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Bible Commentaries
Micah 1

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-16



3 Logical Divisions.

(Each introduced by-"Hear ye," 1:2; 3:1; 6:1)

I. Punishment Pronounced, (1:2-2:13)

a) Announced

b) Accomplished

c) Account

d) Actions that brought the judgment

II. Promises Announced, (3:1-5:15) a) Future punishment of rulers and false prophets of Jerusalem. b) Message of the hope for future Messianic kingdom. c) Description of imminent seize of Jerusalem, 4:9-5:1. d) Revelation of the coming of the Messiah: 1) His birth, 5:2 2) His person. 3) His rejection. 4) His work.

III. Pardon Announced, (6:1-7:20) a) How to approach God, inevitable punishment of the wicked. b) Cry of despair of Micah for his own people, Micah 7:1-6. c) Voice of the remnant witness of redemption in the last days: (of salvation, light, deliverance, pardon, loving kindness, and forgiveness). d) Assurance of fulfillment of covenant promises.



Micah, the prophet and writer of this book, was from Moresheth, now known as Beit-Jebrin, located some 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem, Micah 1:1; Micah 1:14. His name means "who is like Jehovah." He was a simple country man, a prophet of the poor and down trodden, of unknown parentage. He was a contemporay of Isaiah and Hosea. He preached in West Judah what Isaiah preached in Jerusalem and Hosea preached in the northern kingdom of Israel, claiming to be "full of power by the Spirit" to preach to "Jacob and Israel," Micah 3:8.


Micah spoke and wrote to both Israel and Judah, directing messages to Samaria and Jerusalem, capitol cities of the two kingdoms. When Jeremiah was about to be put to death, certain elders rose up and quoted Micah’s message of judgment against Jerusalem, in harmony with that of Jeremiah 26:16-19.


Micah’s message was one of condemnation against moral conditions of the times and judgment that was to befall them from Assyria and Babylon by Shalmaneser, Sennacherib, and Belshazzar.


He lived and prophesied in the reign of Jothan 749-734 B.C.; Ahaz 741-726 and Hezekiah 726-697 B.C. Jonathan and Hezekiah were good kings, while Ahaz was very wicked; See 2 Kings 15:1-5; 2 Kings 15:7; 2 Kings 15:32-38; 2 Chronicles 32 nd ch. Isaiah 7:1-17; 2 Kings 19:8-35 for prophetic events revolving around the three kings and the kingdoms.


Each of the three Divisions of this book is introduced with the appellation, "Hear ye," indicating first, God’s "witness against them from His Holy Temple" Micah 1:2. Second, God calls them to recognize that His judgment is just, Micah 3:1-2, and Third, He challenges them to give heed and cry against the mountains where they had turned in idolatry and immorality, that their repentance might turn him to mercy, Micah 6:1.


I. Judgment On Samaria and Judah, ch. 1, 2.

1. The writer and his message, 1:1, 2.

2. Destruction of Samaria, 1:2-7.

3. Lament over destruction of Judah, 1:8-16.

4. Violence and arrogance of her nobles, 2:1-5.

5. False prophets threaten true prophets, 2:6-11.

6. Final restoration of a remnant, 2:12, 13.

II. Present Ruin and Future Exaltation in Contrast, ch. 3-5.

1. Sins and crimes of national leaders, ch. 3. a) Outrageous deeds of civil leaders, ch. 3. b) Mercenary deeds of false prophets 3:5-8. c) Future condemnation of rulers, prophets, and priests, 3:9-12. 1) Accusations against them, 3:9-11. 2) Judgment on them in Jerusalem, 3:12.

2. Messianic Hope Contrasted With Present Ruin, ch. 4, 5.

a) Glory of latter days, Zion as center, 4:1-5.

b) Restoration and healing of dispersed, 4:6-8.

c) Preceded by captivity and distress, 4:9-5:1.

d) Babylon first, then Zion restored, enemy destroyed.

e) The Messiah’s rise from Bethlehem, 5:2-4.

f) Gives peace and power to His people, 5:5-9.

g) Israel to triumph in His power, 5:10-15.

III. Israel and Judah’s Contest (Judicial), the Way to Salvation, ch. 6,


1. The case against Israel, ch. 6.

a) Her ingratitude for blessings, v. 1-5.

b) Righteous conduct, not sacrifices, God requires, v. 6-8.

c) Jehovah denounces crimes, threatens judgment, v. 9-14.

