Summary of the Book of Micah
This summary of the book of Micah provides information about the title, author(s), date of writing, chronology, theme,
theology, outline, a brief overview, and the chapters of the Book of Micah.
Little is known about the prophet Micah beyond what can be learned from
the book itself and from Jer 26:18. Micah was from the town of Moresheth (1:1),
probably Moresheth Gath (1:14) in southern Judah. The prophecy attests to Micah's
deep sensitivity to the social ills of his day, especially as they affected
the small towns and villages of his homeland.
Micah prophesied sometime between 750 and 686 b.c. during the reigns of Jotham,
Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (1:1; Jer 26:18). He was therefore a contemporary
of Isaiah (see Isa 1:1) and Hosea (see Hos 1:1). Micah predicted the fall of Samaria (1:6), which took place in 722-721. This would place his early ministry in the reigns of Jotham (750-732) and Ahaz (735-715). (The reigns of Jotham
and Ahaz overlapped.) Micah's message reflects social conditions prior to the
religious reforms under Hezekiah (715-686). Micah's ministry most likely fell
within the period 735-700.
If Micah himself wrote out his messages, the date for the earliest written
form of his work would be c. 700. If one of his disciples arranged his messages
in their present form, the date would be the early seventh century b.c. If
a later editor collected and arranged his messages, the date would still need
to be early enough in the seventh century to allow time for his prophecy of
Jerusalem's fall (3:12) to become familiar enough to be quoted in Jer 26:18 c. 608.
The background of the book is the same as that found in the earlier portions
of Isaiah, though Micah does not exhibit the same knowledge of Jerusalem's
political life as Isaiah does. Perhaps this is because he, like Amos, was from
a village in Judah. The relevant Biblical texts covering this period (see Date
above) are 2Ki 15:32 -- 20:21; 2Ch 27-32; Isa 7; 20; 36-39.
Israel was in an apostate condition. Micah predicted the fall of her capital,
Samaria (1:5-7), and also foretold the inevitable desolation of Judah (1:9-16).
Several significant historical events occurred during this period:
- In 734-732 b.c. Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria led a military campaign
against Aram (Syria), Philistia and parts of Israel and Judah. Ashkelon
and Gaza were defeated. Judah, Ammon, Edom and Moab paid tribute to the
Assyrian king, but Israel did not fare as well. According to 2Ki 15:29
the northern kingdom lost most of its territory, including all of Gilead
and much of Galilee. Damascus fell in 732 and was annexed to the Assyrian
- In 722-721 Samaria fell, and the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered
- In 712 King Sargon II of Assyria captured Ashdod (isa 20:1;).
- In 701 Judah joined a revolt against Assyria and was overrun by King
Sennacherib and his army, though Jerusalem was spared.
- Structure. The book's collection of short prophetic messages
is organized in a pattern of three cycles of judgment and salvation/deliverance
oracles (see Outline below).
- Forms. The book contains at least seven different literary
forms. These are identified in the notes on the individual units.
- Style. Micah's style is similar to that of Isaiah. Both prophets
use vigorous language and many figures of speech (see, e.g., Mic 1:4-5,7; 2:4,6,11; 3:2-3; 4:3-4,12-13; 5:1); both show great tenderness in threatening
punishment and in promising justice. Micah makes frequent use of plays
on words, 1:10-15 (see NIV text notes there) being the classic example.
Theme and Message
As the Outline shows, Micah's message alternates between oracles of doom
and oracles of hope -- in terms of Ro 11:22, between God's "sternness" and his
"kindness." The theme is divine judgment and deliverance. Micah also stresses
that God hates idolatry, injustice, rebellion and empty ritualism (see 3:8
and note), but delights in pardoning the penitent (7:18-19;s).
Finally, the prophet declares that Zion will have greater glory in the future
than ever before (see, e.g., 4:1-2 and note on 4:1-5). The Davidic kingdom, though it will seem to come to an end, will reach greater heights through the
coming Messianic deliverer (5:1-4). Key passages include 1:2; 3:8-12; 5:1-4; 6:2,6-8; 7:18-20.
- Title (1:1)
- First Cycle: Judgment and Restoration of
Israel and Judah (1:2;2:13)
- Judgment on Israel and Judah (1:2;2:11)
- The predicted destruction (1:2-7)
- Lamentation over the destruction (1:8-16)
- Woe to oppressive land-grabbers (2:1-5)
- Condemnation of the wealthy wicked and their false prophets (2:6-11)
- Restoration of a Remnant (2:12-13)
- Second Cycle: Indictment of Judah's Leaders,
but Future Hope for God's People (chs. 3-5)
- Indictment of Judah's Leaders (ch. 3)
- Guilty civil leaders (3:1-4)
- False prophets of peace and Micah's response (3:5-8)
- Corrupt leaders and Zion's fall (3:9-12)
- Future Hope for God's People (chs. 4-5)
- The coming kingdom (4:1-5)
- Restoration of a remnant and Zion (4:6-8)
- From distress to deliverance (4:9-10)
- From siege to victory (4:11-13)
- From helpless ruler to ideal king (5:1-4)
- The ideal king delivers his people (5:5-6)
- The remnant among the nations (5:7-9)
- Obliteration of military might and pagan worship (5:10-15)
- Third Cycle: God's Charges against His People
and the Ultimate Triumph of His Kingdom (chs. 6-7)
- God's Charges against His People (6:1;7:7)
- A divine covenant lawsuit (6:1-8)
- Further charges and the sentence (6:9-16)
- A lament over a decadent society (7:1-7)
- The Ultimate Triumph of God's Kingdom (7:8-20)
- An expression of trust (7:8-10)
- A promise of restoration (7:11-13)
- A prayer, the Lord's answer, and the response (7:14-17)
- A hymn of praise to God (7:18-20)
From the NIV Study Bible, Introductions to the Books of the Bible, Micah
Copyright 2002 © Zondervan. All rights reserved. Used with permission.