Micah was a prophet from Judah, but prophesied to both Samaria and Jerusalem, capital cities of the northern and southern kingdoms. He prophesied before and after the fall of Samaria in 722 BC and into the reign of Judah’s king, Hezekiah. He was a contemporary of Isaiah. Unlike Isaiah, however, Micah was not part of the inner court. More like Amos, Micah was from the village of Moresheth. This may explain Micah’s sensitivity to social injustice.
The seven chapters of this book are a series of prophecies that alternate between judgment and restoration. Micah rebukes Samaria and Jerusalem for spiritual prostitution and social injustices, promising exile for both. Leaders are chided for taking bribes and working for hire, thereby leading many people astray. Still, Micah prophesies an eventual restoration, where there will be justice in Israel and peace among the nations. A remnant will be gathered from exile and Israel’s dominion will be restored. Leading this remnant will be a promised ruler from Bethlehem, David’s hometown. In other words, this new leader will be a new David, who has come to shepherd his flock in peace. Matthew 2:5-6 connects this idea to the birth of Jesus.
Along with Amos, Hosea, Zephaniah, and Zechariah, Micah calls Israel act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (6:8). Without such just and humble behavior, Israel’s cultic rituals are worthless in the sight of God.
It is also interesting to note that Micah’s prophetic ministry was known and respected long after it had concluded. For example, Micah 3:12 is quoted by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 26:18, which is only one small indication of the respect and importance attributed to Micah’s prophetic ministry. Even greater than this is the continuity between Micah’s theological message and that of much later prophets in Israel’s history.