Book of the Week 33: Micah

Hebrew Name: Mikhah

Human Author: Micah                                                        

OT or NT: Old Testament

Number of Chapters: 7

Basic Facts

  1. Micah is the thirty-third book of the Bible.
  2. In terms of literary genre, Micah is classified as a book of prophecy.
  3. The Hebrew name for the book of Micah is Mikhah, which means, “who is like Yah.”
  4. Micah was a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah.
  5. Micah does briefly pronounce judgment over both Samaria and Jerusalem even though he was a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah.

Story of the Book

God called Micah as a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah. Micah was called to warn the people of Judah regarding God’s coming wrath on account of their sin. The book begins with a pronouncement of God’s judgment over the cities of Samaria (capital of Israel, which was conquered by Assyria toward the beginning of Micah’s ministry) and Jerusalem (capital of Judah). God then proceeds to rebuke the leaders of the nation including false prophets who mislead God’s people. God then promises a ruler for His people who will come from the town of Bethlehem and will shepherd God’s people Israel. God calls His people to repent and foretells their coming destruction for their sins. God lays out simple demands for the people of Israel: to act justly, to love kindness, and to walk in humility before God (Micah 6:8). Despite coming judgment and destruction, God promises ultimately to show mercy to the people of Israel and to restore the nation through His mercy and compassion in which He will lead His people like a shepherd (Micah 5:2-4; Matthew 2:6).

Jesus Foreshadowed in Micah

In the book of Micah, the prophet foretells the coming a ruler who will be from Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 says, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” Later, Matthew 2:1-8 alludes to this passage. When king Herod hears that Magi had come from the east to worship the one who had been born as king of the Jews (that is, Jesus Christ), he inquires of the chief priests and the scribes where the messiah is to be born. They respond to Herod and say, “in Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel’” (Matthew 2:5-6). Even though the quote here is not exact, most scholars agree that this quote of a prophet in Matthew 2:5-6 is essentially taken from Micah 5:2. The text of Matthew 2:1-8 makes it clear that the Jews of the first century believed that Micah 5:2 foretold the birth place of the Messiah. Due to a Roman census, Jesus Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem, and this fulfilled the Biblical requirement for the place of His birth. In this way, Micah foretells an important prophecy that Jesus would later fulfill in His role as messiah.