The Meaning of Micah 1:8 Explained

Micah 1:8

KJV: Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.

YLT: For this I lament and howl, I go spoiled and naked, I make a lamentation like dragons, And a mourning like daughters of an ostrich.

Darby: For this will I lament, and I will howl; I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the jackals, and mourning like the ostriches.

ASV: For this will I lament and wail; I will go stripped and naked; I will make a wailing like the jackals, and a lamentation like the ostriches.

What does Micah 1:8 Mean?

Verse Meaning

In view of this coming judgment, Micah said he felt compelled to lament and wail. He would express his sorrow by going barefoot and naked, a common way of expressing it in his culture (cf. 2 Samuel 15:30; Isaiah 20:2; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 25:34). Jackals and ostriches (or owls) were nocturnal animals that lived alone and were peculiar for their nocturnal hunting habits and for their wailing sounds. Micah said he would mimic them.
"Unlike some tub-thumping modern preachers of fire and damnation, Micah preaches judgment out of such love that he weeps for his audience." [1]

Context Summary

Micah 1:1-16 - God's Witness Against His Chosen
Micah was contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea. Jeremiah quotes from him. Compare Micah 3:12 and Jeremiah 26:18.
In Micah 1:1-4 the prophet summons the nations to behold the just punishment which Jehovah would mete out to His faithless people. Micah 1:5-6 portray the desolation of Samaria. Destruction would settle on the homes and fields of men, and the prospect of this so affected the prophet that he divested himself of outer garment and sandals, that his disheveled condition might depict the calamities that he announced. Micah 1:10-16 make clear that Judah also would suffer similar chastisements. Aphrah and Shaphir would be hurried into captivity. So universal would be the calamity that Zaanan would not come to bewail with the neighboring city of Bethezel.
The prophets were true patriots and they felt that all good citizens should lament with them, Micah 1:16, in the hope of averting impending judgments. Are we feeling the sins and sorrows of our time, as Jesus felt those of Jerusalem, when He wept over the city? [source]

Chapter Summary: Micah 1

1  The time when Micah prophesied
2  He shows the wrath of God against Jacob for idolatry
10  He exhorts to mourning

What do the individual words in Micah 1:8 mean?

On account of this I will wail and howl I will go - stripped and naked I will make a wailing like the jackals and a mourning like the ostriches
עַל־ זֹאת֙ אֶסְפְּדָ֣ה וְאֵילִ֔ילָה אֵילְכָ֥ה [שילל] (שׁוֹלָ֖ל) וְעָר֑וֹם אֶעֱשֶׂ֤ה מִסְפֵּד֙ כַּתַּנִּ֔ים וְאֵ֖בֶל כִּבְנ֥וֹת יַעֲנָֽה

עַל־  On  account 
Parse: Preposition
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
זֹאת֙  of  this 
Parse: Pronoun, feminine singular
Root: זׄאת  
Sense: this, this one, here, which, this … that, the one … the other, such.
אֶסְפְּדָ֣ה  I  will  wail 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect Cohortative, first person common singular
Root: סָפַד  
Sense: to wail, lament, mourn.
וְאֵילִ֔ילָה  and  howl 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Hifil, Conjunctive imperfect Cohortative, first person common singular
Root: יָלַל  
Sense: (Hiphil) to howl, wail, make a howling.
אֵילְכָ֥ה  I  will  go 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect Cohortative, first person common singular
Root: הָלַךְ  
Sense: to go, walk, come.
[שילל]  - 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular
(שׁוֹלָ֖ל)  stripped 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular
Root: שֹׁולָל 
Sense: barefoot.
וְעָר֑וֹם  and  naked 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Adjective, masculine singular
Root: עָרֹום  
Sense: naked, bare.
אֶעֱשֶׂ֤ה  I  will  make 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect Cohortative if contextual, first person common singular
Root: עָשָׂה 
Sense: to do, fashion, accomplish, make.
מִסְפֵּד֙  a  wailing 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: מִסְפֵּד  
Sense: wailing.
כַּתַּנִּ֔ים  like  the  jackals 
Parse: Preposition-k, Article, Noun, common plural
Root: תַּנִּין  
Sense: dragon, serpent, sea monster.
וְאֵ֖בֶל  and  a  mourning 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Noun, masculine singular
Root: אֵבֶל  
Sense: mourning.
כִּבְנ֥וֹת  like 
Parse: Preposition-k, Noun, feminine plural construct
Root: בַּת  
Sense: daughter.
יַעֲנָֽה  the  ostriches 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular
Root: יַעֲנָה  
Sense: an unclean bird.