James Nisbet Commentary - Micah 1:1 - 1:1

Online Resource Library

Commentary Index | Return to PrayerRequest.com | Download

James Nisbet Commentary - Micah 1:1 - 1:1

(Show All Books | Show All Chapters)

This Chapter Verse Commentaries:


‘Micah the Morasthite.’


When the ministry of the courtly and cultured Isaiah was about half over, there appeared in Judah another prophet of a very different type, Micah by name. Isaiah was the associate of kings, being himself, according to Jewish tradition, of royal birth; but Micah came from the little country village of Moreshah (Mic_1:1), in Western Palestine, and in dress, gestures, and expressions, if we may judge from chap. Mic_1:8, reminds one of the prophet Elijah.

I. Though differing widely in personality, Isaiah and Micah were in close sympathy and harmony, as is shown by their messages; and it is very likely they often met and talked and prayed together. They both condemned unsparingly the evils of the times; both predicted judgment as the result of the nation’s sin; and both prophesied of Christ’s Advent and of His glorious reign. See how almost identical are the words of Mic_4:1-3 with the passage found in Isa_2:2-4, causing one to think that one prophet quoted the other. There is a strong resemblance between the two Books in several respects. The peculiarity of Micah’s prophecy is that it is concerning both the northern and the southern kingdoms (see chap. Mic_1:1; Mic_1:5), although the burden of his message seems to be intended for Judah.

II. One thing which distinguishes Micah is the result of his ministry.—There is no hint of this in his Book, but from Jeremiah’s one reference to him we gather that Micah was instrumental in the conversion of King Hezekiah. You will recall that Jeremiah, living about one hundred years after Micah, was arrested in the Temple one day, by the priests, prophets, and people, for prophesying the destruction of the Temple and city, and was in danger of being put to death when the princes of Judah interfered. The disturbance was quelled, and the tide of public sentiment against Jeremiah was turned by the elders calling attention to the similarity of Micah’s teaching and its results (see Jer_26:18-19).

We know, from the record in Kings, that this attitude of submission to God on the part of King Hezekiah brought upon himself and his kingdom such blessing that his was the most glorious reign of all the kings of Judah since Solomon. So Micah, by his faithful preaching, served well his sovereign, his country, and his God.

Micah seems to have made a deep impression upon the minds and hearts of the Jewish people. He is often referred to, and his utterances quoted by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zephaniah. St. Matthew and St. John also quote him. It is Micah who pointed out the birthplace of the Messiah, thus enabling the scribes and Pharisees to direct the wise men to Bethlehem, where they should find the Christ-child.

III. In style, Micah is rather dramatic, given to the use of imagery and figures of speech.—Notice the picture with which the prophecy opens. It represents God as rising in indignation at the sins of His people, and coming forth in wrath from His place on high like a great consuming fire, before which the mountains melt, and the valleys are broken. Samaria is the first to feel the heat of God’s indignation, but the tide of judgment comes rolling down even to the gate of Jerusalem, and still onward, until Micah sees in vision one after the other of the towns in the neighbourhood of his own home-town given over to destruction.


‘Micah came from the neighbourhood of Gath, in the Philistine plain, with its luxuriant vineyards, orchards, and cornfields, its busy towns and its glimpses of the great sea. He exerted a strong influence over Hezekiah and his times. Though of humble birth, he came to stand in the front rank of the prophetic band. The 8th verse tells us that he perambulated the streets and public places of Jerusalem, mingling his prophetic appeals and warnings with loud wails, like the deep hollow roar of the ostrich or the piteous howl of the jackal. Such an apparition, proclaiming day after day the national sins and threatening impending doom, struck the hearts of king and people with awe. In days long after the elders of the city recalled him, and ascribed to his preaching the great revival which inaugurated Hezekiah’s reign.’