Background

The opening verse gives us the historical setting and reminds us of the opening verses of Isaiah and Hosea. Micah is a younger contemporary of these two, addresses the same religious and social ills, and understandably uses strikingly similar language. The reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah date to approximately 750 BC to 686 BC, and Micah’s ministry is reasonably placed between the years 740-700 BC.1The introductory information on this page is adapted from Professor Emeritus Forrest Bivens’ course notes for Senior Old Testament Isagogics at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Used with permission.

Momentous political events that took place during his ministry:

  • 734-732 BC – Tiglath Pileser III of Assyria overran Aram and Philistia, took much of the country of Israel (Gilead and most of Galilee), and occupied some of Judah.
  • 722-721 BC – Samaria fell and the Northern Kingdom was effectively taken into exile.
  • 701 BC – Assyrian Sennacherib overran Judah and (unsuccessfully) besieged Jerusalem.

See also the Chronology of the Old Testament Kings, the Chronology of the Prophets, and the Chronology of Latter Prophets and Intertestamental Period.

Authorship

Micah’s name in Hebrew is a shortened form meaning “Who is like the Lord?” (used in this fuller form in Judges 17:1,4). We know very little about him other than what is provided in the book itself. His hometown, Moresheth, is presumed to be the one in the vicinity of Gath (Micah 1:14), and the major viewpoint of the prophet is that of a small town spokesman of the Lord who understands the oppression endured by the rural, peasant population.

Purpose for Writing

The content of Micah’s messages is easily summarized with the words Law and Gospel, sin and grace – but the manner in which his message is proclaimed is certainly not ordinary. In language similar to that of Isaiah and Hosea, he uses vigorous terms, striking figures of speech, plays on words, and concrete illustrations and examples the people could understand and appreciate. He has a definite tenderness about him while promising justice and serving as the voice of the common man. His sensitivity to social injustice and idolatry and his exposure of the emptiness of formalism or ritualism is seen throughout the book.

Christ Connection

Those seeking Messianic promises will not be disappointed, of course, since Micah’s gracious promises of forgiveness and restoration for the remnant are centered in the promised Savior who was to come. Portraits of the Messiah and his kingdom are highlighted in Micah 2:12-13, 4:1-8, and 5:1-5. The identification of the Savior’s birthplace (Micah 5:2) has perhaps been the most remembered prophetic piece of information given through Micah.

Notable Passages

  • Micah 1:2
  • Micah 2:7
  • Micah 2:12-13
  • Micah 4:2
  • Micah 5:2-4
  • Micah 6:6-8
  • Micah 7:7
  • Micah 7:18-20

Outline

Using the provided markers in Micah 1:2, 3:1, and 6:1 (“hear”), we can build a three part outline:

  1. The People (Micah 1-2)
    • The indictment and judgment
    • The hope
  2. The Leaders (Micah 3-5)
    • The indictment and judgment
    • The hope
  3. The Nation (Micah 6-7)
    • The indictment and judgment
    • The hope

or

Israel’s Judgment and Deliverance

  1. God’s threatened judgment and his promise of deliverance (Micah 1-2)
  2. Israel’s fallen condition and future restoration (Micah 3-5)
  3. The Lord’s case against Israel and Israel’s repentance (Micah 6-7)

References   [ + ]

1. The introductory information on this page is adapted from Professor Emeritus Forrest Bivens’ course notes for Senior Old Testament Isagogics at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Used with permission.