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6.29 Micah -- The Sins of Samaria and Jerusalem

A startling note right at the outset:  the prophet addressed not just the Jews, but all the earth:

         Hear, you peoples, all of you,
             listen, earth and all who live in it,
             that the Sovereign Lord may bear witness against you,
             the Lord from his holy temple (Mic 1:2).


The Lord particularly comes to judge “the high places of the earth” (Mic 1:3).  Literally, this refers to pagan shrines (the idols of Mic 1:7Mic 5:13-14); more broadly, it may suggest the lofty pride that the Lord says He will bring low (see a longer but similar passage in Isa 2:11-18).    He pronounced judgment on both Israel and Judah:

          Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble,
                 a place for planting vineyards.
                 I will pour her stones into the valley
                 and lay bare her foundations (Mic 1:6).

          As for Judah, judgment will reach to the gates of Jerusalem (Mic 1:9Mic 1:12).  And even the destruction of the Temple was foreseen, more than a century before it took place:

           Zion will be plowed like a field,
                   Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
                   the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets (Mic 3:12).


Besides idolatry, Micah also denounced the covetous rich (Mic 2:2), smug false prophets (Mic 2:6Mic 2:11Mic 3:5-7), unjust leaders (Mic 3:1-3Mic 7:3), and dishonest merchants (Mic 6:10-12).  Greed permeated Jerusalem:

          Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money (Mic 3:11).


The judgment is unavoidable, even as Israel’s “wound is incurable” (Mic 1:9); it is a disaster, planned by the Lord, from which the people cannot save themselves (Mic 2:3).  Micah perhaps reinforced this sense of inevitability through his series of puns (Mic 1:10-15): each city received a punishment that either fulfilled or directly contradicted its name.  Like Isaiah, Micah stated that exile was coming (Mic 1:16Mic 4:10).

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