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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Micah - Introduction

Very little can be deduced from the book of Micah about the man who stands behind it. There is no account of a ‘call’, and at 3:5–8 he even seems to deny to himself the title of prophet. From the few details at 1:1 (see Commentary) and elsewhere we may surmise that he spoke on behalf of his fellow landowners and elders of a typical country town against the excessive burdens which the centralized militarizing policy of the Jerusalem establishment was imposing upon the people. Against surface appearances, he denounces these policies as leading to injustice ( 2:1–2; 3:1–3 ) and so interprets them as ‘transgression’ and ‘sin’ ( 1:5; 3:8 ). Appeal to only one aspect of the nation's religious traditions ( 2:6–11; 3:11 ) will not prevent them from receiving their just deserts.

Such a message fits most comfortably in the first part of the reign of Hezekiah, when intensive preparations for rebellion against Assyrian domination were undertaken. Yet it seems that Micah may earlier have spoken out against the northern kingdom ( 1:6 ), whose capital Samaria fell some twenty years previously. An extended ministry may thus be envisaged (again, see MIC 1:1 ), but the way in which such earlier material is reused to address the later situation in ch. 1 suggests that what we have now of Micah's words comes from a relatively brief period at the very end of the eighth century BCE.

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