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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Micah, Micaiah

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MICAH, MICAIAH (‘Who is like Jahweh?’). This name, which occurs at least twelve times in the OT, and is a woman’s name as well as a man’s, is spelt in three different ways; the full name is Micajahu , a partially shortened form is Micaiah , while a still shorter form is Micah . The more important of those who bore this name are the following: 1. Micah , a dweller in the hill-country of Ephraim; he stole from his mother eleven hundred pieces of silver, which, however, he returned on hearing the curse which his mother pronounced against the thief. With part of the returned silver his mother causes an image to be made, which Micah sets up in his house; he then consecrates one of his sons a priest. But a Levite, named Jonathan, comes to the house of Micah while journeying; Micah induces him to be his priest instead of the son whom he had first consecrated. During this time the Danites send out five men to search for a suitable locality wherein to settle down; these five men come to the house of Micah, and while staying there they recognize the Levite. On their return they report that they have found a place for their tribe to dwell in. The whole ‘family’ of the Danites then set out, and come to take possession of the district they intend to make their home. On their coming into the neighbourhood of Micah’s dwelling-place, the five men who had already been there come and persuade Micah’s Levite to join them, and to bring with him Micah’s ephod, teraphim, and graven image. Micah follows after them; but protests in vain, for he is warned that if he attempts to regain his priest and lost treasures by force he will lose his goods and his life; he therefore returns home without them ( Judges 17:1-13; Judges 18:1-31 ). This very interesting narrative has undoubtedly a basis in fact: it records though later editors have somewhat altered its original form how the sanctuary in Dan first came to be established (see esp. Judges 18:29-31 ).

2 . Micaiah, the son of Imlah; a prophet of Jahweh who is called by Ahab, at the request of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to prophesy concerning the result of a projected expedition against the Syrians. In reply to Abah’s inquiry Micaiah first prophesies smoothly; but Abah bids him speak nothing but the truth; thereupon he foretells the disaster that is to befall the allied armies of Israel and Judah if they go up to Ramoth-gilead to battle. The parable which the prophet then utters is a terrible indictment against the ‘lying prophets’ of Israel; the blow which one of them thereupon gives him is answered by a further prophecy, this time directed against the false prophet who gave the blow. Micaiah is then commanded to be imprisoned until the king returns in peace; but, undaunted, the prophet replies,’ If thou return at all in peace, Jahweh hath not spoken by me.’ The sequel showed Micaiah to have prophesied truly ( 1 Kings 22:1-53 ). 3. Micah , the son of Mephibosheth ( 1 Chronicles 8:34 f., 1 Chronicles 9:40 f. [ 2 Samuel 9:12 Mica ]). 4. Micaiah , one of the teachers sent by Jehoshaphat to teach the commandments of Jahweh in the cities of Judah ( 2 Chronicles 17:7 ). 5. Micaiah , the son of Gemariah, and a contemporary of Jeremiah, who heard Baruch reading out the prophecies of Jeremiah, and then spoke of them to the princes who were assembled in the scribe’s chamber ( Jeremiah 36:9-13 ), perhaps identical with the Micaiah of 2 Kings 22:12 and the Micah of 2 Chronicles 34:20 . 2 Chronicles 34:6 . One of the priests who took part in the dedication of the wall ( Nehemiah 12:41 ). Other less important bearers of the name are mentioned in 1 Chronicles 5:5; 1 Chronicles 23:20 (cf. 24:24f.), 2 Chronicles 13:2 (see Maacah, 4), Nehemiah 10:11; Nehemiah 12:35 [ 1 Chronicles 9:15 Mica ] Nehemiah 12:41 , Jdt 6:15 . For the prophet Micah see the following article.

W. O. E. Oesterley.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Micah, Micaiah'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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