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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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MICAH. The Morashtite , one of the four prophets of the 8th century b.c. whose writings have survived. Probably his prophecy does not extend beyond the first three chapters of the Book of Micah (see next art.).

According to the general interpretation of Micah 1:5 , Micah prophesied, at least in part, before the destruction of Samaria, which took place in b.c. 722; though some place his prophetic activity entirely in the years 705 701. In any case, he prophesied a generation or so later than Amos, later also than Hosea; but he was contemporary with Isaiah, and his activity coincides with the mid-career of Isaiah, or its close, according as we accept the one or the other of the two views just mentioned.

He was a native of Moresheth ( Micah 1:1 , Jeremiah 26:18 ), a place which, if we identify it, as we probably should, with Moresheth-gath ( Micah 1:14 ), lay in the Shephçlah of Judah, a fertile country with views over the Philistine country to the Mediterranean, and backed by the loftier hills which rise to the plateau on which Jerusalem is placed. The home of Micah thus lay a good day’s journey from the capital, which, if we may judge from the vividness of his descriptions, he must frequently have visited.

How Micah worked we are not told; that he spoke in public, and that perhaps both at home and in Jerusalem, is probable in the light of what is known of Amos and Isaiah; and, guided by the same analogy, we may suppose that he himself summarized his teaching in writing (Micah 1:1-16; Micah 2:1-13; Micah 3:1-12 in the main).

Of the call of Micah we have no details, but he understood his duty as prophet to consist in ‘declaring to Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin’ (Micah 3:8 ), and the doom which these involved. This transgression is centralized in the capitals Samaria and Jerusalem ( Micah 1:5 What is the sin (so LXX [Note: Septuagint.] ) of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?’; cf. Micah 3:10-12 ). The rising buildings and the growing magnificence of Jerusalem in Hezekiah’s day spoke to him of the grinding down of the poor by which the wealth needed for such works had been obtained. It is more especially the leading and ruling classes that Micah upbraids the wealthy land-proprietors who squeeze out the smaller holders ( Micah 2:1 ff.; cf. Isaiah 5:8 ), the judges and officials ( Micah 3:1-4 ), the prophets ( Micah 3:5 ff.), and the priests; they have wholly misunderstood Jahweh; in the very pursuit of injustice and inhumanity they rely on His presence for safety! ( Micah 3:11 ). With Micah as with Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea, Jahweh is thus essentially a righteous God, offended by man’s moral sins, pleased only with a moral life; the ethical is the essential element in His personality. Brief as is his prophecy, this is clear, and the deep impression made by his work is evident from the narrative in Jeremiah 26:1-24 .

G. B. Gray.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Micah'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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Micah, Book of