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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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

INTRODUCTION

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.

CHAPTER 1

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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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. Micah 1:1The heading in Micah 1:1 has been explained in the introduction. Micah 1:2-4 form the introduction to the prophet's address. Micah 1:2. "Hear, all ye nations: observe, O earth, and that which fills it: and let the Lord Jehovah be a witness against you, the Lord out of His holy palace. Micah 1:3. For, behold, Jehovah cometh forth from His place, and cometh down, and marcheth over the high places of the earth. Micah 1:4. And the mountains will melt under Him, and the valleys split, like wax before the fire, like water poured out upon a slope." The introductory words, "Hear, ye nations all," are taken by Micah from his earlier namesake the son of Imlah (1 Kings 22:28). As the latter, in his attack upon the false prophets, called all nations as witnesses to confirm the truth of his prophecy, so does Micah the Morashite commence his prophetic testimony with the same appeal, so as to announce his labours at the very outset as a continuation of the activity of his predecessor who had been so zealous for the Lord. As the son of Imlah had to contend against the false prophets as seducers of the nation, so has also the Morashtite (compare Micah 2:6, Micah 2:11; Micah 3:5, Micah 3:11); and as the former had to announce to both kingdoms the judgment that would come upon them on account of their sins, so has also the latter; and he does it by frequently referring to the prophecy of the elder Micah, not only by designating the false prophets as those who walk after the rūăch and lie, sheqer (Micah 2:11), which recals to mind the rūăch sheqer of the prophets of Ahab (1 Kings 22:22-23), but also in his use of the figures of the horn of iron in Micah 4:13 (compare the horns of iron of the false prophet Zedekiah in 1 Kings 22:11), and of the smiting upon the cheek in Micah 5:1 (compare 1 Kings 22:14). ‛Ammı̄m kullâm does not mean all the tribes of Israel; still less does it mean warlike nations. ‛Ammı̄m never has the second meaning, and the first it has only in the primitive language of the Pentateuch. But here both these meanings are precluded by the parallel ארץ וּמלאהּ; for this expression invariably signifies the whole earth, with that which fills it, except in such a case as Jeremiah 8:16, where 'erets is restricted to the land of Israel by the preceding hâ'ârets, or Ezekiel 12:19, where it is so restricted by the suffix 'artsâh. The appeal to the earth and its fulness is similar to the appeals to the heaven and the earth in Isaiah 1:2 and Deuteronomy 32:1. All nations, yea the whole earth, and all creatures upon it, are to hear, because the judgment which the prophet has to announce to Israel affects the whole earth (Micah 1:3, Micah 1:4), the judgment upon Israel being connected with the judgment upon all nations, or forming a portion of that judgment. In the second clause of the verse, "the Lord Jehovah be witness against you," it is doubtful who is addressed in the expression "against you." The words cannot well be addressed to all nations and to the earth, because the Lord only rises up as a witness against the man who has despised His word and transgressed His commandments. For being a witness is not equivalent to witnessing or giving testimony by words, - say, for example, by the admonitory and corrective address of the prophet which follows, as C. B. Michaelis supposes, - but refers to the practical testimony given by the Lord in the judgment (Micah 1:3 ff), as in Malachi 3:5 and Jeremiah 42:5. Now, although the Lord is described as the Judge of the world in Micah 1:3 and Micah 1:4, yet, according to Micah 1:5., He only comes to execute judgment upon Israel. Consequently we must refer the words "to you" to Israel, or rather to the capitals Samaria and Jerusalem mentioned in Micah 1:1, just as in Nahum 1:8 the suffix simply refers to the Nineveh mentioned in the heading, to which there has been no further allusion in Nahum 1:2-7. This view is also favoured by the fact that Micah summons all nations to hear his word, in the same sense as his earlier namesake in 1 Kings 22:28. What the prophet announces in word, the Lord will confirm by deed, - namely, by executing the predicted judgment, - and indeed "the Lord out of His holy temple," i.e., the heaven where He is enthroned (Psalm 11:4); for (1 Kings 22:3) the Lord will rise up from thence, and striding over the high places of the earth, i.e., as unbounded Ruler of the world (cf. Amos 4:13 and Deuteronomy 32:13), will come down in fire, so that the mountains melt before Him, that is to say, as Judge of the world. The description of this theophany is founded upon the idea of a terrible storm and earthquake, as in Psalm 18:8. The mountains melt (Judges 5:4 and Psalm 68:9) with the streams of water, which discharge themselves from heaven (Judges 5:4), and the valleys split with the deep channels cut out by the torrents of water. The similes, "like wax," etc. (as in Psalm 68:3), and "like water," etc., are intended to express the complete dissolution of mountains and valleys. The actual facts answering to this description are the destructive influences exerted upon nature by great national judgments.
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