Handbook of Micah
Impending Fall of Israel and Judah
The Messiah to be Born at Bethlehem
Micah prophesied in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Jotham and Hezekiah were good kings, Ahaz was extremely wicked. Thus Micah witnessed the apostasy of the government and its recovery. His home was Moresheth, on the Philistine border, near Gath, about 30 miles SW of Jerusalem. He was contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea.
Micah's message was to both Israel and Judah, addressed primarily to their two respective capitals, Samaria and Jerusalem. Its three main ideas were: their Sins; their Destruction; and their Restoration. These ideas, in the book, are mixed up, with abrupt transitions between Present Desolation and Future Glory.
Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom. Its rulers were directly responsible for prevalent national corruption (5). Since their apostasy from God, 200 years before, they had adopted Calf worship, Baal worship, and other Canaanite, Syrian, and Assyrian Idols and Idol practices. God had sent Elijah, Elisha and Amos, to turn them back from idols. But in vain. They were about ripe for the death blow. Micah lived to see his words come true (6). In 714 B.C the Assyrians carried away all of north Israel, and in 721 Samaria itself became a "heap."
Places named in 10-15 were in west Judah, in Micah's home territory. They were devastated by the Assyrians, along with the overthrow of the Northern Kingdom.
In addition to their Idolatry (1:5-7), the ruling classes were merciless in their treatment of the poor, seizing their fields, even their clothes, and ejecting women with little children from their homes, and, on top of it all, heaping to themselves false prophets who condoned their unjust and cruel practices (6:11). Micah, having mentioned the captivity (1:16), now abruptly pictures their restoration, God marching at their head (2:12-11).
Continued arraignment of the wanton and inhuman cruelty of the ruling classes, with special reference to Jerusalem (10), and in particular to the religious leaders (5-7, 11). Then Micah pronounces the doom of Jerusalem (12), as he had, in 1:6, of Samaria.
Vision of a Warless, Happy, Prosperous, God-Fearing world, with Zion at its head. What a contrast! 4:1-3 is the same as Isaiah 2:2-4; sublime, grand words, abundantly worthy of repetition. Suddenly in the midst of this rhapsody of the future, the prophet reverts to his own troublous times and the doom of Jerusalem, which he had just mentioned (3: 12), announcing that the people would be carried away captive to
Babylon (4:10). It is an amazing prophecy. At the time Assyria was sweeping everything before it. This was 100 years before the rise of the Babylonian empire. Yet Jerusalem survived the Assyrian onslaught, and lived on till Assyria was overthrown by Babylon, at whose hands Jerusalem fell (606 B.C.); and its people were carried away to Babylon.
Ruler from Bethlehem at the head of Zion. In 4:1-8, the Glorious future. In 4:9-10, back to the Captivity. In 4:11-12, further back to the prophet's own times, the siege of
Jerusalem by the Assyrians. In 4:13, forward sweep to the future. Then. in 5:1, a return to the siege of Jerusalem. This is the setting for the appearance of the DELIVERER from BETHLEHEM (2-5). in Micah's horizon it was a deliverance from Assyria (5-6). But beyond the horizon, in the dim distance, loomed the majestic figure of the coming MESSIANIC KING, making his advent, out of Eternity (2), by was of Bethlehem. Zion's deliverance from Assyria by the Angel of God was, in some respects, a picture forecast of a coming Greater Deliverance by the Saviour of men. Many Old Testament predictions of , Christ were cloudily blurred with historic situations of the
prophet's own times, yet too clear to be mistaken. Unquestionably the Eternal Ruler from Bethlehem (2), is to be identified with the Wonderful Child of Isaiah 9:6-7. This is the only place in the Old Testament it is specifically stated that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem (see under Matthew 2:22)
Again, the sins of Micah's times: Ingratitude to God; Religious Pretense; Dishonesty; Idolatry; Certain Punishment.
Micah laments prevailing Treachery,Violence and Blood-Thirstiness. Promises Punishment. Closes with a vision of the future when God and His people shall be supreme, and the promise to Abraham be fully accomplished.