1. While under siege, what hope was promised to the people of Bethlehem?
“(1) Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. (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” (Micah 5:1-2).
- The previous chapter concluded with “Arise and thresh” (Micah 4:13).
- “Now” separates this time. The call to gather thyself in troops [“a crowd, army, band of men, troop of robbers” (Strong’s # 1416)].
- It appears the call is to prepare for the siege Assyria was laying against Judah (II Chronicles 32:9-10 and Isaiah 1:8).
- The daughter of troops is a bit unclear. The Hebrew word translated as “daughter” is also translated, among other terms (town, apple, company, etc.), as “villages” (Numbers 21:25, Numbers 31:32, Numbers 32:42, Joshua 15:45, Joshua 15:47, II Chronicles 28:18, and Nehemiah 11:25; 11:27; 11:28; 11:30; 11:31).
- In this time of seemingly impossible odds, God sets forth this prophesy about Jesus as a source of hope for the city of Bethlehem in Judah (Matthew 2:1-6 and John 7:42). This prophesy is clearly about Jesus. It makes it easy to apply most of the rest of the chapter to Jesus too. However, I am not sure that is the case. It can fit in many ways, but the clarity of verse 2 doesn’t really exist throughout the rest of the chapter. Keep that in mind going forward as I will give a lot to consider in the following passages.
- Jesus being the ruler whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Isaiah 9:1-7, John 1:1-5, Colossians 1:12-20, and Revelation 1:9-18).
2. Though they were going to be given up by the Lord, what time was going to end that?
Until she which travaileth hath brought forth: “Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel” (Micah 5:3).
- Because of Apostasy, God’s people faced the certainty of being handed over to their enemies. While Assyria only partially accomplished this (II Kings 18:13) and Jerusalem was saved (II Kings 19:20-34), the Babylonians would later succeed (Jeremiah 34:21).
- Ten tribes were given up (II Kings 17:13-23 [cf. I Kings 11:31-35] and II Chronicles 30:7).
- “Travaileth” means to beget… give birth” (Strong’s # 3205). Since we are contextually talking about Jesus being born in Bethlehem, that takes our minds to Mary’s birthing of Christ (Matthew 1:18-25).
- During that time, the return of the remnant unto the children of Israel (Isaiah 11:1-11, Acts 2:1-11, Romans 8:22-23, and Romans 11:1-5).
- Remember, part of the work of Christ was to save Israel; His people from their sins (Jeremiah 23:5-6, Acts 3:25-26, Acts 5:30-31, and Acts 13:22-23).
- Having said all of that, this could have nothing to do with Jesus (Isaiah 46:1-5 and Micah 4:9-10).
No: “(3) …then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (4) And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. (5) And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. (6) And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders” (Micah 5:3[partial]-6).
- If this is all about Jesus, the return of the remnant as it relates to Christ and even the bringing in of the Gentiles would apply (Romans 9:1-29).
- Christ stood in the strength of His Father (John 8:16, John 8:28-29, and John 16:32).
- His greatness (Luke 1:31-32, Philippians 2:1-11, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 4:14-16, and Hebrews 13:20).
- His greatness is WHY “they shall abide” (John 15:1-5, I Peter 1:3-5, and I John 2:28).
- Spiritual peace was in/through Christ (Acts 10:36, Romans 5:1, and I Peter 5:14).
- To clarify why this is spiritual peace, we have to recall that carnal peace doesn’t exist in or by Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:34-39, John 16:33, and Romans 8:28-39).
- Having said all of that… Putting Jesus in this text is easy. Maybe too easy. That doesn’t mean that conclusion is the right conclusion. For me, these are a perplexing series of statements made in these verses. Assyria will long be in the past when Jesus was born. They may have been used figuratively as the people alive in Micah’s time feared Assyria. Judah would raise seven shepherds and eight principal men to waste Assyria with the sword to deliver from Assyria. God had already handled Assyria (Isaiah 10:5-12 and II Kings 19:35). We could understand this in several ways that make sense. So, I don’t know. As for the seven shepherds and eight principal men, I have ZERO ideas there. It is symbolic of something, but I don’t get it.
