9/02/20 – Micah 1:1-9


Micah 1:1The 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.


Micah lived at the same time as Isaiah and Hosea (some say Amos was an older contemporary yet Amos’ ministry was for a short period around 2 years before the earthquake in Uzziah’s time ~ 762 BC? – which appears to have been before Micah’s time of ministry). Micah prophesied during the reigns of Jotham (~ 750/748 – 735/32 BC; 16 years), Ahaz (~ 732 – 716 BC; 16 years) and Hezekiah (~ 716 – 687 BC; 29 years), all of them being kings of Judah. Jotham reigned for 16 years, many of which were as co-regent for his father Uzziah who was struck down with leprosy; Jotham probably reigned alone from ~ 739 – 734 BC. The figures appear to be confused by these kings having acted as co-regent before (and maybe after) their actual reigns, such as Jotham as coregent for around 11 years for his father Uzziah, Ahaz coregent with Jotham from ~ 735/34 to around 732 BC, and Manasseh coregent with Hezekiah from around 697 to 687 BC. Thus these dates should be seen as a guide rather than exact figures.


Micah’s prophecies included not only the southern kingdom of Judah but also the northern kingdom of Israel as noted by his reference to the things he saw concerning both Samaria (Israel’s capital) and Jerusalem (Judah’s capital). His prophecies cover a period of around 40 years. This covers the pre-captivity (before 722 BC) and the post-captivity years (after 722 BC) of Israel, as did Isaiah’s prophecies. The captivity of Israel began in around 740 BC but was completed in 722 BC, while the captivity of Judah would begin around 605 BC (with Judah becoming a tribute state of Babylon), with deportations from 597 BC until 582 or 581 BC. Micah would have experienced the devastation of Judah by Sennacherib in 702 - 701 BC; Sennacherib would (about 20 years later) be murdered by his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer, with Esarhaddon his son taking over the reign (2 Kings 19:37).


Micah, while of Judah, preached to both Israel and Judah. Isaiah, also of Judah, preached also to both Judah and Israel. Amos was of Judah but preached to the northern kingdom of Israel while Jeroboam 2 and Uzziah were kings of Judah. Amos died around 745 BC which means he might have been still alive when Micah began his ministry. Hosea, who was of Israel, had a ministry before the captivity of Israel in 722 BC. Isaiah is the prophet whose ministry (while longer) largely coincides with Micah’s ministry.


The word of the Lord – the utterance of Yᵉhovah.

Note 2 Peter 1:20-2120Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.


which he sawchazah (see; perceive; behold; prophesy; provide) That is, which Micah prophesied.

A prophet was also called a Seer.

1 Samuel 9:9(Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for [he that is] now [called] a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.) (speaking of Samuel)


Samaria and Jerusalem – covers all of the 12 tribes of Israel, the 10 northern tribes (Israel) and the 2 southern tribes (Judah and Benjamin).


Micah 1:2Hear, all ye people (peoples); hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord God (Adonay Yᵉhovih) be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.


Hearshama (hear; listen; obey; understand; listen to; yield to; obey; be obedient)

Hear, all ye people – also see Hear, I pray you (Micah 3:1) and Hear ye now (Micah 6:1).

Jesus said He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 11:15). That is, all the prophets who have gone before, and the law as well, have prophesied until then (Matthew 11:13), so if you have ears with which to hear, then use them! Don’t ignore the facts when they have been spoken so clearly before you!


Note the pronouncement of the law in Deuteronomy 30:15-2015See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. 17But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, [and that] ye shall not prolong [your] days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. 19I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 20That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, [and] that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he [is] thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.


And Micah is saying the same: hear what I say (being the utterance of the Lord) and pay attention to and obey this utterance. Literally, if you don’t listen, don’t pay attention, don’t obey, you do so at your own peril!


all ye peoplenation; people; country-men; kinsmen; kindred. The context seems to mean “everyone”, that is, no-one listening is exempt from this utterance of God.

2 Chronicles 18:27And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, [then] hath not the Lord spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, all ye people.

hearken (Micah 1:2) – pay attention; give (your) attention

all that therein isfulness; that which fills; mass; multitude; entire contents.



witness – or testimony or evidence

God has evidence which is opposed to what they are doing; He is a hostile witness. He will speak against them, and they are being told to listen (with the implication that they should certainly obey). The implication here is that God has already shown clearly what they should be doing as His people, and they have not done so; thus God is now using their works to convict them of not listening, and not obeying.


Micah follows this up later by telling what it is that God requires of them, obviously that which they have not delivered.

Micah 6:8He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?


God is speaking from His position of authority, His holy temple. There is no higher authority.

Psalm 11:4The Lord [is] in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne [is] in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.


And there is no point to opposing God who has such authority.

Psalm 2:2-52The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, [saying], 3Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.


