Contrary to some prophets like Jonah, Micah gives us an anchor in history in which we can identify h1im. The first verse in Micah states – in part:
“The Word of Jehovah that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah…” [NKJV]
There are several men named Micah mentioned in the Bible. Micah the Prophet gives his identity by including his place of origin…Moresheth. Moresheth, also known as Moreseth-Gath, was a town of the tribe of Judah in ancient Israel. This puts him in the Kingdom of Judah. He also timestamps his prophetic career by identifying who sat on the throne in Judah during his time as a prophet; Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Three different kings. Our previous commentary study of Jonah was just the opposite. He tells us of his experience with Assyria, Nineveh and God, but says little else to help us put an identity or time stamp to him.
Interestingly, Micah came from near Tekoa, Judah. Tekoa is from where Amos originated. Isaiah was also a contemporary of Micah. Hosea came from Bethel and prophesied to the Kingdom of Israel just north of Moresheth. All four were 8th century B.C. prophets.
Micah 1:1 tells us that he saw “The Word of Jehovah” regarding Jerusalem and Samaria. He sees their past, present and their future state of being. The map to the right includes Moreseth-Gad and Moreseth.
We do not know, other than by speculation, from which of these two villages Micah came. We do know he was from the rural area of Judah but both Moreseth-Gad and Moreseth are rural areas in northern Judah.
One may ask why so many prophets to the Israelis all clustered in the 8th century B.C. The answer is God’s patients by then is running short. It was in the latter part of the 8th century B.C. [722 B.C.] that the Assyrians destroyed and exiled all residents of the Kingdom of Israel. 120 years later, Judah fell to the Babylonians. Yes, time was running out for Northern and Southern kingdoms of Israelites.
Prosperity is sometimes a key to a nation or kingdom’s fall away from God. Keith Greer puts I this way.
King Uzziah [of Judah] had brought a high degree of prosperity to Judah. Something they had not enjoyed since the days of Solomon. Yet, with this also came the mindset to forget who made it all possible. Jotham was a good man who followed the path of his father, 2 Kings 15:32-38. Ahaz, was the opposite and the pinnacle of wickedness. He followed the examples of other kings to lead God’s people into idolatry, 2 Kings 16:1-20. Hezekiah was an exceptionally good king. He did God’s commands and issued many reforms during his reign, 2 Kings 18-20. He commanded many reforms during his reign [2 Kings 18-20].
Micah 1:2 states that God himself is a witness against *Jerusalem and *Samaria; for all that matters, at th White Throne Judgement this included earth and mankind. Micah envisions the Lord God soon descending from his heavenly realm to his creation of earth. What a declaration of the return of God to earth. This will be the 2nd advent or coming of Jesus the Messiah. So, what occurs when this coming happens?
*Jerusalem is the capital of Judah. Samaria is the capital of the northern kingdom, Israel.
Micah 1:3 “For behold, the LORD is coming out of His place; He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth” [NJV]. Coming out of his place? Micah is foretelling the future time when God will leave heaven and reclaim earth as part of his kingdom with direct rule. We call it the Millennial Reign. There will be no doubt that God is present on earth at that time. (V3) He, meaning God, will come down from his place in heaven, mountains will melt, valleys will split like wax before a fire (heat); verse 4. But the next verse should dispel questions about the end time Tribulation being Israel, not the church…
Micah 1:5 states “the transgression of Jacob and the sins of the house of Israel.” There is not even a hint of the church being judged or involved at this time. This verse only mentions Jacob and the house of Israel. God in Jesus is not coming back again and again. This is the 2nd advent of Christ; the end of time as we understand it as created back in Genesis 1:5. Has not the corporate church itself sinned? Why are there so many religions and denominations if the church is united under Christ? Not! This is all about God’s chosen, his elect, his light that never shined on the hillside, i.e. Israelis.
The next several verses describe the “what” as in what will happen upon the return of God to exercise his authority over HIS creation. Verse 8 is amazing. It is very definitive and descriptive but the original KJV reads somewhat differently than does the NKJV. The King James uses the word “dragon.” This can draw speculative interpretations. Tannah, as translated dragon in the KJV, is the Hebrew for a female jackal. “I will make a wailing like a dragon (a female jackel)” (KJV). This translation is corrected in the more accurate and recent NKJV.
