(Miʹcah) [shortened form of Michael or Micaiah].
1. A man of Ephraim. In violation of the eighth of the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:15), Micah took 1,100 silver pieces from his mother. When he confessed and returned them, she said: “I must without fail sanctify the silver to Jehovah from my hand for my son, so as to make a carved image and a molten statue; and now I shall give it back to you.” She then took 200 silver pieces to a silversmith, who made “a carved image and a molten statue” that afterward came to be in Micah’s house. Micah, who had “a house of gods,” made an ephod and teraphim and empowered one of his sons to act as priest for him. Although this arrangement was ostensibly to honor Jehovah, it was grossly improper, for it violated the commandment forbidding idolatry (Ex 20:4-6) and bypassed Jehovah’s tabernacle and his priesthood. (Jg 17:1-6; De 12:1-14) Later, Micah took Jonathan, a descendant of Moses’ son Gershom, into his home, hiring this young Levite as his priest. (Jg 18:4, 30) Mistakenly feeling satisfied with this, Micah said: “Now I do know that Jehovah will do me good.” (Jg 17:7-13) But Jonathan was not of Aaron’s lineage and thus was not even qualified for priestly service, which only added to Micah’s error.—Nu 3:10.
In those days, the Danites, searching for territory in which to dwell, sent out five spies, who eventually came to Ephraim “as far as the house of Micah and got to spend the night there.” While near Micah’s house, they recognized Jonathan’s voice, found out what he was doing there, and had him inquire of God so that they might know whether their venture would be successful. The priest told them: “Go in peace. It is before Jehovah that your way is in which you go.” (Jg 18:1-6) They subsequently spied out Laish and returned, telling their brothers about it, whereupon the five spies and 600 Danite men girded for warfare headed for that city. En route, as they passed Micah’s house, the spies told their brothers about his religious articles and suggested their acquisition. The Danites took these and also convinced the Levite that it would be better for him to be a priest to a tribe and family in Israel than just for one man. They then took him, the ephod, the teraphim, and the carved image and went their way.—Jg 18:7-21.
Shortly thereafter, Micah and a company of men pursued the Danites. Upon catching up with them and being asked what was the matter, Micah said: “My gods that I made you have taken, the priest too, and you go your way, and what do I have anymore?” At that, the sons of Dan warned of possible assault if Micah continued following them and voicing protest. Seeing that the Danites were much stronger than his band, Micah returned home. (Jg 18:22-26) The Danites thereafter struck down and burned Laish, building the city of Dan on its site. Jonathan and his sons became priests to the Danites, who “kept the carved image of Micah, which he had made, set up for themselves all the days that the house of the true God [the tabernacle] continued in Shiloh.”—Jg 18:27-31.
4. A Reubenite who was the son of Shimei and father of Reaiah. His descendant Beerah was a chieftain of the tribe of Reuben and was taken into exile by Assyrian King Tilgath-pilneser (Tiglath-pileser III).—1Ch 5:1, 3-6; 2Ki 15:29.
7. Writer of the Bible book bearing his name and a prophet of Jehovah during the reigns of Kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah (777-717 B.C.E.). Micah was a contemporary of the prophets Hosea and Isaiah. The exact duration of his prophetic activity is uncertain. His prophesying apparently closed by the end of Hezekiah’s reign, when the composition of the prophet’s book was completed.—Mic 1:1; Ho 1:1; Isa 1:1.
Micah was a native of the village of Moresheth, SW of Jerusalem. (Jer 26:18) As a resident of the fertile Shephelah, the prophet was well acquainted with rural living, from which he was inspired to draw meaningful illustrations. (Mic 2:12; 4:12, 13; 7:1, 4, 14) Micah prophesied during very turbulent times when false worship and moral corruption flourished in Israel and Judah, also when King Hezekiah instituted religious reforms. (2Ki 15:32–20:21; 2Ch 27-32) With good reason, “the word of Jehovah that occurred to Micah” warned that God would make Samaria “a heap of ruins of the field,” and it was prophesied that “Zion will be plowed up as a mere field, and Jerusalem herself will become mere heaps of ruins.” (Mic 1:1, 6; 3:12) While the devastation of Judah and Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. occurred many years after Micah’s day, he probably lived to see the foretold destruction of Samaria in 740 B.C.E.—2Ki 25:1-21; 17:5, 6.