NOTES, AUDIO, MINISTRY, COMMENTARY & BIBLE READINGS ON THE BOOK OF MICAH:
Micah is the 4th largest of the minor prophets in the OT. Micah is quoted 5 times in the NT, once by our Lord. The most famous quotation (Matt 2:6) is from Micah 5:2, the verse that predicts that Christ would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah (there was another Bethlehem up north).
Micah has fondness for “paronomasia,” or more popularly, “punning”, a play on words. In Hebrew such writings of the OT have many plays on words. Micah presents in Micah 1:10-15 a famous example which some have compared with the Latin poet Cicero’s oratory. Unfortunately, this is one of the hardest types of literature to translate, since no two languages have the same sets of double meanings.
Micah means, who is like Jehovah, and advertises the fact that the prophet was a servant of the one true God. Like many prophets, he had the name for God (-el) or Jehovah (-yah) as part of his name. Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah, but from a lower social class. He came from Moresheth, near Gath, about twenty-five miles SW of Jerusalem.
Micah prophesied from about 740 to about 687 B.C., during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, & Hezekiah. Though his main message was to Judah, Micah did predict the captivity of the 10 northern tribes which occurred in 722/21 B.C.
By the 8th century B.C. the old agricultural system in Israel and Judah, with its fairly even distribution of wealth, was gradually replaced by a greedy, materialistic, and harsh society that split the people sharply into the rich & poor. The rich land-owners got richer and the poor farmers got poorer causing the poor to migrate to the cities, which were characterized by poverty and vice alongside the rich. Business with pagan nations brought false religious cults and lower morals to the Jews. Against this dark background Micah wrote his prophecy centered around 3 cities: Samaria, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem.
1 ¶ The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
Samaria is the capital of the 10 northern tribes and Jerusalem is the capital of the 2 southern tribes.
2 Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple.
3 For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.
4 And the mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.
5 For the transgression of Jacob (all 12 tribes) is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem?
6 Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof.
7 And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.
Israel was acting like a harlot and all her supposed gains would be given to another harlot, Nineveh.
8 ¶ Therefore I (Micah) will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons (jackals) , and mourning as the owls (ostriches) .
Both animals were known to howl at night like the howling of humans.
9 For her (Samaria’s) wound is incurable; for it (the invasion by the Assyrian army) is come unto Judah; He (Assyrians) is come unto the gate of my (Micah) people, even to Jerusalem.
2 Kings 18:13, the Assyrians had taken Samaria and headed for Jerusalem, they came right to the gates and God turned back the Assyrians. However, 124 years later, Jerusalem was taken by the Babylonians.
10 Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust.
Gath at one time was the stronghold of the Philistines, means, do not let the enemies of the Jews know what has happened here because of her sin. The expression, ‘weep ye not…’, means, don’t even show any sign that judgement has fallen. Aphrah was a town outside of Jerusalem, it was hidden and out of sight. Micah is telling them to go there and roll yourself in the dust as a sign of your grief.
All of the cities to follow are located within Judah. Whatever sorrow you have expressed in Aphrah, do likewise is all of these cities.
11 Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir (beautiful) , having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan (abounding in flocks) came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel (firmly rooted) ; he shall receive of you his standing.
The expression, ‘pass ye away’, means, carried away into captivity. The last expression, means, Bethezel that once stood firm and helped others will not be able to help you, because, he can not help himself.
12 For the inhabitant of Maroth (bitterness) waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.
Maroth was living in sin, therefore full of bitternesses, but all the while looking for good from God. Picture of this wicked world!
13 O thou inhabitant of Lachish (strong) , bind the chariot to the swift beast (known for its fast horses, now, get on them and flee) : she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee. (God charges her with being the first to import idolatries into Judah)
Lachish was one of the royal cities of the Amorites and one of its kings when out to battle with Joshua, Joshua 10:3. Lachish and Azekah in the future were alone remaining when Nebuchadnezzar had taken the rest just before he took Jerusalem. At this point it was the last stronghold that Sennacherib took when he had taken all the defensed cities of Judah and from here he sent his message to Hezekiah, see Isaiah 36:1-2.
