Search for page by title (auto-completes)
Advanced search
Translate into

The Bible

OT Overview

NT Overview

OT Books

NT Books

OT History

NT History

OT Studies

Pentateuch Studies

History Books Studies

Studies in the Prophets

NT Studies

Studies in the Gospels

Acts and Letters Studies

Revelation Studies

Inductive Study

Types of Literature


Early Church

British Museum


Historical Documents

Life Questions

How to Preach


SBS Staff

Advanced Search
Search for word or phrase within each page
Search by OT book and chapter
Search by NT book and chapter

Introduction to the Book of Micah

Julian Spriggs M.A.

Related articles

Interpreting OT Prophets Dates of kings of Israel and Judah
Syria / Aram The Assyrian empire
Canaanite Religion Covenants in the Old Testament

Micah the prophet

His name is the abbreviated form of 'who is like Yahweh', which is the main theme of his message. He was from Moresheth-Gath, twenty-five miles south-west of Jerusalem in the Shephelah, near Gath on the Philistine border. He was a prophet of the countryside, preoccupied with the sufferings of the common people and the peasant farmers, speaking with a countryman's directness and a great indignation. Micah had no access to the court, in contrast to his contemporary, Isaiah, who was a prophet of the city and royal court.

His message concerned Samaria and Jerusalem (1:1), but only 1:2-8 refers to Samaria and Israel. His interest in Judah and Jerusalem is more extensive, so he is normally included as one of the prophets to the southern kingdom, Judah. He was a contemporary with Hosea, who was prophesying to the northern kingdom and with Isaiah to the southern kingdom.

Historical background

Micah's ministry covered the reigns of the following kings of Judah, spanning fifty-five years:

Jotham 742 - 735 BC
Ahaz 735 - 715 BC
Hezekiah 715 - 687 BC

The description of the corruption and immorality in Judah given in Micah fits well with what we know about the reign of Ahaz and the early years of Hezekiah's reign. After Jeremiah’s famous temple sermon, the elders recalled Micah’s message in the time of Hezekiah, by quoting Micah 3:12 (Jer 26:18-19)

Syro-Ephraimite War

Assyria was expanding southward under Tiglath-pileser III. Pekah of Israel and Rezin of Damascus formed an anti-Assyrian coalition and tried to force Judah to join them. Ahaz of Judah appealed to Tiglath-pileser for help, against Isaiah's advice (Is 7). Assyria crushed the coalition and Judah became a vassal of Assyria, involving the payment of heavy tribute and accepting Assyrian gods. This lead to a loosening of moral and social standards which Micah spoke against.

Literary Style

Micah frequently uses play on words, especially in 1:10-15, where the predictions of doom fit the names of the towns. This is particularly seen in the Moffat translation:
Gath (= Tear-town) weep not at all
Beth-leaphrah (= House of dust) roll yourselves in the dust
Shaphir (= Beauty-town) pass in nakedness and shame
Zaanan (= Going-forth town) do not come forth
Beth-ezel (= House of taking away) shall remove the support from you
Maroth (= Bitter-town) wait anxiously for good
Lachish (= Horse-town) harness steeds to chariots
Achzib (sounds like deception) shall be a deception

Theology of Micah

Uniqueness of Yahweh

Micah's name means "Who is like Yah(weh)?". His message ends with the same question, "Who is a God like you - pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of your possession?" (7:18). Yahweh is the Lord of the whole earth (4:13).

God appearing in historical events

His prophecy begins with a description of the coming of the Lord, a Theophany (1:3-4). The appearance of God was an intervention in history to cause destruction of Samaria, which was actually caused by Assyrian army (1:6), but Micah sees the invasion as a direct result of Yahweh's response to Israel's disobedience. This destruction is a witness against the nations (1:2). The destruction of Samaria (1:6), and Jerusalem (3:12) is a witness that God punishes sin, even in his own people, so he will also punish sin of other nations (5:15).

This Lord is coming to bring both judgement and salvation

There are three sections of the book:
Micah's summons to the people (ch 1-2),
Micah's summons to the leaders (ch 3-5), and
Micah's summons to the mountains (ch 6-7).

