Micah 1:1
The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
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(1) Micah the Morasthite.—Unlike Joel, who identifies himself by his father’s name, Micah introduces his personality with reference to his native village, Moresheth-gath, which was situated in the lowland district of Judah. The name—a shortened form of Micaiah, meaning “Who is like Jehovah”—was not an uncommon one among the Jews, but it was chiefly famous in times prior to the prophet, through Micaiah, the son of Imlah, who, about 150 years previously, had withstood Ahab and his false prophets.

Samaria and Jerusalem.—The younger capital is placed first because it was the first to fall through the greater sinfulness of the northern kingdom. The chief cities are mentioned as representatives of the wickedness of the respective nations.

Micah 1:1. In the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah — Micah is thought to have prophesied about sixteen years in Jotham’s time, as many under Ahaz, and fourteen under Hezekiah: in all, forty-six years. And he survived the captivity of Israel ten years, which he lamented as well as foretold. Which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem — Concerning both the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, whereof Samaria and Jerusalem were the capital cities. It is said, Which he saw, &c., because the prophets having the general name of seers, every kind of prophecy, in whatever way delivered, seems to have been generally called a vision.1:1-7 The earth is called upon, with all that are therein, to hear the prophet. God's holy temple will not protect false professors. Neither men of high degree, as the mountains, nor men of low degree, as the valleys, can secure themselves or the land from the judgments of God. If sin be found in God's people he will not spare them; and their sins are most provoking to him, for they are most reproaching. When we feel the smart of sin, it behoves us to seek what is the sin we smart for. Persons and places most exalted, are most exposed to spiritual diseases. The vices of leaders and rulers shall be surely and sorely punished. The punishment answers the sin. What they gave to idols, never shall prosper, nor do them any good. What is got by one lust, is wasted on another.The word of the Lord that came to Micah ... which he saw - No two of the prophets authenticate their prophecy in exactly the same way. They, one and all, have the same simple statement to make, that this which they say is from God, and through them. A later hand, had it added the titles, would have formed all upon one model. The title was an essential part of the prophetic book, as indicating to the people afterward, that it was not written after the event. It was a witness, not to the prophet whose name it bears, but to God. The prophet bare witness to God, that what he delivered came from Him. The event bare witness to the prophet, that he said this truly, in that he knew what God alone could know - futurity. Micah blends in one the facts, that he related in words given him by God, what he had seen spread before him in prophetic vision. His prophecy was, in one, "the word of the Lord which came to him," and "a sight which he saw."

Micah omits all mention of his father. His great predecessor was known as Micaiah son of Imlah. Micah, a villager, would be known only by the name of his native village. So Nahum names himself "the Elkoshite;" Jonah is related to be a native "of Gath-hepher;" Elijah, the Tishbite, a sojourner in the despised Gilead 1 Kings 17:1; Elisha, of Abelmeholah; Jeremiah, of Anathoth; forerunners of Him, and taught by His Spirit who willed to be born at Bethlehem, and, since this, although too little to be counted "among the thousands of Judah," was yet a royal city and was to be the birthplace of the Christ, was known only as Jesus of Nazareth, "the Nazarene." No prophet speaks of himself, or is spoken of, as born at Jerusalem, "the holy city." They speak of themselves with titles of lowliness, not of greatness.

Micah dates his prophetic office from kings of Judah only, as the only kings of the line appointed by God. Kings of Israel are mentioned in addition, only by prophets of Israel. He names Samaria first, because, its iniquity being most nearly full, its punishment was the nearest.

