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An Argument of the Book of Micah

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MESSAGE STATEMENT:1

Through a series of three oracles micah indicts Israel and especially Judah of covenant disloyalty which will bring certain devastation upon them (and especially Jerusalem), but also proclaims that Yahweh will one day save them, judge their enemies, and shepherd them as their king out of his good loyal character

I. Introduction: The word of God came to Micah, the Morashite at the times of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah about the nation’s capitals Samaria and Jerusalem 1:1

II. First Oracle--Judgment against the Nations, Israel & Judah, and the Hope of Deliverance from Captivity:2 Even though Micah warns of Yahweh’s coming judgment for the nations, Israel, and especially Judah because of her covenant unfaithfulness, he promises to regather them together as their Shepherd/King 1:2--2:13

A. Judah’s Exile--Judgment against the Nations, Israel & Judah: Micah urges the people to listen to this word against them from the Lord because He is coming to judge the “high places of the earth including Samaria and especially Judah because of her premeditated evil, hardness of heart, abuse of the covenant community and uncleanness 1:2--2:11

1. Call to Attention--Hear!: Micah urges all peoples to listen to this word against them from the Lord 1:2

2. Description of the Coming Judge: The Lord is coming from His palace to judge the “high places” of the earth 1:3-4

3. Judgment Case against Northern and Southern Kingdoms: 1:5-16

a. Accusation: The Lord is coming to judge the “high places” Israel and Jacob--especially Jerusalem, Jacob’s high place 1:5

b. Announcement of Judgment: Micah not only reports that Yahweh is going to destroy Samaria because of her idolatry, but that he and the nations around Jerusalem should also lament because Jerusalem’s exile is near 6-16

1) Against the North: Yahweh is going to make Samaria a desolation as He returns her idolatrous evil upon her 1:6-7

2) Against the South: Micah laments because Judah’s sins have brought judgment to Jerusalem, and urges the cities around Jerusalem to also lament 1:8-16

a) Introduction: Micah laments because Judah’s sins have brought judgment to Jerusalem 1:8-9

b) Lament:3 Micah graphically calls on the cities around Jerusalem to mourn for the fall and exile of Jerusalem 1:10-16

4. Elaboration of Judah’s Sin: Micah elaborates Judah’s sin as premeditated evil, hardness of heart, abuse of the covenant community and uncleanness 2:1-11

a. Woe Oracle: Accusing the people of plotting and doing evil, materialistic sins against the people, Micah announces that Yahweh is planning for their destruction 2:1-5

1) Accusation: Micah accuses the people of thinking up evil things to do as extreme materialists and then doing them 2:1-2

2) Announcement of Judgment: Because of the evil of the people, Micah announces that Yahweh is planning for them to be destroyed and mocked by their enemies 2:3-5

b. Judgment Speech: Micah proclaims judgment upon the people because the leaders do not want to hear what God is saying, the people treat members of the covenant badly, and it is an unclean place where a drunkard could represent the people 2:6-11

1) The People Will Not Hear What God Tells Them:4 2:6-7

2) Treat Members of the Covenant Community Badly: 2:8-9

3) An Unclean Place Where a Drunkard Could Represent the People: 2:10-11

B. Restoration from Exile by Yahweh:5 Micah proclaims that Yahweh will regather the people after their exile and lead them as their shepherd-King 2:12-13

1. Regathering of the People: 2:12

2. Yahweh as the Guide of the People: 2:13

III. Second Oracle--The Prophet’s Indictment of the Leaders of Israel & Judah, and Judah’s Future Glory: Micah urges the leaders of Judah and Israel to hear that they will be judged now and Jerusalem will be destroyed because of their self-serving evil, but then the Lord will bring about victory for Judah through a divinely sent ruler from Bethlehem who will gather the nation and bring about peace 3:1--5:15

A. Judgment against the Rulers and False Prophets of the Land: Micah as a true prophet urges the leaders, prophets, and priests of Judah and Israel to hear that they will be judged and Jerusalem will be destroyed because of their high handed, self-serving use of position to consume people 3:1-12

