Micah 6:8 (New Revised Standard Version)
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
As one of my favourite passages in the Bible I was delighted when it came up in the book I am currently reading, and being reminded of it I thought I’d talk a little bit about it today.
First of all the book itself Micah is a Hebrew name very similar to Matthew, meaning ‘who is like God?’. Before I’ve even opened the book of Micah I’m reminded that no-one is like God, that God is unique.
I love the book of Micah and the verse above in particular always struck a chord for me.
I wonder if like me you ever think to yourself, what am I supposed to do? What does God want me to do?
And if I find myself asking this question I look to Micah 6:8.
to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God
I don’t know about you but I always find it confusing to have so many different translations of the same thing. King James, New Century, English Standard, New Revised Standard, New Jerusalem etc. etc.
And I always find it so much more helpful sometimes to read the Bible in it’s original language: mainly Hebrew in the OT and Greek in the NT. I can’t speak much Hebrew and I can’t really read it either, but as the OT is in Hebrew I often read the Hebrew Bible online alongside translations and look at each word and see how it can flow together, because then I find I get so much more from it, and can interpret it with added meaning.
If like me you think this might be helpful then have a look!
Here’s Micah 6:8 – http://biblos.com/micah/6-8.htm
Looking at Micah 6:8, in the New Revised Standard Version, it says what does the Lord require of you.
In the New Century Version, he has told you what he wants from you.
In Hebrew darash.
Most translations would say require, although as above in the NCV some translate it otherwise.
darash usually translates as ask, and sometimes seek, calls, cares, consult, inquire. And all these translations don’t point to require, but desire. God asks us to do things but this implies because of our free will we don’t have to. This approach seems very gentle.
But then darash is translated as demand, search, surely require. And this would mean we had no choice.
Now opposed to saying God requires us to do something, or he wants us to do something, I like the word ask.
I think translating it as ask is better because it’s not a forced word, but a word which reminds us that God loves us so much and wants what is best for us, and in asking us to show certain qualities speaks kindly, caringly and lovingly which reminds us that we always have a choice.
I think it better describes the relationship God has with his us. The loving relationship is emphasised.
What I also love so much is the word towb translated above as good: He has told you, O mortal, what is good.
And what I adore is that this word can also be translated as beautiful.
I hope that you reading have previously read my post, what is beauty, and if not then do:
I’m surprised now reading that back. I love my answer, but I never used the word good or goodness.
But it makes a lot of sense.
Goodness is beautiful.
And I love that it can be read like that. The word beauty cannot be defined. There are many attempts to define it, but everyone always comes up with something else, and people picture something that is personally beautiful, a moment of life past or present, and not one person can ever define it in the same way as another.
I came to a conclusion that beauty was probably to me the moments in which I recognized God most in my life and the lives of others and all that lay around me. God is always with us and in everything, but there will always be certain moments that speak out more than others.
Without rambling on too much, I basically love that in this verse good can be translated as beauty.
Kindness, checed, kindness, favour, mercy, pity, good deed.
Rachael’s Attempted Translation:
God has told us, mankind, what is good, what is beautiful; and what does the Lord ask of you but to bring forth justice, to love with kindness, and to walk humbly with him.
It’s interesting to read the Bible in it’s original language.
I mean hey just to read Micah 6:8 took about 45 minutes to figure out and think through.
And hey I might have got it wrong!
But taking all the different interpretations and translations aside for a minute, it’s message is clear.
God loves us. And God knows that if we show mercy, kindness, love our God and be with him, that we will have that goodness in our lives. The goodness of God. The beauty of life.