- Could it be an angel [angels] referenced here (II Kings 19:35-37, II Chronicles 32:20-23, and Isaiah 37:36-37)???
- Deliverance, as it related to Christ (Luke 1:67-77), once again is spiritual in nature and no doubt confusing from this prophesy (Galatians 1:1-4, Colossians 1:12-13, and I Thessalonians 1:10).
- Deliverance also occurred before Jesus in the physical sense (Obadiah 1:17).
- Remember this, prophets did not give their own explanation of the things they were shown (II Peter 1:20-21). They received visions, words, etc. (Numbers 12:6 and Amos 3:7).
4. Was the remnant going to be isolated in Jerusalem?
No, they were going to be in the midst of many people: “(7) And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. (8) And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver” (Micah 5:7-8).
- This is reminiscent of Joel 2:28-32 that points to Acts 2. We could tie this in there to some degree. You could continue with…. The next point.
- The remnant spread the Gospel to all and could not be stopped much like lions among the forest beasts or a young lion in the flocks of sheep. We see this in the spread of the Gospel to the whole world (Mark 16:14-20, Acts 8:4, Romans 16:25-27, Colossians 1:5, Colossians 1:5-6, and Colossians 1:23) in the first century even though many tried to stop it (Acts 3:1-5:42, Acts 16:16-40, Acts 17:1-13, and I Thessalonians 2:13-16; cf. II Timothy 2:8-9).
- Dew, water on the grass… All beneficial things. Is that the point though?
- At the same time… It could have applied to their coming out of captivity (Isaiah 41:1-20).
- Physically, during the O.T. period of time, Jerusalem was a cup of trembling unto the people round about them (Zechariah 12:1-9). No one would be delivered from them with the Lord doing this for them. In light of the next verse, this possibly makes more sense.
5. Who was going to be cut off during this time promised to the remnant?
Their adversaries: “Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off” (Micah 5:9).
- Isaiah 54:17
- The following is a stretch. Could also be forward looking not being able to be taken captive from Christ and overcoming death in the resurrection (John 10:28-30 and I Corinthians 15:55-58).
- This should not be taken to just mean enemy nations. Remember, even from amongst themselves there were enemies (Micah 3:2).
6. What else was going to be cut off from among God’s people?
Horses, chariots, strong holds, witchcrafts, soothsayers, graven images, and idolatrous groves: “(10) And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: (11) And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: (12) And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: (13) Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands. (14) And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities” (Micah 5:10-14).
- Not outside horses and chariots, but their horses and chariots destroyed which could tie to Jesus (Zechariah 9:9-10; cf. Matthew 21:1-11). Again, the armor is spiritual in Christ (I Thessalonians 5:8).
- The warfare is about holding the faith, not the sword (I Timothy 1:18-19).
- Lest they think their cities were going to be their strongholds, not so. God was going to see those cities cease (i.e. Matthew 23:37-24:34). Don’t trust in your physical strongholds (Zechariah 2:4-5 and Hebrews 13:14).
- No curious arts, witchcrafts, etc. (Acts 19:11-20 and Galatians 5:19-21).
- Idolatry cut off (Acts 15:28-29, I Corinthians 10:7, II Corinthians 6:14-7:1, I Thessalonians 1:9, and I John 5:21).
- Yet, right after Assyria one could conclude these things happened under king Josiah (II Kings 22:1-23:25).
- Yet, again, the message could just be as simple as their turning fully to God under O.T. times (Psalms 20:7 and Isaiah 42:12-25).
7. What did the Lord say He was going to do in anger and fury?
“And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard” (Micah 5:15).
- Again, O.T. application seems more likely here (Psalms 149:5-9 and Ezekiel 25:12-14).
- If this is looking at the N.T., such would only be after efforts made (Galatians 1:16 and Galatians 3:8; cf II Thessalonians 1:7-9).
© 2021 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.