Book Of Micah
From Bible Encyclopedia
Date of composition
The superscription suggests the time of the ministry of Micah as being during the reigns of Jotham (742-735 BC), Ahaz (735-715 BC), and Hezekiah (715-687 BC). These figures allow a maximum period of fifty-five years for Micah's ministry, but it is not likely that he was active as a prophet during all of that time. He was active during the late eighth century BC; he was among the earliest of the Minor Prophets. The message in Micah 1:2-9 was given before the destruction of Samaria in 721 BC. The appeal of Jeremiah's supporters to the prophecy of Micah confirms his connection with Hezekiah: "And some of the land arose and said to all the assembled people, Micah of Moresheth prophesied during the days of Hezekiah king of Judah" (Jeremiah 26:17)
Micah had a populist message in a small town southwest of Jerusalem, Moresheth-Gath. Although we read the canonical book through the eyes of the postexilic community of faith, who come to the fore in 7:8-20, the importance of these sections lies in the spiritual message of these prophetic texts.
The purpose of writing the book was to express disdain for the corruptions and pretensions of Jerusalem and its leaders. In an era of urbanization, he championed the traditions of early Israel. Micah condemned religious practice untethered from ethical performance (3:9-10,6:3-5,6-8). Micah was probably not a professional prophet. He criticizes the prophets who give oracles for money (3:11) or tailor their messages according to their clients' generosity (3:5). His credentials are divine inspiration and his unflinching stand for moral truth (3:8). His strong sense of call is exhibited in virtually every line. Fervently yet concisely he speaks to the issues of his day in terms of Israel's covenant obligations. Behind the covenant, in spite of Israel's failure to maintain that bond, is the God of the covenant who yet will lead his people to future glory...
The book may be divided into three sections:
- Chapters 1-3 mainly consist of oracles of judgment.
- Chapters 4-5 of oracles of hope.
- Chapters 6-7 begins with judgment and moves to hope.
Chapters 1-3 mainly consist of oracles of judgment. The judgment motif is so strong in this book that Micah only preached about judgment. Judgment in Micah is seen in the destruction of Samaria, in the coming of an invader against Jerusalem, in the greedy land-grabbers' loss of their land and in their being abandoned by Yahweh, in shame for the false prophets, in the siege of Jerusalem and the cleaning of the land from idolatry and militarism.
Chapters 4-5 consist of oracles of hope. The prophet said that those conditions would not prevail forever. Judgment would come but a saved, chastened, and faithful remnant would survive. A new king from the line of David would be born in Bethlehem and replace the present weak king on the throne. He would reign in the majesty of the name of Yahweh. His people would dwell securely and he would be great to the ends of earths.
Chapters 6-7 begin with judgment and move to hope. Micah puts a protest on the people's lips, offering any religious response God cared to ask for. God's indictment becomes specific in 6:9-16. Violence, deception, and crooked business practices were rampant. They would bring desolation and destruction to the land. The reference to Omri and Ahab indicates that the same kinds of corruption that destroyed the northern kingdom had now spread to Judah.
In conclusion, Micah's later hearers take his messages to heart. His words of hope gave them new heart to live as God's people in a darkened world.
The sixth in order of the so-called minor prophets. The superscription to this book states that the prophet exercised his office in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. If we reckon from the beginning of Jotham's reign to the end of Hezekiah's (759-698 BC), then he ministered for about fifty-nine years; but if we reckon from the death of Jotham to the accession of Hezekiah (743-726 BC), his ministry lasted only sixteen years. It has been noticed as remarkable that this book commences with the last words of another prophet, “Micaiah the son of Imlah” (1 Kings 22:28): “Hearken, O people, every one of you.”
The book consists of three sections, each commencing with a rebuke, “Hear ye,” etc., and closing with a promise,
(1) Micah 1; Micah 2:1-13;
(2) Micah 3 - 5, especially addressed to the princes and heads of the people;
(3) Micah 6 - 7, in which Jehovah is represented as o the holding a controversy with his people: the whole concluding with a song of triumph at the great deliverance which the Lord will achieve for his people. The closing verse is quoted in the song of Zacharias (Luke 1:72, Luke 1:73). 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 the following references to this book in the New Testament: Micah 5:2 (compare Matthew 2:6; John 7:42), Micah 7:6 (compare Matthew 10:21, Matthew 10:35, Matthew 10:36), Micah 7:20 (compare Luke 1:72, Luke 1:73).