How much more can we stand of this non-stop ranting? Summary of the first chapter – the people are sinners; Yahweh’s gonna punish them; the prophet (in this case, Micah, but really, he could be any of these prophets) warns the people in various towns of the impending doom. Because he is so distraught, Micah will “mourn and lament… walk around barefoot and naked… howl like a jackal and moan like an owl.” (v 8) Likewise, Micah advises people to roll in the dust to show their despair, flee their towns, hang their heads in shame, etc etc. Same old, same old…
In the first two verses, Micah rants against evil people. Then in v 3, god says he will reward their evil with evil. Since when do two wrongs make a right? Pretty unsophisticated moral reasoning for an almighty deity. There’s nothing worth noting after that – just the usual rant about how the people sin and how Yahweh’s gonna pay them back.
Now Micah rants at the corrupt leaders of Israel. Pretty vivid language in v 2-3. Does he mean that literally, or figuratively? Disgusting either way. V 5-7 rail against prophets who lead people astray. Pot, meet kettle! But Micah doesn’t see that – he excepts himself from that lot (v 8). And then in v 9-12 he blames the corrupt leaders for all the coming destruction. Is there any justice in that? Just like keeping the whole class in for detention because one kid acted up?
Here we go with end-times utopia again. Everyone will live in peace and harmony, yup, we’ve heard this before. In fact, it’s quite familiar – no wonder! Compare Micah 4:1-3 with Isaiah 2:2-4. Who plagiarized whom? Micah should have been written first – he supposedly lived in the 8th century BCE, and Isaiah was much later; but Micah was subject to later editing and additions, so who knows? Too bad god didn’t catch the error and correct it when he edited his infallible, inerrant masterpiece.
Anyway, on that day, god will gather up the remnants of his people (whoever survives the exile, I suppose). He will give them instructions to “rise up and crush the nations, O Jerusalem!… For I will give you iron horns and bronze hooves, so you can trample many nations to pieces. You will present their stolen riches to the Lord, their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.” (v 13) In addition to being cruel, it shows Yahweh’s true colors as a megalomaniac – can’t you just hear him crying “mine, all mine!”
Oh boy, this one’s a biggie. Read v 1-6 carefully and note the context. Is it about Jesus? Of course, say Christians. Hmmm. Not so fast. It’s obvious from v 5-6 that the passage refers to a military leader who will defeat the Assyrians. And what about the reference to Bethlehem? Well, as the SAB explains very well, Bethlehem Ephratah refers not to a town at all, but to a clan. (See 1 Chronicles 2:18 and 2:50-52; and 1 Chronicles 4:4) Matthew 2:5-6 misquotes this passage, carefully leaving out the “Ephratah” to make it seem to apply to the town. Clever.
At any rate, after that the remnant of Jews who survive will go on to prosper, and their enemies will be punished with Yahweh’s usual creatively vengeful methods of torture. This time they include slaughtering all the enemies’ horses – poor animals (v 10).
Yahweh plays the victim card, changing his usual rant to the ‘after all I’ve done for you’ speech. But as usual, believers manage to find a line to cherry-pick and quote. Then it reverts back to the usual rant.
Micah’s in a blue funk. All the good people have fled, and he’s left among the riff-raff. But never mind; it’s not for long. In the meantime, trust no-one. (v 4-6). V 7 is another favorite quote. Then the usual promises – Israel will be rebuilt and honored by people from all over, and everyone will be amazed and fearful at the mightiness of their god, and the Jews will live peacefully and happily ever after. Yeah, like that has ever happened.