1* And I said:
Hear, you leaders of Jacob,
rulers of the house of Israel!
Is it not your duty to know what is right,
2you who hate what is good, and love evil?
You who tear their skin from them,
and their flesh from their bones;a
3Who eat the flesh of my people,
flay their skin from them,
and break their bones;
Who chop them in pieces like flesh in a kettle,
like meat in a pot.
4When they cry to the LORD,
he will not answer them;
He will hide his face from them at that time,
because of the evil they have done.
5* Thus says the LORD regarding the prophets:
O you who lead my people astray,
When your teeth have something to bite
you announce peace,
But proclaim war against the one
who fails to put something in your mouth.b
6Therefore you shall have night, not vision,
darkness, not divination;
The sun shall go down upon the prophets,
and the day shall be dark for them.c
7Then the seers shall be put to shame,
and the diviners confounded;
They shall all cover their lips,
because there is no answer from God.
8But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the spirit of the LORD,
with justice and with might;
To declare to Jacob his crimes
and to Israel his sins.
9* Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob,
you rulers of the house of Israel!
You who abhor justice,
and pervert all that is right;
10Who build up Zion with bloodshed,
and Jerusalem with wickedness!
11Its leaders render judgment for a bribe,
the priests teach for pay,
the prophets divine for money,
While they rely on the LORD, saying,
“Is not the LORD in the midst of us?
No evil can come upon us!”d
12Therefore, because of you,
Zion shall be plowed like a field,
and Jerusalem reduced to rubble,
And the mount of the temple
to a forest ridge.e
* [3:1–4] This prophecy of punishment has an introductory call to hear (v. 1a–b) and two major parts, the indictment or reasons for punishment (vv. 1c–3) and the announcement of judgment (v. 4). The prophet accuses the leaders and rulers of Israel of treating the people so badly that their actions are comparable to cannibalism. Those who, above all, should know and maintain justice are the most corrupt of all. In the time of trouble the Lord will withdraw (v. 4); that is, God will abandon the leaders to their fate and refuse to answer their prayers.
* [3:5–8] This prophecy of punishment concerns and is addressed to false prophets. The prophets in Jerusalem who mislead the people are corrupt because their word can be bought (v. 5). Therefore such prophets, seers, and diviners shall be disgraced, put to shame, left in the dark without vision or answer (vv. 6–7). But Micah is convinced that he is filled with power and the spirit of the Lord, which corresponds to justice and might (v. 8).
* [3:9–12] This is the most comprehensive of Micah’s prophecies of punishment concerning the leaders in Jerusalem. The indictment (vv. 9–11) includes all political and religious leaders. They combine corruption and greed with a false confidence that the Lord is on their side. But the announcement of judgment (v. 12) is not limited to the punishment of the leaders but includes Mount Zion where the Temple stands and the entire city, thus encompassing the entire population.