Oracles of Divine Punishment, Part I   Leave a comment

Above:  Map of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah

Image Scanned from an Old Bible

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READING MICAH, PART II

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Micah 1:2-16

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Micah 1:2-3:12 consists of oracles of divine punishment.  I choose to unpack this section in three installments.  The first installment concludes where Chapter 1 does.

For an explanation of the terms “Jacob” and “Israel” in the Book of Micah, I refer you, O reader, to the first post in this series.

Idolatry (metaphorically, prostitution; see the Book of Hosea) was ubiquitous in the (northern) Kingdom of Israel and the (southern) Kingdom of Judah.  God’s coming would be frightening and cause natural disasters.  Only Samaria , the capital of the (northern) Kingdom of Israel, and that kingdom would fall in 1:2-7, though.

Who mourned for Jerusalem in 1:8-16?  Micah himself?  The people of Israel?  God?  The ambiguity of the text invites speculation.  More than one answer may be correct.  And, given (A) the passage of time, (B) new contexts in which to read 1:8-16, and (C) the layers of composition in the Book of Micah, all three answers I have listed may be correct.  Considering the divine pathos in Hosea 11:8-9, God is a feasible candidate for the identity of the mourner in Micah 2:8-16.

Micah 1:10-14 contains Hebrew wordplay in place names.  The following translations from notes in The Jewish Study Bible, Second Edition (2014):

  1. Verse 10–“In Dusthouse I will roll myself in dust.”
  2. Verse 11–“Pass on your way, girl of Pretty-town, in shameful nakedness.”
  3. Verse 12–“The girl of Bitterness-town aches for good, yet evil has come down from the LORD at the gate of Jerusalem.”
  4. Verse 14–“The houses of Deception-ville shall be a deception to the kings of Israel.”

Towns, personified as females, receive omens.  Yet Jerusalem receives no such omen.  The Kingdom of Judah will suffer, but Jerusalem will not fall–yet.

Shave the pate and shear your hair

over your pampered children.

Make yourself bald as an eagle,

for they are gone from you into exile.

–Micah 1:16, Robert Alter, The Hebrew Bible (2019)

The Babylonian Exile would happen.  It did happen.  It also ended.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 25, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BEDE OF JARROW, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND FATHER OF ENGLISH HISTORY

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALDHELM OF SHERBORNE, POET, LITERARY SCHOLAR, ABBOT OF MALMESBURY, AND BISHOP OF SHERBORNE

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CRISTOBAL MAGOLLANES JARA AND AGUSTIN CALOCA CORTÉS, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SAINTS AND MARTYRS, 1927

THE FEAST OF SAINT MADELEINE-SOPHIE BARAT, FOUNDRESS OF THE SOCIETY OF THE SACRED HEART; AND SAINT ROSE PHILIPPINE DUCHESNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT MYKOLA TSEHELSKYI, UKRAINIAN GREEK CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1951

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