THE BOOK OF MICAH Commentary by A. R. Faussett


Micah was a native of Moresheth, not the same as Mareshah in Mic 1:15, but the town called Moresheth-gath (Mic 1:14), which lay near Eleutheropolis, west of Jerusalem, on the border of the Philistine country; so called to distinguish it from Moresheth of Judah. His full name is Micaiah (not the Micaiah mentioned 1Ki 22:8, the son of Imlah), signifying, Who is like Jehovah? The time of his prophesying is stated in the introduction to be in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, that is, between 757 and 699 B.C. Jeremiah (Jer 26:18) quotes Mic 3:12, as delivered in the reign of Hezekiah. He was thus a contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea. The idolatries practised in the reign of Ahaz accord with Micah's denunciations of such gross evils, and confirm the truth of the time assigned Mic 1:1. His prophecies are partly against Israel (Samaria), partly against Judah. As Samaria, Israel's metropolis, was taken first, and Jerusalem, the capital of Judah subsequently, in the introductory heading, Mic 1:1, Samaria is put first, then Jerusalem. He prophesies the capture of both; the Jews' captivity and restoration; and the coming and reign of Messiah. His style is full, round, and perspicuous; his diction pure, and his parallelisms regular. His description of Jehovah (Mic 7:18, 19) is not surpassed by any elsewhere in Scripture. The similarity between Isaiah and Micah in some passages (compare Mic 4:1-3, with Isa 2:2-4) is to be accounted for by their being contemporaries, acquainted with each other's inspired writings, and having the same subjects for their theme. Hengstenberg maintains that the passage in Micah is the original. Isaiah was somewhat the older, being a prophet in the reign of Uzziah, Jotham's predecessor, whereas Micah began his prophecies under Jotham.

The book consists of two parts: (1) the first through fifth chapters; (2) the sixth and seventh chapters, a dialogue or contestation between Jehovah and His people, in which He reproaches them with their unnatural and ungrateful conduct, and threatens judgment for their corruptions, but consoles them with the promise of restoration from captivity.

Micah stands sixth of the minor prophets in the Hebrew canon, but third in the Septuagint.


Mic 1:1-16. God's Wrath against Samaria and Judah; the Former Is to Be Overthrown; Such Judgments in Prospect Call for Mourning.The time when Micah prophesied, Mic 1:1. Micah showeth the wrath of God against Israel and Judah for idolatry, Mic 1:2-9 A lamentation for them, Mic 1:10-16.

The word of the Lord that came: thus Hosea begins his prophecy, Hos 1:1, and Joe 1:1, and Jonah 1:, and Zep 1:1, which see.

Micah: though Hierom, Epiphanius, and Dorotheus are said to report this Micah to be the same with the son of Imlah, 1Ki 22:8, yet R. Sol. Jarchi's reason why this could not be is satisfactory, for one generation and almost a half intervened between Ahab and Jotham; Ahab died about A.M. 3046, Jotham began to reign about A.M. 3190, by which it appears there were one hundred and forty-four years between Micaiah the son of Imlah and Micah our prophet.

The Morasthite: whether Mareshah, rebuilt by Rehoboam 2Ch 11:8, (called also Beth-gebarim in after-time,) of which 2Ch 11:14 of this chapter, or whether Moresheth, of which 2Ch 11:15, gave him this surname, and whether because Micah was born there or else did dwell there, is not easily resolved, nor material if it were resolved.

In the days of Jotham: it is not said what year of Jotham this prophet begun, it is probable it was about the beginning of Jotham's reign, A.M. 3190, of which we have this character, 2Ki 15:34,35, He did right, &c., yet the high places were not removed. Religion was not wholly corrupted as in Israel, yet was it exceedingly abased with their own mixtures.

Ahaz; the very worst of all Judah's kings, all things considered; he brought the Baalitical idolatry into Judah.

Hezekiah; the best son of the worst father, who reformed Judah. How long Micah prophesied during his reign we can but conjecture, possibly till the fourteenth year of Hezekiah. So this prophet may be supposed to have prophesied sixteen years in Jotham's time, as many under Ahaz, and fourteen under Hezekiah, in all forty-six years, and survived the captivity of Israel ten years, which he lamented as well as foretold.

Kings of Judah; Judah only named, but Benjamin is included.

Which he saw: see Amo 1:1.