Each section begins, "Hear, you ...." (1:2, 3:1, 6:1), and each contain oracles of judgement and oracles of hope for the faithful remnant.
Section 1: People - judgement (1:2-2:11), hope (2:12-13)
Section 2: Leaders - judgement (3:1-12), hope (4:1-5:15)
Section 3: Mountains - judgement (6:1-7:7), hope (7:8-20)

The Shepherd King

The Messianic Shepherd King is mentioned in all three hope sections:
Section 1: The survivors of Israel will be set together like a sheep in a fold, and the "one who breaks out" will go up before them, their king (2:12-13).
Section 2: To you, O tower of the flock, the former dominion shall come (4:8). The king / ruler shall come from Bethlehem (5:2-4). He shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord.
Section 3: Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock that belongs to you (7:14)

When the wise men came to King Herod, the scribes identified these as predictions of the Messiah:
“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel” (Mt 2:5).

The Lawsuit theme

Through their idolatry, Judah had broken the covenant, so God was bringing a lawsuit against them.

1. Initial summons of nation (1:2-7)
v2 Summons of people by Lord
v3-4 Coming of the Lord
v5 Charge against Israel and Judah
v6-7 Judgement against Samaria and Jerusalem

2. Lawsuit against landowners (2:1-5)
v1-2 Charge against the oppressing landowners
v3-5 Judgement - capture, exile, loss of fields

3. Three lawsuits against the leadership of the nation (3:1-12)
v1-3 Charge against the unjust rulers
v4 Judgement - Lord will hide from them
v5 Charge against false prophets
v6-7 Judgement - disgrace, no visions, no revelation
v9-11 Charge against presumptuous leaders
v12 Judgement - Jerusalem ploughed like a field

4. A full legal case is brought against Judah, with the Lord acting as the plaintiff, Micah as his messenger, the mountains as the witnesses, and Judah as the defendant (6:1-8)
v1b Lord calls Micah to plead his case before the mountains
v2 Micah summons the mountains to hear the controversy of the Lord, "Hear you mountains ..."
v3 Case for Prosecution - Lord's case against Judah
1) What fault do they find with the Lord?

v4-5 Accusation defended - what the Lord has done
v4 Lord brought them up out of Egypt under great leaders
v5 a) Lord turned Balaam's curse into blessing
b) Lord led them across the Jordan

v6-8 Case for the Defense - Judah defending themselves
2) What sacrifice would Lord be pleased with ever increasing sacrifices?
3) What does Lord require?
- to do justice, to live kindness and to walk humbly with your God

5. Another case is brought and judgment declared (6:10-16)
v12 Accusation 1 - injustice
v13-15 Sentence 1 - famine
v16a Accusation 2 - idolatry from Ahab
v16b Sentence 2 - desolation, exile

The mountain / high places theme

Micah uses the common understanding of holy mountains, or high places, which were places of worship for pagan idolatry, but God also had his holy mountain in Jerusalem. “The Lord will come down and tread on the high places of the earth” (1:3), “the mountains will melt ... like wax in the fire” (1:4), because of the transgression of Israel. The transgression of Israel was Samaria, where the golden calves were worshipped, and the high place of Judah is Jerusalem (1:5).

He predicts that Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, the mountain of the house a wooded height (3:12), and calls the people to “Rise, plead your case before the mountains” (6:1), calling the mountains as witnesses against the people. Micah creates a picture of Yahweh coming and treading across the mountains, crushing the pagan sanctuaries under his feet.

After the judgement, he promises hope, that, “The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established ... People and nations shall stream to it, saying: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord ..." (4:1). The former dominion shall come to the hill of daughter Zion (4:8), and their boundary will be far extended, from mountain to mountain (7:12).

Message of the book

Micah is preoccupied with the sufferings of his fellow countrymen in the agricultural areas who are being exploited by the rich landed nobility (6:12). He was not particularly concerned with the political situation. His message was to the common people, dealing with social injustice and personal religion. He cries for social justice (as Amos 5:24), and he pleads for steadfast love (as Hosea 6:6).

