Scriptures

Micah 1

Introduction

The prophet Micah has a warning for God’s people and the warning was that God was going to punished them for their sinfulness and because they were listening to the lies of the false prophets. This wasn’t how God intended things to be, God was to be their teacher and God wanted peace between the nations. God goes on to promise that He will send a leader for them whom would be born in Bethlehem, we know Him today as Jesus, The Christ.

In the meantime God accused His people of sinfulness and refused to receive any gifts from them. He simply wanted them to humble themselves do what was right in His eyes. However, because of their stubborn hearts, God would end up punishing them. the good news is that when His people finally did humble themselves and turn to serve the Living God, then God would make them into a great nation once again.

Author

The very first verse of Micah tells us that Micah wrote this book, Micah 1:1. Not much is known about Micah other than what is mentioned in this book but we know his name means ‘Who is like God’. He was from Moresheth on the border of Judah and Philistia, which was the main road leading to Egypt. His contemporaries were Isaiah and Hosea.

He is mentioned by Jeremiah, Jeremiah 26:18 and other prophets also validated the authorship of Micah by quoting from his writings, Isaiah 41:15 / Ezekiel 22:25 / Zephaniah 3:19. While Isaiah was able to mix with nobles, and court people, Micah was able to mix with ordinary people, and some say he is overshadowed by Isaiah, but his words are in no way inferior to Isaiah’s words.

The closing verse is quoted in the song of Zacharias, Micah 7:20 / Luke 1:72-73. The prediction regarding the place ‘where Christ should be born,’ one of the most remarkable Messianic prophecies, Micah 5:2 is quoted in Matthew 2:6.

There are a few other references to this book in the New Testament.

a. Micah 5:2 is quoted in Matthew 2:6 / John 7:42.

b. Micah 7:6 is quoted in Matthew 10:21 / Matthew 10:35-36.

c. Micah 7:20 is quoted in Luke 1:72-73.

Date

Because Micah prophesied during the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, who were kings of the Southern Kingdom and since he began his ministry before the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 722/21 B.C. and he continued his prophecy into the reign of Hezekiah, Jeremiah 26:18, we can conclude therefore, that the book was written 735 B.C.

Summary

Halley’s Bible Handbook, says the following.

‘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.’

Theme

Judah will fall because of the same thing that is going to cause the Northern Kingdom to fall, that is, idolatry and forsaking the law.

Outline

God is Coming in Judgment. Micah 1-2

God is Coming in Peace. Micah 3-5

God is Coming in Mercy. Micah 7-7

The Text

‘The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Hear, you peoples, all of you, listen, earth and all who live in it, that the Sovereign LORD may bear witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth. The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like water rushing down a slope. All this is because of Jacob’s transgression, because of the sins of the people of Israel. What is Jacob’s transgression? Is it not Samaria? What is Judah’s high place? Is it not Jerusalem? “Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble, a place for planting vineyards. I will pour her stones into the valley and lay bare her foundations. All her idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple gifts will be burned with fire; I will destroy all her images. Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes, as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used.” Micah 1:1-7

Judgment Against Samaria And Jerusalem

Micah prophesied during the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, who were kings of the Southern Kingdom, 1 Peter 1:11 / 2 Peter 1:21. He received a vision concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Samaria was the capital of Northern Kingdom and was on verge of being destroyed, why? Because of idolatry.

The destruction will come 14 years later in 721. He speaks of sin as if it was a disease that is spreading to the capital of the Southern Kingdom, that is, Jerusalem, whose destruction will not be far behind.

We must note that verses 3-4, are highly figurative and so, when God is pictured as coming from His holy temple, His dwelling place, its not referring to Jerusalem but heaven itself, Psalms 11:4 / Isaiah 26:21.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The geophysical disturbance of the whole earth is repeatedly mentioned in both the Old Testament and the New Testament as accompaniments of the final judgment day. Revelation 6:14ff / Revelation 11:19 / Revelation 16:17-21, etc. The mention of such phenomena here definitely indicated that the judgment about to be executed against Samaria and Jerusalem is typical of that ultimate judgment upon all mankind, hence the propriety of demanding that ‘all nations’ hear it, Micah 1:2.’

Gill, in his commentary, says the following.

