About this book
God told Micah to speak to Israel's people (the
When Micah was alive, the country of Israel was two separate parts. The name of the north part was Israel and the name of the south part was
In this book, Micah tells Israel's people that God is angry with them. God is angry because they have refused to obey him. So, he will cause enemies to attack them. But Micah also speaks about what God has promised. God has promised to save his people in the end.
In most of this book, Micah speaks God's words to the people. But sometimes he speaks to God on behalf of the people, and sometimes he speaks for himself.
Verse 1 Israel's capital city was Samaria, and
God will destroy Samaria city
Hear this, everyone who lives on the earth!
You have done what is wrong. That is why he will speak against you.
He will speak from his special house.
He will come to the high places (where you
He will destroy those places when he comes.
like wax melts near a fire.
The valleys will break too.
They will move like water when it rushes down a hill.
Verse 4 To melt means to become soft and like water.
Wax is something that people use to mend things. They use wax also to make candles, which they burn to give light. Insects called bees make wax.
These things will happen because Israel's people have done wrong things.
You may ask who has caused this.
It is the leaders in your capital cities,
Samaria city and Jerusalem city.
They have kept the high places there for people to offer gifts to false gods.
'I will destroy Samaria so that just a few stones are lying in the fields there.
Then people will plant vines in that place.
I will throw the stones from the city down into the valley,
when I completely destroy all the buildings.
I will burn all the gifts that the people brought for those false gods.
The people have paid so that they could have sex with bad women in those places.
Your enemies will come and they will take away this money.
They will give it to their gods in the same way.'
Verses 1-7 We think that Micah spoke these words at some time before 722
Verse 6 Vines or grapevines are plants that climb. They have small, sweet fruits called grapes.
Micah is sad for the people in Israel and
I will walk about without shoes or clothes.
I will scream like a wild dog,
and I will cry like a bird in the night.
And the same will happen also to
The enemies have already reached the gates of my people, that is, Jerusalem itself.
Verse 9 Wounds are places on someone's body where someone or something has hurt them.
Do not even weep there.
But you people at Beth Leaphrah,
roll on the ground to show how sad you are.
Your enemies will not let you wear any clothes while they take you away.
So you will be ashamed.
The people who live in Zaanan will be afraid to leave their city.
The people at Bethezel will cry because nobody comes to help them.
They were waiting and hoping for something good.
He brought trouble even to the gates of Jerusalem.
You were the first people in
You are exactly like Israel's people, because, like them, you refused to obey God.
because they must go away.
The houses in Achzib town will disappoint the kings of Israel.
to fight your town. And it will win.
And Israel's leaders will need to hide at Adullam.
Make yourselves bald like vultures,
because you will be very sad.
Your enemies will take your children away.
They will take your children, whom you love so much, away to another country!
Verses 10-15 In these verses, Micah says the names of towns and villages near his home, Moresheth Gath. Enemies from another country will come and fight against them. These verses may tell how Assyria's people attacked
Verse 14 The kings of Israel will get no help from Achzib town, because enemies will destroy the town.
Verse 16 In those days, people often cut off all their hair to show that they were very sad. Vultures are large birds with bald heads.
God says that bad things will happen to the bad people
People who prepare to do bad things should be afraid.
God will do bad things to them!
While they lie in bed, they think about bad things to do.
Then, when the morning comes, they do those bad things.
They have the authority to do whatever they want to do.
When they want houses, they take them.
These cruel people take other people's homes and fields;
then those people's families have nothing.
'I am against you.
You cannot save yourselves.
I will prepare trouble for you.
Then you will stop thinking that you are so very clever and important.
It will be a time of much trouble for you.
They will sing this sad song on your behalf:
God has completely destroyed us!
We no longer have any fields, because God has taken them away from us.
He has given them to our enemies, who have turned away from what is right.
you will get none.
You will have nobody to speak on your behalf.'
Verse 5 At certain times, the people measured their fields again. They used stones with marks on them to decide about the fields. Micah says that God is against the bad people. So, God will never let them get any fields again in future times.
Do not say that we will have trouble.
God will not make us ashamed!'
Verse 6 To prophesy means to speak (God's) messages, often about future events.
God does not do bad things.
My (God's) words do good things.
He is kind to people who do the right things.
you have become enemies among my people', God says.
'You rob people of their coats when they pass by.
Even men who thought that they were safe now.
You even rob men who are returning home from war.
You take away their happy homes.
So, you take away what I want their children to enjoy.
You cannot remain in this place because you have made it bad.
It is so bad that it will completely destroy you.
They might say that you would have plenty of
That is the message that you would like!'
Verse 11 Micah spoke true messages from God. But other people were speaking false messages. They spoke words that made the bad people happy. In this verse, God is saying that the bad people should listen to Micah.