No class of people were exempt from his prophetic word. Rulers, priests, prophets and people were all shown to be the cause of the religious, social and moral decay which had affected the heart of the nation (2:2,8-9,11, 3:1-3,5,11). Carnal judges, corrupt priests and false prophets, who oppressed the poor, were all condemned under God's coming judgement (3:12, 4:10, 6:16). Hating false religiosity, he exposed the futility of the religious observances which continued through all the corruption, injustice and inhumanity (6:7-8). Through all this, Micah still brings the hope of restoration and the coming of the Shepherd-King Messiah from Bethlehem.

This is the heart of his message: "He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness (mercy), and to walk humbly with your God". (6:8)

Related articles

Interpreting OT Prophets Dates of kings of Israel and Judah
Syria / Aram The Assyrian empire
Canaanite Religion Covenants in the Old Testament

The Bible

Pages which look at issues relevant to the whole Bible, such as the Canon of Scripture, as well as doctrinal and theological issues. There are also pages about the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha and 'lost books' of the Old Testament.

Also included are lists of the quotations of the OT in the NT, and passages of the OT quoted in the NT.

Why These 66 Books?
Books in the Hebrew Scriptures
Quotations in NT From OT
OT Passages Quoted in NT
History of the English Bible
Twelve Books of the Apocrypha
The Pseudepigrapha - False Writings
Lost Books Referenced in OT

Old Testament Overview

This is a series of six pages which give a historical overview through the Old Testament and the inter-testamental period, showing where each OT book fits into the history of Israel.

OT 1: Creation and Patriarchs
OT 2: Exodus and Wilderness
OT 3: Conquest and Monarchy
OT 4: Divided kingdom and Exile
OT 5: Return from Exile
OT 6: 400 Silent Years

New Testament Overview

This is a series of five pages which give a historical overview through the New Testament, focusing on the Ministry of Jesus, Paul's missionary journeys, and the later first century. Again, it shows where each book of the NT fits into the history of the first century.

NT 1: Life and Ministry of Jesus
NT 2: Birth of the Church
NT 3: Paul's Missionary Journeys
NT 4: Paul's Imprisonment
NT 5: John and Later NT

Introductions to Old Testament Books

This is an almost complete collection of introductions to each of the books in the Old Testament. Each contains information about the authorship, date, historical setting and main themes of the book.

Genesis Exodus Leviticus
Numbers Deuteronomy

Joshua Judges Ruth
1 & 2 Samuel 1 & 2 Kings Chronicles
Ezra & Nehemiah Esther

Job Psalms Proverbs

Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations
Ezekiel Daniel

Hosea Joel Amos
Obadiah Jonah Micah
Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah
Haggai Zechariah Malachi

Introductions to New Testament Books

This is a collection of introductions to each of the 27 books in the New Testament. Each contains information about the authorship, date, historical setting and main themes of the book.

Matthew's Gospel Mark's Gospel Luke's Gospel
John's Gospel

Book of Acts

Romans 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians
Galatians Ephesians Philippians
Colossians 1 & 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy
2 Timothy Titus Philemon

Hebrews James 1 Peter
2 Peter 1 John 2 & 3 John


Old Testament History

Information about the different nations surrounding Israel, and other articles concerning Old Testament history and the inter-testamental period.

Canaanite Religion
Israel's Enemies During the Conquest
Syria / Aram
The Assyrian Empire
Babylon and its History
The Persian Empire
The Greek Empire
The 400 Silent Years
The Ptolemies and Seleucids
Antiochus IV - Epiphanes

Old Testament Studies

A series of articles covering more general topics for OT studies. These include a list of the people named in the OT and confirmed by archaeology. There are also pages to convert the different units of measure in the OT, such as the talent, cubit and ephah into modern units.

More theological topics include warfare in the ancient world, the Holy Spirit in the OT, and types of Jesus in the OT.

OT People Confirmed by Archaeology
The Jewish Calendar
The Importance of Paradox
Talent Converter (weights)
Cubit Converter (lengths)
OT People Search
Ephah Converter (volumes)
Holy War in the Ancient World
The Holy Spirit in the OT
Types of Jesus in the OT

Studies in the Pentateuch (Gen - Deut)

A series of articles covering studies in the five books of Moses. Studies in the Book of Genesis look at the historical nature of the early chapters of Genesis, the Tower of Babel and the Table of the Nations.

There are also pages about covenants, the sacrifices and offerings, the Jewish festivals and the tabernacle, as well as the issue of tithing.

Are chapters 1-11 of Genesis historical?
Chronology of the Flood
Genealogies of the Patriarchs
Table of the Nations (Gen 10)
Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9)

Authorship of the Pentateuch
Chronology of the Wilderness Years
Names of God in the OT
Covenants in the OT
The Ten Commandments
The Tabernacle and its Theology
Sacrifices and Offerings
The Jewish Festivals
Balaam and Balak
Highlights from Deuteronomy
Overview of Deuteronomy

Studies in the Old Testament History Books (Josh - Esther)

Articles containing studies and helpful information for the history books. These include a list of the dates of the kings of Israel and Judah, a summary of the kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and studies of Solomon, Jeroboam and Josiah.

There are also pages describing some of the historical events of the period, including the Syro-Ephraimite War, and the Assyrian invasion of Judah in 701 BC.

Dates of the Kings of Judah and Israel
King Solomon
The Kings of Israel
King Jeroboam I of Israel
The Syro-Ephraimite War (735 BC)
Sennacherib's Invasion of Judah (701 BC)
King Josiah of Judah
Differences Between Kings and Chronicles
Chronology of the post-exilic period

Studies in the Old Testament Prophets (Is - Mal)

Articles containing studies and helpful information for the OT prophets. These include a page looking at the way the prophets look ahead into their future, a page looking at the question of whether Satan is a fallen angel, and a page studying the seventy weeks of Daniel.

There are also a series of pages giving a commentary through the text of two of the books:
Isaiah (13 pages) and Daniel (10 pages).

Prophets and the Future
The Call of Jeremiah (Jer 1)
The Fall of Satan? (Is 14, Ezek 28)
Daniel Commentary (10 pages)
Isaiah Commentary (13 pages)
Formation of the Book of Jeremiah

Daniel's Seventy Weeks (Dan 9:24-27)

New Testament Studies

A series of articles covering more general topics for NT studies. These include a list of the people in the NT confirmed by archaeology.

More theological topics include the Kingdom of God and the Coming of Christ.

NT People Confirmed by Archaeology
The Kingdom of God / Heaven
Parousia (Coming of Christ)
The Importance of Paradox

Studies in the Four Gospels (Matt - John)

A series of articles covering various studies in the four gospels. These include a list of the unique passages in each of the Synoptic Gospels and helpful information about the parables and how to interpret them.

Some articles look at the life and ministry of Jesus, including his genealogy, birth narratives, transfiguration, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and the seating arrangements at the Last Supper.

More theological topics include the teaching about the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete and whether John the Baptist fulfilled the predictions of the coming of Elijah.

Unique Passages in the Synoptic Gospels
The SynopticProblem
Genealogy of Jesus (Matt 1)
Birth Narratives of Jesus
Understanding the Parables
Peter's Confession and the Transfiguration
Was John the Baptist Elijah?
The Triumphal Entry
The Olivet Discourse (Mark 13)
Important themes in John's Gospel
John's Gospel Prologue (John 1)
Jesus Fulfilling Jewish Festivals
Reclining at Table at the Last Supper
The Holy Spirit as the Paraclete

Studies in the Book of Acts and the New Testament Letters

A series of articles covering various studies in the Book of Acts and the Letters, including Paul's letters. These include a page studying the messages given by the apostles in the Book of Acts, and the information about the financial collection that Paul made during his third missionary journey. More theological topics include Paul's teaching on Jesus as the last Adam, and descriptions of the church such as the body of Christ and the temple, as well as a look at redemption and the issue of fallen angels.

There are a series of pages giving a commentary through the text of five of the books:
Romans (7 pages), 1 Corinthians (7 pages), Galatians (3 pages), Philemon (1 page) and Hebrews (7 pages)

Apostolic Messages in the Book of Acts
Paul and His Apostleship
Collection for the Saints
The Church Described as a Temple
Church as the Body of Christ
Jesus as the Last Adam
Food Offered to Idols
Paul's Teaching on Headcoverings
Who are the Fallen Angels
The Meaning of Redemption
What is the Church?
Paul and the Greek Games

Romans Commentary (7 pages)

1 Corinthians Commentary (7 pages)

Galatians Commentary (3 pages)

Philemon Commentary (1 page)

Hebrews Commentary (7 pages)

Studies in the Book of Revelation

Articles containing studies and helpful information for the study of the Book of Revelation and topics concerning Eschatology (the study of end-times).