14 Therefore shalt thou (Judah) give presents (bridal presents as in a dowry) to Moreshethgath (inheritance) : the houses of Achzib (means a brook that only has water in winter) shall be a lie to the kings of Israel (kings of Judah) .
Judah because of her sins, the land that God had given her from the pagan nations, now, she will have to give it back to the pagans. The idea is that God is pictured as a Father giving a dowry to the pagan nations to carry away his daughter.
The houses of Achzib was one of the oldest towns of Palestine having existed for 1000 years, now, in time of need she will fail like a winter brook in summer The expression, ‘shall be a lie’, means, what was always there will not be any more.
15 Yet will I bring an heir (the Assyrians-Sennacherib) unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah (inheritance) : he (the heir, the enemy) shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel.
As for Mareshah, what should have been an inheritance, because of her sin, all that will be left will be the foundation stones. Adullam was another town of Judah, very ancient, a royal city, but, it too will be taken. Adullam was known for its caves that offered protection, now, even here the enemy will find you.
16 Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee.
The few Jews left will shave their heads bald in mourning because of their precious children taken into captivity.
1 ¶ Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.
Instead of resting through the night, their minds were very active in devising evil that they could do in broad daylight.
2 And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.
3 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evil.
God is telling the nation, you have done sin to individual families, I will do things against the family of Israel. The expression, ‘not remove your necks’, means, God will put a yoke of captivity upon the nation of Israel that they can not remove. Therefore, your pride will be broken.
4 In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: He (G0d) hath changed the portion of my people: how hath He (God) removed it from me! turning away He (God) hath divided our fields.
What was once a God given heritage is now being taken away and given to the Assyrians.
5 Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the LORD.
Verses 1-5, the rich were taking the houses of the poor by use of violence and because of this, God will use a foreign invader to take all.
6 ¶ Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.
7 O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these His doings? do not My words do good to him that walketh uprightly?
Verses 6-7, the people are telling Micah to stop prophesy such things. Micah replies that the Lord is not restricted to doing good only, He also judges.
8 Even of late My people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war.
9 The women of My people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away My glory for ever.
The expression, ‘from their children…’, means, the nation will be taken into a foreign land, there, their children would grow up without the presence of God and the temple of God.
10 Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it (the land) is polluted, it (the land) shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.
Because you have afflicted your own people by robbing those at peace and who hate war, you will be robbed and no matter where they (Assyrians) take you, you will not have rest. Because the nation had defiled God’s land with their wickedness, even the land will work with God and bring sore destruction.
11 If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.
Verses 8-11, because of their (Israel) sins they have become the enemies of the Lord by robbing the peaceful of their clothes and casting out of their homes the women and children. You will be taken into captivity because the land is polluted. The sin of the nation had reduced them to the point, where, they would accept a false prophet who told them they could drink strong wine.
12 ¶ I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.
Bozrah was known for its large flocks of sheep, see Isa 34:6. The expression, ‘as the flock in the midst of their fold’, means, at rest and subject to the shepherd’s voice. In a day yet future, the restored nation will sing to God.
13 The Breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.
Verses 12-13, once the judgement is over, God will bring them back. God will stand as a breaker against any that would try to hinder His work of restoration. With their Breaker (God) leading, the nation of Israel will return having broken their enemies grip and will march through their gates with their God in the lead!
1 ¶ And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?
People who should have known how to give judgement, now because of their sin, God has pulled back and their minds are dark.
2 Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
3 Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
Shepherd have turned in butchers!
4 Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but He will not hear them: He will even hide His face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.
‘Then’, when the enemies come in, you will cry, but…
Verses 5-7, false prophets were preaching peace to those who paid and preaching war to those who refused to pay. As a result, God would withhold the knowledge of His will, they will receive no answers to their prayers.
5 Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
The phrase, ‘that bite’, this Hebrew word is used of a biting serpent. The phrase, ‘he that putteth…’, means, the ones not giving to the false prophets are threaten with war.
6 Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
When God brings the judgement, you will stop your false preaching as it will be very clear to all that God is judging. Total darkness then, due to the sun (God) turning away.
7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.
When judgement comes instead of the prophesied peace, the false prophets will cover their lips like a leper.
Verses 8-12, Micah is speaking for God and tells them that destruction is coming and Jerusalem will be reduced to a heap of rubble.
8 ¶ But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
Micah claims to be full of the Holy Spirit as he prophecies coming judgement.
9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.
He is speaking to the nation that is turning away from his message, they abhor the message of coming judgement. Because of their sin the nation had perverted all equity or removed every form of justice from the nation.
10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
The people had physical build up the nation & city due to perverted judgement upon others.
11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
Those who sat in the government/the priests/the prophets for God over the nation, all corrupt, and they pervert judgement for money. Amazing how dark sin can make one, they say, we know the Lord, He speaks through us, therefore, no evil will take us.
12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.
They thought they were building up the nation when in fact they were bring it closer and closer to God’s judgement. The temple stood on Mount Moriah, ‘the mountain of the house’, because of God’s judgement it will return to ‘the high places of the forest’. That’s what it was before the nation came to it! The Assyrians would come close to fulfilling this, but God stopped them at the walls, finally the Babylonians would level it to the ground. Sad to think that the Romans did the same thing in AD 70.
Verses 1-4, the Millennial reign of Christ is in view. Jerusalem is restored, Gentile nations are learning about God and being ruled over by God. Worldwide peace, no war or threat of war.
1 ¶ But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
The ‘mountain of the house of the Lord’, is referring to the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. All nations will look to and flow into Jerusalem!
2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3 And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
The rebuking of strong nations afar off, keep in mind that people will still need to be saved during the Millennial reign. A great number of children will be born, therefore the message of the Gospel will be preached. Sad thing to remember that not all will accept the Lordship of Christ and when Satan is released from his prison house at the end of 1000 years, he will find an army of rebels ready to attack God in Jerusalem.
4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.
Verses 5-8, a contrast is made between the idolatry in Micah’s day with the worship of God during the Millennial reign. This earth will know the highest form of government because of Christ.
5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
The expression, ‘all people will walk every one in the name of his god’, does not mean that during the Millennial reign of Christ there will be pagan gods that people will worship. Micah is expressing that the zeal and drive that pagans show in following a dead god, when the nation is restored they will show a zeal and drive for the one true God.
6 In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;
The word ‘halteth’ is used to speak of bodily lameness, worn out by wanderings. In that day when the nation is restored, she will be like a flock gathered around her shepherd.
7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.
It is sad to think of the amount of Jews that have been destroyed because of her sin and the amount that will perish during the Tribulation. Truly she has and will be reduced to a remnant. This world has not witnessed a strong Israel yet, but in that day, she will be the head and not the tail.
8 ¶ And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
The English word ‘flock’ is the Hebrew word ‘Ader’. Ader was a small town about a mile from Bethlehem, Ader is known for it sheep and shepherds. The English word ‘strong hold’ is the Hebrew word ‘Ophel’, another place in the south of Jerusalem near the Temple and the Eastern porch of the Temple. Both words are pictures of Jerusalem, both speak of littleness and lowliness, the lowly Shepherd tower for Bethlehem and the small outlying part of the city, Ophel. The idea is, from smallness to greatness.
‘Even the first dominion’, it was always God’s mind that David and therefore his greater Son should reign as king, and it will come in that day.
Verses 9-13, back to Micah’s day, Judah will go into captivity by Babylon, an amazing prophecies, Assyria is the world power at this time and Babylon is just a small local tribe. All Gentile nations will be gathered by the Lord and will be judged, God will use the nation of Israel to do this. As a result, all nations will offer their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.
9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.
The King and the Counsellor that God has promised, the nation had failed God but, God will never fail them.
10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.
At this time in history the Assyrians are the world power and Babylon is only a small far away country. A 100+ years before Judah is carried away, God predicts it.
11 Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.
History is full of nations that have tried to remove Israel, even today nations are trying. They look at the destruction of Israel with joy in their eyes.
12 But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they His counsel: for He shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.
God will never allow Israel to be removed, Psa 2 tells us that God has plans to place His King in Zion and He will! No one or power will every stop God!
13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.
At the end of the Tribulation the nation will be reborn in a moment of time and will arise in the power of God and crush her enemies once and for all.