Date: Eighth Century B.C.
Micah was born about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem in Judah. His ministry saw the arrival of the Assyrian army, the fall of Damascus in Syria, the war between Israel and Judah, the conquering of Galilee, the destruction of Samaria and the northern kingdom of Israel, and Sargon’s defeat of Egypt. It was a violent, unsettled period of time.
The Book of Micah is a collection of sermons and prophecies, largely arranged by topic. The style varies; sometimes Micah is harsh and vigorous, at other times tender and compassionate. His language is straightforward and forceful.
Micah’s message was directed primarily to Judah. He was particularly concerned to defend the oppressed. He saw a society in which wealthy landowners took advantage of the poor, oppressing them unmercifully. Farmers, peasants, and small landowners were harassed. He saw the city as a symbol of national corruption: corrupt law courts, government officials, religious leaders.
The basis for Micah’s message was the righteousness of God. Micah stressed that God demands righteous actions from us, not outward show. He summed up what God requires of us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly before God (6:8).
Theological Themes in the Book of Micah
Micah presented a message of judgment. God will bring judgment on the land to destroy it if it does not mend its ways (3:12). Micah also gave one of the most detailed Old Testament accounts of the coming Messiah (5:2-15). The redeemer will come from Bethlehem and be a human being (not an angel). He will have been pre-existent from eternity, will bring together a righteous group of believers, will introduce a kingdom of righteousness on earth, and will care for those in need. The New Testament sees this as fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Micah proclaimed a universal reign of peace that will be for all people. Swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. It will be a time of peace, prosperity, and plenty (4:1-5). God will rule over all, and war will cease to exist.
Outline for the Book of Micah
- The wrath to come Micah 1:1-16
- Judgment on evildoers Micah 2:1-3:12
- Future blessedness Micah 4:1-5
- Prophecies of blessing and judgment Micah 4:6-5:1
- The Messiah to come Micah 5:2-15
- God confronts the nation Micah 6:1-7:20