God promises to bring his people back together
I will bring back together all Israel's people who remain.
I will put all of you together like sheep in a field with a wall round it.
You will be like a field full of sheep.
There will be a loud noise because there will be so many of you.
Then you will go out through the gate.
I am the
In verses 1-11, God says that he will kill the bad people in Israel. He will bring enemies to fight them.
In verses 12-13, God promises to bring the poor and good people to a safe place. This may mean Jerusalem. Then, when their enemies have gone away, he will lead them out of that place. They will return to their homes.
Micah speaks against the bad leaders of Israel
Listen to me, I said.
You are the leaders of
you are the rulers of Israel.
You ought to know what is right or wrong.
And you love what is bad.
You would like to tear the skin off my people,
and pull the meat from their bones.
They strip the skin off an animal and they break its bones.
Then they cut the meat into pieces and they cook it in a pot.
They are happy when they eat the meat.
but he will not answer you.
Instead, God will turn away from you at that time,
because you have done those bad things.
You will not see anything.
You will no longer be able to see what will happen in future times.
The sun will go down over you
and the day will become dark for you.
But you will be ashamed.
And you try to tell what will happen in future times.
But I will confuse you.
All of you will hide your faces because I will not answer you.'
He helps me to know what is right and fair.
He makes me brave so that I can speak to you,
I can tell you what you have done wrong.
You are Israel's people,
but you have not obeyed God.
In verses 1-7, Micah speaks on God's behalf, but in verse 8, he speaks for himself.
You are Israel's rulers.
But you never do what is right and fair.
You take what is good.
And you make it seem bad.
But you are cruel, and you kill honest people.
Verse 10 The rulers did bad things. They were ready to kill anyone who tried to stop them. They did whatever they wanted to do. Also, the rulers made the people work very much. Many people may have died because they worked so much.
Then you decide what is right or wrong.
You listen to the people who give the money to you.
Then they tell you what to decide.
You priests teach only if the people pay you to teach.
But you only speak if you receive money.
But all of you, the leaders, still say that you believe the
I will make
I will destroy Jerusalem so that only stones are lying there.
Weeds and bushes will grow all over the hill where they built my house.'
Verse 11 A priest was a man that God chose. God chose him to be his special servant and to teach the people.
the mountain where the
It will be the most important of all the mountains.
It will be higher than the hills,
and people from many countries will go to it.
'Come! We will go up to the
'We will go to the
He will teach us what he wants us to do.
He will show us the right way; so then we will be able to obey him.
He will send out his message from Jerusalem.'
He will cause strong countries everywhere to stop fighting each other.
They fight with
But then, they will use hammers to make their
They will make their spears into tools to cut plants.
One country will not fight another country any longer.
They will never prepare for war again.
Nobody will make them afraid any longer.
But we will be servants of the
We will obey him always.
Verse 3 A spear is a long piece of wood or metal with a sharp point at the end. Soldiers used spears to fight.
Verse 4 Micah says that everyone in the world will feel safe and happy at this future time. There will be no more wars, and they will have plenty of food.
Vines or grapevines are plants that climb. They have small, sweet fruits called grapes. Figs are sweet fruits.
God will make Israel and Jerusalem strong again
'At that time I will bring together the people who cannot walk well.
I will bring back the people that I sent away.
I caused trouble for those people,
but I will bring them back together.
Together with some of those people that I sent far away,
I will make them my own special people.
They will be strong,
and I will rule over them from
I will be their king from that time and always.
it was a strong, safe place for
It was like a tall building,
from which a man can watch over his sheep.
Then it will again be a place where a king rules with great authority.'
you are crying aloud like people who have no king.
You cry like people who have nobody to advise them.
You have bad pains like a woman who is giving birth to a baby.
Verse 9 To advise someone means to tell them what they should do. This verse says that the king in Jerusalem had failed to rule the people well. He had not asked God to show him what to do. So, the people were very sad and afraid.
like a woman who is giving birth to a baby.
She rolls about and she screams with pain.
Soon you will have to leave your city and you will have to live in the fields.
You will have to go to Babylon,
but there the
He will make you free again from the authority of your enemies.
They say: 'We will destroy Jerusalem and we will enjoy ourselves.
We want to see
They do not understand how he will
He will bring them together,
as people bring bundles of wheat together at
as people thresh wheat to get the seeds out.
'Hit them like people thresh the wheat.
I will make you very strong.
Then you will be like dangerous animals with iron horns and metal feet.
You will beat enemies from many countries,
The people from those countries became rich,
because they did bad things.
But you will bring their riches to me,
because I am the
Verses 9-13 These verses tell what will happen to Jerusalem and Israel in future days. They tell about enemies who will come soon (from Assyria). And they tell about enemies who will come later (from Babylon). But they tell also how God will save his people.
