Background of Micah
The prophet Micah came from the small town of Moresheth, southwest of Jerusalem. His message is intended primarily for the The Southern Kingdom consisted of two tribes of Israel, Judah and Benjamin. Jerusalem was its capital, and the kingdom lasted from 931-586 B.C.E. As with the Northern Kingdom many of the kings were wicked, and prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel spoke their often judgmental... of Judah was the name of Jacob's fourth son and one of the 12 tribes., though he also makes reference to the The Northern Kingdom consisted of ten of the twelve tribes of Israel and lasted for 200 years until it was destroyed by Assyria in 721 B.C.E. In the northern kingdom the kings were evil. Prophets like Elijah and Amos railed against them and their evildoing. of Israel (the nation had split into two kingdoms after the death of Third king of Israel who was known for wisdom and building the first Temple around 920 B.C.E.). In his first An oracle is a divine utterance of guidance, promise, or judgment delivered to humans through an intermediary (who is often also called an oracle). In the Bible oracles are given by Balaam (in the book of Numbers) and by David (in 2 Samuel). A number... (1:2-7) Micah predicts The fall refers specifically to the disobedience of Adam and Eve when they listened to Satan rather than adhering to God's command not to eat the fruit from the tree. When people act contrary to God's will, they are said to fall from from grace... of the northern kingdom. That would date the beginning of his prophetic ministry before 721 B.C.E., when Samaria fell to the Assyrians. From that time on, only the southern kingdom of Judah remained, until it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E. Micah expected that Judah would follow the fate of Israel and predicted that Jerusalem, the Holy is a term that originally meant set apart for the worship or service of God. While the term may refer to people, objects, time, or places, holiness in Judaism and Christianity primarily denotes the realm of the divine city that God had chosen for the The Jerusalem temple, unlike the tabernacle, was a permanent structure, although (like the tabernacle) it was a place of worship and religious activity. On one occasion Jesus felt such activity was unacceptable and, as reported in all four Gospels, drove from the temple those engaged..., would be wiped off the face of the earth. For those holding to the assurance that God would never break promises to protect king and temple, these words would have been a great shock, probably thought to demonstrate a lack of faith on Micah’s part. Micah spoke harshly to prophets, seers, and priests who told people what they wanted to hear–the reassuring words of God’s promises–and not the reality that Judah’s fate could soon follow that of Israel.
Micah was wrong (or before his time) in his timing and exaggerated in his picture of the complete annihilation of Jerusalem–which, of course, like most Old Testament Prophecy is the gift, inspired by God, of speaking and interpreting the divine will. Prophets such as Amos, Isaiah, and Ezekiel spoke words of judgment and comfort to the people of Israel on behalf of God., is poetic in nature. Jerusalem was destroyed, but not until more than a century after Micah’s time. And it recovered and has continued to survive as a city, even to the present day.
Though much of Micah’s message warns about what is coming immediately, there are also passages of hope, probably directed later to the people who were in exile or returning from exile. Micah himself was more concerned about the immediate danger than the hope that would follow the catastrophe. But the book speaks to subsequent generations as well. For those who were living through the exile or later, Micah’s prophecies of doom could help make sense of the destruction. This was God’s justice after all. The words continued to serve as an ongoing warning that actions have consequences and that God’s people should not again invite such disaster through actions of disloyalty and injustice.