The prophet Micah was born in the town of Moresheth-Gath, an agricultural town in southern Judah. His name means “who is like God.” He was active between 742 and 687 BC during the overlapping reigns of Jotham and Ahaz, as well as Hezekiah. Which is where he is listed on the Biblical Timeline Poster. Most of the situations Micah wrote about occurred during the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz, but his prophecies were written during much of Hezekiah’s reign which may have brought about the religious reformation he initiated.
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He lived around the same time period as the prophets Hosea, Isaiah, and Amos. While Micah came from and prophesied in the country, Isaiah lived and prophesied in Jerusalem. Samaria was on the verge of collapse because of repeated invasions of the Neo-Assyrian army during the writing of the book of Micah and Judah itself was not doing very well during the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz.
The Book of Micah
The prophecies of Micah are divided into three parts:
- The condemnation against Samaria and Judah because of various sins the people committed.
- The future punishment for these negative actions, including the doom that the Assyrian armies will bring about.
- The hope for a restoration of Israel after their repentance.
Throughout the book, the condemnation, the punishment, and the hope for restoration repeatedly and consistently follow each other.
- Accusations against Samaria and Jerusalem (1:2-5)
- Judgment against rich oppressors (2:1-5)
- Judgment against false prophets (2:6-11)
- Judgment against Israel’s oppressive and corrupt leaders who receive bribes; paid prophets (3:1-4; 8-11)
- Judgment against dishonest merchants and corrupt and violent wealthy people (6:10-12)
- Judgment against officials and judges who accept bribes and twist justice (7:1-6)
- Destruction of Samaria, followed by Judah (1:6-7; v 9-16)
- Punishment for the wealthy oppressors (2:3-5)
- Eviction from their homes (2:10)
- Darkness and disgrace for false prophets (3:5-7); destruction of Jerusalem and Mount Zion (3:12)
- Economic ruin for dishonest merchants and rich yet corrupt people (6:13-15)
- Downfall of corrupt officials and judges (7:7-10)
- Return from exile of those who were in captivity and restoration of those who remained in Israel (2:12-13)
- Restoration of Mount Zion, peace between the nations of the earth, and prosperity (4:1-5)
- Israel’s return from exile (4:6-8)
- The promise of a ruler from Bethlehem who will rescue the people from the Assyrians (5:2-6)
- Purification of the remnants of Israel (5:7-15)
- Forgiveness of sins and compassion on the people (7:14-20)
Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996
Picture By 18-century icon painter – Iconostasis of Transfiguration Church, Kizhi monastery, Karelia, north Russia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3235604