THEN I SAID: This second oracle begins like the first
and third ones, with a summons to hear the prophet's message (cp Mic 1:2; 6:1).
The initial "And I said" ties this oracle to the preceding one and provides
LISTEN, YOU LEADERS OF JACOB, YOU RULERS OF THE HOUSE OF
ISRAEL: Again, Jacob and Israel are synonyms for all 12 tribes (cp Mic 1:5;
SHOULD YOU NOT KNOW JUSTICE?: Micah asked rhetorically
if it was not proper for Israel's rulers to practice justice (fairness, equity).
It was not only proper, but it was essential.
YOU WHO HATE GOOD AND LOVE EVIL: Yet these rulers had
stood justice on its head. They hated good and loved evil (cp Pro 8:13; Isa
1:16,17; Amos 5:15).
This graphically describes the rulers' abuse of their victims
for their own selfish ends. The figure is of a hunter, and the implication is
that the rulers regarded and treated the ordinary citizens as mere animals
rather than as human beings. The rich stripped the poor of their money and
property and oppressed them unmercifully (cp Zep 3:3).
THEY WILL CRY OUT TO THE LORD, BUT HE WILL NOT ANSWER
THEM: Because these rulers had turned deaf ears to the pleas of orphans and
widows, they would eventually cry out to Yahweh in prayer asking Him for help.
But He would not answer them (cp Psa 27:7-9; Pro 21:13; Jer 7:12-15).
AT THAT TIME HE WILL HIDE HIS FACE FROM THEM BECAUSE OF THE
EVIL THEY HAVE DONE: When God chooses not to listen to cries for help from
His people, it is because their behavior has alienated them from Him: cp Psa
18:41; Pro 1:28; Isa 1:15.
AS FOR THE PROPHETS WHO LEAD MY PEOPLE ASTRAY, IF ONE FEEDS
THEM, THEY PROCLAIM 'PEACE'; IF HE DOES NOT, THEY PREPARE TO WAGE WAR AGAINST
HIM: The Lord also had a message concerning the false prophets who were
misleading His people. The false prophets gave blessings to those who paid them,
but people who did not give them anything received curses of doom and gloom (cp
Lam 2:14; Jer 6:14). Self-interest motivated these prophets rather than the fear
of the Lord (cp 2Ti 4:3).
"It was an ancient and respectable practice for a prophet to
accept payment for services rendered to his clients. After all, as Jesus
affirmed, 'the worker is entitled to his wages' (Luke 10:7). But with so
apparently subjective a craft as prophecy there was ever a temptation. Why not
make the message match the customer's pocket?" (Allen).
Even today some "ministers" favor those who treat them well
and neglect, or worse, those who do not.
THE SUN WILL SET FOR THE PROPHETS, AND THE DAY WILL GO DARK
FOR THEM: Because of such abuses as described in v 5, the true prophets of
Yahweh foretold a long spiritual "darkness", or "drought" -- a night or famine
for the word through the prophets: cp Amos 8:11,12. This was true from Malachi
until the revival under the time of John the Baptist.
THE SEERS WILL BE ASHAMED AND THE DIVINERS DISGRACED:
The title "seer" is an old one describing a prophet (1Sa 9:9), but "diviners"
sought knowledge of the future through illegitimate means and were outlawed in
Israel (cp Deu 18:10). Thus these two titles were derogatory terms for the false
THEY WILL COVER THEIR FACES BECAUSE THERE IS NO ANSWER FROM
GOD: Seers and diviners would suffer embarrassment because they would not be
able to come up with any word from the Lord when the people asked for it.
Covering the face was a sign of mourning (cp Lev 13:45; Eze 24:17,22).
BUT AS FOR ME, I AM FILLED WITH POWER, WITH THE SPIRIT OF
THE LORD: In contrast to the false prophets who were full of greed (cp Acts
5:3), Micah claimed to be inspired by Yahweh, being full of spiritual power as a
result of God's Spirit.
AND WITH JUSTICE AND MIGHT, TO DECLARE TO JACOB HIS
TRANSGRESSION, TO ISRAEL HIS SIN: Justice marked his pronouncements (cp vv
1-3,5) and courage his ministry (cp vv 4,6,7; cp Acts 4:13). He did not tailor
his prophecies to his pay, or fear what people might withhold from him if his
message was negative (cp 1Th 2:2-6). His ministry was to declare the sins of the
Israelites (as well as their future hope), and he fulfilled it faithfully and
WHO BUILD ZION WITH BLOODSHED, AND JERUSALEM WITH
WICKEDNESS: Micah further described his audience of leaders as those who
built Zion or Jerusalem by sacrificing the lives of innocent people. That is,
they built up their own little spiritual "kingdoms" and not God's kingdom --
their own niches of comfort and ease and wealth, with no regard for the
spiritual welfare of their "sheep"!
How much this sounds like the lives of the "shepherds" of the
organized Church, down through the ages!
HER LEADERS JUDGE FOR A BRIBE, HER PRIESTS TEACH FOR A
PRICE, AND HER PROPHETS TELL FORTUNES FOR MONEY: The judges gave favorable
verdicts to those who bribed them (cp Exo 23:8; Deu 27:25), and the priests only
taught those who would pay them. The prophets likewise only prophesied for a
price (cp Deu 16:19).
YET THEY LEAN UPON THE LORD AND SAY, "IS NOT THE LORD AMONG
US? NO DISASTER WILL COME UPON US": Yet they all claimed to trust in the
Lord and encouraged themselves with the false hope that since Yahweh was among
them He would allow no evil to overtake them (cp Psa 46:4,5; Jer 7:4).
ZION WILL BE PLOWED LIKE A FIELD, JERUSALEM WILL BECOME A
HEAP OF RUBBLE, THE TEMPLE HILL A MOUND OVERGROWN WITH THICKETS: Micah
announced a wholly different future for the Israelites. God would plow up
(overthrow) Jerusalem like a field and tear down its buildings until they were
only ruins (cp Mic 1:5,6). Even the temple mount, the most holy place in all
Israel, would become like a hilltop in a forest, overgrown and
Jeremiah, who lived a century later, quoted this portion of
Micah's prophecy to assure the Jerusalemites of his day that the doom of their
city was certain (Jer 26:18). Jeremiah prefaced this quotation with, "Thus the
LORD of hosts has said." He viewed Micah's prophecy as inspired of God (cp 2Ti
"Micah's words, remembered for their shocking severity a
hundred years later, deserve to be taken to heart by each generation of God's
people. They challenge every attempt to misuse the service of God for one's own
glory and profit. They are a dire warning against the complacency that can take
God's love and reject his lordship. They are a passionate plea for consistency
between creed and conduct. The LORD is content with nothing less"
These words were spoken to Hezekiah (Jer 26:18). This is an
example of a very specific prophecy which was NOT fulfilled -- the delay was
brought about by the repentance of the king. Cp Jonah's prophecy against
Nineveh, which was turned aside by their repentance.