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The little known of Micah is briefly stated. Calling himself a Morasthite indicates Moresheth, or Mareshah, as his birthplace in southwestern Judah, near Gath. The time of his prophesying is shown in the same verse by the reference to the kings of Judah, as between 758 to 700 B. C. He seems to have been the writer of his own book, if we may judge from the personal allusions in chapter 3:1, 8, and to have died in peace, judging by Jeremiah 26:18, 19. He is frequently referred to as a prophet, and his utterances quoted, not only in the instances above given, but in Isaiah 2:2-4 and 41:15; Ezekiel 22:27; Zephaniah 3:19; Matthew 2:5; and John 7:42. Jesus quotes him in Matthew 10:35, 36. For further references to his period, see our lessons on Isaiah.
1. A Description of Judgment.
Chapters 1-3 contain a description of the approaching judgment on both kingdoms -- Israel and Judah. How do verses 1 and 5 of chapter 1 indicate that both kingdoms are under consideration?
Notice the order in which the three classes of hearers are addressed:
(1) The people at large, chapter 1:2.
(2) The princes, chapter 3.
(3) The false prophets, 3:5.
According to verse 11 what seems to have been the most crying sin of all? And yet notwithstanding their covetousness and greed, how did they show either gross hypocrisy or gross ignorance of God (same verse, last part)? It is at this point that the declaration of judgment is expressed, and in language which has been literally fulfilled, verse 12.
2. A Vision of Hope.
Chapters 4 and 5 unfold the future and happier, because holier, experience of the nation. The first four verses of chapter 4 are quoted almost verbatim in Isaiah 2, unless we reverse the order and say that Micah quoted Isaiah.
At what time are these better things to come to pass according to the beginning of this chapter? How are these things figuratively expressed in verse 1? It is not difficult to recognize in these figures of speech the exaltation of Jerusalem and Judah over all the nations in that day. But how does verse 2 show that the exaltation will not be exacting and tyrannous, but the opposite? What language shows that the millennial age is referred to, and no period which has yet appeared in the history of the world? How do verses 3 and 4 strengthen this conviction? What expression in verse 7 almost directly states this to be the case? In Joel we saw that prior to Israel's deliverance, and, as incident thereto, the Gentile nations will be besieging Jerusalem and desirous of seizing her, and that Jehovah will interpose on her behalf. How do the closing verses of this chapter parallel that prophecy?
Addressing ourselves to chapter 5, we discover what is the common teaching of the prophets that these good times coming for Israel and Judah are connected with the Person and work of the Messiah. How is that led up to in verse 2? To be sure, these words are quoted in Matthew 2, to apply to the first coming of Christ, but that does not exclude His second coming. Moreover, all the succeeding verses in this chapter point to events which did not occur at His first coming, but will be found to be uniformly predicated of His second coming.
3. A Contrast Drawn.
Chapters 6 and 7 present a "contrast between the reasonableness, purity and justice of the divine requirements, and the ingratitude, injustice and superstition of the people which caused their ruin."
The closing chapter is peculiarly affecting, a kind of soliloquy of repentance on Israel's part. The better element among the people are confessing and lamenting their sinful condition in verses 1-6, but expressing confidence in God's returning favor (7, 8).
Putting all together, there are few verses in the Bible more expressive of quiet hope and trust than these. It is beautiful to see the spirit of confession and submission in verse 9, and the certainty of triumph over every foe, verse 10. Observe how Jehovah Himself speaks through the prophet in verses 11-13. (Revised Version). See the promise of interposition on Israel's behalf in that day, verse 15; and the confusion of the Gentile nations at their triumph, and their own discomfiture, 16, 17. Of course, the temporal blessings thus coming upon Israel are all predicated of their return to the Lord and His forgiveness of their sins (18, 19).
Nevertheless these things will take place on the ground of the original promise to Abraham (20).
1. What can you say of the history of Micah?
2. Name the three great divisions of the book.
3. Analyze chapters 1-3.
4. With what future event is the deliverance of Israel always associated?
5. What makes the closing chapter particularly affecting?
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