top of page

Micah the Prophet

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Micah, a prophet hailing from the humble village of Moresheth, emerged as a steadfast advocate for justice, providing a counter-narrative to the prevailing ethos upheld by the political, spiritual, and economic elite of his time.


'Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who detest justice and make crooked all that is straight, who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with iniquity. Its heads give judgment for a bribe; its priests teach for a price; its prophets practice divination for money; yet they lean on the Lord and say, “Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us.”

Therefore because of you, Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.'- 3:9-12



In a society where the elite propagated the notion of security and celebrated the maintenance of the status quo and the 'good life' for the few, Micah fearlessly and relentlessly sounded the alarm of impending judgment. They would reap the consequences of their actions.


While the powerful presented their version of 'truth,' Micah had the unwavering courage to expose it for what it truly was: a deceitful facade concealing underlying injustice.


The central authorities, convinced of their infallibility, deemed Micah unnecessary, given their array of self-appointed prophets, politicians, and propaganda machines.


“Do not preach”—thus they preach— “one should not preach of such things;


They claimed to offer the path to peace, boasting of their possession of the sacred Temple and


its divine presence. Yet, Micah, through his prophetic insight, recognized what eluded their sight—the stark reality that the emperor had no clothes. Their promises of security were nothing more than a myth wielded to perpetuate their dominance and further humiliate the laborers toiling in the fields.


And I said: Hear, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel! Is it not for you to know justice?— you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people and their flesh from off their bones, who eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and break their bones in pieces and chop them up like meat in a pot, like flesh in a cauldron.- 3:1-3


Despite their insistence that Micah remain silent, particularly in the delivery of his dire message of imminent disgrace (as noted in 2:6), this countryside preacher remained resolute. He could not be silenced, driven by an unwavering commitment to reveal the nefarious underpinnings of the society and the stark inequality that burdened the needy and vulnerable.


The contents, language, and style of the prophecy suggest that Micah was something more than a farmer or a poor citizen from a small village. He was a theologian who had cast his lot with the poor of the land and had become a fearless defender of the rights of the oppressed. He was not a farmer who copied Isaiah or Amos, but one of an ardent temperament who had much to denounce and was not afraid to lose’ - Juan Alforo 'Justice and Loyalty.'


In a culture where land was seized hoarded and accumulated by the large estates, sending the original small-holding citizen further into poverty and destitution, Micah speaks.


Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil on their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in the power of their hand. 2 They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them away; they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.- 2:1-2


When children are enslaved, and women are abused, Micah speaks.


But lately my people have risen up as an enemy; you strip the rich robe from those who pass by trustingly with no thought of war. 9 The women of my people you drive out from their delightful houses; from their young children you take away my splendor forever.

- 2:8-9


When the elite slaughter the innocent, Micah speaks.


And I said: Hear, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel! Is it not for you to know justice?— you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people and their flesh from off their bones, who eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and break their bones in pieces and chop them up like meat in a pot, like flesh in a cauldron.- 3:1-3


When priests, prophets, and the judiciary remain silent in the face of injustice, Micah speaks.


Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who detest justice and make crooked all that is straight, 10 who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with iniquity. 11 Its heads give judgment for a bribe; its priests teach for a price; its prophets practice divination for money; yet they lean on the Lord and say, “Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us.” 12 Therefore because of you, Zion shall be plowed as a field.- 3;9-12


Micah's conviction stemmed from his unwavering belief that he walked the path of justice. Despite the formidable opposition he faced, Micah knew he was divinely called and empowered by the very breath of YHWH.


But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.- 3:8


Micah spoke of the nightmare that would unfold in the city. This civilization is finished; collapse and conquest are coming. Micah does not preach that his words be fulfilled, but rather that they reach their goal in the listeners, who listen and repent and change their ways.


As one of the early prophetic works, Micah lends itself more readily for analysis of the fulfillment of its prophecies. At the outset, we must point out the idea of fulfillment which will guide us along our commentary. A prophecy is “fulfilled” when it reaches the goal or produces the fruit intended by God and the prophet. The threats and promises of a prophet are not necessarily fulfilled when the announced “event” takes place but rather when the listeners pay heed to the prophetic message of change and conversion’ - Juan Alfero.



For Micah, the darkest day is never the final day. Although he articulates the nightmare, he is also a prophet of hope. If the people repent, there is hope. But even if collapse comes, there is a hope that will follow the nightmare. This is not the end of the story.


It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples and shall decide disputes for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.'- 4:1-4


Micah's unwavering commitment to justice and his fearless confrontation of the powerful elite resonate with us even in today's world. While his prophetic voice rose in ancient times, the need for such prophets remains relevant in our contemporary society.



A church that doesn't provoke any crisis, a gospel that doesn't unsettle, a word of God that doesn't get under anyone's skin, a word of God that doesn't touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed -- what gospel is that? Very nice, pious considerations that don't bother anyone, that's the way many would like preaching to be. Those preachers who

avoid every thorny matter so as not to be harassed, so as not to have conflicts and difficulties, do not light up the world they live in.”

― Oscar A. Romero, The Violence Of Love


Today, much like the era Micah confronted, our contemporary societal landscape is marked by entrenched powers—unrestrained capitalism, consumerism, and narratives of endless growth—maintaining the status quo, promising stability and security.


Yet, like the ancient prophet, there is a pressing need for voices today that challenge this prevailing narrative. These prophets acknowledge biophysical reality and recognize that any discourse on economics that disregards ecology is a flawed economy that fails to account for the true cost of production. An economy built on the myth of endless growth without factoring in ecological limits is a fragile structure, susceptible to collapse.


In our age, dominant authorities bolster their rule with their own cadre of prophets, politicians, and a sophisticated propaganda apparatus. They lay claim to sacred myths of exceptionalism and endless growth, all while remaining oblivious to their self-deception.


Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system,”- Dorothy Day


Just as Micah saw through the illusion, contemporary prophets inspired by the prophetic tradition continue to unveil the naked truth, revealing that the emperor's garments are, in fact, nonexistent. The promises of security they offer are illusory, perpetuating their dominion and further subjugating the world's most vulnerable.



In our current moment, in need of contemporary prophets much like Micah, these voices challenge the falsehoods hidden beneath the veneer of power and privilege. The prophetic spirit remains vital as it confronts the systems perpetuating injustice, and these modern-day prophets, in alignment with this tradition, call upon society to confront inequity and embark on a path toward transformation.


Contemporary prophets, although realists, are not without hope.


I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that one day we will be free.’- Martin Luther King.

Prophets rise as advocates for the unheard, as catalysts for change who bear witness to the truth, and as guardians of conscience demanding accountability from the powerful. They embody the essence of the prophetic tradition, compelling us to envision a world where justice, compassion, and truth hold sway, where the very breath of the Divine inspires our shared commitment to a more equitable and compassionate future.




0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page