Title (Mic 1:1-1:1)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Micah

Of Moresheth,

In the days of Jotham,

Ahaz,

Hezekiah,

Kings of Judah.

He saw things

Concerning Samaria

As well as Jerusalem.”

In typical prophetic fashion, the word of Yahweh came to Micah.  Instead of listing his father, this work mentions where he was from, the town of Moresheth, a small town southwest of Jerusalem.  He prophesized during the reigns of the southern kings of Judah, King Jotham (740-736 BCE), King Ahaz (736-716 BCE), and King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE), after the time of Isaiah and right in the middle of the exile of the northern kingdom of Israel.  His prophecies were about Samaria and Jerusalem, the cities and their surrounding areas.  This was a pretty straight forward title with enough information about the prophet Micah.

The title of Hosea (Hos 1:1-1:1)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Hosea,

The son of Beeri.

This was in the days

Of King Uzziah,

Of King Jotham,

Of King Ahaz,

Of King Hezekiah,

Kings of Judah.

This was in the days

Of King Jeroboam.

The son of Joash,

The king of Israel.”

Hosea was a prophet during the last days of the kingdom of Israel in the 8th century BCE. He also was the earliest Israelite written prophet that we know of. This work of Hosea is considered the first of the 12 minor prophets. In a classic prophetic phrase, the word of Yahweh came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, who may have been a prophet himself. At that time, the kings of Judah were King Uzziah (781-740 BCE), King Jotham (740-736 BCE), King Ahaz (736-716 BCE), and King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE), spanning nearly 100 years. Meanwhile, the king of Israel mentioned here was only King Jeroboam II (783-743 BCE), the son of King Joash (798-783 BCE). That would eliminate all the Judean kings after King Uzziah. The last 4 kings of Israel were King Menahem, (743-738 BCE), King Pekahiah (738-737 BCE), King Pekah (737-732 BCE), and King Hoshea (732-724 BCE), but they were not mentioned here.

The example of the prophet Micah (Jer 26:17-26:19)

“Some of the elders

Of the land

Arose.

They said

To all the assembled people.

‘Micah of Moresheth prophesied

During the days of King Hezekiah

Of Judah.

He said to all the people

Of Judah.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

Zion shall be plowed

As a field. Jerusalem shall become

A heap of ruins.

The mountain of the house

Will be a wooded height.’

Did King Hezekiah

Of Judah,

With all Judah,

Put him to death?

Did he not fear Yahweh?

Did he not entreat

The favor of Yahweh?

Did not Yahweh change

His mind

About the disaster

That he had pronounced

Against them?

But we are about

To bring great disaster

On ourselves.’”

Some of the elders reminded the assembly that at the time of King Hezekiah of Judah (716-687 BCE), about a hundred years previously, that the prophet Micah (737-696 BCE) from Moresheth, in southwestern Judah, had made some disturbing prophecies. Micah was considered one of the Minor Prophets with his own biblical book. During his day, he told King Hezekiah that Judah would be plowed like a field, while Jerusalem would become a ruined heap, as found in chapter 3 of Micah. King Hezekiah did not put him to death. Just the opposite, the king feared Yahweh and asked Yahweh for favors. Thus Yahweh changed his mind at that time, since he did not send a disaster to them. This was right after the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 714 BCE. If they kill Jeremiah, they might bring a great disaster on themselves. Thus a little history lesson helps Jeremiah.

The four destroyers (Jer 15:3-15:4)

“‘I will appoint over them

Four kinds of destroyers.’

Says Yahweh.

‘The sword is to kill.

The dogs are to drag away.

The birds of the air are to devour.

The animals of the earth are to destroy.

I will make them a horror

To all the kingdoms of the earth,

Because of what King Manasseh,

Son of King Hezekiah of Judah,

Did in Jerusalem.’”

Yahweh once again spoke about 4 different ways that he would destroy the people. While the sword was the only common one from the preceding verses, famine, pestilence, and captivity have given way to dogs, birds, and animals. The sword would kill. The dogs would drag them away. The birds of the air would devour them, while the other earth animals would destroy them. They would become a horror to the all countries on earth. This was all done because of what King Manasseh (687-642 BCE), the son of King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE) had done in Judah and Jerusalem. However, this captivity was nearly a century later in 587 BCE. Why did Yahweh wait so long? The son of King Manasseh was the good king Josiah (640-609 BCE) who led a religious reform. All this is based on 2 Kings, chapters 21-23.

Isaiah predicts the Babylonian captivity (Isa 39:5-39:8)

“Then Isaiah said to King Hezekiah.

‘Hear the word of Yahweh of hosts.

Days are coming

When all that is in your house,

As well as that which your ancestors

Have stored up

Until this day,

Shall be carried to Babylon.

Nothing shall be left.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Some of your own sons,

Who are born to you,

Shall be taken away.

They shall be eunuchs

In the palace of the king of Babylon.’

Then King Hezekiah said to Isaiah.

‘The word of Yahweh

That you have spoken is good.’

He thought.

‘There will be peace

There will be security

In my days’”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 20. The prophet Isaiah warned King Hezekiah that the day was coming when all these things would belong to the king of Babylon. Nothing will be left in Jerusalem. His sons would be eunuchs in the Babylonian palace. King Hezekiah assumed that Isaiah was talking about a time when there would be peace and security between these two countries, so that they would exchange gifts.

The ambassadors of Merodach (Isa 39:1-39:1)

“At that time,

King Merodach-baladan,

Son of Baladan of Babylon,

Sent envoys with letters

Also with a present

To King Hezekiah.

He had heard

That King Hezekiah had been sick.

He had heard

That King Hezekiah had recovered.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 20. King Merodach-baladan was the king of Babylon. He was trying to prevent the king of Assyria from taking over his land, so that he wanted to make an alliance with the king of Judah. Thus he sent ambassadors to the King Hezekiah to see how he felt after his illness and recovery. He also sent a letter and a present for King Hezekiah. This seems like a nice gesture.

Prayer of thanksgiving (Isa 38:16-38:20)

“O Lord!

By these things

People live.

In all these is

The life of my spirit.

Restore me to health!

Make me live!

Surely it was for my welfare

That I had great bitterness.

But you held back my life

From the pit of destruction.

You have cast all my sins

Behind your back.

Sheol cannot thank you.

Death cannot praise you.

Those who go down to the pit

Cannot hope for your faithfulness.

The living,

The living,

They thank you,

As I do this day.

The father makes known to the children

Your faithfulness.

Yahweh will save me.

We will sing to stringed instruments

All the days of our lives,

At the house of Yahweh.”

Second Isaiah has King Hezekiah happy that his ordeal is over. However, he recognized that these difficulties are part of life. Once restored to health and life, he realizes that these things happened for his own good, even if he was a little bitter. Yahweh had his back, so that he never met the pit of destruction. All his sins were forgotten. Sheol and death were not able to grab him because there he would not have been able to praise or give thanks to Yahweh. There they lose all hope and faithfulness. However, it is the living ones who give praise and thanksgiving to Yahweh, as he did this day. Children learn from their fathers about faithfulness, so too Yahweh has saved him. Thus he and his friends will sing with stringed instruments at the house of Yahweh all the days of their lives.