The Book of Micah contains three speeches; one for the capitals of the two kingdoms, one for the leaders and one for the common people. Micah is the thirty-third book in the Bible, and the sixth of the Minor Prophetical Books. Micah lived in the latter half of the 8th century BC and was from the village of Moresheth in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. His message is one of admonishment for their sins, but Micah also prophesies the Messianic Kingdom to come in the future, when there will be peace on earth.
Micah warns the people of Samaria of God's coming judgement because of their sins.
"Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field,
and as plantings of a vineyard:
and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley,
and I will discover the foundations thereof.
And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces,
and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire,
and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate:
for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot,
and they shall return to the hire of an harlot"
"Therefore I will wail and howl,
I will go stripped and naked:
I will make a wailing like the dragons,
and mourning as the owls.
For her wound is incurable;
for it is come unto Judah;
he is come unto the gate of my people,
even to Jerusalem."
Micah then goes on to describe the destruction of certain towns. The method he uses in his speech is a play on words. For example, he says that the town of Aphrah (which means in English “dust”) should roll themselves in dust. Sadly the effect is lost in English translations of the Bible
These evil acts anger God and He promises to punish those who are responsible.
"And they covet fields, and take them by violence;
and houses, and take them away:
so they oppress a man and his house,
even a man and his heritage.
Therefore thus saith the Lord;
Behold, against this family do I devise an evil,
from which ye shall not remove your necks;
neither shall ye go haughtily:
for this time is evil"
The people Micah is addressing do not want to hear his words of admonishment. They would prefer to listen to someone extoling the virtues of alcohol rather than God.
"If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie,
saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink;
he shall even be the prophet of this people"
Micah warns the leaders that God is on the side of the people and their oppressors' pleas for mercy will not be heard.
"And I said, Hear, I pray you,
O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel;
Is it not for you to know judgment?
who hate the good, and love the evil;
who pluck off their skin from off them,
and their flesh from off their bones;
who also eat the flesh of my people,
and flay their skin from off them;
and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces,
as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
Then shall they cry unto the Lord,
but he will not hear them:
he will even hide his face from them at that time,
as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings"
Micah is talking about the future when God will rule the world from mount Zion in Jerusalem.
"But in the last days it shall come to pass,
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established in the top of the mountains,
and it shall be exalted above the hills;
and people shall flow unto it.
And many nations shall come, and say,
Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
and to the house of the God of Jacob;
and he will teach us of his ways,
and we will walk in his paths:
for the law shall go forth of Zion,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem"
"But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah,
though thou be little among the thousands of Judah,
yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;
whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
He was, of course, predicting the birth of Jesus. 700 years after Micah's time the Messiah was indeed born in Bethlehem
God shows us that he does not require sacrifice from us; only that we act justly, mercifully and that we walk humbly with Him.
"Wherewith shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before the high God?
shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves of a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the Lord require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?"
Micah warns that no one is to be trusted.
"Trust ye not in a friend,
put ye not confidence in a guide:
keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.
For the son dishonoureth the father,
the daughter riseth up against her mother,
the daughter in law against her mother in law;
a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.
Therefore I will look unto the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation:
my God will hear me"
In the future, when God rules on earth, the Israelites' enemies will be shown just how powerless they are compared to God.
"The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might:
they shall lay their hand upon their mouth,
their ears shall be deaf.
They shall lick the dust like a serpent,
they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth:
they shall be afraid of the Lord our God,
and shall fear because of thee"