THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET MICAH.
The prophet Micah ("Who is like Jehovah?") was a native of Moreaheth, near Gath, a small town about twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem, and therefore was known as the Morasthite. His prophetic activity extended through all or parts of the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, during the second half of the eighth century before Christ. He was therefore a contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea. Like the former prophet, he prophesied chiefly in Jerusalem, against the southern kingdom, but the northern kingdom is also included.
The prophecy of Micah agrees with the conditions under which he labored. He witnessed a gradual falling away from the worship of the one true God, especially under Ahaz, and even Hezekiah experienced great difficulty in introducing the reforms which he knew to be necessary. The conditions in the northern kingdom were even worse. At the same time, Assyria was developing as a world-power, and both kingdoms made the bad mistake of calling upon the foreign power for assistance. Thus the history of Micah's time is a history of a gradual decay, and it was one of the prophet's objects to stem the tide of destruction. For that reason his message abounds in rebukes of the idolatrous people, of the greed of those in power, of the unrighteousness of the judges, and of the lying spirit of the false prophets. However, after the judgment has been executed, the Lord's people are to be rescued, their full deliverance being accomplished through the coming of Messiah, to whose coming the true believers ever looked forward.
The Book of Micah is readily divisible into three parts, the first, chaps. 1 and 2, containing a call to repentance addressed to Israel and to Judah, the second, chapters 3 to 5, a rebuke of the cruel heads and princes of the people and of the false prophets, together with promises of the Messiah and of the spiritual glory of His Church, and the third, chapters 6 and 7, a recital of the Lord's controversy with His people, of the nation's moral corruption, and of the renewal of God's former mercies. "A summary of the contents of Micah's prophecies clearly indicates that this prophet, in the certainty and clearness of his Messianic prophecy, as well as in the power and energy exhibited by him in combating the sins and vices of his people, does not rank beneath his contemporary Isaiah, while the main point of difference consists in this, that Micah raises his voice against the religious and moral corruption of the people's rulers only and is not concerned with the political side of their machinations." 1)