We are going to begin our study of Micah. We are not going to comment on every verse, nor write the verse out, but the verse or verses being commented on will be designated.
This book deals with the Assyrian king Sargon II and his invasion, and Sennacherib is coming up the Shephelah Valley. The people in the south are without hope and they need a great salvation as a result. This will also be the case in the very near future when Russia invades the land of Israel. Micah 1 is similar to Isaiah 1, and the people are in idolatry. Eschatologically, Micah 1 in the “sowd” level is a Rosh ha Shannah, a Yom ha Din at the end of the second year of the Birth-pains because Samaria has not fallen yet, but will during the reign of the second king of Judah, King Ahaz (Isa 7). Isa 1 is a Yom ha Din and a Yom Kippur passage. In the “sowd” level it is talking about Yom Kippur, third year of Birth-pains, and Israel is on the brink of annihilation by the Russian invasion.
Micah 1.1…Micah lives in Moreshet, a city in the Shephelah Valley. It means “heritage” and he is given this prophecy for Samaria and Jerusalem, the two main cities of Israel and Judah. This two state set up is prophetic of what the situation will be in Israel in the latter days. Micah is a contemporary of Isaiah, who prophesied to the south only, however. Micah prophesied in the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah which tells you his prophecy concerns the first three years of the Birth-pains in the “sowd” level.
Micah 1.2…Charges are being brought against the people, which tells us it is a Yom Ha Din. Dan 7.9-10 according to the Jewish Encyclopedia is a Yom ha Din, specifically Rosh ha Shannah. There are only two days of the year that are called a Yom ha Din, and they are Rosh ha Shannah and Yom Kippur. The terms used in these passages tell us it is Rosh ha Shannah. Isaiah 1 has similar charges being brought, but the terms used indicate it is a Yom Kippur passage. In the “peshat” level, Samaria has not fallen yet, so in the “sowd” level it is the end of the second year of the Birth-pains. The word “hear” is the word “shema” which means “to hear and obey.” The “peoples” he is referring to are the tribes of the nation. The Lord is a witness against both houses.
Micah 1.3…The Lord is coming from his Temple in heaven with these charges. For insight into what is happening there, go to Dan 7.9-10, which is a Yom ha Din, specifically Rosh ha Shannah. He is coming to tread on the “high places” which is an idiom for “haughty people” but can also mean places for idol worship. The “earth” or “land” is the land of Israel.
Micah 1.4…this is similar terminology that you will see in Zech 14.12; 2 Pet 3.10-12; 1 John 2.17; Psa 75.3, which means that the works of man (governments, towns, religious traditions) will be done away with and destroyed.
Micah 1.5…this verse ties in to v 13 and the centers of idolatry in both the north and the south. This judgment by the Lord where he is using the Assyrians as his “rod” of discipline (Isa 9.4, 10.5,24; Micah 5.1). Samaria and Jerusalem are called “high places” by the Lord which have become centers of idolatry as far as he is concerned.
Micah 1.6-8…Samaria is going to fall (Isa 7 during the reign of Ahaz). The fear and wailing is because the Assyrians are coming up the Shephelah Valley and cannot be stopped. This is a cause for mourning, like Isaiah did in Isa 20.3.
Micah 1.9…The “wound” is incurable, which means judgment is set for the northern 10 tribes. For “it” has come to Judah means that means the Assyrians will be coming to Jerusalem as well.
Micah 1.10-16…This begins a section of Hebraic poetry called Midrashic Name Derivations, or MND’s, which are puns, word plays and name associations with messages for the hearers. It will also be written in what is called a Chaistic Structure. This is where the verses are structured in a “A,B,C,B,A” type format, where the beginning points to the main message in the middle, and then goes back with variant messages. For example “the first shall be last and the last shall be first” (A,B,B A) is chiastic. So, we are going to look at these MND’s in verses 10-16 to show you what is going on. The main point of these verses will be in v 13 with Lachish, the main center of defense. All of the cities mentioned here are in the Shephelah Valley. Remember, in order to take Jerusalem you have to take the Shephelah.
v 10… “Tell it not in Gath”… alludes to what David said at Saul’s death (2 Sam 1.20). It is a hidden message to the nation. They were to “remez” David’s song of mourning there.
