God’s Indictment of His People

Hear now what the Lord is saying,
“Arise, plead your case before the mountains,
And let the hills [as witnesses] hear your voice.

“Hear, O mountains, the indictment of the Lord,
And you enduring foundations of the earth,
For the Lord has a case (a legal complaint) against His people,
And He will dispute (challenge) Israel.

“O My people, what have I done to you [since you have turned away from Me]?
And how have I wearied you? Answer Me.

“For I brought you up from the land of Egypt
And ransomed you from the house of slavery,
And I sent before you Moses [to lead you], Aaron [the high priest], and Miriam [the prophetess].

“My people, remember now
What Balak king of Moab devised [with his evil plan against Israel]
And what Balaam the son of Beor answered him [turning the curse into blessing for Israel],
[Remember what the Lord did for you] from [a]Shittim to Gilgal,
So that you may know the righteous and saving acts [displaying the power] of the Lord.”(A)

What God Requires of Man

With what shall I come before the Lord [to honor Him]
And bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With yearling calves?

Will the Lord be delighted with thousands of rams,
Or with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my firstborn for my acts of rebellion,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion),
And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?(B)

The voice of the Lord shall call to the city [of Jerusalem]—
And it is sound wisdom to heed [solemnly] and fear Your name [with awe-filled reverence];
“Hear, O tribe [the rod of punishment]. Who has appointed its time?
“Are there not still treasures gained by wickedness
In the house of the wicked,
And a short (inaccurate) measure [for grain] that is cursed?©
“Can I [be guiltless and] justify deceptive scales
And a bag of dishonest weights?(D)
“For the rich men of the city are full of violence [of every kind];
Her inhabitants speak lies
And their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
“So also I will make you sick, striking you down,
Desolating and devastating you, because of your sins.
“You shall eat, but you will not be satisfied,
And your [b]emptiness shall be among you;
You will [try to] remove [your goods and those you love] for safekeeping
But you will fail to save anything,
And what you do save I shall give to the sword.
“You shall sow but you shall not reap;
You shall tread olives, but shall not anoint yourself with oil,
And [you will extract juice from] the grapes, but you shall not drink the wine.
“For [you have kept] the statutes of Omri [the idolatrous king],
And all the works of the [wicked] house (dynasty) of Ahab;
And you walk in their counsels and policies.
Therefore, I shall hand you over for destruction and horror
And your [city’s] inhabitants for ridicule,
And you shall bear the rebuke and scorn of My people.”


  1. Micah 6:5 God reminds His people of His gracious acts in their behalf—how Balak tried to oppose Israel through pagan rites, sending for Balaam to put a curse on the Israelites; how God saved Israel by causing Balaam to bless instead of curse them; and how God later led them across the Jordan River into the promised land, from Shittim (Josh 3:1) to Gilgal (Josh 4:19).
  2. Micah 6:14 Or possibly garbage or vileness.

Cross references

  1. Micah 6:5 : Num 23:7-24; 24:3-24; Josh 3:1; 4:19
  2. Micah 6:8 : Deut 10:12, 13
  3. Micah 6:10 : Deut 25:14-16
  4. Micah 6:11 : 1 Thess 4:6