Micah 6

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 6:3O 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.

  1. Brought out of Egypt after 400+ years with their last years being heavily labored servants of the Pharaoh and the Kingdom of Egypt.
  2. 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.
  3. Moses spoke the law from Acacia Grove. [Deuteronomy 10:3, Leviticus 1:1-17, *Numbers 25:1-18]
    1. http://delrifkah.homestead.com/Numbers_25_1-18.pdf
  4. Gilgal is from where Joshua launched the invasion of Canaan, aka, their Promised Lands.
    1. From here Israel celebrated their first Passover Feast IN CANAAN.
    2. 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 6:9Hear 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.

  1. Unfair or unbalanced scales of commerce or personal lives; cheating or deceitful exchange
  2. The tongue in their mouths speak deceit. Many of the wealthy Israelites are evil doers for the sole purpose of profit
  3. Should God overlook the sinful deeds of people?

Now the consequences:

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. Verse 14 continues…that of which one gains will be taken by another by sword, deceit, unbalanced scales, robbery and even court.
  4. 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
2021

Hosea Article #9


Chapter 7 –
Israel sees the problem but not the sin

Intro note: There is much history in and around the people to whom Hosea is prophesying. The Northern Kingdom had just made war with the Southern Kingdom. We will address these influencers during our review of this chapter in Hosea. Hosea is in the northern kingdom and Amos is also a prophet to the northern kingdom.

This first king of the divided kingdom of Israel to the north was from the Tribe of Ephraim. It should also be noted that at times the Tribe of Ephraim may have had its own supreme ruler (king) separate from the remaining nine Tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. In Hosea 5:5 both Israel (10 northern tribes) and Ephraim are mentioned in the same sentence. There is no practical reason to conclude this does not infer two entities within the same kingdom. The city of Samaria is within the tribal territory of Ephraim. At time the Bible calls these ten tribes Israel, Ephraim or Kingdom of Samaria. All three are one and the same peoples.

6th letter of Hebrew alphabet

For the serious Bible student and one who grasps for understanding of the Hebrew language implication in words, in Hosea 5:5 there is a vav (6th letter in the Hebrew alphabet/Aleph-bet) before the name Israel and the name Ephraim. Many other conclusions can be drawn or dramatized about this prefix (vav) in Hosea 5:5. The letter vav has a hooked form; often used to refer to the “hooks” used in the Temple to hold up the separation curtain. Here is the connection:

Numbers 25 records the history of Phineas (grandson of Aaron), death in the camp of the wandering Israelites, a Midianite woman, and an unnamed man of Israel. The Israelites, were still under the leadership of Moses, had fornicated with Midianite women while camped in Shittum; land of Midianites. One Israelite man was caught in the act when Phineas took matters into his own hands to stop the incest and punishment upon the twelve tribes in the Wilderness. Specifically the unnamed man of Israel as written in Numbers 25 and the Midianite woman were in his tent. Phineas grabbed a “HOOKED SPEAR” and impaled them together. Two individuals, of their own accord, VAV’d together; i.e. hooked.

This may mean in Hosea 5:5 that Israel and Ephraim at times were hooked (vav) together but two functional entities…both sinning by bowing to idols; joined together by agreement.

PS; It is tempting to go into greater educational and knowledge about the Hebrew letter VAV but this is not the point of this article.

Hosea 7:1…”the iniquity of Ephraim and the wickedness of Samaria…” Per the comments above and as to the distinction between Israel and Ephraim here in verse 1, the name Ephraim sometimes infers all of the northern Kingdom of Israel. Why? Samaria is mentioned in the same verse (7:1) as a separate entity. The capital of the northern kingdom is located in Samaria. That is the territory assigned to the Tribe of Ephraim by Joshua.

