THE MINOR PROPHETS // MICAH
I. Historical context
- A. Micah 1:1, “in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah”; 740-700 B.,C. (Coffman); 735-700 B.C. (Hailey)
B. “Because of the nature of the persons and reigns of these kings, Micah saw the leadership of Judah swing from holiness, peace, and prosperity, to crass idolatry and immorality, and then, almost desperately, back again toward righteousness and national respectability.” (Gill)
- 1. “Jotham is best described as holy, his reign as peaceful and prosperous. (Cf. II Chronicles 27:2-6)” (Gill)
2. Under Ahaz, Gill writes, “The southern kingdom became a mere satellite nation, a vassal state, tributary to Tigleth Pileser’s Assyrian Empire.” (Gill)
3. “The third king mentioned by Micah is regarded as a reformer. Hezekiah, the thirteenth king of Judah, and the son of the Baal-worshipping Ahaz, became king at the age of twenty-five. Most of his energies were given to attempting to undo what his father had done in the corrupting of God’s people with idolatry.” (Gill)
C. “Although, like all of God’s prophets, he was concerned with social injustice and oppression, it was the religious corruption and their forsaking of the true God which drew the principal focus of his denunciations, that of course, being the cause of the social wrongs.” (Coffman)
D. “Thus Micah spoke in a time of social unrest, national insecurity, and religious turmoil not unlike those of the United States in mid-twentieth century. He viewed evil as a failure to grasp the nature of true religion, and believed that the only remedy was to strike at the source by denouncing the wickedness and demanding repentance upon pain of national annihilation. He would have agreed with James 1:27 completely.” (Gill)
II. About the prophet
- A. “Micah is a shortened form of Micaiah, cf. 1 Kings 22, which means ‘Who is like Yahweh?’” (Lewis)
B. “Though contemporary with Isaiah, he appears to have begun prophesying a few years later (cf. Isa. 1:1; Mic. 1:1).” (Hailey)
- 1. “Micah was a country preacher in contrast with Isaiah, a man of the city.” (Williams)
2. “Micah’s home was Moresheth near Gath, the old Philistine city. It was a rural farming village some 22 miles from Jerusalem…” (Waddey)
3. “Nothing is known of his occupation, although it is usually assumed that he was a man of humble status, much as was the prophet Amos, and quite unlike the prophet Isaiah who was an associate of kings.” (Coffman)
III. Lessons for today
- A. The Lord’s church (kingdom) was planned long before Jesus took on the form of man (4:1-5:15)
- 1. “Micah 4 is a prophecy of the establishment of the church (kingdom of Christ) and shows conclusively that the church was a subject of Old Testament prophecy and was not an afterthought on the part of God….The church existed in purpose in God’s mind (Eph. 3:10), in prophecy (Mic. 4:1-6; Isa. 2:2-4; Dan. 2:44), in promise (Matt. 16:13-18), in preparation (Luke 16:16…), and finally in completion (Acts 2:36-47).” (Williams)
2. “‘In the latter days’ is the English rendering of the phrase which fixes the time when it shall come to pass. The phrase in reminiscent of Hebrews 1:2. There we are told that God, having spoken to the fathers in the prophets has spoken to us in a Son. No more conclusive evidence is needed to connect Micah’s prophecy with the Messianic age. The rabbis so understood this term.” (Gill)
3. This was no general prophecy that could have been interpreted differently under various circumstances; Micah and the other prophets spoke in specifics to prove the truth of their prophecies to future generations (e.g. Bethlehem, 5:2)
4. Waddey points out seven things about the kingdom that Malachi states in 4:1-5:
- a. “It would be superior to all earthly kingdoms (4:1).
b. “It would be a universal kingdom of many peoples (4:1).
c. “It would grow by teaching rather than by war and conquest (4:2).
d. “It would originate from Jerusalem (4:2).
e. “It would come with a new law from Jehovah (4:2).
f. “It would be a peaceable kingdom (4:3-4).
g. “It would last forever (4:5).” (Waddey)
B. God expects His people to be just and kind (6:8)
- 1. Cf. Matthew 6:33; Romans 13:8-10; 1 John 1:7; James 2:13
2. The parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
3. Micah 6:8 “is often misinterpreted to mean merely ‘doing good to one’s fellow human beings’; and while God’s true religion certainly does include that, it is a satanic error to proclaim that, ‘Nothing more is needed.’ To be truly forgiven requires acceptance of the revealed will of God and full compliance with the conditions given therein to the fullest extent of human ability. And, although the grace of God will surely make provision for one who falls short while sincerely striving to do God’s will, there is no promise of salvation for the willfully disobedient.” (Coffman)
C. The magnitude of God’s mercy (7:18-19)
- 1. A vivid description of the scope of God’s forgiveness
2. Cf. Psalm 103:12; Jeremiah 31:34; Acts 3:19
Coffman, James Burton. (1981). Commentary on the Minor Prophets, Volume 2: Hosea, Obadiah and Micah. Austin, TX: The Firm Foundation Publishing House. [Textual commentary excluding introductory notes on each book available online at https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/micah.html]
Gill, Clinton R. (1971). Minor Prophets: A Study of Micah through Malachi. Joplin, MO: College Press. [Online at http://www.restorationlibrary.org/library/BSTSMP/BSTSMP_SIPDF.pdf]
Hailey, Homer. (1972). A Commentary on the Minor Prophets. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Lewis, Jack P. (1966). Minor Prophets. Austin, TX: R.B. Sweet Co., Inc.
Waddey, John. (2011). The Testimony of the Twelve Minor Prophets. Delight, AR: Gospel Light Publishing Company. [Online at http://www.restorationlibrary.org/library/TTMP/TTMP_SIPDF.pdf]
Williams, Charles R. “The Living Message of Micah.” (1977). The Living Messages of the Books of the Old Testament. Garland Elkins and Thomas B. Warren, editors. Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press, Inc.