A Study in the Word – Micah 1:1-16


Four prophets were active in Israel simultaneously: Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah.  Micah is a “seer,” so his prophecy is a word picture. He “saw” and then related in images what God had to say (1:1).  For many years great prosperity and political stability had been enjoyed by Judah under Uzziah.  Yet, prosperity had led to self-indulgence and injustice toward people with no voice, the “disenfranchised.”

God has a court case against all rebellion (1:2).  He is coming as Judge of all the earth (1:3).  The scope of His judgment is unlimited (1:4).  The charge is rebellious sin (1:5).  Sentence is pronounced: What Samaria and Judah relied upon in rebellion will be destroyed completely (1:6).  Things unworthy of trust will be destroyed (1:7).  Some of God’s people truly hear Him and are deeply grieved (1:8).  Verse 9 refers to a physical wound that will not heal, but also to woes incurred by unrepented sin.

Micah then shares historical examples that warn of judgment.  At the time of Micah, Gath would only be a memory (1:10; 2 Chron. 26:6).  The Berkeley version notes: “The names found in these five verses are used as a series of plays on words in Hebrew, the names of places corresponding to their distressing experiences: Aphrah, dust; Shaphir, fair; Zanaan, sheepyard; Maroth, bitterness; Moresheth, possession; Achzib, deceitful.” 

Harsh changes in living conditions signal defeat and shame.  “Way” is the way into exile (1:11a).  A siege mentality has produced paralysis.  What was once reliable no longer is: This city “can lend you support no longer” (1:11b, REB).  Verse 12 explains why such a severe judgment confronts Jerusalem.  They had placed their hope in material prosperity rather than divine deliverance: “She waited carefully for the good which God gives, not for the Good which God is” (E. B. Pusey).  If misplaced hope is not the answer, neither is flight (1:13).  Their predicament shows what they once highly valued is now hardly worth giving away.  Indeed, that they give their possessions away has no real meaning, for Assyria will take everything.  What is done in Achzib will reflect its own nature, “deception” (1:14).

Their way of life is out of their hands.  Possessions will have a new possessor (1:15a).  Leaders abdicating responsibility will hide, leaving their subjects to fend for themselves (1:15b).  Their only recourse is to grieve over coming destruction.  In essence, unrepented sin forfeited their future (1:16).

Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University.  Email: dm5867se@outlook.com