Micah 6

The LORD’s Case Against Israel

1 Listen to what the LORD says: “Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say.
2 “Hear, you mountains, the LORD’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel.
3 “My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me.
4 I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.
5 My people, remember what Balak king of Moab plotted and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD.”
6 With what shall I come before the LORDand bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

Israel’s Guilt and Punishment

9 Listen! The LORD is calling to the city— and to fear your name is wisdom— “Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.[b]
10 Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house, and the short ephah,[c] which is accursed?
11 Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?
12 Your rich people are violent; your inhabitants are liars and their tongues speak deceitfully.
13 Therefore, I have begun to destroy you, to ruin[d] you because of your sins.
14 You will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty.[e]You will store up but save nothing, because what you save[f] I will give to the sword.
15 You will plant but not harvest; you will press olives but not use the oil, you will crush grapes but not drink the wine.
16 You have observed the statutes of Omri and all the practices of Ahab’s house; you have followed their traditions. Therefore I will give you over to ruin and your people to derision; you will bear the scorn of the nations.[g]

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Micah 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

God's controversy with Israel. (1-5) The duties God requires. (6-8) The wickedness of Israel. (9-16)

Verses 1-5 The people are called upon to declare why they were weary of God's worship, and prone to idolatry. Sin causes the controversy between God and man. God reasons with us, to teach us to reason with ourselves. Let them remember God's many favours to them and their fathers, and compare with them their unworthy, ungrateful conduct toward him.

Verses 6-8 These verses seem to contain the substance of Balak's consultation with Balaam how to obtain the favour of Israel's God. Deep conviction of guilt and wrath will put men upon careful inquiries after peace and pardon, and then there begins to be some ground for hope of them. In order to God's being pleased with us, our care must be for an interest in the atonement of Christ, and that the sin by which we displease him may be taken away. What will be a satisfaction to God's justice? In whose name must we come, as we have nothing to plead as our own? In what righteousness shall we appear before him? The proposals betray ignorance, though they show zeal. They offer that which is very rich and costly. Those who are fully convinced of sin, and of their misery and danger by reason of it, would give all the world, if they had it, for peace and pardon. Yet they do not offer aright. The sacrifices had value from their reference to Christ; it was impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin. And all proposals of peace, except those according to the gospel, are absurd. They could not answer the demands of Divine justice, nor satisfy the wrong done to the honour of God by sin, nor would they serve at all in place of holiness of the heart and reformation of the life. Men will part with any thing rather than their sins; but they part with nothing so as to be accepted of God, unless they do part with their sins. Moral duties are commanded because they are good for man. In keeping God's commandments there is a great reward, as well as after keeping them. God has not only made it known, but made it plain. The good which God requires of us is, not the paying a price for the pardon of sin and acceptance with God, but love to himself; and what is there unreasonable, or hard, in this? Every thought within us must be brought down, to be brought into obedience to God, if we would walk comfortably with him. We must do this as penitent sinners, in dependence on the Redeemer and his atonement. Blessed be the Lord that he is ever ready to give his grace to the humble, waiting penitent.

Verses 9-16 God, having showed how necessary it was that they should do justly, here shows how plain it was that they had done unjustly. This voice of the Lord says to all, Hear the rod when it is coming, before you see it, and feel it. Hear the rod when it is come, and you are sensible of the smart; hear what counsels, what cautions it speaks. The voice of God is to be heard in the rod of God. Those who are dishonest in their dealings shall never be reckoned pure, whatever shows of devotion they may make. What is got by fraud and oppression, cannot be kept or enjoyed with satisfaction. What we hold closest we commonly lose soonest. Sin is a root of bitterness, soon planted, but not soon plucked up again. Their being the people of God in name and profession, while they kept themselves in his love, was an honour to them; but now, being backsliders, their having been once the people of God turns to their reproach.