‘As Sinai was when he descended on it, and as all nations will be at the general conflagration but here the words are to be taken, not literally, but figuratively, for the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and for the kings, and princes, and great men in them, that lifted up their heads as high, and thought themselves as secure, as mountains, yet when the judgments of God should fall upon them, their hearts would melt through fear under him, as well as all their glory and greatness depart from them, and they be no more what they were before, but levelled with the meanest subject.’

Allen, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Although directed primarily against Samaria, and ultimately against the southern capital, the prophet sets his pronouncement against a vast backcloth of world judgment. Micah’s God is no provincial deity but the universal Overlord to whom all nations must render account.’

God is coming in judgment against Israel and Judah because of their sinfulness, their idolatry, 1 Peter 4:17. Samaria would end up being a heap of stones in the field and the cities walls would be torn down to such an extent it would expose its foundation.

The idols which were made of gold and silver would be broken and melted down and taken back to Assyria as plunder and all their treasures would be taken away too.

Because Samaria had given themselves over to spiritual prostitution, Romans 1:23, all the wealth which they had gathered because of their prostitution would be taken away. All of Samaria’s wealth was taken away by the Assyrians, 2 Kings 17:4-6.

Archer, in his commentary, summarises these verses as follows.

‘The Assyrian troops of Sargon would smash her idols and destroy the dedicated treasures and votive monuments, the harlot’s hires from her false lovers, the heathen gods, in her temples. All the materialistic gains and advantages, such as the political alliance with Phoenicia engineered by Jezebel’s marriage to Ahab, will be wiped out, or carried off as spoil by the enemy.’

Weeping And Mourning

‘Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl. For Samaria’s plague is incurable; it has spread to Judah. It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself. Tell it not in Gath; weep not at all. In Beth Ophrah roll in the dust. Pass by naked and in shame, you who live in Shaphir. Those who live in Zaanan will not come out. Beth Ezel is in mourning; it no longer protects you. Those who live in Maroth writhe in pain, waiting for relief, because disaster has come from the LORD, even to the gate of Jerusalem. You who live in Lachish, harness fast horses to the chariot. You are where the sin of Daughter Zion began, for the transgressions of Israel were found in you. Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth Gath. The town of Akzib will prove deceptive to the kings of Israel. I will bring a conqueror against you who live in Mareshah. The nobles of Israel will flee to Adullam. Shave your head in mourning for the children in whom you delight; make yourself as bald as the vulture, for they will go from you into exile.’ Micah 1:8-16

It’s difficult to determine whether this is God speaking or Micah, but it doesn’t really matter. The words carry with it a sense of mourning. They roam about barefoot and dressed only in loin cloth which speaks of the spiritual state of Israel.

Those who have heard the howl of jackals tells us that it’s an especially bloodcurdling scream. The noises made by owls also convey a sense of grief and horror.

They had gone too far and they couldn’t be cured, they cannot do anything about it, Luke 18:27. Israel had turned away from God and forsaken Him and as a result, they would be handed over to the nations.

Not only did Micah mourn over the Northern Kingdom, but he also mourned over the Southern Kingdom, that is, Judah, who also was infected with the same sinfulness.

Notice the whole nation will be affected, in Gath, where stories were told, would become silent as there would be no one around to speak. Beth Ophrah which means the house of dust, would roll about in the dust.

Saphir which was a beautiful city, would walk in shame. Zaanan, the town of marching, would no longer be marching in pride. There would be nowhere for a foothold in the city of Beth Ezel on the hillside.

Maroth, the town of bitterness, they would wait for something good. Lachish, the horse town, would cease to exist. In the law they were forbidden to have horses but were to depend on God.

Lachish should give her parting gifts to Micah’s hometown, Moresheth in Gath. Micah sees his people fleeing as David did from Saul him to Adullam, 1 Samuel 22:1f.

Because they were told to shave their head, implies this was a time of mourning, Leviticus 19:27 / Deuteronomy 14:1. Their children were about to go into exile.

Deane, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This cannot refer exclusively to the Assyrian invasion but must look forward to the Babylonian deportation in Micah 4:10. The latter calamity alone is parallel to the destruction of Samaria announced in Micah 1:6-7.’

Archer, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This prophecy of captivity to the event of 586 B.C. The exile here foretold is more likely to be the Babylonian, Micah 4:10, than the Assyrian, which involved only the provinces and not Jerusalem itself. It is possible that both invasions, 701 and 586 B.C. are in view.’

Go To Micah 2

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"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

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