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Online Text for Micah

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Information on Micah

Ralph L. Smith writes: "The superscription suggests the time of the ministry of Micah as being during the reigns of Jotham (742-735 B.C.), Ahaz (735-715 B.C.) and Hezekiah (715-687 B.C.). These figures allow a maximum period of fifty-five years for Micah's ministry, but it is not likely that he was active as a prophet during all of that time. The references to Samaria (1:1, 6), to idols (1:7, 5:12-13. Eng. 5:13-14) and to Omri and Ahab (6:16) have led some to argue that Micah's ministry began during the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C. Other scholars have denied these references to Micah, arguing that they are the work of a later redactor. Lescow even assigns the references to Samaria to the conflict which brought about the Samaritan schism in the fourth century B.C. The evidence, however, is not strong enough to deny that Micah preached before the fall of Samaria. . . . Perhaps the earliest identifiable historical reference in the book of Micah is in 1:10-16. This pericope probably describes the march of Sennacherib from Lachish to Jerusalem in 701 B.C. If this section is the work of Micah we have evidence that he prophesied at least to the end of the eighth century B.C. Jer 26:18 tells us that Micah predicted the fall of Jerusalem (3:12) during the reign of Hezekiah (715-687 B.C.)." (Micah-Malachi, pp. 4-5)

W. Eugene March writes: "The book of Micah seems to have grown in two or perhaps three stages. The first stage involved the work done by the prophet Micah remembered by a group of disciples and some of Judah's leaders (cf. Jer. 26:18-19). The second phase appears to have involved people concerned with preserving collections of prophetic announcements, particularly those of Isaiah and Micah (a close affinity exists between these two books). The first and second phase of the book's development may overlap." (Harper's Bible Commentary, p. 731)

Philip J. King writes: "It is unanimously agreed that the substance of chs. 1-3 pertains to Micah. The tendency in the past has been to terminate his contribution at just this point. Today, there is an inclination to attribute at least parts of the remaining chapters to him, but certainly 7:8-20 is not his work." (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, vol. 1, pp. 283-284)

J. Alberto Soggin writes of the first three chapters: "In 1.2-7 we have a threat against the kingdom of Israel, later adapted to Judah by means of an addition (v. 5b). We might therefore think of a text which was originally earlier than 722-21, and was then adapted to a different situation since Israel no longer existed. In 1.8-16 we have a lament on Judah, probably on the occasion of the Assyrian invasion under Sennacherib in 701. Chapters 2-3, which give reasons for the judgment, are more difficult to date: 2.1-5 are directed against avaricious landowners; 2.6-11 against the prophet's enemies; 2.12f., however, speak of the assembling of the scattered exiles of Israel and are therefore an exception in this context, which is entirely one of judgment; 3.1-4 are against unjust judges; 3.5-8 against false prophets. In 3.9-12 the priests and prophets are the object of Micah's invective, and for the first time the threat of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple is made. As we have seen, this last passage is doubtful: Jer. 26.18 dates it in the time of Hezekiah. Anyone who accepts its authenticity will note that the passage must have made a great impression if it could be quoted a century later in a court as a reason for acquittal in such an important case." (Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 271)

Jay G. Williams writes: "There has been considerable debate among scholars about how much of the book is actually attributable to Micah himself. As usual, the more radical scholars perform amputative surgery and remove most of the passages of hope (that is, most of 4-7) as later additions. A few conservatives attirbute every word to the original Micah. The truth, however, seems to lie somewhere between the two extremes. Certainly there are several passages (for instance, 4:10 which speaks of exile in Babylon) which were probably added later. On the other hand, it hardly seems necessary to deny to Micah most of what is found in the latter half of the book. One can only do so by asssuming before hand that an eighth century prophet must have said this and not that. The truth is that we know so little about the prophetic movement as a whole that no such hypotheses can be very fully substantiated." (Understanding the Old Testament, p. 248)


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