2. Prayers of penitence and Divine promises, ch. 7. a) Confession of guilt by people or prophet, v. 1-6. b) Prayer of penitent, confession of faith, v. 7-13. c) Prayer for renewed grace---Answer---Praise to Jehovah, v. 14-20.



Verses 1-16:

Verse 1 asserts that what follows is "the word of the Lord," to the prophet Micah. Micaiah, the prophet had closed with these words, 1 Kings 22:28. Thus inspiration is claimed for his message concerning Samaria and Jerusalem, capitol cities of Israel and Judah, 2 Peter 1:21, Psalms 119:160. He was a native of Morasthe, some 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem. He prophesied during the lives of three kings of Judah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, Jeremiah 26:18; 2 Kings 15:1-5; 2 Kings 15:7; 2 Kings 15:32-38; 2 Chronicles 27:1-9.

Verse 2 calls all people to hear, give heed, in all the earth to the testimony of God, that He was about to deliver, that related to them all. For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, Psalms 24:1; Similar appeals appear Deuteronomy 32:2; Isaiah 1:2. From heaven (His holy temple), where the Lord is enthroned, He is about to witness, in a hostile sense, His coming judgment, as His wrath is revealed, 1 Samuel 12:5; Malachi 3:5; Psalms 11:4; Romans 1:18.

Verse 3 begins a description of awesome judgment ahead, designed to humble the most eminent, both civil and religious, leaders of the times. The Lord is described as "coming forth out of His palace," from the mercy seat, or His throne in glory, to execute judgment, as one on a judgment throne, Isaiah 63:1; Zechariah 14:3-4; Malachi 4:2-3; Revelation 1:7. He descends in judgment upon the "high places" of Israel and Judah (Samaria and Jerusalem in particular) Deuteronomy 32:13; Deuteronomy 33:29; Amos 4:13; Isaiah 26:21.

Verse 4 describes the dissolution of mountains and valleys, that shall become like melted wax and running water, at the outpouring of His Holy wrath for their moral wrongs and idolatrous practices, Psalms 18:7-8; Psalms 68:2. The imagery of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and devastating floods reflect civil, personal, and divine judgment that is soon to swoop down on Samaria and the northern kingdom of Israel first, then upon Jerusalem and Judah, the southern Kingdom, second; As it did, to melt them and wash them from their land, Psalms 97:5-7; Psalms 64:1-3.

Verse 5 specifically describes Samaria, capitol of Israel, and Jerusalem, capitol of Judah, as the centers and sources of idolatrous corruption that caused God’s judgment to be fixed on the two kingdoms. Such sins are described as being led and sanctioned by priests from both kingdoms, as attested Malachi 1:6-7; 1 Kings 15:26; 1 Kings 15:34; 1 Kings 16:13; 1 Kings 16:19; 1 Kings 16:25; 1 Kings 16:30. See also the high places of Judah’s sins, 2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 2 Chronicles 28:24. Calf-god worship prevailed in the northern kingdom and Moloch was worshipped in the southern kingdom, in defiance of Basic Divine Law, Exodus 20:1-4; Psalms 115; Psalms 4-9.

Verse 6 describes how Samaria, capitol of the northern kingdom, will be utterly destroyed, left as an heap of stones first, before Jerusalem, with no trace of the city left. The city as to be left as rubbish from the fields, Hosea 12:11. Such stones and rubbish were gathered from the fields before the planting, Isaiah 5:2; 2 Kings 19:25; 1 Kings 16:24. So bare shall the city be that the foundation rock becomes visible. It was destroyed by Shalmaneser. Verses 6-16 describe the coming Assyrian invasion, 2 Kings 17:1-18.

Verse 7 assures that all the graven images of idols shall be crushed and all the "hires" or wealth and rewards gained from production and distribution and worship of them will be made desolate. The money was made from the hire of harlotry, or spiritual adultery, and will be returned to the Assyrians, who had transported the false worship to them. The silver and gold were stripped from their temples by the Assyrians and carried back to their own country, as prophesied Hosea 2:5; Hosea 2:12; Hosea 4:14; Hosea 9:1. Such was further condemned in worship, Deuteronomy 4:14.

