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The Lord will punish his people
1 # 2 King 15.32–382 Chron 27.1–7 2 King 16.1–202 Chron 28.1–27 2 King 18.1—20.212 Chron 29.1—32.33 I am Micah from Moresheth.#1.1 Moresheth: A town in southern Judah not far from Gath. In verse 14 it is called Moresheth-Gath. And this is the message about Samaria and Jerusalem#1.1 Samaria and Jerusalem: Samaria was the capital of the northern kingdom (Israel), and Jerusalem was the capital of the southern kingdom (Judah). that the Lord gave to me when Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah#1.1 Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah: Jotham, the son of Uzziah, ruled Judah 740–736 bc; Ahaz, the son of Jotham, ruled 736–716 bc; Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, ruled 716–687 bc. were the kings of Judah.
Judgment on Samaria
2Listen, all of you!
Earth and everything on it,
pay close attention.
The Lord God accuses you
from his holy temple.#1.2 holy temple: Possibly the one in heaven, though it may be the Jerusalem temple.
3And he will come down
to crush underfoot
every pagan altar.
4Mountains will melt
beneath his feet
like wax beside a fire.
Valleys will vanish like water
rushing down a ravine.
5This will happen because of
the terrible sins of Israel,
the descendants of Jacob.
Samaria has led Israel to sin,
and pagan altars at Jerusalem
have made Judah sin.
6So the Lord will leave Samaria
in ruins—
merely an empty field
where vineyards are planted.
He will scatter its stones
and destroy its foundations.
7Samaria's idols will be smashed,
and the wages
of temple prostitutes#1.7 wages of temple prostitutes: At pagan temples, people had sex with prostitutes as a way of worshipping the idols, and the money earned in this way was used to support the pagan religion.
will be destroyed by fire.
Silver and gold from those idols
will then be used by foreigners
as payment for prostitutes.
Judah is doomed
8Because of this tragedy,#1.8 this tragedy: Either the destruction of Samaria (verses 6,7) or the coming destruction of Judah and Jerusalem.
I go barefoot and naked.
My crying and weeping
sound like howling wolves
or ostriches.
9The nation is fatally wounded.
Judah is doomed.
Jerusalem will fall.
10Don't tell it in Gath!
Don't even cry.
Instead, roll in the dust
at Beth-Leaphrah.#1.10 Gath … Beth-Leaphrah: Gath was a Philistine city; Beth-Leaphrah is unknown, but in Hebrew it sounds like “House of Dust”.
11Depart naked and ashamed,
you people of Shaphir.#1.11 Shaphir: Mentioned only here in the Old Testament; in Hebrew “Shaphir” means “beautiful”.
The town of Bethezel#1.11 Bethezel: Mentioned only here in the Old Testament; in Hebrew “Bethezel” means “house next door”. mourns
because no one from Zaanan#1.11 Zaanan: Mentioned only here in the Old Testament; in Hebrew “Zaanan” means “one who goes out”.
went out to help.#1.11 The town … help: Or “No one from Zaanan refused to desert their town, and Bethezel mourns because it is left undefended.”
12Everyone in Maroth#1.12 Maroth: Mentioned only here in the Old Testament; in Hebrew “Maroth” means “bitter”.
hoped for the best,
but the Lord sent disaster
down on Jerusalem.
13Get the war chariots ready,
you people of Lachish.#1.13 Lachish: The chief city of south-west Judah, about forty-eight kilometres from Jerusalem.
You led Jerusalem into sin,
just as Israel did.#1.13 led … sin … did: Or “You led Jerusalem and Israel into sin.” In Hebrew “Lachish” sounds like “a team of horses (that pulls a war chariot)”. And the sin may be that Lachish led the nation to trust the power of war chariots instead of the Lord. But the sin could be idolatry or some false teachings that were brought in from Egypt by way of Lachish.
14Now you will have to give
a going-away gift#1.14 going-away gift: The gift (dowry) that a bride's father gave her when she left the home of her parents to live with the family of her husband. In Hebrew the word for “bride” or “fiancee” sounds like “Moresheth”.
to Moresheth.#1.14 Moresheth: Hebrew “Moresheth-Gath”; the home of Micah (see verse 1).
Israel's kings will discover
that they cannot trust
the town of Achzib.#1.14 Achzib: Meaning “lie” or “deception” was near Adullam Cave (verse 15), where David hid from King Saul (see 1 Samuel 22.1,2). Micah probably means that the people of Israel (including their king) will have to run for their lives, but will find that all hope for escape is merely a “lie” (see verse 15).
15People of Mareshah,#1.15 Mareshah: Sounds something like the Hebrew word for “conqueror” and was only a few kilometres north-east of Lachish.
the Lord will send someone
to capture your town.
Then Israel's glorious king
will be forced to hide
in Adullam Cave.#1.15 Adullam Cave: See the note at 1.14.
16Judah, shave your head
as bald as a vulture
and start mourning.
Your precious children#1.16 precious children: The towns mentioned in verses 10–15.
will be dragged off
to a foreign country.
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