Devotional Commentary on Micah 5


In the English, not the Hebrew, the first verse starts with a “now”. A particle `th sounds like it brings things back to the days of Micah. But it can be in two ways: it can be a processional `th “now” that is in the eschaton and moves from one scene to another as a next “now” which has nothing to do with the present life of the prophet. It is his visional “now”. There is a difference. Chapter 5 can be an eschatological chapter with a view between 4-31 CE and the Second Advent (events during the Time of Trouble). Events in the exile of the Northern Tribes brings the wide angle lense description of all the events.

This eschatological application was also realized by Caspari when he said: “From the fact, however, that Zion, when sanctified, is to be delivered out of much greater danger than that from which it will riot be delivered in the immediate future, and also that the refined and sanctified Zion will conquer and destroy an incomparably greater hostile force than that to which it will now soon succumb, it follows, in the clearest and most conclusive way, that in the nearest future it must be given up to the power of the world, because it is now unholy.” Also Delitzsch followed Caspari: “that the attack of the nations is directed against Zion, which has now become holy, that it proceeds from hatred and enmity to His holiness, and has for its object the desecration of the city of God. This feature is by no means applicable to Jerusalem and Judah in the time of the Maccabees, but can only apply to the time when Israel, redeemed from Babel, forms a holy church of God, i.e. to the last period of the development of the kingdom of God, which began with Christ, but has not yet reached its fullest manifestation.” (Delitzsch 474-475).

The chapter starts with talking to Bethlehem, the place where the Messiah King would be born and was (verse 1). “From you shall He emerge for Me”.

Says Ellen White in Acts of the Apostles: “With convincing power Paul reasoned from the Old Testament Scriptures that ‘Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead.’ Had not Micah prophesied, 'They shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek'?”—Ellen White, Acts of the Apostles, page 225.

In Mark 7:14 I. Rabinowitz raised the question whether Jesus spoke Hebrew in 1962. The Assimilated form of Ephphata is Babylonian and not Palestinian as Targummic sources indicates. Mark drew on Hebrew and Aramaic sources. Matthew Black suggested that it could be Aramaic since in Genesis 3:7 the Targum Neofiti offers an example of an assimilated /t/ in ‘ithpa`al of pth.

The ruler is the Messiah. From the lowest of clans will come the Ruler. His origin is from of old. The Jews expounded this verse also as saying that the origin of the Messiah is before creation.

“And He shall stand and shepherd with the might of the Lord”.

“And they shall return” namely great evangelism done as harvest to the Messiah accepting the gospel from all nations (verse 3). “For now [then in prophetic order of time] He shall become great to the ends of the earth”. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world and then the end shall come, were the words of Christ while on earth.

Deliverance will come after persecution (verse 2). The Jewish sages developed the idea that the son of David (Messiah) will not come until the wicked kingdom spreads over the entire world for nine months (Yoma 10b, Sanh. 98b). Redak explained that prior to the coming of the Messiah, God will bring unprecedented Trouble upon Israel comparable to the pangs of a woman in confinement as in Daniel 12:1. It is also what Adventists has been saying in their prophetic charts as the Time of Trouble after the Door of Mercy closes and before the Second Coming of Christ.

After the persecution, the King Messiah will stand and Shepherd spiritual Israel with the might of the Lord (Redak). The Targum Jonathan reads wr`h as wyslwt = to lead but this is only wishful thinking although an amount of leading is involved.

Assyrian power increased again under Tiglath-Pilezer III after 744 BCE (2 Kings 15:29). Adadnirari VI made a treaty with Mati-`el of Arpad (Sefire Inscription in 746 BCE).

“It shall be peace” (verse 4). Verse 4 is not as complex as it seems. Since Micah started his preaching during the days of Jotham, Agas and Hezekiah; it is expected that these Judean kings are the “shepherds” appointed over Assyria. The other four are: Manasseh, Amon, Josiah and Jehoahaz.

The eight princes appointed over Assyria will be all the rulers of Assyria between Tiglath-Pilezer III and the fall of Niniveh in 612 BCE, namely: Tiglath-Pilezer III; Shalmanezer V; Sargon II; Sennacherib; Esarhaddon; Ashurbanipal; Ashur-etil-ilani; and Sin-shar-iskhun.

Verse 4 is back into a scenario of Assyrian history and events all the way down to 612 BCE. The fall of Niniveh is predicted.

The Land of Nimrod will be broken with the sword and at the gates. It was in July of 612 BCE that Niniveh fell under the combined attack of Medes and Chaldeans. Niniveh, Kalah and other important cities were razed to the ground. Since Babylonians broke Nimrod in 612 BCE the eight rulers could have been: Pulu; Marduk-apal-iddina; Sennacherib; Esharhaddon; Shamash-sham-ukin; Kandalanu and Nabopolassar. This is more fitting into the history of the Bible.

The remnant of Jacob is then seen as spread all over the globe like dew. Their spirituality and faith will have a good effect on the nations across the globe (verse 6). “Like torrents of rain upon vegetation”. The true remnant are not wrapped-up in Humanism “that does not hope for any man and does not wait for the sons of men”.

They shall be at the End Time “among many nations” (verse 7) “like a lion among the beasts of the forest” (verse 7). God will be great during the Time of Trouble since the four angels of the Four Winds will blow and bring destruction upon the wicked from all corners during this short time before the Second Advent.

God is going to do Great things in future as He said in verse 8. At the Executive Judgment after the Millennium He promised to take care of the evil “I will cut your horses out of your midst, and I will destroy your chariots” (verse 9). This is the ultimate Battle of the Lord or Armegeddon or the Hell event after the Millennium. God does not fight nations through history. He has a day for the evil to take care of them in one array and one Day of Wrath.

Fortresses will be broken (verse 10); sorcery and soothsayers (verse 11); graven images; monuments (verse 12). No more worshipping of images and kissing of the missing toe of St. Peter.

The Asherim that they worshipped and that helped them with their Woman Ordination in society with female priestesses and fashion parades combined as on Kuntillet `Ajrud in the Negev where archaeology has uncovered the deviant practices of Asherah worship and textile industry and fashion shows (verse 13) “and I will uproot your asherim from your midst”.

“And in anger and fury I will execute vengeance upon the nations who have paid no heed” (verse 13).

When Delitzsch came to this last verse he said: “In other words, He will exterminate every ungodly power by a fierce judgment, so that nothing will ever be able to disturb the peace of His people and kingdom again.” (Delitzsch 491). It is the Hell event since it is the only event in the Bible that has the “never again” theology as Adventists so well know. Good for you Delitzsch. I have always wondered if Delitzsch was an Adventist at heart?


Dear God

You want us to be careful with our relationship with You and to consecrate ourselves daily to You. Thank you for that relationship and keep us safe in the hollow of Your hand even if the heavens fall. In Jesus Name. Amen.