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First Reading: Micah Chapter 1 and 2 and 3
1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns
of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah-the vision he saw concerning Samaria
2 Hear, O peoples, all of you, listen, O earth and all who are in it, that the Sovereign LORD may witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.
3 Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads the high places of the earth. 4 The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like water rushing down a slope. 5 All this is because of Jacob's transgression, because of the sins of the house of Israel. What is Jacob's transgression? Is it not Samaria? What is Judah's high place? Is it not Jerusalem?
6 "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. 7 All her idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple gifts will be burned with fire; I will destroy all her images. Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes, as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used."
8 Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl. 9 For her wound is incurable; it has come to Judah. It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself. 10 Tell it not in Gath; weep not at all. In Beth Ophrah roll in the dust. 11 Pass on in nakedness and shame, you who live in Shaphir. Those who live in Zaanan will not come out. Beth Ezel is in mourning; its protection is taken from you. 12 Those who live in Maroth writhe in pain, waiting for relief, because disaster has come from the LORD, even to the gate of Jerusalem. 13 You who live in Lachish, harness the team to the chariot. You were the beginning of sin to the Daughter of Zion, for the transgressions of Israel were found in you. 14 Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth Gath. The town of Aczib will prove deceptive to the kings of Israel. 15 I will bring a conqueror against you who live in Mareshah. He who is the glory of Israel will come to Adullam. 16 Shave your heads in mourning for the children in whom you delight; make yourselves as bald as the vulture, for they will go from you into exile.
Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning's light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it. 2 They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud a man of his home, a fellowman of his inheritance.
3 Therefore, the LORD says:
"I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves. You will no longer walk proudly, for it will be a time of calamity. 4 In that day men will ridicule you; they will taunt you with this mournful song: 'We are utterly ruined; my people's possession is divided up. He takes it from me! He assigns our fields to traitors.'"
5 Therefore you will have no one in the assembly of the LORD to divide the land by lot.
6 "Do not prophesy," their prophets say. "Do not prophesy about these things; disgrace will not overtake us." 7 Should it be said, O house of Jacob: "Is the Spirit of the LORD angry? Does he do such things?"
"Do not my words do good to him whose ways are upright? 8 Lately my people have risen up like an enemy. You strip off the rich robe from those who pass by without a care, like men returning from battle. 9 You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes. You take away my blessing from their children forever. 10 Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy. 11 If a liar and deceiver comes and says, 'I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,' he would be just the prophet for this people!
12 "I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. 13 One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their king will pass through before them, the LORD at their head."
3:1 Then I said,
"Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel. Should you not know justice, 2 you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones; 3 who eat my people's flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot?"
4 Then they will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done.
5 This is what the LORD says:
"As for the prophets who lead my people astray, if one feeds them, they proclaim 'peace'; if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him. 6 Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them. 7 The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God."
8 But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin. 9 Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; 10 who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness. 11 Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they lean upon the LORD and say, "Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us." 12 Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.
The LORD reigns,let the nations tremble;he sits enthroned between the cherubim,let the earth shake. 2 Great is the LORD in Zion;he is exalted over all the nations. 3 Let them praise your great and awesome name he is holy.
4 The King is mighty, he loves justice you have established equity;in Jacob you have done what is just and right. 5 Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool;he is holy.
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,Samuel was among those who called on his name;they called on the LORD and he answered them. 7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.
8 O LORD our God,you answered them;you were to Israel a forgiving God,though you punished their misdeeds. 9 Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain,for the LORD our God is holy.
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Micah prophesied around 735-700 B.C. He was a contemporary of Isaiah and was to the Southern Kingdom of Judah what Amos was previously to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Both were fierce critics of the rich and powerful who exploited the poor. Though Micah's prophecies refer especially to Judah, they concerned all of Israel. Micah's leading ideas are the regeneration of Israel's remnant through judgment, the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the line of David, and the conversion of the nations through that kingdom. The conclusion of his prophecy is a triumphant expression of faith, which is seen in its true quality against the background of the materialism and the corruption of the reign of Ahaz.
The message of Micah can be divided into four parts:
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