Cross References 42

  • 1. S Psalms 50:1; S Ezekiel 6:2
  • 2. Deuteronomy 32:1
  • 3. S Hosea 12:2
  • 4. S Isaiah 3:13
  • 5. Psalms 50:7; S Jeremiah 2:9
  • 6. Jeremiah 2:5
  • 7. Jeremiah 2:5
  • 8. S Exodus 3:10; S Exodus 6:6
  • 9. Deuteronomy 7:8
  • 10. S Exodus 4:16
  • 11. S Numbers 33:1; Psalms 77:20
  • 12. S Exodus 15:20
  • 13. S Numbers 22:2; Numbers 22:5-6
  • 14. S Numbers 25:1
  • 15. S Deuteronomy 11:30; Joshua 5:9-10
  • 16. Judges 5:11; 1 Samuel 12:7
  • 17. S Psalms 95:2
  • 18. Psalms 40:6-8; Psalms 51:16-17
  • 19. S Isaiah 1:11; S Isaiah 40:16
  • 20. Psalms 50:8-10
  • 21. S Leviticus 18:21; S 2 Kings 3:27
  • 22. Hosea 5:6; S Amos 5:22; 2 Kings 16:3
  • 23. S Isaiah 1:17; S Jeremiah 22:3
  • 24. S 2 Kings 22:19; S Isaiah 57:15
  • 25. S Genesis 5:22; Deuteronomy 10:12-13; 1 Samuel 15:22; Hosea 6:6; Zechariah 7:9-10; Matthew 9:13; Matthew 23:23; Mark 12:33; Luke 11:42
  • 26. S Genesis 17:1; Isaiah 11:4
  • 27. Ezekiel 45:9-10; S Amos 3:10; Amos 8:4-6
  • 28. S Leviticus 19:36; Hosea 12:7
  • 29. S Deuteronomy 25:13
  • 30. S Isaiah 1:23
  • 31. S Psalms 116:11; Isaiah 3:8
  • 32. S Psalms 35:20; S Jeremiah 9:3
  • 33. Isaiah 1:7; Isaiah 6:11
  • 34. S Isaiah 9:20; S Hosea 4:10
  • 35. Isaiah 30:6
  • 36. S Deuteronomy 28:38; Jeremiah 12:13
  • 37. Job 24:11; S Amos 5:11; Zephaniah 1:13
  • 38. S 1 Kings 16:25
  • 39. 1 Kings 16:29-33
  • 40. Jeremiah 7:24
  • 41. S Jeremiah 25:9
  • 42. S Deuteronomy 28:37; S Jeremiah 51:51; S Micah 2:6

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Or "prudently"
  • [b]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain.
  • [c]. An ephah was a dry measure.
  • [d]. Or "Therefore, I will make you ill and destroy you;" / "I will ruin"
  • [e]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  • [f]. Or "You will press toward birth but not give birth," / "and what you bring to birth"
  • [g]. Septuagint; Hebrew "scorn due my people"

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains reproofs of the people of Israel for their sins, threatening them with punishment for them. The prophet is bid to tell them of the controversy the Lord had with them, which he did, Mic 6:1,2; and the Lord calls upon them to declare if they had any thing to object to his attitude towards them, Mic 6:3; and then puts them in mind of the favours they had received from him, in bringing them out of Egypt, and giving them such useful persons to go before them, lead and instruct them, as he had, Mic 6:4; and also reminds them of what passed between Balak, king of Moab, and Balaam the soothsayer; the questions of the one, and the answer of the other; whereby the designs of the former against them were frustrated, Mic 6:5-8; but since the voice of the Lord by his prophet was disregarded by them, they are called upon to hearken to the voice of his rod, Mic 6:9; which should be laid upon them for their fraudulent dealings, injustice, oppression, lies, and deceit, Mic 6:10-12; and therefore are threatened with sickness and desolation, and a deprivation of all good things, the fruit of their labours, Mic 6:13-15; and that because the statutes of Omri, the works of Ahab, and their counsels, were observed by them, Mic 6:16.

Micah 6 Commentaries

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