Reading 0,18 - 7 Chapters - 105 verses - 3,153 words
Little is know about the prophet Micah beyond what can be learned from the book itself and from Jer 26:18. Micah was from the town of Moresheth (1:1), probably Moresheth Gath (1:14) is southern Judah. The prophecy attests to Micah's deep sensitivity to the social ills of his, especially as they affected the small towns and villages of his homeland.
Micah prophesied sometime between 750 and 686 B.C during the reigns of Jonathan, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (1:1; Jer 26:18). He was therefore a contemporary of Isaiah (Isa 1:1) and Hosea (Hos 1:1). Micah predicted the fall of Samaria (1:6), which took place in (722-721). This would place his early ministry in the reigns of Jotham (750-732) and Ahaz (735-715). (The reigns of Jotham and Ahaz overlapped.) Micah' message reflects social conditions prior to the religious reforms under Hezekiah (715-686). Micah's ministry most likely fell within the period 735-700.
In Micah himself wrote out his messages, the date for the earliest written form of his work would be c. 700. If one of his disciples arranged his messages in their present from, the date would be the early seventh century B.C. If a later editor collected and arranged his messages, the date would still need to be early enough in the seventh century to allow time for his prophecy of Jerusalem's fall (3:12) to become familiar enough to be quoted in Jer 26:18 c. 608.
The background of the book is the same as that found in the earlier portions of Isaiah, though Miccah does not exhibit the same knowledge of Jerusalem's political life as Isaiah does. Perhaps this is because he, like Amos, was from a village in Judah. The relevant Biblical texts covering this period are 2Ki 15:32-20:21; 2Ch 27-32; Isa 7:20; 36-39.
Israel was in an apostate condition. Micah predicted the fall of her capital, Samaria (1:5-7), and also foretold the inevitable desolation of Judah (1:9-16).
Several significant historical events occurred during this period:
1. In 734-732 B.C. Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria led a military campaign against Aram (Syria), Philistia and arts of Israel and Judah. Ashkelon and Gaza were defeated. Judah, Ammon, Edom and Moab paid tribute to the Assyrian king, but Israel did not fare as well. According to 2Ki 15:29 the northern kingdom lost most of its territory, including all of Gilead and much of Galilee. Damascus fell in 732 and was annexed to the Assyrian empire.
2. In 722-721 Samaria fell, and the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria.
3. In 712 King Sargon II of Assyria captured Ashdod (Isa 20:1).
4. In Judah joined a revolt against Assyria and was overrun by King Sennacherib and his army, though Jerusalem was spared.
1. Structure. The book's collection of short prophetic messages is organized in a pattern of three cycles of judgment and salvations/deliverance oracles.
2. Forms. The book contains at least seven different literary forms. These are identified in the notes on the individuals units.
3. Style. Micah's style is similar to that of Isaiah. Booth prophets use vigorous language and many figures of speech (Mic 1:-5,7; 2:4,6,11; 3:2-3; 4:3-4,12-13; 5:1); both show great tenderness in threatening punishment and in promising justice.
Micah makes frequent use of plays on words, 1:10-15 being the classic example.
Theme and Message
As the Outline shows, Micah's message alternates between oracles of doom and oracles of hope -- in terms of Ro 11:22, between God's "sternness" and his "kindness." The theme is divine judgment and deliverance. Micah also stresses that God hates idolatry, injustice, rebellion and empty ritualism (3:8), but delights in pardoning the penitent (7:18-19). Finally, the prophet declares that Zion will have greater glory in the future than ever before (4:1-5). The Davidic kingdom, though it will seem to come to an end, will reach greater heights through the coming Messianic deliverer (1:2; 3:8-12; 5:1-4; 6:2,6-8; 7:18-20).
The Rulers and Prophets of Micah's Time
Micah Interpretive Challenges
The verbal similarity between Mic 4:1-3 and isa 2:2-4 raises the question of who quoted whom. Interpreters are divided, with no clear-cut answers on either side. Because the two prophets lived in close proximity to each other, prophesying during the same period, this similarity is understandable. God gave the same message through two preachers. The introductory phrase, “In the last days” (4:1), removes these verses from any post-Exilic fulfillment and requires an eschatological time frame surrounding the Second Advent of Christ and the beginning of the Millennium.
Apart from Isa 2:2-4, three other passages from Micah are quoted elsewhere in Scripture. Micah 3:12 is quoted in Jer 26:18, thereby saving Jeremiah’s life from King Jehoiakim’s death sentence. Micah 5:2 is quoted by the chief priest and scribes (Mt 2:6) in response to Herold’s query about the birthplace of the Messiah. Micah 7:6 is employed by Jesus in Mt 10:35, 36 when commissioning his disciples.
God's character in Micah
God is longsuffering - 7:1
God is merciful - 7:18, 20
God is provident - 5:2
God is righteous - 6:4, 5; 7:9
God is true - 7:20
God is unified - 7:18
God is wrathful - 7:9, 11
Christ in Micah
Micah provides one of the most significant prophecies in the Bible referring to Christ's birthplace and eternality: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from the old, from everlasting" (5:2). This passage was used by the scribes and chief priest to answer Herold's query about the birthplace of Jesus (Matthew 2:6). Micah 7:6 was also used by Jesus to explain the nature of His coming (Matthew 10:33, 36).