The Bible – Old Testament
Int. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah. Of his personal life and call we know nothing except that he came from the obscure village of Moresheth in the foothills. His were the broad vistas of the Judean lowland and the distant sea on the western horizon. With burning eloquence he attacked the rich exploiters of the poor, fraudulent merchants, venal judges, corrupt priests and prophets. To the man of the countryside the vices of the nation seemed centered in its capitals, for both Samaria and Jerusalem are singled out for judgment. An interesting notice in ⇒ Jeremiah 26:17, ⇒ 18 informs us that the reform of Hezekiah was influenced by the preaching of Micah.
The prophecy may be divided into three parts: I: The impending judgment of the Lord, followed by an exposition of its causes, Israel’s sins. Censure of Judah’s leaders for betrayal of their responsibility. (⇒ Micah 1:1-⇒ 3:12) II: The glory of the restored Zion. A prince of David’s house will rule over a reunited Israel. (St. Matthew’s Nativity narrative points to Christ’s birth in Bethlehem as the fulfillment of this propehecy.) A remnant shall survive the chastisement of Judah and her adversaries shall be destroyed. (⇒ Micah 4:1-⇒ 5:14) III: The case against Israel, in which the Lord is portrayed as the plaintiff who has maintained fidelity to the covenant. The somber picture closes with a prayer for national restoration and a beautiful expression of trust in God’s pardoning mercy. (⇒ Micah 6:1-⇒ 7:20)
It should be noted that each of these three divisions begins with reproach and the threat of punishment, and ends on a note of hope and promise.