“Weep not at all in Beth-Aphrah”… which means “house or dust”
“roll yourself in the dust”…see the word play?
v 11…”pass by in naked shame”…shame is “boshet” and is used for an idol and is used like “Asherah-Boshet for example. Gideon is called Jerubaal in Judges 6.34 and Jeru-Boshet in 2 Sam 11.21. Sauls’ son is called Merib-Baal in 1 Chr 8.33 and Ish-Boshet in 2 Sam 2.8. Jonathan had a son Meri-Baal in 1 Chr 8.34 who is also called Mephi-Boshet in 2 Sam 4.4. The first word in Hebrew in this verse is “Ivri” meaning “Hebrews” but it is not in English versions.
“you inhabitant of Shaphir”…which means “beautiful city”
“the inhabitant of Zaanan”…which means “going out”
“does not go out”…a word play
“Beth Ezel mourns”…means “house of nearness” and Naanan was near to Beth Ezel and the people did not go out because of the wailing of Beth Ezel.
v 12…”for the inhabitants of Maroth”…there are no towns named this, but it is believed to be “Yarmut” and Micah used “Maroth” because it means “bitterness”
“pined for good”…good is “tov” in Hebrew and there is a word play with “bitter” and “good” here.
“but disaster came down from the Lord”…disaster is “ra” or “evil” in Hebrew.
“to the gate of Jerusalem”…through the Shephelah where these towns are located, Jerusalem (the goal-v 9).
v 13…”O inhabitant of Lachish”…this is the center verse of a chiastic structure. Lachish was the core of the Shephelah defenses and the key to taking the valley. It was so important that Sennacherib sent subordinates to Jerusalem and he stayed to take it himself.
“harness the chariots to swift horses”.. “horses” in Hebrew is “l’rechesh” and it is a word play on “Lachish” and sound similar…means to “run” and get out of there.
“she was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion”…meaning all the idolatry problems in the land started with you, it is your fault. It spread like a disease. We will talk in detail about this later.
“for the transgressions of Israel were found in you”…the golden calves in 1 Kings 12.25-33 for example.
v 14…”Therefore you shall give presents”…Hebrew for “presents” is “shiluchim” meaning a bill of divorce because it carries the idea of a dowry being given back as a “parting gift” or “present.”
“to Moreshet-Gath”…Moreshet sounds like the word “meoreset” which means “betrothed woman” and it is a word play on “presents” meaning you used to have Moreshet-Gath (heritage of winepress) but not anymore because she has been taken by the Assyrians.
“the houses of Achzib”… Achzib means “deceit”
“shall be a lie”…lie is “Achzav” in Hebrew meaning a deceitful thing. It means that the end was coming fast, like a wadi that is dry in the summer then with no warning water comes rushing at you and you could drown (Jer 15.18; Psa 126). They thought that Morehst-Gath would stop the Assyrians, but it didn’t.
v 15…”I will yet bring an heir to you”…”heir” is “yorash” meaning to “dispossess”
“O inhabitant of Mareshah”…Mareshah means “possess” and the meaning is “you who inhabit possession will be dispossessed.”
“the glory of Israel”…or the royalty
“shall come to Adullam”…to hide (like David did in 1 Sam 22.1) from the Assyrians.
v 16…”make yourself bald”…this was an idolatrous practice and shows that you have given yourself over to idolatry (Isa 3.17) and is forbidden in the Torah as an act of mourning (Lev 19.27, 21.5; Deut 14.1).
“and cut off your hair…
“because of your precious children”…they offered their children to idols or exposed them to pagan practices
“enlarge your baldness like a vulture”…grotesquely bald and ugly
“for they shall go from you into captivity”…God says “you want paganism for you and your children, I will give them paganism for you and your children. I am sending you to the home of paganism.” No puns here but a powerful message. The real enemy is idolatry, not the Assyrians.
If the Shephelah Valley falls, they are in great danger. The Assyrians are coming and they show no mercy. Eschatologically, the Russians (Gog and Magog) will be coming the same way and take the same route (Ezek 38-39). Verse 13 above is the focal point of this chiastic structure, which is the town of Lachish. It was so important and such a key defense that the Assyrian king sent his subordinates ahead of him to Jerusalem (Isa 36) and he stayed himself to take it personally. In Part 6, we are going to deal with the key to understanding what and why this is happening in the 8th century with the prophets Micah and Isaiah. This “key” will carry over with the 7th century and it will also tell us what is happening today and about the “last days” or the “Acharit Yamin.” Some of the material that will be presented will relate to the sexuality involved with the paganism in Israel and Judah, but it is necessary to understanding the prophets and why the Lord was so angry with the people. This will be why he went to such drastic measures to eliminate it from among his people. It will also relate to the coming of Yeshua and today’s events.