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Micah 1:1

1. The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

1. Sermo Jehovae qui factus est (vel, directus) ad Michah Morasthitem, diebus Jotham, Achaz, Jehizkiae, regum Judae, quem vidit super Samariam et Jerusalem.


This inscription, in the first place, shows the time in which Micah lived, and during which God employed his labors. And this deserves to be noticed: for at this day his sermons would be useless, or at least frigid, except his time were known to us, and we be thereby enabled to compare what is alike and what is different in the men of his age, and in those of our own: for when we understand that Micah condemned this or that vice, as we may also learn from the other Prophets and from sacred history, we are able to apply more easily to ourselves what he then said, inasmuch as we can view our own life as it were in a mirror. This is the reason why the Prophets are wont to mention the time in which they executed their office.

But how long Micah followed the course of his vocation we cannot with certainty determine. It is, however, probable that he discharged his office as a Prophet for thirty years: it may be that he exceeded forty years; for he names here three kings, the first of whom, that is Jotham, reigned sixteen years; and he was followed by Ahab, who also reigned as many years. If then Micah was called at the beginning of the first reign, he must have prophesied for thirty-two years, the time of the two kings. Then the reign of Hezekiah followed, which continued to the twenty-ninth year: and it may be, that the Prophet served God to the death, or even beyond the death, of Hezekiah. 5959     It is probable that the greater part of his Prophecy was written in the days of this king; for a portion of what is contained in the third chapter is referred to in Jeremiah 26:18, 19, as having been delivered “in the days of Hezekiah.”—Ed. We hence see that the number of his years cannot with certainty be known; though it be sufficiently evident that he taught not for a few years, but that he so discharged his office, that for thirty years he was not wearied, but constantly persevered in executing the command of God.

I have said that he was contemporary with Isaiah: but as Isaiah began his office under Uzziah, we conclude that he was older. Why then was Micah joined to him? That the Lord might thus break down the stubbornness of the people. It was indeed enough that one man was sent by God to bear witness to the truth; but it pleased God that a testimony should be borne by the mouth of two, and that holy Isaiah should be assisted by this friend and, as it were, his colleague. And we shall hereafter find that they adopted the very same words; but there was no emulation between them, so that one accused the other of theft, when he repeated what had been said. Nothing was more gratifying to each of them than to receive a testimony from his colleague; and what was committed to them by God they declared not only in the same sense and meaning, but also in the same words, and, as it were, with one mouth.

Of the expression, that the word was sent to him, we have elsewhere reminded you, that it ought not to be understood of private teaching, as when the word of God is addressed to individuals; but the word was given to Micah, that he might be God’s ambassador to us. It means then that he came furnished with commands, as one sustaining the person of God himself; for he brought nothing of his own, but what the Lord commanded him to proclaim. But as I have elsewhere enlarged on this subject, I now only touch on it briefly.

This vision, he says, was given him against two cities Samaria and Jerusalem 6060     “He mentions Samaria first,” says Marckius, “not because it was superior to Jerusalem, or more regarded by the Prophet, but because it would be first in undergoing judgment, as it had been first in transgression.” The preposition על is rendered by some, “against,” and not “concerning.” Calvin renders it in his version super, and in his comment, contraEd. It is certain that the Prophet was specifically sent to the Jews; and Maresah, from which he arose, as it appears from the inscription, was in the tribe of Judah: for Morasthite was an appellative, derived from the place Maresah. 6161     It was a village, according to Eusebius and Jerome, west of Jerusalem, near Eleutheropolis, not far from the borders of the Philistines. See Joshua 15:44; 1 Chronicles 4:21; 2 Chronicles 9:8; 14:10. There is another circumstance, besides that of his birth in the land of Judah, which tends to prove his special mission to the Jews, — he mentions in the first verse only the kings of Judah. — Ed. But it may be asked, why does he say that visions had been given him against Samaria? We have said elsewhere, that though Hosea was specifically and in a peculiar manner destined for the kingdom of Israel, he yet by the way mingled sometimes those things which referred to the tribe or kingdom of Judah: and such was also the case with our Prophet; he had a regard chiefly to his own kindred, for he knew that he was appointed for them; but, at the same time, he overlooked not wholly the other part of the people; for the kingdom of Israel was not so divided from the tribe of Judah that no connection remained: for God was unwilling that his covenant should be abolished by their defection from the kingdom of David. We hence see, that though Micah spent chiefly his labors in behalf of the Jews, he yet did not overlook or entirely neglect the Israelites.

But the title must be restricted to one part of the book; for threatenings only form the discourse here. But we shall find that promises, full of joy, are also introduced. The inscription then does not include all the contents of the book; but as his purpose was to begin with threatenings, and to terrify the Jews by setting before them the punishment that was at hand, this inscription was designedly given. There is, at the same time, no doubt but that the Prophet was ill received by the Jews on this account; for they deemed it a great indignity, and by no means to be endured, to be tied up in the same bundle with the Israelites; for Samaria was an abomination to the kingdom of Judah; and yet the Prophet here makes no difference between Samaria and Jerusalem. This was then an exasperating sentence: but we see how boldly the Prophet performs the office committed to him; for he regarded not what would be agreeable to men, nor endeavored to draw them by smooth things: though his message was disliked, he yet proclaimed it, for he was so commanded, nor could he shake off the yoke of his vocation. Let us now proceed —

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