6:7 with the noun asebeia, which speaks of a want of reverence (godly fear) and living without regard for God. Those guilty of asebeia conduct themselves in such a way as to effectively deny God's existence and right as Supreme Ruler and Authority. Asebeia is a general reference to all that is "anti-God".

As Henry Morris says "The Levitical sacrifices had been established by God. They were vitally important when offered in faith, acknowledging personal sin and trusting God's provision of forgiveness on the basis of the shed blood of the innocent substitutes. They were of no avail, of course, if offered simply as a ritual or for other unworthy motives." Are we not at times guilty of the same thing in the NT, going through an external ritual without any authentic change of heart? I fear that at times I even confess my sins in such a way as to just be going through the motions, using 1Jn 1:9 almost as a "spiritual band-aid!"

Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

  • O man Romans 9:20; 1 Corinthians 7:16; James 2:20
  • what is 1 Samuel 12:23; Nehemiah 9:13; Ps 73:28; Lamentations 3:26; Luke 10:42; Romans 7:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:16
  • and what Deuteronomy 10:12,13
  • to do Genesis 18:19; 1 Samuel 15:22; Proverbs 21:3; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Isaiah 1:16-19; 58:6-11; Jeremiah 7:3-6; Hosea 6:6; 12:6; Amos 5:24; Zephaniah 2:3; Matthew 3:8-10; Mark 12:30-34; Luke 11:42; Titus 2:11,12; 2 Peter 1:5-8
  • love Ps 37:26; 112:4,9; Isaiah 57:1,2; Matthew 5:7; 18:32-35; Luke 6:36; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 3:8
  • walk humbly - Heb. humble thyself to walk. Genesis 5:22; Leviticus 26:41; 2 Chronicles 30:11; 32:26; 33:12,13,19,23; 34:27; Isaiah 57:15; 66:2; Ezekiel 16:63; Daniel 4:37; Matthew 5:3; Luke 18:13-17; Romans 10:1-3; James 4:6-10; 1 Peter 5:5,6

See Spurgeon's Sermons on this passage -

GOD'S DELIGHT:
MORAL OBEDIENCE

God is not after things but people. He is interested in external offerings only as they reflect a right internal relationship (cp Dt 6:5, Lev 19:18, Mt 22:37-38, Ro 12:1-2)!

Compare these other great OT passages that summarize God's desire for His people...

Hos 6:4, 6 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim (Northern Kingdom)? What shall I do with you, O Judah (Southern Kingdom)? For your loyalty is like a morning cloud, And like the dew which goes away early....For I delight in loyalty (MORAL) rather than sacrifice (CEREMONIAL), And in the knowledge of God (MORAL) rather than burnt offerings (CEREMONIAL).

Amos 5:24 “But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Micah replies to the questions posed by the "hypothetical worshiper" (Israel) in Micah 6:5-6.

G. L. Robinson - “This verse stands as the motto of the alcove of religion in the reading room of the Congressional Library in Washington.”

Barker on Micah 6:8 - Politicians have quoted it often in their election campaigns (if only more would practice it!). Numerous accolades have been showered on it. For example, von Rad says, “This is the quintessence of the commandments as the prophets understood them.” J. M. P. Smith calls it “the finest summary of the content of practical religion to be found in the OT.” And Boadt observes, “The rabbis who commented on this verse in the early centuries of the Christian era called it a one-line summary of the whole Law.”

Paul Apple - God’s Clear Requirements

1. Not Hidden but Revealed - “He has told you, O man, what is good;”

2. Not Complicated but Straightforward “And what does the Lord require of you”

a. Justice in Defending the Helpless (vs. Exploitation) “But to do justice”

b. Kindness in Word and Deed (vs. Meanness) “to love kindness”

c. Humility in Serving God (vs. Pride) “And to walk humbly with your God.”

Feinberg: The piety that God approves consists of three elements: a strict adherence to that which is equitable in all dealings with our fellowmen; a heart determined to do them good; and diligent care to live in close and intimate fellowship with God. . . Liberals who love to make a religion out of this verse fail to realize that these requirements of the Law are impossible of fulfillment by the unregenerate man. Only the Spirit of God can enable any man to fulfill the righteous ordinance set forth in the Law (Ro 8:3,4-note; Phil 2:13-note).

Arno Gaebelein - Where has God made the demand? In the law. There is no more deadly error than to hold up this verse as the essence of the gospel and the one true, saving religion. Yet this we hear today on all sides. But the most loud-mouthed advocates of this “saving religion” practice what the Lord demands the least. And there is a good reason for it. Israel did not act in righteousness, nor did they love mercy, nor did they walk humbly in fellowship with the Lord. Why not? Because they were uncircumcised in their hearts (Ed: See on site Excursus on Circumcision of the Heart). To do right, to love mercy, to walk in humility with God is impossible for the natural man; in order to do this there must be the new birth, and the new birth takes place when the sinner believes and expresses his faith in true repentance (Ed: Abraham gives us the OT example of salvation by grace through in Genesis 15:6). Only a blind leader of the blind can say this verse is the "gospel," and that faith in the deity of Christ and in His atoning, ever blessed work on the cross is not needed. Israel never has been anything like this which Jehovah demands. The day is coming when the Lord in His grace will give them a new heart and take away the stony heart, and fill them with His spirit. (Read Ezekiel 36:1-38, especially Ezek 36:24-27-commentary) (- Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible)

William MacDonald - Verse 8 describes what God requires; to obey this a person must have divine life. An unconverted person is totally incapable of producing this kind of righteousness.

Wiersbe - To make Micah 6:8 a salvation text is to misunderstand what the prophet was saying to God’s disobedient covenant people. None of us can do what God requires until first we come to God as broken sinners who need to be saved. Unsaved people who think they are doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God are only fooling themselves, no matter how moral their lives may be. “Not by works righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).

Sidlow Baxter - Finally, we revert to Micah's august declaration as to the true essence of religion. A great scholar has said of Mic 6:1-8: "These few verses in which Micah sets forth the true essence of religion may raise a well-founded title to be counted as the most important in the prophetic literature." Underline that eighth verse. Note that God "REQUIRES," for He is God. And God also REVEALS, for "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good..." (a reference to the Law of Moses Deut 10:12). Yet even this is not enough. If we would know the full chord in the music we must turn on to the New Testament, and learn there that God REDEEMS. He "requires" because He is God. He "reveals" because He is good. He "redeems" because He is love. The Christ of God has been already to redeem. He will come again to restore. Meanwhile let us view all our life in the light of the Divine purposes and the future reappearance of the great "RULER" whose goings forth have been "from of old, even from everlasting." (Baxter's Explore the Book)

Kaiser - Jesus referred to this passage (Micah 6:8) in Matthew 23:23 as representing the “weightier matters of the law.” In other words, since justice, mercy, and humility are based on the character and nature of God, it pointed to that aspect of the Mosaic Law that would never go out of vogue!

OBEDIENCE BETTER
THAN SACRIFICE

He has told you, O man - This truth is not a secret! God has not stuttered nor vacillated. As discussed below the verb nagad emphasizes that God made it abundantly clear the quality of life He desired in His people (then and now). In Deuteronomy we read...

And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 [and] to keep the LORD’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? (Deut 10:12-13, cp "to obey is better than sacrifice" 1Sa 15:22!)

S Lewis Johnson comments - But as is so often the case, they kept on offering the sacrifices long after they had lost their personal relationship with the Lord God. They kept on going through the motions. One doesn’t have to be much of an applier of Scripture to know exactly how that applies to us. There are people in the Christian church who’ve gone through all the motions, but have never had a personal relationship to the Lord.

 

In the NT the parallel idea is seen in the phrase "obedience of faith," the obedience that emanates from a genuine faith. The obedience is the fruit of real faith. The fruit proves their is a root. And so Paul opens and closes the gospel treatise with this phrase...

Ro 1:5-note through Whom (Jesus Christ) we have received grace and apostleship to bring about [the] obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name’s sake

Ro 16:25-26-note Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, [leading] to obedience of faith;

See Obedience of faith - Roman 1:5, 16:25 - What does it mean?

He has told (05046)(nagad - נָגַד) means to tell, report, make known or declare something, to make it conspicuous. "To speak information for any purpose, used in such contexts as a message, a verdict, a warning, etc." (Swanson). The basic idea was “to place a matter high, conspicuous before a person." TWOT adds that "The Arabic nagada means “be conspicuous” and the noun nagdn means “highland” Usually the “matter” was previously unknown or unknowable to the object."

The first use of nagad is found in Ge 3:11 where God asks Adam "Who told you that you were naked?"

The Septuagint (Lxx) translates nagad with the verb anaggello/anangello used in secular Greek for proclamations of kings, reports of envoys, etc. It had the primary idea of to bring back word and then to announce or report. Anagello is common in the Septuagint (Lxx), often with a religious sense as exemplified by these passages in Isaiah...

Isaiah 40:21 "Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared (Hebrew = nagad = to be or make conspicuous; Lxx = anaggello) to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?"

Isaiah 42:9 "Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare (Hebrew = nagad = to be or make conspicuous; Lxx = anaggello) new things; Before they spring forth I proclaim (Lxx = deloo = to make known what was unknown or not previously communicated; especially of something divinely communicated) them to you."

O man, what is good - This is a common theme in the OT (Isa 1:11–20)

Isa 1:11-20-note - “What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” Says the LORD. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, And the fat of fed cattle. And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats. 12 “When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts? 13 “Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and Sabbath, the calling of assemblies– I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. 14 “I hate your new moon [festivals] and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me. I am weary of bearing [them.] 15 “So when you spread out your hands [in prayer,] I will hide My eyes from you, Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. (THE REMEDY?) 16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless; Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. 18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. 19 “If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land; 20 “But if you refuse and rebel, You will be devoured by the sword.” Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Jer 7:21-23 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat flesh. 22 “For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.’

Hos 6:6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Amos 5:15 Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the LORD God of hosts May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Micah says Israel had been told how to walk, so she knew the truth, but by implication refused to do the truth! Sounds familiar doesn't it! How often do we sin willfully, refusing to humble ourselves? Note that Micah is not saying what a man does will save a man. In fact, the truth is that only a saved man can do these things.

S Lewis Johnson on the meaning of good - the term “the good” is a technical term for the stipulations of the covenant between the Lord and Israel. And so when he speaks here in Micah, “He has showed thee what is good,” he is saying “He has told you the things that enable you to satisfy the stipulations of the covenant that exists between the Lord God and the nation Israel. (cp Hos 8:1-3 note "they have transgressed My covenant, And rebelled against My law...Israel has rejected the good") (What Does God Require)

Spurgeon - It was a spiritual worship that the Lord required; not externals, not outward gifts, but the heart. If thou wilt bring an offering, bring thyself; there is no other gift that the Lord so much desires.

And what does the LORD require (01875)(darash - דָּרַשׁ) means to seek with care, to inquire, to require, to investigate, to examine, to study. The participial form of the verb suggests this is an ongoing expectation on God’s part. The Lxx translates darash in this verse with the verb ekzeteo in the present tense which means continually seeking diligently. Ekzeteo implies that the seeker exerts considerable effort and care in learning something.

What does the Lord seek diligently for? He will describe three things but all of them emanate from a heart that is humble and in right relationship to God. 2Chr 16:9 says "For (this term of explanation should encourage us to examine the preceding context - 2Chr 16:8) the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You (King Asa) have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.” Jehovah seeks "whole" hearts! Our prayer should ever be "Lord, by Your Spirit enable me to have an undivided heart in Christ. Amen (1Chr 12:33 undivided heart = "not a double heart" = the opposite is a "double heart" - Ps 12:2).

Many people are confused when they read that God did not accept sacrifices which He had clearly called for in the Law. Why would He refuse what He had required? The fact is that yes God did require the outward forms (animal sacrifices) in the OT, but not at the expense of or in place of a right heart attitude. Thus OT sacrifices without a right heart were of NO value before God. Walter Kaiser adds that "It is impossible to fulfill the requirements of the Law as an unregenerate person. Only the Spirit of God can enable us to fulfill the righteousness of the Law, whether in Old or New Testament times (Ro 8:3-4-note)."

What God Requires of Us - According to a 3rd century rabbi, Moses gave 365 prohibitions and 248 positive commands. David reduced them to 11 in Psalm 15. Isaiah made them 6 (Isaiah 33:14, 15). Micah 6:8 binds them into 3 commands. Habakkuk reduces them all to one great statement: The just shall live by faith.

JEHOVAH'S "DEFINITION"
OF WHAT IS GOOD:

Be Legal
Be Lenient
Be Lowly

1. DO JUSTICE

Do justice - The Lord's requirement is in striking contrast to their practice which was to "hate good and love evil (Mic 3:2) Amos 5:14-15 helps clarify what it means to do justice.

Boice - To act justly is most important, for it does not mean merely to talk about justice or to get other people to act justly. It means to do the just thing yourself.

Lewis says Micah 6:8 is "talking about rights and what is just and what is proper within the covenant community of Israel."

Wiersbe - Of course, we can’t “do justly” unless we’ve been justified by faith and are right with God (Ps 32:1–2; Ro 4:1–8). And how can we “love mercy” if we’ve not personally experienced God’s mercy? (Eph 2:4; Titus 3:5). If we want to “walk humbly with [our] God,” we must first bow humbly before Him, confess our sins, and claim His promise of forgiveness (Luke 14:11; James 4:10). Our Lord’s parable about the Pharisee and publican in the temple (Luke 18:9–14) illustrates all three points. The publican was justified by faith, not by doing the kind of good works that the Pharisee boasted about. Since the publican depended on God’s mercy to save him, he humbled himself before the Lord. The Pharisee, on the other hand, informed God (and whoever was listening in the temple) how good he was and therefore how much he deserved eternal life.

Kaiser - “To do justly” is to act with equity, fairness and deference to those who are in a weaker social position—the opposite of the violence, oppression, fraud, lying and injustice described in Micah 6:10–12. Thus “justice” is a comprehensive term for a way of life that finds its expression in the covenant of God.

Justice (04941)(mishpat) is a "key word" in Micah (Mic 3:1, 8, 9, 6:8, 7:9 with "injustice" in Mic 3:10) and conveys the primary sense of exercising the processes of government. The word includes a judgment, a legal decision rendered, justice as a state or condition of fairness in disputes. Justice "refers to the entire process of the administration of justice, including hearing the case, rendering a decision, pronouncing a verdict, and implementing the sentence." (Patterson) In Micah 3:8 the prophet spoke justice because he was filled with the Spirit.

The Lxx translates mishpat in Micah 6:8 with krima which describes a judicial sentence from a magistrate (his pronouncement). It describes one deciding a question of legal right or wrong, and thus determining the innocence or guilt of the accused and assigning appropriate punishment.

Vine adds that mishpat "has two main senses; the first deals with the act of sitting as a judge, hearing a case, and rendering a proper verdict. Eccl 12:14 is one such occurrence: “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Mishpat can also refer to the “rights” belonging to someone (Ex 23:6). This second sense carries several nuances: the sphere in which things are in proper relationship to one’s claims (Ge 18:19—the first occurrence); a judicial verdict (Dt. 17:9); the statement of the case for the accused (Num. 27:5); and an established ordinance (Ex. 21:1).

Kaiser - “To love mercy” adds the spirit of generosity, loyalty and graciousness to all acts of justice and assistance.

S Lewis Johnson - What does God require of you? To love mercy, to love the loyal love of the Lord God, “This is fundamentally,” one of the commentators says, “The love that will not let me go,” that which George Matheson speaks about in his great hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.” This is the love with which God has loved his people, it’s sovereign unconditional love. Do you love that kind of love? Do you love lovingkindness? That’s part of what God requires, to love lovingkindness. Now, of course, he doesn’t mean simply to love lovingkindness as it pertains to me, but also as it pertains to others who are also loved by this same lovingkindness. To put it in New Testament terms, this is the new commandment. “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” Your commitment to the Lord in the reception of everlasting life is a commitment, my commitment too, I don’t want to preach at you, but our commitment when we believe in Jesus Christ is a commitment to the Lord God, but it’s also a commitment to the Lord God’s people. As he has loved us, that’s a magnificent relationship that we have. So to love mercy, that’s what the Lord requires. (What Does God Require)

2. LOVE KINDNESS

Love (0157)(aheb - אַהֲבָה) means to love dearly (above all other loves). Aheb describes love between a man and wife Song 2:4 as well as between friends (David and Jonathan in 1Sa 18:3) spec.: gods 1Ki 11:2, self-love 1Sa 20:17b; d) God’s love for his people 1Ki 10:9;—Hos 11:4 Song 3:10 Sadly aheb is used to describe King Solomon = "Solomon held fast to these in love." (1Ki 11:12 - What is "these?" - not just the foreign women but their foreign gods! He had a strong love for them both. This makes me think of Jesus' warning in Mt 6:24-note. One wonders where Solomon veered off the path of Micah 6:8? Perhaps instead of walking humbly, pride began to "leak" into and corrupt his heart and distort his walk. O but by the grace of God there go all of us. We need to memorize, mediate and practice Pr 4:23-note, one of the verses Solomon himself penned but failed to practice, thus deluding himself - James 1:22-note)

The Lxx uses agapao which speaks of unconditional (God-like, God energized, supernatural) love in the present tense (as your lifestyle, again not naturally possible but only supernaturally possible = for believers today this speaks of the indwelling Spirit giving us the desire to love this way and the power to love this way - see this important spiritual dynamic in Php 2:13-note - in fact memorize this verse = it's that important to your supernatural walk!)

Finley: the true worshiper of the Lord will love to demonstrate kindness and forgiveness to other human beings. As one who has himself drunk deeply of God’s mercy, he will want to share that mercy with all who are around.

Guzik - “Don’t just show mercy (kindness), but love to show it. Give others the same measure of mercy you want to receive from the Me.”

Kindness (02617)(hesed/chesed/heced) is the idea of faithful love in action. It reflects the loyal love of Jehovah for His people, and speaks of relationship and covenant obligation. This noun is often used of God, and we do well to be imitators of Him (Eph 5:1) for God's hesed denotes persistent and unconditional tenderness, kindness, and mercy, a relationship in which He seeks after man with love and mercy. How wonderful when our life begins to display just a "fraction" of this divine quality!

The Lxx uses eleos which describes the outward manifestation of pity and assumes need on the part of those who are recipients of the mercy and sufficient resources to meet the need on the part of those who show it.

3. WALK HUMBLY

Walk (01980) (halak) means literally to walk but figuratively as in this verse speaks of how one conducts himself in daily life. It speaks of one's behavior, one's lifestyle. The Lxx translates it with the verb poreuo which means to proceed (present tense, middle voice = as the habit of one's life, middle voice indicating that the person initiates the action and participates in the results or effects thereof).

Paul's "Matriculation" and Maturation - In 55AD he describes himself as “the least of the apostles…not meet to be called an apostle.” (1Cor 15:9) About 6 years later (these are "best estimates") in 61AD, he speaks of himself as being “the very least of all saints” (Eph 3:8) and in 63-66AD, he calls himself “the chief” of “sinners.” As someone has said "Lightly laden vessels float high in the water, heavy cargoes sink the barques (small ships) to the water’s edge. The more grace the soul has the humbler it will be."

Humbly (06800)(sana) is a verb which means to be lowly or modest or humble and is used only here in the OT (but some lexicons spell the verb "tsana'" and note it is also used in Pr 11:2). To act submissively. James calls for believers to "Submit to God." (Jas 4:7-note) "Live cautiously, carefully." (Holladay)

Patterson on sana - “the traditional meaning is ‘humbly,’ but it is possible that the meaning inclines more to ‘circumspectly’ or even ‘scrupulously’ ”). God lives with those whose spirits are “contrite and humble” (Isa 57:15), and Jesus taught that the humble will inherit the earth (Matt 5:5; on humility, see the commentary on Amos 6:1–14).

Barker agrees that - “walk humbly” would be better rendered “walk carefully (with your God),” which ultimately means “be careful to live the way your God wants you to.”

S Lewis Johnson on what it means to walk humbly - That’s a circumspect walk. It’s like Ephesians 5:15-note where Paul says “Walk circumspectly.” That’s the test, a test, of a believer’s salvation. It’s the symptom of spiritual health. When you walk humbly with our God, what’s involved in that? Well, first of all a good understanding of what we are before the Lord, sinners. When a man walks humbly before the Lord God, he can only walk humbly when he realizes his relationship to the Lord is one of sovereign grace, that God should love me, that God should take me into his family, with all of my sin, with all of my rebellion, with all of my disobedience, that he should take me, what a wonderful manifestation of grace. No man can walk humbly before the Lord if he doesn’t have a right relationship, a right understanding of his own relationship to the Lord. And so when we say this is a test of salvation, it’s a test also of what you understand about yourself and what you understand, of course, about the greatness of God in the light of that. Low views of ourselves in divine matters leads to true humility before the Lord God, and that’s what the Bible teaches us. (What Does God Require)

Kaiser - To walk humbly is simply to live by faith, for faith is the antithesis of pride. Pride alone insists on taking first place, but faith seeks to give God first place. Humility is that virtue required of those who are faithful followers of our Lord (Ps. 131:1). Living a circumspect lifestyle will bring one’s life into conformity with God’s will. Adam, Noah and Abraham serve as examples of people who “walked with God” (Ge 3:8; 6:9).

As both Peter and James say "God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1Pe 5:5-note, Jas 4:6-note) Simply put, humility paves the way for reception of God's grace. Pride on the other hand is opposed by God, where the verb opposed is a military term, used of an army drawn up for battle. In a sense, pride calls out God’s armies! Woe! God sets Himself in array against the proud person. This alone should be good motivation to walk humbly with God!

Spurgeon - I would not advise any of you to try to be humble, but to be humble. As to acting humbly, when a man forces himself to it, that is poor stuff. When a man talks a great deal about his humility, when he is very humble to everybody, he is generally a canting hypocrite. Humility must be in the heart, and then it will come out spontaneously as the outflow of life in every act that a man performs.... True humility is thinking rightly of thyself, not meanly. When you have found out what you really are, you will be humble, for you are nothing to boast of. To be humble will make you safe. To be humble will make you happy. To be humble will make music in your heart when you go to bed. To be humble here will make you wake up in the likeness of your Master by-and-by.”

With your God - First note the intimacy, the communion, the camaraderie (so to speak) humility calls forth from the Holy One. Second, "your" speaks of personal possession, underscoring the intimacy and fellowship that the Creator desires to have with His creation. This is surely amazing grace!

Barker - “your God” is relational covenant terminology and is the counterpart to “my people” in Micah 6:3.

Micah is saying that instead of sacrifices (Micah 6:6-7), God desired their obedience - justice, kindness, humility. Micah echoes Moses "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?" (Deut 10:12-13, cf Jer 7:22-23)

Henrietta Mears - The Old Testament, in Micah, gives us a definition of religion and at the same time gives us the essentials of real religion. What does God require of you? Read Micah 6:8.

• “Do justly”—be ethical in all that you do in life.

• “Love mercy”—always be considerate of others, especially when justice has not been done.

• “Walk humbly with thy God”—have a personal relationship with God.

How does this compare with people’s present-day definitions of “religion”?

Paul called this “the mind of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 2:16); “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). If our religion is only a spiritually true creed, a huge house of worship and an elaborate ritual, then we have nothing. All must be filled with the mind of Christ. We must “worship him in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). God wants this spirit of Christ to be lived out through our daily lives and to be exhibited in all our conduct, in our homes and in our businesses. Can our religion stand this test?

It is interesting that when Christ summed up the same matter, He used the words “judgment, mercy, and faith” (Matthew 23:23). He thus pointed out that equating faith with walking humbly with our God is appropriate. (What the Bible Is All About: Bible Handbook)

Barker has several quotes summarizing Micah 6:8 - A. R. Fausset: “Without love, holiness of heart, and righteousness of life, flowing from faith in Christ, all our church-goings, forms of prayer, and almsgivings profit us nothing.” J. P. Lewis adds: “Worship and morality cannot be divorced from each other. They are two sides of the same coin.” C. L. Feinberg provides this summary: “The piety that God approves consists of three elements: a strict adherence to that which is equitable in all dealings with our fellowmen; a heart determined to do them good; and diligent care to live in close and intimate fellowship with God.” And T. E. McComiskey maintains: “The standards of this verse are for those who are members of the covenantal community and delineate the areas of ethical response that God wants to see in those who share the covenantal obligations. These standards have not been abrogated for Christians, for the New Testament affirms their continuing validity. We are still called to the exercise of true religion, to kindness, and to humility (1Cor 13:4; 2Cor 6:6; Col 3:12; Jas 1:26–27; 1 Pet 1:2; 5:5). Christians are in a covenant relationship with God in which the law (torah) has been placed within their hearts (Jer 31:33; cf. Heb 10:14–17), not abrogated....Two applications of this passage are offered by Stuart: 1. Faithful participation in worship is not enough. It must be accompanied by faithful, proper living. 2. A good look at the past reminds us of God’s loyalty, and of our responsibility to be loyal to him in return.

Walter Kaiser in Hard Sayings of the Bible addressed - Micah 6:6–8 Salvation Through Righteousness? Two different and opposing kinds of false claims are made about this text. Some readers see the text as refuting all external, ceremonial religion in favor of a totally internalized faith response to God. Others, reacting against more conservative theologies of the atonement, argue that essential religious acts focus solely on issues of justice, mercy and humility; all else is beyond what God expects of even the most devout. Unfortunately, both positions are extremes that fail to grasp the prophet Micah’s point. His answer to the question “With what [things] shall I come before the Lord?” certainly went beyond the people’s appalling response. They were convinced that they could earn God’s favor by deeds and various types of religious and even pagan acts, such as the human sacrifice of their oldest child. They were ready to bargain with God and to bid high if need be. But their attempts to earn righteousness availed them nothing in God’s sight. The prophet’s answer, on behalf of his Lord, was very different from theirs, though it was hardly novel. They had already known what was good and pleasing to God, because God had revealed it time and time again. Each time they had refused to acknowledge it as God’s way. Three items are mentioned: justice, mercy and humility before God. The norm of justice had been set by the character and person of the living God, not by human standards. God’s norm of justice, announced in his law, demanded perfect righteousness available only by faith in the God who had promised to send the seed of promise. Mercy, the second demand, should be patterned after God’s mercy as defined in his Word—an unselfish love toward God and one’s neighbor. The third was a call for the people to remember that any good found in them was due to the Lord’s enabling. Those claiming the Lord as their God were to prove it by a godly lifestyle. Pride was the antithesis of what was required here: faith. To walk humbly was to live by faith. Such faith sought to give God first place instead of usurping it for oneself. In our Lord’s use of this passage in Mt 23:23, he listed the three requisites for pleasing God as “justice, mercy and faithfulness.” Thus, this passage (Micah 6:8) is more than just an ethical or cultic substitute for all inventions of religion posed by mortals. It is duty, indeed, but duty grounded in the character and grace of God. The question asked in Micah 6:6 is very similar to the question posed in Dt 10:12: “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you?” The background for both questions is the same, for in Dt 10, as in Micah 6, God had announced himself ready to destroy Israel (cp Dt 10:10-11), in that case for their disobedience in the golden-calf episode. Thus this saying is not an invitation, in lieu of the Gospel, to save oneself by kindly acts of equity and fairness. Nor is it an attack on the forms of sacrifices and cultic acts mentioned in the tabernacle and temple instructions. It is instead a call for the natural consequence of truly forgiven men and women to demonstrate the reality of their faith by living it out in the marketplace. Such living would be accompanied with acts and deeds of mercy, justice and giving of oneself for the orphan, the widow and the poor. (Hard Sayings of the Bible- Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce, Manfred Brauch)

Spurgeon - The prophet mentions three things that the Lord required of his people: “To do justly:” here are the equities of life. “To love mercy here are the kindnesses of life, which are to be rendered cheerfully. The prophet does not say, “to do mercy,” but to “love” it, to take a delight in it, to find great pleasure in the forgiveness of injuries, in the helping of the poor, in the cheering of the sick, in the teaching of the ignorant, in the winning back of sinners to the ways of God. “And to walk humbly with thy God.” These are the things which please him; and when we are in Christ, and be becomes our righteousness, these are the sacrifices with which God is well pleased; they make an offering of a sweet smell, a holy incense which we may present before him. Talk no more of your outward ordinances, your will-worship, with abundance of music, or human eloquence and learning, and what not. These things delight not the Lord; no offering is acceptable unless the outward conduct shows that the heart is right with him.

Swindoll - Much of Micah’s indictment against Israel and Judah involves these nations’ injustice toward the lowly—unjust business dealings, robbery, mistreatment of women and children, and a government that lived in luxury off the hard work of its nation’s people. Where does the injustice dwell in your own life? Who are the lowly in your life? Do you need a call toward repentance, like the people of Israel and Judah did? Micah’s impassioned plea for God’s chosen people to repent will cut many of us to the quick. Most of us don’t decide daily to cut people down or find ways to carry out injustice. Instead, we do it out of habit. Let’s allow the words of Micah to break us out of our apathy about extending justice and kindness to others and press on toward a world that better resembles the harmonious millennial kingdom to come. Let’s determine to live as God desires—“to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8). (Book of Micah)

Walter Kaiser - Before God requires anything of a person, He calls out to that person with His compassion, mercy, grace, and redemption. It is the environment of grace, then, that becomes the sole basis for urging men and women to do anything for God. But even for redeemed persons, the order of first priority will always be the heart. The first priority, even for a redeemed person, will always be to have an acceptable attitude of the heart, since God requires this before He will notice or accept any work for Him—whether in the form of rituals, liturgy, or social involvement.

Patterson - Limburg’s (1988:192) analysis is pertinent: “The worshiper’s question had been based on the false assumption that God wanted some thing.” Micah’s message has relevance for the contemporary Christian church because this is still an operating premise of many Christians—the false assumption that God wants my money, my time, my talents and abilities. Somehow we forget that God is still in the business of seeking people “whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chr 16:9). This is the mission of Jesus, the Son of Man, and his church—to seek and to save those who are lost (Luke 19:10).


Spurgeon on Micah 6:8 - If a man once really comes to live and act as in the sight of God, his life must be one of eminent holiness, and if, under a sense of God’s glory, he abides in deep humility of spirit, we may expect to see about him all that is tender and quiet. Like his Lord, he will be ‘meek and lowly in heart’. He will not domineer over his fellow-men; he will not be hard, cruel, unkind; he cannot be. He who feels that he must walk with great softness and tenderness before his God, cannot trample on others as if they were only fit to be the dust of his feet. You will not see him supremely disdainful, carrying his head among the stars as though he were some great one; no, he has learned to walk humbly with God, and he thinks of himself soberly, as he ought to think. For a man to put on humility before God and throw it off before men would be hypocrisy of the vilest kind. Alas, it is too often seen, but it is base to the utmost; flee from it as you would from forgery and counterfeit, and in very truth ‘walk humbly with thy God’. I cannot tell you all that my text means, nor if you know it yourself can you make others understand it; still they will know that it is something very admirable which makes you to be a good neighbour and a considerate friend, the comfort of the sorrowful, the helper of all. They may not understand whence the quiet spirit derives its gentle dew, but they will perceive its freshness, its sparkling purity, and its goodness, and wonder at its cause. True humility begets a suavity, a gentleness, a tenderness, a Christ-likeness, which men may mock at for a while, but which for the most part wins their hearts. The more instructed soon take knowledge of a meek-spirited man that he must have been with Jesus and have learned of him.


F B Meyer on Micah 6:8 (Our Daily Homily) - THE perfunctory sacrifices of lambs and rams, rivers of oil, and of tender children, were eagerly practiced by the surrounding nations, such as the Moabites, but were abhorrent to God. What to Him is the outward rite without the holy purpose; the child's form of obeisance, apart from filial love! Grave questionings as to the utility of mere ritualism suggested themselves in the old-world religions. It appears that the questions of this chapter were put by Balaam; and the words before us were uttered by the Divine Spirit to his heart. But however that may be, it is matter for our adoring gratitude that God has stepped out of the infinite to show us what is good, and what He requires.

To do justly is to preserve the balance of strict equity: if an employer, treating work-people with perfect justice; if a manufacturer or salesman, making and selling what will thoroughly satisfy the just requirements of the purchaser; if an employee, giving an exact equivalent of time and diligence and conscientious labor for money received.

To love mercy is to take into consideration all those drawbacks which misfortunes, which enfeebled health, or crushing sorrow may impose on those who owe us service or money, or in some other way are dependent upon us.

To a walk humbly with God implies constant prayer and watchfulness, familiar yet humble converse, conscientious solicitude, to allow nothing to divert us from His side or to break the holy chain of conversation. We must exchange our monologue, in which we talk with ourselves, for dialogue, in which we talk as we walk with God. Ask Him to make these good things the ordinary tenor of your life.

F B Meyer - God's Requirements - MICAH WAS a man of the people, and a true patriot. In his day, the political outlook was dark in the extreme, and the prophet felt that one thing only could save his country, and that was a deep and widespread revival of religion. To the inquiry of the people as to whether Jehovah desired the sacrifice of animals, or little children, who were immolated by the heathen people around in order to rid their consciences from sin, the answer came that God required something more spiritual and searching: "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good, etc."

Let us make this threefold message our own. To do justly, giving not a fraction less than can be rightly claimed from us. Every one of us must acknowledge the righteous claims of our home-circle, and of our neigh-bouts, and we must adjust these claims, giving each his due.

Let us love mercy. There are some who have perhaps forfeited all claim on our mercy--the prisoner, the fallen, the helpless, our enemies--we must help all these not grudgingly, but cheerfully and willingly. Do not try to love mercy till you begin to show it. Dare to step out into a life of unselfish beneficence, and as you do so, you will come to love it. St. James insists that pure religion as much consists in visiting the widow and fatherless in their affliction as in keeping oneself unspotted from the world.

Let us also walk humbly with God, not lagging behind, nor running before, but walking with Him, hand in hand. All down the ages, from Enoch onward, there have been those who walked with God in unstained robes. It is not in sacrifices, or rites, or church-going, or almsgiving, though these will follow afterwards, but in holy and humble living, that the heart of true religion is realized.

Is that all? No! What is to be done for those who have tried and failed, who are conscious of guilt and sin? In the closing verses of this book is the answer. There we learn that God will not only forgive, but will subdue our iniquities. He will turn again and have compassion upon us, and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. He delighteth in mercy! Who is a God like unto Thee?

PRAYER - O Lord, may Thy all-powerful grace make me as perfect as Thou hast commanded me to be. AMEN.


Let Right Be Done - An engaging family film, The Winslow Boy, tells the story of a 13-year-old who is accused of stealing and is expelled from a British military school. The father believes his son is innocent and marshals all his resources to defend him. As the case attracts public attention, many people rally behind the boy with the slogan "Let right be done."

There is something within us that longs for justice for others and for ourselves. But there is only one aspect of justice that is fully within our control, and that is our behavior toward others.

To a people who hurt the Lord deeply by their selfishness and unjust treatment of others, the prophet Micah said, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8). What does the Lord long for from us? He wants action ("do justly"), affection ("love mercy"), and association ("walk humbly with your God").

As Christians, instead of demanding "Let right be done to me," may our rallying cry become "Let right be done by me." Great things can happen when we say, "In my family, in my community, in my workplace, in every relationship, let right be done by me!" —David C. McCasland

To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill;
O may it all my powers engage,
To do my Master's will!
--Wesley

Justice is accomplished one right at a time.


Spurgeon - The true proof of godliness is not expensive rites, but hearty obedience; not a loud profession, but holy living; not large subscriptions, but a yielding up of the heart. Have we this vital godliness? Has the Holy Spirit wrought in us a change of heart?)

Not streaming blood, nor cleansing fire,
Thy righteous anger can appease;
Burnt offerings thou dost not require,
Or gladly I would render these.

The broken heart in sacrifice,
Alone, will thine acceptance meet:
My heart, O God, do not despise,
Abased and contrite at thy feet.


Help From His Spirit - Many of us make promises to ourselves to mark the beginning of a new year. We make pledges such as I’m going to save more, exercise more, or spend less time on the Internet. We begin the year with good intentions, but before long old habits tempt us to take up our old ways. We slip up occasionally, then more frequently, and then all the time. Finally, it’s as if our resolution never existed. Instead of choosing our own self-improvement goals, a better approach might be to ask ourselves: “What does the Lord desire of me?” Through the prophet Micah, God has revealed that He wants us to do what is right, to be merciful, and to walk humbly with Him (Mic. 6:8). All of these things relate to soul-improvement rather than self-improvement. Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on our own strength. The Holy Spirit has the power to help us as believers in our spiritual growth. God’s Word says, He is able to “strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Eph. 3:16NIV). So as we begin a new year, let’s resolve to be more Christlike. The Spirit will help us as we seek to walk humbly with God. - Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Truthful Spirit, dwell with me;
I myself would truthful be;
And with wisdom kind and clear
Let Thy life in mine appear.
—Lynch

He who has the Holy Spirit as his resource
has already won the victory

(I would alter this saying...
He who relies on the Holy Spirit as his resource
will be victorious!)


A “Banana Slug” Lesson - Sports team names have a variety of origins. They come from history (Spartans, Mountaineers), nature (Cardinals, Terrapins), and even colors (Orange, Reds). One even comes from the mollusk family. In the 1980s, the University of California at Santa Cruz was just starting to get involved in competitive sports. UCSC had a bit of disdain for the overemphasis some big-time schools place on athletics, so the student body sought a team name that would reflect a somewhat different approach. They decided on the Banana Slug, a yellow, slimy, slow, shell-less mollusk. It was a clever way for UCSC to give a balanced perspective on the relative worth of sports. I have always loved sports, but I know that they can easily become more important than they should be. What matters most in life is what Jesus said is most vital—loving God with all of our hearts and loving our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:37-39). Micah listed God’s requirements this way: “do justly,” “love mercy,” and “walk humbly with your God” (6:8). For believers in Jesus, it is vital that nothing else takes top priority over God’s expectations for us. What matters most to you? The Spartans? The Red Sox? Or loving God in thought, word, and action?— by Bill Crowder

Lord, what matters most to You today?
What can direct us in each thing we do?
Could it be to let nothing at all
Interfere with our deep love for You?
—Branon

Beware of spending too much time
on matters of too little importance.


Our Daily Bread - On a visit to America, Princess Diana went into a department store and saw a red-and-black polka-dot silk scarf. "This is very smart looking," she said to an aide, and then instructed her to buy the $8 item. Immediately after Diana's purchase, some men from the British Embassy rushed up to the counter to buy a scarf just like it—presumably for their wives. The wife of a store executive also bought one for her daughter, noting, "She'll be thrilled!" Later, when the store was reopened to the public, a swarm of women raced to the red-and-black, polka-dot scarves, as if guided by radar. Oh, that we would be as quick to take our cues from the Lord as those people did from royalty! How spiritually enriched we would be if we studied Christ's words and actions and carefully considered His values and choices rather than looking to the world for direction. We must remain free from the deception of the ungodly, choosing instead to follow our divine Guide. —M. R. De Haan II

You are either leaving your mark on the world,
or the world is leaving its mark on you!


Depending Or Pretending? - You might have heard someone say, “I wrote the book Humility And How I Achieved It.” Most people, however, would not seriously mention the word humility and their own name in the same sentence. We know that the moment we lay claim to humility it eludes us—rather like this “confession” that appeared in a poem in the magazine Village Voice: “I felt like a fraud. So I took a full-page ad in the newspaper and confessed to the world that I was a fraud! I read the ad and I thought, A fraud is pretending to be honest.” Humility without pretending—is it possible? Micah 6:8 provides a vital clue. Micah didn’t say, “Be humble,” or “Walk humbly.” He said, “Walk humbly with your God.” His advice pointed to the need for faithful dependence on God and looked ahead to our Lord’s words, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt. 11:29). Jesus demonstrated humility by walking in total dependence on His Father (Jn. 5:19,30; 8:28) and by serving others (Mt. 20:28). Only as we take up His yoke and walk humbly with the Father will we learn true humility. Are we humbly depending on God—or just pretending to be humble? — by Joanie Yoder

Humility's a slippery prize
That seldom can be won;
We're only humble in God's eyes
When serving like His Son.
—Gustafson

To learn to walk humbly,
start out on your knees.

Micah 6:9 The voice of the LORD will call to the city-- And it is sound wisdom to fear Your name: "Hear, O tribe (KJV = rod). Who has appointed its time?

Lord's Mic 3:12; Isaiah 24:10-12; 27:10; 32:13,14; 40:6-8; 66:6; Jeremiah 19:11-13; Jeremiah 26:6,18; 37:8-10; Hosea 13:16; Amos 2:5; 3:8-15; 6:1; Jonah 3:4; Zephaniah 3:2

and

2 Kings 22:11-20; Ps 107:43; Proverbs 22:3; Isaiah 26:11; Hosea 14:9

the man of wisdom shall see thy name - or, thy name shall see that which is wisdom.

Exodus 34:5-7; Ps 9:16; 48:10; 83:18; Isaiah 30:27

hear

2 Samuel 21:1; Job 5:6-8,17; 10:2; Isaiah 9:13; 10:5,6; Jeremiah 14:18-22; Lamentations 3:39-42; Joel 2:11-18; Amos 4:6-12; Jonah 3:5-10; Haggai 1:5-7; Revelation 3:19

See Spurgeon's Sermon on this passage -

The Fast Day Service (154-155) - Micah 6:9

 

JEHOVAH'S CONDEMNATION
OF ISRAEL

  • Micah 6:9-12 Israel's Sins Enumerated
  • Micah 6:13-15 Israel's Punishment for Her Sins

Kaiser - It is this justice, mercy and humble walk (of Micah 6:8) that Micah illustrates in Micah 6:9–16 as he condemns the wicked commercial practices of his people.

John Phillips - The Hebrew people were doing exactly the opposite of what God required. In condemning them for their sin, Micah spoke of sin's deceptions, disappointments, and distortions.

The voice of the LORD will call to the city - The city of Jerusalem (cf. Mic. 3:10-12; 4:2, 7-13) is accused in this lawsuit.

And it is sound wisdom to fear Thy Name - The NET translation reads "It is wise to respect Your authority." Godly reverential fear will bring corresponding obedience which leads to "success" (sound wisdom - good results).

Barker - The fear of the Lord has also been defined as a “loving reverence for God that includes submission to his lordship and to the commands of his word (Eccl 12:13).”

In the introduction of Job we read "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away (this was his habitual practice - not perfection, but direction!) from evil." (Job 1:1) Notice that the effect of godly fear is to prompt (motivate, energize) one to turn away from evil (~obedience). That is wisdom or living wisely! We see the same principle in Ps 112:1 "Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments."

Job tied fear, wisdom and obedience together declaring "'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.'" (Job 28:28, Ps 111:10)

Sound wisdom (08454)(tushiyyah) means "sound judgment" or "efficient wisdom," the wisdom that leads to practical success, (good) results (Isa 28:29). A father would exhort his son to seek this sound wisdom as the path to life and honor (Prov. 3:21), and the personified Wisdom claims to exemplify it (Pr 8:14). A selfish man, however, displays appalling lack of discernment (Pr 18:1). God is the source of this prudence, as of all the other varieties of knowledge and wisdom (Isa. 28:29). Thus, it behooves a wise person to fear Him (Mic. 6:9). Job mentioned the word both in the sense of wisdom (Job 11:6; 12:16; 26:3) and of the abiding success that results from that wisdom (5:12; 6:13). And in Proverbs, success is promised for the upright because of the righteous nature of God's rule (Prov. 2:7).

Tusiyyah is translated (NAS) - deliverance(1), helpful insight(1), sound wisdom(7), success(1), wisdom(1).

Tusiyyah - 11v - Job 5:12; 6:13; 11:6; 12:16; 26:3; Pr 2:7; 3:21; 8:14; 18:1; Isa 28:29; Mic 6:9

The Septuagint gives an interesting sense that is not obvious in the Hebrew text - "The Lord's voice shall be proclaimed in the city, and He shall save those that fear His name: hear, O tribe; and who shall order the city?"

Criswell - Wisdom will recognize and reverence the Name of God, who brings the rod of punishment on the city, which is probably Jerusalem.

Name of God - This stands for all of His attributes, His holiness, righteousness, justice, faithfulness, etc. So to fear His Name is to fear Him.

Matthew Henry (concise) on Mt 6:9-13 - God, having showed how necessary it was that they should do justly, here shows how plain it was that they had done unjustly. This voice of the Lord says to all, Hear the rod when it is coming, before you see it, and feel it. Hear the rod when it is come, and you are sensible of the smart; hear what counsels, what cautions it speaks. The voice of God is to be heard in the rod of God. Those who are dishonest in their dealings shall never be reckoned pure, whatever shows of devotion they may make. What is got by fraud and oppression, cannot be kept or enjoyed with satisfaction. What we hold closest we commonly lose soonest. Sin is a root of bitterness, soon planted, but not soon plucked up again. Their being the people of God in name and profession, while they kept themselves in his love, was an honour to them; but now, being backsliders, their having been once the people of God turns to their reproach.

Hear (shama) is a again (cp Mic 3:1, 6:1) a command to hear with reverence (godly fear) and obedient assent.

O tribe (KJV = rod) - To which tribe does this refer? Probably the tribe of Judah, who was the leading tribe in the Southern Kingdom. And so in Micah 6:9 both the city of Jerusalem and the tribe of Judah were "named" in this covenant lawsuit.

Spurgeon on "hear ye the rod" (KJV - God’s voice to his people is often uttered by means of their affliction Hear ye the rod.” He wishes us to understand that judgments and calamities are his voice crying to the city. Oh, that we were men of wisdom, that we would hear what God has to say! Alas! Israel did not hear, and Judah would not listen, even to God’s own voice!

Who has appointed its time - God had ordained the time of their judgment. Cf God's sovereign control over time (Da 2:21-note)?

Micah 6:10 Is there yet a man in the wicked house, along with treasures of wickedness and a short measure that is cursed?

  • Are, etc - or, Is there yet unto every man an house of the wicked, etc. the treasures. Joshua 7:1; 2 Kings 5:23,24; Proverbs 10:2; 21:6; Jeremiah 5:26,27; Amos 3:10; Habakkuk 2:5-11; Zephaniah 1:9; Zechariah 5:3,4; James 5:1-4
  • and Leviticus 19:35,36; Deuteronomy 25:13-16; Proverbs 11:1; 20:10,23; Ezekiel 45:9-12; Hosea 12:7,8; Amos 8:5,6
  • scant measure - Heb. measure of leanness.

A CATALOGUE OF
COMMERCIAL & SOCIAL SINS

NLT paraphrase = "Will there be no end of your getting rich by cheating? The homes of the wicked are filled with treasures gained by dishonestly measuring out grain in short measures."

This is the antithesis of Micah 6:8.

Spurgeon - Here he comes to practical details. In Micah’s day, men had grown rich by oppression, by a want of justice; they had wronged their fellow men, and God asked them whether they expected to be pleasing to him when their houses were full of treasure which they had virtually stolen by giving scant measure and short weight. God condescends even to point out these minute particulars of moral conduct, and so should his servants do. It is not for us, his ministers, to be soaring into the clouds, to astonish you with the grandeur of our thoughts and words; but to come to your shops, to look at your bushel-measures and your pecks, your yard-sticks and your weights.

Is there yet a man in the wicked house, along with treasures of wickedness - There is a wordplay between rāšā (“wicked”) and reša (“ill-gotten”). NET Bible reads "the dishonest gain you have hoarded away" = NET; "ill-gotten treasures"). The phrase "treasures of wickedness" suggest that their fortunes were obtained by dishonest means. There are many today who are rich beyond belief, but their fortunes would also classify as "treasures of wickedness!" Woe to them!

Short measure that is cursed - This deceptive business practice was giving less weight than would normally be given with an Ephah) Kaiser says "the ephah should have measured twenty-two liters, but it didn’t."

Short (07332)(razon) describes that which is of smaller volume or weight than that which was expected for a given standard of measure.

The Mosaic Covenant prohibited cheating with weights...

Lev 19:35-36 ‘You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight, or capacity.36 ‘You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt.

Deut 25:13-16 "You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a large and a small. 14 "You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. 15 "You shall have a full and just weight; you shall have a full and just measure, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. 16 "For everyone who does these things, everyone who acts unjustly is an abomination to the LORD your God.

Measure (0374)(ephah) is a dry measure which is transliterated as ephah which was the equivalent of 10 omers (omer = 2 quarts) (Ex 16:36). "There were ten ephahs in a homer (which is thought to be a donkey load) and ten omers in one ephah. The seah was probably one-third of an ephah. The ephah was the same as the liquid measure, the bath. There is much uncertainty in the size of the bath and ephah." (TWOT) Although there is uncertainty, most authorities state that an ephah was from 50-60% of a bushel. Moses had Aaron save one-tenth of an ephah of manna as a memorial (Ex 16:36). For a sin offering, one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour was required (Lev 5:11) and also for the offering on the day of Aaron’s anointing (Lev 6:20; cf. Nu 5:15; 28:5). In Ezek this is increased to one-sixth ephah for some offerings (Ezek 45:13; 46:14). Also, a cereal offering of one ephah was to accompany each bull or ram offered according to Ezek 45:24; 46:5, 11.

Ephah is translated as bushel(1), differing measures(2), ephah(33), measure(2).

Swanson - 1. ephah, i.e., a dry grain measurement, variously reckoned, but usually about 22 liters of volume (Ex 16:36; Lev 5:11; 6:13; 19:36; Nu 5:15; 28:5; Dt 25:14,15; Jdg 6:19; Ru 2:17; 1Sa 1:24; 17:17; Pr 20:10; Isa 5:10; Ezek 45:10–46:14 passim; Am 8:5; Mic 6:10; 2. basket, i.e., a large basket which could contain a large volume (Zec 5:6, 7, 8, 9, 10), note: apparently in these contexts the precise standardized unit is not meant; 3.אֵיפָה וְ־ אֵיפָה = two differing measures, formally, ephah and ephah, i.e., a measure which is not standardized and has a weight or volume which favors one party over another (Dt 25:14; Pr 20:10+)

Ephah - 29v - Ex 16:36; Lev 5:11; 6:20; 19:36; Num 5:15; 28:5; Deut 25:14f; Judg 6:19; Ruth 2:17; 1 Sam 1:24; 17:17; Pr 20:10; Isa 5:10; Ezek 45:10f, 13, 24; 46:5, 7, 11, 14; Amos 8:5; Mic 6:10; Zech 5:6-10

Henrietta Mears summarizes Judah's national sins enumerated by Micah....

• Idolatry—Micah 1:7; 6:16

• Covetousness—Micah 2:2

• Oppression—Micah 2:2

• Violence—Micah 2:2; 3:10; 6:12; 7:2

• Encouragement of false prophets—Micah 2:6, 11

• Corruption of princes—Micah 3:1–3

• Corruption of prophets—Micah 3:5–7

• Corruption of priests—Micah 3:11

• Bribery—Micah 3:9, 11; 7:3

• Dishonesty—Micah 6:10–11

Micah 6:11 Can I justify wicked scales and a bag of deceptive weights?

  • count them pure - or, be pure. the wicked. Hosea 12:7
  • the bag Proverbs 16:11

Can I justify wicked scales and a bag of deceptive weights: - The answer of course is "No!" God cannot acquit a merchant for such dishonest practices. NET Bible translates it "Do I acquit sinful scales, and a bag of deceptive weights?" The Jewish businesses were using weights heavier than standard shekel weight (cp Lev 19:35-36, Dt 25:13-16). The rhetorical question expects an answer, "No, I cannot justify this deceptive practice!"

See parallel descriptions in Hosea 12:7, Amos 8:5.

Spurgeon - They were, I suppose, very much what Orientals are still; you cannot trade with them without having need of more than two eyes. Their price has to be beaten down; their quantities must be counted. God would not have his people like this. He says nothing about the Moabites or the Babylonians doing this, but for his people to do it was very grievous to him.

Wicked scales - The vendor would tamper with the balance bar and two scale pans so that the buyer was given less than that for which they paid.

Patterson - The “bag of false weights” refers to the deception of using stone weights heavier than the standard shekel weight utilized in commercial dealings. Defrauding consumers with false weights was a violation of Mosaic law ((Deut 25:13–16; Pr 11:1; 20:23; Hos 12:7; Amos 8:5).

Criswell - One of the prominent evidences of decadence in Israel was the prevalence of dishonest business practices. The rich sought to increase wealth through falsified balances, violence, deceit, and lies (Micah 6:12). When Yahweh was no longer loved and honored, the integrity of the people vanished.

Micah 6:12 For the rich men of the city are full of violence, Her residents speak lies, And their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

  • the rich Mic 2:1,2; 3:1-3,9-11; 7:2-6; Isaiah 1:23; 5:7; Jeremiah 5:5,6,26-29; 6:6,7; Ezekiel 22:6-13,25-29; Hosea 4:1,2; Amos 5:11,12; 6:1-3; Zephaniah 3:3
  • spoken Isaiah 59:3-15; Jeremiah 9:2-6,8; Hosea 7:1,13;

For - (term of explanation) This explains in more detail the practices of Micah 6:11.

The rich men of the city are full of violence - "think nothing of resorting to violence" (NET) They were especially good at exploitation of socially disadvantaged. See Micah's earlier description of their despicable behavior - Micah 2:1,2; 3:1-3,9-11.

Kaiser surmises that "the merchants would threaten “violence” (Mic 6:12) against anyone who confronted them about their cheating. Truthfulness was exchanged for deceit and fraud."

Violence (02555)(hamas/chamas from hamas [02554] = to treat violently or wrong) means violence, wrong and implies cruelty, damage, and injustice. It can refer to an injury that is suffered by violence, but most often refers to the wickedness of humans, which is the product of hard hearts (Ps 73:7), is something God hates (Mal 2:16) and can take on both physical and verbal forms (physical violence implying cruelty = Jdg 9:24). Pr 4:17 refers to ill-gotten gain obtained by violence (cp Mic 6:12). In Exodus Israel was clearly instructed " “You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious (hamas; Lxx = adikos = unjust, crooked, unrighteous, dishonest, lacking integrity, cp similar word adikia) witness." (Ex 23:1) A plea for help is often seen with violence (Job 19:7) Hamas implies cruelty, damage, and injustice and so Sarah sees. Abraham’s cohabiting with Hagar as a wrong done to her, saying in a sense "God will get you for this wrong (hamas)." (Ge 16:5).

Baker adds when hamas "When coupled with the term instrument or weapon, it becomes an attributive noun describing weapons or instruments of violence (Ps. 58:2). When it describes a person, it can mean an oppressor or a violent man (Pr. 3:31)."

The Lxx translates hamas with asebeia, which speaks of a want of reverence (godly fear) and living without regard for God. Those guilty of asebeia conduct themselves in such a way as to effectively deny God's existence and right as Supreme Ruler and Authority.

Patterson - In the OT prophets the word hamas describes various forms of exploitation of the socially disadvantaged, accomplished by means of physical and psychological violence

The English word violence refers to the use of physical force, usually with an intent to violate or destroy and clearly is a violation of God’s perfect order.

Hamas is translated in NAS as malicious(3), violence(48), violent(6), wrong(3).

First use of hamas describes the actions of depraved mankind and gives us a sense of how God "classifies" Israel's behavior...

Genesis 6:11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence 12 And God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

Hamas - 59v -

Gen 6:11, 13; 16:5; 49:5; Ex 23:1; Deut 19:16; Jdg 9:24; 2Sa 22:3, 49; 1Chr 12:17; Job 16:17; 19:7; Ps 7:16; 11:5; 18:48; 25:19; 27:12; 35:11; 55:9; 58:2; 72:14; 73:6; 74:20; 140:1, 4, 11; Pr 3:31; 4:17; 10:6, 11; 13:2; 16:29; 26:6; Isa 53:9; 59:6; 60:18; Jer 6:7; 20:8; 51:35, 46; Ezek 7:11, 23; 8:17; 12:19; 28:16; 45:9; Joel 3:19; Amos 3:10; 6:3; Obad 1:10; Jonah 3:8; Mic 6:12; Hab 1:2f, 9; 2:8, 17; Zeph 1:9; Mal 2:16

Boice - No society is ever entirely upright or godly; there are always evil people in it. But in a well-functioning society the evil are suppressed and those of good character are prominent and rule the land. In times of moral breakdown this is inverted.

Her (Jerusalem's) residents speak lies and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. - NLT paraphrase = "Your citizens are so used to lying that their tongues can no longer tell the truth."

Lies (falsehoods) (08267)(sheqer - שֶׁקֶר from shāqar = to deal deceitfully) refers to a deceptive statement, “breaking faith with others by presenting deception/falsehood rather than truth” (NIDOTTE) Sheqer describes words or activities that are "false," in the sense of being without basis in fact or reality. Sheqer is used with particular reference to false testimony, as in court. It speaks of something which is utterly false which the hearer interprets as true and thus is misled or deceived. The ninth commandment said “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Ex 20:16, cp Dt 19:18) Zechariah warned against false oaths or perjury (Zech. 5:4; 8:17, cp Jer 5:2). Such deceit is listed in Ps as the act of an adversary (Ps. 27:12), motivated by arrogance (Ps 119:69) and the purpose is to destroy someone through slanderous words (Isa. 32:7).

Thoralf Gilbrant - The OT focuses much attention on false prophets, who proclaimed self-generated messages with no foundation in revelation from God. The Book of Jeremiah contains numerous passages exposing the wickedness of such deceitful men (Jer. 14:14; 20:6; 23:14, 25f; 27:14ff; 29:9, 21). They proclaimed their dreams, founded on nothing but their own imaginations (23:32). They were merely eager to gain for themselves, pronouncing oracles of hope and prosperity when peace was not on the horizon (8:10f). Jeremiah noted in disbelief that the people loved those who taught falsehood (5:31; 27:10). They actually preferred prophets whose way of life was wind and lies (Mic. 2:11). Isaiah and Zechariah also mentioned teachers of error (Isa. 9:15; Zech. 10:2; 13:3). The true basis of their message was revealed when Micaiah the prophet told King Ahab that a lying spirit was functioning through the mouth of his prophets to lure him to his death (1 Ki. 22:22). Idols were also described as deceptions, for people worshiped them even though the idols had no life in them (Jer. 10:14f). They were described as teachers of falsehood because of the empty promises associated with them. A person who makes an idol carries a lie in his hand and is too deluded to realize that there are no grounds for worship; it is a piece of stone or wood (Isa. 44:20; Jer. 51:17; Hab 2:18). Lies most commonly take the form of willfully inaccurate words, often described as lying lips or lying tongues. Such deceit is one of the seven things God hates (Prov. 6:17), and He warns that such lies only achieve their objectives for a short time (12:19; 21:6). Deceptive speech is often connected with hatred (10:18; 26:28) and animosity (Ps. 109:2). Those who are righteous reject falsehood (Prov. 13:5) and pray to be delivered from it (Ps. 120:2). Falsehood is particularly reprehensible for a leader (Prov. 17:7), and David declared that no one guilty of it could serve him (Ps. 101:7). At times, deception can be expressed in actions, rather than words. God described Israel as a nation of thieves, who took what they wanted, even though they had no basis for claiming ownership (Hos. 7:1). In addition, the soldier who reported Absalom's fatal predicament to Joab protested that it would be an act of treachery to kill the young man in the face of King David's orders (2 Sam. 18:13). The psalmist spoke of those who persecute the godly with no solid grounds for their actions (Ps. 119:78, 86). The prophets accused Judah of deception, calling them "offspring of deceit." Not only had the Jews fooled men, but they had falsely promised God that they would turn to Him with their whole heart (Jer. 3:10). Other passages broaden the range of usage for sheqer. The Book of Proverbs warns against gaining bread by deception (Prov. 20:17), promising that the wicked will earn deceptive wages (Pr 11:18). The latter verse may refer to wages earned by deceiving others or to wages which fail to provide the satisfaction for which the wicked hope. Sheqer appears occasionally in idiomatic expressions. David complained that he had guarded Nabal's sheep "in vain," perhaps implying that he felt he had been misled (1 Sam. 25:21). Job complained that his companions were "smearers" or "forgers" of lies; their charges against him were groundless (Job 13:4). And when Jehu tried to evade queries about his conversation with Elisha, his friends replied, "Lie!" Jeremiah made a similar reply to accusations that he intended to defect to the Babylonians (Jer. 37:14). (The Complete Biblical Library Old and New Testament)

Seqer translated in NAS - deceit(2), deceitful(3), deceiving(4), deception(3), deceptive(3), false(17), false hope(1), falsehood(19), falsehoods(1), falsely(19), liar(1), lie(14), lies(5), lying(12), lying visions(1), perjury*(1), slander*(1), treacherously(1), useless(1), vain(1), wrongfully(3).

Sheqer - 109v - Ex 5:9; 20:16; 23:7; Lev 6:3, 5; 19:12; Deut 19:18; 1 Sam 25:21; 2 Sam 18:13; 1 Kgs 22:22f; 2 Kgs 9:12; 2 Chr 18:21f; Job 13:4; 36:4; Ps 7:14; 27:12; 31:18; 33:17; 35:19; 38:19; 52:3; 63:11; 69:4; 101:7; 109:2; 119:29, 69, 78, 86, 104, 118, 128, 163; 120:2; 144:8, 11; Pr 6:17, 19; 10:18; 11:18; 12:17, 19, 22; 13:5; 14:5; 17:4, 7; 19:5, 9; 20:17; 21:6; 25:14, 18; 26:28; 29:12; 31:30; Isa 9:15; 28:15; 32:7; 44:20; 57:4; 59:3, 13; Jer 3:10, 23; 5:2, 31; 6:13; 7:4, 8f; 8:8, 10; 9:3, 5; 10:14; 13:25; 14:14; 16:19; 20:6; 23:14, 25f, 32; 27:10, 14ff; 28:15; 29:9, 21, 23, 31; 37:14; 40:16; 43:2; 51:17; Ezek 13:22; Hos 7:1; Mic 2:11; 6:12; Hab 2:18; Zech 5:4; 8:17; 10:2; 13:3; Mal 3:5

Paul describes men like these men in Judah - "THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,” “THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS” (Ro 3:13-note)

Tongue is deceitful - This description reminds us of the longstanding tradition of many Native American tribes where the phrase "speaking with a forked tongue" meant that they were lying, and were no longer considered worthy of trust.

Deceitful (07423)(remiyah - רְמִיָּה) has two meanings which have been a source of controversy (which will not be discussed here - see TWOT article). (1) It describes on one hand laxness, that which is slack or lazy, as referring to an idle hand (Pr 10:4, 12:24, cp the slothful man = Pr 12:27). Remiyah can mean to do something with slackness or "negligently" (Jer 48:10). (2) The second sense of remiyah is deception, deceit, fraud or treachery and refers to what is not truth or correct (Job 13:7) For example, remiyah is used to describe a deceitful tongue (Ps 120:2-3 where deceitful in Lxx = dolios = treacherous, crafty - see root dolos below, cp Ps 52:2, Job 27:4, Micah 6:12).

Remiyah in KJV = deceitful 4, deceitfully 3, deceit 2, slothful 2, false 1, guile 1, idle 1, slack 1;

Remiyah - 15v - Job 13:7; 27:4; Ps 32:2; 52:2; 78:57; 101:7; 120:2-3; Pr 10:4; 12:24, 27; 19:15; Jer 48:10; Hos 7:16; Mic 6:12

What a contrast with the David's description of the godly man - "How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit (Lxx = dolos = cunning ~ taking advantage of another through craft and underhanded methods, this word was originally used to describe bait for fish! Woe!)!" (Ps 32:2)

The Septuagint (translated into English) says "their tongue has been exalted in their mouth" where the word for "exalted" is hupsoo which BDAG defines (definition #2) as "to cause enhancement in honor, fame, position, power, or fortune." We see the negative sense of hupsoo (which would clearly be the case in Micah 6:12) in Mt 23:12, Lk 14:11, Luke 18:14.

Today in the Word on violence and deceitful - Despite the mind-numbing brutality of the Joseph Stalin regime in the Soviet Union, his propaganda machine did its job well. Many Russians hailed him as a hero and a savior, including a young school girl who was chosen to greet Stalin on one occasion. Years later, this woman recalled Stalin taking her onto his lap, smiling like a loving father. She was starry-eyed, and she cherished the moment for many years. Only later did she learn that during this period, Stalin had her parents arrested and sent to the labor camps, never to be seen again. Such deceit staggers the imagination. Regarding the Soviet regime, we could say: what else could we have expected from leaders who denied the existence of God and sought to stamp out His memory? But it's harder to explain away the deceit and treachery on the part of God's chosen people. The prophets Hosea and Micah catalogued the nation's sins, with Micah carrying a particular burden for the cruel injustice that marked the nation in his day.

Micah 6:13 So also I will make you sick, striking you down, desolating you because of your sins.

  • I make Leviticus 26:16; Deuteronomy 28:21,22; Job 33:19-22; Ps 107:17,18; Isaiah 1:5,6; Jeremiah 14:18; Acts 12:23
  • in Lamentations 1:13; 3:11; Hosea 5:9; 13:16

REAPING SIN'S
RECOMPENSE

So (Therefore) - This is a term of conclusion. which in this context speaks of the principle of divine retribution. Tit for tat. What goes around comes around. Reaping what one sows (Gal 6:7-8-note) Based on the "mountain" of evidence (the "avalanche" of crimes - Micah 6:10-12) against Israel's corrupt practices summed up in the word sins, God's verdict is to make these evil men in Israel them sick, struck and desolate (cf God's "promise" in Dt 28:20). Israel had sown the wind and would now reap the whirlwind (Hos 8:7) - note that it's delayed and it's greater (not just wind but whirlwind! Woe!)

I will make you sick, striking you down (ESV = "I strike you with a grievous blow") You here refers primarily to Jerusalem and Judah the final sickening blow coming from Nebuchadnezzar's complete crushing of the nation and people in 586BC. Why? "Because of your sins!" Woe! Let us as NT believers take heed and pay attention, for God is the same just God He was in the OT, so let us be quick to run for refuge in our Rock Jehovah Jesus (Christ Our Rock), not just for our initial salvation (justification), but for our daily salvation (progressive sanctification), keeping "short accounts" of our sins, not sweeping them under the rug (Pr 28:13-note) but putting them under the blood (1Jn 1:9-note). Thank you Jesus for being God's indescribable Gift (2Cor 9:15)! Amen

Spurgeon - They lied, and they cheated; so God would give them a sorry tongue, betokening their ill-health. He would make their present distress to get worse and worse, till they should be sick through their wounds.

I will make you sick (02470)(halah) means to become sick, faint or weak. This is a fulfillment of the promises in the Pentateuch if the chosen people disobeyed Jehovah...

Lev 26:14-17 - But (term of contrast = contrasts with the preceding promised blessings for obedience - Lev 26:1-13) if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, 15 if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, [and] so break My covenant, (Ed: Referring to the conditional Mosaic Covenant) 16 I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that shall waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you shall sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies shall eat it up. 17 ‘And I will set My face against you so that you shall be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when no one is pursuing you. (This promise for fulfilled in 722BC for the Northern 10 tribes and in 586BC for the Southern 2 tribes taken into exile in Babylon).

Striking (05221) (nakah = נָכָה) means to beat, strike, wound, kill. The Lxx uses an interesting verb aphanizo which means to cause something to disappear and so to destroy or ruin.

Desolating (08074)(shammah = שָׁמֵם) means to be desolate, deserted, laid waste. It also means to shudder or be horrified. So while it has the basic idea of desolation caused by some great disaster (usually a result of divine judgment), it also conveys a sense of being appalled, thus stressing the horror caused by desolation of judgment. Moses uses shamem in God's warnings Lev 26:31-32.

This desolation had been prophesied hundreds of years before in Leviticus and 2Chronicles

I will lay waste your cities as well, and will make your sanctuaries desolate; and I will not smell your soothing aromas.32 ‘And I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it shall be appalled over it. (Lev 26:31-32)

Then the land will enjoy its Sabbaths all the days (70 years) of the desolation, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land will rest and enjoy its Sabbaths. ‘All the days of [its] desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your Sabbaths, while you were living on it." Adding that "the land shall be abandoned by them, and shall make up for its Sabbaths while it is made desolate without them. They, meanwhile, shall be making amends for their iniquity, because they rejected My ordinances and their soul abhorred My statutes." (Lev 26:34-35,43)

And those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept Sabbath until seventy years were complete. (2Chr 36:20-21)

Because - Term of explanation. This is not very difficult to understand. The reason they would be punished was because of their sins.

Sins (02403)(chattah) means to miss the way, to fail; to err, to swerve from truth, go wrong = Literal use describes accurate shot by slingshot (Jdg 20:16). The first use of chattah personifies sin as a power, God telling Cain "If you do well, will not [your countenance] be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Ge 4:7) Israel failed to master their sin and would reap the consequences thereof.

The Lxx translates chattah with the Greek word hamartia, conveys the idea of missing the mark as when hunting with a bow and arrow (in Homer some hundred times of a warrior hurling his spear but missing his foe). Later hamartia came to mean missing or falling short of any goal, standard, or purpose. Hamartia in the Bible signifies a departure from God's holy, perfect standard of what is right in word or deed (righteous). It pictures the idea of missing His appointed goal (His will) which results in a deviation from what is pleasing to Him. In short, sin is conceived as a missing the true end and scope of our lives, which is the Triune God Himself. As Martin Luther put it "Sin is essentially a departure from God."

Recall that as a contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea, Micah prophesied to the Southern Kingdom of Judah during the momentous years surrounding the tragic fall of Israel to the Assyrian Empire (722 BC), an event he predicted (Micah 1:6). Swindoll writes that "During this period, while Israel (Ed: the Northern Kingdom) was imploding from the effects of evil and unfaithful leadership, Judah seemed on a roller-coaster ride—ascending to the heights of its destiny in one generation, only to fall into the doldrums in another." In this section of Micah, Judah's payday, her wages for her sins, had finally come due.

C. S. Lewis - We can rest contentedly in our sins and in our stupidities; and anyone who has watched gluttons shoveling down the most exquisite foods as if they did not know what they were eating, will admit that we can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists on being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. (The Problem of Pain)

Micah 6:14 You will eat, but you will not be satisfied, And your vileness will be in your midst. You will try to remove for safekeeping, but you will not preserve anything, And what you do preserve I will give to the sword.

  • eat Leviticus 26:26; Isaiah 65:13; Ezekiel 4:16,17; Hosea 4:10; Haggai 1:6; 2:16
  • and thou Deuteronomy 32:22-25; Isaiah 3:6-8; 24:17-20; Jeremiah 48:44; Ezekiel 5:12; Amos 2:14-16; Amos 9:1-4

"FUTILITY CURSES"
FULFILLED!

This is a difficult verse and the NET has a substantially different translation - NET = You will eat, but not be satisfied. Even if you have the strength to overtake some prey, you will not be able to carry it away; if you do happen to carry away something, I will deliver it over to the sword.

Barker - Hillers discusses these verses as an example of Old Testament “futility curses” "that is, the guilty will undertake a course of action and inevitably be frustrated in it. The nearest biblical parallels are Deut 28:30–31 and Dt 28:38–40, with briefer examples in Lev 26:26 and, in the prophets, Hos 4:10, “They shall eat but not be satisfied: they shall play the harlot but not increase,” cf. Hosea 5:6; 8:7; 9:12; 9:16; and Amos 5:11: “You have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.” Biblical curses of this pattern, and other prophetic threats, have parallels in the curses attached to Near Eastern treaties. It is clear that Micah, like other prophets, drew on a traditional stock of maledictions, and it is plausible to suppose that he meant to imply that just these evils were coming because the Israelites had broken their covenant with God."

You will eat, but you will not be satisfied - This describes God's judgment of Famine resulting in starvation. One of God’s judgments was not to provide sufficient food to a disobedient people (Lev. 26:26; Hos. 4:10; Amos 4:8).

Patterson - "The irony of the sins of selfishness like greed and covetousness is that those who fall prey to them are never satisfied (cf. Pr 27:20; Eccl 1:8; 5:10)."

Spurgeon - The satisfaction that comes to us through eating is of his mercy, and when he wills, he can say, “Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied.”

Satisfied (07646)(saba - שָׂבַע) means to be sated (implying sufficiency, though generally not speaking of excess-but see Vine's note below), to be filled or be full and so to be satisfied or have enough (or too much) of something, as when Israel had enough (too much) quail (Ex 16:8, 12). Yahweh is the ultimate Source of physical satiety (Ps. 104:28; satisfaction with His lovingkindness - Ps 90:14) and here in Micah 6:14 the Source of inability to eat enough! God would satisfy Israel in the promised land (Dt 6:11, 8:10, 12, 11:15, 14:29, 26:12). Boaz fed Ruth the Moabitess who "ate and was satisfied (Lxx = empiplemi = to fill = Lk 1:53, be satisfied = Jn 6:12, figuratively enjoy something = Ro 15:24) and had some left." (Ru 2:12) As used here in Micah 6:14, one of the ways God judged people was to not provide enough to satisfy their need (or want) (Lev. 26:26; Hos. 4:10; Amos 4:8). Figuratively, saba describes reaching a ripe (Lxx = pleres = literally containing within all that it can hold - filled full) age (2Chr 24:15). In Job saba speaks of one "saturated" (Lxx = empiplemi) with bitterness (Job 9:18). Habakkuk describes haughty men "like death, never satisfied (Lxx = empiplemi)." (Hab 2:5) Moses warns of the ever present danger (for ALL of us!) of being "satisfied" (Dt 31:20) The sword will be sated with the blood of Yahweh's enemies on the Day of Yahweh (Jer. 46:10).

Vine - Saba is frequently used in parallelism with “to eat,” or “to graze” when used with cattle or sheep (Jer. 50:19). The earth too “can be sated, have its fill,” of rain (Job 38:27). Saba sometimes expresses “being surfeited with,” as in Pr. 25:16. God too can “become surfeited (filled to satiety and even with disgust!),” especially when men offer sacrifices with the wrong motives: “I am full of the burnt offerings of rams" (Isa. 1:11). The wise man noted that the lazy man “that follows after vain persons shall have poverty enough [be surfeited with poverty]” (Pr. 28:19). Saba often expresses God’s “satisfying, supplying,” man with his material needs: (Ps. 103:5). But even when God “fed them to the full,” Israel was not satisfied and went after strange gods (Jer. 5:7).

Gilbrant - Some things are never sated, a truth which often leads to similes or metaphors in wisdom teachings. The proud person (Hab. 2:5), plunderers (Jer. 50:10), the eye (Eccl 1:8) and Sheol (Prov. 27:20) are among things not satisfied. These images are usually used as negative similes. However, as for the righteous, "My people will be satisfied with my goodness, says the Lord" (Jer. 31:14). (Ibid)

Webster (1828) defines satisfy - To gratify wants wishes or desires to the full extent; to supply possession or enjoyment till no more is desired The demands of hunger may be easily satisfied; but who can satisfy the passion for money or honor? To supply fully what is necessary and demanded by natural laws.

Saba - 92v - NAS - became satisfied(1), become weary(1), being satisfied(1), continually(1), drink their fill(1), enough(1), fed them to the full(1), filled(9), full(2), get enough(1), glutted(1), had enough(2), have his fill(1), have in plenty(1), have it in excess(1), have abundance(1), have enough(2), have plenty(2), plenty(1), ripe*(1), satiated(2), satisfied(49), satisfies(2), satisfy(10), saturates(1).

Ex 16:8, 12; Lev 26:26; Deut 6:11; 8:10, 12; 11:15; 14:29; 26:12; 31:20; Ruth 2:14; 2 Chr 24:15; 31:10; Neh 9:25; Job 7:4; 9:18; 19:22; 27:14; 31:31; 38:27; Ps 17:14f; 22:26; 37:19; 59:15; 63:5; 65:4; 78:29; 81:16; 88:3; 90:14; 91:16; 103:5; 104:13, 16, 28; 105:40; 107:9; 123:3f; 132:15; 145:16; 147:14; Pr 1:31; 5:10; 12:11, 14; 14:14; 18:20; 20:13; 25:16f; 27:20; 28:19; 30:9, 15f, 22; Eccl 1:8; 4:8; 5:10; 6:3; Isa 1:11; 9:20; 44:16; 53:11; 58:10f; 66:11; Jer 5:7; 31:14; 44:17; 46:10; 50:10, 19; Lam 3:15, 30; 5:6; Ezek 7:19; 16:28f; 27:33; 32:4; 39:20; Hos 4:10; 13:6; Joel 2:19, 26; Amos 4:8; Mic 6:14; Hab 2:5, 16

Many of the uses from Ps are beautiful and so here is the list...

Ps 17:14 From men with Thy hand, O LORD, From men of the world, whose portion is in [this] life; And whose belly Thou dost fill with Thy treasure; They are satisfied with children, And leave their abundance to their babes.

Ps 17:15 which says "As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied (Lxx = chortazo = literally feed, fill up; figuratively = be satisfied - Mt 5:6, Lk 6:21, Ps 107:9) with Thy likeness when I awake."

Ps 22:26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever!

Ps 37:19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil; And in the days of famine they will have abundance (Lxx = chortazo).

Ps 59:15 They wander about for food, And growl if they are not satisfied.

Ps 63:5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

Ps 65:4 How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near [to Thee], To dwell in Thy courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, Thy holy temple.

Ps 78:29 So they ate and were well filled; And their desire He gave to them.

Ps 81:16 “But I would feed you with the finest of the wheat; And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Ps 88:3 For my soul has had enough troubles, And my life has drawn near to Sheol.

Ps 90:14 O satisfy us in the morning with Thy lovingkindness, That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Ps 91:16 “With a long life I will satisfy him, And let him behold My salvation.”

Ps 103:5 Who satisfies your years with good things, [So that] your youth is renewed like the eagle.

Ps 104:13 He waters the mountains from His upper chambers; The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.

Ps 104:16 The trees of the LORD drink their fill, The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,

Ps 104:28 Thou dost give to them, they gather [it] up; Thou dost open Thy hand, they are satisfied with good.

Ps 105:40 They asked, and He brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven.

Ps 107:9 For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.

Ps 123:3 Be gracious to us, O LORD, be gracious to us; For we are greatly filled with contempt.

Ps 132:15 “I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread.

Ps 145:16 Thou dost open Thy hand, And dost satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Ps 147:14 He makes peace in your borders; He satisfies you with the finest of the wheat.

And your vileness will be in your midst. - The Hebrew word for vileness (yesah) is used only here and it's meaning is uncertain, but in context seems to relate to starvation, thus NIV translates it "your stomach will be empty." NLT paraphrases it "Your hunger pangs and emptiness will remain." The Lxx translates it with the verb skotazo which means to become dark or remain in darkness, which does not shed much light on the Hebrew meaning.

Kaiser - The sentence in verse 14, “Hunger (vileness) shall be in your midst,” is rendered by the NIV as “Your stomach will still be empty.” A. Ehrman defended the Syriac, which says that the evil-doers would be afflicted with “dysentery,” as the proper correction of the difficult Hebrew.

Baker writes that yesah ("vileness") is "A masculine noun denoting emptiness; dung (?). It is a strong word used to illustrate the corrupt, immoral condition of God’s people because of their failure to be His moral, ethical, just people. Their excrement will be among them (Mic. 6:14; KJV = casting down; NASB, vileness; NIV, empty). The exact meaning is not yet clear, but its sense is evident in the context. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament)

You will try to remove for safekeeping, but you will not preserve anything - Referring to their attempts to safely store (presumably food, possibly valuables).

Preserve (06403)(palat) is used primarily in the Ps where it means to deliver, to take to safety and out of danger by taking refuge in another place. Here in Micah (in the piel), the idea is to store in a safe place (e.g., in Isa 5:29 palat is used to describe an animal carrying its prey to a secure place. [from NET Note]). The Lxx translates palat with the verb diasoso which means to bring something safely through a hazard or danger (Acts 28:1). In the present context the idea is they will not be able to bring it (valuables) safely through danger, because of the judgment of Jehovah on their sins. This reminds me of the Proverb...

When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings, Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens. (Pr 23:5)

What you do preserve (what you are able to "deliver" safely through danger) I will give to the sword. - All attempts to salvage their goods will be futile, for the hand of the Lord is against them. These judgments are similar to those recorded in Ezekiel "Alas, because of all the evil abominations of the house of Israel, which will fall by sword, famine, and plague!" (Ezek 6:11)

Barker - It is possible to translate the last half of v. 14 like this: “You will press toward birth but not give birth, / and what you bring to birth I will give to the sword.”

Spurgeon - So that in every project they would be disappointed; in every design they would be frustrated, because God would be against them.

Speaking of the people of Israel who wandered in the wilderness for 40 years Moses reminds their children (in Deuteronomy - addressed to their children who would enter the promised land) that "the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from within the camp, until they all perished." (Dt 2:15). Judges records that as result of their disobedience (Jdg 21:25) "Wherever they went, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had spoken and as the LORD had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed."

Micah 6:15 "You will sow but you will not reap. You will tread the olive but will not anoint yourself with oil; And the grapes, but you will not drink wine.

  • Leviticus 26:20; Deuteronomy 28:38-40; Isaiah 62:8,9; 65:21,22; Jeremiah 12:13; Joel 1:10-12; Amos 5:11; Zephaniah 1:13; Haggai 1:6

You will sow but you will not reap (contrast Dt 28:11-12 = blessing of obedience) - No crops mean no food, no prosperity in an agrarian society. These were "curses" (curse occurs 16x in 14v in Dt 28-30 - Dt 28:15-20, 45; 29:19-21, 27; 30:1, 7, 19) promised to Israel for disobeying God's Mosaic covenant. The long list of curses begin in Dt 28:15 “But it shall come about, if you will not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you." The prediction of poor crops is found in Dt 28:38-40...

“You shall bring out much seed to the field but you shall gather in little, for the locust shall consume it. 39 “You shall plant and cultivate vineyards, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather [the grapes,] for the worm shall devour them. 40 “You shall have olive trees throughout your territory but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives shall drop off.

These words are reminiscent of Haggai's message...

Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways! 6 “You have sown much, but harvest little; [you] eat, but [there is] not [enough] to be satisfied; [you] drink, but [there is] not [enough] to become drunk; [you] put on clothing, but no one is warm [enough;] and he who earns, earns wages [to put] into a purse with holes.” (Hag 1:5-6)

Spurgeon - God can let men have every form of outward prosperity, and yet make nothing of it. I fear that some, perhaps some present, have every outward religious blessing; yet nothing comes of it. You hear sermons, you come to meetings, you tread the olives, but you are not anointed with the oil. The grapes are in the wine-vat; but you drink not the wine. God save us from that sad condition!

Patterson - The curses for covenant disobedience include being denied the opportunity to enjoy the fruit of one’s labors, whether in the field, orchard, or vineyard (cf. Deut 28:30, 33, 38–40).

You will tread the olive but will not anoint yourself with oil - Olives will dry up and will yield no oil.

And the grapes, but you will not drink wine. - Treading grapes that are withered, will yield no juice, and no wine. In short, no food, no oil, no wine.

Kaiser - No one cheats God or man without badly cheating himself at the same time. God keeps very good books and knows when justice has been overlooked. He will finally act, so all who race on in their deceitful ways should take immediate notice that all their labors are bound to produce nothing in the end.

Barker - God, in fulfillment of the covenant curses for disobedience, will turn all their blessings into curses (cf. Mal 2:2). “An economy based on fraud and violence will, like any modern-day Pyramid scheme, eventually collapse under its own crushing weight, and the prophet does not even need to proclaim that God is behind it all (Mic 6:13).”

Micah 6:16 The statutes of Omri And all the works of the house of Ahab are observed; And in their devices you walk. Therefore I will give you up for destruction and your inhabitants for derision, and you will bear the reproach of My people.

  • the statutes of Omri are kept - or, he doth much keep the, etc. 1 Kings 16:25-30; Hosea 5:11
  • the works 1 Kings 16:30-33; 18:4; 21:25,26; 2 Kings 16:3; 21:3; Isaiah 9:16; Revelation 2:20
  • ye walk Ps 1:1; Jeremiah 7:24
  • that 1 Kings 9:8; 2 Chronicles 29:8,9; 34:25; Jeremiah 18:15,16; 19:8; 21:8,9; Ezekiel 8:17,18
  • desolation - or, astonishment. therefore. Ps 44:13; Isaiah 25:8; Jeremiah 51:51; Lamentations 5:1; Ezekiel 39:26; Daniel 9:16

ISRAEL'S WICKED
RELIGIOUS MENTORS

The statutes of Omri and all the works of the house of Ahab are observed - Two of the most wicked kings in the northern kingdom and their ungodly statues are mentioned emphasizing how their evil practices had spread like leaven into Judah.

Spurgeon - They would not keep the statutes of God; but they could keep the foul statutes of Omri, which appear to have been specially objectionable to God. Ahab was an arch rebel against God. Remember his murder of Naboth to get his vineyard; and these people followed his evil example (1Ki 21:1-19).

Patterson - Although King Omri predated Micah by more than a century, “the text assumes that the sins of the infamous Omri and Ahab have become legendary and serve as a paradigm of apostasy, turpitude, cupidity, and injustice” (Alexander, Baker, and Waltke 1988:199). The OT record preserves no specific laws or rulings exemplifying the evil character of Omri’s reign (cf. 1Kgs 16:21–28).

Ryrie - The people had degenerated to the low level that characterized the days of Omri and Ahab, a period that had become a byword for apostasy (cf. 1Kings 16-22).

Adam Clarke - Omri, king of Israel, the father of Ahab, was one of the worst kings the Israelites ever had; and Ahab followed in his wicked father’s steps. The statutes of those kings were the very grossest idolatry.

Kaiser - Micah’s message closes in Micah 6:16 with an allusion to Omri and Ahab; the once thriving city of Samaria is recalled here through two of its most infamous kings. Samaria had to be visited with judgment because its merchants, government, judges, priests, and prophets failed to do justly and to love mercy, much less to walk humbly with their God. If Samaria was a warning to Jerusalem, then Samaria, Jerusalem and a host of other cities, both ancient and modern, ought to be a lesson to us today. The guilty of Micah’s day had repeated the same evil practices of the Israelite Omride dynasty. That dynasty, in the northern kingdom, began when Omri assassinated Zimri and seized the throne of Israel. His son Ahab took over after he died and Ahab added child sacrifice (1 Kin. 16:34) and widespread Baal worship to his father’s list of sins (1 Kin. 18). Ahab was the epitomy of greed and power as he seized Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kin. 21) and allowed the grossest of socioeconomic injustices to fester in his realm. After Ahab’s death the entire house of Ahab, including his seventy sons, were violently killed by the next usurper, Jehu. Micah declares that Judah has become like the Omride dynasty in her sins. If those sins led to the demise of the northern kingdom, what does the southern kingdom think will happen to her if she does not repent?

Omri (885-874BC) lived over 100 years before Micah's prophecy (written about 700BC), but is referenced because he was so notoriously evil - "And Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, and acted more wickedly than all who were before him." (1Ki 16:25) For Judah to be "lumped in" with Omri gives a sense of just how far the Southern Kingdom had veered from righteousness!

Ahab (874-853BC) was the seed of evil Omri and his evil reign and legacy is summarized in First Kings 16...

And it came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him (Ahab) to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him. 32 So he erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab also made the Asherah. Thus Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him. (1Ki 16:31-33)

Observed (08104)(shamar) has the basic sense of exercising great care over something. Shamar means to watch, to keep, to preserve, to guard, to be careful, to watch carefully over and even to be on one’s guard. For example, Adam and Eve were placed in "the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep (shamar) it." (Ge 2:15). In Mic 6:16 shamar is translated in the Lxx with the verb phulasso which pictures Israel carefully watching over her evil deeds!

This same word shamar was used by Moses to encourage Israel to obedience rather than disobedience...

“O Israel, you should listen (shama) and be careful (shamar; Lxx = phulasso) to do [it], that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, [in] a land flowing with milk and honey. (Dt 6:3)

Comment: Israel was to shama (hear) and shamar (heed). This principle permeates the Bible. Hearers must be doers of the Word! (James 1:22-24-note). What Word of God you have heard (sermon, teacher in Bible study, etc) or read (devotional, etc) are you failing to heed? Beware, you are on the slippery slope called delusion and it is not a comfortable fall you will experience!

And in their devices you (Judah) walk. - To walk, as discussed above, refers to their behavior or day to day conduct. As noted above Omri and Ahab were two of the most evil rulers in the history of the Northern Kingdom and both replaced worship of God with worship of Baal. When Ahab's daughter Athaliah (cf "house of Ahab") ) became queen of Judah, she encouraged Baal worship (cf 2Chr 24:7) - like father, like daughter! (Read 1Ki 16:21-22:40).

Devices ("counsels" = ESV) (04156)(moesah from yaats = to advice, counsel) refers to counsel, advice, plan. Moesah is used most often in negative contexts where wicked people walk according to their own plans. Jeremiah uses moesah to describe Judah's behavior - “Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in [their own] counsels (moesah) [and] in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward." (Jer 7:24) Assyria conquered Israel because of "their counsels" (Hos. 11:6). The wicked experience failure because they walk according to their own device or plan (Ps 5:10 = "By their own devices let them fall!" Ps 81:12 = "I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, to walk in their own devices."). Those not accepting the counsel of the righteous are "satiated with their own devices" (Pr 1:31)and such waywardness will "kill them" (Pr 1:32). The only positive use of moesah is Prs 22:20 indicates that the teachings of the upright bring trust in the Lord and contain excellent things "of counsels and knowledge."

The Lxx translates moesah with boule which refers to one's inner thought process which leads to making a decision. Some OT uses (Ps 5:10, Hos 11:6) are translated in Lxx with the verb diaboulia = deliberations, intrigue, resolutions.

Moesah is translated (NAS) : counsels (3), devices (4).

Moesah - 7v - Ps 5:10; 81:12; Pr 1:31; 22:20; Jer 7:24; Hos 11:6; Mic 6:16,

Therefore (term of conclusion). However this Hebrew word (maan - 04616, "that" - Mic 6:16ESV) is most often translated because and expresses purpose or intent, and thus would be better understood as a term of purpose or result. Based on Judah and Jerusalem's great evil which was so much like their northern neighbors (like Omri and Ahab), they must suffer God's just judgment - destruction, derision, reproach. The same sins which destroyed the Northern Kingdom would bring an end to the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

I will give you up for destruction - This same Hebrew word is used in the "curses" section of Deuteronomy and is translated as "horror", Moses warning Israel "you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a taunt among all the people where the LORD will drive you." (Deut 28:37)

Wiersbe - The second judgment (Micah 6:16) would be sudden and open: the total ruin of the nation by the hand of Babylon. That Micah should point to Babylon as the aggressor (Micah 4:10) is remarkable, because Babylon wasn’t a major power on the international scene at that time...But by the time Babylon was finished with Judah and Jerusalem, the nation would be in ruin and the people in derision. The people’s sins found them out. The Lord tried to use the judgment on the Northern Kingdom to awaken and warn the people of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, but they wouldn’t listen. Their defense was “It can’t happen here. We have the temple!” But they weren’t obeying God’s law or honoring His house. Instead, they were following the godless ways of two kings of Israel, Omri and Ahab, both of whom “did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all who were before [them]”

Destruction (desolation) (08047)(sammah/shammah = שַׁמָּה) basically conveys the idea of the desolation, ruin or wasting caused by some great disaster, usually as a result of divine judgment. And so it describes destruction, ruin or wasting of both evil people (Ps 73:19, Isa 5:9) and destruction of places because of evil people (Jer 2:15, Zeph 2:15, Jer 48:9, 51:29). Shammah describes the reaction in those who witness the destruction as astonishment, dismay or horror (Dt 28:37, Jer 19:8, Jer 49:13, 17, 50:3, 23, Jer 51:37, 41, 43, Ezek 23:33). Sammah describes the extreme dismay people can feel at seeing destruction, a horror that fills persons (Jer. 8:21).

