One could summarize Micah 6 as the Court and Justice system of God. Israel and Judah alike were, in a sense, had been on probation. Both violated their probation. Micah (including Isaiah) was not the judge, but he was, in a courtroom sense, the speaker for the jury and judge. (Most quotes are from the NKJV unless otherwise specified)
Micah 6:1 Hear now what the LORD says: “Arise, plead your case before the mountains, And let the hills hear your voice [NKJV]. We have heard the statement, “If only the walls could talk”. Here the witnesses against God’s chosen is the very land in which they lived. There is no indication that Micah was specifically addressing either the northern or the southern kingdoms of Israel or Judah. He is a spokesperson for the judge [God]. Micah lays out the facts. He lists the evidence of God’s multiple interventions and protection from the beginning of time for the sake of God’s chosen representatives meaning descendants of Abraham. This actually goes back to Genesis 3:15. The offspring to which is referenced through Eve is the eventual chosen people of Abraham.
Micah 6:2 is self-evident. It is Israel as a whole, not the church to whom these prophecies are given to be chosen, judged, and redeemed. “…For the LORD has a complaint against His people, And He will contend with Israel.” The original KJV says God will PLEAD with Israel. The NKJV states “contend with Israel.” This is evident beginning in the next verse (v3).
Micah 6:3 “O My people, what have I done to you? And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me.
Wearied you? Testify against Me?
Wearied you in the Hebrew according to Strong [H3811] is lâ’âh. It is a bit odd that God would suggest through Micah that somehow HE has tired of his chosen people through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In short, The leaders to whom Micah is addressing think that God has asked too much of them when all he has done for them is for their sake? How can this be? Can they not be satisfied with him as their Lord? This is a good question to ask of our own worship and living practices. Have we wearied of trying to live a life for Christ? Does one feel God’s expectations to be too much? Has one ever thought…what does God expect from me?
Testify against me: Since this chapter setting is a type of court room, Micah’s use of these words appropriately. Testify [against me] in the Hebrew is ‛am. Here is where a *concordance is handy when doing Bible study. The use of ‛am addresses Israel as a people to try and counter what Micah mentions God has done for them up to this point in history; theirs and ours. In a comparable sense it is likened to a defense attorney’s time in the courtroom. Isn’t this so reflective of doing a favor for someone but the favor forgotten so quickly?
*A Bible concordance is an alphabetical listing of words and phrases found in the Bible and shows where the terms occur throughout all books of Scripture. A Lexicon will also be of great help.
Micah 6:4 & 5 (read these two verses first) Moses spoke the law from Acacia Grove.
Gilgal is a similar place. It is the launching place for Israel’s original invasion of Palestine. Joshua is commanded of God to conquer their Promised lands and bring God’s judgement upon the evil Canaanites. These people descended from Ham, a son of Noah.
Micah now debriefs his audience of what God has done for Israelis.
- Brought out of Egypt after 400+ years with their last years being heavily labored servants of the Pharaoh and the Kingdom of Egypt.
- The attempt of the King of Moab to hire Balaam (a prophet) to prophesy against Israel. god made it so that only blessings came out of his mouth…not what he intended but that is what happened.
- Moses spoke the law from Acacia Grove. [Deuteronomy 10:3, Leviticus 1:1-17, *Numbers 25:1-18]
- Gilgal is from where Joshua launched the invasion of Canaan, aka, their Promised Lands.
- From here Israel celebrated their first Passover Feast IN CANAAN.
- Gilgal is from where Abraham hundreds of years earlier erected his first alter to God according to Genesis 12:6&7.
In Micah 6:6 &7 Micah takes or assumes the position of D.A. per his audiences on trial for violating probation of the past. He juxtaposes by contrasting and comparing their thoughts into what one might call their defense. Today one might say “so what will it take to make it right” but with a mocking defense. Israelis and their leaderships pose their defense with a defiant attitude. Note that they only speak of things other than a personal commitment to their God as His chosen people. They know what to do but wish to continue in the life they have and try to “tithe” their way out of God’s judgement. This is a personal insight, but there are those who do the same thing today?
Micah 6:8 is his reply to the sarcastic defense in verses 6 and 7 from his own countrymen of Israeli descent.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah’s reply is posed as a question to which his audience already knew the answer. Not to make a comparison between Socrates and Micah but this approach in today’s language is called a Socratic reply. To do so means to question the question in order to bring the other person or persons to a conclusion they should already know.
JIV NOTE: Socrates is given credit for this approach to what should be obvious answers to questions given in one’s attempt to defend his or her actions, attitudes, or position in life. Socrates was not born for another 100 years.
“He has shown you”: Commentariat David Guzik puts it so well in addressing this verse in Micah 6:8. “You act as if it is some mystery what I require of you. In point of fact it is no mystery at all. I have shown you clearly what is good and what I require of you.”
Micah 6:9 “Hear the rod! Who has appointed it? Most have heard a discussion or even been a participant of something that reflects: ”I hear but reject or do not wish to accept. One listens but does not take the advice or counsel given.” God is the rod! Too often we see church banners or ignorant people who quote or bend scripture to their advantage. One of them is “GOD IS LOVE.” Few wish deny this as a fact, but forget to mention that GOD IS totally JUST. The self-limiting of this passage in I John 4:8 is to ignore the first 10 words of the same verse. ”But anyone who does not love does not know God.” The Books of Job, Luke, and Acts address the justness of God; One gets what one deserves: judgement.
Acts 17:31 is specific per Jesus (NT) also being just. Christ will judge the world in righteousness. The Book of James in chapter 1 verses 19-27 summarizes Acts 17:31 plus what Micah is telling his own Israelite kindred, we must be doers of the Message of God, not just hearers.
Micah 6:10 from verse 9 to the end of chapter 6, Micah explains the judgement of the wicked, those who reject or try to make God what they want him to be.
- Unfair or unbalanced scales of commerce or personal lives; cheating or deceitful exchange
- The tongue in their mouths speak deceit. Many of the wealthy Israelites are evil doers for the sole purpose of profit
- Should God overlook the sinful deeds of people?
- I God will make you sick (v13). Yikes! Does this smack in the face of those who wish to put all blame for illnesses and bad things on Satan and his minions?
- The wicked will never find satisfaction. This reminds me of a 1965 rock and roll song sung by the Rolling Stones titled “(I) Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” They were certainly no gospel group but their point in the song when taken to real life experience reflect verse 6:14.
- Verse 14 continues…that of which one gains will be taken by another by sword, deceit, unbalanced scales, robbery and even court.
- Verse 15 continues with their just judgement… they will sow but not reap; harvest the fruit of their labors but have no benefit from it; tread the grapes but NOT drink of it. In short. Micah is prophesying that most of their efforts to gain will be lost to others. This happened to the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. The Assyrians conquered and transported the ten northern Tribes of Israel OUT OF THEIR LANDS. 120 years later, the Southern kingdom was forcibly removed by the Babylonians. Others were brought it to occupy what was Israeli lands.
Micah points out that the people will continue to walk in the wickedness of two specific and evil kings of the Northern Kingdom; King Ahab and King Omri. Ahab is of Jezebel fame (Elijah). Omri was the father of Ahab. What Omri taught his son Ahab was without God in his mind, actions, judgements, or way of reigning the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
PS: 2 Kings 9:8 tells us about the consequence of future “male” descendants of Grandpa Omri and father Ahab. [NIV] “The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel—slave or free.”
Rev. Dr. Jstark