Once again, I find myself struggling to keep a clear picture of who is being addressed.
As you can witness, in Micah 2:6, we have Micah speaking against those who want him to shut his mouth, as they say, “Enough of your preaching!”
Micah 2:6-7 CEV “Enough of your preaching!” That’s what you tell me.”We won’t be disgraced, so stop preaching!” (7) Descendants of Jacob, is it right for you to claim that the LORD did what he did because he was angry? Doesn’t he always bless those who do right?
Israel asserts “We won’t be disgraced.” To call the voices speaking against Micah, Israel is a broad assumption but a fairly logical one. Why?
- Based upon Micah 2:1,2 we know that the word Micah speaks applies to both sides of the divided kingdom – Israel and Judah; he is talking to those who have the power to rob and defraud the people of their land and therefore their inheritance. And, God is never speaking this way to everyone, although, such as in the case of humankind, all suffered the effects of Adam’s treasonous act – something we like to call sin – something that is so much easier to understand if you consider the “sin” a genetic modification that impacted ALL peoples since that day.
(Seeing as the Assyrians and Babylonians will soon take everyone captive or kill them, inheritance is somewhat of a moot point; unless there is that one person that remembers that God promised His people the land of Canaan. As long as someone is keeping records in their head there is the probability that land could be reclaimed if that opportunity ever arose again; and apparently, it did. Looking to a time well over 2700 years later this becomes important again, as the words of Micah 2: 4,5 indicate that there will be no left that could reestablish inheritance claims.)
- Israel, for the longest time, was ruled by judges. Samson and Gideon are two that come quickly to mind. But Israel cried out; we want a king like the nations around us have, and so their first king was Saul. How quickly that went sour on them, and God warned them that it would. By the time Micah is speaking out against what is going on it feels more like some twisted struggle between the monarchical, aristocratic, and an oligarchical system. How is that possible? Well, consider that in Jesus day, although the Romans seemed to have the final say, who did Pontius Pilate turn to for the last word on the fate of Jesus? The Jewish council, which itself was a blend of oligarchical and aristocracy leadership.
The kings, for the most part followed God in name only, and the relatively, wealthy Jewish council were the voices that spoke for the people, whether they wanted them to or not.
SoMicah is, for the most part talking to the ruling bodies.
Micah then retorts – “this is what you are saying, Does GOD lose his temper? Is this the way he acts? Isn’t he on the side of good people?”(MSG)
On a personal note, I was told by a particular pastor not to give words to the body of Christ any longer because several people expressed to the pastor that they thought I made God sound angry. Why do we believe God would not get annoyed, particularly if we are operating contrary to the will of God?
In contrast to the kind, pleasant, and somewhat encouraging words of verse 7, where it says, “doesn’t he always bless those who do right?” there is verse eight through eleven to bring us back to reality.
Micah 2:8 – 11 NET.“ but you rise up as an enemy against my people. You steal a robe from a friend, from those who pass by peacefully as if returning from a war. 9) You wrongly evict widows among my people from their cherished homes. You defraud their children of their prized inheritance. 10) But you are the ones who will be forced to leave! For this land is not secure! Sin will thoroughly destroy it! 11) If a lying windbag should come and say, ‘I’ll promise you blessings of wine and beer,’ he would be just the right preacher for these people!”
The Complete Jewish Bible opens with this: “But lately my people behave like an enemy,” “ against my people.”(NET)
If God can generalize, using a sentence such as, ” rising up as an enemy against my people,” while saying “you are the ones who will be forced to leave,” about whom is He talking? Ruling bodies, which, for the most part, is the Jewish priestly council.
To refresh our memories –
Micah 2:1-2 MSG Doom to those who plot evil, who go to bed dreaming up crimes! As soon as it’s morning, they’re off, full of energy, doing what they’ve planned. (2) They covet fields and grab them, find homes and take them. They bully the neighbor and his family, see people only for what they can get out of them.
Since God called Israel Babylon at one point, and Babylon is not a clearly defined entity, is it possible that He is speaking about the ruling class and those who think they have a right to oppress merely because of money? Absolutely, and we see this despicable activity throughout history.
