Tell it not in Gath;
weep not at all;
roll yourselves in the dust.
Pass on your way,
inhabitants of Shaphir,
in nakedness and shame;
the inhabitants of Zaanan
do not come out;
the lamentation of Beth-ezel
shall take away from you its standing place.
For the inhabitants of Maroth
wait anxiously for good,
because disaster has come down from the LORD
to the gate of Jerusalem.
Harness the steeds to the chariots,
inhabitants of Lachish;
it was the beginning of sin
to the daughter of Zion,
for in you were found
the transgressions of Israel.
Therefore you shall give parting gifts
the houses of Achzib shall be a deceitful thing
to the kings of Israel.
I will again bring a conqueror to you,
inhabitants of Mareshah;
the glory of Israel
shall come to Adullam.
Make yourselves bald and cut off your hair,
for the children of your delight;
make yourselves as bald as the eagle,
for they shall go from you into exile.
Comment: Gath was a Philistine city. The judgement is on Israel and surrounding countries were not meant to gloat or get into the attack when it fell. The rest of the places were towns/areas in both the northern and southern kingdoms and Micah plays with the their names, twisting the intended beauty of the name to describe what was to become of them. For example, – Saphir means beauty – they will be naked and ashamed. At the end we have the city of Mareshah, the town from which Micah came (even though the spelling is a little different) and meant to be the glory of Israel. The city had a conqueror coming which would trade its glory for baldness and weeping. Their young were to be taken away into captivity, much like slavery. As I close my eyes I picture the fiery passionate prophet weeping as he powerfully delivers a message which God has laid upon him. But he is talking to a people which he loves and knows God loves also. I suspect that Micah doesn’t find it easy to prophecy like this.
Prayer: You are the God who is correctly called Love, but help me to hear that You expect obedience.