a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

God Challenges Israel


Hear what the L ord says:

Rise, plead your case before the mountains,

and let the hills hear your voice.


Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the L ord,

and you enduring foundations of the earth;

for the L ord has a controversy with his people,

and he will contend with Israel.



“O my people, what have I done to you?

In what have I wearied you? Answer me!


For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,

and redeemed you from the house of slavery;

and I sent before you Moses,

Aaron, and Miriam.


O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,

what Balaam son of Beor answered him,

and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,

that you may know the saving acts of the L ord.”


What God Requires


“With what shall I come before the L ord,

and bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,

with calves a year old?


Will the L ord be pleased with thousands of rams,

with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”


He has told you, O mortal, what is good;

and what does the L ord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?


Cheating and Violence to Be Punished


The voice of the L ord cries to the city

(it is sound wisdom to fear your name):

Hear, O tribe and assembly of the city!


Can I forget the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,

and the scant measure that is accursed?


Can I tolerate wicked scales

and a bag of dishonest weights?


Your wealthy are full of violence;

your inhabitants speak lies,

with tongues of deceit in their mouths.


Therefore I have begun to strike you down,

making you desolate because of your sins.


You shall eat, but not be satisfied,

and there shall be a gnawing hunger within you;

you shall put away, but not save,

and what you save, I will hand over to the sword.


You shall sow, but not reap;

you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;

you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.


For you have kept the statutes of Omri

and all the works of the house of Ahab,

and you have followed their counsels.

Therefore I will make you a desolation, and your inhabitants an object of hissing;

so you shall bear the scorn of my people.


Interpreters differ as to the word האש, eash: some think that it ought to be read האיש, eaish, with an addition of two letters, and render it, “Is it yet man?” But this would render the passage abrupt. Others translate, “Is there yet fire?” As though it was אש, ash; and they suppose that wealth, wickedly and unjustly got, is so called, because it consumes itself. But as this is against what grammar requires, I am more inclined to take their view, who think that האש, eash, is to be taken here for היש, eish, 172172     One MS. Has היש, which no doubt is the true reading. The Septuagint has μηπυρ, which seems to have no sense whatever. Many copies have האיש, and this is the reading followed by Junius and Tremelius, and their version is this, —
   Has any one still the house of a dishonest man?
The treasures of dishonesty?
And the small detestable ephah?

   — Ed.
, aleph being put for jod: and they rightly consider that the sentence is to be read as a question, Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the ungodly? If this view be approved, then we must consider the Prophet as proposing a question respecting a thing really monstrous, — How can it be that treasures, gathered by plunder and wickedness, still remain with you, since ye have been so often warned, and since God daily urges you to repentance? How great is your hardness, that no fear of God lays hold on your minds? But the meaning would not be unsuitable were we to regard God as a Judge examining them concerning a matter unknown, Are there still the treasures of impiety in the house of the ungodly? that is, “I will see whether the ungodly and wicked hide their treasures:” for God often assumes the character of earthly judges; not that any thing escapes his knowledge, but that we may know that he is not precipitant in deciding a question. This view, then, is by no means inappropriate, that is, that God here assumes the character of an earthly judge, and thus speaks, “I will see whether there are still treasures concealed by the ungodly; I will search their houses; I will know whether they have as yet repented of their crimes.” thus, then, may be understood the words of the Prophet, Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the ungodly? For God, as I have already said, shows that he would know respecting the plunders and the various kinds of cruelty which they had exercised.

He then adds, Is there the bare measure, that is, a measure less than it ought to be, which is detestable? 173173     Literally it is, “And the ephah of detestable scantiness?” Marckius renders the words, “Et ephah tenuitatis abominabilis?” Henderson, “And the accursed scanty ephah? Then he says,

VIEWNAME is study