Isn’t it the people with money who own the land from which the widows are being evicted? And that is the lead into verse 9.
Micah 2:9 NIV You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes. You take away my blessing from their children forever.
Naomi is a good example of verse 9. When we meet Naomi, her husband is dead, and now her sons have died as well. [You can find much of this information in the first chapter of the book of Ruth] Naomi knowing she is the inheritor of land in Israel decides she will go back there. She tells the two daughters-in-law to go back home to their families, butRuth stays with her. Even in Israel, repossessing her land does not mean she will eat or pay any taxes owed, and so Ruth sets out to glean from a field so that they can survive.
In response to Israel’s claim that no harm will come to them, God says,
Micah 2:10 NIV Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy.
Daniel had spent most of his adult life in Babylonian captivity (Daniel 1:2-4). Sitting quietly one day, reading the scroll of Jeremiah the prophet, he understood “that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.” That time, which was almost over, was the result of Israel disregarding the Sabbath years.
When I point these things out to people, many immediately come back at me with, I have never seen that in scripture. I have, but I don’t have it memorized and had to look it up.
2 Chronicles 36:20-21 KJV And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: (21) To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.
The command was to let the earth rest every seven years. Obviously, Israel did not do that. This idea of the seven-year sabbatical time plays a role in the time of God’s wrath, as at the end of that time there is a restoration of all things. You see, nothing in God’s scheme of things happens by coincidence, nor outside of God’s timing.
Micah 2:11 NIV If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ that would be just the prophet for this people!
The NIV is a somewhat loose translation, but it conveys what Hebrew is saying through the mouth of Micah. Let me show you another translation that demands an explanation.
Micah 2:11 KJV If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.
Walking in the spirit — The Hebrew for walking is haw-lak’ and means to walk continually and be conversant. The Hebrew for spirit is rûachand means wind, but it also means breath or spirit. The Hebrew word rûach is the counterpart to the Greek word pneuma meaning a current of air, breath, or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit.
Is Micah, in verse 11, defining a “prophet” that is walking in Spirit of God? Not a chance. This analogy of a false prophet is precisely what they have all been calling for, plenty of beer and wine for all; nothing will happen but good!
Micah 2:12 MKJV I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together like the sheep of Bozrah, like the flock in the midst of their fold. They shall be in commotion because of men.
I frequently forget that the limitations within my mind do not limit God. This statement, by the mouth of Micah, is just another word picture that shows Israel diminished in number to where the imagery of a shepherd, tending to a manageable number of sheep immediately comes to mind.
Just for the fun of it, I looked up the population of Israel. It is 8,907,000. A loss of 2/3 reduces the population to just over 3 million.
Seeing as we see God gathering the remnant the Message translation makes sense.
Micah2:13 MSG Then I, GOD, will burst all confinements and lead them out into the open. They’ll follow their King. I will be out in front leading them.”
Micah2:13 AMP The Breaker [the Messiah] will go up before them. They will break through, pass in through the gate and go out through it, and their King will pass on before them, the Lord at their head.
Seeing as the Jewish mind has been trained to refuse flamboyant words, the prophecies that are respected and valued are those that fall into repeated patterns and are verifiable by scripture. Micah 2:13 is just such a prophecy, an example, can be found in the words of prophets like Amos.
Amos9:11 AMP In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David, the fallen hut or booth, and close up its breaches; and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old,
Yeshua/Jesus Christ the Messiah will come as the conquering King that Israel has longed for; it just won’t happen in Israel’s timing, and that is proven out by the fact that Israel will take a horrendous beating. If you are not aware, Israel has been sustaining a large volume of missiles being shot at them from Gaza.
A friend of mine asked me, do I think that Israel is experiencing that time called Jacob’s troubles. Initially, I responded with, it seems like it, doesn’t it, but an intense look at the passages surrounding the verse where Jacob’s trouble is referenced indicates that this time is specific to the midpoint of the seven-year period.
Jeremiah 30:7 KJV Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
While the troubles Israel, all of Christianity, and the innocent bystanders of the world are experiencing can easily be classified as trials. Jesus told us that tribulations would be a part of our lifestyle, this is especially true for those who, like me, live on the front lines of this battle called life.
John 16:33 MKJV I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.