Micah 03 (Contemporary English Version)
- Listen to me, you rulers of Israel! You know right from wrong,
- but you prefer to do evil instead of what is right. You skin my people alive. You strip off their flesh,
- break their bones, cook it all in a pot, and gulp it down.
- Someday you will beg the LORD to help you, but he will turn away because of your sins.
- You lying prophets promise security for anyone who gives you food, but disaster for anyone who refuses to feed you. Here is what the LORD says to you prophets:
- "You will live in the dark, far from the sight of the sun, with no message from me.
- You prophets and fortunetellers will all be disgraced, with no message from me."
- But the LORD has filled me with power and his Spirit. I have been given the courage to speak about justice and to tell you people of Israel that you have sinned.
- So listen to my message, you rulers of Israel! You hate justice and twist the truth.
- You make cruelty and murder a way of life in Jerusalem.
- You leaders accept bribes for dishonest decisions. You priests and prophets teach and preach, but only for money. Then you say, "The LORD is on our side. No harm will come to us."
- And so, because of you, Jerusalem will be plowed under and left in ruins. Thorns will cover the mountain where the temple now stands.
Next Micah turned up the heat on Israel's prophets. They who should be helping the people stay true to God had actually led them away from God. They had become 'prophets for hire,' in that their prophecies followed the money. For those who provided them food they proclaimed peace, but for those who paid them nothing they declared war on them. These corrupt prophets could expect night to overtake them in which they have no visions or divination. This describes an inner darkness rather than a literal darkness. At a time when Israel truly needed a word from the Lord, these prophets would have nothing to tell them. "They will all cover their mouths because there will be no answer from God." Such will be the state of these false prophets, but in contrast, Micah described himself as "filled with power by the Spirit of the LORD, with justice and courage, to proclaim to Jacob his rebellion and to Israel his sin."
Israel had grown assured of her special relationship with God, and had come to assume His blessing and protection regardless of her actions. Even though the leaders had come to "abhor justice and pervert everything that is right," they would still "lean on the LORD, saying, 'Isn't the LORD among us? No calamity will overtake us.'" Such great presumption on their part, depicting how blinded they had become. Micah, however, bursts their bubble telling them "Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become ruins, and the hill of the temple mount will be a thicket," because of the conduct of her leaders.