In chapter 7 we find that Hosea had now lived through times of four assassinated kings of the northern tribes (Israel), an invasion of Judah by the northern tribes, 200,000 from Judah being taken captive, stripped (customary for captured peoples), then being released due to the pleas of a few influential leaders in the northern kingdom. He witnessed Israel seeking the help of Egypt, Syria (Damascus) and Assyria that quickly resulted in the downfall and scattering of the population of Israel. God wanted them to seek HIM, not reliance upon mankind.

Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria, from whom military help had been requested by Israel, had already campaigned against Damascus, Syria. The writing on the proverbial wall should have been obvious to both Israel and Judah. They didn’t see it as they already shared in Baal worship. The Syrians (Damascus) agreed militarily to help invade Judah. Assyria was already at the doors of Damascus. What consequently happened is Judah and Syria became tributary to Assyria. Within 10 years Israel is a conquered and dispersed people.

Hosea 7:2 has New Testament implications. God through Hosea states that the people and leadership (particularly) had it in their heart that God forgets sin even if not forgiven by confessing it to HIM. Israel’s dirty laundry list was growing by leaps, no, heaps. One big sin was the fact they went to Syria for help instead of God. What may be the New Testament implications? For one, the so-called modern day Christian and church leadership are identifying right as being wrong, and wrong as being right. The reader can fill in these right and wrong blanks. This is identified as political, but not God correctness; seeking mankind agreements instead of seeking God.

Unconfessed sins will be judged at the Bema Seat Judgement. Many evangelicals want to slip past this but it does not pass inspection of the commandment to confess our sins…daily.

Half baked

Has the term “half-baked” ever crossed minds? This passage is from where birth was given to that statement via the bible. From Hosea 7:4–7 is about Israel acting like it is half-baked bread; cooked too long and burned on one side while remaining unbaked on the other side. Customarily back during this time of Hosea, bakers would turn the loaf while cooking to assure it to be thoroughly cooked. Baking was dome at ground level. Hosea is pointing out that Israel’s worship of God was more show than actuality. They would over do their supposed allegiance to the God of Abraham via sacrifices and customary religious ceremonies but the only reality was their attendance, not their commitment. They were half-baked followers of ONLY God almighty.

Hos 7:10 “And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this.” [KJV] Simply put, Israel demonstrated a form of religiousness but did not seek the guidance of their one and only true God. The word “all” (kole) in the Hebrew means…nothing excluded. This definition is the same as the word pas in Greek…nothing excluded. We read in the King James “the pride of Israel.” The translated Hebrew word for pride is gaw-ohn’. It means arrogance, pomp or majesty. Not to be read or misinterpreted as pride in their God Jehovah, but pride (gaw-ohn’) in themselves.

Verse 11 makes or supports an earlier comment in this article. We read that “Ephraim” (Israel) called out for their help to come from Egypt and Assyria. They did not seek God’s help. In short this was to God like his people saying “in your face, God.” Verse 14 backs this up. It reads in the ESV: “They did not cry out to me.” Instead they cried out to Egypt, Damascus, then fatally to Assyria.

Looking back to amplify verse 9, Hosea points out that the strength of their youthful days under God has depleted…strangers (other gods) devour their strength and GRAY HAIRS begin to show. Like so many in denial of their relationship with God imaging it to be genuine but a false relationship. Israel’s relationship to God had aged, grown gray, became a religion. Today we color our hair only to present a deception of not showing one’s age. This is similar to what Israel had done…deceptive as followers of God.

In concluding chapter 7 we get another parallel to modern day so-called Christians; those who believe in a god but do not believe and trust IN God. Hosea compares it to a bent bow; i.e. a less than straight arrow. The arrow is put to the bow, shot, but no one can tell where it will go. What one does know is that it destined to go off course right out of the bow.

Change but we go back t same old self rather than seek God change.

They change directions but do not come back to me (ERV). Someone confesses to get it off his or her chest then walks away determined to change but does not seek God, only change. (C.f. Jeremiah 7:19-26; Hebrews 6:4-6)

Rev. Dr. Jstark – 2020