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Micah: Chapter 4

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1

In days to come the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, 2 and many nations shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; 4 but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.

5

For all the peoples walk, each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.

6

In that day, says the LORD, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away, and those whom I have afflicted. 7 The lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion now and forevermore.

8

And you, O tower of the flock, hill of daughter Zion, to you it shall come, the former dominion shall come, the sovereignty of daughter Jerusalem.

9

Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished, that pangs have seized you like a woman in labor? 10 Writhe and groan, a Heb what are the high places O daughter Zion, like a woman in labor; for now you shall go forth from the city and camp in the open country; you shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued, there the LORD will redeem you from the hands of your enemies.

11

Now many nations are assembled against you, saying, “Let her be profaned, and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.” 12 But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor. 13 Arise and thresh, O daughter Zion, for I will make your horn iron and your hoofs bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples, and shall b Gk Syr Vg: Heb wounds devote their gain to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.

Notes:

a Heb what are the high places

b Gk Syr Vg: Heb wounds

Text Commentary view alone

4.1–5.15 : Speeches promising divine restoration and exaltation of the people Israel and the city Jerusalem.

A series of poems depicts an ideal age (“that day”) when God reigns, Israel triumphs, and the nations are judged. Some scholars date this section to the exilic or postexilic period (see 4.10n.). Alternately, possible allusions to the Babylonian exile (e.g., 4.6,10 ) could stem from editors who recast Micah's oracles for a later audience.

4.1–8 : The ideal age

is depicted in three poems, the first of which (vv. 1–4 ) is nearly identical to Isaiah 2.2–4 .

1–2 :

There is a universal pilgrimage to Mt. Zion, to which cosmic significance is ascribed here as the mountain of the LORD's house.

1 :

Highest of the mountains, claims for Mt. Zion's height (Ps 48.3; Ezek 40.2 ) were symbolic, not topographic.

2 :

Instruction, Heb “torah.”

3–4 :

A classic articulation of the Israelite prophetic ideal: peace and a social equality rooted in family ownership of land.

3 :

Swords into plowshares (or “plowpoints,” a stick with a small metal point), i.e., the transition from war to peace, as the militia man converts to farmer. For the opposite movement, see Joel 3.10 .

4 :

Zech 3.10; 1 Kings 4.25; 2 Kings 18.31 = Isa 36.16 .

5 :

Like its similarly worded parallel in Isa 2.5 , this verse may have been read antiphonally, as an “Amen” to the visionary speech of 4.1–4 (= Isa 2.2–4).

6–7 :

Cf. Zeph 3.19–20 .

8 :

Tower of the flock, an old epithet for Jerusalem (see “tower of Eder” in Gen 35.21 ; “Eder” means “flock”).

4.9–10 : The LORD will rescue the exiles.

This speech, which describes the exiles' march to Babylon and promises their redemption, addresses the situation of the sixth century, not the eighth. Like a woman in labor, Isa 13.8; 26.17; Jer 4.31 .

4.11–12 : Israel will crush its enemies.

The LORD has planned a stunning reversal. At the very place outside Jerusalem where hostile nations assemble, the city gate (also the site of threshing floors), Israel shall trample them.

13 :

For Israel as bovine, see Hos 10.11 . Devote their gain, Deut 20.16; Josh 6.18–19 .

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