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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Micah 1

 

 

Verses 1-16

Analysis and Annotation

THE FIRST PROPHETIC MESSAGE

CHAPTER 1

1. The introduction (Micah 1:1)

2. Judgment announced (Micah 1:2-5)

3. The destruction of Samaria (Micah 1:6-7)

4. The lamentation of the prophet over the coming judgment (Micah 1:8-16)

Micah 1:1. This introduction tells us two things. In the first place, we learn that this book contains the word of the Lord that came to Micah, the Morasthite; in the second place, we are told when Micah exercised his office. As stated in the introduction, he was contemporary with Isaiah, probably for about twenty-nine years. Criticism has attacked the authorship of this book also. Since criticism began, with Ewald, to question the unity of this little book, it has raged with increasing violence, until Professor Cheyne, improving on Robertson Smith in the Encyclopedia Britannica, concludes: “In no part of chapters 4-7 can we venture to detect the hand of Micah.” There is no need to answer such statements. The unity of the book of Micah is fully demonstrated by the message it contains. If chapters 4-7 were not written by Micah, will the critics give us light on who the author is?

Micah 1:2-5. The opening message is sublime, it is an appeal to all the nations, the whole earth and all that is in it, to listen to the witness of the Lord Jehovah against them, the witness which comes from His holy temple. The other Micah (Micaiah, the same as Micah) the son of Imlah, uttered similar words 1 Kings 22:28. He next describes the Lord coming out of His place, the place where He dwells in mercy, to come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. He is coming to judge; He is coming in wrath. The nations are to hear it, that the judgment is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel. On Micah 1:4 see Psalms 18:7-10; Psalms 68:8 and 5:4. The near fulfillment was the double judgment which came upon the two kingdoms, the kingdom of the ten tribes, Samaria, and the kingdom of Judah. But the description of the coming of the Lord in judgment also relates to that great future event, the day of the Lord.

Micah 1:6-7. The sin of Israel was Samaria, it originated there and consisted of idol worship; the sins of Judah were the high places in Jerusalem. (See Jeremiah 32:35.) Complete destruction of Samaria would come with this announced judgment and all her graven images would be broken to pieces, and her whoredoms burned with fire Joel 2:3; Hosea 2:7.

Micah 1:8-16. Here is the lamentation of Micah as directed by the Spirit of God, not only over the fate of Samaria, but over Judah as well. He weeps for both Samaria and Judah. “I will wail and howl; I will go stripped and naked; I will make a wailing like the jackals, and a mourning like the owls (ostriches).” It shows how these men of God entered in a whole-souled manner into the divine revelations they received. It created deep soul exercise. This must be the result of faith in the prophetic word with all His people at all times. In verse nine (Micah 1:9) the prophet speaks of one who comes to execute the threatened judgment. “He is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.” This enemy is the Assyrian whom Micah beholds advancing and who came before the gates of Jerusalem. (See Isaiah 10:1-34.) The Assyrian was used in ending the kingdom of Israel; Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar was the instrument used against Judah and Jerusalem. Sennacherib came against Jerusalem, but it was Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, who carried Israel away into captivity. Isaiah’s prophecy enters more fully into this. He describes both the Assyrian and the Babylonian power. And both will appear again at the close of the times of the Gentiles. The little horn of Daniel’s prophecy in chapter 7, the head of the confederated nations, the revived Roman Empire, corresponds with the final King of Babylon, while the final Assyrian is the other little horn in Daniel 8:1-27. (See annotations on Daniel 7:1-28; Daniel 8:1-27) .

Micah 1:10-13 correspond to Isaiah 10:28-34; it is a description of the advance of the Assyrian. The coming disaster is not to be published in Gath, that is, the Philistines are not to hear of it. (See 2 Samuel 1:20.) There is a remarkable play of words in these statements. It may be literally rendered as follows: “Weep not in Weep-town; in Dust-town (the meaning of Aphrah) roll thyself in dust”; then a contrast, “in Beauty-town (Saphir means beauty) be in nakedness and shame; and in March-town (the meaning of Zaanan) march not forth.”

The inhabitant of Maroth waited anxiously for good, but evil came from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem (Maroth means bitterness). In the Assyrian cylinder, known as Taylor’s cylinder, Sennacherib mentions the great gate of Jerusalem.

Then follows a call to Lachish to escape. “Bind the chariot to the swift beast.” Lachish was a fortified city, as the excavations have shown, and was taken by Sennacherib. Here is still another play of words in the original. Lachish means “Horse-town,” so that it can be translated “Bind the chariot to the horse, O inhabitant of Horse-town.” It has been suggested that the sin mentioned in connection with Lachish was that “the horses of the sun” in connection with idolatry were kept there 2 Kings 23:11).

In Micah 1:14 the prophet mentions his home town Moresheth-gath; there is to be a parting gift for she shall go into captivity. And Achzib will not keep the invader back; Achzib means a lie--the “Lie-town” shall be a lie to the kings of Israel, a false hope.

The heir who is to possess Moreshah is the Assyrian, and “the glory of Israel shall come even unto Adullam,” the nobles of Israel shall gather in the cave of Adullam, like outcasts. (See 1 Samuel 22:1.)

They were now to mourn, expressed in making themselves bald Job 1:20; Isaiah 15:2; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 16:6), for they are gone into captivity.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Micah 1:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/micah-1.html. 1913-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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