Study Guide

Micah in The Twelve Minor Prophets

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Put Hosea, Joel and Amos in a blender et voila, it’s the prophet Micah.

  • A lowly country bumpkin taking on the professional prophets from the big city? Check.
  • Covenant lawsuits? Affirmative.
  • God championing reg’lar folks and the poor against the rich and powerful? Yup.
  • Yahweh reuniting Israel and Judah as one covenant nation? Uh-huh.

Micah even brings up another old familiar theme: “All her images shall be beaten to pieces, all her wages shall be burned with fire, and all her idols I will lay waste; for as the wages of a prostitute she gathered them, and as the wages of a prostitute they shall again be used” (NRSV 1:7).

But if you can get everything in Micah from reading the first three books, why not just skip ahead?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the quotes. Micah is chock full of powerful images, some of which pop up again other books, such as the prophet Isaiah, the Christian New Testament and the Saw series. Here’s a brief sample:

And I said: Listen, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel! Should you not know justice?—you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin off my people, and the flesh off their bones; who eat the flesh of my people, flay their skin off them, break their bones in pieces, and chop them up like meat in a kettle, like flesh in a cauldron. (NRSV 3:1-3)

In days to come the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. (NRSV 4:1-4); compare with Isaiah, chapter 2:1-4)

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. (NRSV 5:2); compare with Matthew 2:5-6)

All in all, not too shabby.

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