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Micah 1

Mic 1:1

See Lesson, Prophet, the.

See Lesson, Minor prophets, and their messages.

MICAH: A shortened form of "Micaiah," which means "Who is like Yahweh?"

MORESHETH: The prophet's hometown was Moresheth-gath (Mic 1:14), which stood about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem in Judah -- so called because it was fairly close to the Philistine town of Gath. It was also about six miles northeast of Lachish, an important Judean town in Micah's day because it stood on an international trade route.

DURING THE REINGS OF JOTHAM, AHAZ, AND HEZEKIAH: Micah prophesied during the reigns of the Judean kings Jotham (750-732 BC), Ahaz (732-715 BC), and Hezekiah (715-686 BC). This made him a late eighth-century contemporary of Isaiah, who also ministered in the Southern Kingdom of Judah (cp Isa 1:1), and Amos and Hosea, who ministered in the Northern Kingdom of Israel (cp Amos 1:1; Hos 1:1). These were years of economic affluence and international peace but spiritual decadence for both kingdoms, especially Israel.

THE VISION HE SAW: Micah "saw" these revelations (rather than "heard" them) because the Lord revealed them to him in visions and or dreams (Num 12:6; cp Isa 1:1; Oba 1:1; Nah 1:1).

Mic 1:2

HEAR, O PEOPLES, ALL OF YOU: Micah picks up the parting warning of his predecessor and namesake, Micaiah, in 1Ki 22:28.

Micah cried, "Hear ye, hear ye!" to the people of the earth, as a clerk summons a courtroom jury to pay attention to the testimony that will follow. Sovereign Yahweh was about to give His witness against His people ("you," Micah's audience; cp Deu 31:19-21,26).

Mic 1:3

HE COMES DOWN AND TREADS THE HIGH PLACES OF THE EARTH: Treading on the high places of the land, where the Israelites worshipped in idolatry (cp 2Ch 33:17), probably also implies that He would crush pagan worship

Mic 1:5

WHAT IS JACOB'S TRANSGRESSION? IS IT NOT SAMARIA? WHAT IS JUDAH'S HIGH PLACE? IS IT NOT JERUSALEM?: Samaria personified the rebellion of the Israelites, and Jerusalem had become a high place for idolatry rather than for holy worship. These capital cities had become leaders in wickedness rather than in holiness.

Micah liked to use "Jacob" as a title for all Israel (Mic 2:7,12; 3:1,8,9; 4:2; 5:7,8), though he also used it to describe the Northern Kingdom (here) and the patriarch Jacob (Mic 7:20). This name recalls the rebelliousness that marked the patriarch for most of his early life and that had subsequently marked his descendants.

Mic 1:6

THEREFORE I WILL MAKE SAMARIA A HEAP OF RUBBLE, A PLACE FOR PLANTING VINEYARDS. I WILL POUR HER STONES INTO THE VALLEY AND LAY BARE HER FOUNDATIONS: "Israel's capital, Samaria, stood atop a mountain, but Yahweh said He would make it a pile of ruins in a field. That is, He would both destroy and humiliate it. It would become a rural rather than an urban place, suitable for planting vineyards. He would topple the stones of its buildings into the valley below and expose their foundations by destroying their superstructures. The fulfillment came with the Assyrian overthrow of Samaria in 722 BC. Even today the foundations of Samaria's buildings lie exposed" (Const).

Mic 1:7

ALL HER IDOLS WILL BE BROKEN TO PIECES: God would smash Samaria's idols proving them incapable of defending themselves much less helping others.

ALL HER TEMPLE GIFTS WILL BE BURNED WITH FIRE: He would burn the luxurious ornaments that the people offered as temple gifts in the conflagration that would accompany Samaria's overthrow.

I WILL DESTROY ALL HER IMAGES: All the pagan images that the people had made would perish.

SINCE SHE GATHERED HER GIFTS FROM THE WAGES OF PROSTITUTES, AS THE WAGES OF PROSTITUTES THEY WILL AGAIN BE USED: Yahweh viewed these physical treasures as the earnings of harlot Israel who had been unfaithful to Him. The Israelites had committed adultery with temple prostitutes, but the Assyrians would destroy the gifts that they had brought into their temples and use them for their own idolatrous worship. 'The reference is probably to the gold and silver plating on the images, melted down from the dirty money handed over for the use of religious brothels. Invading soldiers are to tear it off as loot and spend it as currency for further prostitution, as soldiers will' (Allen)" (Const).

Mic 1:8

I WILL GO ABOUT BAREFOOT AND NAKED: A common way of expressing sorrow in his culture (cp 2Sa 15:30; Isa 20:2; 22:12; Jer 25:34).

I WILL HOWL LIKE A JACKAL AND MOAN LIKE AN OWL: Jackals and ostriches (or owls) were nocturnal animals that lived alone and were notable for their wailing sounds.

Mic 1:9

FOR HER WOUND IS INCURABLE: Samaria had a wound from which she could not recover, namely a wound of punishment caused by her sin.

IT HAS COME TO JUDAH. IT HAS REACHED THE VERY GATE OF MY PEOPLE, EVEN TO JERUSALEM ITSELF: This sin and its consequence had also infected Judah, even the capital city of Jerusalem (cp Isa 1:5,6). Jerusalem should have been specially holy because of the temple and God's presence there, but it was alike polluted. Punishment reached the gate of Jerusalem in 701 BC when Sennacherib attacked the city, but Yahweh turned back the invader with a great slaughter (cp 2Ki 18; 19).