1. Judgment against the Rulers of the Land: Micah urges the leaders of Israel and Judah to listen because they are unjust people who consume people, therefore, the Lord will not answer them when they cry out to Him in their distress 3:1-4

a. Call to Attention--Hear!: Micah exhorts the leaders of Israel and Judah to listen 3:1a

b. Accusation: The Leaders are unjust consuming the people 3:1b-3

c. Announcement of Judgment: Although they will call out to the Lord for help, He will not answer them because of their evil deeds 3:4

2. Judgment against the False Prophets: Accusing the false prophets of only serving themselves, Micah proclaims that a time of judgment will come when prophetic abilities will be gone, but now he proclaims God’s will concerning judgment upon Judah and Israel 3:5-7

a. Accusation: The false prophets give false hope of peace to those who prosper them, but war against those who do not profit them 3:5

b. Announcement of Judgment: Micah proclaims that a time of judgment will come when prophetic abilities will be gone, but now he proclaims God’s will concerning judgment upon Judah and Israel 3:6-8

3. Judgment against the Rulers, False Prophets, and Priests: Micah urges the leaders, priests, and prophets of Judah and Israel to listen as he accuses them of perverting their ministries with a high hand, because Jerusalem will be destroyed for this 3:9-12

a. Call to Attention: Micah urges the heads of the Judah and Israel to listen 3:9a

b. Accusation: Micah accuses the leaders, priests, prophets of perverting their ministry for personal gain, and then affirming that the Lord is with them so that they will not be judged 3:9b-11

c. Announcement of Judgment: Because of the evil of the leaders Micah affirms that Jerusalem will be raised 3:12

B. Salvation of Jerusalem:6 Although Jerusalem will have glory among the nations in the last days, she must first be taken into captivity, then the Lord will bring about victory through a divinely sent ruler from Bethlehem 4:1--5:15

1. Jerusalem’s Glorious Future: Micah describes the glory which Jerusalem will have in the last days 4:1-8

a. World Prominence: 4:1a

b. A Peoples Will Come to Jerusalem: 4:1b

c. Instruction and Revelation From Jerusalem: 4:2

d. Yahweh Will Be Judge Bringing World Peace and National Security: 4:3-4

e. The Nation Will Prosper: 4:5-8

1) Spiritually Sensitive to Yahweh 4:5

2) Gathered Together: 4:6

3) Be Strong: 4:7

4) Jerusalem Will Have Dominion 4:8

2. Crisis and Restoration: Before Jerusalem may be regathered from captivity, she must first be taken into captivity, then the Lord will bring about victory through a divinely sent ruler from Bethlehem who will gather the nation and bring about peace 4:9--5:15

a. Crises Which Precedes the Victorious Kingdom: Before Jerusalem may be regathered from captivity, she must first be taken into captivity now 4:9-5:1

1) Now--Captivity to Babylon: 4:9-10a

2) Then--Regathered from Babylon: 4:10b

3) Now--Army against Jerusalem: 4:11-13

4) Now--The King/Judge7 of Israel Will Be Smitten on the Cheek: 5:1 [Heb 4:14]

b. Victory Through A Divinely Sent Ruler from Bethlehem: 5:2-15

1) The King’s Birth and Being--Bethlehem/Eternal: 5:2 [Heb 5:1]

2) The King’s Work: 5:3-15 [Heb 5:2-14]

a) Initially The Lord Will Reject the Nation: 5:3a

b) Gather the Nation Together: 5:3b-4

c) Bring Peace for the Nation: 5:5-15

(1) Destroy Enemies: 5:5-9

(2) Destroy Weapons and Fortifications of War: 5:10-11

(3) Destroy the Occult: 5:12

(4) Destroy Idolatry: 5:13-14

(5) Destroy Disobedient Nations: 5:15

IV. Third Oracle--God’s Lawsuit with Israel and the Ultimate Triumph of the Kingdom of God: Although Micah (on behalf of the nation) admits to Yahweh’s charge of covenant unfaithfulness and is willing to suffer for his (the nation’s) sin, he warns their enemies not to scoff at their punishment because the Lord will restore the nation, and judge the earth, whereupon he and the nation pray for the Lord to shepherd them, and praise Him for the wonderful works that He will do out of His loyal character 6:1--7:20

