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The Book of the Prophet Micheas

(Micah “who is like God”)

 

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Chapter 1

      This is the word of the Lord, that came to Micheas the Morastite, in the days of Jothan, Ahaz, and Jehezekiah, kings of Judah: which was showed upon Samaria and Jerusalem. Hear, all ye people, hearken, mark this well O earth, and all that therein is: Yee the Lord God himself be witness among you, even the Lord from his holy temple. For, why? behold, the Lord shall go out of his place, and come down, and tread upon the high things of the earth. The mountains shall consume under him, and the valleys shall cleave asunder: like as war consumeth at the fire, and as the waters runneth down hard. And all this shall be for the wickedness of Jacob, and the sins of the house of Israel.
      But what is the wickedness of Jacob? Is not Samaria? Which are the high places of Judah? Is not Jerusalem? Therefore I shall make Samaria an heap of stones in the field, to lay about the vineyard: her stones shall I cast into the valley, and discover her foundations. All her Images shall be broken down and all her winnings shall be burned in the fire: yee all her Idols will I destroy: for why? they are gathered out of the hire of an whore, and to an whores hire they shall be turned again. Wherefore I will mourn and make lamentation, bare and naked will I go: I must mourn like the dragons, and take sorrow like the ostriches: For their wound is past remedy: And why? it is come in to Judah, and hath touched the port of my people at Jerusalem already. Weep not, least they at Geth perceive it.
      Thou at Betaphra, welter thyself in the dust and ashes. Thou that dwelleth at Sephir, get thee hence with shame. The proud shall boast no more for very sorrow: and why? her neighbor shall take from her what she hath. The rebellious city hopeth, that it shall not be so evil: but for all that, the plague shall come from the Lord, even in to the port of Jerusalem. The great noise of the chariots shall fear them, that dwell at Lachis, which is an occasion of the sin of the daughter of Sion, for in thee came up the wickedness of Israel. Yee she sent her *coursers into the land of Geth.
      The houses of lies will deceive the kings of Israel. And as for thee ( O thou that dwellest at Morassa ) I shall bring a possession upon thee, and the plague of Israel shall reach unto Odolla. Make thee bald, and shave thee, because of thy tender children: Make thee clean bald as an Eagle, for they shall be carried away captive from thee.

 

*coursers: a hunter, a dog or horse used for hunting.

 

 

 

Chapter 2

     Woe unto them, that imagine to do harm, and devise ungraciousness upon their beds, to perform it in the clear day: for their power is against God. When they covet to have land, they take it by violence, they rob men of their houses.
      Thus they oppress a man for his house, and every man for his heritage. Therefore thus sayeth the Lord: Behold against this household I have devised a plague, whereout ye shall not pluck your necks: Ye shall no more go so proudly, for it will be a perilous time. In that day shall this term be used, and a mourning shall be made over you on this manner: We be utterly desolate, the portion of my peoples is translated, When will he part unto us the land, that he hath taken from us?
      Nevertheless there shall be no man to divide thee thy portion in the congregation of the Lord. Tush, hold your tongue ( sayeth they ) It shall not fall on this people, we shall not come so to confusion, sayeth the house of Jacob. Is the spirit of the Lord so clean away? or is he so minded? Truth it is , my words are friendly unto them that live right: but my people doth the contrary, therefore must I take part against them: for they take away both coat and cloak from the simple.
      Yee have turned yourselves to fight, the women of my people have ye shot out from their good houses, and take away my excellent gifts from their children. Up, get you hence, for here shall ye have no rest.
      Because of their Idolatry they are corrupt, and shall miserably perish. If I were a fleshly fellow, and a preacher of lies, and told them that they might sit bibbing and bolling, and be drunken: O that were a Prophet for this people. But I will gather thee indeed, O Jacob, and drive the remnant of Israel all together. I shall carry them one with another, as a flock in the fold, and as the cattle in their stalls, that they may be disquieted of other men. Who so breaketh the gap, he shall go before. They shall break up the port, and go in and out at it. Their king shall be upon the head of them.

 

 

 

Chapter 3

      Hear, O ye heads of the house of Jacob, and yee leaders of the house of Israel: Should not ye know, what were lawful and right? But ye hate the good, and love the evil: ye pluck off mens skins, and the flesh from their bones: ye eat the flesh of my people, and flay of their skin: ye break their bones, ye chop them in pieces as it were in to a cauldron, and as flesh into the pot. Now the time shall come, that when they call unto the Lord, he shall not hear them, *but hide his face from them, because that through their own Imaginations they have dealt so wickedly.
            And as concerning the prophets that deceive my people, thus the Lord sayeth against them: When they have any thing to bite upon, then they preach that all shall be well: but if a man put not some thing in to their mouths, they preach of war against him.
      Therefore your vision shall be turned into night, and your prophesying to darkness. The Sun shall go down over those prophets, and the day shall be dark unto them. Then shall the vision seers be ashamed, and the soothsayers confounded: yee they shall be faine, all the pack of them, to stop their mouths, for they have not Gods word. As for me, Iam full of strength, and of the spirit of the Lord, full of judgment and boldness, and the house of Israel their sin.
      O hear this ye rulers of this house of Jacob, and ye judges of the house of Israel: ye that abhor the thing that is lawful, and wrest aside the thing that is straight: Ye that build up Sion with blood, and Jerusalem with doing wrong. O ye judges, ye give sentence for gifts,: O ye priests, ye teach for *lucre: O ye prophets, ye prophecy for money. Yet will they be taken as those that hold upon God, and say: Is not the Lord among us? Tush, there can no misfortune happen us. Therefore shall Sion ( for your sakes ) be plowed like a field: Jerusalem shall become a heap of stones, and the hill of the temple shall be turned to an high wood

 

*To hide his face is, to show no token of benevolence, as in Job 13 and Deut 31 MN. *lucre: shameful gain.

 

 

 

Chapter 4

      But in the latter days it will come to pass, that the hill of the Lords house shall be set up higher then any mountains or hills: Yee the people shall praise unto it, and the multitude of the Gentiles shall hast them thither, saying: Come, let us go up to the hill of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob: that he may teach us his way, and that we may walk in his paths. For the law shall come out of Sion, and the word of God from Jerusalem, And shall give sentence among the multitude of the Heathen and reform the people of far countries: so that of their swords they shall make plowshares, and scythes of their spears.
      One people shall not lift up a sword against another, yee they shall no more learn to fight: but every man shall sit under his vineyard and under his fig tree, and no man to *fraie him away: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. Therefore, whereas all the people have walked every man in the name of his own God, we will walk in the name of our God for ever and ever. At the same time, sayeth the Lord, will I gather up the lame and the outcasts, and such as I have chastened: and will give issue unto the lame, and make of the outcasts a great people: and the Lord himself shall be their king upon the mount of Sion, from this time forth for evermore. And unto thee ( O thou tower of Eder, thou stronghold of the daughter of Sion) unto thee shall it come: even the Lordship and kingdom of the daughter Jerusalem. Why then art thou now so heavy? is there no king in thee? are thy counselors away that thou art so pained, as a woman in her travail? And now ( O thou daughter Sion ) be sorry, let it grieve thee as a wife laboring with child: for now must thou get thee out of the city, and dwell upon the plain field: Yee unto Babylon shalt thou go, there shalt thou be delivered, and there the Lord shall loose thee from the hand of thy enemies.
      Now also are there many people gathered together against thee, saying what, Sion is cursed, we shall see our lust upon her. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, they understand not his counsel, that shall gather them together as the sheaves in the barn. Therefore get thee up, O thou daughter Sion, and thresh out the corn: For I will make thy horn iron. and thy claws brass, that thou mayest grind many people: their goods shalt thou appropriate unto the Lord, and their substance unto the ruler of the whole world.

 

*fraie (scare)

 

 

 

Chapter 5

      After that shalt thou be robbed thyself, O thy robbers daughter: they shall lay siege against us, and smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the check. And thou Bethleem Ephrata, art little among the thousands of Juda, Out of thee shall come to me, which shall be the government in Israel: whose out going hath been from the beginning, and from everlasting. In the mean while he plagueth them for a season, until the time that she ( which shall bear ) have born: then shall the remnant of his brethren be converted unto the children of Israell. He shall stand fast, and give food in the strength of the Lord, and in the victory of the name of the Lord his God: and when they be converted, he shall be magnified unto the farthest parts of the world.
      Then shall there be peace, so that the Assirian may come in to our land, and tread in our houses. We shall bring seven shepherds and eight princes upon them: these shall subdue the land of Assur with the sword, and the land Nimrod with their naked weapons. Thus shall he deliver us from the Assirian, when he cometh in our land, and seteth his foot within our borders.
      And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the multitude of people, as the dew of the Lord, and as the drops upon the grass, that tarry for no man, and waiteth of no body. Yee the residue of Jacob shall be among the gentiles and the multitude of the people, as the lion among the beasts of the wood, and as the Lions whelps among a flock of sheep: which ( when he goeth through ) treadeth down, teareth in pieces, and there is no man that can help. Thine hand shall be lift up upon thine enemies, and all thine adversaries shall perish.
      The time shall come also, sayeth the Lord, that I will take thine horses from thee, and destroy thy chariots. I will break down the cities of thy land, and over throw all thy strongholds. All witchcrafts will I root out of thine hand, there shall no more soothsayings be within thee. Thine Idols and thine Images will I destroy out of thee so that thou shalt no more bow thyself unto the works of thine own hands. Thy groves will I pluck up by the roots, and break down the cities. Thus I will be avenged also, upon all the Heathen that will not hear.