Mic 1:10

Vv 10-16: The prophet used several clever wordplays in this poem to describe the desolation that God would bring on Judah. He selected towns and villages near his own hometown in Judah's Shephelah whose names were similar to the coming devastations or to other conditions that he described.

"There follows a series of lamentations for villages in the Shephelah, or coastal plain, along which Sennacherib was to sweep in his triumphal invasion. The section is to be compared with the remarkable passage Isa 10:28-32 -- where the prophet describes the panic spreading from one town to another as the Assyrians invaded from the northeast, whereas Micah describes the effect of the invasion from the southwest, even as far as Lachish" (PHZ 132).

"This section begins with words that recall David's lament at the death of Saul and ends with the name of the cave where David hid from Saul [Adullam: v 15]. These dark moments in David's life form a gloomy backdrop to the description of the fall of the towns Micah spoke of. Though he is never directly mentioned, the figure of David appears hauntingly in the tapestry of destruction -- not a David standing tall in triumph, but a David bowed down by humiliation. It is as if Micah saw in the fall of each town and the eventual captivity of the two kingdoms the final dissolution of the Davidic monarchy. Like David, the glory of Israel would come to Adullam" (EBC).

TELL IT NOT IN GATH: Micah urged the Israelites not to report the Assyrian invasion of Jerusalem in Gath (cp phrase, 2Sa 1:20), not even to indicate a crisis by weeping publicly. Why Gath? It was a Philistine town, and news of Jerusalem's siege would encourage Israel's enemies. Specifically, "Gath" ("gat") may have been chosen because of its similar sound in Hebrew to "tell" ("taggidu").

WEEP NOT AT ALL: Or "weep not in Acco" (LXX) -- "Acco" sounds like the Heb for "weep.

IN BETH OPHRAH ROLL IN THE DUST: In the Heb town of "Beth Ophrah" (lit, "house of dust") the inhabitants should roll in the dust -- expressing their distress (cp Jos 7:6; Job 16:15; Isa 47:1; Jer 25:34).

Mic 1:11

PASS ON IN NAKEDNESS AND SHAME, YOU WHO LIVE IN SHAPHIR: Residents of Shaphir ("beautiful," "pleasant") would become the opposite of their name, shamefully naked, when the invasion came.

THOSE WHO LIVE IN ZAANAH WILL NOT COME OUT: Inhabitants of Zaanan, a town name that sounds like the Hebrew word translated "come out," would not be able to come out of their town to escape.

BETH EZEL IS IN MOURNING; ITS PROTECTION IS TAKEN FROM YOU: The people of Beth-ezel ("house of removal") would lament because the LORD would remove its support.

Mic 1:12

THOSE WHO LIVE IN MAROTH WRITHE IN PAIN, WAITING FOR RELIEF, BECAUSE DISASTER HAS COME FROM THE LORD, EVEN TO THE GATE OF JERUSALEM: Residents of Maroth, which sounds like the Hebrew word translated "bitterness," would become weak as they waited for help that would not come. Their expectation would become bitter because God would send calamity to the gates of Jerusalem. Before Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem in 701 BC, he defeated 46 other towns in Judah (2Ki 18; 19).

Mic 1:13

YOU WHO LIVE IN LACHISH, HARNESS THE TEAM TO THE CHARIOT: Sarcastically, Micah urged the people of Lachish (Heb "lakish"), a town known for its horses, to hitch a team (Heb "rekesh") of horses to a chariot to escape from the enemy.

YOU WERE THE BEGINNING OF SIN TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, FOR THE TRANSGRESSIONS OF ISRAEL WERE FOUND IN YOU: They would not be able to escape, however, because Lachish had led Jerusalem, as horses lead a chariot, into the sin of idolatry.

Mic 1:14

THEREFORE YOU WILL GIVE PARTING GIFTS TO MORESHETH GATH: Poss, Zion (Jerusalem) would give Moresheth-gath as a portion of a parting gift to the invader. Jerusalem would not be able to prevent the Assyrians from taking Moresheth-gath captive.

THE TOWN OF ACZIB WILL PROVE DECEPTIVE TO THE KINGS OF ISRAEL: The people of Achzib (Heb "akzib"), represented here by their houses, would become deceitful (Heb "akzab") to the kings of Israel because they could not fend off the enemy.

Mic 1:15

I WILL BRING A CONQUEROR AGAINST YOU WHO LIVE IN MARESHAH: Yahweh would bring on the inhabitants of Mareshah ("possessor") one who would take possession of them.

HE WHO IS THE GLORY OF ISRAEL WILL COME TO ADULLAM: The glory of Israel (probably spoken -- ironically -- of her leaders) would flee ashamedly for safety to Adullam, as David had done earlier (1Sa 22:1).

Mic 1:16

SHAVE YOUR HEADS IN MOURNING FOR THE CHILDREN IN WHOM YOU DELIGHT; MAKE YOURSELVES AS BALD AS THE VULTURE: Micah called on the Judeans to cut their hair very short as a sign of sorrow over the departure of their children into exile. The eagle appeared to be bald because its head was white.

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