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Bible Commentaries

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
Micah 1

 

 

Verses 1-16

Shall we turn now to the book of Micah.

As is the very typical opening of most of the books of the prophets,

The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, the kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem ( Micah 1:1 ).

So he introduces himself Micah; the city from which he hailed, Morasthite; the time of his prophecy, it is about the same time that Isaiah was prophesying. He was a contemporary to Isaiah.

As we go back in the history of II Kings and we look at Ahaz. He was one of the bad kings of the Southern Kingdom of Judah and he did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but he established high places for the worship of the false gods in Jerusalem. Hezekiah was a good king, instituted reforms when he came to the throne.

Now, prophesying during this period of time would mean that he was prophesying during the time that the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians. The Assyrians having conquered the Northern Kingdom then invaded the Southern Kingdom at the time of Hezekiah and, of course, were defeated by the work of the Lord, the intervention of God. So the time that Samaria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell. So his prophecy is against Samaria and also against Jerusalem.

Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that is therein: and let the Lord GOD be the witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple ( Micah 1:2 ).

So his calling unto the people now to hear God"s indictment, what God is witnessing against you.

For, behold, the LORD has come forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the eaRuth ( Micah 1:3 ).

So he begins to use figurative language in describing the judgments of God that are going to be coming against them.

And upon the mountains shall be molten under him, the valleys shall be split, as wax before the fire, and as waters that are poured down from a steep place ( Micah 1:4 ).

So the mountains will be melting.

[And the reason] for the transgression of Jacob has all of this happened, and for the sins of the house of Israel. But what is the transgression of Jacob? is it not centered in Samaria? ( Micah 1:5 )

Where they had introduced the Baal worship in the Northern Kingdom.

Is it not the high places of worship for false gods that were established in Jerusalem under king Ahaz? Therefore [the Lord declares] I will make Samaria as a heap of the field, and as the plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof ( Micah 1:5-6 ).

That is the buildings will be destroyed right down to the foundations.

Now today as you are traveling in the middle portion of Jerusalem, leaving Shechem and heading towards Megiddo, you come to a very beautiful valley and there is a hill in the valley that is the sight of Samaria. The hills are covered with olive trees and fruit trees of all sorts. But as you turn off the main road and you head up towards Samaria, you first get to the gate that was once the entrance to the city during the Roman period, and then you go along a road where there are Roman columns on either side. For the city of Samaria was rebuilt by the Romans. But as you get up to the top of the hill, you can find the palace of Ahab and of Omri, those palaces that were once adorned with ivory furniture; those palaces which were once such a glorious spectacle for everyone. The city of Samaria was a fabulous city set there on the hill. They thought that they were impregnable. And yet, God had prophesied the destruction of Samaria. As you stand there, you can see where they have rolled the stones down the hillside. You can see the rubble, and even as the prophecy here goes, God uncovered the foundations and you can see what was once the foundation of the palace of Ahab and of the palace of Omri there in Samaria. And this prophecy, of course, has been fulfilled and you can go there today and see the fulfillment of this prophecy. It is like a heap in the field. It is destroyed; lies in ruins to the present day; foundations of the city having been uncovered.

And all the graven images that are there will be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with fire, and all of the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she has gathered it of the hire of a harlot, and they shall return to the hire of a harlot. Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked [the prophet declares]: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls. For her wound [that is, of Samaria, her illness] is incurable; for it is come unto Judah ( Micah 1:7-9 );

It has actually also infected the Southern Kingdom and they have begun the worship in the groves and in the high places.

he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem [referring to the Assyrian invasion]. Declare ye it not at Gath ( Micah 1:9-10 ),

Now Gath was one of the capital cities of the Philistines. And when David was lamenting over the death of Saul and Jonathan, he made the same statement, "Declare it not at Gath." They hated to have their enemies rejoicing over their misfortunes and, of course, that was usually the case. The Philistines loved to rejoice over the misfortunes of God"s people.

You remember when they brought Samson into the house of their god Dagon, the purpose was to make sport, to rejoice over the helplessness of Samson. And so the idea was always, "Don"t publish it, don"t tell it in Gath lest they rejoice at the calamity of God"s people."

Now, here he begins to use a play on words, and you have to really have a smattering of an understanding of Hebrew. The King James doesn"t really give it to you here, but it is sort of a play on words. And he is saying,

weep not in weep town ( Micah 1:10 ):

For Aphrah means weep town. So he said, "Don"t weep in weep town," or not Aphrah. Aprah is dust, and so he said,

in dust town roll in the dust ( Micah 1:10 ).

Weep not in weep town, in dust town roll in the dust.

Saphir means beautiful, but here is a change.

That which is beautiful shall be stripped naked, and shall be ashamed because of her nakedness: the inhabitants of Zaanan [which means march] came not foRuth ( Micah 1:11 )

Or did not march forth. So the inhabitants of march did not march.

in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive of you his standing. For the inhabitant of Maroth ( Micah 1:11-12 )

And Maroth is bitterness.

waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD to the gate of Jerusalem [the Assyrian invasion again]. O thou inhabitant of Lachish ( Micah 1:12-13 ),

Now Lachish is horse town.

bind the chariot to the swift horses: she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion ( Micah 1:13 ):

Lachish was one of the fortified cities. It was taken in the Assyrian invasion, but Jerusalem was not taken by the Assyrians, for God intervened.

for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee. Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib ( Micah 1:13-14 )

Now Achzib is lies.

shall be a lie to the kings of Israel ( Micah 1:14 ).

So the house of lies will be a lie to the kings of Israel. So here Micah makes quite a play on words through these particular passages.

Yet [the Lord said] will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel ( Micah 1:15 ).

Then he speaks of the mourning. That is, the shaving of their heads that they did when they mourned. And then they would shave their heads and for a period of time let their hair grow. Then they would shave all the hair that grew over a thirty-day period and they"d take and offer it to the Lord. They"d burn it as a offering unto the Lord and it was a sign of mourning. They do this to the present day. If there is a death in the family, then they don"t shave for thirty days. So you see many times a person in Israel... of course, a lot of them just have beards, a lot of the rabbis. But we"ve had friends, we go over there and they"ll have beards, and the reason being there has been a death in the family. So, they shave and then they let their hair grow for thirty days and offer it and it is a sign of their mourning.

So make thee bald, poll thee for the delicate children ( Micah 1:16 );

Which, of course, the children have been slain.

enlarge thy baldness as an eagle; for they are gone into the captivity from thee ( Micah 1:16 ).

The children are slain. Those that are not slain have been carried away captive. So a time of mourning for them. "

 


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.

Bibliography Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Micah 1:4". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/micah-1.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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