The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 6


Hear, then, what the LORD says: Arise, present your plea before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice!


Hear, O mountains, the plea of the LORD, pay attention, O foundations of the earth! For the LORD has a plea against his people, and he enters into trial with Israel.


O my people, what have I done to you, or how have I wearied you? Answer me!


For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery I released you; And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.


1 My people, remember what Moab's King Balak planned, and how Balaam, the son of Beor, answered him . . . from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the just deeds of the LORD.


2 With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow before God most high? Shall I come before him with holocausts, with calves a year old?


3 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my crime, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?


You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.


4 Hark! the LORD cries to the city. (It is wisdom to fear your name!) Hear, O tribe and city council,


You whose rich men are full of violence, whose inhabitants speak falsehood with deceitful tongues in their heads!


Am I to bear any longer criminal hoarding and the meager ephah that is accursed?


Shall I acquit criminal balances, bags of false weights?


Rather I will begin to strike you with devastation because of your sins.


You shall sow, yet not reap, tread out the olive, yet pour no oil, and the grapes, yet drink no wine.


You shall eat, without being satisfied, food that will leave you empty; What you acquire, you cannot save; what you do save, I will deliver up to the sword.


5 You have kept the decrees of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and you have walked in their counsels; Therefore I will deliver you up to ruin, and your citizens to derision; and you shall bear the reproach of the nations.



1 [5] From Shittim to Gilgal: from the east to the west side of the Jordan; the events described in Joshua 3-5 are meant. The text is defective; however, it is evident that this verse continues the remembrance of God's deeds of mercy to Israel, beginning with the Exodus ( Micah 6:4) and extending to the conquest, deeds which have provoked so little response from his people.

2 [6-8] The people ask how they shall worship the Lord, proposing the various forms of sacrifice. The prophet replies that sacrifice avails nothing without the true spirit of religion. This is one of the best expressions of the prophetic teaching on religion, the preparation for such New Testament passages as James 1:27.

3 [7] Shall I give my first-born: through Canaanite influence the abominable practice of human sacrifice had been introduced under impious kings (cf 2 Kings 16:3; 21:6).

4 [9] The city: Jerusalem as the embodiment of the crimes of the entire land.

5 [16] Judah has followed the example of the northern kingdom epitomized in the semipaganism of Omri and his son Ahab ( 1 Kings 16:25-34), copying both the corrupted worship and the social injustice of their reigns.

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