Verse 12 A bundle is many things that people have tied together (like wheat plants).
Verses 12-13 Wheat is a kind of plant that people grow on farms. They use the seeds to make flour for bread. To thresh means to hit bundles of wheat on the ground to get the seeds out.
Verse 13 Horns are things like sticks that grow on the top of some animals' heads, like cows and some sheep. Horns have points at their ends.
The ruler that God chooses will be born in Bethlehem
Get ready, because your enemies are attacking you.
They are all round the city, ready to fight.
They will hit Israel's ruler on his face with a stick.
Verse 1 This verse tells us again about the enemies who were coming to fight against Jerusalem. They will hit the king on his face, because they will almost win the war. This will show that they have authority over him. (An army from Assyria attacked Jerusalem in 701
'Bethlehem Ephrathah is only a little town,
among all the many towns in
'But I will choose someone who is born there.
He will rule Israel for me.
Long, long ago, I prepared for him to come.'
Verse 2 tells people that the birth of the ruler will be in Bethlehem, a very small town. Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem.
until the time that the woman gives birth to this baby in Bethlehem.
Then this ruler's own people who are still alive will return to Israel.
He will supply what his people need.
He will be like a man who supplies everything for his sheep.
He will rule with authority from the
and his people will be safe.
So then, all over the world, people will know that he is great.
so that they have no trouble.
Assyria's soldiers will come to attack our country.
They will march through our large, strong buildings.
Then we will choose seven or eight leaders to fight against them.
They will beat the people in the country called Nimrod with
Assyria's soldiers will come into our country.
They will march across our borders,
but our ruler will save us from them.
Verse 5 'Seven or eight leaders' means 'as many leaders as we need'. The idea is that Israel will have more than enough leaders to beat their enemy at that time.
Verse 6 Nimrod is another name for Assyria. (Genesis 10:8-11 says that Nimrod was a strong hunter. He lived in the same place as Assyria, but many years earlier.)
God's people will be strong again
They will be everywhere,
like water on the ground in the early morning,
or rain on the grass.
but no human person can make it stay.
They will become like a dangerous lion among the other animals in the forest.
They will become like a young lion among people's sheep.
The lion attacks other animals.
It knocks them down and it tears them in pieces.
Nobody can save them.
You will kill all of them.
Verses 7-8 These verses tell about the future time when God's people will be strong again. This time is the 'last days', as in Chapter 4:1.
A lion is a big wild cat. It kills other animals and it eats them.
God wants people to obey him
I will destroy your
I will knock down all your strong buildings.
But I will destroy the things that you use to talk to them.
You will have nobody to tell you about future times.
But I will destroy all of them.
You will stop
but I will pull her poles from the ground.
I will even destroy your cities.
I will show them that I am very angry with them.'
Verse 14 Asherah was the mother-god of the people called Canaanites. Israel's people took their country from the Canaanites and they lived there. They learned to
Verse 13 An idol is a thing that people have made from stone, wood or metal. Then they
Verse 14 A pole is a tall stick that someone has made out of wood.
God has a quarrel with Israel's people
'Stand up! Explain in front of the mountains what I want to say.
Speak loud so that the hills can hear your voice.
Hear this, you strong places that have always been there deep in the earth.
God has a quarrel with Israel's people.
Hear the reasons why God is angry with you, his people.'
Verses 1-2 God wants both the highest and lowest places on earth to hear him speak against his people. He tells Micah to speak as in a law-court. A law-court is a place where people with authority decide what is right and fair. The laws (rules) of the country tell them what is right or wrong.
'How have I made you tired of me?
You were slaves in that country,
but I made you free people.
I sent Moses to lead you,
and Aaron and Miriam with him.
And remember what Balaam, Beor's son, answered him.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal.
Then you will remember that I, the
Verse 5 King 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 chapters 22-24.)
Shittim was on the east side of the River Jordan. 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 chapters 3-4.)
What God wants from his people
'I must know what to bring when I come.
I bend down to
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.
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.'
Verses 6-7 In these verses Micah 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.
Verse 7 Olives are small fruits that people
'You must be fair to other people', God says.
'You must want to be kind.
And you must be careful to do what I show you.'
Verse 8 In this verse, Micah replies on God's behalf. God wanted the people to obey him. He did not really want other gifts from them. Micah uses a special word for 'kind'. It means to be a friend. And not to stop, whatever happens.
punish people that are not honest
So, it is good for us to listen carefully to what he says.
'Listen to me, because I have the authority to
I will not forget this.
You bad people use false weights to measure the food that you sell.
You are not being honest if you weigh things like that.
Everyone there says things that are not true.
All of them speak false words.
I have begun to destroy you because you have done bad things.
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.
but you will not bring in the
but you will not use the olive oil for yourselves.
but you will not drink the
You have done what King Ahab and all his people did.