Concerning Samaria; the metropolis of the kingdom of the ten tribes, and by a well-known figure put for the whole kingdom, as Jerusalem, chief city of Judah, is, by the same figure, put for the whole kingdom. As both had linked together in sinning, God doth link them together in suffering, and commands Micah to do so.

The word of the Lord that came to Micah the Morasthite,.... So called, either from Mareshah, mentioned Micah 1:15; and was a city in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:44; as the Targum, Jarchi, Kimchi, and Zacutus (i); or rather from Moresheth, from which Moreshethgath, Micah 1:14; is distinguished; which Jerom (k) says was in his time a small village in the land of Palestine, near Eleutheropolis. Some think these two cities to be one and the same; but they appear to be different from the account of Jerom (l) elsewhere. The Arabic version reads it, Micah the son of Morathi; so Cyril, in his commentary on this place, mentions it as the sense of some, that Morathi was the father of the prophet; which can by no means be assented to:

in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah; by which it appears that he was contemporary with Isaiah, Hoses, and Amos, though they began to prophesy somewhat sooner than he, even in the days of Uzziah; very probably he conversed with these prophets, especially Isaiah, with whom he agrees in many things; his style is like his, and sometimes uses the same phrases: he, being of the tribe of Judah, only mentions the kings of that nation most known to him; though he prophesied against Israel, and in the days of Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hoshea:

which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem; in the vision of prophecy; Samaria was the metropolis of the ten tribes of Israel, and is put for them all; as Jerusalem was of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and is put for them Samaria is mentioned first, because it was the head of the greatest body of people; and as it was the first in transgression, it was the first in punishment.

(i) Juchashin, fol. 12. 1.((k) Prolog. in Mic. (l) Epitaph. Paulae, ut supra. (tom. 1. operum, fol. 60. A. B.)

The word of the LORD that came to Micah the {a} Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

The Argument - Micah the prophet of the tribe of Judah served in the work of the Lord concerning Judah and Israel at least thirty years: during which time Isaiah prophesied. He declares the destruction first of the one kingdom, and then of the other, because of their manifold wickedness, but chiefly because of their idolatry. And to this end he notes the wickedness of the people, the cruelty of the princes and governors, and the allowing of the false prophets, and the delighting in them. Then he sets forth the coming of Christ, his kingdom, and the felicity of it. This Prophet was not that Micah who resisted Ahab and all his false prophets, 1Ki 22:8 but another with the same name.

(a) Born in Mareshah, a city of Judah.

