Micah 1

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015


The book of Micah is named after the prophet Micah, whose name means, Who is like Jehovah?

Micah was from Moresheth, near Gath about twenty to twenty-five miles west or southwest of Jerusalem. Its exact location is unknown.

Micah was a contemporary of the earlier ministry of Isaiah, and his career extended from the reign of Jotham (750-732) into the reign of Hezekiah (716-687). Nothing is known about his death.

Micah is the only minor prophet who addressed his messages to both Israel and Judah.

The Book of Micah contains three messages: chapters 1-2, chapters 3-5, and chapters 6-7. Each of the three messages begins with the word hear or listen to what the Lord has to say to the nation. Micah mentions the coming destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, but his main emphasis is on the Southern Kingdom of Judah where the people were just as bad as the people in the Northern Kingdom. God would punish both Israel and Judah for their sins.

Micah is written in Hebrew poetry; so many of the statements are in parallelism like Psalms and Proverbs.

Micah foretells the defeat of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria. This would take place in 722 B.C. after a three-year siege. This would occur in as little as 10-20 years after he mentions it in his prophecy. Micah also foretells the defeat of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, by Babylon in 605, 597, and 586 B.C.

Micah reveals God's promises of judgment and chastisement for the sins of the nation for turning away from God and for refusing to keep His commandments.

God uses chastisement and defeat to draw His people back to Him.

God also promises His future blessings and restoration for Israel.

This will eventually take place after the Great Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ when He will rule over the Millennial Kingdom.

Micah refers to the Messiah a number of times. He speaks of His birthplace, His lineage, His origin, and His reign as Israel's King and Ruler.

I. Micah's First Message: Judgment Will Come - 1:1 - 2:13

A. An introduction - 1:1

Micah 1:1 - The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

The word of the LORD was a message from God sent for the benefit of His people, Israel and Judah. Micah saw this message which was contained in a vision.

Micah prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, who reigned from 750-735 B.C., of Ahaz, who reigned from 735-715 B.C., and of Hezekiah reigned from 715-686 B.C.

Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah.

Samaria was the capital city of Israel, the Northern Kingdom, and represents the Northern Kingdom.

It was in 722 B.C. while Ahaz was reigning in Judah that Samaria fell to the Assyrians, and many of the people were forcibly removed by the Assyrians to other parts of the Assyrian Empire.

Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, and represents the Southern Kingdom.

B. A prediction of coming judgment - 1:2-7

In verses 2-7 Micah describes the Lord descending in judgment against Israel (and its capital Samaria) and against Judah (and its capital Jerusalem) because of idolatry. Samaria was captured by Sennacherib, king of Assyria in 722 B.C.; Jerusalem was besieged by Sennacherib, king of Assyria in 701 B.C. (II Kings 18:13-16 ) and by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in 605, 597, and 586 B.C.

1. The command to hear what the Lord is saying regarding His people - 1:2

Micah 1:2 - Hear, all ye people; hearken [i.e. listen, give attention], O earth, and all that therein is [i.e. and all that is in it]: and let the Lord GOD [i.e. Adonay Yahweh, Adonay Jehovah] be witness against you, the Lord [i.e. Adonay] from his holy temple.

All people are called upon to listen to the Lord GOD Who is speaking from His holy temple which was located in Jerusalem.

The three major sections of the book are introduced with the word hear, found 1:2, 3:1, and 6:1.

2. The results of God's punishment - 1:3-4

Micah 1:3 - For, behold, the LORD [Yahweh or Jehovah] cometh forth out of his place [i.e. the LORD is coming out of His place - from heaven], and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth [i.e. upon the mountains].

Micah 1:4 - And the mountains shall be molten [i.e. will melt] under him, and the valleys shall be cleft [i.e. will split apart], as [i.e. like] wax before the fire, and as [i.e. like] the waters that are poured down a steep place.

Nothing and no one will be able to stop the Lord from doing whatever He chooses to do. He is pictured as if he were a gigantic person Who is able to step from one mountain top to another.

3. The reason for the judgment - 1:5

Micah 1:5 - For the transgression of Jacob is all this [i.e. All this is because of Jacob's transgression - because of Israel's sin], and for [i.e. because of] the sins of the house of Israel [Note that Jacob and Israel are used interchangeably]. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem?

The sins committed in Samaria were also being committed throughout Israel, and the sins committed in Jerusalem were also being committed throughout Judah. Apparently the worst sins were committed in these capital cities.

The high places were places on mountains or hills where people worshiped God or idols. Once Jerusalem became the place where the sanctuary of God was located, first in the tabernacle and later in the temple, the people were supposed to go to Jerusalem to worship God, but they continued to worship on the mountains or hills like the pagans did.

4. The certainty of the judgment - 1:6-7

Micah 1:6 - Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field [i.e. a heap of ruins or a heap of rubble], and as plantings of a vineyard [i.e. as places for planting for a vineyard]: and I will pour down the stones thereof [i.e. I will pour down her (i.e. Samaria's) stones] into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof [i.e. I will uncover her (Samaria's) foundations or I will lay bare her foundations].