Micah 1:3For, behold, the Lord cometh forth out of his place (abode), and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.


God has been longsuffering, patient, but now He has been stirred up into action. Man (especially God’s people, here) has reached the point of no return; he has crossed the line in the sand, and now God is taking action, for His patience has been used up. God has been roused up into action; He has had enough, as the saying goes. God will come down (figuratively – an anthropomorphic expression, talking about God’s actions as if He were a man) and things are going to happen.

Similar will happen when Jerusalem is under attack just before the second coming of Christ. Just when it seems as if all is lost and the enemy has won, Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. (Zechariah 14:3)


God will tread upon the high places of the earth could be a depiction of the direction of God moving down from heaven to deal with things on earth. It could also depict God attacking their places of defence, the fortresses which they often built on high ground thus God destroying their military might. It could also mean that that the coming judgment would commence with those in highest authority, the rulers and leaders of the people. Such judgment would begin at the top and work its way down. Whichever of these is correct, it does demonstrate God’s absolute sovereignty over all the earth.

However, the high places were commonly used for the worship of false gods, noting that Vs 5 below mentions the high places of Judah as relating to the sins of Jerusalem.


Micah 1:4And 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.


shall be moltento melt; vanish; drop off; melt away; to faint; grow fearful; wasted; worthless.

the valleys – or “lowland”; “open country”

shall be cleft – to burst (themselves) open; cleave asunder

poured – or “melted”

down a steep place – or “descent”


This could be bringing to their minds the earthquake of Amos 1:1 which occurred 760/759 BC, estimated to be around 8.2 on the Richter scale.

Amos 1:1-21The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. 2And he said, The Lord will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither.


This is as much a statement of the power and might of God’s judgments as anything else. Put simply, when God judges, nothing can stand in His way. He has all power, all authority. Solid mountains will be levelled, and plains will be split into valleys. The geography of the earth will change like hot melted wax, and everything shall fall down and seek its level like a flood of water being poured down a steep slope.


God is omnipotent; nothing may withstand His majesty. When God comes down to judge, then nothing may stand (but instead melt like wax or run downhill like water) before Him.

Psalm 97:4-54His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. 5The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.


And it is Israel and Judah that are in the firing line here – see Micah 1:1 above.

Deuteronomy 4:24For the Lord thy God [is] a consuming fire, [even] a jealous God.

Note also 2 Peter 3:12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?


Micah 1:5For the transgression (or rebellion) 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?


But here it is not the enemy of God’s people as portrayed in Zechariah 14:3 (Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.). Instead it is God’s people themselves who are going to be judged here. Jacob represents all 12 tribes, and the house of Israel logically also means those 12 sons of Jacob (or Israel). Why is Jacob also called Israel? Of course, Jacob was renamed Israel in

Genesis 35:10And God said unto him, Thy name [is] Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.

Yet Jacob continues to be called by both names after that. Eg Genesis 46:2And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here [am] I.


It is clear that how we interpret the name Jacob will depend upon the context each time. The 1st use of Jacob in Micah 1:5 represents all 12 tribes of Israel, but the 2nd use of Jacob represents the northern 10 tribes of Israel via its capital Samaria, while Judah represents the southern two tribes of Benjamin and Judah via their capital Jerusalem.


All Israel has sinned, not just the northern 10 tribes. We see a lot of parallels between this passage today and much of what we saw in Isaiah Ch.1-11. Israel may have sinned more and gone into captivity much earlier than Judah, yet around 125 years after Israel had largely disappeared into captivity, Judah also commenced its captivity for the same sins that had caused Israel to be made captive. You’d think Judah would have taken notice of what happened to Israel, but it seems that they just didn’t make the connection between their sin and God’s promised judgment of wrath. It’s why Micah emphasises the “Hear, pay attention and obey” message; these people had ears but they just weren’t listening. Isaiah said much the same:

Isaiah 6:9And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Matthew 13:13-1413Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:


The problem here is that this is God’s special chosen nation who has effectively chosen to rebel against God. They of all people should have known what was right and wrong, and yet they have seemingly deliberately chosen to do evil, ignoring (not listening to and obeying) what God was clearly saying to them. Ezekiel said much the same.

Ezekiel 2:3-53And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, [even] unto this very day. 4For [they are] impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God. 5And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they [are] a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.

Regardless of whether they obeyed or not, they would surely know that God had spoken to them!


The high places were where they worshipped their false gods. This probably relates to God coming down and treading on the high places in Vs 2 above. Note that cities in those days were also built on high places where possible for security reasons). Both Samaria and Jerusalem were built on high places.


Micah 1:6Therefore 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.


heapruin; heap of ruins.

discover – to uncover (nakedness); disclose; discover; lay bare; make known; show; reveal.


