MICAH, BOOK OF
A prophetic book of the Hebrew Scriptures containing Jehovah’s word through Micah concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. (See MICAH No. 7.) It consists of three basic sections, each beginning with the word “Hear.”—Mic 1:2; 3:1; 6:1.
Micah’s prophetic words regarding Samaria’s desolation must have been delivered before that city’s destruction in 740 B.C.E., and evidently his oral pronouncements were committed to writing before the close of Hezekiah’s reign.
Deplorable moral conditions prevailed among the people of Israel and Judah in Micah’s time. The leaders oppressed the people, especially the poor. Judges, priests, and prophets were out for money. Idolatry, fraud, oppression, injustices, and bloodshed abounded. It was precarious to trust even confidential friends and family members.—Mic 1:7; 2:1, 2; 3:1-3, 9-12; 6:12; 7:2-6.
The book of Micah candidly portrays the wrongs of Israel and Judah. While foretelling desolation for Samaria and Jerusalem on account of their transgressions (Mic 1:5-9; 3:9-12), it also contains promises of restoration and divine blessings to follow.—4:1-8; 5:7-9; 7:15-17.
The authenticity of this book is well established. It harmonizes with the rest of the Scriptures in showing Jehovah to be a merciful and loving God, pardoning error and passing over transgression. (Mic 7:18-20; compare Ex 34:6, 7; Ps 86:5.) From earliest times the Jews accepted this book as authentic. About a century after Micah’s time, his words spoken during Hezekiah’s reign about the desolation of Jerusalem were quoted by certain older men of Judah when making a point in defense of Jeremiah the prophet. (Jer 26:17-19; compare Mic 3:12.) Centuries afterward, the Jewish chief priests and scribes, on the basis of Micah’s prophecy, confidently stated that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem. (Mt 2:3-6; compare Mic 5:2.) The fulfillment of prophecies respecting Samaria, Jerusalem, and the Messiah, or Christ, stamp this book as being inspired of God. Noteworthy, too, is the fact that Jesus’ words about a man’s enemies being persons of his household parallel Micah 7:6.—Mt 10:21, 35, 36.
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HIGHLIGHTS OF MICAH
A candid statement of the wrongdoing of Israel and of Judah, a forecast of desolation for Samaria and Jerusalem, and promises of restoration
Covers a period leading up to and possibly following the desolation of Samaria in 740 B.C.E.
Wrongdoing of Israel and Judah is contrasted with Jehovah’s righteous requirements
Oppressors lie in bed, plotting to seize homes and fields; when day dawns, they carry out their schemes (2:1, 2)
Unsuspecting passersby are robbed; women and children are victimized (2:8, 9)
Those responsible for administering justice exploit the people as though they were animals (3:1-3)
False prophets call out, “Peace!”—but they sanctify war against anyone that “does not put something into their mouths” (3:5)
Judges, priests, and prophets are solely out for gain, yet they claim Jehovah’s support (3:9-11)
Loyal ones are virtually nonexistent; princes and judges seek bribes, and not even family members can be trusted (7:1-6)
Jehovah delivered his people from Egypt and guided and protected them; no amount of sacrificing will compensate for their revolt (6:3-7)
He requires that his people exercise justice, love kindness, and walk modestly with him (6:8)
Jehovah’s judgments against Israel; Judah, too, will be affected
Jehovah’s judgment will result in Samaria’s being reduced to a heap of ruins; the disaster will reach even as far as Judah and Jerusalem (1:3-16)
Calamity will come upon Israel; her fields will be apportioned to others (2:3-5)
Jehovah will strike his people; they will eat but not get filled, they will sow seed but not enjoy any fruitage (6:13-16)
Remnant will be regathered and true worship exalted
The remnant of Israel will be gathered together “like a flock in the pen,” with their king before them and Jehovah ahead of them (2:12, 13)
In the final part of the days, the mountain of Jehovah’s house will be exalted above the hills and people of many nations will stream to it; they will be taught by Jehovah and learn war no more (4:1-4)
The restored people will walk in Jehovah’s name; Zion will be strong before her enemies (4:5-13)
A ruler will be born in Bethlehem who will shepherd in Jehovah’s name; under his rulership, the Assyrian will be driven back; the remnant of Jacob will be like refreshing dew and like a mighty lion (5:2-9)
Jehovah will cleanse his people of idolatry and execute vengeance upon disobedient nations (5:10-15)
Rely on Jehovah; the rejoicing of the “woman enemy” will end as Jehovah’s repentant people receive his attention and experience wonderful things, filling observing nations with fear; Jehovah will forgive the sins of his people (7:7-20)