A. Final Round of Judgment: When the Lord in His faithfulness charges the nation with covenant disloyalty, Micah, on behalf of the nation, admits his (their) sin, and yet waits for the Lord to save them 6:1--7:7

1. A Covenant Lawsuit: In the form of a covenant lawsuit, Yahweh challenges the people to present their case before the mountains as their jury, because He has been faithful and has a case against them, therefore, Micah reminds the people to approach God with covenant obedience and not religious ritual 6:1-8

a. Introduction: Yahweh challenges the people to present their case before Him, and summons the mountains to appear as witness in the law suit because He has a case against His people 6:1-2

1) Challenge the People to Present Their Case: 6:1

2) Summons the Mountains to Appear as Witnesses: 6:2

b. Divine Challenge to the People: Yahweh challenges the people to bring a charge against Him since He has been faithful to them in history 6:3-5

1) Challenge to Bring an Accusation against the Lord: 6:3

2) Challenge to Remember the Lord’s Saving Deeds: 6:4-5

c. Conclusion--A Prophetic Reminder of the Lord’s Requirements: Micah exhorts the nation not to approach the Lord with religious ritual, but with covenant obedience--justice, lovingkindness, and submission to the Lord 6:6-8

2. A Judgment Speech: The Lord calls His people who are cheating others with their measurements to hear that destruction is coming because of their wickedness which was like that of their fathers Omri and Ahab 6:9-16

a. Call to Attention: 6:9

b. Accusation: The rich in the community are cheating others with their measurements 6:10-12

c. Announcement of Judgment: Destruction is coming because of the wickedness of the people 6:13-15

d. Summary of Judgment Speech: Because the people are following the “laws” of Omri and the works Ahab, they will be destroyed 6:16

1) Accusation: 6:16a

2) Announcement of Judgment: 6:16b

3. Prophetic Lament:8 Micah admits the sin of the nation and his own personal sin, but affirms that he will wait for the God of his salvation 7:1-7

a. Lament Proper: Micah admits the sin of the nation and his own personal sin 7:1-6

b. Statement of Confidence: Micah will wait for the God of his salvation 7:7

B. Final Promise of Salvation: Even though Micah is willing to suffer punished for his (and the nation’s) sin, he warns the enemies not to scoff because the Lord will restore the nation, and judge the earth, whereupon he and the nation pray for the Lord to shepherd them, and praise him for the wonderful works that He will do out of His loyal character 7:8-20

1. Zion’s Confidence/Oracle of Salvation: Even through Micah is willing to suffer punishment for his iniquity, he warns the enemy that he should not laugh in derision, because the Lord will deliver the nation, rebuild it, extend its boundaries, cause the nations to come to her, and judge the earth 7:8-13

a. Confidence: Micah affirms that although he will suffer punishment for his iniquity, the enemy should not rejoice over his loss and question the presence of his Lord because the Lord will deliver him 7:8-10

b. Oracle of Salvation Addressed to Zion: Micah proclaims that there will be a time when Jerusalem will be rebuilt, her boundaries extended, and the nations will come to her while the rest of the earth is judged 7:11-13

2. National Prayer: Micah prays that the Lord would shepherd His people, affirms that He will do miraculous things as before, proclaims with the nation confidence that He will overcome their enemies, and praises Him for His loyal character 7:14-20

a. Petition: Micah prays that the Lord would Shepherd His people when they are safe in the land as their King 7:14

b. Oracle of Salvation to the Nation: Yahweh will show miraculous things to His people as when He brought them out from Egypt 7:15

c. Nation’s Statement of Confidence: The nation proclaims its confidence that in the future the nations will be overcome by their God and come in fear before Him 7:16-17

d. Concluding Hymn of Praise: Micah proclaims the unique character of their God who is gracious, loyal, compassionate, forgiving, and keeps His promises 7:18-20

1) Yahweh does not remains forever angry 7:18a

2) Yahweh has loyal love 7:18b

3) Yahweh is compassionate 7:19a

4) Yahweh forgives: 7:19b

5) Yahweh is true to His covenant promises 7:20


1 This outline is adapted through my own study from the analyses of Gleason L. Archer, Jr. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 330-31; Robert B. Chisholm, Jr., Interpreting the Minor Prophets, 134-52; Homer Heater, Jr., Notes on the Book of Micah, unpublished class notes in seminar in the exilic Old Testament prophets [Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1990], 175-76; Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, 34-40; John A Martin, An Outline of Micah, unpublished class notes in 304 preexlic and exilic prophets, (Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1983), 1-3; Micah, in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty: Old Testament,1475-76; Thomas Edward McComiskey, Micah, in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, VII:401.

The overall structure will recognize three major units each of which beings with Hear and each of which may be divided into sections of judgment and salvation.

2 Chisholm notes a chiastic structure for 1:2--3:12:

A Immediate future: Jerusalem conquered like Samaria 1:2-16

B Present: Judah's sin denounced 2:1-11

C Ultimate future: Restoration from Exile 2:12-13

B' Present: Judah's sin denounced 3:1-11

A' Immediate future: Jerusalem conquered (like Samaria) 3:12

Robert B. Chisholm, Jr., Interpreting the Minor Prophets, 133. Even though this structure crosses over the larger division Chisholm writes, The structural relationship between 3:1-12 and chapters 4--5 does not invalidate the chiasmus proposed ... for chapters 1--3. Two or more structures can sometimes run concurrently (Ibid., 134, n. 3).

3 This section includes wonderful word plays on the names of the ten cities.

4 Heater writes, Verse six is difficult because it is the account of an emotional, heated encounter between Micah and the prophets who opposed his message, The words for speak in the verse mean literally 'to drip' ... and are used almost exclusively of prophetic speech. The false prophets are telling Micah not to rock the boat.... The difference between the translation of NIV and NASB is rather striking. The NASB is more literal, but the sense is better captured by NIV. To get what NIV has, the verb must be made impersonal: 'Let them (Micah and others) not prophesy.' The next phrase is equally difficult. It should probably be better understood as the words of the false prophets: 'Calamities will not overtake us.' (2:6)

Israel is questioning Micah's message. God is surely not angry is He? Micah says that his message will be good to those who do good, but those who treat God as an enemy and God's people as easy prey can expect to be expelled from the land (2:7-10) (Homer Heater, Jr., Notes on the Book of Micah, unpublished class notes in seminar in the preexilic Old Testament prophets [Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1990], 37).

5 Often the sections on salvation in Micah are questioned as being genuine because of the seemingly abrupt movement from one theme to the next, but Chisholm is helpful when he responds, However, from a rhetorical standpoint, one could view them as part of an intentional juxtapositional technique used to contrast sharply the present/immediate future described in the preceding or following context(s) with the ultimate restoration portrayed in the salvation messages themselves (Robert B. Chisholm, Jr., Interpreting the Minor Prophets, 132).

6 Chisholm sees a chiastic structure for chapters 4:5--5:15

A The nations do not follow the Lord at present 4:5

B Judah is restored 4:6

C A remnant becomes a great nation under the Lord's rule 4:7

D Rulership returns to Zion 4:8

E Zion and its king are humiliated 4:9

F Zion is exiled and redeemed 4:10

F' Zion is protected 4:11-13

E' Zion and its king are humiliated 5:1

D' A ruler arises in power 5:2-6

C' The Lord's power makes a remnant a superior nation 5:7-9

B' Judah is purified 5:10-14

A' The Lord judges the disobedient nations 5:15

Robert B. Chisholm, Jr., Interpreting the Minor Prophets, 141-42.

7 Heater writes, The king is called judge (shophet...) perhaps to rhyme with rod (shebet...) (Homer Heater, Jr., Notes on the Book of Micah, unpublished class notes in seminar in the preexilic Old Testament prophets [Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1990], 39).

8 Chisholm also sees a chiastic structure to chapter seven:

A Prophet's Lament 1-7

B Zion confident of her enemies' defeat 8-10

C Zion assured of salvation 11-13

D The nation's prayer 14

C' The nation assured of salvation 15

B' The nation confident of her enemies defeat 16-17

A' The nation's hymn of praise 18-20

Robert B. Chisholm, Jr., Interpreting the Minor Prophets, 152-53.

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines