A Lament for Samaria and Jerusalem
1 1 The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Mo'resheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezeki'ah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Sama'ria and Jerusalem. 2 Hear, you peoples, all of you; hearken, O earth, and all that is in it; and let the Lord GOD be a witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. 3 For behold, the Lord is coming forth out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. 4 And the mountains will melt under him and the valleys will be cleft, like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place. 5 All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Sama'ria? And what is the sin of the house of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem? 6 Therefore I will make Sama'ria a heap in the open country, a place for planting vineyards; and I will pour down her stones into the valley, and uncover her foundations. 7 All her images shall be beaten to pieces, all her hires shall be burned with fire, and all her idols I will lay waste; for from the hire of a harlot she gathered them, and to the hire of a harlot they shall return.
8 For this I will lament and wail; I will go stripped and naked; I will make lamentation like the jackals, and mourning like the ostriches. 9 For her wound is incurable; and it has come to Judah, it has reached to the gate of my people, to Jerusalem. 10 Tell it not in Gath, weep not at all; in Beth-le-aph'rah roll yourselves in the dust. 11 Pass on your way, inhabitants of Shaphir, in nakedness and shame; the inhabitants of Za'anan do not come forth; the wailing of Beth-e'zel shall take away from you its standing place. 12 For the inhabitants of Maroth wait anxiously for good, because evil has come down from the Lord to the gate of Jerusalem. 13 Harness the steeds to the chariots, inhabitants of Lachish; you were the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion, for in you were found the transgressions of Israel. 14 Therefore you shall give parting gifts to Mo'resheth-gath; the houses of Achzib shall be a deceitful thing to the kings of Israel. 15 I will again bring a conqueror upon you, inhabitants of Mare'shah; the glory of Israel shall come to Adullam. 16 Make yourselves bald and cut off your hair, for the children of your delight; make yourselves as bald as the eagle, for they shall go from you into exile.
Woe to Those Who Oppress the Poor
2 1 Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil upon their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in the power of their hand. 2 They covet fields, and seize them; and houses, and take them away; they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance. 3 Therefore thus says the Lord: Behold, against this family I am devising evil, from which you cannot remove your necks; and you shall not walk haughtily, for it will be an evil time. 4 In that day they shall take up a taunt song against you, and wail with bitter lamentation, and say, "We are utterly ruined; he changes the portion of my people; how he removes it from me! Among our captors he divides our fields." 5 Therefore you will have none to cast the line by lot in the assembly of the Lord.
6 "Do not preach" --thus they preach--"one should not preach of such things; disgrace will not overtake us." 7 Should this be said, O house of Jacob? Is the Spirit of the Lord impatient? Are these his doings? Do not my words do good to him who walks uprightly? 8 But you rise against my people as an enemy; you strip the robe from the peaceful, from those who pass by trustingly with no thought of war. 9 The women of my people you drive out from their pleasant houses; from their young children you take away my glory for ever. 10 Arise and go, for this is no place to rest; because of uncleanness that destroys with a grievous destruction. 11 If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, "I will preach to you of wine and strong drink," he would be the preacher for this people!
12 I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob, I will gather the remnant of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men. 13 He who opens the breach will go up before them; they will break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king will pass on before them, the Lord at their head.
Israel's Leaders Denounced
3 1 And I said: Hear, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel! Is it not for you to know justice? -- 2 you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people, and their flesh from off their bones; 3 who eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and break their bones in pieces, and chop them up like meat in a kettle, like flesh in a caldron. 4 Then they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil. 5 Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry "Peace" when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths. 6 Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without divination. The sun shall go down upon the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; 7 the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame; they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer from God.
8 But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. 9 Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity, 10 who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with wrong. 11 Its heads give judgment for a bribe, its priests teach for hire, its prophets divine for money; yet they lean upon the Lord and say, "Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No evil shall come upon us." 12 Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.
The LORD's Universal Reign
4 1 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, 2 and many nations shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 3 He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; 4 but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. 5 For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.
Israel's Redemption from Captivity
6 In that day, says the Lord, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away, and those whom I have afflicted; 7 and the lame I will make the remnant; and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and for evermore.
8 And you, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. 9 Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished, that pangs have seized you like a woman in travail? 10 Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail; for now you shall go forth from the city and dwell in the open country; you shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued, there the Lord will redeem you from the hand of your enemies. 11 Now many nations are assembled against you, saying, "Let her be profaned, and let our eyes gaze upon Zion." 12 But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord, they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor. 13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron and your hoofs bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples, and shall devote their gain to the Lord, their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.
The Rule of the Deliverer from Bethlehem
5 1 Now you are walled about with a wall; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike upon the cheek the ruler of Israel. 2 But you, O Bethlehem Eph'rathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. 3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in travail has brought forth; then the rest of his brethren shall return to the people of Israel. 4 And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. 5 And this shall be peace, when the Assyrian comes into our land and treads upon our soil, that we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men; 6 they shall rule the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword; and they shall deliver us from the Assyrian when he comes into our land and treads within our border.
7 Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers upon the grass, which tarry not for men nor wait for the sons of men. 8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver. 9 Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off. 10 And in that day, says the Lord, I will cut off your horses from among you and will destroy your chariots; 11 and I will cut off the cities of your land and throw down all your strongholds; 12 and I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no more soothsayers; 13 and I will cut off your images and your pillars from among you, and you shall bow down no more to the work of your hands; 14 and I will root out your Ashe'rim from among you and destroy your cities. 15 And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance upon the nations that did not obey.
The LORD's Controversy with Israel
6 1 Hear what the Lord says: Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. 2 Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel. 3 "O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me! 4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of bondage; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5 O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Be'or answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the Lord."
What the LORD Requires
6 "With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" 8 He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city--and it is sound wisdom to fear thy name: "Hear, O tribe and assembly of the city! 10 Can I forget the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12 Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. 13 Therefore I have begun to smite you, making you desolate because of your sins. 14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger in your inward parts; you shall put away, but not save, and what you save I will give to the sword. 15 You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine. 16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels; that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing; so you shall bear the scorn of the peoples."
Israel's Moral Corruption
7 1 Woe is me! For I have become as when the summer fruit has been gathered, as when the vintage has been gleaned: there is no cluster to eat, no first-ripe fig which my soul desires. 2 The godly man has perished from the earth, and there is none upright among men; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts his brother with a net. 3 Their hands are upon what is evil, to do it diligently; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. 4 The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge. The day of their watchmen, of their punishment, has come; now their confusion is at hand. 5 Put no trust in a neighbor, have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom; 6 for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.
7 But as for me, I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
The LORD Brings Light and Deliverance
8 Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. 9 I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I shall behold his deliverance. 10 Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, "Where is the Lord your God?" My eyes will gloat over her; now she will be trodden down like the mire of the streets. 11 A day for the building of your walls! In that day the boundary shall be far extended. 12 In that day they will come to you, from Assyria to Egypt, and from Egypt to the River, from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain. 13 But the earth will be desolate because of its inhabitants, for the fruit of their doings.
The LORD's Compassion on Israel
14 Shepherd thy people with thy staff, the flock of thy inheritance, who dwell alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old. 15 As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt I will show them marvelous things. 16 The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; they shall lay their hands on their mouths; their ears shall be deaf; 17 they shall lick the dust like a serpent, like the crawling things of the earth; they shall come trembling out of their strongholds, they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God, and they shall fear because of thee. 18 Who is a God like thee, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger for ever because he delights in steadfast love. 19 He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot. Thou wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. 20 Thou wilt show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as thou hast sworn to our fathers from the days of old.