You have copied their bad example.
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.'
Verse 16 Omri and his son, Ahab, were bad kings. They lived in Israel many years before Micah spoke these words.
Verse 15 Olives are small fruits that people
Israel's people are very bad, but Micah still believes God
I am like someone who comes to trees with no fruit on them.
Other people have picked the fruit already.
So, I am like those people who can only pick the last
Those are the
Really, there are no
There are none of the first figs that I like so much.
There are no good, honest people.
Everyone is waiting to kill someone else.
They are all like hunters, who try to catch each other.
Rulers demand gifts and judges ask for money.
Powerful bad people always get what they want.
All these people work together to do what is bad.
The most honest of them are worse than thorn bushes.
The bad time that your
Soon God will
and you will be confused.
Verse 1 Figs are small, sweet fruits.
Verse 3 A judge is someone with authority to decide what is right or fair.
Verse 4 Thorns are the sharp, hard points on some plants. Micah says that the bad people are like plants with thorns. He means that they are always ready to cause trouble for other people.
You cannot be sure that your friend will always be honest with you.
Be careful what you say to your wife.
Be careful even when you are hugging her.
And daughters refuse to obey their mothers.
Wives quarrel with their husbands' mothers.
A man's enemies are the people who live in his own house now.
I will wait for God, who saves me.
I know that he hears me.
Israel's enemies will be ashamed
I have fallen down, but I will get up.
I am in the dark, but the
so he is angry with me.
He will continue to
until the time when he speaks for me.
Then he will make things right for me.
He will bring me out into the light.
He always does what is really right.
And I will see that then.
They will see what God does for me.
Then they will be very ashamed.
And I will see the bad things that happen to them.
Soon other people will
Then they will be like wet ground in the streets under people's feet.
Verses 8-10 Here Micah speaks on behalf of
Jerusalem city will be great again
You will make the borders of your country much wider then.
People will come to you from the countries between Egypt and the River Euphrates.
They will come to you from all over the earth,
from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.
God will destroy them because of the people who live there.
Those people have done what is bad.
Micah talks to God
You are like a man who leads his sheep.
He uses a strong stick to lead them.
We are your own special people.
We are like a group of sheep that lives by itself in a forest.
There is good grass all round them.
Let your sheep eat grass in Bashan and Gilead,
as they did a long time ago.
Verse 14 Bashan and Gilead were east of the River Jordan. They were good places for sheep because lots of grass grew there. They had been parts of Israel's land many years before, but Assyria's people had taken them. In this verse, Micah is saying that Israel's people can live there again.
when you brought us out of the country called Egypt.
Do great things like that again.
They will understand that they are not really powerful.
So then they will be ashamed.
They will be like deaf and dumb people (people who cannot speak or hear).
They will eat the ground like snakes because they will be very afraid.
They will come out of their safe places,
because they will be afraid of you, the
You chose us to be your people.
And you decide not to remember what we have done wrong.
Not many of your people remain and we have done bad things.
But you choose to forget those bad things.
You will not always be angry,
because you want very much to be kind.
So, again you will remove everything that we have done wrong.
You will throw all of them into the deep sea.
because we are
That is what you promised to our grandfathers a long time ago.
Verse 17 'Eat the ground' means 'show that they will obey you'.
Verse 20 Abraham was the man that God chose. God chose him a long time before Micah lived. Abraham was
- before Christ's birth.
- to break something into little pieces by pushing on it and making it flat.
- a small, sweet fruit that people
crushto make wine.
- the time when people pick all the fruits that are ready to eat; or those fruits themselves.
- to strongly or completely not like something or someone. To hate is the opposite of to love.
- another name for Israel. Jacob was Abraham's grandson.
- a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
- a word that describes a
Jewor anything that belongs to a Jew.
- the name of the country where Micah lived. When Micah was alive, the country of Israel was two separate parts. The name of the north part was Israel and the name of the south part was Judah.
- master; another name for God; it means that he is above everyone else.
- person who speaks (God's) messages. They often tell about future events.
- cause someone to hurt, because they have done bad things; cause trouble for someone, because they have done bad things.
- a long metal knife. Soldiers used swords to fight.
- this carried soldiers to war. Horses pulled these carts.
- a drink that people make from
grapes. It contains alcohol.
- to love and thank someone (God) more than anyone else.
- another name for Jerusalem.
Jay Green ~ The Interlinear Hebrew-Greek-English Bible ~ Volume III
Leslie C. Allen ~ The New International Commentary on the Old Testament ~ The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah
Ralph L. Smith ~ Word Biblical Commentary ~ Volume 32: Micah-Malachi
IVP New Bible Commentary ~ 21st Century Edition
Various Bible versions
© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1999-2006
This version published April 2006
The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.