Judah will fall, but rise again
Good people deported into exile1What a rotten situation.
I feel like I showed up late to the fig harvest.
There’s nothing left.
Not a cluster of grapes, either.
I wanted some figs. I crave those things.
2The good people are gone—
Plucked from their country, deported. 
If they’re good, they’re gone.
All that’s left are violent souls.
They hunt each other with nets
And ambush anyone they can.
3They’re professional crooks,
Good at being bad.
Judges aren’t any better.
Before they announce the verdict,
They’ll want to see your money.
So, rich people own the judges.
Anyone else looking for justice
Won’t find it in the courts.
4Even the best judges are thorn bushes,
A briar patch to block you, prick you, and bleed you. 
Prophets standing guard warned you about all of this.
It’s time to face your punishment.
A new dark day for Israel5Don’t trust anyone anymore.
Not your friends.
Not your family.
Be careful what you say,
Especially to your lover.
6Families will turn on each other.
Son against father.
Daughter against mother.
Daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
You don’t need to search for your enemies.
You live with them.
Israel answers Micah7Well, here’s what I going to do about it.
I’m going to trust the LORD.
I’ll wait for him to save me.
I know he’ll hear my prayers.
8A word to my enemies:
Don’t celebrate too hard when I fall.
One day I’ll get back on my feet.
I’ll face dark days ahead
But the LORD will light my way.
9What I did was wrong.
So, I need to take my punishment
For as long as God says.
He’ll lead me out of this darkness, to light.
He’ll clear my name
And restore my good reputation.
10When my enemies see me
They’ll be ashamed of what they said:
“Where is your God now?”
I’ll live to see them fall
And stomped into the ground,
Like dirt in the street.
11When that day comes,
You’ll rebuild the city walls
And vastly expand your territory.
12Your scattered people will come home.
They’ll come from Assyria and Egypt.
They’ll come from along the Euphrates River
And from sea to sea and mountains abroad.
13They’ll leave behind desolate lands
Ruined by the people who live there,
Nations damaged by their bad behavior.
Lead your people like a good shepherd14So, grab a staff and lead your people
Like a shepherd leads a flock.
You’ll live isolated from others
In wooded forests and gardened fields.
But your flock will feast on lush pasture,
In fields of Bashan  and Gilead,
As you did in the good ol’ days of long ago.
15Once again you’ll see incredible wonders
Like those I did when you left Egypt.
16Nations will see it, too,
And become embarrassed by their puny power.
They won’t know what to make of it,
And they won’t know what to say.
17They’ll end up scraping bottom,
Like snakes licking dust
Or bugs painting trails in the dirt.
They’ll step out of their walled cities
And come to God, trembling.
They’ll be terrified when they do.
One of a kind God18What kind of God are you?
What God would pardon a sinner
And overlook sin—
Like the sin in what’s left of his people?
He doesn’t obsess over anger
Because he’d rather love instead.
19You’ll have mercy on us once again.
You’ll stomp our sin into the ground
Then throw it into the deepest sea.
20You’ll stay devoted to us,
You won’t stop loving us,
You promised our ancestors long ago
That you’d love us and always stay true.
Babylonian invaders destroyed Jerusalem and other cities throughout Judah in 586 BC. Then they deported the leading citizens along with many others. Only the poorest Jews and the best hiders were left behind—no one substantial enough to lead the leftovers into rebuilding the Jewish nation. They would have to wait 50 years, for Persians to defeat Babylon and free the Jews and other prisoners.
The original text doesn’t add the descriptive words. It simply describes them as a “thorn hedge” or “briars.” The descriptive words illustrate what it’s like to try to pass through a briar patch. If you’re not wearing leather, you’re likely going to bleed.
This is a land well-known for its wonderful grazing pastures. It’s east of the Sea of Galilee, in what is now Jordan and Syria. When Moses led the Hebrew ancestors of today’s Jews to what became Israel, two of the 12 tribes that had a lot of livestock liked the land so much that they decided to stay: the tribe of Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh (Deuteronomy 4:43).
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.