As announced at the outset of his book, Micah lived during the reign of Hezekiah, making him a contemporary of Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea. He was from a town in southwest Judah. He comes down to us as a rural prophet critiquing the immoral life of the city.
The text of Micah echoes the same themes of the other “minor prophets” – highlighting the iniquities and false prophets of the northern kingdom of Samaria, the idol worship, and prophesying the downfall of Israel. Notably, when the Assyrians went to war with Israel they utterly massacred the Judeans, impaling many of the men. The text concludes on a note of hope for mercy from God, following the pattern of the other Biblical prophets.
Perhaps the most important passage in Micah is as follows:
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,
though thou be little among the thousands of
Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth
unto me that is to be a ruler in Israel; whose
goings forth have been from old, from everlasting” (5:2)
Micah’s prophecy of a future ruler of Israel, a man who will ‘unite the brethren of Israel’ and who will be “the peace” against the Assyrians, will be claimed by later Christian theologians as a prophecy of the forthcoming of Jesus. Christians decipher this prophecy to mean the birthplace of a messiah for Israel. This leader will be a warrior, a destroyer of Assyria, and Nimrod, when the foreigners tread on Israeli borders.
For this reading I used the King James Version.