The Book of Micah
Kendzierski's Notes on Chapter 1
INTRODUCTION
"But, as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior...."
(Micah 7:7)

MICAH
CHAPTER 1


Chapter 1 Summarized:
Contents:
Jehovah’s case against Israel. Impending judgment.

Conclusion: There comes a time when men who have persisted in sin must face ruin without remedy. God cannot help them because they will not by repentance and reformation help themselves.

Key Word:  Incurable, v. 9.
Strong verses:
  3, 4.

Christ Seen: vv.6—16, describes the Syrian invasion. This gives rise to the prophecy of the greater invasion in the last days (4:9—13), and Christ’s deliverance at Armageddon (Rev. 16:14; 19:17).

Introduction: The prophet begins with calling the attention of all people to the awful descent of Jehovah, coming to execute his judgments against the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, vv. 1-5; first against Samaria, whose fate the prophet laments on the dress of mourners, and with the doleful cries of the fox or ostrich, vv. 6-8; and then against Jerusalem, which is threatened with the invasion of Sennacherib. Other cities of Judah are likewise threatened; and their danger represented to be so great as to oblige them to have recourse for protection even to their enemies the Philistines, from whom they desired at first to conceal their situation. But all resources are declared to be vain; Israel and Judah must go into captivity, vv. 9-16.

In this chapter we have,

  1. The title of the book (v. 1) and a preface demanding attention (v. 2).

  2. Warning given of desolating judgments hastening upon the kingdoms of Israel and Judah (v. 34), and all for sin (v. 5).

  3. The particulars of the destruction specified (v. 67).

  4. The greatness of the destruction illustrated, 1. By the prophet’s sorrow for it (v. 89). 2. by the general sorrow that should be for it, in the several places that must expect to share in it, (v. 10-16). These prophecies of Micah might well be called his lamentations.


Title, Author, subject and historical background (1:1)

Verse 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.

The city of Moresheth (also called Moresheth Gath in Micah 1:14) was about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem on the border lands between Judah and the Philistines. This means that the prophet Micah was like the prophet Amos, a man from the country sent to the city to bring the word of the Lord.  We really don’t know anything about Micah’s background or call, but we do know that he had a strong sense of his own calling as a prophet, and he says so in Micah 3:8.

In the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah: This means that Micah ministered as a prophet some time between the years 739 b.c. (the start of the reign of Jotham) and 686 b.c. (the end of the reign of Hezekiah). Since Hezekiah was a noted reformer, we can surmise that the sin Micah confronted mainly concerns the time before the important reforms of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18-20).

Concerning Samaria and Jerusalem: The city of Samaria was the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, and Jerusalem was the capital of the southern kingdom of Judah. Micah looks to both the northern and southern kingdoms in his prophecy.


Second Advent of the Messiah (MIC. 1:2—4)

Verse 2: Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.

Hear, all ye people—the very commencement of this prophecy supposes preceding exhortations and predictions.

Hearken, O earth: earth should be translated land, the country of the Hebrews being only intended.

And let the Lord God be Witness—Let him who has sent me with this message be witness that I have delivered it faithfully; and be a witness against you, if you take not the warning.

The Lord from his holy temple—the place where he still remains as your King and you’re Judge; and where you profess to pay your devotions. The temple was yet standing, for Jerusalem was not taken for many years after this; and these prophecies were delivered before the captivity of the ten tribes, as Micah appears to have been sent both to Israel and to Judah.


Verse 3: For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.

God will come like a giant to destroy even what man considers indestructible. “High places” are likely a double reference to the pagan places of worship that God would crush underfoot.


Verse 4: And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place. 

All of this imagery gives a vivid picture of what the wrath of God will be like (Judg. 5:5). Neither the mountains nor the valleys will be exempt from God’s judgment.

As wax—Just as wax melts in fire, the mountains will melt with the fiery wrath of God. Just as water flowing downhill is diffused over the lower area, so the mountains will spill down into the valleys and the valleys will be torn apart as by giant earthquakes.


Sins of Judah and Israel (1:5)

Verse 5: For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? And what are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem?

Is it not something extremely grievous? Is it not that of Samaria? Samaria and Jerusalem, the chief cities, are infected with idolatry. Each has its high places, and its idol worship, in opposition to the worship of the true God. There was idolatry practiced by the elders of Israel, even in the temple of Jehovah. As the royal cities in both kingdoms gave the example of gross idolatry, no wonder that it spread through the whole land, both of Israel and Judah.


Captivity of Israel to Assyria (MIC. 1:6—7)

Verse 6: Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof.

I will make Samaria—I will bring it to desolation: and, instead of being a royal city, it shall be a place for vineyards.

I will discover the foundations thereof—I will cause its walls and fortifications to be razed to the ground.


Verse 7: And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.

Multitudes of women gave the money they gained by their public prostitution at the temples for the support of the priesthood, the ornamenting of the walls, altars, and images. So that these things, and perhaps several of the images themselves, were literally the hire of the harlots: and

God threatens here to deliver all into the hands of enemies who should seize on this wealth, and literally spend it in the same way in which it was acquired; so that “to the hire of a harlot these things should return.”


Lamentations for Israel (1:8—16)

Verse 8: Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.