 

 

 

Chapter 6

      Harken now what the Lord sayeth: Up, reprove the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice. O hear the punishment of the Lord, ye mountains, and yee mighty foundations of the earth: for the Lord will reprove his people, and reason with Israel: O my people, what have I done unto thee? or wherein have I hurt thee? give me answer. Because I brought thee from the land of Egypt, and delivered thee out of the house of bondage? Because I made Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead thee? Remember ( O my people ) what Balach the king of Moab had imagined against thee, and what answer that Balaam the son of Beor gave him, from Sethim unto Galgal, that ye may know the loving kindness of the Lord.
      What acceptable thing shall I offer unto the Lord? shall I bow on my knee to the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, and calves of a year old? Hath the Lord a pleasure in many thousand rams, or innumerable streams of oil? Or shall I give my first born for my offenses, and the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? I will show thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requireth of thee: Namely, to do right, to have pleasure in loving kindness, to be lowly, and to walk with thy God: that thou mayest be called a city of the Lord, and that thy name may be righteousness. Hear ( O ye tribes ) who would else give you such warning? Should I not be displeased, for the unrighteous good in the houses of the wicked and because the measure he is minished? Or should I justify the false balances and the bag of deceitful weights, among those that be full of riches ungraciously gotten: where the city signs deal with falsehood, speak lies, and have deceitful tongues in their mouths?
      Therefore I will take in hand to punish thee, and to make thee desolate because of thy sins. Thou salt eat, and not have enough: yee thou shall bring thyself down. Thou shalt flee but not escape: and those that thou wouldest save, will I deliver to the sword. Thou shalt sow but not reap: thou shalt press out olives , but oil thou shall not have, to anoint thyself withal: thou shalt tread out sweet must, but shall drink no wine. Ye keep the ordinances of Amri, and all the customs of the house of Ahab: Ye follow their pleasures, therefore will I make thee waste, and cause thy inhabitors to be abhorred, O my people: and thus shalt thou bare thine own shame.

 

 

 

Chapter 7

      Woe is me: I am become as one, that goeth a gleaning in the harvest. There are no more grapes to eat, yet I would faine ( with all my heart ) to have of the best fruit. There is not a Godly man upon the earth, there is not one righteous among men. They* labor all to shed blood, and every man hunteth his brother to death: yet they say they do well when they do evil. As the prince will, so sayeth the judge: that he may do him a pleasure again. The great man speaketh what his heart desires: and the hearers allow him. The best of them is but a thistle, and the most righteous is but a bear in the hedge. But when the day of thy preachers cometh, that thou shall be visited: then shall they be wasted away. Let no man believe his friend, nor put his confidence in a prince. Keep the port of thy mouth, from her that lieth in thy bosom: for the son shall put his father to dishonor, the daughter shall rise against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law: and a mans foes shall be even those of his own household.
      Nevertheless I will look up unto the Lord, I will patiently abide God my favor: my God shall hear me. O thou enemy of mine, rejoice not at my fall, for I shall get up again: and though I sit in * darkness, yet the Lord is my light. I will bare the punishment of the Lord ( for why? I have offended him ) till he sit in judgement upon my cause, and see that I have right. He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall see his righteousness.
      She that is mine enemy shall look upon it, and be confounded, which now sayeth. Where is thy Lord God? Mine eyes shall behold her, when she is trodden down, as the clay in the streets. The time will come, that my gaps shall be made up, and the law shall go abroad: and at that time shall they come unto thee, from Assur unto the strong cities, and from the strong cities unto the river: from the one sea to the other, from the one mountain to the other.
      Not withstanding the land must be wasted, because of them that dwell therein, and for the fruits of their own Imaginations. Therefore feed thy people with thy *rod, the flock of thine heritage which dwell desolate in the wood: that they may be fed upon mount Charmell, Basan and Galaad as afore time. Marvelous things shall I show them, like as when they came out of Egypt. This shall the Heathen see, and be ashamed for all their power, so that they shall *lay their hand upon their mouth, and stop their ears. They shall lick the dust like a serpent, as the worms of the earth, that tremble in their holes. They shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and they shall fear thee.
      Where is there such a God as thou? that pardonest wickedness, and forgiveth the offenses of the remnant of thine heritage? He keepeth not his wrath for ever. And why? his delight is to have compassion: he shall turn again, and be merciful to us: he shall put down our wickednesses, and cast all our sins into the bottom of the sea. Thou shalt keep thy trust with Jacob, and thy mercy for Abraham, like as thou hast sworn unto our fathers long ago.

 

* To labor to shed blood, or to lye in wait for blood is to make mens lives laborious and miserable, by these warnings, murders, and violence. Proverbs 1. *By darkness understand the sadness and misery of this world, and by light thee cometh forth rejoicing of the conscience. Job 15c MN * rod here signifieth dominion and governance. * laying of hand to mouth; of this you find in Job 39

 

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