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Book of Micah

Book of Micah
by Timothy Kenney, PhD

The glorious Prophet Micah is the sixth of the Twelve Minor Prophets who lived in the late eighth century B.C., contemporary with the Prophets Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea. His name is a shortened version of Micaiah, which means Who is from God. He is remembered for his foretelling of Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Messiah in the Old Testament's Book of Micah. We do not, however, appear to possess any of his addresses prior to the reign of Ezechias. He was thus a contemporary of the Prophet Isaias. His feast days are celebrated on January 5 and August 14.

Micah was born in the village of Moresheth. Little is known of his personal life. From his writing style he was apparently an educated man, possibly from a family of land owners. Micah witnessed the fall of the Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. For over fifty years, he traveled throughout the Kingdom of Judah, pointing out to the people how the Israelites had broken the covenant with God and urging the people of Judah to cast off the vices that entrapped them and seek to be as God-like in their lives as possible.

As with his personal life, little is known of Micah's death, other than that he was buried in his home town of Moresheth. His relics were discovered during the reign of the Roman Emperor Theodosius the Great in the late fourth century after Christ through a mysterious revelation received by the bishop of Eleutheropolis.

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Brief summary.

The principal idea of the book of Micah was that the Lord remained faithful to His covenant with the chosen people and, after having them cleansed with disasters and repentance, would lead them (and through them the Gentiles) to the Kingdom of the Messiah. The book of Micah contains a prediction about the destruction of Samaria and devastation of Jerusalem; promise of the salvation of Israel through the Elder from Bethlehem; it pointed out the ways to salvation. Micah came forward to support the poor and the destitute of his people, and to denounce the heartless and arrogant rich. "The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up. The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge" (Micah 7:2-4).

This is what the Lord expects from a man: "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God" (Micah 6:8). The prophet closed the book by addressing God in these words: "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:18-19).

His book falls into three parts:

  1. Punishment of Israel's Sins - Micah 1-3
  2. The Glory of the Restored Zion - Micah 4-5
  3. The Case Against Israel - Micah 6-7

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A detailed outline follows:

I. Punishment of Israel's Sins - Micah 1-3.

Chapters 1-2. Destruction of Jerusalem and Samaria.
Chapter 3. Sins of the inhabitants of Judaea

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II. The Glory of the Restored Zion - Micah 4-5.

Chapter 4. The Kingdom of Messiah.
Chapter 4. The Birth of Christ in Bethlehem is foretold.

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III. The Case Against Israel - Micah 6-7.

Chapter 6. Judgment over nations.
Chapter 7. Mercy to the faithful.

We now turn our attention to the Book of Nahum.

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