INTRODUCTION TO Micah
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Before analyzing the test of any book of the Bible, it is well to learn the historical background.
Also, it is best to make a "skyscraper" view of its general contents. Accordingly, this introduction is divided into two parts: background and survey.
- Author. Micah
- Most scholars believe Micah wrote this book. Little is known about Micah except the facts in this book and Jeremiah 26:18.
- Jeremiah recorded some elders of Israel when quoting Micah said he was from Moresheth. Verse one also states Moresheth was his hometown. Moresheth was a small town in south-west Judah near the Philistine city Gath. Much of his writing concerns the ills of small town life in Judah at the time.
- A few modern scholars have said that since this book has several writing styles then several people must have added to his prophecies. They have no other facts to back up this claim. Since prophecies are seldom written in one sitting or even year of a prophets life and since other authors write differ throughout their life this is true of Micah. We cannot forget that the writing is inspired by the Holy Spirit and thus he lead him to write as he did.
- Date and Place of Writing
- Micah prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah kings of Judah. (740-699 B.C.)
- Micah was a contemporary of fellow northern kingdom prophet Isaiah and southern kingdom prophet Hosea. Micah may have known Jonah as well for Jonah went to Nineveh to prophecy against them twenty to thirty years before Micah began his ministry. There is also a possibility that Obadiah prophesied at the beginning of Micah's ministry.
- Micah addressed all the peoples of the world (1:2) mainly concerning Jerusalem and Samaria's future.
- Micah speaks of the day of Lord as does prophets before him including Joel, Amos, and Obadiah. His vision includes people beyond his time especially to those alive during Jesus' two comings.
- Occasion and Purpose
- Micah predicted the fall of Samaria, the northern kingdom of split Israel. Israel sins had continued to increase. Though the Lord and shown his love by trying to help their kings they continued to reject his love and worship idols. Corruption and violence was so bad that eventually the Lord said he was going to punish Israel. Micah was the prophet to bring that message.
- Micah prophesied against Jerusalem. The corruption in Jerusalem was affecting Jews in the whole country including Micah's hometown. King Hezekiah took the warning of Micah and other prophets seriously and instituted reforms. The Lord saw this and delayed the fall of Judah. Assyria attacked Judah in 701 B.c. but the Lord stopped them.
- Micah predicted the last days, Jesus' second coming and one thousand year reign, and the restoration of all Israel (not just Judah). Joel and Obadiah had predicted the day of the Lord a generation before Micah. Fellow prophets Isaiah and Amos also spoke of the day of the Lord.
- Micah spoke of the first coming of the Lord God as a baby in Bethlehem. Some of Micah's prophecies are used three times in the New Testament; Matthew 2:1-6, 10:35-36, and Luke 1:71-72.
- Form and Style
- The entire book is prophecy in the form of a vision.
- The entire book is in poetic form similar to that of Isaiah using strong language and figures of speech. Micah alternates between words of doom and words of hope.
- Place Among the Old Testament Books
- Micah is one of the smaller books of the Old Testament with only seven chapters. Scholars have placed it with the other eleven minor prophets.
- Just because scholars have classified twelve of the prophetic books as minor does not mean that their message is any less important than the four major prophets. In fact the New Testiment quotes the minor prophets more than the major prophets.
- Micah's time can be found in the earlier part of Isaiah, 2 Kings 15-19, and 2 Chronicles 27-32.
- During this time Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria lead a successful military campaign against Syria (Aram), Philistia, and parts of Israel and Judah. Damascus fell in 732 B.C. and was annexed into the Assyrian empire.
- In 721 B.C. Samaria fell to Assyria ending the northern kingdom of Israel. The Israelites who lived in Samaria were deported from Israel and became known as the lost ten tribes of Israel. Though in Jesus' time at least some of the descendants knew they were descendants of the ten tribes. (Luke 2:36)
- In 701 B.C. against the prophets' warnings Judah foolishly joined a revolt against Assyria. The coalition was overrun by King Sennaherib, though Jerusalem was spared.
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