Verse 8 expresses that he himself may go stripped of shoes and sandals and naked at the hour of judgment, 1 Samuel 19:24. The howling fears and anxieties here described are similar to the description of Isaiah 20:2; 2 Samuel 15:30. Wailing like dragons refers to the forlorn howling of hungry jackals and wolves, Job 30:29, whose howlings are mostly in the night. The mourning of owls is said to be like that of female ostriches, a long-drawn shriek that splits the night air.

Verse 9 describes Samaria and Israel’s incurable, contagious wound that enters into, or spreads into, Jerusalem and Judah from the northern kingdom. This refers to impending calamity because of her moral, political, and religious corruption, as compared with diseases, Isaiah 1:5; Jeremiah 8:22; Isaiah 10:28. The prophet sees Sennacherib coming to, but not entering the gate of, Jerusalem when Samaria and Israel were conquered to the north, though Jerusalem was to be spared but little longer, Isaiah 36:1; Isaiah 37:33-37. Micah lived to see these words come true, 734-721 B.C. As Israel was first carried away, then Samaria became a heap.

Verse 10 reflects the prophets’ realization of how heathens would have malicious joy at the fall of Israel and Samaria if it were told to them. Therefore he asks that they not pass the bad news to Gath, along the western border of Judah, where the heathen Philistines lived, near Micah’s own home southwest of Jerusalem, toward the sea. This is taken or derived from the elegy of David’s triumph over Saul and Jonathan, 2 Samuel 1:20. They were not to weep before their enemies, but were to show or express their remorse and sorrow as they even rolled in the dust at Aphrah or Ophrah among their own people, Joshua 18:23; 1 Samuel 13:17; Ezekiel 27:30.

Verse 11 continues concerning their conduct before the five stronghold cities of the Palestines, described v. 10. The inhabitants of Saphir, a village near Aschelon in Judah, was to have her garment-walls dismantled, as she was laid bare by the Assyrians, and her people hurried away captives with their nakedness exposed, Isaiah 47:3; Ezekiel 16; Ezekiel 37; Hosea 2:10. And the people of Zoanan dared not, did not come forth to comfort the people of Bethezel, near Jerusalem, for none was exempt from the fears and tortures of the Assyrian invaders, Jeremiah 6:25; Joshua 15:37; Zechariah 14:5. The principal idea is that the people of one city or village in Judah could not comfort another, because of the siege of judgment encircling or upon them all, for their long pursued course of idolatry. The enemy foe would receive from Judah "her standing" food and supplies taken in battle.

Verse 12 reports that the people of Maroth waited for help, relief, and better times that never came. They waited in vain for deliverance, because their sins, willfully chosen and pursued, entailed forewarned divine judgment that must justly and righteously come over all the land, Joshua 15:59. Maarath means "bitterness," evidently expressing the hurt she endured as her goods were confiscated in her captivity experienced. Evil or judgment is described as coming down into Judah, even to the gate (of Jerusalem), Joshua 15:44.

Verse 13 appeals to the inhabitants of Lachish to bind their chariots to the swiftest beasts (of horses) to flee from the advancing Assyrian army, as fast and as far as possible. For Lachish was the beginning, the source of introduction of idolatrous worship and false gods to Israel and to Zion, under Jeroboam, 2 Chronicles 11:9. Here Sennacherib had his headquarters, when he dispatched Rabskakeh to Jerusalem, 2 Kings 18:14; 2 Kings 18:17; Jeremiah 34:7. Lachish means "strong," but strong only to flee from her enemy.

Verse 14 explains that Israel should renounce claim to Moresheth-gath, give it up, that its inhabitants might be given to the foe alive, not be destroyed, and Achzib, which means "lying", would prove to be a lie to Israel, the whole nation, being no hope or help for her defense, Job 6:15-20. The name Achzib indicates disappointed hope, as winter rainstorms that are soon gone, not helpful in summer, Jeremiah 15:18.

Verse 15 offers a new hope-heir of inheritance to the people of Mareshah, a new possessor, the Assyrian foe. He is to come, to enter, even to Adullam the glory of Israel, that shall decay, 2 Chronicles 11:7.

Verse 16 calls upon Samaria and Jerusalem to make themselves bald, a token of deep and long mourning, even a baldness as real as that of a bald eagle, for all her people; They were to shave their heads, a token of deep grief, because of those who had already been carried into captivity for their sins, Ezra 9:3; Job 1:20; Psalms 103:5.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Micah 1". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/micah-1.html. 1985.
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