As I told you in my previous post, I was recently in Emmett Idaho. On the ranch, there was no internet or phone service, and I was the volunteer groundskeeper for a week. My ability to post was non-existent. I managed to squeeze in a few minutes on the laptop computer, as I worked on the questions for a home group I am involved with and began looking at Micah while I was there.
No one has asked me, but I will tell you whether you ask or not, as to how I come up with ideas for posts. My primary sources were “men’s Bible study,” and some of the twisted messages that come from the pulpit. Since I have separated myself from much of that, I have to listen to the Holy Spirit and my friends for ideas. Sitting at the table on a peaceful morning, it occurs to me that I need to look into the book of Micah, and so I did.
One other thing, I have no problem with using reasonable information from commentaries, Biblical dictionaries, and encyclopedias like the ISBE, as long as they ring true to what the Holy Spirit is trying to say. I know that last aspect is vague, but there are times when you open a resource, and immediately your gut responds with a NO, or at least, what is this person trying to say. Some, like a man I knew who has a Theological Doctorate, merely wants to fling large words around because it makes him sound important.
On the book of Micah
When I look at the overview of Micah, I am told, by almost every commentator, that little is known of the Prophet beyond his name, his place of origin, and the personal tone of his book. And yet, even I can find a historical setting which indicates that Micah’s career extended from the reign of Jotham 752 BC to Hezekiah’s reign which ended in 720 BC. Simple math could put Micah in the range of 50 years old at minimum.
J. Vernon McGee tells us “There are many Micah’s mentioned in the Scriptures, but this man is identified as a Morasthite, since he was an inhabitant of Moresheth-Gath, a place about twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem, near Lachish.”
The book itself centers on the threat of the Assyrian invasions that occurred throughout this period, beginning around 730 BC, culminating in 701 BC against Judah.
Micah 1:1 MKJV The Word of Jehovah that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
From J. Vernon McGee – (Most commentators say the same thing.)
“Micah the Morasthite means that he was a native of Moresheth of Gath, which is southwest of Jerusalem. Although he was in the kingdom of Judah, he prophesied to both kingdoms, but his main message was directed to the northern kingdom. I have often wondered about that. His contemporary, Isaiah, was a prophet to the southern kingdom; and perhaps, since Micah was probably a younger man, he felt that Isaiah could take care of the southern kingdom while God directed him to speak to the northern kingdom. You will never misunderstand Micah because he makes it very clear to whom he is speaking.”
Still gleaning information from J. Vernon McGee –
…Samaria was the capital of the northern kingdom, Israel. The city was built originally by Omri, king of Israel, and was the seat of idolatry. It was made famous—or infamous—by Ahab and Jezebel who built there a temple to Baal. The city stood in a very lovely location, but it lies in ruins today… The desolate ruins bear mute testimony to the accuracy of Micah’s prophecy concerning Samaria.”
Micah was from Gath; yes, the same place as Goliath.
Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions, tells us: môrashtı̂y – Morasthite see Moreshethgath = “possession of Gath” 1) an inhabitant of Moresheth.
E.W. Bullinger helps to establish the beginnings of Micah’s prophetic voice.
“MICAH begins, apparently, a year or two before the end of Jotham’s reign, Isaiah, in that case, had already been prophesying some seventeen or eighteen years.”
By comparing Micah 4:10 with Isaiah 39:5,6, we have another case of similar words occurring in two different prophets. Note that we are told that Micah also functioned during the days of Hezekiah; it may be presumptuous to assume that Micah prophesied to or against Hezekiah as Isaiah did.
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the LORD. ‘And some of your sons who will issue from you, whom you will beget, will be taken away, and they will become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon.'” Isaiah 39:5-7 NASB
Continuing with Bullinger’s exposition/commentary –
“In this ease, the period covered by Micah and Isaiah was almost exactly the same (cp. Mic_1:1 with Isa_1:1; and see Appdx-77). It is no wonder that the circumstances did call for similar utterances, constituting a confirmation of the Word of Jehovah “by the mouth of two or three witnesses.” Both were independent, without any idea of “copying” one from the other, as is alleged by the writer in The Encyclopedia Britannica, eleventh (Cambridge) edition, 1910, 1911, vol. xviii, p. 357, who says: “it is impossible that much, if any, of these chapters (Mic. 4-7) can be ascribed to Micah himself”. This is said in the face of the fact that Jeremiah (Mic_26:16-19) definitely quotes and refers to Micah.”
Since Bullinger points out how similar Isaiah is to Micah, I choose to give you Isaiah 1:1 here.
The vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Isaiah 1:1 NASB
Some notable differences would be Isaiah’s reference to King Uzziah, something Micah did not do. Both are speaking toward Judah and Jerusalem; however, Micah chooses to use the term Samaria, which was the capital of the Northern kingdom.
I want to add one more thing here –
I have come to understand the Jewish concept of prophecy, and it does not include the flash and pizzazz we have become accustomed to. Prophecy is repeated patterns to the Jew, and the idea of two or three witnesses is an essential part of the verification process.
The ISBE defines Uzzi’ah for us – His name means the (strength of Jehovah). King of Judah B.C. 809-8 to 757-6. In some passages, his name appears in the lengthened form Azariah: After the murder of Amaziah, his son Uzziah was chosen by the people, at the age of sixteen, to occupy the vacant throne; and for the greater part of his long reign of fifty-two years, he lived in the fear of God, and showed himself a wise, active and pious ruler. He never deserted the worship of the true God, and was much influenced by Zechariah, a prophet who is mentioned only in connection with him. 2Ch_26:5.
