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FRAMEWORKS: Micah 1: Warnings for Samaria & Jerusalem


[Preliminary Comment: This chapter is ‘tough stuff' prophetic warnings to Samaria and Jerusalem that God is coming to deal with their sins.]



v.1 The time and direction of Micah's prophecies


v.1  The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah – the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.


[Note: Moresheth, Micah's home, is about 22 miles south-west of Jerusalem. Jotham [750-732], [732-715] & Hezekiah [715-686] pinpoint the time of Micah speaking against the capitals of a) Israel, the northern kingdom, Samaria, and of b) Judah, the southern kingdom, Jerusalem.]


PART ONE: v.2-8: Primarily against Samaria


v.2 He calls the whole earth to be a witness against these two cities


v.2  Hear, you peoples, all of you,
    listen, earth and all who live in it,
that the Sovereign Lord may bear witness against you,
    the Lord from his holy temple.

Judgment against Samaria and Jerusalem


v.3,4 God is coming in all His power to bring judgment


v.3  Look! The Lord is coming from his dwelling-place;
    he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth.
v.4  The mountains melt beneath him
    and the valleys split apart,
like wax before the fire,
    like water rushing down a slope.

v.5 He's coming because of the sin, first of all, of Samaria


v.5  All this is because of Jacob's transgression,
    because of the sins of the people of Israel.
What is Jacob's transgression?
    Is it not Samaria?
What is Judah's high place?
    Is it not Jerusalem?


v.6 He is planning destruction of the city and its surrounding area


v.6  ‘Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble,
    a place for planting vineyards.
I will pour her stones into the valley
    and lay bare her foundations.

v.7 Very specifically He's coming to destroy their idolatry


v.7  All her idols will be broken to pieces;
    all her temple gifts will be burned with fire;
    I will destroy all her images.
Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes,
    as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used.'


v.8 Because of this revelation, Micah is in anguish


v.8  Because of this I will weep and wail;
    I will go about barefoot and naked.
I will howl like a jackal
    and moan like an owl.

[Note: The warning is that God is coming against both Samaria and Jerusalem because of their sins and He comes to bring disciplinary destruction that will cleanse the land of the idolatry that had been allowed to build up.]



PART TWO: v.9-16: The towns of the south of Judah


v.9 This idolatrous pollution has reached from Samaria in the north to Jerusalem in the south


v.9  For Samaria's plague is incurable;
    it has spread to Judah.
It has reached the very gate of my people,
    even to Jerusalem itself.

[Note: The ‘prophet' [although not named as such] ironically, in the coming verses, has word play for all of the towns in the far south who are equally guilty. Bearing in mind where he comes from, these are towns that are relatively local to him.]


v.10-12 All these places of the south will suffer


v.10  Tell it not in Gath [which in Hebrew sounds like ‘tell'- a city of the Philistines in the south] ; weep not at all.
In Beth Ophrah
[which means ‘house of dust' - in the northern part of Benjamin]
    roll in the dust.
v.11  Pass by naked and in shame,
    you who live in Shaphir
[meaning ‘beautiful', approx. ten miles to the south-east of Ashdod] .
Those who live in Zaanan
[Heb. sounds like ‘come out' in the same area]
    will not come out.
Beth Ezel
[meaning ‘house of those taken away' in the same area] is in mourning;
    it no longer protects you.
v.12  Those who live in Maroth [a ‘bitter town'] writhe in pain,
    waiting for relief,
because disaster has come from the Lord,
    even to the gate of Jerusalem.


v.13 Lachish get ready to flee, for bringing idolatry from Israel


v.13  You who live in Lachish, [some miles south of Gath]
    harness fast horses to the chariot.
You are where the sin of Daughter Zion began,
    for the transgressions of Israel were found in you.

v.14 So get ready to say goodbye to your neighbours


v.14  Therefore you will give parting gifts
    to Moresheth Gath.
The town of Akzib will prove deceptive
    to the kings of Israel.

v.15 Because the judgment I will send will make you flee the area


v.15  I will bring a conqueror against you
    who live in Mareshah.
The nobles of Israel
    will flee to Adullam.
[the hill country further east]

v.16 Your present ease will turn to mourning


v.16  Shave your head in mourning
    for the children in whom you delight;
make yourself as bald as the vulture,
    for they will go from you into exile.


[Note: The warnings of the concluding verses come to the towns of the south who might think they could escape God's eyes. They won't!]



Continue to Chapter 2