Micah 3:5-12

Micah 3:5-12
Ordinary A49


Thus says the LordA concerning the prophetsB
    who lead my peopleC astray,D

Notes on verse 5a

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “prophets” = nabi. This is prophet, prophecy, speaker, or someone inspired.
C “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
D “lead…astray” = taah. This is to wander, deceive, seduce, vacillate. It is to stray in a literal or figurative sense.

who cryE “Peace”F
    when they have somethingG to eat,H, I

Notes on verse 5b

E “cry” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
F “peace” = shalom. From shalam (to be complete or sound; to have safety mentally, physically, or extending to one’s estate; so, if these things are safe and complete, the implication is that one would be friendly; and, if being friendly, one would make amends and that friendship would be reciprocated). This is completeness, soundness, welfare, favor, friend, good health. It is to be safe and figuratively well, happy, at peace, friendly. Abstractly, it includes the ideas of welfare and prosperity (not in excessive wealth, but in having enough).
G “something” = shen. From shaman (to sharpen, point, pierce; figuratively to teach). This is a tooth, ivory, something sharp, or, figuratively, a cliff.
H “eat” = nashak. 16x in OT. This is bite or sting as from a snake. Figuratively, it is lending with interest.
I Literally “while they chew with their teeth.”

but declareJ warK against those
    who put nothing into their mouths.L

Notes on verse 5c

J “declare” = qadash. From qodesh (set apart and so sacred; God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart; things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy). This is set apart, consecrated, hallowed, sanctified. This is something or someone that is set apart for a holy purpose or use – ceremonially or morally clean.
K “war” = milchamah. From lacham (to eat or feed on; figuratively, to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction). This is battle, war, fighting, or one who fights (i.e. a warrior).
L “mouths” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.

Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision,M
    and darkness to you, without revelation.N
The sunO shall go down upon the prophets,
    and the day shall be blackP over them;

Notes on verse 6

M “vision” = chazon. From chazah (to gaze at – to see or behold; perceiving as a mental process or looking at something with pleasure; seeing a vision). This is a vision or a sight. It could be a dream, oracle, or revelation.
N “revelation” = qasam. From qesem (a lot, oracle, divination, witchcraft, or a divine decision); from qasam (to conjure, divine, be a soothsayer; to determine something using lots or magical scrolls). This is to divine, conjure, distribute. It is to figure out though a lot or by using a magical scroll.
O “sun” = shemesh. This is sun or toward the east. Its root may mean being brilliant. Figuratively, this could be a ray or an arch.
P “be black” = qadar. 17x in OT. This is to be dark, grow black. It can be ashy or otherwise having a dark color. It can also imply mourning, wearing sackcloth.

the seersQ shall be disgraced,R
    and the divinersS put to shame;T

Notes on verse 7a

Q “seers” = chozeh. Related to “vision” in v6. From chazah (see note M above). This is seer, prophet, or agreement. It is one who behold a vision or an agreement that the parties see approvingly.
R “be disgraced” = bosh. Properly, this means to be pale, which implies shame, disappointment, or confusion.
S “diviners” = qasam. Same as “revelation” in v6. See note N above.
T “put to shame” = chapher. 17x in OT. Perhaps from the same as chaphar (properly to pry into; to dig search for, sink, or explore). This is to be ashamed, disgraced, embarrassed, confounded – to blush.

they shall all coverU their lips,V
    for there is no answer from God.W

Notes on verse 7b

U “cover” = atah. 17x in OT. This is to wrap, cover, veil, be clad, turn aside.
V “lips” = sapham. 5x in OT. From the same as saphah (lip, edge, brim, language, shore, words); probably from saphah (to sweep away, capture, destroy, add, join, shave, scrape, scatter, ruin) or shaphah (to stick, sweep bare). This is beard, mustache, mouth, or upper lip.
W “God” = Elohim.

But as for me, I am filledX with power,Y
    with the spiritZ of the Lord,
    and with justiceAA and might,BB

Notes on verse 8a

X “filled” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.
Y “power” = koach. Root may mean to be firm. This is power, strength, force. It can be literal or figurative, positive or negative. It can also mean capacity or means – what something produces. Additionally, it could refer to some kind of small reptile.
Z “spirit” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
AA “justice” = mishpat. From shaphat (to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, govern). This is a verdict or formal sentence whether from humans or from God. It includes the act of judging as well as the place that judging takes place, the suit itself, and the penalty. Abstractly, this is justice, which includes the rights of the participants.
BB “might” = geburah. From gabar (to be strong or mighty; to prevail or be insolent). This is force in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be strength, power, courage, triumph, victory, or mastery.

to declare to JacobCC his transgressionDD
    and to IsraelEE his sin.FF

Notes on verse 8b

CC “Jacob” = yaaqob. From the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.
DD “transgression” = pesha. From pasha (to rebel, offend, quarrel; making a break from proper authority so can also refer to an apostate). This is transgression, rebellion, or sin. It could be a revolt on a national scale or an individual moral one.
EE “Israel” = yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
FF “sin” = chatta’ah. From chata’ (to miss or go wrong and so to sin, bear the blame; it can also include the sense of forfeiting or lacking). This is sin itself as well as punishment for sin. It is sometimes used specifically to refer to sin that is habitual.