1. Heading (see Introduction)

1. Micah the Morasthite] i.e. Micah of Moresheth-gath (see Micah 1:14).

which he saw] To ‘see’ is a very early and very natural synonym for ‘to prophesy;’ ‘he that is now (called) a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer’ (1 Samuel 9:9). Hence the prophecies of Isaiah are called a ‘vision’ (Isaiah 1:1; comp. Nahum 1:1, Obadiah 1:1). Another figure for prophecy is ‘hearing’ (see Isaiah 21:10; Isaiah 28:22). The meaning is that the prophet has an inward perception of certain facts through the influence of the Divine Spirit (Zechariah 7:12).Verse 1. - The inscription, or heading of the book, conveying the prophet's authority. The word of the Lord. The expression applies to the whole contents of the book, as in Hosea 1:1 and Zephaniah 1:1. It is often used for some particular message to a prophet, as Jeremiah 1:4, 11; Jeremiah 2:1; Ezekiel 3:16. Micah the Morasthite; i.e. Micah of Moresheth-Gath (ver. 14), a village in the lowland of Judaea, near Eleutheropolis, some twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem (see Introduction, § II.). In the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Thus Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah, though his ministry did not begin as soon or last as long as that prophet's (see Isaiah 1:1); he was a little later than Hosea and Amos, who prophesied under Uzziah, the father of Jotham. Kings of Judah are mentioned because the prophet's mission was to Judah, as the line of election; but, like Amos, he prophesied against Samaria also. However divided, the two nations are regarded as one people. Which he saw. What he saw in vision or by inward illumination he here relates in words. Thus the prophecies of Isaiah, Obadiah, Nahum, etc., are called "visions." Concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Samaria comes first, as being ripe for punishment, and the first to feel the avenger. The capitals of the two kingdoms Israel and Judah stand for the people themselves. The short, cursory explanation of the reason for the lamentation opened here, is followed in Amos 5:4. by the more elaborate proof, that Israel has deserved to be destroyed, because it has done the very opposite of what God demands of His people. God requires that they should seek Him, and forsake idolatry, in order to live (Amos 5:4-6); but Israel on the contrary, turns right into unrighteousness, without fearing the almighty God and His judgment (Amos 5:7-9). This unrighteousness God must punish (Amos 5:10-12). Amos 5:4. "For thus saith Jehovah to the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and live. Amos 5:5. And seek not Bethel, and come not to Gilgal, and go not over to Beersheba: for Gilgal repays it with captivity, and Bethel comes to nought. Amos 5:6. Seek Jehovah, and live; that He fall not upon the house of Joseph like fire, and it devour, and there be none to quench it for Bethel." The kı̄ in Amos 5:4 is co-ordinate to that in Amos 5:3, "Seek me, and live," for "Seek me, so shall ye live." For this meaning of two imperatives, following directly the one upon the other, see Gesenius, 130, 2, and Ewald, 347, b. חיה, not merely to remain alive, not to perish, but to obtain possession of true life. God can only be sought, however, in His revelation, or in the manner in which He wishes to be sought and worshipped. This explains the antithesis, "Seek not Bethel," etc. In addition to Bethel and Gilgal (see at Amos 4:4), Beersheba, which was in the southern part of Judah, is also mentioned here, being the place where Abraham had called upon the Lord (Genesis 21:33), and where the Lord had appeared to Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 26:24 and Genesis 46:1; see also at Genesis 21:31). These sacred reminiscences from the olden time had caused Beersheba to be made into a place of idolatrous worship, to which the Israelites went on pilgrimage beyond the border of their own kingdom (עבר). But visiting these idolatrous places of worship did no good, for the places themselves would be given up to destruction. Gilgal would wander into captivity (an expression used here on account of the similarity in the ring of גּלגּל and גּלה יגלה). Bethel would become 'âven, that is to say, not "an idol" here, but "nothingness," though there is an allusion to the change of Beth-el (God's house) into Beth-'âven (an idol-house; see at Hosea 4:15). The Judaean Beersheba is passed over in the threat, because the primary intention of Amos is simply to predict the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes. After this warning the prophet repeats the exhortation to seek Jehovah, and adds this threatening, "that Jehovah come not like fire upon the house of Joseph" (tsâlach, generally construed with ‛al or 'el, cf. Judges 14:19; Judges 15:14; 1 Samuel 10:6; here with an accusative, to fall upon a person), "and it (the fire) devour, without there being any to extinguish it for Bethel." Bethel, as the chief place of worship in Israel, is mentioned here for the kingdom itself, which is called the "house of Joseph," from Joseph the father of Ephraim, the most powerful tribe in that kingdom.

