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Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah. Of his personal life and call we know nothing except that he came from the obscure village of Moresheth in the foothills. His were the broad vistas of the Judean lowland and the distant sea on the western horizon. With burning eloquence he attacked the rich exploiters of the poor, fraudulent merchants, venal judges, corrupt priests and prophets. To the man of the countryside the vices of the nation seemed centered in its capitals, for both Samaria and Jerusalem are singled out for judgment. An interesting notice in Jeremiah 26:17, 18 informs us that the reform of Hezekiah was influenced by the preaching of Micah.
The prophecy may be divided into three parts: I: The impending judgment of the Lord, followed by an exposition of its causes, Israel’s sins. Censure of Judah’s leaders for betrayal of their responsibility. ( Micah 1:1- 3:12) II: The glory of the restored Zion. A prince of David’s house will rule over a reunited Israel. (St. Matthew’s Nativity narrative points to Christ’s birth in Bethlehem as the fulfillment of this propehecy.) A remnant shall survive the chastisement of Judah and her adversaries shall be destroyed. ( Micah 4:1- 5:14) III: The case against Israel, in which the Lord is portrayed as the plaintiff who has maintained fidelity to the covenant. The somber picture closes with a prayer for national restoration and a beautiful expression of trust in God’s pardoning mercy. ( Micah 6:1- 7:20)
It should be noted that each of these three divisions begins with reproach and the threat of punishment, and ends on a note of hope and promise.

Chapter 1


The word of the LORD which came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah: that is, the vision he received concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.


Hear, O peoples, all of you, give heed, O earth, and all that fills you! Let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple! 1


For see, the LORD comes forth from his place, he descends and treads upon the heights of the earth.


The mountains melt under him and the valleys split open, Like wax before the fire, like water poured down a slope.


For the crime of Jacob all this comes to pass, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the crime of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? And what is the sin of the house of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?


I will make Samaria a stone heap in the field, a place to plant for vineyards; I will throw down into the valley her stones, and lay bare her foundations.


2 All her idols shall be broken to pieces, all her wages shall be burned in the fire, and all her statues I will destroy. As the wages of a harlot they were gathered, and to the wages of a harlot shall they return.


For this reason I lament and wail, I go barefoot and naked; I utter lamentation like the jackals, and mourning like the ostriches.


There is no remedy for the blow she has been struck; rather, it has come even to Judah, It reaches to the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.


3 Publish it not in Gath, weep not at all; In Beth-leaphrah roll in the dust.


Pass by, you who dwell in Shaphir! The inhabitants of Zaanan come not forth from their city. The lamentation of Beth-ezel finds in you its grounds.


How can the inhabitants of Maroth hope for good? For evil has come down from the LORD to the gate of Jerusalem.


Harness steeds to the chariots, O inhabitants of Lachish; Lachish, the beginning of sin for daughter Zion, Because there were in you the crimes of Israel.


Therefore you shall give parting gifts to Moresheth-gath; Beth-achzib is a deception to the kings of Israel.


Yet must I bring to you the conqueror, O inhabitants of Mareshah; Even to Adullam shall go the glory of Israel.


4 Make yourself bald, pluck out your hair, for the children whom you cherish; Let your baldness be as the eagle’s, because they are exiled from you.



1 [2] His holy temple: God’s heavenly temple; the prophet pictures a theophany ( Micah 1:3-4).

2 [7] The comparison of the unfaithful people with a prostitute, first found in Hosea, is frequent with the prophets; probably ritual prostitution is meant; cf Amos 2:7-8; Hosea 4:14.

3 [10-15] The Judean cities here named were in the vicinity of Moresheth, the region with which Micah was most familiar. They were to experience divine chastisement. In the Hebrew, wordplays on the names of these cities abound. The text is partly obscure.

4 [16] Shaving the head was a sign of mourning; cf Isaiah 3:24; Amos 8:10.