These include a description of the structure of the book, a comparison and contrast between the good and evil characters in the book and a list of the many allusions to the OT. For the seven churches, there is a page which gives links to their location on Google maps.

There is a page studying the important theme of Jesus as the Lamb, which forms the central theological truth of the book. There are pages looking at the major views of the Millennium, as well as the rapture and tribulation, as well as a list of dates of the second coming that have been mistakenly predicted through history.

There is also a series of ten pages giving a detailed commentry through the text of the Book of Revelation.

Introduction to the Book of Revelation
Characters Introduced in the Book
Structure of Revelation
List of Allusions to OT
The Description of Jesus as the Lamb
Virtual Seven Churches of Revelation
The Nero Redivius Myth
The Millennium (1000 years)
The Rapture and the Tribulation
Different Approaches to Revelation
Predicted Dates of the Second Coming

Revelation Commentary (10 pages)

How to do Inductive Bible Study

These are a series of pages giving practical help showing how to study the Bible inductively, by asking a series of simple questions. There are lists of observation and interpretation questions, as well as information about the structure and historical background of biblical books, as well as a list of the different types of figures of speech used in the Bible. There is also a page giving helpful tips on how to apply the Scriptures personally.

How to Study the Bible Inductively
I. The Inductive Study Method
II. Observation Questions
III. Interpretation Questions
IV. Structure of Books
V. Determining the Historical background
VI. Identifying Figures of Speech
VII. Personal Application
VIII. Text Layout

Types of Literature in the Bible

These are a series of pages giving practical help showing how to study each of the different types of book in the Bible by appreciating the type of literature being used. These include historical narrative, law, wisdom, prophets, Gospels, Acts, letters and Revelation.

It is most important that when reading the Bible we are taking note of the type of literature we are reading. Each type needs to be considered and interpreted differently as they have different purposes.

How to Understand OT Narratives
How to Understand OT Law
Hebrew Poetry
OT Wisdom Literature
Understanding the OT Prophets
The Four Gospels
The Parables of Jesus
The Book of Acts
How to Understand the NT Letters
Studying End Times (Eschatology)
The Book of Revelation

Geography and Archaeology

These are a series of pages giving geographical and archaeological information relevant to the study of the Bible. There is a page where you can search for a particular geographical location and locate it on Google maps, as well as viewing photographs on other sites.

There are also pages with photographs from Ephesus and Corinth.

Search for Geographical Locations
Major Archaeological Sites in Israel
Archaeological Sites in Assyria, Babylon and Persia
Virtual Paul's Missionary Journeys
Virtual Seven Churches of Revelation
Photos of the City of Corinth
Photos of the City of Ephesus

Biblical Archaeology in Museums around the world

A page with a facility to search for artifacts held in museums around the world which have a connection with the Bible. These give information about each artifact, as well as links to the museum's collection website where available showing high resolution photographs of the artifact.

There is also page of photographs from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem of important artifacts.

Search Museums for Biblical Archaeology
Israel Museum Photos

Difficult Theological and Ethical Questions

These are a series of pages looking at some of the more difficult questions of Christian theology, including war, suffering, disappointment and what happens to those who have never heard the Gospel.

Christian Ethics
Never Heard the Gospel
Is there Ever a Just War?
Why Does God Allow Suffering
Handling Disappointment

How to Preach

These are a series of pages giving a practical step-by-step explanation of the process of preparing a message for preaching, and how to lead a small group Bible study.

What is Preaching?
I. Two Approaches to Preaching
II. Study a Passage for Preaching
III. Creating a Message Outline
IV. Making Preaching Relevant
V. Presentation and Public Speaking
VI. Preaching Feedback and Critique
Leading a Small Group Bible Study

Information for SBS staff members

Two pages particularly relevant for people serving as staff on the School of Biblical Studies (SBS) in YWAM. One gives helpful instruction about how to prepare to teach on a book in the SBS. The other gives a list of recommended topics which can be taught about for each book of the Bible.

Teaching on SBS Book Topics for SBS