Lesson 1 of5
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Summary of Micah

SUMMARY

Micah is one of the eighth-century prophets–a contemporary of Isaiah and a little later than Hosea and Amos. Like these other prophets, Micah speaks against false worship and for social justice. He proclaims harsh judgments against his own people (the nation of Judah) and is particularly offended by the leaders in business, government, and religion. Micah comes from a small town outside Jerusalem and addresses the centers of power as an outsider. He even boldly predicts the destruction of the holy city of Jerusalem. The book also provides words of hope beyond the judgment.

SO WHAT?

Micah would be worth our attention for the three best-known passages (4:1-4; 5:2-5a; 6:6-8), even if the rest of the book, with its harsh judgments, were left unused (as is usually the case). Harsh words of judgment are not what most people crave to hear, but these too come to us in the prophets as the word of God. Micah’s critique of preachers who say only what people want to hear and society’s general reluctance to recognize that there are consequences to bad behavior make Micah’s words an important message for our time as well as his own.

WHERE DO I FIND IT?

Micah is the thirty-third book in the Old Testament. It is the sixth of the so-called “minor” (or shorter) prophets, the twelve books that make up the final portion of the Old Testament.

WHO WROTE IT?

Micah wrote a good bit of what is contained in his book, but some passages, especially those that seem to be addressed to people who have already suffered a disaster, most likely come from a much later time.

WHEN WAS IT WRITTEN?

Micah lived at the end of the eighth century B.C.E., about the same time as Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah. The earliest words from Micah seem to come just before the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C.E. (1:2-7). Other parts of Micah appear to be written in the time of the Babylonian exile (after 586 B.C.E.) and later as some of the exiles returned home.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Micah is a book of judgment against God’s people, mixed with words of hope that promise the possibility of renewal even after disaster comes.

HOW DO I READ IT?

The prophetic books are often hard to read. Most have little or no narrative. They are a collection of messages from God to the people by way of the prophet. In Micah there are abrupt changes from condemnation to hope and back again that make it difficult to follow. Start with the three best-known passages (4:1-4; 5:2-5a; 6:6-8). Then pick and choose whatever section looks interesting, knowing that there is often no apparent continuity from one passage to the next.

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