According to the NKJV, a much-improved translation over the KJV, chapter 5 of Micah is divided into two parts.
- A ruler to be born in Bethlehem: two subsections:
- A remnant to be delivered
It would be nice if Micah 5 was so simple, but it is not. One can conclude without reading the text of this short chapter in Micah by simply reading the subtitles. This may be fine for a speed reader trying to read through the Bible in a specific period-of-time, but it is not something a student of the Bible should do possibly drawing unsupported conclusions.
Example: In Micah 5:1 who is the daughter? Who are the troops? What judge will block a blow from a rod with his cheek? Who is the “HE” who has laid siege against us? As do most bible-reading people, we read right past this due to the difficulty of understanding this very first verse. If a reader has difficulty in verse one, s/he is not alone. Commentators do not agree either. Several main-line commentaries simply avoid the details of verse one. We will teach but you will need to decide.
Micah 5:1 Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops; He has laid siege against us; They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek.
..gather yourself in troops: There are only 9 uses of this word gaw-dad (troops) in the Bible [Strong: H1814]. It can mean either to crowd together as in an assembly or (something a bit more difficult to understand) to gash or cut sleeves. When one compares it to Strong H1461 we can understand it to mean to roll up one’s sleeves and dig in. It is a warning or signal to get prepared for the challenge. The challenge according to most if not all of Micah’s prophesies is to a future event or events. Let’s “troop/gaw-dad” rolling up our sleeves and dig in.
O’ daughter of troops: Most troops of Israel-past gathered in (mother) Jerusalem to prepare for war or the defense of this city. With this being a prophetic passage, it is a gathering yet to happen. Jerusalem will be conquered multiple times prior to Jesus leading that final battle…from a future New Kingdom and New Jerusalem. “O’ daughter” means a future event just as offspring (daughters) are the future. In this case it is specific. Be prepared for a time yet-to-come.
He has laid siege against ‘us’: Micah is talking past and future tense. Who is the “he” who lays siege? This takes us back to Genesis. Satan and Eve are next to the tree of right and wrong. She takes and eats the forbidden fruit. Genesis 3:15 says And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel (NKJV) Obviously, a serpent with a crushed head is no longer capable of doing anything. Satan has battled to deceive, subtly lead astray, compromise a Godly stance, and to destroy God’s chosen and God created man. A siege is a time-consuming event. Satan since creation has laid siege to all mankind and is focused on Israel as God’s chosen. His siege has not terminated. It is ongoing today. Micah is prophesying to Israel. In End Time this battle will be over Jerusalem and Israel.
[They] Shall strike the cheek of the judge… Here is where many commentaries do not agree or, totally avoid any attempt at expanding on this statement. We begin explaining this passage by asking, is there to be but one judge of Israel that THEY will strike? Note the plural “they”. There are many who strike the cheek of the judge but only one judge. Some commentaries compare this to the treatment Jesus received prior to his crucifixion. Take note of the use of the word “rod” in Micah appears to conflict with the crucifixion passages found in Matthew 26:67, Luke 22:64 and John 18:22: they (those under the authority of the High Priest) struck Jesus in the face…with their fists and the palm of their hands. The “they” is those standing in judgement of Jesus who is in front of the High Priest of Israel. BUT… He was struck by soldiers in a similar manner when in front of his gentile Roman judge Pontius Pilate while in the governor’s headquarters. The word rod (reed) is used. Same crucifixion scene but two different “they” crowds. Duel implication: The civil government PLUS the civil religious establishment.
A ruler born in Bethlehem
Jesus is the obvious in this passage, but he never ruled during his 30 plus years on earth. This makes the entire passage in Micah a prophecy of a future event. King David was born in Bethlehem and he ruled over Israel. Elimelech, the husband of Naomi (Ruth 1:1 & 2) was born in Bethlehem. When Rachel died according to Genesis 35, she was buried near Bethlehem but then she was not a ruler.
Micah 5:2 could be argued that the person identified by Micah 5:1 is David, son of Jesse, King of Israel. That would take Micah 5:2 out of context. The last sentence in Micah 5:23 reads: [NKJV] “…Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” This is someone who had no beginning…from everlasting. David may be argued as from of old but he certainly wasn’t from everlasting. Scripture study should never be made to be what one wants it to mean but what it does mean. To make scripture be what one wants it to be is why there are so many denominations identified as Christian. Let’s keep this passage honest. King David had died many years before Micah was even born.
Micah is better understood when one reads Isaiah at the same time as one reads Micah. Isaiah was a contemporary of Micah. They prophesied at the same time.
Micah 5:3 [NKJV] “Therefore He shall give them up, Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; Then the remnant of His brethren Shall return to the children of Israel.” Who is the “HE” in this verse? This is God. He tries one more time during the Time of the Gentiles, Daniel’s 69th week, to be their Lord. Does he actually “give them (Israel) up?” YES! He left hundreds of thousands of the Kingdom of Judah in Babylon after Cyrus writes a decree, by request of Daniel, to release all captives (Ezra 1). This is something Micah is prophesying will soon happen to Judah. Until the return of Jesus as King of Kings, no one else will sit on the throne of Israel/Judah. God has given them up to their own ways and will. It will remain that way up to the end of Jacob’s Trouble as written in Jeremiah 30:7. At the time of the analogous “given birth” Israelis are not united. Then as Micah puts it, Jesus “shall return to the children of Israel” along with the rest of the DNA of Jacob. Might we add that Israel, their *Promised land, will also be returned to them.
*Israel’s Promised land far exceeds what they ever occupied prior to End Time Jacob’s trouble.
Micah 5:4 helps one to understand the narrative commentary in the previous paragraph. Let us take a pause and clear the understanding of the “HE” mentioned in Micah. In Exodus 3:14 God tells Moses he is “I AM who I AM” (“Ehyeh asher Ehyeh”). From this we get YWHW. This is what Moses was to tell the Israelis being held captive in Egypt if they asked who sent him to be their leader. In the New Testament Jesus also identifies himself as the “I AM.” John 8:58 is the best example of this. Jesus states that he is the “I Am.” Now we know God and Jesus are both the “I AM.” They are one and the same: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
“He shall be great to the ends of the earth.” Jesus, ruling from Jerusalem, will be known in every heart in every land. We could elaborate of this principle but have already done so in other narrative commentaries in ahabiblemoments.
Micah 5:5 ends the section identified in the NKJV as “a ruler born in Bethlehem.” “And this man shall be the peace…” This again takes us back to the Bethlehem scene and the birth of Jesus. The angels on high proclaimed him (Jesus) to be the peace on earth. There was no peace on earth then or now. Not be until Christ returns (2nd Advent). He will rule the world while Satan is held in utter darkness, bound in chains with no ability to influence anyone or anything for 1,000 years. During the Millennial Reign no one can say in his or her defense: The devil made me do it. We will truly be left to our own choices.
Next…”a remnant to be delivered.”
Rev. Dr. Jstark