To add force to this warning, Amos (Amos 5:7-9) exhibits the moral corruption of the Israelites, in contrast with the omnipotence of Jehovah as it manifests itself in terrible judgments. Amos 5:7. "They that change right into wormwood, and bring righteousness down to the earth. Amos 5:8. He that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into morning, and darkeneth day to night: that calleth to the waters of the sea, and poureth them over the surface of the earth; Jehovah is His name. Amos 5:9. Who causeth desolation to flash upon the strong, and desolation cometh upon the fortress." The sentences in Amos 5:7 and Amos 5:8 are written without any connecting link. The participle in Amos 5:7 cannot be taken as an address, for it is carried on in the third person (hinnı̄chū), not in the second. And hahōphekhı̄m (who turn) cannot be in apposition to Beth-el, since the latter refers not to the inhabitants, but to the houses. As Amos is generally fond of a participial construction (cf. Amos 2:7; Amos 4:13), so in a spirited address he likes to utter the thoughts one after another without any logical link of connection. As a matter of fact, hahōphekhı̄m is connected with bēth-yōsēph (the house of Joseph), "Seek the Lord, ye of the house of Joseph, who turn right into wrong;" but instead of this connection, he proceeds with a simple description, They are turning," etc. La‛ănâh, wormwood, a bitter plant, is a figurative term denoting bitter wrong (cf. Amos 6:12), the actions of men being regarded, according to Deuteronomy 29:17, as the fruits of their state of mind. Laying righteousness on the ground (hinnı̄ăch from nūăch) answers to our "trampling under feet." Hitzig has correctly explained the train of thought in Amos 5:7 and Amos 5:8 : "They do this, whereas Jehovah is the Almighty, and can bring destruction suddenly upon them." To show this antithesis, the article which takes the place of the relative is omitted from the participles ‛ōsēh and hōphēkh. The description of the divine omnipotence commences with the creation of the brightly shining stars; then follow manifestations of this omnipotence, which are repeated in the government of the world. Kı̄mâh, lit., the crowd, is the group of seven stars, the constellation of the Pleiades. Kesı̄l, the gate, according to the ancient versions the giant, is the constellation of Orion. The two are mentioned together in Job 9:9 and Job 38:31 (see Delitzsch on the latter). And He also turns the darkest night into morning, and darkens the day into night again. These words refer to the regular interchange of day and night; for tsalmâveth, the shadow of death, i.e., thick darkness, never denotes the regularly recurring gloominess of night, but the appalling gloom of night (Job 24:17), more especially of the night of death (Job 3:5; Job 10:21-22; Job 38:17; Psalm 44:20), the unlighted depth of the heart of the earth (Job 28:3), the darkness of the prison (Psalm 107:10, Psalm 107:14), also of wickedness (Job 12:22; Job 34:22), of sufferings (Job 16:16; Jeremiah 13:16; Psalm 23:4), and of spiritual misery (Isaiah 9:1). Consequently the words point to the judicial rule of the Almighty in the world. As the Almighty turns the darkness of death into light, and the deepest misery into prosperity and health,

(Note: Theodoret has given a correct explanation, though he does not quite exhaust the force of the words: "It is easy for Him to turn even the greatest dangers into happiness; for by the shadow of death he means great dangers. And it is also easy to bring calamity upon those who are in prosperity.")

so He darkens the bright day of prosperity into the dark night of adversity, and calls to the waters of the sea to pour themselves over the earth like the flood, and to destroy the ungodly. The idea that by the waters of the sea, which pour themselves out at the call of God over the surface of the earth, we are to understand the moisture which rises from the sea and then falls upon the earth as rain, no more answers to the words themselves, than the idea expressed by Hitzig, that they refer to the water of the rivers and brooks, which flow out of the sea as well as into it (Ecclesiastes 1:7). The words suggest the thought of terrible inundations of the earth by the swelling of the sea, and the allusion to the judgment of the flood can hardly be overlooked. This judicial act of the Almighty, no strong man and no fortress can defy. With the swiftness of lightning He causes desolation to smite the strong man. Bâlag, lit., micare, used in the Arabic to denote the lighting up of the rays of the dawn, hiphil to cause to light up, is applied here to motion with the swiftness of lightning; it is also employed in a purely metaphorical sense for the lighting up of the countenance (Psalm 39:14; Job 9:27; Job 10:20). In Amos 5:9 the address is continued in a descriptive form; יבוא has not a causative meaning. The two clauses of this verse point to the fate which awaits the Israelites who trust in their strength and their fortifications (Amos 6:13). And yet they persist in unrighteousness.

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