God's judgment would come first on Samaria. Samaria fell to the Assyrians in 722 B.C. after a three-year siege during the reign of Ahaz in Judah. Samaria would be completely destroyed to its foundations. Many of the people of the Northern Kingdom were taken to other parts of the Assyrian Empire and others were brought in to take their places.

Micah 1:7 - And all the graven images thereof [i.e. and all her (i.e. Samaria's) idols or all her carved images] shall be beaten to pieces [i.e. broken to pieces or smashed], and all the hires thereof [i.e. all her (Samaria's) pay as a harlot] shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof [i.e. and all her (i.e. Samaria's) idols or images] will I lay desolate: for she [i.e. Samaria] gathered it of the hire of an harlot [i.e. from the pay of a harlot], and they shall return to the hire of an harlot [i.e. they will again (or elsewhere) be used for the pay of a harlot].

The people of Samaria had prostituted themselves in their worship in their temple. Their treasures would be taken elsewhere in the Assyrian Empire and used wherever they were taken in the religious prostitution practiced in the Assyrian Empire.

C. Lament over the people - 1:8-16

1. Micah's lament - 1:8-9

Micah 1:8 - Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked [both wailing and howling and going stripped and naked were signs of extreme mourning]: I will make a wailing like the dragons [i.e. like the jackals], and mourning as the owls [jackals and owls are nocturnal animals who live in desolate places.]

Micah 1:9 - For her wound [i.e. Samaria's wound] is incurable [Samaria is pictured as already having been wounded. It was inevitable.]; for it [i.e. the same wound or judgment] is come unto Judah; he [i.e. it] is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem [Sennacherib, the king of Assyria would destroy 46 towns in Judah and surround Jerusalem in 701 B.C. during Hezekiah's reign. As a result of Hezekiah's praying for the Lord's help, Jerusalem was delivered when the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night (II Kings 18-19 and Isaiah 36-37 )].

2. Micah's call for others to mourn - 1:10-16

In verses 10-16 Micah traces the route of the invading Assyrian army from the Philistine coastal plain through the Judean hills to Jerusalem.

Micah 1:10 - Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah [i.e. in Beth Aphra = in the house of dust] roll thyself in the dust [as an expression of grief].

Declare ye it not at Gath, a major Philistine city near Moresheth, so that the pagans in Gath would not gloat over the judgment on Israel.

Following the death of Saul, David said in II Samuel 1:19-20 -

II Samuel 1:19-20 - 19 The beauty of Israel [a reference to Saul] is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! 20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.

Micah 1:11 - Pass ye away, thou inhabitant [inhabitant is feminine] of Saphir, having thy shame naked [i.e. in shameful nakedness = go as captives into exile, naked and ashamed]: the inhabitant [again inhabitant is feminine] of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive of you his standing [i.e. he will take from you its support or its place to stand].

Micah foresaw the women being taken captive first (the word for inhabitant in vv. 11 and 12 is feminine).

Micah uses puns in denouncing these cities.

Saphir sounds like the Hebrew word for beauty and is contrasted with their shame.

Zaanan sounds like a verb meaning to go out and is contrasted with the fear of the people to go outside their houses.

Beth-ezel resembles a word meaning foundation, and they had none.

Micah 1:12 - For the inhabitant [inhabitant is feminine] of Maroth waited carefully [i.e. waited anxiously or pined] for good: but evil [i.e. disaster] came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.

They were waiting for help from Jerusalem, but no help came from Jerusalem for these cities.

Micah continues his use of puns in denouncing these cities.

Maroth sounds like a word meaning to wait for good, whereas they were waiting for evil.

Micah 1:13 - O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind [i.e. harness] the chariot to the swift beast [i.e. steeds, horses]: she [i.e. Lachish] is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion [does this suggest that Lachish influenced Jerusalem toward idolatry?]: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee [i.e. Lachish].

Micah 1:14 - Therefore shalt thou [it seems to refer to Jerusalem] give presents [i.e. parting gifts or betrothing gifts] to Moreshethgath [Jerusalem would give Moresheth Gath to the Assyrian king as a father gives betrothal gifts to his daughter when she us married]: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie [i.e. a deception] to the kings of Israel [When conquered by the Assyrians, the town of Aczib, which means deception, would be unable to offer help to Israel's kings.].

Micah 1:15 - Yet will I bring an heir unto thee [i.e. one who dispossesses you, by which Micah means Sennacherib], O inhabitant of Mareshah [not Moresheth but another town, whose name means "possessor." It would be possessed by Sennacherib]: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel [it means that the glory of Israel will come to Adullam].

The glory of Israel refers to the nobility, who would flee to Adullam, where there were caves (cf. I Sam. 22:1).

I Samuel 22:1 - David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither [i.e. there] to him.

Micah 1:16 - Make thee bald, and poll thee [i.e. shave off your hair as a sign of deep mourning.] for thy delicate children [i.e. because of your precious children]; enlarge thy baldness as [i.e. like] the eagle [or the vulture]; for they [i.e. your precious children] are gone into captivity from thee [i.e. they will go from you into captivity or exile].

With their heads shaved, they would look like bald eagles or bald vultures.

The notes on Micah 1 found in the Bible Knowledge Commentary were especially helpful in preparing this lesson.


This sermon is the 1st part of the series, Study of Micah. Other sermons in this series are: