2. Beth-lehem Ephratah--
or, Beth-lehem Judah; so called to distinguish it from Beth-lehem in
Zebulun. It is a few miles southwest of Jerusalem. Beth-lehem means
"the house of bread"; Ephratah means "fruitful": both names
referring to the fertility of the region.
though thou be little among--though thou be scarcely large enough to be reckoned among, &c. It was insignificant in size and population; so that in Jos 15:21, &c., it is not enumerated among the cities of Judah; nor in the list in Ne 11:25, &c. Under Rehoboam it became a city: 2Ch 11:6, "He built Beth-lehem." Mt 2:6 seems to contradict Micah, "thou art not the least," But really he, by an independent testimony of the Spirit, confirms the prophet, Little in worldly importance, thou art not least (that is, far from least, yea, the very greatest) among the thousands, of princes of Judah, in the spiritual significance of being the birthplace of Messiah (Joh 7:42). God chooses the little things of the world to eclipse in glory its greatest things (Jud 6:15; Joh 1:46; 1Co 1:27, 28). The low state of David's line when Messiah was born is also implied here.
thousands--Each tribe was divided into clans or "thousands" (each thousand containing a thousand families: like our old English division of counties into hundreds), which had their several heads or "princes"; hence in Mt 2:6 it is quoted "princes," substantially the same as in Micah, and authoritatively explained in Matthew. It is not so much this thousand that is preferred to the other thousands of Judah, but the Governor or Chief Prince out of it, who is preferred to the governors of all the other thousands. It is called a "town" (rather in the Greek, "village"), Joh 7:42; though scarcely containing a thousand inhabitants, it is ranked among the "thousands" or larger divisions of the tribe, because of its being the cradle of David's line, and of the Divine Son of David. Moses divided the people into thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, with their respective "rulers" (Ex 18:25; compare 1Sa 10:19).
unto me--unto God the Father (Lu 1:32): to fulfil all the Father's will and purpose from eternity. So the Son declares (Ps 2:7; 40:7, 8; Joh 4:34); and the Father confirms it (Mt 3:17; 12:18, compare with Isa 42:1). God's glory is hereby made the ultimate end of redemption.
ruler--the "Shiloh," "Prince of peace," "on whose shoulders the government is laid" (Ge 49:10; Isa 9:6). In 2Sa 23:3, "He that ruleth over men must be just," the same Hebrew word is employed; Messiah alone realizes David's ideal of a ruler. Also in Jer 30:21, "their governor shall proceed from the midst of them"; answering closely to "out of thee shall come forth the ruler," here (compare Isa 11:1-4).
goings forth . . . from everlasting--The plain antithesis of this clause, to "come forth out of thee" (from Beth-lehem), shows that the eternal generation of the Son is meant. The terms convey the strongest assertion of infinite duration of which the Hebrew language is capable (compare Ps 90:2; Pr 8:22, 23; Joh 1:1). Messiah's generation as man coming forth unto God to do His will on earth is from Beth-lehem; but as Son of God, His goings forth are from everlasting. The promise of the Redeemer at first was vaguely general (Ge 3:15). Then the Shemitic division of mankind is declared as the quarter in which He was to be looked for (Ge 9:26, 27); then it grows clearer, defining the race and nation whence the Deliverer should come, namely, the seed of Abraham, the Jews (Ge 12:3); then the particular tribe, Judah (Ge 49:10); then the family, that of David (Ps 89:19, 20); then the very town of His birth, here. And as His coming drew nigh, the very parentage (Mt 1:1-17; Lu 1:26-35; 2:1-7); and then all the scattered rays of prophecy concentrate in Jesus, as their focus (Heb 1:1, 2).
The Book of Micah
Micah 1:1-3 - 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. Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.
Micah 5:2 - But thou, Bethlehem 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.
The Old Testament - A Brief Overview
Bible Survey - Micah
Hebrew Name - Mikah "Who is like Yahweh"
Greek Name - Micha (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Micah (According to Tradition)
Date - 750 BC Approximately
Theme - The Word Micah saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem
Types and Shadows - In Micah Jesus is the king from Bethlehem
Micah prophesied about the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions that would cause the fall of both Samaria (capital of the northern kingdom of Israel) and Jerusalem (capital of the southern kingdom of Judah). The word of the Lord which came from Micah was in the form of a lawsuit by God, with Micah as the prosecutor, and the mountains and hills (the high places of idolatry) as the silent judges. Mica proclaimed that "her wounds are incurable" because of the corruption of the people. He goes on to describe the leaders as "butchering the people." In Micah 5:2 is the great verse that proclaims the birthplace of the Messiah who comes from Eternity, born in the city of Bethlehem, the least among the cities of Judah. - The above text is © Rusty Russell - Bible History Online and must be sourced for use on a website.
Micah was called the "Morasthite" because he was originally from the city of Moresheth, sometimes called Moresheth-gath (Micah 1:14), because it was located in the southwestern portion of Judah knew the Philistine city of Gath.
Micah was also mentioned in the book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:18) as having prophesied during the reign of Hezekiah in Judah. The book of Micah begins by saying that he was prophesying during the time of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. The time period that these three kings of Judah reigned was from about 751 to 687 BC. Micah might have been directly responsible for helping to bring revival in Judah, especially during the reign of King Hezekiah. Micah was also a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah in Judah and the prophet Hosea in Israel. Some have supposed him to have been a disciple of Isaiah. That there was some contact between the two seems evident from the practically identical passages in Isaiah 2:24 and Micah 4:1-3.
Interesting Note: because of the practically identical passages in Micah 4:1-3 and Isaiah 2:24 some have believed that Micah was either a disciple of Isaiah, or heavily influenced by his prophecies.
The contents of the book may be analyzed further as follows :
Outline of the Book of Micah
Micah's message was directed to Samaria and Jerusalem, the capital cities of Israel and Judah, who was responsible for the corruption which had spread over the two kingdoms. Micah 1 announces the doom that is to befall Samaria for her idolatry. Micah 2 is a message of woe for the ruling class, because of their oppression of the poor. In this chapter Micah records the attempts of these men to do away with his preaching (Micah 2:6, 11). The sins of the ruling classes, as well as the false prophets, and the priests, are dealt with in Micah 3.
The tone of the Micah's prophecy shifts abruptly in the opening verses of Micah 4, as Micah pictures the future glory of Jerusalem, or Zion. In Micah 4:9, however, he suddenly continues his previous message of impending doom. A remarkable prophecy is contained in Micah 4:10, as Babylon is named as the conqueror of Judah although, at this time, Assyria was the leading power and Judah by no means appeared safe from her threats. About 100 years later, however, the prophecy was fulfilled as Judah, having survived the Assyrian conquests, was overrun by the forces of Babylon. Another well-known prophecy is contained in Micah 5:2, where it is stated that a ruler for Israel "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting," will come out of Bethlehem. When Herod inquired of the scribes as to the birthplace of Jesus, this prophecy was cited as having been fulfilled (Matt. 2: 1-6). Micah 6 and 7 are a continuation of the picture of moral corruption and resultant punishment, but with an assurance that God will show compassion for Israel and will allow a remnant to flourish again, thus keeping the promise which he had made to Abraham (Micah 7:20 ).
The Book of Micah