Introduction to Micah
Micah was a prophet from southwestern Judah whose prophecy nevertheless dealt also with the northern kingdom, Israel, and its capital in Samaria. He was a contemporary of Isaiah and included some of the same prophecies (Micah 4:1-3; compare Isaiah 2:2-4). In fact, in his younger days Micah may have been a disciple of Isaiah. His name meant “Who is like Jehovah?”
He wrote his prophecy while Israel was still in the land, but only shortly before the Assyrian invasion and destruction of Israel (Micah 1:1,6). There are indications in later chapters that he continued his ministry in Judah after seeing the fulfillment of his prophecy of Samaria’s destruction.
He also prophesied the eventual Babylonian captivity of Judah (Micah 4:10), even though that prophecy would not be fulfilled until over a century later. It is noteworthy that Jeremiah, the last prophet of Judah before the exile, quoted Micah’s prophecy in his own prophecy some 120 years later (Jeremiah 26:18, citing Micah 3:12). According to Jeremiah, this prophecy was made at the time good king Hezekiah reigned in Jerusalem.
Although Micah preached against the wickedness of both Israel and Judah, he also prophesied the ultimate victory of God and His people through the coming Messiah. His book includes the wonderful prediction of Messiah’s human birth in Bethlehem, a prophecy eventually to be fulfilled over seven hundred years later. He also recognized the eternal deity of the Messiah (Micah 5:2).
1:1 Micah. Micah (a name meaning “Who is like Jehovah?”) was a contemporary of Isaiah in Judah, and some of his prophecies reflect the influence of Isaiah’s Messianic writings.
1:1 Samaria and Jerusalem. Although Micah lived in Judah, coming from a small town south of Jerusalem, his prophecy was directed to both Samaria and Jerusalem (capitals of the northern and southern kingdoms, respectively), and centered particularly upon the coming invasion of Israel by Assyria, which in turn was a precursive foreshadowing of the judgments of the last days.
1:6 heap of the field. This prophecy was fulfilled when the Assyrians besieged Samaria for three years, finally defeating King Hoshea and his forces, and carrying them away to Assyria (II Kings 17:6). Since this event took place during the reign of Ahaz in Judah, the prophecy itself was evidently given during the previous reign of Jotham. Samaria, built to a state of opulence by Omri and Ahab and the capital of Israel, was completely demolished by the Assyrian armies of Sargon. It stood on a hill, but its building stones were thrown down into the valley, just as prophesied, and its entire area eventually cultivated with vineyards, olive trees and fig trees.
1:9 come unto Judah. Micah could also foresee the future time when the same Assyrian invaders would come to the very “gate of my people, even to Jerusalem” during the later reign of Hezekiah (II Kings 18:17).
1:16 poll. That is, “cut off the hair.”