This ‘wailing’ in verse 5 is amazingly close to what happened to the Northern Kingdom of Israelis when the Assyrians captured and dispersed them in 722 B.C. The hideousness of the Assyrian treatment of the ten northern tribes of Israel verges on unthinkable. They were stripped naked, marched for days and weeks bare foot, left without covering in the cold of the night, left for dead if they could not keep up with the main group being removed from their homelands, abused at the pleasure of the Assyrian soldiers. Is it any wonder why, before the 722 B.C. dispersion of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Jonah did NOT want the Assyrian capital of Nineveh to repent? Ninevites were Assyrians with the reputation as just described. It is probable, although we are not told, that Jonah was contemporary with Micah and the aforementioned prophets as 8th century B.C. prophets.
Micah 1:9 is a conclusion of God.” …her wound is incurable.” Over hundreds of years, God’s chosen people of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob could not stay faithful to God’s selection as a specific chosen people with a God-promise (covenant). A people personally selected by God to be an example and light unto the world. Jeremiah 8:22 is similar in description of an incurable wound. JIV NOTE: Selected does not mean elect.
Micah 1:9 specifically identifies the leadership and citizenry of the Kingdom of Judah being in the same shape as is their northern cousins. Judah’s demise came 120 years later at the hands of the Babylonians (607, 589 & 587 B.C). The difference? These Judeans were captured, not dispersed and then for only 70 years. After 70 years Daniel reminded the King of Babylon/Persia of God’s instructions. He then allowed the Jews to return. Oddly, only a few returned. Those who did return became the progenitors of those we read about in the New Testament.
Micah 1:10 There were five Philistine cities that bordered Israel/Judah at this time. Gath is mentioned but Micah means it to represent the Philistines next door to them. Today we know the descendants of these “next door neighbors” as Palestinians in Gaza. In the time of Joshua and the dividing of the Promised Land, The Tribe of Dan was to conquer and remove these people. They did not do it. In the time of Micah, the 700’s B.C., some 700 years after those released from Egypt captivity entered and conquered some of the Promised Land. The forever enemies of Israel still exist RIGHT NEXT DOOR to modern day Israel. Micah knew that the Palestinians would dance in the streets to see another catastrophe in Israel. Any Israeli weeping and wailing would be enough to get the dance tune going in the land of the Philistines, today’s self-proclaimed Palestinians.
NOTE: Palestinians and the PLO did not exist with this identity until the 1960’s.
The House of Aphrah [v10] takes God’s command to a personal level. First it is Gath, a location, a people who would rejoice in the misery imposed upon the Kingdom and people of Israel. Then, it gets very personal when told what to do at the household level in Israel. Weep [in private] and roll in the dust of the homeland lest you (Israel) weep and roll in the dust of captivity with the unbelievable cruelty practiced by the Assyrians [impaling, hamstringing, or flaying their enemies as well as leading captives away with hooks in their noses and lips].
Micah 1:11 *Saphir [Shaphir?], Bethezel, and Zaanan, are three Palestinian cities. It is important to keep in mind that a Palestinian city does not always mean a Philistine city. Palestine is the entirety of what we know today as Israel and some bordering territories. News broadcast today have confused, be it in ignorance or deliberate. Palestine today is distinct from Israel. The lands of Canaan were synonymous with Palestine. Palestine is derived from the name Canaan. Rome changed the identity of Israel to Palestine. This was around 72 B.C. soon after Rome destroyed the Jerusalem temple (70 B.C.). This is also when the Romans dispersed the remaining people of the remnant of Israel (Judah) to the hinterlands of the known and unknown world. Hundreds of thousands ended up in what eventually became known as Spain: aka the Iberian Peninsula. P.S; Eber was the great-grandson of Noah’s son Shem. Eber? Iber?
*S[h]aphir and Zaanan are sometime synonymous with each other.
Micah 1:12 mentions a place called Maroth. It is the only time in the entire Bible it is mentioned by name. It means “bitter springs.” We do not have any archeological evidence of its location in history. The rest of this prophetic history is Judean judgement. This means they will no longer follow God, not as if they had been, and will no longer be a kingdom or nation unto themselves. At least not until 1948 A.D.
Rev. Dr. Jstark