It is ill indeed with a people when their leaders cause them to err. This should be the subtitle of this chapter.
Many most leaders in this world need this tattooed on their forearm. It should be posted on the wall of each leader’s office. When should a believer stand up and protest an edict given to them by “leaders” then refuse to participate? The correct solution is follow God’s Word.
Joseph Benson states…[Leaders] who speak smooth things, and promise peace and prosperity to the people, while they are bringing destruction upon them.” Destruction comes in many forms. Economic, social, political, personal, and forbid it but in worship edicts. This also includes Bible subject matter church leaders will not challenge due to social and political correctness versus the Bible. Horrors!
Micah 3:1 There is a shift in chapter three many may fail to see. Micah has been talking, writing, and prophesying to a general Hebrew (Israelite) population. Now he is focused on the leadership in both the northern and southern Kingdoms of Israel and Judah; “heads of Jacob and the rulers of the house of Israel.” This is the cost of leadership. S/he is representing their flock or constituents and should (will) be held accountable. God will judge. THERE is a guarantee; no one will be discriminated against or excused.
David Guzik puts verse 2 in Micah 3 into its proper perspective. “’You who hate good and love evil’: If this description isn’t bad enough, Micah goes on to illustrate how terribly the leaders of Israel and Judah ‘use’ the people – as if they were cannibals feasting on the people of God” [emphasis mine]. This is true in the United States at the time of writing this commentary. It is also true throughout the world. USA does not have a corner on that market. Another way of stating You who hate good and love evil is to say, ‘one hates honesty as it may infringe but their life and practice of deception’.
Micah 3:3 is a total metaphor. It is a continuation of the focus and accusation Micah makes in verse 2. There is no regard for the welfare of any people outside of the inner circles of the influential and prosperous be they political or religious leaders. Does this tinge of our leaders in 2021? Is this not the same path and direction this world is heading? Leaders of Israel AND Judah in the time of Micah are ripe on the vine of “what’s in it for me”. The consequences of this type of thinking are explained in the next verse. It is not farfetched to say what was consequential back in the time of Micah is true today and getting worse.
Micah 3:4 Who are the “THEN THEY” that opens verse 4? It is the leadership of both Israel and Judah. We found over 60 verses regarding judgment in the New Testament even though Micah is Old Testament. One verse that is basic but covers it well is found in I Peter 4:17…[NKJV] For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? This needs little explanation. Many will deny this as a possibility, just as did those within earshot of Micah’s prophesying, but that will not make judgement go away. It didn’t then and won’t in our End Time judgement at both the Bema Seat judgement [I Corinthians 3:10-15] and the Great White Throne judgments [Revelation 20:11-15].
The leadership will cry for mercy, but God will NOT listen. One might say “That isn’t fair?” Let us at Aha Bible Moments remind all that God is love but we leave out the word that comes before the word love…He is Just(ice) Love. James 4:12 makes this quite clear… “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?” [NIV]
Micah 3:5 has a startling 5 words we tend to read through and past… ”who make my people stray (err)” Has the reader of this commentary contemplated the words in this passage “MY PEOPLE”. If one is not a follower of God/Jesus, is s/he a part of the MY PEOPLE? We teach – You decide but anyone who is not a follower of Christ is already astray.
NOTE: The verse reading “prophet leading others astray.” The word for prophet in this verse is nâbı̂y’ (naw-bee’). It generally translates as one who is inspired and committed to a cause, just or unjust. The Hebrew for a prophet, as most may think it, is nâba’, not nâbı̂y’. The latter means those called of God to foretell.
Micah 3:6 We need to add a bit of insight per this verse:
[NKJV] “Therefore you shall have night without vision, And you shall have *darkness [NKJV: dark] without divination; The sun shall go down on the prophets, And the day shall be dark for them. *The KJV says “…it shall be dark unto you.” The word dark is used twice but their meanings are different. The first use means to withhold light (insight) or to be dimmed (in understanding; 2 Timothy 3:7). The second use of dark means to mourn or to be ashy or dark in color. The latter implicates something is now difficult that once was not. It is a moment in time.
KJV on verse 6: “darkness without divination.” Simply put, leaders in all realms of life, on this day in time, soothsayers (false leaders) will have no insight and not know what to do to handle situations around them and in their own lives.This is true today of some who stand behind pulpits.
Micah 3:7 The Geneva Commentary is excellent in explaining verse 7. When God will reveal them to the world, they will be afraid to speak; for all will know that they were but false *prophets, and did give a false notion of the word of God. We hastened to add to this per the Hebrew use of the word prophet, seers, diviners in this verse. This includes the final 3½ years of the Tribulation. There will be such a lack of understanding the blind will lead the blind [Matthew 15:14].
Micah 3:8 It should be obvious that the elephant in the room is all Israelis. Micah declares himself as “full of the Spirit of the Lord”. He speaks again of the house of Jacob, that means all Israelis, the break away tribes of the Kingdom of Israel and Judah. He repeats this identity in verse 9. Do not be deceived by those who wish to include the church of born-again Christians in this Book of Micah. Micah repeats the identities so often one must be totally without eyesight to not take note. Israel and Israelis!
(V8a) “But truly I [Micah speaking] am…” This word “truly” in the Hebrew means “on the contrary.” Contrary to what or who? Contrary to what Micah has conveyed in chapter 3 up to verse 8. He is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so helps him God!
In Micah 3:9 he says it again. He identifies the target market of his prophecies. Israel and all Israelis!
Micah 3:10 Zion is a mountain area within and around Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the people of all Israel. Sometimes readers confuse the two, Zion and Jerusalem, or interchange their meaning. He is specifically speaking of a territory and a people.
Micah 3:11 (11b) “Is not the lord among us? No harm can come upon us.” This truly is hypocrisy at its best/worse. As states in other passages of the Old Testament, Israel is hiding behind the Temple of God. As pointed out in our narrative commentary on Jeremiah, verse 7:4, “Don’t fool yourselves! My temple is here in Jerusalem, but that doesn’t mean I will protect you. [CEV].
Please note: We do not often quote from the CContemporary EEnglish Version, and it is not our recommended primary Bible resource, but in this setting, it says it well. Even in the End of Time, church pew dwellers will shout, “we have attended church some, most, or all of our lives. Why are we in court at the Great White Throne Judgment Seat?” They will try to hide behind the church (as in building called a church. Israelis call it their Temple) not understanding the New Testament identity of the church is a body of individual believers.
Allow us to conclude Micah 3 by quoting from David Guzik’s commentary:
“The great thing about the Prophet Micah was that he was listened to. Hosea was ignored, and so was Amos. They threw Jeremiah in jail for his prophetic message of coming judgment. In contrast, King Hezekiah and the leadership of Judah listened to the Prophet Micah.” Did you get this? Judah responded to Micah correctly, but the Northern Kingdom of Israel did NOT! Less than 20 years after this point in time, the ten northern Tribe of Israelis fell to the evil, demoralizing, and heinous Assyrians (722 B.C.).
JIV: As we mentioned before, is it any wonder Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria? God was giving them one more chance. They took advantage of it in the time of Jonah and were temporarily kept from divine intervention. But their confessions did not last long.
JIV Insight: In the midst of Micah’s life, before and after, is the life of the Prophet Isaiah. The chronology of the books in the Bible do not suggest this, but it is true. Our next narrative commentary after Micah will be the Book of Nahum. He tells Nineveh of Assyria, Game Over!
Rev. Dr. Jstark