The Word Is Alive

The Book of Micah

The prophet Micah identified himself by his hometown, called Moresheth-gath, which was located near the border of Philistia and Judah, about twenty five miles southwest of Jerusalem. Dwelling in a largely agricultural part of the country, Micah lived outside the governmental centres of power in his nation, leading to his strong concern for the lowly and less fortunate of society: the lame, the outcasts and the afflicted (4:6). Therefore, Micah directed much of his prophecy toward the powerful leaders of Samaria and Jerusalem, the capital cities of Israel and Judah, respectively (1:1).

As a contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea, Micah prophesied during the momentous years surrounding the tragic fall of Israel to the Assyrian Empire (722BC), an event he also predicted (1:6). Micah stated in his introduction to the book that he prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah in Judah, failing to mention the simultaneous string of dishonourable kings that closed out the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

During this period, while Israel was imploding from the effects of evil and unfaithful leadership, Judah seemed on a roller-coaster ride, ascending to the heights of its destiny in one generation, only to fall into the doldrums in another. In Judah at this time, good kings and evil kings alternated with each other, a pattern seen in the reigns of Jotham, a good king (2 Kings 15:32–34); Ahaz, an evil king (2 Kings 16:1–4); and Hezekiah, one of the best kings of Judah (2 Kings 18:1–7).

The book of Micah provides one of the most significant prophecies of Jesus Christ’s birth in all the OT, pointing some seven hundred years before Christ’s birth to his birthplace of Bethlehem and to his eternal nature (5:2).

Surrounding Micah’s prophecy of Jesus’ birth is one of the most lucid pictures of the world’s future under the reign of the Prince of Peace (5:5). This future kingdom, which scholars call the Millennial Kingdom, will be characterised by the presence of many nations living with one another in peace and security (4:3–4), and coming to Jerusalem to worship the reigning king, that is, Jesus himself (4:2). Because these events have not yet occurred, believers look forward to the Millennial Kingdom at some undetermined time in the future.

Much of Micah’s book revolves around two significant predictions: one of judgement on Israel and Judah (1:1–3:12), the other of the restoration of God’s people in the Millennial Kingdom (4:1–5:15). Judgement and restoration inspire fear and hope, two ideas wrapped up in the final sequence of Micah’s prophecy, a courtroom scene in which God’s people stand trial before their Creator for turning away from him and from others (6:1–7:20). In this sequence, God reminds the people of his good works on their behalf, how he cared for them while they cared only for themselves. But rather than leave God’s people with the fear and sting of judgement, the Book of Micah concludes with the prophet’s call on the Lord as his only source of salvation and mercy (7:7), pointing the people toward an everlasting hope in their everlasting God.

Introduction Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three
Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven

There is some supplementary material for the book and a mind map of its structure that may prove useful for study.