An Expository Exegesis: Micah 6:6–8 -- By: B. Elmo Scoggin

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 02:2 (Spring 1985)
Article: An Expository Exegesis: Micah 6:6–8
Author: B. Elmo Scoggin


An Expository Exegesis:
Micah 6:6–8

B. Elmo Scoggin

Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Old Testament,
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

What is the message of Micah 6:6–8? Does it have any practical application to the world scene in 1985? Does it speak about the on-going enterprise of God in this fragmented, lacerated, hurt, and troubled time?

It is the thrust of this study that Micah is very much in tune with these times and that a careful reading of his prophetic pronouncements to his own setting will speak meaningfully to the context into which we have been set.1

Though our passage, strictly speaking, is Micah 6:6–8, we will need to look at it against its background in the first five verses of chapter six. The extant text is organized in a very clever way. It is presented as a court scene. H. B. Huffmon calls it a “Covenant Lawsuit.”2 The prophet’s point is that the ineffable God has a serious controversy with his people and that now the time has come when it must be adjudicated. The scene is set and the case is called. The trial has some unusual aspects, one of which is that Yahweh, the ineffable God, plays four different roles as the case progresses. He is variously prosecuting attorney, bailiff, judge, and plaintiff.

The defendant, Israel, is called to the stand in v. 1 and is challenged to speak up in self defense. While the accused party waits, the court issues a call to various witnesses to gather around to observe the proceedings and to hear the case as it develops.

One of many fascinating aspects of the trial is the identity of the witnessing observers. Verse 2 calls the mountains and the very foundations of the earth to hear Yahweh’s complaint, his charge against Israel. The language clearly states that both sides of the case are to be presented and that the defendant, Israel, will have the same freedom to speak in defense as the plaintiff, Yahweh, will exercise in filing the complaint. The last word in v. 2 is the same word as used in Isaiah 1:18, where it is traditionally translated “reason together.” It should be translated in both references as “argue back and forth,” or “argue through to a satisfactory and agreed-upon conclusion.” Yahweh is not going to “plead with” or “beg” Israel. He is going to work through the whole case so that there will remain no ...

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