KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)
Micah prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah in Judah (about 740 — 687 B.C.). He was a native of Moresheth near Gath, a village in southwest Judah located about twenty to twenty-five miles southwest of Jerusalem. Micah’s name means, “Who is like Jehovah?” He was a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah, with whose ministry and prophecies he had many points of contact. In contrast to Isaiah, who was a prophet of the court and came from a prominent family, Micah was a country prophet who came from a poor family.
Although stern in tone, Micah’s prophecy has a poetic style similar to Isaiah’s words. Some commentators refer to Micah as a “sister book” to Isaiah or “Isaiah in shorthand.”
Micah denounced Samaria and Jerusalem as centers of evil that infected the two kingdoms of which they were capitals. One could find in these wicked cities examples of all the evils of that time. Micah’s list included fraud, theft, greed, debauchery, oppression, hypocrisy, heresy, injustice, extortion, lying, murder, and other offenses.
In chapters 1 through 3, Micah prophesied against Samaria and Jerusalem. He first denounced Samaria and prophesied her overthrow. He saw with sorrow of heart the judgment that was about to sweep over Judah, and that his own people of southwest Judah would feel the weight of the invasion. Covetousness and robbery demand punishment, but a glimpse is given of God’s mercy to the remnant of Israel.
Chapter 3 gives one of the most stinging denunciations against selfish rulers and false prophets in the prophetic literature, closing with the prophecy that the Temple and Zion would be destroyed.
Chapters 4 and 5 are filled with promises. After Jerusalem’s destruction and restoration, it was to become the spiritual capital of the world, and to her, God would bring His exiles from Babylon, in spite of all opposition from the heathen nations. The most noted of Micah’s prophesies is chapter 5, verse 2, which predicted the location of Bethlehem Ephratah as our Lord’s birthplace.
The last two chapters outline God’s controversy with Israel. What fault could Israel find with Him? Israel responded by wanting to know God’s requirements, and received the answer that He demanded nothing but justice, mercy, and a humble fellowship with God. Israel’s sins were pictured in all their vileness, and the nation, through the prophet, confessed the truth of the indictment, placing itself entirely in the Lord’s hands for mercy and protection. The Book of Micah closes by prophesying of the return to the land of Israel, followed by an outburst of praise for a God that is forgiving and kind.
It is possible that Micah’s denunciations were a reflection of the wicked reign of King Ahaz, and that the closing prophesies of mercy and forgiveness represented the good reign of King Hezekiah. Jeremiah 26:17-19 indicates that Micah died in peace during King Hezekiah’s reign.
God is still calling sinners today. May we be faithful like Micah to declare His Word, demonstrate His love and mercy, and walk humbly before both God and man.