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With what should I[a] enter the Lord’s presence?

With what[b] should I bow before the sovereign God?[c]
Should I enter his presence with burnt offerings,
with year-old calves?
Will the Lord accept a thousand rams
or ten thousand streams of olive oil?
Should I give him my firstborn child as payment for my rebellion,
my offspring—my own flesh and blood—for my sin?[d]
He has told you,[e] O man, what is good,
and what the Lord really wants from you:[f]
He wants you to[g] carry out justice,[h] to love faithfulness,[i]
and to live obediently before[j] your God.

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Footnotes

  1. Micah 6:6 sn With what should I enter the Lord’s presence? The prophet speaks again, playing the role of an inquisitive worshiper who wants to know what God really desires from his followers.
  2. Micah 6:6 tn The words “with what” do double duty in the parallelism and are supplied in the second line of the translation for clarification.
  3. Micah 6:6 tn Or “the exalted God.”
  4. Micah 6:7 tn Heb “the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul.” The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) is often translated “soul,” but the word usually refers to the whole person; here “the sin of my soul” = “my sin.” sn Since child sacrifice is forbidden in scripture (Deut 12:31; 18:10), the speaker is revealed to not be in earnest but perhaps sarcastic.
  5. Micah 6:8 sn Now the prophet switches roles and answers the question of the hypothetical worshiper. He rebukes the extravagant surface remark by pointing to general character qualities that are lacking in Israel.
  6. Micah 6:8 tn Heb “is seeking from you.”
  7. Micah 6:8 tn Heb “except.” This statement is actually linked with what precedes, “What does he want from you except….”
  8. Micah 6:8 tn Or “to act justly.”
  9. Micah 6:8 tn Or “to love faithfully.” The Hebrew word חֶסֶד (khesed) is complex, sometimes translated “lovingkindness,” faithfulness,” or “loyal love.” It has also been understood as covenant loyalty. חֶסֶד is either the object or the manner of the infinitive “to love.”
  10. Micah 6:8 tn Heb “to walk humbly [or perhaps, “carefully”] with.”

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