HearGG, HH this, you rulersII of the houseJJ of Jacob
    and chiefsKK of the house of Israel,

Notes on verse 9a

GG “hear” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
HH {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
II “rulers” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).
JJ “house” = bayit. Probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
KK “chiefs” = qatsin. 12x in OT. Perhaps from qatsah (to cut off, cut short; figuratively, to destroy). This is chief, captain, ruler, commander. It is a decisionmaker like a magistrate.

who abhorLL justice
    and pervertMM all equity,NN

Notes on verse 9b

LL “abhor” = taab. From toebah (abomination, loathsome, something morally disgusting or abhorrent). This is to abhor, despise, to reject, to act abominably.
MM “pervert” = aqash. 5x in OT. This is to twist, knot, distort. It is to act in a perverse manner.
NN “equity” = yashar. From yashar (to be straight, right, even, smooth, or agreeable; figuratively, to make something pleasant or prosperous). This is straight, right, level. Also, it is pleasing, whether pleasing God or pleasing other people. So, it is upright or righteous.

10 who buildOO ZionPP with bloodQQ
    and JerusalemRR with wrong!SS

Notes on verse 10

OO “build” = banah. Related to “house” in v9. See note II above.
PP “Zion” = tsiyyon. Related to tsiyyun (signpost, monument); from tsavah (to charge someone, to command, order); from the same as tsiyyah (dryness drought); from a root meaning parched as desert, dry land. Zion can refer to a mountain in Jerusalem as well as another name for Jerusalem itself or the people.
QQ “blood” = dam. Perhaps from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, die). This is blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death. It is used for people and animals. More often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent. Used figuratively for violence or for wine. Closely tied to life and death.
RR “Jerusalem” = yerushalaim. Perhaps related to “peace” in v5. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach) + shalam (see note F above). This is Jerusalem, dwelling of peace.
SS “wrong” = evel. Perhaps from aval (to deal unjustly, act in a wrongful way, a wrongdoer). This is injustice, wrong, moral evil, acts of violence, or unrighteousness.

11 Its rulers give judgmentTT for a bribe,UU
    its priests teachVV for a price,WW

Notes on verse 11a

TT “give judgment” = shaphat. Related to “justice” in v8. See note Z above.
UU “bribe” = shochad. From shachad (to give a present, reward, or bribe; to donate or hire). This is a present, reward, or bribe. It is some kind of donation positive or negative.
VV “teach” = yarah. Related to “Jerusalem” in v10. See note QQ above.
WW “price” = mechir. 15x in OT. From the same as machar (tomorrow or later; deferred time; indefinitely or the time to come); perhaps from achar (to be behind, delay, be late, procrastinate, continue) OR the root may mean to buy. This is price, payment, wage, sale, cost, or worth.

    its prophets give oraclesXX for money;YY
yet they leanZZ upon the Lord and say,
    “SurelyAAA the Lord is withBBB us!
    No harmCCC shall come upon us.”

Notes on verse 11b

XX “give oracles” = qasam. Same as “revelation” in v6. See note N above.
YY “money” = keseph. From kasaph (to long for, be greedy; to become pale). This is silver or money.
ZZ “lean” = shaan. This is to lean or support oneself. So, it can mean to rely or trust.
AAA “surely” = lo. Literally “is not.”
BBB “with” = qereb. Perhaps from qarab (to come near or approach). This is among, in the midst, before, the center It is the inward part, whether literal or figurative. It can also be used for the heart, the site of thoughts and feelings. This word is also used as a technical term for the entrails of the animals who are sacrificed.
CCCC “harm” = ra’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.

12 Therefore because of you
    Zion shall be plowedDDD as a field;EEE
Jerusalem shall become a heapFFF of ruins,
    and the mountain of the house a woodedGGG height.HHH

Notes on verse 12

DDD “plowed” = charash. This is to scratch, which implies etching or plowing. It can mean to manufacture regardless of materials used. Figuratively, it can be to devise or conceal. It can also have a sense of secrecy. Hence, being silent or left alone. It can also be speechless.
EEE “field” = sadeh. This is literally field, ground, soil, or land. It is used to mean wild like a wild animal.
FFF “heap” = i. 4x in OT. From avah (to bend, twist, be amiss). This is a ruin or a heap as a place that was overturned.
GGG “wooded” = ya’ar. This is honeycomb, forest, thicket. Root may mean thick with green growth. It is a forest as a place where one would find honeycomb.
HHH “height” = bamah. The root might mean being high. This is height, wave, or elevation.

Image credit: “Micah Exhorts the Israelites to Repent (Micah 7:1-20)” from “Dore’s English Bible” by Gustav Dore, 1866

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