Micah 6

God has a quarrel with Israel's people

1 Now listen to what the Lord says:

‘Stand up! Explain in front of the mountains what I want to say.

Speak loud so that the hills can hear your voice.

6:1God wants both the highest and lowest places on earth to hear him speak against his people. He tells Micah to speak as if he is in a court of law. This is a place where people judge what is right and wrong.

2 Listen, you mountains.

Hear this, you strong places that have always been there deep in the earth.

The Lord has a quarrel with Israel's people.

Hear the reasons why the Lord is angry with you, his people.’

3 ‘My people, what bad thing have I done to you?’ God asks.

‘How have I made you tired of me?

Answer me.

4 I brought you out of Egypt.

You were slaves in that country,

but I made you free people.

I sent Moses to lead you,

and Aaron and Miriam with him.

5 My people, please remember the bad things that King Balak of Moab tried to do.

And remember what Balaam, Beor's son, answered him.

6:5King Balak asked Balaam to speak bad words to God's people. He wanted them to have trouble. But God made Balaam speak only good words. (See Numbers 22-24.)

Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal.

6:5Shittim was on the east side of the Jordan River. Gilgal was on the west side. The river was very full of water when God's people needed to cross it. So God made a path through the water for them to cross the river. (See Joshua 3-4.)

Then you will remember that I, the Lord, do good things.’

What God wants from his people

6 ‘I come to meet with the Lord,’ you say.

6:6Micah speaks as one man, on behalf of Israel's people. They want to give gifts to God. They will give anything that God wants. They will try to pay for what they have done wrong. Some people wanted to kill and burn a child as a way to give him to God. We know that God certainly does not want this.

‘I must know what to bring when I come.

I bend down to worship him.

I must know what to offer when I bend down.

He is God and he is greater than everything.

Perhaps he would like it if I burn young cows one year old for him.

7 He might be happy with thousands of male sheep,

or ten thousand rivers of olive oil.

I have not obeyed God.

I might even kill and burn my oldest son, because of that.

I have done wrong things and I must pay God for that.

Perhaps, if I give my own child to him, that will be enough to pay.’

8 But God has told us what is good. This is what the Lord wants from us:

6:8Micah replies on God's behalf. God wanted the people to obey him. He did not really want other gifts from them.

‘You must be fair to other people,’ God says.

‘You must want to be kind.

6:8Micah uses a special word for ‘kind’. It means to be a friend. And not to stop, whatever happens.

And you must be careful to do what I show you.’

God will punish people that are not honest

9 The Lord shouts to the people in the city of Jerusalem.

So it is good for us to listen carefully to what he says.

‘Listen to me, because I have the authority to punish you,’ God says.

10 ‘You bad people still hide valuable things that you have taken from other people.

I will not forget this.

You bad people use false weights to measure the food that you sell.

I hate that.

11 I will not excuse you people who use false weights.

You are not being honest if you weigh things like that.

12 You rich people in the city are very cruel.

Everyone there says things that are not true.

All of them speak false words.

13 So I will make you so sick that you will never get well.

I have begun to destroy you because you have done bad things.

14 You will eat, but you will still feel hungry.

You will store things and you will try to keep them safe.

But you will fail to save them.

I will cause enemies to destroy all your things in the war.

15 You will plant seeds,

but you will not bring in the harvest.

You will crush olives,

but you will not use the olive oil for yourselves.

6:15Olives are small fruits that people crush to make oil.

You will crush grapes,

but you will not drink the wine from them.

16 You have obeyed the rules of King Omri.

You have done what King Ahab and all his people did.

6:16Omri and his son, Ahab, were bad kings. They lived in Israel many years before Micah spoke these words.

You have copied their wicked ideas.

So I must destroy you and all your things completely.

Then people from other countries will not be kind or polite to you.

Instead, they will make you ashamed.’