Therefore I will wail and howlMicah is trying to teach the people by his example how upset and sorrowful they should be about their sin and the coming judgment. 

Stripped and naked—this is a sign of mourning common to the prophets (2 Sam. 15:30). The top part of Micah’s clothing was probably made of camel hair or some other coarse material (2 Kings 1:8Zech. 13:4), and he probably wore the common sandals on his feet. 

Like the dragons—rather, wild dogs or jackals. The cry of the jackal sounds like the wail of a baby in distress. 

Owls—more likely, ostriches. The ostrich had a long, sighing cry which was commonly heard in the desert at night.


Verse 9: For her wound is incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.

Her wound is incurable—nothing shall prevent their utter ruin, for they have filled up the measure of their iniquity. He is come—even to Jerusalem—the desolation and captivity of Israel shall first take place; that of Judah shall come after.


Verse 10: Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust. 

Declare ye it not at Gath— Gath was one of the five cities of Philistia, which borders on Judea. The modern location of Gath has not been identified with certainty. Micah warns the people not to weep, lest the Philistines in Gath learn of their coming destruction. The citizens of Gath would laugh with delight when the Hebrew nation was punished (2 Sam. 1:20). 

weep ye not at all— Do not betray your inward sorrow by outward weeping, within the cognizance of the enemy, lest they should exult at it.

The house of Aphrah . . . dust—Aphrah comes from the Hebrew word for “dust”.

Roll thyself in the dust—to roll in the dust was a sign of deep sorrow (Jer. 6:26Ezek. 27:30).


Verse 11: Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir, having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive of you his standing.

The inhabitants of Saphir, which signifies neat and beautiful shall pass away into captivity, or be forced to flee, stripped of all their ornaments and having their shame naked. 2. The inhabitants of Zaanan, which signifies the country of flocks, a populous country, where the people are as numerous and thick as flocks of sheep, shall yet be so taken up with their own calamities, felt or feared, that they shall not come forth in the mourning of Bethezel, which signifies a place near, for the enemy shall encamp among you, O inhabitants of Zaanan! Shall take up a station there.


Verse 12: For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.

This name is mentioned only here, but may possibly be the same as the Maarath in Joshua 15:59. It could also be a different town, elsewhere unnamed, lying between the other cities mentioned and the capital which Rabshakeh plundered. 

Waited carefully for good—the name Maroth means “bitterness.” That is all she receives, even though she longs for “good” things.

Unto the gate of Jerusalem—after all the other cities of Judah have been destroyed, it will be Jerusalem’s turn.


Verse 13: O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee.

Bind the chariot to the swift steed," in order by a hasty flight to escape the invading foe. Lachish the city at which Sennacherib fixed his headquarters (2Ki 18:14, 17 Jer 34:7). 

she is the beginning of the sin to . . . Zion -- Lachish was the first of the cities of Judah, according to this passage, to introduce the worship of false gods, imitating what Jeroboam had introduced in Israel. As lying near the border of the north kingdom, Lachish was first to be infected by its idolatry, which thence spread to Jerusalem.


Verse 14: Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel.

Judah was told to have no more contact with the hometown of Micah because it was too sinful to ever be free of judgment. Moresheth was connected with Gath because it had been controlled by the Philistines of Gath for a time. Lachish is called here to give a parting bridal gift to Moresheth which sounds like “betrothed”; Moresheth was about to be taken by, or married to, the invaders. Achzib—this city, whose name means “deception” or “lying,” had just deceived Israel. The help she promised never came. Achzib was located in Judah between Keilah and Mareshah (Josh. 15:44), and may have been the same as Chezib (Gen. 38:5).


Verse 15: Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel

This name means “an inheritance,” which it would become to Assyria. They had taken the land from other people and now it was to be taken from them. This town was located in Judah, overlooking the road Hebron.

Adullam, the glory of Israel—when the best of the cities of Israel had fallen, Israel would have absolutely nothing left to boast about. The “glory of Israel,” i.e., the people will be forced to flee to Adullam just as their predecessor David did. It is as if Micah saw in the fall of each town the final dissolution of the Davidic monarchy. The glory of Israel, just like David so long before, would flee to Adullam. Adullam has been identified with Tell esh-Sheikh Madhkur, located about halfway between Jerusalem and Lachish.


Verse 16: Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee.

Make thee bald—cutting off the hair was a sign of great distress, and was practiced on the death of near relatives; Amos 8:10.

The desolation should be so great that Israel should feel it to her utmost extent; and the mourning should be like that of a mother for the death of her most delicate children.

Enlarge thy baldness as the eagle—referring to the mounting of this bird, when in casting its feathers and breeding new ones, it is very sickly, and its strength wholly exhausted.

They are gone into captivity—this is a prediction of the captivity by Shalmaneser. Samaria, the chief city, is called on to deplore it, as then fast approaching.


The following material were used in the preparation of these notes:
From:
    Quick Verse 2005: Matthew Henry's commentary, New Commentary on the whole Bible.
    E-Source: Barn's notes
    Bible Explore 4 (downloaded version): Strong's Hebrew-Greek, ISBE,
    All Bible text is from the King James Version


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2012-11-21