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by Arno Clemens Gaebelein
THE BOOK OF MICAH
When the prophet Jeremiah was in danger of being put to death for his faithful testimony, certain of the elders rose up and said, “Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah, King of Judah; and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts: Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest” Jeremiah 26:18 . This is the testimony of the book of Jeremiah to Micah, who prophesied under the reign of Hezekiah, as well as Jotham and Ahaz. The first verse of the book of Micah gives us this information. While Jonah was a Galilean, Micah was a Judean. He came from Moresheth-Gath, which distinguishes him from another prophet of the same name, Micah the son of Imlah. (See 1 Kings 22:8 ; Micaiah is the same as Micah.) The name Micah means “who is like the LORD?”
Prophesying mostly in Jerusalem during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, he was contemporaneous with Isaiah. Though his name is not mentioned in the prophecy of Isaiah, his message is the same as the message of Isaiah, in describing the moral corruption of their times, and the Messianic prophecies. The following passages will confirm this: Micah 1:9-16 and Isaiah 10:28-32 ; Micah 2:1-13 and Isaiah 5:8 ; Micah 2:6 ; Micah 2:11 and Isaiah 30:10-11 ; Micah 2:12 and Isaiah 10:20-23 ; Micah 3:5-12 and Isaiah 29:9-12 ; Micah 3:12 and Isaiah 32:14 ; Micah 4:11 and Isaiah 2:2 ; Micah 4:4 and Isaiah 50:19; Micah 4:7 and Isaiah 9:7 ; Micah 4:10 and Isaiah 39:6 ; Micah 5:2-15 and Isaiah 7:14 ; Micah 5:6 and Isaiah 14:25 ; Micah 6:6-16 and Isaiah 58:6-7 ; Micah 7:7 and Isaiah 8:17 ; Micah 7:12 and Isaiah 11:11 .
Thus the Lord gave the same witness through the mouth of these two. Of course Isaiah was the leading figure. But Micah did not copy him, but as the Holy Spirit came upon him he uttered his prophecies bearing witness to the same truths Isaiah had spoken. The style of Micah’s writings is different from the style of Isaiah. “This may be all explained by the vivacity of his own individuality, and the excited state of his mind, passing as he does rapidly from threatening to promise, from one subject to another, and from one number and gender to another.” But his words are never deficient in clearness, while in other respects he comes quite near to the style of Isaiah.
The prophetic horizon of Micah is very much restricted. The magnificent sweep of Isaiah, looking forward to the great and glorious consummation in the kingdom, is lacking in Micah. The question of the exact time when Micah uttered his prophecies, what was spoken during the reign of Jotham, during the reign of Ahaz or Hezekiah, is unessential, and we do not follow it in this introduction.
The book consists of three great prophetic discourses which all begin in the same way, with the command to hear. “Hear all ye people,” Micah 1:2 , the first discourse. The second discourse, Micah 3:1 , “Hear, I pray you.” The third discourse, Micah 6:1 , “Hear ye now what the LORD saith.” In the first prophetic message he predicts the destruction of Samaria, the ten-tribe kingdom, and the captivity of Judah. The second message is a message of reproof of the leaders of the nation, the heads of Jacob and the princes of the house of Israel, followed by a denunciation of the false prophets. This is followed by the vision of the coming glory in the last days and the restoration of Israel. In this second discourse the coming ruler of Israel and His birthplace are announced; what He is and the kingdom He will establish in the midst of His people. Here is the message of hope and glory.
The third discourse contains a very solemn pleading with His people. Jehovah tells them again of all His loving kindness. He tells them He has a controversy with them; He speaks to them of His rightful demands. It is a most eloquent outburst. The last part contains an assurance that the Lord will surely have compassion upon His people, while their enemies will be overthrown to lick the dust. One of the greatest words of praise in the Scriptures is found in the last three verses. It contains Israel’s hope and is a prophecy of the time when the Redeemer shall return and turn away ungodliness from Jacob and remember their sins no more.
The three prophetic discourses of Micah the Morasthite give a progressive message. The book begins with the threatening judgment; it leads on towards the Messianic salvation and glory, and finally the exhortation and reproof--to return unto Him, to repent, and the assurance of His compassion and forgiveness.
the Fifth Week after Easter