James Swanson - 1. horror, i.e., something ugly and terrible to look at, and so an object or event of scorn (Dt 28:37; 2Ch 29:8; 30:7; Jer 5:30; 25:9, 18; 29:18; 42:18; 44:12; 49:17; 51:37, 41); 2. horror, i.e., an emotional personal state of fear (Jer 8:21+); 3.desolation, devastation, i.e., the result of being laid waste (2Ki 22:19; 2Ch 36:21; Ps 46:8; 73:19; Isa 5:9; 13:9; 24:12; Jer 2:15; 4:7; 18:16; 19:8; 25:11, 38; 44:22; 46:19; 48:9; 49:13; 50:3, 23; 51:29, 43; Eze 23:33; Hos 5:9; Joel 1:7; Mic 6:16; Zep 2:15; Zec 7:14), note: 2Ch 36:21 some parse (with the article) as 9037 hof (Dictionary of Biblical Languages)

The Lxx uses the noun aphanismos (in Micah 6:16) which describes the condition of no longer being visible (used once in NT = Heb 8:13), and frequently conveys the sense of destruction (as in the present context).

Shammah is used in combination with shereqah (derision below) in all 6 occurrences of shereqah - 2 Chr 29:8; Jer 19:8; 25:9, 18; 29:18; 51:37; Mic 6:16.

Shammah was used by the prophet Hosea to describe the fate of the Northern Kingdom - "Ephraim will become a desolation in the day of rebuke; Among the tribes of Israel I declare what is sure." (Hosea 5:9)

Shammah translated - appalling (1), desolate (2), desolation (10), desolations (1), destroyed (1), destruction (1), dismay (1), horror (9), object of horror (10), waste (3).

Shammah - 39v - Note: Almost half the uses are found in Jeremiah. -

Deut 28:37; 2Kgs 22:19; 2Chr 29:8; 30:7; Ps 46:8; 73:19; Isa 5:9; 13:9; 24:12; Jer 2:15; 4:7; 5:30; 8:21; 18:16; 19:8; 25:9, 11, 18, 38; 29:18; 42:18; 44:12, 22; 46:19; 48:9; 49:13, 17; 50:3, 23; 51:29, 37, 41, 43; Ezek 23:33; Hos 5:9; Joel 1:7; Mic 6:16; Zeph 2:15; Zech 7:14.

(2Chr 30:7) “And do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were unfaithful to the LORD God of their fathers, so that He made them a horror (shammah), as you see.

I will give...your inhabitants for derision - Or to hissing which was a way of taunting someone! Judah would become an object to be taunted by those who witnessed the devastating effects of God's judgment. Compare the similar phrase in Micah 2:4 where God "will take up against you a taunt (masal = byword spoken in contempt)."

Derision ("a hissing" - ESV) (08322)(shereqah from sharaq = to hiss, whistle, pipe) means hissing indicative of scorn or derision, as in the devastation of Jerusalem (Jer 19:8, 25:18).

The Lxx translates shereqah in Mic 6:16 with surismos - hissing (of a snake), metaphorically of a city (Jer 19:8, 2Chr 29:8)

TWOT - This group of words most often describes the reaction displayed by those who pass by the ruins of a once great city or power, either a hiss or a whistle. Since it is used to describe the piping of a shepherd for his sheep (Jud 5:16), it must be understood to be a clearly audible sound. KB suggests that a form of whistling was practiced as a protection from the demons of destruction, but most see it as a sign of either shock, since it is so often found together with shammah “horror,” or amazement (Jerusalem Bible), or derision (NEB, IKgs 9:8; Jer 19:8; 18:16 etc.). Derision and joy at Jerusalem’s discomfiture is seen in Lam 2:15–16 and Mic 6:16. In Isa 5:26 and 7:18, God whistles for the nations to gather to destroy Israel, but in Zech 10:8 the whistling is God’s signal to Israel, inviting them to return to enjoy God’s blessing in the land of promise. These last passages can be construed as piping with a shep7646herd’s pipe.

Derision refers to the use of ridicule or scorn to show contempt. Here is a passage that summarize the judgment prophecy here in Micah 6...

(2Chr 29:8) “Therefore the wrath of the LORD was against Judah and Jerusalem, and He has made them an object of terror, of horror (shammah), and of hissing (shereqah), as you see with your own eyes.

Shereqah - 6v - 2Chr 29:8; Jer 19:8; 25:9, 18; 29:18; 51:37; Mic 6:16 and is translated derision (1), hissing (6).

Achtemeier - “Such scornful hooting is perhaps that same reaction that the secular world has to the church when the community that is supposed to be the body of Christ fails to live up to its covenant with its Lord or the degeneracy of one of its leaders is exposed.” ( Minor Prophets I, NIBC) OUCH!

And you will bear the reproach of My people - This Hebrew phrase is difficult to understand. E.g., to whom does "you" refer? The NET translation gives us the sense of the original Hebrew = "Therefore I will make you an appalling sight, the city's inhabitants will be taunted derisively, and nations will mock all of you." This idea is "“the scorn due My people.” Note that some favor the Septuagint rendering over the Hebrew - "and ye shall bear the reproach of nations." In either case the reproach is on God's people!

Reproach (02781)(cherpah) means scorn, disgrace, contempt (referring to a state of dishonor and low status), shame. It refers to the casting of blame or scorn on someone.

Swanson - 1. disgrace, contempt, i.e., the state of dishonor and low status (1Sa 11:2); 2. scorn, insult, taunt, slur, i.e., the act. of speaking words which harm and insult another (Ps 69:10); 3. a reproach, i.e., an object which has low status and dishonor (Ps 79:4)

Reproach in English describes censure mingled with contempt or derision. It expresses rebuke or disapproval. As an aside on the cross Christ bore the shame of our sin. Followers of Jesus are called to bear the reproach of Christ and to suffer for His name (2 Cor. 12:10; 1 Pet. 4:14).

Scorn in English describes open dislike and disrespect or derision often mixed with indignation

Disgrace in English refers to the state or condition of suffering loss of esteem and of enduring reproach, and often implies humiliation and sometimes ostracism

The Lxx translates cherpah with the noun oneidos (used in NT only in Lk 1:25) which refers to the loss of standing connected with disparaging speech = disgrace, reproach, insult, censure.

Cherpah is translated contempt (1), disgrace (5), reproach (60), reproaches (2), scorn (3), shame (1), taunting (1).

Cherpah - 72v -

Ge 30:23; 34:14; Josh 5:9; 1Sa 11:2; 17:26; 25:39; 2 Sam 13:13; Neh 1:3; 2:17; 4:4; 5:9; Job 16:10; 19:5; Ps 15:3; 22:6; 31:11; 39:8; 44:13; 69:7, 9f, 19f; 71:13; 74:22; 78:66; 79:4, 12; 89:41, 50; 109:25; 119:22, 39; Pr 6:33; 18:3; Isa 4:1; 25:8; 30:5; 47:3; 51:7; 54:4; Jer 6:10; 15:15; 20:8; 23:40; 24:9; 29:18; 31:19; 42:18; 44:8, 12; 49:13; 51:51; Lam 3:30, 61; 5:1; Ezek 5:14f; 16:57; 21:28; 22:4; 36:15, 30; Da 9:16; 11:18; 12:2; Hos 12:14; Joel 2:17, 19; Mic 6:16; Zeph 2:8; 3:18

Doug Goins applies the truths of Micah 6 to the lives of NT believers -- Do Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly With Your God - So what does God do when we, like Judah, begin to mistrust his love and live in ways that contradict his law and his commandments? How does God seek to draw us back into relationship with him when that relationship has been strained, almost to the breaking point? Chapter 6 reveals that God takes this very seriously. When we, like Judah, begin to mistrust his love, he gives us a chance to dialogue with him about it. He is willing to listen to us. Micah 6 is a conversation between God and his people. It begins in a courtroom setting, a place of objectivity, of fairness to both sides. In the first eight verses of chapter 6, God brings a covenant lawsuit against his people. The first five verses focus on God’s accusation concerning his people; specifically, their ingratitude. . .In the beginning of Mic 6:6, the people finally speak to God, but they speak out of hard hearts, still in deliberate rebellion against him. They do raise the sin issue and talk about their own sin against God, but their questions show how shallow their spiritual life really is. They are ignorant of the enormity of their sins and the high cost of forgiveness. Mic 6:6-8 summarize a defensive response from an ungrateful nation. . .Since there has been no justice for others, no deep desire to cultivate loving loyalty in relationships, no concern for walking with God in humility, God pronounces the verdict of his covenant lawsuit against his people. In Mic 6:9-12, God summarizes his accusations against them concerning covenant disloyalty. These things we’ve heard before he summarizes with the word wickedness, expressed in deceit, in violence, injustice. (Do Justice; Love Kindness)

Spurgeon on reproach - Very hard was it to bear that reproach, when there would be none of the comforts of the Spirit to go with it. There are some professors who bear the reproach of Christ, but will never share his crown; that is a fearful state of things. Gladly enough would we take up that reproach that we may be truly his; but if we profess to be God’s people, and act inconsistently, we shall bear all the reproach, but have nothing to sustain us under it. O Lord, of thy mercy, save us from this!


DISCLAIMER: Before you consult commentaries, sermons or other resources, first consult the Word of God, studying the Scriptures diligently (2Ti 2:15-note) and inductively (See inductive Bible study) in dependence on your Teacher, the Holy Spirit, Who Jesus promised would guide us into all truth (John 16:13).

THOUGHTS ON
INTERPRETATION
OF PROPHETIC BOOKS

In regard to the OT Prophetic books such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and the 12 "Minor" Prophets, remember that the most accurate interpretation is derived by applying the following principles:

(1) Read the Scripture literally (unless the text is clearly figurative, e.g., Jesus said "I am the door..." Jn 10:9). If one interprets a text symbolically (allegorically, figuratively, spiritualizing) when that text makes good sense literally, one potentially opens themselves to the danger of inaccurate interpretation, for then the question arises as to who's "symbolic" interpretation is correct and how imaginative one should be in evaluating a "supposed symbol"? Many of the commentaries and sermons on the OT prophetic books unfortunately are replete with non-literal interpretations (except when it comes to Messianic Passages, which are usually interpreted literally). Therefore the watchword when reading any commentary on Old Testament prophecy is caveat emptor ("buyer beware"). Read all commentaries like the Bereans (Acts 17:11-note).

(2) Study the context which is always "king" in interpretation (don't take verses out of context.)

(3) Passages addressed to Israel should be interpreted as directed to the literal nation of Israel and should not be interpreted as addressed to the NT Church, an entity not mentioned in the Old Testament. The promises of Jehovah to the nation of Israel (e.g., see Millennial Promises) remain valid (Jer 31:35, 36, 37, Nu 23:19, Lk 21:33) and have not been passed on to the NT Church because Israel has "defaulted" (See study Israel of God). Remember that while Scripture has only one correct interpretation, there can be many legitimate applications (See Application), and therefore the OT prophetic books are extremely applicable in the lives of NT believers.

(4) Scripture is always the best commentary on Scripture. While an attempt has been made to list resources that adhere to these basic interpretative guidelines, not all the works listed in these collections have been read in detail. Therefore should you discover a resource you feel is NOT conservative and/or orthodox, please email your concerns.

Related Resources:

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. See this list of the best Commentaries on the Book of Micah
  2. Allen, Leslie C., The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1976, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (One of the top 5 Commentaries on the Book of Micah)
  3. Baker, Warren; Carpenter, Eugene E., The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament, AMG Publishers, 2003.
  4. Barker, Kenneth L.: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah- An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (New American Commentary) Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers., 2001, 1999
  5. Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible Notes on Micah, 2006 (also synchronizes with Constable's notes)
  6. Constable, Thomas, Expository Notes on Micah 1-7
  7. Davis, Dale Ralph, A Study Commentary on Micah, Evangelical Press, 2010
  8. Gilbrant, Thoralf - The Complete Biblical Library Old and New Testament
  9. Goins, Doug - Do Justice; Love Kindness
  10. Guzik, David - Micah 6 Commentary
  11. Harris, R. Laird; Archer, Gleason L., Jr.; Waltke, Bruce K.: Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT); Moody Press, 2003
  12. Kaiser, W. C.: The Preacher's Commentary Series, Volume 23: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi: Thomas Nelson Inc., 1992.
  13. Hindson, Ed and Kroll, Woodrow: King James Version Bible Commentary Nashville: Thomas Nelson; 2005.
  14. Martin, John The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Old Testament) Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  15. McComiskey, Thomas: The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 7- Daniel and the Minor Prophets
  16. McComiskey, Thomas Edward: The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expository Commentary, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI, 2009
  17. MacKay, John L., Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah (Focus on the Bible Commentary), Christian Focus Publications, 2008.
  18. McGee, J Vernon Micah Commentary - Thru the Bible Commentary (Mp3's format only)
  19. Patterson, Richard D.; Hill, Andrew E: Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 10: Minor Prophets, Hosea–Malachi, Tyndale House Publishers, 2008
  20. Phillips, John, Exploring the Minor Prophets. Kregel, 2002
  21. Swanson, James: A Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains- Hebrew
  22. Waltke, Bruce - A Commentary on Micah- Eerdmans Publishing - Jan, 2007
  23. Wiersbe, Warren: Be Concerned (Micah)- Making a Difference in Your Lifetime. David C Cook. 2010
  24. Wiseman, Donald J.; Alexander, T. Desmond; Waltke, Bruce K., Obadiah, Jonah and Micah: an introduction and commentary, InterVarsity Press, 1988,Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries

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