Samaria would become a heap of ruins in a land cultivated for farming, and vineyards would be established in place of the buildings (Note Isaiah 5:1-7). Samaria was built upon a hill (1 Kings 16:24) and so, when destroyed, its houses’ building materials (stones and blocks of rock) would end up in the valley below. The foundations of their buildings would be uncovered (revealed to plain sight; laid bare).

This would not happen merely through age or lack of care for their buildings. God says He will make this happen! There is no chance involved here, but the will of sovereign God.


In 722 BC Israel was finally destroyed by Sargon II (who took over from Shalmaneser V who died during the campaign). The city of Samaria was destroyed in the process while Micah was still a prophet.


Micah 1:7And 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 (or make; render) desolate: for she gathered [it] of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.


hires / hirehire of prostitute, the wages of prostitution; price of harlotry; of idolatrous Israel, Jerusalem, Tyre)

desolate – or “waste”; “devastation”

harlot – to be a harlot; act as a harlot; commit fornication; commit adultery; be a cult prostitute; be unfaithful to God.


All Samaria’s (as representative of Israel) graven images (in which she trusted) will be beaten to pieces (crushed); they cannot help Samaria in her time of need.


All the wages of prostitution (which were given to the worship of false gods) will be burned by fire; temple prostitutes gave their services as ministry for their god and their wages for hire were their contribution. Nothing of such ministry can help their false gods stand before the judgment of holy God. That is, it will all be a waste of their time and money!


God will lay waste (make desolate; devastate) all Samaria’s idols. They were paid for by the wages of prostitutes and will return to the same. These idols were generally made from costly materials (such as gold and silver) and these materials would be used to hire temple prostitutes in other temples to make more idols from the hire of harlots.


Or, Israel had acquired her false worship from other nations such as Assyria, and those offerings made to Assyrian gods would go back to the Assyrian temples as the hire of harlotry there.


Harlot here may represent the actual physical temple prostitutes, but was also a term God used to describe the false worship of His people of other gods.

Jeremiah 3:6-86The Lord said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen [that] which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. 7And I said after she had done all these [things], Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw [it]. 8And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.


Micah 1:8Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.


Note that Isaiah was told by God to go naked and barefoot for 3 years (Isaiah 20:2-4) as a sign for Egypt and Ethiopia.

Wailing and howling demonstrated extreme grief and sorrow (such as at funerals in many cultures). Being stripped and naked represented extreme shame. 2 Chronicles 28:15 refers to the reclothing of captives who were often stripped to humiliate them (cf Isaiah 7:20).

Nakedness can refer to spiritual nakedness through adultery and playing the harlot.

Lamentations 1:8Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.

the dragons – could be jackals howling in the desert.

the owls – an unclean bird – possibly owl or probably ostrich.

mourning as the owls – mourning as for the dead (here signified as possibly the unclean “dead”).

Job 30:29I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.

The picture is of extreme agony of grief and sorrow for what is about to happen to Samaria (and therefore the northern kingdom of Israel).


Micah 1:9For her wound [is] incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, [even] to Jerusalem.

For Samaria’s (Israel’s) spiritual sickness is incurable, beyond help now. The stripes (of punishment) on Samaria will now destroy the city with its great evils. They have gone past the point of no return! And worse, her spiritual harlotry has now spread (like a plague) to Judah and particularly Jerusalem. Isaiah described it as a sickness from head to foot, a description of a desolate country, where Jerusalem is left as an oasis in the midst of a land of destruction (when Sennacherib brought destruction upon Judah in 701 BC yet failed to actually breach the walls of Jerusalem after besieging it in the days of Hezekiah).

Isaiah 1:5-95Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6From the sole of the foot even unto the head [there is] no soundness in it; [but] wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. 7Your country [is] desolate, your cities [are] burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and [it is] desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, [and] we should have been like unto Gomorrah.


If Judah (and Jerusalem) doesn’t change her ways, she is heading along the same pathway to destruction as Samaria (and Israel). When we looked at Isaiah we saw that they refused to learn the lesson that the judgment of Samaria and Israel had tried to teach them. They had ears that would not hear!


Far too many “Christians” today have to be aware of the conflict between what they want to believe and Bible truth, yet they dismiss it with extra revelations, prophecies, and spiritual manifestations (but what spirit, I wonder). Some even say that the Bible has to be read in terms of today; after all, we have matured since then! Others take single verses out of context to teach heresies; it can be truly said that you can teach anything one verse at a time. Most churches (especially denominational varieties) use their doctrinal statements as the basis for their interpretation of the Bible. In all areas of conflict, their statements of faith overrule biblical truth. Of course, they claim that this method determines biblical truth, but then again, calvinism claims Calvin in the same way. Calvin’s teachings require scriptural interpretation to fit in with them. And in fact, this is what most churches do today with their doctrinal statements. Do some research and see if there are any churches that actually require (in practice) the Bible to overrule at all times of conflict. But in spite of all this, the Bible remains the only truth!


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