Under the reign of Uzziah,
”the southern kingdom was raised to a condition of prosperity which it had not known since the death of Solomon. The end of Uzziah was less prosperous than his beginning. Elated with his splendid career, he determined to burn incense on the altar of God but was opposed by the high priest Azariah and eighty others. See Exo_30:7-8; Num_16:40; Num_18:7. The king was enraged at their resistance, and, as he pressed forward with his censer, he was suddenly smitten with leprosy. This lawless attempt to burn incense was the only exception to the excellence of his administration. 2Ch_27:2. Uzziah was buried “with his fathers,” yet apparently not actually in the royal sepulchres. 2Ch_26:23.”
A few other Prophets around this time frame.
Isaiah 1:1 NASB The vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Obadiah 1:1-2 NASB The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom–We have heard a report from the LORD, And an envoy has been sent among the nations saying, “Arise and let us go against her for battle”– 2 “Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You are greatly despised.
Nahum 1:1-3 NASB The oracle of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. 2 A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies. 3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.
The Word from Micah is concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
In considering Samaria, I am reminded of the hatred and racism that we see in the gospels, as the Jews would walk the longest way just so that they would not have to pass through Samaria. And then there was the interaction Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well. That well was within Samaria, and her comments pointed out some of the hatred and prejudice she lived with on a daily basis.
Names that are mentioned: Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, several of which were Kings of Judah.
The reason I emphasize the names is that they may give us some insight into why the Word came. Keep in mind; nothing is random or by accident; and, you cannot separate the Word given from the human emotions that are a part of the speaker, in this case, Micah. The idea here is to find the link and possibly the reasons behind the “Word” given by Micah.
The ISBE tells us that Jotham was the – Twelfth king of Judah, son of Uzziah and Jerusha, daughter of Zadok (2Ki_15:32-38; 2Ch_27:1-9).
Jotham was 25 years of age at the time of his father’s attack of leprosy and was at once called upon to take the administration of the kingdom (2Ki_15:5; 2Ch_26:21). In doing this, he not only judged the people of the land by presiding at the administration of justice but also was over the household of the king, showing how complete was the isolation of his father. He was thus king in all but name and is invariably spoken of as reigning in Jerusalem. His reign lasted for 16 years (2Ki_15:33; 2Ch_27:1), 759-744 (others put later). While the father loved husbandry and had much cattle (2Ch_26:10) – external affairs with which he could occupy himself in his retirement – to the son fell the sterner duties and heavier responsibilities of the state.
Again we turn to the ISBE.
“The name is the same as Jehoahaz; hence appears on Tiglath-pileser’s Assyrian inscription of 732 bc as Ia–u–ha–zi. The sacred historians may have dropped the first part of the name in consequence of the character of the king.”
Ahaz was the son of Jotham, king of Judah. He succeeded to the throne at the age of 20 years (according to another reading 25). The chronology of his reign is difficult, as his son Hezekiah is stated to have been 25 years of age when he began to reign 16 years after (2Ki_18:2). If the accession of Ahaz be placed as early as 743 bc, his grandfather Uzziah, long unable to perform the functions of his office on account of his leprosy (2Ch_26:21), must still have been alive. (Others date Ahaz later, when Uzziah, for whom Jotham had acted as regent, was already dead.)
“Although so young, Ahaz seems at once to have struck out an independent course wholly opposed to the religious traditions of his nation. His first steps in this direction were the causing to be made and circulated of molten images of the Baalim, and the revival in the valley of Hinnom, south of the city, of the abominations of the worship of Moloch (2Ch_28:2, 2Ch_28:3). He is declared to have made his own son “pass through the fire” (2Ki_16:3); the chronicler puts it even more strongly: he “burnt his children in the fire” (2Ch_28:3). Other acts of idolatry were to follow.” [These acts are spelled out in detail in 2Chronicles 28.]
Hezeki’ah. (the might of Jehovah). The ISBE informs us that he was the twelfth king of Judah, son of the apostate, Ahaz and Abi or Abijah, ascended the throne at the age of 25, B.C. 726. Hezekiah was one of the three most perfect kings of Judah. 2Ki_18:5. Sir_49:4. His first act was to purge, repair and reopen, with splendid sacrifices and perfect ceremonial, the Temple. He also destroyed a brazen serpent, said to have been the one used by Moses, in the miraculous healing of the Israelites, Num_21:9, which had become an object of adoration.”
“He refused to acknowledge the supremacy of Assyria. 2Ki_18:7. The instant war was imminent Hezekiah used every available means to strengthen himself. 2Ki_20:20.”
“It was probably at this dangerous crisis in his kingdom, that we find him sick and sending for Isaiah, who prophesies death as the result. 2Ki_20:1. Hezekiah’s prayer for longer life is heard. The prophet had hardly left the palace when he was ordered to return and promise the king immediate recovery and fifteen years more of life. 2Ki_20:4. An embassy coming from Babylon ostensibly to compliment Hezekiah on his convalescence, but really to form an alliance between the two powers, is favorably received by the king, who shows them the treasures which he had accumulated. For this, Isaiah foretells the punishment that shall befall his house. 2Ki_20:17.”